Archive for the 'Designer Blog' Category

Welcome to Kitchen Views’ Designer Blog

Kitchen Views is a kitchen & bath design company with six unique design showrooms; located at four National Lumber locations in Massachusetts, at National Building Products in Warwick, RI and now at Oxford Lumber in Oxford, CT. From contemporary to traditional cabinetry, countertops, decorative hardware and more, our designers will even come to you. We serve the Greater Boston area and all of New England. This blog has been dedicated to offering you the best kitchen remodeling advice from our design experts here at Kitchen Views.

If you’d like to keep up with the blog via email, you can easily subscribe using the box at the right. Also, if you have any feedback, questions or concerns, be sure to leave a comment!

Making the Case For A Tiny Kitchen

With the growing popularity of “tiny houses” with their own television shows, many people are thinking about how downsizing can free them for enjoying activities other than cleaning a regular size home. Whether you have a small condo that needs better space planning to make the best use of every inch, or find that your regular size kitchen is in chaos, careful planning can improve your everyday life.

One of our favorite contributors to the Kitchen Views blog recently retired, but her wisdom regarding good kitchen design is timeless. So we are sharing again her perspective on making the most of limited space.

“Making the Case for a Tiny Kitchen” by Pam Kuliesis
Originally published on November 26, 2013

Tiny kitchen 2020 layout by Pam Kuliesis

Tiny kitchen 2020 layout by Pam Kuliesis

After turning a corner in life, I find myself living with a teeny, tiny kitchen. It’s a U-shape space. The working triangle is about 9 feet total, no more than 3 feet between the sink and the range to the left and the sink and the refrigerator to the right and just about 3 feet between the range and refrigerator across from each other. I can stand in the center of the room and reach all three without moving my feet. I pretty much don’t even have to lean. Very tight.

At first I couldn’t imagine being able to create anything in this “Easy Bake” kitchen that would be worth serving. But, a girl’s gotta eat, and take-out gets old pretty quick.

Once I started putting stuff away I was amazed at just how much storage this little kitchen had. And then I started cooking. Everything I needed was within arm’s length. Prep time was so much faster, not having to schlep across the room for the pepper mill that, in my old kitchen, I would leave way over by the sink. Also, I’m much neater. I don’t have the luxury of moving around the kitchen leaving a messy trail behind me. I clean as I go, making the final clean up a breeze!

There are so many great kitchen storage options available from all of the quality cabinetry brands we sell. Stacked wall cabinets maximize every vertical inch. Carefully planned base cabinet configurations and storage accessories make the best use of every nook and cranny.

Kitchen Views designers have the knowledge and the tools to create great kitchens in any space, big and small. Our designers are pros and the views are yours

Kitchen Views at National Lumber
71 Maple St, Mansfield, MA 02048
(508) 339-8020
www.kitchenviews.com

Storage Solutions That Work for You

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Storage Solutions That Work for You!

Every year, cabinet companies entice us with new storage ideas:  sliding vegetable bins, spice pullouts, top-hinged wall cabinets, specialty cabinets for bathrooms, base cabinets with compartments or a drawer in the kick space. Open shelving is very popular recently on home renovation shows. All of them are designed to make your cabinets more accessible and convenient for you. 

On top of that, storage container makers offer a myriad of boxes, baskets, bins in all kinds of materials — wood, plastic, natural woven materials, and more. There are so many choices, but often it’s difficult to find storage solutions that work for you in your unique situation. How many of us have spent money on storage items that don’t actually work for us in our daily routine? I know that I have tried a lot of different ways to organize my home, but if you can’t get your family to use them, it’s just a waste of time and money.

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Pull-Out Wood Shelves in Regular Base Cabinet

When deciding on the storage solutions best for you within cabinets, some people are concerned that these handy gadgets actually reduce the amount of storage area in your cabinet. For example, imagine that you can stack a lot of boxes into a cabinet to fill every square inch, but will you actually be able to find what you want when you need it? One of the most popular storage solutions are pull-out shelves that you can fit into your cabinets. One caution: some people try to use these pull-out shelves with short tray sides as though they are drawers. These are meant for larger items that won’t accidentally fall off the side or back when you pull it out. Installing these in a base cabinet may mean that fewer of those imagined boxes will fit within the cabinet, but since you can pull out the shelf to get all the way to the items at the back, they actually work better for you. There are several types of these pull-out shelves; just a couple are shown here. It’s important to weigh the true convenience of finding what you need, against the desire for maximum space for your items.

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Unusually Shaped Pull-Out Shelves for Corner Base Cabinet

Our design showrooms are designed to feature many great storage ideas. The pictures in this article are of kitchen vignettes at our Mansfield showroom, so if you’re in the area, stop by and investigate them for yourself. As you plan for your new kitchen, think about your most difficult pieces of your kitchen storage puzzle, such as a large mixer for baking. Tell your kitchen designer about items like this, and about how you currently use your storage. Be sure to read our article entitled, Hidden Treasures with 7 Design Gems, in this PDF of one of our past magazines, which shows timeless cabinetry storage solution for that large mixer and much more.   You could take pictures of your current storage shortcomings and bring them to your meeting. As you consider what you need for storage, think about how often you use various items in the course of your everyday food prep. For example, is this something you use daily or just for holidays or special occasions?

What’s one of the biggest storage challenges our designers run into? That’s plastic food storage containers and their tops. Putting them up into a wall cabinet often results in an eventual avalanche.  The solution? A big, wide drawer set aside specifically for them.  No matter how messy it gets, you can still find the matching tops and bottoms. But our designers can also suggest divider elements that you might like to add. If this picture of a drawer with movable posts confuses you, ask one of our designers to show you how it can be used.

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Specialty Drawer with Divider Posts

So, come to one of our showrooms [link to showrooms page], bring your awkward items or photos of problem areas that you need a better storage solution to accommodate, and find out how our designers can develop a plan that works for you in your real life, not just in theory.

Kitchen Views at National Lumber
www.kitchenviews.com

Are Kitchen Islands Always the Most Practical Solution?

One of many kitchen islands featured in our Summer 2009 kitchen design magazine.

Island in the Kaitz Kitchen, featured in the Summer 2009 Kitchen Views Magazine article “Things Change”

Are kitchen islands always the most practical solution?  It depends.  Islands are on the wish list of a lot of customers we work with here at Kitchen Views.  The big question we have to ask is “How much room do you have?”  A prep island can be a great addition and even the smallest configuration can be made to increase your kitchen’s functionality.  Added storage and work surface are always a good thing.

Islands can also be a great gathering spot.  A place for the kids to do their homework while dinner is being prepped, or a place for guests to hang out.  It’s even a great place to have a quiet cup of coffee and read the paper.

But, do you have enough room?  Prep islands are typically 27″ deep, though smaller islands can work beautifully.  Basic guidelines suggest that there needs to be about 36″ of space on all four sides for proper work area and traffic flow.  In front of the refrigerator, you should have a little more room, especially for those moments when the only solution to life is standing in front of it with the door open trying to make up your mind.

If you plan to use the island for seating, keep in mind that you need an overhang of about 11″, making these islands typically 36″ deep – plus room to push the stools back – plus 36″ clearance for a walk way.  Plan on 24″ of length for each person for comfortable elbow room.

Try to avoid placing the island in such a way that it cuts through your “work triangle”.  Putting an island in between your sink and your refrigerator, for instance, will probably be more of a hindrance than a help, increasing the number of steps you need to get between work stations.

Two-Tiered Island in kitchen designed by Diane Hersey, featured in the Kitchen Views Magazine article "Sweet and Savory"

Two-Tiered Island in kitchen designed by Diane Hersey, featured in the Kitchen Views Magazine article “Sweet and Savory”

If you plan on having your cooking surface or sink in the island, avoid seating people there or think about two tiers, separating those sitting from the potential danger of the cooking surface or splashing from the sink.  Also, two-tiered islands provide a visual barrier between your guests and the dirty dishes.

There are so many wonderful options for islands.  With a little imagination and the help of one of our great Kitchen Views designers to guide you, the island of your dreams in the kitchen of your dreams can become a reality.
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
www.kitchenviews.com

Open and Specialty Cabinetry for Your Kitchen

Kitchens have become the focal point and the gathering place in our homes. Beauty and functionality go hand in hand. A decorative open cabinet can add that one element that pulls it all together. Cabinet companies offer a great selection of open cabinet solutions from a variety of wine cabinets to bookcases to plate racks and knickknack shelves.

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Schrock crisscross open wine cabinet

A lot of homeowners are looking to include an area to display wine. These units come in a few different arrangements, square 6-inch “cubbies” that come in various lengths and hold 4 to 6 bottles, crisscross units that hold somewhere around a dozen bottles, one bottle in each space and large crisscross units that have just 4 large spaces that hold many stacked bottles in each opening. Having this many options makes it easy to be creative and find the best solution.

Not everyone has the space to create a wet bar, but creating a “mini bar” with the wine cubbies under a cabinet that displays wine glasses is often a great solution when space is tight. Another design idea has the wine stored at the base cabinet level in an island or at the end of a peninsula – though traffic patterns and whether it’s creating a hazard to young children needs to be considered, as wine bottles tend to stick out an inch or two beyond the counter top.

Open bookcases come in as many sizes and configurations as you can imagine. They can be used to display your cookbooks and/or your collectibles with both beauty and functionality. An open cabinet with a decorative valance over the refrigerator is a nice alternate to what is sometimes a forgotten storage area – too high and too deep to be of any functional use.

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Merillat open island cabinet for wine storage

Knickknack shelves come as small as 6” wide and are a great solution when a regular wall cabinet won’t fit on either side of a window. Open angled end cabinets are a great way to transition from the kitchen to the next room in an open floor plan.

Kitchen Views at National Lumber
www.kitchenviews.com

How to Find a Kitchen Designer

This happy homeowner in Rhode Island worked with Kitchen Views designer Lisa Zompa to design her dream kitchen.

When choosing a designer, find someone who listens to your needs and is flexible enough to work with your schedule and your budget. A good rapport is key. You also want someone well-versed in the array of products available to find the best fit for your project. We have a wide selection of cabinetry, countertops and decorative hardware at our disposal here at Kitchen Views. You deserve a variety of options based on what your particular needs and wants might be. Our designers can create the kitchen of your dreams at just about any price point. Kitchen Views has a wide range of products, from stock cabinets that arrive in a few days to fully custom made to order.

It’s also important to find someone who can balance your needs along with your wants to make sure that everything comes out well. It can be too easy to get carried away with a particular dream aspect of a kitchen, and end up with the budget becoming too stretched to fit in the essentials! You want a designer that understands the limitations of a budget and finds creative solutions to reach your goals.

There are so many products available for kitchens today that the sheer quantity of choices can become overwhelming. Your designer should help you to navigate the sea of seemingly endless choices and offer you not just pros and cons. They should also explain how the price points and particular styles and characteristics of different materials fit into your overall plan. A professional designer can provide you with ideas that you may not have previously considered. At Kitchen Views, we’re not going to push one or two particular products at you for the sake of selling. You give us your ideas and we offer choices. In order for the finished room to meet your needs functionally and aesthetically, it has to be a team effort.

Good kitchen design is about transforming your ideas into reality, while being both realistic and efficient at the same time. If you’ve been frustrated in the past by having this or that trendy option pushed on you, or you are having trouble finding someone who grasps your unique situation, give Kitchen Views a call and we’ll exceed your expectations.

Kitchen Views at National Lumber
www.kitchenviews.com

Defining Areas Within Your Kitchen – Lisa Zompa

Lisa Zompa, Kitchen Designer Blog

Defining spaces in your kitchen creates an organized and easy place to live and entertain by creating zones in your kitchen for specific functions.  Some examples are Prep, Clean Up, Entertaining, and Drop Zone.

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Prep Zone can include a place that has a trash, cutting boards, bowls, and knives in  the same area so you can prepare dinner in one spot without having to move around the entire kitchen.

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Clean Up will have your trash, sink, dishwasher, Tupperware, and foils and wraps in the same area so you can clean up after dinner and quickly put away the left overs.

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Entertaining is where your guests can sit/stand, and a place to keep your beverages that is out of the way of your prep and cooking area.  This allows you to be with your guests while cooking, and easily get drinks without having to go into the cooking area.

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Drop Zone is where your family members come in and has a place for phones, keys, mail, book bags, and laptops.  This keeps tables and counters clean of clutter.

By having defined spaces in your kitchen, you won’t end up with the overlap that can happen in a kitchen without these zones. While overlap between zones can still happen, having better organization will prevent some of the problems you may have had previously. Your kitchen designer will find solutions to help you plan out all of the different zones you’ll need in your space.

See more of the Bristol, RI kitchen featured above in Lisa Zompa’s Kitchen Views portfolio.

Lisa Zompa
Kitchen Views at National
3356 Post Rd, Warwick, RI 02886
Phone: 401-921-0400
Email: lzompa@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com


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