Archive for the 'Designer Blog' Category

Storage Solutions That Work for You


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.


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.


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.


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

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

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.


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.


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

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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

The Importance of Measuring Kitchens

Although measuring a kitchen is crucial to a successful design, many of us have developed a fear of the tape measure. The basic idea in measuring kitchens is to indicate every place where the walls are interrupted by a permanent object, like a window, door, pipes, or other obstacle.

So here are a few tips that may help:

(IMPORTANT: Be sure to measure all in inches rather than feet! Measure the total distance of all walls – usually four – from corner to corner.) 

  1. Measure the total distance of all walls (usually four) from corner to corner.
  2. Measure the width of each window and door in that wall area, from trim to trim (casing), even if no cabinetry is planned in that area.
  3. Indicate the distance from each obstacle, or window or door outside trim, to the nearest corner of the room.   Include any plumbing, electrical, and heating item’s location to the nearest corner.
  4. Indicate the ceiling height, or soffit height, by writing down the smallest number of several measurements taken around the room.  Measure from the finished floor.
  5. Be sure to also measure all appliances to be used in your kitchen, including the width, depth and height in most cases.
  6. For those that are of a “built-in” style, such as double ovens, please indicate the “cut-out” dimensions of each. Following these steps will make your kitchen experience much more productive, and fun!

If you have any questions on measuring your kitchen, please see our Measuring Guide (PDF) or contact one of our professional kitchen designers at Kitchen Views.

Kitchen Views

2016 Design Trends Move Toward Versatility

Brandy Souza, Kitchen Views General Manager

Homecrest dark gray cabinetry and white counters

HomeCrest Cabinetry

2016 Design Trends Move Toward Versatility

Trends are developing toward elements to make kitchens more versatile – from how the space is used, to how it is decorated. Technology is making its way into kitchens with items such as Tech Top by LG, which charges your cell phone, exercise tracker, or portable speaker automatically.  The wireless charging transmitter is embedded into the countertop surface, so when you put down your device it can be recharging while you do other things nearby, such as prepare and eat meals.

The popularity of white cabinetry is being challenged by gray stains and paints. This neutral color comes in a range from lighter to darker, works well with other neutrals, and enhances a wide range of accent colors.

Look at new finishes for hardware such as brushed bronze, rustic oil rubbed finishes and polished finishes that complement a wide array of design styles. Selecting a finish that doesn’t show fingerprints easily would be a good choice for busy households.

Single level islands have become the most popular because they comfortably sit people of different ages and sizes, while offering a comfortable height for meal preparations.

The popular choice of material for countertops is moving away from granite that requires surface maintenance to keep it sealed, to quartz that is gaining ground because it carries warrantees, is non-porous and has a high resistance to stains. Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, but white is the trending choice of color.

By designing the layout with versatility of tasks in mind, your kitchen will be ready to handle both the constant and the changing needs of its occupants. By selecting cabinetry, countertops, and decorative hardware that are the most versatile colors and finishes, your home will remain stylish for many years to come, with only simple changes to appliances and accessories as needed. Trusting an experienced designer to guide your selections will give you the best return on your investment.

Brandy L. Souza
Designer & General Manager
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
120 Welby Rd, New Bedford, MA 02745
Office: 508-990-8020 x3163
Fax: 508-742-1498

An Open Kitchen Floor Plan Increases Function and Inspires Creative Cooking

Fluted columns, multi-level work areas and mixed materials add to the charm of this versatile kitchen

Re-configuring an undersized floor plan into an open floor plan requires being open to new ideas. Sometimes,  removing a preexisting support wall allows us to expand and combine living spaces. This improves visual sight lines and traffic flow. The new configuration also allows for more countertop work areas and storage space. With the added square footage, you can also add a great deal of fashion to the new space.

In this particular example, fluted cherry wrapped columns conceal the required supporting post. The columns also add additional layers of visual interest to the multi layered work stations in this island. Soapstone along with wood top counters adds a casual inviting atmosphere fusing old world charm with rich detailing and warmth of Brazilian stained cherry wood.

K VChef's kitchen (2)

Here, we also combined materials in the cabinet selections, mixing painted maple in a vintage oyster married with a coffee glaze, which adds additional texture. Once you meld the warmth of cherry wood to the oyster ample, it evokes a versatile timeless appeal.

Custom cabinet lines allows for rich detailing. Using faithfully recreated traditional details can provide instant ambiance and layers of interest. In the example above, the door styles we selected were a traditional classic raised panel beaded inset with 5 piece drawer fronts. For the display cabinets, we chose Prairie-style doors with seeded glass accents and open book-ends. The clipped fluted corners on all cabinet ends amplify the attraction of detailing in this kitchen.

K Vchef 7 (2)

An open floor plan also allows details in the cooking area to be enjoyed by everyone. Here you can see an example in which cooktop ventilation is hidden beneath beaded detailing of the wood hood, mirrored below in the beaded back splash. Architectural decorative legs anchor the cooktop below. A streamlined stainless steel farmer’s sink fuses ideas of yesterday with the materials and clean lines of today. In a space like this, any chef can feel inspired.

Open kitchen layouts allow you to have a space you can organize your life around, with just the right blend of personality and functionality. We can call that “room for living.” One moment, you can be preparing pasta. The next, you’re uncorking a bottle of Cabernet at the seating area. There you can be pouring it with close friends and family without ever actually leaving the kitchen. An open layout adds a social element that traditional closed-in kitchens simply don’t offer.

Function is the new fashion in this open kitchen design

For a chef that loves to cook and entertain, a closed-in space can leave one uninspired. It also leaves out of the social indulgence that an open floor plan offers. The newly designed reconfiguration and combining of two rooms now allows for full family participation. Function is the new fashion.

Kitchen Views

What is a Transitionally Modern Kitchen?


Transitionally modern – what does that name mean? In many homes, a fully modern kitchen may appear out of place, while a traditional style kitchen may not have the modern amenities that today’s homeowners demand. Blending traditional and modern design elements creates what is called a transitional style.

Here is a Narragansett, RI kitchen designed by Warwick, RI designer Lisa Zompa which shows an example of transitional cabinetry.


From this picture, you can see how these cabinets have both the modern clean lines along with traditionally styled decorative moulding. There’s a modern gas-powered stovetop, but it doesn’t look out of place. Over the stovetop, the sand tone backsplash features pale blue tile insets. Backsplashes are a more modern element, but here it ties the design together by adding visual interest without being overpowering. The stove hood is the focal point in this space, with a shelf providing a perfect place to display decorative items.

The island is particularly interesting. It’s made from cherry wood but the stain color – known as “porch swing” – is meant to mimic driftwood. This adds to the beach-side charm of the kitchen. The large island can comfortably seat four, making it perfect as a casual dining area. On the seating side of the island, there are cabinets used for storing occasionally used items such as glassware and seasonal items.

Another major element of transitional kitchens is that they tend towards an open concept design. This is especially true in this kitchen. There is a bookcase on the end of the driftwood-colored island, which makes for a natural transition from the kitchen to a comfortable seating area around the fireplace (not pictured here). Having a place to display favorite items, such as books and knickknacks, allows the residents to add their personalities to the space, another transitional design element. There’s also a casual dining area adjacent to the kitchen.


By integrating traditional design elements into modern layouts, transitional kitchens retain the charm of an older space while also giving you a kitchen that has modern convenience.  Transitional kitchens contain a great deal of detail. Whereas completely modern kitchens tend towards a more minimal and functional look, transitional kitchens allow for a great deal of design space while losing nothing as far as function.

Kitchen Views designers are experts at blending traditional and modern design elements. Whichever you prefer to lean towards, our designers can find the solutions so you can build and enjoy your dream kitchen.

Brandy L. Souza
General Manager
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
120 Welby Rd, New Bedford, MA 02745
Office: 508-990-8020 x3163
Fax: 508-742-1498

Happy Holidays from Kitchen Views

Decorated window at seating area at Kitchen Views in Warwick

We hope you have been enjoying the blogs from our Kitchen Views designers. They all have great advice, and plenty of valuable information to share. It’s extremely important reading if you are thinking of building a brand new kitchen or remodeling the old one.

Here at the home office, we would like to offer some holiday advice! As we close in on the holidays and the entertaining begins, you should think closely about how you work in your current kitchen, and how it doesn’t work for you!

Those annoying inefficiencies and the awful work flow pattern will magnify itself when more people get in your kitchen to “help” you over the holidays. Perhaps you can cope when it is just you, but add another person, and it becomes a working nightmare. So think about what is going on and make a list. List the things that are wrong and the things that annoy you about the kitchen. Then, don’t forget to make the good list – the wish list!

After the holidays, give the Kitchen Views nearest you a call and make an appointment to see one of our designers. We will sort things out for you and get you started on the road to a beautiful new, and efficient kitchen!

Take care, and have a great holiday season!

Kitchen Views

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