Posts Tagged 'Bob Russo'

It’s Winter Time, So Check on Your Cabinets’ Health!

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP

Last year, we discussed how the winter time weather can affect your cabinets. So here are some things to keep in mind:

  • When the heat is on, in a lot of cases, our homes get very dry. We apply lotion to our skin to stay moist, but we don’t think of the home needing moisture, as well. Your kitchen cabinets can serve as a sign of a home that is either to dry or too moist.
  • If you notice that the center panels on your cabinets are showing an unpainted or stained line (see picture below) on three or all four sides, this is a sign that the wood is drying out and shrinking. You need to get some moisture back in to the air in your home. Room or home humidifiers work well to do this.
  • If your cabinet doors that were lying flat on the cabinet face start to cup or warp away from the cabinet face, this is not a defect in the wood. This type of movement is normal and is a natural occurrence, because wood will always breathe and look for water.
  • Be careful not to introduce too much moisture in to the home, though! Having the air being too moist can have the opposite effect: doors can swell. Butt doors, double door cabinets where the two doors close against each other, can rub or even start to overlap.
wood shrinkage from lack of moisture

Because of wood shrinkage from lack of moisture, you can see a white line appear in the center panel.

To make sure that your cabinets remain in good working order, it’s important to keep the humidity level at a happy medium. You can purchase a hygrometer quite inexpensively to keep an eye on the relative humidity, or you may invest in a humidistat to make sure that it never becomes a problem. Either way, this time of year, not only is good air moisture good for your own health, but for your cabinets’ health as well!

See our follow-up post concerning how to control the humidity in your home.

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham St. Newton, MA 02461
Phone: 617-244-8020
Email: brusso@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com

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Counter Clearance and Kitchen Work Areas: Bob Russo

Your kitchen planner or designer has been schooled in looking out for clearances and work area needs when planning your kitchen. Even if you are planning on using the same footprint for your kitchen, we look for ways to improve it.  These clearances and work areas make your kitchen work more efficiently. Even though these clearances are not absolute, they have been well thought out and work very well in most cases. One could talk for quite a while about this, but I feel illustrations work best.

Figures 1 & 2 above show the height considerations that we look for.

Figures 3, 4, 5 & 6  show cabinet and counter top minimum and liberal sizes and or combinations need to make a kitchen plan work well.

Figure 7 shows the space needed  (counter clearance of between 9” to 12”) to work well with sink or range close to the corner.

Figures 8, 9, 10 & 11 show some spacing to think about when thinking about seating, whether it be at a table, island or peninsula in close proximity to wall(s).

These are not all the illustrations I could provide, but just a few, so you can see a few of the things we think about, when planning your new (or current) kitchen. We do not just put boxes up on a wall to fill space. We try to make it as perfect as we can, given the space (and budget) we have to work with.

At the end of the day, you will decide that you want (we can only advise)  items closer together or that you are comfortable with less spacing between items to make the kitchen work the way you need and want, and that is OK. Your designer/planner is just trying to get you the most they can in the space given with the most comfort.

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham St. Newton, MA 02461
Phone: 617-244-8020
Email: brusso@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com

Cabinets and the Winter Time – Bob Russo

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP

Now that we are back into winter, you need be aware of how this time of year can affect your cabinets. When the heat is on, in a lot of cases, our homes get very dry. We apply lotion to our skin to stay moist, but we don’t think of the home needing moisture, as well. Your kitchen cabinets and furniture can be a sign or an overly dry (or moist) home.

If you see unfinished wood on the cabinet center panels next to the door styles and rails (door frame work), one or two edges, opposite each other, it may be a sign that the center panel has shifted (easily fixed by tapping it back into place). But, if you notice that the center panels on your cabinets are showing an unpainted or stained line (see picture below) on three or all four sides, this is a sign that the wood is drying out and shrinking. You need to get some moisture back in to the air in your home. Room or home humidifiers work well to do this.

wood shrinkage from lack of moisture

Once you get the humidity levels back to a neutral state, you should see the lines around the center panel go away. If the panels are allowed to shrink up too much or are not controlled, they may not go all the way back and you may need to do some touch-up work. You may even notice that doors that were lying flat on the cabinet face start to cup or warp away from the cabinet face. This type of movement is normal, not a defect in the wood and is a natural occurrence; wood will always breathe and look for water.

But be careful not to introduce too much moisture into the home; it can have the opposite effect: doors can swell. Butt doors (double door cabinets where the two doors close against each other) can rub or ever start to overlap. A meter to check the moisture level of your home can be purchased for very little money.

When your cabinets are being built, every aspect is controlled, even the environment. Once you get them, it’s up to you to do the same,  so you can enjoy them for many years, trouble free. So watch your cabinets; they can tell you a lot about what is going on in your home.

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham St. Newton, MA 02461
Phone: 617-244-8020
Email: brusso@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com

Don’t Let Your Budget Limit Your Kitchen Design

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP

This article is from Kitchen Views Magazine’s Premiere issue, Fall 2008:

“Look outside the box – literally! No one says you have to use a wall cabinet on the wall,” says designer Bob Russo. He knows that innovative ideas can make any budget go further, whether you’re spending $3,000 or $30,000.

“If you know the ins and outs of cabinetry construction, you can use them in different ways,” he says, excitedly drawing an example. “Say you need a 12″ base cabinet for a narrow passageway. Don’t pay extra to modify a base cabinet, which is 24″ deep, use a wall cabinet, which is already 12″ deep and therefore costs less.”

With 33 years in the business, Bob has a long history of helping homeowners create their dream not only on paper, but within their budget.

“One customer came to me frustrated because she wanted an island in her new kitchen. Her architect, contractor and designer told her it would be too costly – her kitchen was too small and they’d have to knock out a wall or add on. By moving things around, I found a way to make it work without changing the project scope,” he says modestly.

One of Bob’s favorite budget exercises is to split your wish list into two columns: “must have” and “nice to have.” By helping people prioritize, he can figure out how to help them save money and still have an amazing looking kitchen.

“For example, you can use detailed cabinets with a rich finish for an island with a complementary but simpler look on the periphery. Or, use the new Formica that looks like granite instead of paying for stone. We have a full palette of options and even a few tricks,” he reveals.

Another way Bob helps homeowners is by showing them the pros and cons of different options so they can make informed decisions.

“When you’ve crossed as many bumps in the road as I have, you know how to find a way around them,” says this veteran designer and Air Force Vet. “I like to do everything I can to exceed my customer’s expectations.”

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham St. Newton, MA 02461
Phone: 617-244-8020
Email: brusso@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com

Bob Russo: Planning Time for Your Countertops

Allowing time to get your countertop order in line can be as important as your cabinets. Once you order your cabinetry, you have a good idea as to when they are to arrive. All too often, customers wait too long to start looking or thinking about counters, assuming that they are in a warehouse, basically ready to go, or can be gotten very quickly. In some cases, this may be true; but for the most part, tops need selection, templating and installation.

Laminate tops (Formica is one trade name) can be ordered ahead of time in some cases and trimmed on site. As for the bulk of items used on countertops (Corian, granite or other stones, quartz, or tile), these materials need selection and maybe ordering time. You may not always see what you like on the first go-around. Once selections are made, locking them in is important (or you may lose them), either with a deposit or payment in full.

Now that you have selected your countertop type, you need to plan the install. To fit countertops correctly, you should have a template done (other than laminate tops, most will insist on this being done). All of the cabinets do not need to be installed, just the base cabinets of any items the countertops will be sitting on.

From the time the tops get templated, you will need about 7 to 10 working days before they come back to install. This is why it is important to keep everyone in the loop. If you do not keep your countertop fabricator up to date on job progress, they may not have a day open for you when you need or want  them. This could cost you time and money.

So keep in mind, the more prep you do ahead of time, the smoother your job will go.

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham St. Newton, MA 02461
Phone: 617-244-8020
Email: brusso@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com

Bob Russo: Cabinet Wood Species & Colors

Cabinet Wood Species

When you are talking to designers about your kitchen project, at some point you will be asked whether you are thinking about stained or painted cabinets. If you say stained, there are things you should think about. If painted, there are other things to consider.

Wood is a product of nature; within a tree, there are both heart and sap woods.  In some woods, color can very greatly, while others are more consistent. So always ask, are there any characteristics you should be made aware of in the species you are thinking of selecting?

You should also see more than a small sample.  Samples of 4” x 6” (more or less) will never tell you all you really need to know of any wood. Even a full door, sometimes, will not show every characteristic. Knowing what to expect in the wood you have selected: knot holes, pin holes, mineral stains, and heave of light grain details, just to name a few, will minimize surprises later. So, the more you see the better. Ask if a full kitchen exists in that particular species, even in another showroom, if they have more than one.

Also, ask about the wood’s hardness; even in hardwoods, they are not all the same.  Some will dent and scratch much easier then others. In an active kitchen, these softer hardwoods may not hold up as well as you expected.

Colors (Stains and Paints)

In the world of colors and stains just a couple of quick notes:

Paint – When thinking of painted cabinets, please keep in mind that all paint is susceptible to chipping, if struck hard enough. You may also see hair line cracks in time (sometimes even right out of the box) where any two pieces of wood are joined together.

Stains – When selecting very dark stains, sometimes characteristics (in a lighter stain) which give the wood its personality, may look like a flaw or defect. Always ask to see large samples of full doors before selecting the stain you wish to use.

You can always count on the Kitchen Views design team to be a knowledgeable resource to help you in making educated decisions about these important aspects of your kitchen design.

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham St. Newton, MA 02461
617-244-8020
Email: brusso@kitchenviews.com
Web: www.kitchenviews.com

Bob Russo: Timing Your Kitchen Remodel

A kitchen project is something most people will do once or maybe twice in their lifetime. You might be doing your project with a contractor or plan on doing it yourself. Give yourself time to think about how to plan your project, because timing is important. How much time do you have to complete the project; is it a rental property or for your own home?

Set time aside to look for a designer you are comfortable with; give him or her the time they will need to get you the best plan possible. You may need to set several appointments (or email back and forth) to get the cabinet plan the way you want it. You will need time to look at and select the cabinets, counters, backsplash material, appliances, hardware, etc.

Some cabinets can be picked up at a warehouse, same day or next; others my take four, five, six weeks or more. Some countertops (laminate, Formica to name one) can in some cases be built and delivered with the cabinets. Other tops like granite, solid surface, quartz and others need to be templated after the cabinets are installed; this could add a week or two to the time line.

Some days (if you are contracting out) you will have many different contractors (carpentry/plumbing/electrical) in your home, some days less and, yes, maybe some days none.

You will arrive at a time when an inspection is due. There may be several needed: electrical, plumbing, and others. Some can be done together, some separately, or a structural concern comes up after the work begins, which may need an architect or engineer to address. This can slow a job down or bring it to a complete stop.

When your cabinets and other materials arrive (we hope for the best, but plan for the worst), upon inspection, you could find that you have incorrect or damaged items. Items may need to be repaired or even replaced. Although most cabinet companies have in place hot rush or quick response programs, most often the items need to be built, finished and shipped; they are not sitting in a warehouse ready to go. Along with all the paperwork needed, it could take up to half the lead time that the original order took.

During the winter months, December & January, a lot of the cabinet companies shut down for weeks at a time. This is so they can enjoy the holidays and repair or bring in new equipment to keep the flow of cabinets at maximum output. Keep in mind when planning a project around a holiday or a vendor’s planned shut down time and something goes wrong, if you need a replacement part, not a lot can be done until they reopen.

All of these things (and maybe others, every job is different) take time, so take the time to plan your project, learn of the things that might slow work down, and your project will go more smoothly.

Let your planner, designer, architect, and/or contractor help. Most of us have been doing this for a long time.

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham St.
Newton, MA 02461
617-244-8020
brusso@kitchenviews.com


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