Posts Tagged 'diane hersey'

How to Begin the Kitchen Remodeling Process


That long overdue decision has been made, and you are finally going to remodel the kitchen! The anticipation is exciting, not to mention overwhelming. But already the anxiety begins as the questions begin to pop.

Where do we begin?

There are many questions to ask as you begin the kitchen remodeling process. Where do we go for help? The best place to start is an experienced kitchen designer. So what does the designer do, and will their services cost anything extra? It depends on where the designer works – whether he or she works for a showroom or independently. Ideally, you want your designer to have design expertise that includes interior design, as well as kitchen design. This is so you can have someone who can advise you with the other design elements of the kitchen (i.e. flooring, backsplash options, wall color, etc.)

Where to start?

When do we start, and how do we start? Will my kitchen designer help me to coordinate all that needs to be done with the kitchen remodel? Start by shopping for a good, knowledgeable, talented, and patient designer! Yes, the design process can be lengthy and tedious, and the installation time will be longer than you had anticipated, and certain things will go wrong. You’ve likely heard some horror stories, and they are scary, to be sure. Get connected with a good designer who can help keep the issues to a minimum and under control.

What about countertops?

Who does countertops? Can I get those through my kitchen showroom? Typically, design showrooms have go to distributors for countertops. They know the best people in the business, so the job will be done well.  Will my designer be able to help with that? Countertops are typically a major component of a kitchen remodel, so your designer should be well-versed in them. They can help you to understand the differences between various countertops, such quartz and granite. Here’s a helpful guide on our blog about selecting countertop materials.

How do you find a good designer?

Where do you find a good designer? Research kitchen websites and information networks (i.e. blogs, etc.) plus check out their reputation online.  Then, go into a kitchen showroom in your area and speak with a designer. Remember, there are a lot of talented designers out there. But you want to find someone whom you will actually want to let into your life for awhile. Of course, if you are in the New England region, we hope you will check out Kitchen Views. In addition to talented designers, we have the backing of parent company National Lumber, a family owned and operated building materials business with over 80 years’ experience.

The most important part of finding a designer is someone who listens to your ideas and understands your own wants and needs. When it comes to any kind of remodeling, you want a designer who is not only professional, but is a helpful friend to guide you through the various questions and challenges you may have.

Once you find the right designer, let your new design friend help you through the process. Follow his or her lead and things will fall into place as they should. Then finally watch as the new kitchen evolves from a drawing or computer generated rendering to the beautiful kitchen your designer promised you!

Kitchen Views designers are chosen for their expertise in project management as well as having design talent. As part of National Lumber, a family owned and operated company that has been serving builders and homeowners since 1934, Kitchen Views provides you with a dependable resource for all your remodeling needs, building materials, and services.

Please call 1-508-DESIGNS [337-4467] to find a showroom and designer in your area.

Kitchen Views

Good Chemistry and the Fine Art of Cooking

This article was the featured cover story from the Summer 2009 issue of Kitchen Views Magazine.

“Sweet and Savory” by Chad Carlberg

Walk up the back porch and into the home of Ingrid and John Molnar and you will discover why they are both smiling with pride—it’s their kitchen. Yet this cooking couple deserves bragging rights, having spent over a decade living with an ordinary kitchen whose extraordinarily bad design made their shared joy of cooking an endless labor of love.

“I’m a baker and John’s more of a cook,” Ingrid reveals.

Quickly, John quips, “I’m an artist. She’s more of a chemist.” They laugh as if congratulating themselves for having grown so comfortable with one another that their conversations roll like an old act that never tires. It’s hard to imagine that they would have had any difficulty in designing and renovating a kitchen. But mix a baker and a cook, an Italian and a German, and a dash of marriage, and the resulting pastiche is a recipe for living with an outdated kitchen long past its expiration date.

John Molnar cooking in the old kitchen

John Molnar cooking in the old kitchen

“I wanted a microwave that wasn’t on the counter and wasn’t so high that the kids would have trouble using it,” says Ingrid, now mother of high school-aged twin girls. “I also needed a vertical drawer for cutting boards and cookie sheets—”

“—And I had to have a stove with good control that could get hot fast,” John adds. “This induction cooktop was the way to go. We have no gas in this house so we had to get clever. But when we researched it we were sold. This thing boils water in ninety seconds.”

Their individual must-have list goes on and on, and they revel in how well they each recall their concoction for the perfect kitchen.

Outside of the Molnar residence, the ingredients are almost always a little different, yet the indecision and anxiety about “pulling the trigger” is shared by couples everywhere. Every one of them is searching for a sign about the next step. The Molnars were fortunate to find theirs in the form of a Kitchen Views designer from Berlin, MA named Diane Hersey.

John whips up lunch as he speaks, a simple Pasta Puttanesca recipe he picked up from his maternal grandfather. He doesn’t mention it, but is delighted to show off the speed and efficacy of his new cooktop stove.

“Diane was just what we needed. Because my wife and I are very good in the kitchen. We work together all the time. But we envisioned different spaces because we like different things.”

Ingrid adds that Diane was a superb listener, and was able to take in a lot of information to help them create the kitchen they had always wanted. “It’s a wonderful process,” Diane explains. “People always know what they want. They just need to be guided with the right sort of questions, and become active in a dialog that is not all that familiar to them.”

It is clear that Diane is fluent in the language of design. Her work is stunning, but the aesthetic of her creations is only a partial tribute. For even in the span of a lunchtime visit, an equal balance of Ingrid’s and John’s individual personalities is evident in the kitchen’s design. It is both slick and precise, earthy and relaxed. It is whimsical and practical, and it works beautifully.

Their contemporary kitchen with high-gloss wine colored cabinetry by UltraCraft is accompanied by touches of glass, aluminum and stainless steel. The cabinetry in the two-level island is a bird’s eye maple look-alike. Countertops on the periphery and the island are both engineered stone. The island’s cool blue gray echoes the kitchen’s stainless steel, while the warmer tans found in the peripheral counters build a connection between their immediate surroundings and the wooden beams and hardwood throughout the house.

John using the induction cooktop in the new kitchen

John using the induction cooktop in the new kitchen

“That’s Diane,” Ingrid says plainly. “I look around and I can see so much of each of us in here, and she made it work.”

John continues, “When we were researching kitchens we wanted something unique. We kept getting these people selling us their line… Or this medieval custom millwork. She was the first person who worked to understand that we weren’t like most people and that we wanted something different.” Ingrid adds that in addition to listening, Diane was masterful in creating a kitchen whose workflow intuited their every move. “Excuse me, John. Can I get in there?” she says playfully, recalling their daily dance in a tight, galley kitchen. “The whole thing just flows so well now.”

John lights up, recalling those days when a bad kitchen was made adequate through the goodwill of the cooks who worked in it. Rather than turning wistful, however, he chuckles at his new found fortune—the pasta’s already done.

From the Molnar’s kitchen emerge two beautiful open rooms, both late additions in the renovation process, each responses to careful design choices in the kitchen space. For the first time this day, the husband and wife are quiet, save for the clang of silverware on porcelain bowls. The afternoon sunlight has found its way into the house and rests like a tired hound beside the wood stove.

“That was delicious.” Ingrid breaks the silence, swiping the dishes from the counter and loading them into the dishwasher in one move. After several hours talking chemistry and the art of designing the “perfect kitchen,” it is the finality of a quick and simple meal made from scratch that best punctuates a story many years in the making. And like a satisfying meal, it was indeed worth the wait.

For more on this story, see this video documenting the Molnar’s kitchen design journey. For more stories from Kitchen Views’ design magazines, visit

Kitchen Views at National Lumber
25 Central St, Berlin, MA

Don’t Forget About the “Other Wall” in Your Kitchen

Lisa Zompa, Kitchen Designer Blog

I’d like to bring up the subject of, what I call, the “other wall” in the kitchen. It is that wall that is most often an interior wall that either has nothing on it (is blank) or has a table or a piece of furniture up against it. There may even be a desk set-up against it. No matter what is there, it usually appears cluttered and is quite the eye-sore.

When visiting the client’s home to discuss the remodeling plans, I always spend time discussing this wall space. As the orphan child of the kitchen, it can often get left out of the plans and thereby ruin the look of a new kitchen. I encourage the customer to include it in the plans. It is valuable real estate for extra storage, desk areas, serving areas, etc. etc. and should be included in the kitchen plans.

The “other wall” offers many opportunities for the designer to be creative and offer the client some of the design elements that sometimes the rest of the kitchen space is too tight to allow. For example, a hutch can be built with a bumped out center cabinet (drawers are nice) with an arched toe space. Fluted columns could be added to each side of that and then build from there out to each side depending on the amount of space the “other wall” has. Glazed, mullioned doors could be used at the top over the bumped out bottom with the same fluted columns (fillers) to each side to mimic the bottom. Before I forget, I always flush out the toe spaces and add baseboard molding on these “other wall” designs. It gives the illusion of being a furniture piece.

If it is not possible to use full depth cabinets on the “other wall” then by all means reduce the depths on the cabinets and make shallow depth serving areas or hutches. How about a wall of 12” depth tall cabinets? Or, as there is customarily a doorway to the right and/or left of the “other wall”, start at that point with a shallow depth tall cabinet, add a transition cabinet and bump up to the 24” depth with a few base cabinets. Then, another transition and back to a shallow depth tall again. Now you have interest with several depths, you have storage and countertop area for serving or buffet space. Oh yes, don’t forget to flush out the base toe kicks and add the baseboard molding. Heights can reach the ceiling, or not… or even be staggered for interest. Here’s where some creativity can enter into the equation.

Yes, don’t forget the drop-off spot for the keys, phones and chargers, and the mail. (Could you imagine a world in which the USPS no longer exists!?) This is the place you can plan for that, along with, perhaps, the kids’ computer and homework center.

So, don’t forget the “other wall”. It is not only valuable real estate for more storage, but it can add that final design touch that puts the look of the new kitchen more-than-one-step above the ordinary.

Lisa Zompa
Kitchen Views at National
Warwick, RI

Proper Kitchen Venting Prevents Frustrations

Every great kitchen needs proper ventilation. The old low tech solution of opening a window just won’t cut it anymore. The most stylish, energy-efficient and cost-effective method is a range hood. However, there are many, many options when it comes to range hoods. In the summer 2009 issue of Kitchen Views magazine, designer Diane Hersey from the Kitchen Views Berlin, MA showroom and Dennis MacDonald of Yale Appliance offered some helpful hints.

Excerpted from “4 Solutions” – Kitchen Views Summer 2009 Magazine (PDF):

Not all range hoods are created equal. Some look spectacular while offering little more utilitarian functionality than the whir of a fan. Others could devour the smoke from a woodfire barbecue and eat the room’s decor as well. And in between, there are myriad options that make choosing the right one more difficult than you’d expect…

“Whether or not people want it to be, the hood ends up as a centerpiece,” says Diane.

“Your choice for form or function depends entirely upon what you want to get out of it. Some people like a hardy industrial hood, others only care about the aesthetic and others don’t care one way or the other…

When asked if it is important to own a range hood Diane points out that the average home without proper ventilation accumulates significant kitchen grease in the rugs and fabric.

“With open floor plans being so popular today, it’s more important than ever to have proper ventilation and smart design planning,” says MacDonald. He adds that when you only have one shot, it’s wise to do it right.

“Silly as it may seem, the cost difference between a range hood with minimal ventilation and one with a powerful fan pulling plenty of air could be the difference between liking your kitchen and really loving it,” says Dennis. For most homeowners, a range hood that draws 600-900 Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) would be sufficient. Some may get away with an over-the-range microwave hood, or a low-cost, low intake hood (250-400 CFM), but if you’re a cook whose “dine-in” menu includes more than mac ‘n cheese or microwave popcorn, selecting the right range hood with a complementary design will keep you from venting frustration in the long-run.

The designers at Kitchen Views will help you select a range hood that serves your aesthetic desires and functional needs.

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