Posts Tagged 'kitchen remodel ideas'

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

Small Kitchen Designs That Work – Storage & Organization Solutions from Schrock and KraftMaid

One of the most important aspects of designing a new kitchen is to consider what tasks you want to accomplish and what storage is needed to support those tasks – general cooking, specialty baking, storage of bulk shopping, storage of special small appliances, etc.

Once you know what you need to store, you can begin looking at the multitude of storage solutions that are available from various cabinetry brands. Shown here are some that you may have seen before, and some that may be new to you. You’ll notice that this specialized type of storage helps you to maximize your available space.

KraftMaid upper cabinet wall filler pullout

What may have been wasted space before can now be useful storage with one of many innovative storage solutions. Cabinetry makers know that designers and homeowners want to get maximum storage per square foot. They’ve taken that need and found many creative solutions. Take for example the spice storage rack by KraftMaid shown above, which is only about 2 or 3 inches wide. It goes to show that cabinetry makers now have storage solutions for every nook and cranny of your kitchen.

KraftMaid base cabinet blind corner with swing out

KraftMaid also offers corner cabinetry options that can be used as alternatives to a Lazy Susan, offering an unprecedented amount of storage space for an otherwise very small corner area.

Schrock also provides many unique and versatile storage solutions. For example, look at the pantry option above. It allows for far more storage than you would expect from a three-foot wide space. Pantries will never be the same!

Schrock Utility organizer holding brooms and cleaning supplies

Schrock has another great narrow cabinetry option, a Utility Organizer that’s only six inches deep. It can serve as a broom closet, or even a small pantry. What could you imagine storing here?

The Kitchen Views Design Team has product knowledge of all the options available for you, and the real-life experience to help you find the best storage solutions for your new kitchen.

Granite vs. Quartz Countertops: Amy Mood

Amy Mood, Designer at Kitchen Views in Mansfield, MA

Granite vs. Quartz… What’s the Difference?
by Amy Mood, AKBD

Two examples of Granite countertops

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this question… well, I’d probably still be designing kitchens… But my answer has actually changed over the years, especially recently. It used to be that if you wanted a beautiful one of a kind countertop with variation and movement, that natural granite was the right choice for you — as long as you didn’t mind the maintenance associated with it. For those who did not want to add to their “To Do” list and have to think about sealing their countertop periodically, then a Quartz countertop would be the likely choice; the tradeoff being that the patterns were very uniform in appearance because it is a man-made product.

Six samples of Cambria's latest colors

Six samples of Cambria’s latest colors

Well, the new evolution of Quartz countertops is actually offering consumers the best of both worlds: beautiful, super-durable countertops that most would be hard pressed to tell apart from a natural material. Plus, they need little more maintenance than soap and water cleanup. In fact, I recommend that you view some of these Quartz slabs much like you would with a Granite slab, because of the variation.

Some of my favorites are by Cambria, and Silestone has just released some great options, as well. Some of their countertops actually have the feel of Carrara Marble, which many would like to utilize in a kitchen, but are fearful of damaging. You can view these products through the Countertops section on the Kitchen Views website with links to the manufacturers’ websites, or better yet see them in person at your nearest Kitchen Views showroom.

Amy Mood, AKBD
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
71 Maple Street, Mansfield, MA 02048
Phone: 508-339-8020

Small Kitchen Designs That Work: Kitchen Appliance Placement

Whether you have a small kitchen that is U-shaped, L-shaped or galley layout, appliance placement is extremely important. A certain amount of space needs to be allowed for opening and closing appliance doors so that accidents don’t occur. When you open the oven to take out the Thanksgiving turkey, you must have elbow room and a safe place to put it down nearby. When you open the refrigerator or freezer, it should be convenient to the task involved.

Think through typical tasks such as putting away groceries, making a meal, or getting a snack and/or beverage. The few extra steps to keep walking around to the open side of the refrigerator door add up and make tasks take longer. Plan to have the door open on the side where your work space is located. When the room layout places elements in the most convenient location, kitchen tasks feel easier and daily frustrations are minimized.

Work Triangles in Various Kitchen Layouts

The old workhorse of kitchen design is the work triangle. It’s the starting point of placement because it works. The three points of the triangle are at the stove, the sink and the refrigerator. The work triangle as a rule should total less than 26 feet and no single leg of the triangle should be shorter than 4 feet or longer than 9 feet. In a small kitchen you probably have no problem in keeping the work triangle small. The challenge is allowing the minimum of 4 feet between work areas. You’re looking for balance so that work areas aren’t too crowded together, but you want the key points on the work triangle as close together as possible to be most efficient.

As you’re well aware, refrigerators come in many shapes and sizes. But there may be some new options you haven’t considered. Both refrigerator and freezers are now available in drawer configurations. These are usually used to place such units in special places in very large kitchens, but perhaps it would solve a space issue in your small kitchen. Once you determine the space available, what options are possible in your particular situation? You may only have a choice of right-hand or left-hand door opening. Or you may be able to have a freezer drawer that pulls out. Some people prefer a side by side refrigerator/freezer, if your space can accommodate it. Other people may want the refrigerator to blend in with the cabinetry by using panels, such as the small refrigerator in “The Gift” from our True Stories section. You also want to be certain to keep the refrigerator away from the main work area, ideally near of the entrance of the room. This way, someone looking for a snack or beverage won’t be in the way of someone trying to prepare a meal.

As for cooking appliances, you can choose a traditional stove or split the tasks with separate cook-top and wall oven. The best way to decide is to think about how cooking is done in your home. Do you mostly use the stove-top? Is the oven only used on special occasions? Let’s not forget the very popular microwave – now available in drawer configuration, or the better known under-cabinet or countertop versions. We do not recommend putting a microwave over the stove-top. When put over a stove, ventilation is diminished and sometimes one would have to reach over a hot stove. Planning for long-term use, reaching can become difficult for some people, while an under-counter microwave is always accessible to everyone.

Last but not least, the kitchen sink is the real workhorse of any kitchen. Depending on the available space, do you want a single sink or a double sink? Will you have a dishwasher? If so, it is traditionally placed near the sink. Think through the way you use the sink work area – rinsing vegetables, filling pots, and washing dishes are the basic tasks to consider.

All of these factors will affect how your work triangle functions in real life. Once you’ve thought through all of these factors, you may still benefit by consulting an experienced designer. The Kitchen Views design team is innovative in finding solutions for small kitchen layouts.

For further insight, you can read Lee Turner’s blog posting on choosing kitchen appliances. Also, you can read Brandy Souza’s posting to learn more about work triangles.

Be sure to check back often as we continue our “Small Kitchen Designs That Work” series. As always, if you have any good ideas or design solutions that you know work, feel free to leave a comment and share them with us.

Kitchen Views

Previously in the series: Small Galley Kitchen, Small Kitchen Designs That Work, Style and EfficiencyMatching Your Kitchen’s Style to the Rest of Your Home, Natural Lighting

Small Kitchen Designs That Work: Natural Lighting

Natural light, if at all possible, is a great thing for a small kitchen. Not only does this save on energy costs as far as lighting is concerned, but it also makes the space feel more open. If you can put an outside window into a kitchen that did not have one before, by all means do so. White cabinetry also helps to make a room brighter, especially in conjunction with natural lighting.

There’s also the option of using skylights, perhaps even a vented skylight to offer fresh air – just be sure to remember to close the vents when it rains. If you’re looking for something a lot smaller than a conventional skylight, you could try a tubular skylight, such as the Sun Tunnel skylight from VELUX.

VELUX Sun Tunnel Skylight in Small Kitchen

An example of VELUX Sun Tunnel skylights in a small kitchen

Be sure to check back often as we continue our “Small Kitchen Designs That Work” series. As always, if you have any good ideas or design solutions that you know work, feel free to leave a comment and share them with us.

Kitchen Views

Previously in the series: Small Galley Kitchen, Small Kitchen Designs That Work, Style and EfficiencyMatching Your Kitchen’s Style to the Rest of Your Home

Small Kitchen Designs That Work: Matching Your Kitchen’s Style to the Rest of Your Home

Last time in this series, we began discussing how style and efficiency are paramount in any small kitchen design. Now that you have considered how to make your new kitchen efficient, you’re ready to work on the style aspects as you select materials and appliances. You want to make sure that color schemes, materials, and other design elements like mouldings and even the type of appliances fit in with the atmosphere of your home. Kitchen Views designers are very experienced and knowledgeable in this aspect of kitchen design. Our designers have worked wonders with many small kitchens over the years.

In determining what style will be best for your kitchen, consider the style of the entire home. Too many kitchen remodels from several decades ago did not take this into consideration, and this is why so many people look to remodel today.

Even if you plan to be in this home for many years, considering cohesive style from a re-sale perspective can be helpful. In the extreme, an ultra-modern kitchen will feel out of place in an antique Victorian house. So let’s stay away from such extreme differences of style. That said it’s absolutely possible to have all the modern conveniences integrated without compromising style. Whether your home is traditional or contemporary, one way to conceal appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers is to use cabinetry panels. An experienced designer knows all the options available and will see that you find the right elements to meet your practical and aesthetic needs.

Here is a beautiful example of a condo in Boston where the home had been brought up to date in every room but the kitchen. When it was time to remodel the kitchen, a skilled kitchen designer re-imagined the space, bringing in the style of the homeowners and transformed their home.

From the True Stories section on the Kitchen Views website, The Gift:


This otherwise stylish condo had a kitchen with old basic cabinets and white appliances in a narrow galley kitchen. A designer from Kitchen Views was able to transform this tiny closed kitchen into this:

With a wall opened into the living area, the newly formed island serves as a casual eating area on one side and kitchen work area on the other. Notice that the refrigerator is hidden behind cabinetry panels, all the more important since this is seen from the stylish living room. The mosaic backsplash makes a strong artistic statement, conveying the homeowners’ style with a functional element of the kitchen.

Here is a view from the kitchen into the living area showing how the shared style of the two spaces now work together beautifully.

On the Kitchen Views website, you can see a video of the homeowner discussing the transformation.

One of the major trends in kitchen design is incorporating green materials. As the kitchen is used every day, the materials need to stand the test of time. An experienced designer will show you choices in materials that are not only environmentally-friendly, but durable. The green cabinetry and countertop lines carried by Kitchen Views are proven to be durable and the cabinetry is manufactured in ways that are good for the planet. Omega and Irpinia are excellent examples of cabinetry brands that have an amazing selection of styles, colors, and materials all durable and good for the environment.

When it comes to countertops, there are plenty of durable options that will beautifully enhance the room’s style. Granite is often everyone’s dream choice, like the Polished Absolute Black Granite used in the kitchen shown above. But there are many brands made with recycled materials that require far less maintenance. Quartz countertops like Cambria actually have patterns that look nearly like granite, except without the sealing and maintenance necessary for granite.

Bearing all this in mind, look around your home and try to incorporate as many design elements as possible from other parts of your home into your kitchen. Remember, you don’t have to sacrifice style for efficiency, no matter what style you prefer. Just find the right designer to help you make your dreams a reality.

Since the kitchen is such an important part of the daily activities in your home, it’s important that its style be an extension of your own personal style. When your surroundings bring you happiness, and the space is well organized, your daily chores won’t seem like work.

Be sure to check back often as we continue our “Small Kitchen Designs That Work” series. As always, if you have any good ideas or design solutions that you know work, feel free to leave a comment and share them with us.

Kitchen Views

Previously in the series: Small Galley Kitchen, Small Kitchen Designs That Work, Style and Efficiency

Jim Marrazzo: Indoor and Kitchen Herb Gardens

Jim Marrazzo, Designer at Kitchen Views in Newton, MA

“Bring the Outdoors In!” by Jim Marrazzo

Spice up your kitchen with fresh herbs! A good way to bring the outdoors into your kitchen is with fresh herbs. When planning a kitchen design, trying to incorporate a herb garden can be as simple as window sill pots…

Indoor Herb Garden - Window Sill Pots Indoor Herb Garden - Window Herb Garden Shelves

…or even built into cabinetry!

Indoor Kitchen Herb Garden - built into cabinets

Fresh herbs can bring color and freshness to your kitchen. Most kitchens have plenty of natural light to plan your fresh herb garden, and even if you don’t, you can use plant lights (as shown with the purple lights above) to grow herbs and enjoy fresh herbs all year long!

Indoor Herb Garden

Speak with your kitchen designer to help you plan a space for your own indoor herb garden!

Jim Marrazzo
Kitchen Views at National Lumber

15 Needham St, Newton, MA 02461
617-244-8020 x 118 phone
617-969-7426  fax

Small Kitchen Designs That Work: Style and Efficiency

Small kitchens work best when the space is streamlined down to the essentials for efficiency.

While you are in the planning stage, separate your existing kitchen items into four groups:

  1. Essential items used everyday – pots, pans, dishes, glassware, etc. You will want these within easy reach.
  2. Occasionally used items – party platters, punch bowl, etc. You can plan to store these in harder to reach cabinets, or even move them to a storage area somewhere else in the house.
  3. Items with sentimental value – your grandmother’s mixing bowl reminds you of times you cooked together, but you never use it now. Maybe a display cabinet can be included in the new design to showcase such items.
  4. Never used items – whatever these may be they are taking up valuable space. Let them go. If the item is in good condition and someone else could use it, donate it to a local thrift store. If it’s broken and you kept meaning to get it repaired, just throw it away. If it’s been broken and taking up space for a long time then you don’t really need it.

Make a list of new items that you believe you must have in the redesigned kitchen. Writing them down can help you to evaluate whether they are essential or wish items. Essential items will need an easily accessed place designed to hold them. Wish items may turn out to be only used occasionally. You will have to evaluate whether they need to be in the kitchen, or if possibly a work area just needs to be available for various tasks. For example, baking – you may want special baking equipment and a work area for this activity. But does this task happen often (weekly) or occasionally (for holidays)?

Figuring out how the kitchen design will work in real life is the most important part in any design, but especially with smaller spaces, the placement of everything is extremely vital. Below is a fine example of a small galley kitchen designed by Kitchen Views. But what you cannot see in the photo is how items are organized for use.

Small Galley Kitchen Designed by Kitchen Views

Small Galley Kitchen Designed by Kitchen Views

Once you’ve sorted your kitchen items, think about how you use the kitchen. Walk through a task such as preparing a meal and make note of your movements plus how many times you return to a particular appliance or the sink. What items do you use for the task, you want those items to be near your work area. That will help you to visualize the changes that will make things easier in the redesigned kitchen.

For example, perhaps you start at the refrigerator to get ingredients, then prepare them at the counter. Are knives and other prep tools handy? Do you frequently need to rinse vegetables in the sink? Maybe you reach for a pan next and put in the ingredients. Is there counter space near the stove? Are spices handy? Use this method for other tasks such as serving meals, doing dishes, and so on. Take note of how you perform these various tasks, and then you’ll have a good idea what you need in your kitchen remodel when you go to work with a designer.

Be sure to check back often as we continue our “Small Kitchen Design That Work” series. As always, if you have any good ideas or design solutions that you know work, feel free to leave a comment and share them with us.

Kitchen Views

Previously in the series: Small Galley Kitchen and Small Kitchen Designs That Work

Next in the series: Match the style to be an extension of the rest of your home.

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