Posts Tagged 'Pam Kuliesis'

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

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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

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

How to Stay Sane in the Midst of A Major Kitchen Renovation Project

“How to Stay Sane in the Midst of A Major Kitchen Renovation Project”
by Pam Kuliesis

Kitchen Remodeling in Progress

Let’s face it – while the rewards are great and the idea exciting, the process can be daunting.

At Kitchen Views, where the designers are pros and the “Views” are yours, you will be in great hands as you head down the path toward a brand new kitchen.

Doing a major renovation project is a journey. All great journeys require planning, preparation and a good map. Your kitchen designer will be there to help you draw you the map.

Patience is a virtue – a difficult concept to grasp in this day and age of well choreographed HGTV episodes. Rely on your designer and your installer to give you a realistic time table and know that unexpected problems and unforeseen roadblocks are going to happen. Stay flexible. There are a lot of factors that go into setting a time table. While our professionals can give you a pretty good idea – know that there are a lot of moving targets. Things can change quickly, be prepared for the time “table” to become a time “estimate”.

Along the way minor details may not workout as planned due to issues you can’t control. Don’t get hung up on the little things. Be creative. Work with your designer and your installer to find solutions to whatever pops up that will enhance your beautiful new kitchen.

My husband and I are almost finished with a major renovation that involved 3 rooms – kitchen, pantry and master bath. The excitement, the apprehension, and the fleeting moments of frustration, are still pretty fresh.

Pam's Kitchen Cabinets Being Installed

I say “almost” finished because while the major components – cabinets, counter tops, new appliances and new floors, fresh paint, are all done, there are still a lot of little things left to do – back splashes to be tiled, trim to be painted and put back in place and a bathroom tub surround I still have to decide what to do with. Three months, three rooms, a lot more storage… so much new storage that I can’t figure out what I did with my favorite coffee mug.

You will be without your sink and possibly your range and refrigerator, basically without your kitchen for awhile, possibly for weeks, during the installation. This will be inconvenient. There are ways to get through it.  Think of it as camping… but with better sleeping arrangements.

Here are some of my favorite survival tips:

  • Once your cabinets have arrived and the installation is scheduled, clean out your old cabinets a few days before the tear out.
  • Take your time. Pretend you’re moving – label the boxes meticulously.  It will make unpacking go much quicker.  Also, you may need to find that cork screw or bottle opener – you are probably going to need it.
  • Take this opportunity to clean out the dust collectors – donate the collection of small appliances your aunt has been sending you every birthday that you’ve never even opened and are just taking up space. Toss the ratty 10 year old plastic containers that you can’t find the tops for.  Throw out the accumulation of twist ties that have been working their way to the back of the drawer for years, you will never use them.
  • Find a place for the microwave to hang out and create a “temporary kitchen” around it.
  • Stock up on paper goods.   The less you have to wash dishes in the tub the better.
  • Make sure your collection of take-out menus is up to date and close at hand.
  • Stock a cooler with ice for the perishables. Or do what we did – park the fridge in the foyer.  It took me days to not head out there when I needed something after it was back in place.
  • If you plan to move the cooking outdoors to the grill – make sure you have enough propane for the duration.
  • Check your local supermarket fliers for prepared foods that you can purchase daily and help you prepare healthy meals.

During the installation, keep your designer’s phone number on speed dial and try to stay available to the installer.  There will be unforeseen issues along the way that will need to be dealt with and decisions that will need to be made.  During our granite installation one long wall was found to be bowed.  The installer needed to break through a small section of the sheet rock to get the top flush.  I don’t know what, if anything, would have been done if we hadn’t been there to give permission.  It’s much better to be a part of the decision making, understanding why something needs to be done differently than planned instead of having the decision made (or not made) for you and wondering what happened after everyone is gone.

Keep your eye on the prize – waking up and walking into your beautiful new kitchen.

For me, when all is said and (nearly) done, and I’m humming and cooking, my favorite chili recipe is simmering and the crusty rolls are baking, the journey is a warm memory. The glitches and bumps are long forgotten.

Now, where is that mug…?

Kitchen Remodeling Near Completion

Pam Kuliesis
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
71 Maple St
Mansfield, MA 02048
(508) 339-8020


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