Today’s kitchen design has greatly improved function due to ergonomic research studies using “anthropological scientists” to observe how homeowners interact with their kitchen cabinets. 21st century kitchens are larger, have more cabinets, and some kitchens may have as many as fifty drawers and cabinet doors.

There are butler pantry rooms and general pantry storage cabinetry units, deep drawers for cookware and big pots and pans, pull- out shelves to avoid excess bending and providing easy access to bottom rear storage, pull- out hideaway garbage/ recycling containers, pull- out spice cabinets, lazy susans in corner cabinets, vertical storage for cookie sheets, full- extension drawer slides, and drawers and doors with soft- close/ positive- close mechanisms enabling drawers to shut quietly.

As our homes get older from housing boom years, many homeowners face problems with visually unappealing older kitchen cabinets or deteriorating builder/ box- store grade cabinets; in such situations, there is a choice to buy new cabinets, reface existing (less expensive), or strip and refinish existing cabinets.

Today’s emphasis is on cabinets designed with environmental factors in mind with “Green” cabinets becoming more popular.  However, while homes are more airtight saving on heating and cooling costs, our air quality suffers from gases which are released from  resins as they cure. Resins are organic materials which convert from liquid to solid form and are used to manufacture particle board, which is frequently used to build cheaper kitchen cabinet boxes. This is one of the reasons we advise our clients to select real wood with ply construction: in addition to healthier materials, they are higher quality, more durable and present a nicer appearance.

We have partnered with numerous custom and semi- custom cabinetry manufacturers to provide you with these high quality cabinets while sharing discount advantages to you so you can affordably design your new kitchens and baths; often our discounts provide better pricing for the high- end cabinetry compared to other retail store “stock- type” cabinetry!

  Americans spend nearly 90% of their lives indoors, so it’s clear why this is a key issue to us in designing healthy spaces for you. In fact, every other component of the home can have an impact on overall air quality: off- gassing from cabinetry, counter tops, flooring, wall coverings or fabrics; cooking by- products released into the air, or by mold caused by excess moisture or poor ventilation. Each little step we make in cleaning up our personal environment is a step toward better health.

There are blends of new materials which easily adapt to our lifestyles, surroundings, and tastes, creating a fusion of style and utility. Indirect cabinet top lights and pendent lamps over the island create mood lighting, while under- cabinet lighting facilitates food prep tasks. The kitchen island has become a mainstay for roomier food prep areas while providing additional seating. We no longer must suffer the meager selection of only tile or laminate counter tops: there are a myriad of functional materials available such as granite, marble, concrete, solid surface, stainless steel, etc.

Cabinetry design has revamped to avoid the boring walls of straight cabinets: sectioning and incorporating varying heights, building single cupboard- style units reflecting antique sideboards and inserting a diverse selection of glass windowpanes in cabinet doors enable our clients the opportunities for unique and personal style kitchens.

No longer do we leave the cabinet ends exposed with boring wood laminates. Adding matching stationery door panels to the ends brings a finished, high quality appearance to your kitchen. Trying to create a furniture look is easily attained by adding stylish feet or valances to the toekicks.

Let’s not forget the sinks and fixtures. Manufacturers have listened to homeowners’ complaints of small sinks and lack of utility. Amazingly, we are returning to yesteryear’s American farm homes where they used massive, functional porcelained cast iron sinks, large enough for the corn- on- the- cob boiling pots to be washed.  Farm sinks have become one of the most popular types of sinks desired as the focal point in the kitchens.  However the cabinetry must be customized with lower front access doors to accommodate the sink apron, and sturdier supports within the cabinet to support the weight.

Solid surface counter tops such as granite have enabled manufacturers to offer more selections of under- mount style sinks; with that, they have elected to fabricate deeper sinks, some are 12″ deep! While others have elected to offer side and corner drains for ease of use. Some manufacturers now offer gourmet or professional style stainless steel sinks, others have created low maintenance, durable semi- granite sinks such as Silgranit by Blanco.

Always keep in mind your kitchen faucets play a huge part in everyday convenience.  A high arc faucet enables you to easily fit any sized pot or dish beneath, while many offer swivel or pull- off sprayers for more utility options. Faucet materials today range from chrome, brass, bronze, nickel, cast iron, copper, pewter and more with shiny or matte finishes. Coordinating your faucet with sinks, counters, appliances and hardware has become easier in recent years.

Appliances have emerged with every conceivable option in design and utility but we will have to address these in another news article.  However, there is an appliance made for nearly every need and taste; it’s just how much do you want or need to spend?

Finally, we must discuss an idea that arrived in the late 1900’s builder construction and unfortunately still lingers today: that of wood floors in kitchens. Not only do they suffer from close proximity to water, drips and leaks, and spills of liquids which all damage wood fibers and finishes, they are als0 prone to chair/stool and appliance scratches, everyday dirt and grime grinding into the finishes which are meant to be less subjected to everyday wear and tear.

Smart homeowners are replacing their floors with durable soft- cushion vinyls, porcelain tiles or sealed stone. Of course, vinyl is the least expensive product to install, plus today’s vinyl patterns closely mimic real stone or tile. The most common porcelain tile and stone complaint is the coldness on bare feet- we have easily overcome that obstacle by installing affordable mat heating pads beneath the tile and stone. No longer must homeowners hire plumbers to install expensive heat piping beneath floors!

With so many options from which to choose, when planning a new kitchen or kitchen redesign, it is best to consult an experienced kitchen designer who knows all available options and can help you determine which ones best suit your needs and wants. We always advise our clients to peruse kitchen and home magazines for ideas, clip and save those that most appeal to them and make a list of their wants and needs. That way it is easier for you to share with us a better picture of where you want to go with the remodel and for us to help you design and build the kitchen of your dreams.