Sunday, September 25, 2011

How To Choose Fine Cabinetry

Cabinetry is usually the largest part of a carefully calculated budget for any kitchen design or remodeling project for very good reason―nothing makes more of a statement of style. But cabinetry is also the most functional part of a good kitchen design, helping store and organize, as well as contribute greatly to the flow and traffic pattern of a kitchen―and it is such function (combined with beautiful form) that makes any kitchen project a success.

But where to start when deciding on cabinetry? Here's a few tips that will help you work with your kitchen designer to get the perfect cabinetry for your new kitchen:

Do A Little Research: Flip through magazines, surf the net, and watch home shows to get an idea of the types of cabinetry available and mark those that appeal to your taste. Such advance “homework” can make the conversation with your kitchen designer go more smoothly and stay more focused (although a good designer may be able to surprise you with a few selections of materials you may not have considered.)

Look Around Your Kitchen: What you don't like about your present kitchen cabinetry can be as important as what you do want in your new kitchen. Keep a running list while you use your kitchen cabinets: Are they too deep and you never can get to anything in the back? Not quite enough room for all your glassware? Shelves too tall to reach? Now is the time to remedy all those defects.

Plan carefully for your space needs now and into the future: If you have a growing family, create maximum space, not only by using such storage as that space over the refrigerator, but overlooked storage available under the kitchen island. Consider pull-out floor-to-ceiling cabinetry for use as a pantry space. Or a closet can often be added and a cabinetry door used to match the rest of the kitchen. Wine racks, plate racks and carousel insertions can all help. Your kitchen designer will be able to suggest even more efficient storage as he/she is familiar with every type and arrangement of cabinets concievable.

Look Ahead: You may also want to plan for accessibility as you gracefully age along with your kitchen. How about raising the oven height so you don’t have to bend or lowering wall cabinets so you don’t have to reach? Shelves that roll out of cabinets or pivot down from above make storage of items much more accessible. Lever handles may be easier for arthritic hands than round knobs, cabinets that self illuminate upon opening help ease the stress on older eyes. Discuss more about accessibility options with your kitchen designer or check this space for an article on all types of “universal design.”

Pick Your Door Style: If you are planning a traditional kitchen, you may wish to Framed cabinetry which shows more of the cabinet face frame (meaning smaller openings for doors and drawers.) Full Overlay or Frameless cabinetry (where the cabinet door covers the entire cabinet box) may appeal to you if you are attracted to a more modern style. Drawers and doors are spaced 1/8 inch away from each other―giving you more storage space and a sleeker look. Cabinet doors can be ordered as flat panel (smooth, no design), raised panel, (which can have raised, recessed or even carved details) or glass-front (offering a large selection of glass with wood, leaded glass and even stained glass options.)

Hardwood vs. Softwood: Hardwood comes from a tree without needles, such as Maple, Cherry, Oak, Ash, Walnut, or Mahogany (called broad leaf trees.) Hardwoods offer greater strength and stability than Softwoods which come from needle-bearing trees, like Pine, Spruce, Redwood, or Cedar. Our next blog will detail the types of woods used for fine cabinetry and outline the characteristics of each to help you make your selection.

Create a Reasonable Budget: Avoid sticker shock (and disappointment) by understanding one fact: Industry statistics show that on average, cabinets make up approximately 50% of the kitchen budget.--which is also the largest percentage of all overall expenditures for the kitchen. So plan accordingly and let your kitchen designer steer you towards choices that work within your budget.

Ask About Warranties: All kitchen cabinet manufacturers offer warranties and, with the cost of cabinetry, finding out what is covered and for how long is vital. Discuss this with your kitchen designer before you make a purchase and check this blog for a future article about everything you should know about cabinet warranties.

Keep An Eye On The Calendar: Remember when planning your new kitchen, fine cabinetry can takes weeks to arrive from the manufacturer. Creating a beautiful kitchen should not be a rush job. Good work takes time.

Going Green? 
Your cabinet choices can be green too, with options like bamboo, lyptus, reclaimed wood or wheat board. Manufacturers using FSC certified lumber is a must.

For expert advice and recommendations, consult with award-winning kitchen designer, Jason Landau at Amazing Spaces, LLC. Jason brings two decades worth of experience in space planning, kitchen design and working with the world's finest cabinetry firms to your project. Call him today at 914-239-3725 or visit

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