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Not Your Mama’s Kitchen

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Oh, how things have changed…  As the world changes around us we can not help but let it seep into our home lives.  Technology changes rapidly but there’s a larger change that happens with much less fanfare – The social norms that sometimes pass us by until we’re left behind, choking on the dust of feeling older.  This is why those of us that are parents find ourselves comparing our children’s lives to our own with the tired line, “When I was a kid…”  We didn’t care when our parents said it to us and our kids don’t care when we say it to them – that’s a generational constant.

Kitchens have not been immune to change – Due to more hectic lifestyles and demand for efficiency, kitchens provide excellent insight to just how things have changed through the decades.  All you have to do is Google, “Kitchens from the 50s” and check out the images that come up.  Apparently only women used the kitchen and, as far as I can tell, they loved it!  I also found out from the photos on the World Wide Web that Moms baked a lot of pies back then.  Like, all the time!

I think we can all agree that the greatest change to hit our kitchens was the introduction of the Turducken around 1984.  What did we do without it and why would you make a simple, two-legged turkey when you can make a six-legged, turkey – duck – chicken mutant-combo, protein power-bomb thing?  We’re truly advancing as a species.

Let’s get real-ish…

The raised bar vs. a flat counter-top – What makes this a generational issue?  Raised bars are commonly around the sink area so the question that gets brought up is, “Won’t people be able to see into my sink?”, the answer I give is, “Yes, but who cares?  We all have the same thing in our sinks at home.”  The point here is that we are not a formal society.  We’re busier and more stressed so we just want to casually hang out with friends.  Hopefully we have enough understanding for each other that a few dishes in the sink doesn’t lead to a social faux pas.  If you do find some dishes in the sink at the next social event and you start feeling judgy, have another glass of something, try to have some fun.

Formal dining room vs. dining area – Much like the raised bar, we sometimes look to eliminate a separate, formal dining room since taking over that space can expand the kitchen tremendously in some layouts.  An area to sit for dinner or family gatherings is a must.  It’s the “formal dining” that typically implies a room that we don’t use.  “Formal” requires too much energy and time that we just don’t have anymore.  Gotta run…  The cleaners called – My ascot is ready for pick-up.

Work triangle – This is such a keyword that it deserved it’s own blog a while back.  Check it out Here.  The work triangle was developed back in the 40s.  The concept of having a convenient flow is what still makes sense but the 3 points of a triangle could now be increased to 4 or 5 points depending on what appliances a family night use.  Microwaves, multiple dishwashers, steam ovens and even coffee makers are all important appliances to some families today.

One of the underlying changes in kitchens over the years is not only how they’re used but who’s using them.  It’s not always Mom doing the cooking these days.  In some households it’s the Dad that enjoys making dinner.  Kids are getting to know their way around the kitchen and becoming little chefs at earlier ages.  As the definition of who uses the kitchen has changed the design of the kitchen has also evolved to accommodate the users along with new technology and social expectations.

Walk-In Pantries

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

walk-in-pantry

I bet your walk-in pantry looks just like the one in the photo.  Right…  Mine too.

What we see on Houzz and Pinterest may be incredibly awesome but they’re typically designed for someone else.  Someone who lives very different than you and I.  These are not the walk-in pantries I want to talk about.  You’ll find that blog @ milliondollarpantries.com (totally made that up).

Most of us that have walk-in pantries have much smaller, less glamorous spaces that may appear to be providing great storage until you break the space down a bit.  The ones we commonly see in homes are usually dominated by negative space (the space our bodies take up); shallow, wire shelves and a lot of air leaving us with less actual storage.  Even the wall thickness may be robbing us of space we could be using.  The truth is that they were built in order to reduce the amount of kitchen cabinets, counter-top, etc., reducing costs for the builder.

Sometimes we can achieve more efficient storage and a larger kitchen by eliminating the walk-in.  It’s not the right thing for every kitchen but look at the example “before and after” pictures below.  The deletion of the pantry was one of the major contributors that gave us a much improved layout and larger kitchen.

Thacher_before (4) Cabinet pantries

The same concept applies to both walk-in pantries and standard, non-walk-in pantries built out of studs & sheetrock.  Cabinet pantries have the flexibility to have roll-out shelves and other customizations inside.  The most popular option is installing simple roll-out shelves which means that you can pull the contents of the pantry out to you instead of having to dig through the back to see what’s been hiding there since the 90’s.  Other customization options like vertical storage or areas for small appliances are easy adds as well.  Like the above “after” photo, cabinet pantries also provide a cohesive look which adds to the feeling of a larger space since they have cabinet fronts just like the rest of your kitchen.

Framed Vs. Frameless Cabinetry

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

What’s the difference in these two methods of cabinet construction? Most people aren’t aware that different types exist. I bet if they were made aware they would be more careful before remodeling their kitchen.

“Framed” cabinets, or “face frame” cabinets have a wooden frame around the cabinet opening. The hinges are mounted to the frame and a lip is created around the perimeter of the opening. There is often a center stile in between the doors of any double door cabinet. This used to be more of an American standard.

“Frameless” cabinets lack the wooden frame on the front of the cabinet box. The doors are a true full-overlay so you aren’t looking at a lot of flat wood – You get more of the visual since the doors and drawers typically have the detail. You could say they are more sleek as the doors and drawers cover the entire cabinet box. There is not a frame to hinder the access of the interior like framed cabinets have so they are also called “full-access” cabinets. This also pertains to the drawers where you get more width than a traditional framed cabinet. Frameless cabinets also lack the center stile in between double door cabinets – This makes most people happy.

Framed vs frameless

If there is one element of frameless cabinets that gives people pause it would be the edge banding which is often PVC. Even though the interior may be a maple or birch wood, the edge that sits behind the door is not. However, cabinets that are stained or painted on the inside to match the exterior (behind glass doors or in an open shelf unit) often have veneer edge banding for a better match. Inevitably there will be an area in your kitchen where the two types of edge banding come together – They may look a bit different – This is the main downside of frameless cabinetry. In my opinion, this is a trade off that is well worth it.

The cost difference is a bit of a gray area. Most cabinet dealers sell frameless cabinets for more money. This is where we disagree with most of the world – Assuming that they are both “all-wood” construction, frameless cabinets should cost less. There is simply less material, less wood in them. We do not charge more just because we can – Though they are more desirable. They are less money and, in our opinion, provide better storage and an overall better look.

Kitchen Functionality For The Holidays

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

So you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house this year. Awesome!… Except for the fact that you have to feed 15+ people while somehow finding room to even put / keep the food. Not to mention the house has to look clean and somewhat festive (for you over-achievers) if not at the very least presentable (the rest of us). It would be nice to avoid the criticism from – or should I say “please” – your mother-in-law for once.

…Oh snap! I am really hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family this year! What am I going to do?!
Don’t panic! Breathe. Here are some tips to make the holiday season a little easier this year.

Determine where each activity will take place, such as dining, serving, gathering, football watching, you name it and set it up accordingly. Organizing – Check!
If you have an extra sink fill it up with ice and place cups nearby. You can put canned drinks in the ice or simply set large bottles next to the sink. Drink station – Check!
Use your island or peninsula that is usually a place for seating as a place for prepping and serving food this holiday season! Buffet – Check!
Take a few small boxes and drape some fabric over them to “display” your family’s favorite dishes down the serving line! Looking like I actually tried – Check!
Only helping hands in the kitchen! Make sure that you allow yourself plenty of space to sprawl while preparing food and kick out any unnecessary people because you need your space, and Uncle Bobby needs to learn his boundaries as well as patience because we ALL have to wait to eat! Sanity – Check!

Most of us know how to use our kitchen in an everyday manner, but we must accommodate for the hand full of times we actually entertain or host guests in our home. Ideally you would have a single level bar, island, or peninsula because it is optimum for preparing and serving, plus it makes your kitchen look huge. An extra sink comes in handy for vegetable washing on most days but can have a dual purpose for gatherings as well. And of course, space and functionality! These are all things that we try to incorporate when remodeling a kitchen because the benefits are endless!

Before I forget, this is the last and most important tip I can give you for the holiday season: Take a minute to enjoy the company around you and focus on making memories with the ones you love.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Platinum Kitchens & Design!

Nutter-butter turkeys

The Dilemma Of The Three R’s (reface, refinish, replace)

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

You’ve probably heard that refacing or refinishing your old cabinets will save you tons of money. You’ve noticed that your old cabinets are all wood and you think they have “good bones”. Maybe you’ve heard that “they don’t build ’em like this anymore”. They might have had good bones once and no, they don’t build them like that anymore – They’re much better now but we’ll come back to that later.

Platinum Kitchens chooses to avoid two of the R’s and recommends replacement as the better solution:

Refacing – This is where your old cabinets get new door and drawer fronts and the cabinet boxes themselves may get veneer coverings on the face frame and sides. New crown and other moldings can sometimes be replaced and upgraded. This is extremely labor intensive both during the initial install and requires a great deal of service / maintenance. Refacing costs only slightly less, equal to or even more money than new cabinetry depending on who’s providing the quote. Over time the veneers peel leaving you with a new aggravation and less money to redo your kitchen the way it really should have been done from the start. One of the main gripes about refacing is that the configuration and overall usefulness of the kitchen doesn’t change, or if it does, you’ve spent way too much money to maintain some old cabinet carcasses.

Refinishing – Painting or having the existing cabinets faux finished would fall into this category. It is a quick fix and sometimes equates to (sorry I have to say this) putting “lipstick on a pig”. This offers no new functionality only a new look. The new finish looks great when first completed but quickly chips, scratches or peels.

Old cabinets

Let’s look at the above photo. Had these homeowners gone the path of refacing or refinishing they would have had to address a few important questions:

1. What do we do about the soffit above the cabinets? – Unless you’re getting new cabinets the soffit has to stay but who wants to go through this expense and keep a useless soffit that is taking up storage and visual space?

2. Can we do a 24″ deep fridge surround for a better look and the ability to actually use the cabinet above the fridge? – The answer is “no” if you decide to keep the cabinets.

3. We would like to gain access to the dead corners of our current layout. Can we do that? – Again, the answer is “no”. Unless you are going to change out the cabinets for better functionality these corners remain difficult to access.

4. Can we make better use of the space taken up by the face-frame of the cabinet? – Not with new fronts or new paint. That only changes the exterior not the interior.

One of the other options with both of the above methods is that homeowners often choose to get new granite counter-tops and back-splash at the time they are refinishing or refacing. If, after a few years, it is discovered that one of these two methods was not the correct path and you’re ready for new cabinets you will find that the new counter-top and tile back-splash may not be able to be salvaged. Granite does not like to be moved once installed – It can break around the sink cutout or suffer other damage. Tile often breaks as the counter-top is removed.

New cabinets offer a new look, new storage solutions, a possible new layout and a new level of quality. Good quality cabinets are well constructed and, if KCMA certified, undergo multiple tests each year to ensure structural integrity as well as a durable finish. Chances are strong that your old cabinets have served well but they have done their time. For a real change and cost effective improvement, replacing your cabinets provides enhanced functionality as well as adding better value to your home.

So You Think Your Kitchen’s Small?…

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Mistretta_before (4)
Mistretta_after (7)

This is to show you that there is probably something that can be done with your space too. This kitchen was defined by a peninsula that stuck out into the room, cutting the space in half. With some imagination and creativity this space was opened up to become a really nice space. We didn’t need to blow out the exterior of the house just had to look at things a bit differently. Moving appliances around and using walls more efficiently gave this homeowner a great kitchen to cook and entertain in.

Is your kitchen being defined by what you see or what could be?

Kitchen Design Tip: Chords!

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

They are everywhere! A jumbled, tangled Medusa hair mess lurks in every kitchen (or bedroom, or den, or office). When designing new kitchens, we try to consider a strategic location for all of your handheld mobile devices. All of those loose cords are unsightly when sitting on your counter top and can be well contained in a special cabinet that won’t eat up a ton of valuable storage space. This photo is a great example of one way we can integrate a charging station into your new kitchen – it’s easily modifiable for larger devices like tablets too! And if a new kitchen is not in your near future, repurpose a countertop bread box available at retailers like Target or Bed Bath & Beyond, into a tidy little DIY central charging station in the meantime! 32599_676227279060187_1320688921_n

bbox

January Design Tip

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Do you have a kitchen pantry filled with that white builder-grade wire shelving? Are your cereal boxes and canned goods constantly tipping over? Measure your shelves, take your measurements to your local hardware store, have them cut melamine shelves or plexi-glass to fit and re-set them on top of your existing shelves. You’ve avoided the hassle of installing an entirely new shelving system, solved a major annoyance AND organized at least one frequently used area in your home.

Need More Countertop Space for Baking?

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

We love to bake and entertain at home during the holidays, but are always in need of more kitchen counter top space! Over the years we’ve learned a few tricks for creating a little more room:

Your kitchen table is perfect when baking – it’s a nice large surface and the lower height is just right for rolling out all of that cookie dough. For added counter top space when entertaining, a huge wood cutting board that is big enough to cover either your cook top or kitchen sink is an attractive way to gain more work surface! Just don’t turn on the faucet or the burners!

What to Do With All Those Tiny Spice Jars

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Fall and football are finally here and it’s time for chili, apple cider & soon, pumpkin pie. All foods that make the house smell wonderful, but require many expensive spices.

Do you have a jumbled heap of barely consumed little jars of spices filling up valuable real estate in your kitchen cabinet? The cabinet is a mess and the spices are past their prime. A waste of both space and money! Solution? First, check the date on the bottom of the jar and toss it out if over a year old. Transfer remaining spices into airtight containers, label, place them in a zip top freezer bag, seal and pop into your freezer. Yes, I know, you have a little less freezer space now, clean it out while you’re at it, but you also have more cabinet space and vibrant spices to use in all of your home cooked favorites.