Call Mainline Kitchen Design today for your new kitchen Call us at 610-500-4071

Main Line Kitchen Design Trends Blog

An edited version of this article appeared in the May 2011 issue of the national publication of Kitchen & Bath design news.

One of the greatest challenges for a kitchen designer is to create a design that the customer appreciates aesthetically and simultaneously provides them with a functionally well designed kitchen.  It’s equally difficult to just not make any mistakes.  And sadly, that’s something very few kitchen designers can actually accomplish.

When customers show me designs done elsewhere, I can usually rattle off 10 blatant errors before I even closely examine the floor plan.  Even more alarming, many designs actually have the potential to kill.  And, these same fatal designs have even won awards.

In the last few years, I honestly have yet to pick up a kitchen trade magazine without a featured kitchen on either its front or back cover having major mistakes.   Often they possess one of the possibly fatal design flaws listed below.  Here is my list of the 8 deadly kitchen designs that I see over and over again.

  1. Wall cabinet, spice pull out or an appliance garage too close to the cooktop or range
    Kitchens with hearths or grottos are the biggest culprits with the Professional high BTU burners being mere inches from the sides of the wood cabinetry creating a fire hazard.                                                                                                                                                                       .
  2. Range too close to the window
    Most building codes require a range to be a minimum of 12 inches away from a window for a number of reasons.  A fire on the stove can jump to curtains on the windows.  Or a breeze from an open window can blow out the flame on a gas burner and allow gas to accumulate possibly unnoticed prior to a potential explosion.  I have seen many, many, examples of designs with the range actually underneath the window.                                                                                                                                                                                                      .   
  3. Range or cooktop on the end of the run
    Handles of pots and pans can be left extending out in space to be flipped onto homeowners or their children.  This is usually seen all the more disastrously in high traffic areas and next to doorways where people are entering the room unprepared for the foolish design flaw.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             .  
  4. The deadly cousin or number 2 and 3.  A range next to the exterior kitchen door for all the reasons listed in 2 and in 3.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        .
  5. Wall cabinets extending out over where there is no countertop or by themselves without protective bases below them
    Usually this tends to be customer driven.  Out of the need to create storage space literally everywhere in their kitchen, cabinets get put in places where someone leaning or bending over unsuspectingly can stand up and fracture their skull.  I actually know of a contractor that fractured his skull this way and is now blind.                                                                                                                                     .
  6. This one is a little of a stretch.  But today many children and adults have respiratory issues such as asthma, severe allergies, or emphysema.  Placing cabinets with moldings approaching but not reaching the ceiling can create a space that is impossible to clean and yet accumulates over time inches of dust, dead skin, and dust mites.  This could cause potentially fatal health reactions to those sensitive.  I have seen where this is done intentionally to create a “shadow line” on the ceiling.  Once you get 3 or less inches from the ceiling, you must go all the way.                                       .
  7. Probably one of the biggest issues on the kitchen design horizon.  Today’s powerful hoods coupled with tightly sealed energy efficient homes create negative pressure inside the home when the windows are closed in the winter and the exhaust fan is on.  Without a heat/air exchanger or a heating system designed against negative pressure the exhaust fan will pull carbon monoxide back down the water heater exhaust, the furnace chimney, or more dramatically pull the smoke right out the customers fireplace into their home.  Nearly all designers and appliance salespeople never even consider this and only in the most expensive and usually colder climate neighborhoods like Jackson Hole Wyoming are there any building codes regarding this.**Just a note:  12 months after this was published Pennsylvania became one of the first States to regulate this very issue. Presently all 50 states require replacement air systems for all hoods over 400 CFM.                                                                                                                        .
  8. This one is almost no longer an issue but still exists.  Customers must have GFCI outlets within 4 feet of their sink but if they have an electric range with spiral coil heating elements and the kitchen designer places the range too close to the stainless steel sink, the 110 volt outlet issue will be benign in comparison to the 220 volt range, sink, and water shocker.                                       .

Kitchen design is a profession I love for many reasons including the creativity involved, the people you meet, and the sense of accomplishment when you do a good job.  But, the biggest reason I love designing kitchens is that it is an incredible challenge.

To answer any questions regarding the significance of today’s date (originally posted March 15th 2011):

“Beware the ides of March”

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Hoping you don’t have any of these issues,

Paul McAlary

 

 

“Kitchens should be designed around what’s truly important—fun, food, and life.”—Chef/restaurateur Daniel Boulud

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” ― W.C. Fields

“I wish my stove came with a Save As button like Word has. That way I could experiment with my cooking and not fear ruining my dinner.
” ― Jarod Kintz

“It does not matter how expensive your kitchen is if you are a bad cook.” – Loesje

“I love what you might call brutal elegance. Where form and function are really obvious. There is nothing easily broken in this house.”Actress Meg Ryan

“Most people start out wanting to go for their fantasy, but end up painting their walls dove-white.”—Shopkeeper/interior decorator Rayman Boozer

“I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” – Julia Child

Wishing the Happiest of Holidays to all our customers and friends, and of course….

Bon Appetit!

Main Line Kitchen Design

Paul, Ray, Mary, Tom, and Julie

Below are the 5 finalists in our, “What’s the most memorable thing that happened in your kitchen?” contest. 

Recently completed Main Line Kitchen Design kitchen



1) The most memorable thing that happened in my kitchen is my fiance proposed to me there. We had been talking about rings because I found a conspicuous clue in his office earlier in the day, and as I was cooking dinner he called me upstairs to his office to check out the ring he had been designing for me, purportedly on his computer screen. Well, all 4 burners were on and I had bread baking in the oven, so there was no way I could step away from the kitchen. He then came downstairs and completely surprised me when he pulled from his pocket not a printed sheet of paper, not his mini tablet, but the actual ring and proposed! My sauces on the stovetop survived as did the bread in the oven throughout this whole scene 

2) My kitchen is the Hub of my house. It was originally my husband’s grandparent’s house, so he has great memories to start with. We added to those memories by him proposing to me in the kitchen while I was baking bread almost 6 years ago. Since then we have had 2 children. We are continuing to add memories with family dinners, birthdays, art projects & homework. My kitchen holds almost every precious memory!

3) Our fist apartment was a small, old but affordable, walk-up. Although it left much to be desired, as newlyweds, we were satisfied and even excited about moving in — except for the kitchen! It contained only one cabinet which was situated above the sink and its exposed pipes. We improvised by buying a large standing cabinet and sewing a floral fabric to elastic and wrapping it around the sink. The area under the sink could now be used as storage space for cleaning products, pots and pans, etc. When our first baby began toddling around, it became his favorite destination. He enjoyed crashing through the curtain, playing with the pots and pans and eating the soap powder. I could not wait to escape from this hazardous kitchen. Eventually we converted the space to a toy area where he sat playing with his cars, trucks and blocks. In fact, that’s where he said his first word, which was “car”. 

One night, my husband arrived home from work with a bottle of champagne and wonderful news. He had just received a big promotion and a very substantial salary increase. While eating dinner at our little kitchen table with the baby next to us in his high chair, we toasted to his new job and our new house. 

It is now more than 50 years later and I still remember that antiquated kitchen and the joy and happiness we experienced in it. 

4) As my husband and a friend were working on my porch roof, I was making a pasta salad with fresh vegetables at the kitchen sink. My watch and rings on the ring stand. As I turned on the garbage disposal, I heard a terrible noise. I turned it off. When I reached in all the guys heard was me saying ” My watch!” My cat had batted my watch down the sink. All I had were pieces. Lucky it wasn’t my ring. We laugh about it now.

5) The most memorable thing that happened in my kitchen happened last thanksgiving. Although at the time I found it to be funny and touching , I wouldn’t know until this past February that it would be so memorable . My mom suffered a massive brain bleed 4 years ago , and became child like ever since that stroke . Last thanksgiving we all sat around after dinner laughing and enjoying each other’s company when my husband looked over and noticed my mom sitting in front of the dessert plate full if Choc chip cookies . My mom had been sitting there just smiling and singing to herself , she ate over 10 cookies . We asked her how she was doing and she said I’m so happy , and I love the cookies. Who knew it would be one of our last holidays with her . I still remember how beautiful and happy she looked sitting with her family and eating her cookies without a care in the world. She deserved it after raising 8 crazy children and 17 grandchildren.
Winners were announced on our Facebook page on December 2nd 2014.

As we move into fall and cooler outside temperatures there are still a few hot topics in kitchen design that will heat up conversations at least in the kitchen design world.

1)  The new building code requiring a replacement air system for all hoods more powerful that 400 CFM’s still creates confusion and tough choices for kitchen designers and their customers. The new code protects the public from the powerful hoods used by many designers and sold by appliance salespeople. The hoods were chosen to compliment professional ranges and cooktops but were poisoning customers with the carbon monoxide exhaust from their furnaces.

2)   Many cabinet lines now do custom color matching for little or no extra charge. Main Line Kitchen Design carries several of these lines giving customers the entire spectrum of paints and stains to choose from.

3)  The invention of inset 6 way adjustable hinges now makes inset cabinetry only a small percentage upgrade in many mid range cabinet lines. In the past inset and beaded inset cabinetry was only available from very high end custom cabinet lines.

4)  Buffered hinges now give the popular buffering option on the cabinet door hinges themselves eliminating the pistons many customers found intrusive before.

5)  Although not available in the design software kitchen designers routinely use yet because renderings and price catalogs would take too long to load, CAD programs can now create images of  kitchens that are hard to distinguish from actual photographs. Once this technology becomes available in the CAD programs that contain kitchen cabinet pricing, kitchen designers will be able to show customers nearly photographic representations of what their proposed kitchens will look like. Amazingly many cabinet company catalogs no longer contain photographs of actual kitchens but are CAD reproductions.

The photos above are of an actual kitchen beautifully photographed by Scott Fredrick Photography and designed by Paul.

Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween and of course as Julia said ….

Bon Appetite!

Paul, Ray, Mary, Tom, and Julie

Main Line Kitchen Design

 


It generally only takes a few minutes to realize the initial value of working with experienced kitchen designers like our designers at Main Line Kitchen Design. Each of us has decades more experience laying out kitchen space than the builders and architects who are needed for the other phases of a kitchen project. Architects create and consider the exterior elevations, supply drawings for additions, or the beams necessary for the permits. Builders and contractors supervise or do the physical work and a myriad of other tasks that go into the complex process of creating a lasting beautiful kitchen.

But we can not emphasize enough – if your kitchen designer isn’t available to see you through the entire process, you’re in for a rough ride! The same goes for customers who, once they have plans in hand, don’t realize they need additional assistance. To get a kitchen from conception to actuality requires even more expertise than creating the design itself.

For example, builders can encourage ordering cabinetry before walls are framed often creating substantial additional costs that your kitchen designer can help you avoid. Frequently changes take place during the initial construction that affect the cabinetry order. And, designers are experienced enough with delivery time lines to assure that everything will be inhand weeks before it’s needed.

Every kitchen is a unique creation so the components are never “off the shelf”.  And those components aren’t going to be the right components if you don’t have an experienced designer guiding the manufacturer on your expectations and having your best interest at heart. There are literally thousands of parameters.  Consider just the sides of your cabinets: Which are unfinished and which are finished. Which are recessed and which are flush. Do they have integrated end panels or applied doors? Do the side panels and doors line up with the doors on the front of the cabinets? The ordering process is so detailed that good designers either have an elaborate checking system or a second set of experienced eyes assisting with all orders.

And then there’s the installation. Some of the smallest things can pose challenges like following a recipe you’ve never tried or assembling a toy. Multiply that by the scope of a kitchen and you can understand what the construction team you’ve hired has to deal with. It’s certainly a simpler and more successful task when the designer makes him or herself available to assist with the process.

 

At Main Line Kitchen Design, we know that making our customers happy usually requires spending as much time processing orders and consulting during construction as we spent working on that kitchen’s design. The only thing you’ll gain if you stop working with your kitchen designer before your kitchen is complete is aggravation.

We look forward to helping you every step of the way,

and of course as Julia said . . . Bon Appetit!

 

Paul, Ray, Mary, Tom and Julie

Main Line Kitchen Design



 

Below are three clips from Murder by Kitchen Design! A speech I gave to the Pennsylvania NARI chapters at the Fretz Wolf and Subzero showroom in Philadelphia. The talk discussed the 8 most common ways kitchen designers endanger their customers. It was meant to be informative and humorous although I believe some people in the audience were offended having made the dangerous mistakes themselves. The first clip below is the “frightening” introduction:

As noted in the second clip many architectural firms and other kitchen design companies actually have some of these dangerous mistakes displayed on their web sites showcasing their incompetence.

The third clip below is the conclusion of the talk. It highlights the TV show with the worst kitchen of all time and answers the two most common questions I get asked about bad kitchen designs.

Another question I get asked is why we chose Julia Child cookbooks to give to our customers when their kitchens are complete.  The reason is simple:

Julia Child influenced American cooking more than any other chef past or present. She was knowledgeable and passionate about cooking. I believe it was sharing her passion that was so infectious. At Main Line Kitchen Design we try to share our passion about kitchen design with our customers. That why it’s Julia’s cook books we we send out and why my blogs usually end with…..

Bon Appetit!

Paul

Being mentioned in the Philadelphia Inquirer is nothing new for award winning kitchen designer Ray Gardner.  Ray’s Lafayette Hill Pennsylvania kitchen won the NARI 2014 award for the best kitchen renovation in Bucks and Montgomery counties. Main Line Kitchen Design is happy to once again be featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Erin Arvedlund’s Inquirer article highlights the decision process that went into creating the award winning kitchen.  Link to article below:

Award Winning Lafayette Hill PA Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

The best kitchen showroom in your area is closer than you think. The four designers there are some of the most experienced award winning kitchen designers in the Delaware Valley. They design in and sell 6 national cabinet lines. And their pricing for cabinetry is slightly less than at home centers in apples to apples comparisons. Where is this kitchen showroom and how come you don’t remember seeing it when it is so close by? It’s in your own home!

                                   A recently completed kitchen by Main Line Kitchen Design

 

Main Line Kitchen Design brings all the same samples you select from when you travel to other showrooms to your home. We make design changes on our laptops in 20-20 CAD with you present usually in the very kitchen being renovated. Understanding what designs will look like and how sample kitchen cabinets, doors, and finishes will look in your home is easy when you are standing in the very room being renovated. Design changes can be emailed to you to print out and discuss with friends and family if you choose. Best of all our design time is free since it is incorporated into the very competitive pricing of your cabinetry when you purchase a kitchen from Main Line Kitchen Design.

Finally there is a kitchen business model and design team that carries the highest quality cabinetry, is experienced, convenient, and reasonably priced. Call us today and find out why we get the best reviews on the internet or Google us and check. We look forward to working with you.

As our company tag line says:

“The world of kitchen design is changing…”

The Knotthink family has several members who are in design or building. Guy Knotthink, the family patriarch, is now retired but his son Will Knotthink is a general contractor and Will’s sister May Knotthink is an interior designer.  Will’s other sister Ivana Knotthink is an architect.  I’ve selected several photo’s of actual projects from the family’s portfolio.

 

Some of the Knotthink family’s most distinctive work is evidenced in bathrooms:

         

Kitchens are common project’s as well:

 But the most dramatic work of all of comes from architect Ivana Knotthink’s portfolio:

     

Here’s one of Ivana’s projects as seen from Google Earth:

 

 

 

 


 

Although the Knotthink family has traced their ancestry back over 500 years it still remains only speculation that this famous building was constructed by a Knotthink ancestor:

At Main Line Kitchen Design we make sure your kitchen project has all the planning required to make it a success.  Have a wonderful summer …… and of course as Julia said…..  ”Bon Appetit!”

Paul, Ray, Mary, Tom and Julie

Main Line Kitchen Design

 

 

Why are most kitchens so terribly designed?  And why do architects, interior designers, contractors, and even some kitchen designers place so little value on good and even safe kitchen design?  One of the reasons may be that we are bombarded with bad kitchen designs from almost every TV show and movie we watch.  Seeing these problem designs thousands of times  may legitimize bad kitchen design and make it seem more acceptable.

Below are some of the most famous TV kitchens and why they are poor designs.  And what’s wrong with the I love Lucy Lucy kitchen seen above?  There is a window over the range with curtains, a fire hazard, and no countertop on either side of the range which is also dangerous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Brady Bunch home needs to have at least 9 inches of countertop in back of the cooktop to be considered safe.  Shame on Mike Brady he was an architect!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Huxtables on The Cosby Show have the same problem as well as no countertop on the side of the cooktop. With the cooktop burners right next to the phone and the refrigerator it is a good thing Cliff Huxtable was a doctor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both Paul and Jamie on Mad About You, and Francis and Claire Underwood on House of Cards have ranges without countertops on either side making them unsafe.  The Secret Service is overlooking one possible danger to their charge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Partridge Family has no countertop on the right side of their cooktop.  Again the wall phone is right next to the flames.  If the Partridges catch on fire they won’t be able to “get happy” as their theme song implores.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seinfeld and How I Met Your Mother have the same problems mentioned above.  And Friends which followed Seinfeld on TV Thursday nights had Monica and Rachel with no hood and wood only a few inches over their powerful professional range.

 

 

 

The low hanging cabinets left of the refrigerator in Dexter’s kitchen below are dangerous to anyone over 6 feet 4 inches.  But should we really be surprised that a mass murderer has a dangerous kitchen?

 

 

I guess  all these TV characters should just be happy they didn’t have the ugliest TV kitchen of all time.

That would be poor Alice Kramden’s kitchen on The Honeymooners.

Does your favorite TV show’s kitchen have any of the problems we saw above?   Chances are better than not that it does.

 

Hoping your real life kitchen is safe.  And as Julia said…..

Bon Appetit!

Paul


Wordpress Development and PA SEO by IntuitSolutions