Main Line Kitchen Design
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What’s the mistake amateur kitchen designers make the most often? The answer can be summed up with the old expression “Trying to put eight pounds of sausage in a six pound wrapper.”

When you are not a talented and experienced kitchen designer often you will judge your design success by how much you can fit in a kitchen. Getting 5 stools at the island instead of 4, getting the tallest cabinets in the room possible or fitting the large appliances that you have pre-selected into your design are judged as accomplishments. Fitting all of your “must haves” into the kitchen is the only criteria for success when you can’t appreciate the problems that are created when you jamb those eight pounds of sausage into your six pound wrapper!

Kitchen designers make more money when they sell you more cabinets so when your designer objects to what you are pushing for and tells you spaces are too tight they are putting your best interest above their own pocket book. Becoming annoyed with the professional or thinking you know better will make it likely that your kitchen will be full of mistakes. Because after you don’t listen to the first few warnings, many designers will stop being critical of your ideas and simply sell you the bad kitchen you seem to want, and stop giving the professional advice that is only frustrating you.

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Unfortunately, because of THE IKEA EFFECT, (a delusional disorder that makes people believe that what they have designed is far better than what is reasonable) you may very well think your design is great. However the people that visit your home will be remarking at how crazy and tight your kitchen is. And when the time comes to sell your home you will get a more objective evaluation of your design by the offers you get from perspective home buyers.

Kitchen designers have to shake their heads at the reasoning many of our customers will give for why they are OK with things being too tight. When the island is too big customers tell us that they will be getting very small stools. If something else is too tight or doesn’t work it might be OK because it is “better than what I have now” or “my friend has it”.

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The best designers will not stop objecting at each new wrinkle that lacks the space needed, but many designers will be worn down quickly. One of my customers with a great sense of humor assures me that she is coming to her appointments with her boxing gloves on. It is her ability to laugh about our collaboration but still take my advice seriously that has helped her design a great kitchen.

Hoping that you will allow your designer to put your interests above what you think you “must have”.

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And of course . . .

BON APPETIT!

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Paul

At the bottom of the page is our list of the top ten tips for remodeling a kitchen in a new home.

Congratulations! You just bought a new home and you are considering remodeling the out of date kitchen. Now please stop and do your family a favor and carefully consider these tips BEFORE you embark on your renovation.

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Due to the euphoria of buying a new home people can rush into renovations that are poorly planned wasting tens of thousands of dollars and sometimes decreasing, instead of increasing, the value of their new home. Mistakes arise when new home buyers attempt to finish their construction before they move into the home. They mistakenly believe that by rushing they are saving themselves mortgage or rental payments, that will save them money on the overall cost of their renovation. In fact, spending extra time planning and getting multiple bids from contractors on the detailed plans you have finalized BEFORE starting the renovation saves money and has other benefits as well.

New Kitchen Renovation

Among the benefits of a well planned renovation is that even though the job might begin weeks or months later, because the project is better planned, it is almost always is completed before a hastily planned project. The design itself and the kitchen layout is what adds the most value to your home and so working with a talented kitchen design professional is essential. Meeting and modifying designs and making changes after discussing the benefits of different possibilities improves your design with each appointment. Were you to design your kitchen yourself or let a contractor or architect plan the design without the help of an experienced kitchen designer then the most important aspect of the renovation would lack an expert.

Paul and Doug

The most misguided decision new homeowners make is to begin ripping out walls and doing demolition with no final plan in mind. Without direction, unguided demolition will always create added work for electricians, plumbers, framers, and drywallers later. Since the demolition of even the complete interior of a home should never take more than a couple of days, starting demolition simply to appease a novice renovators need to feel that things are progressing is foolish.

Kitchen Renovation

Below is our list of the top ten tips for remodeling a kitchen in a new home:

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  1. Never begin demolition until a final plan for all the proposed renovations is complete and a general contractor has been selected.
  2. Never begin the planning of a kitchen renovation without first selecting the kitchen design professional you will ultimately be buying cabinets from.
  3. Even if you think you know the contractor you want to do your renovation. Still get at least three estimates. Estimates give you free advice and pricing from knowledgeable professionals.
  4. Allways hire the general contractor with the total cost of the renovation having been bid in advance. Starting work without a total price is how project costs spiral out of control.
  5. Never pay contractors by the day or by the hour. It gives them no incentive to work efficiently and usually costs you more in the end. Plus it makes budgeting your project impossible.
  6. Keep in mind that construction changes like removing a wall, moving doorways, plumbing or electric, is what creates the best kitchen design. This is what affects the resale value of your home, and construction changes have less impact on the total cost of the project than the cabinetry, countertops, appliances and other materials that you choose to splurge on. Yes, a Subzero refrigerator is great but the additional cost of $5000 for the refrigerator would have payed for renovations that completely changed the flow and look of your new home.
  7. Never bring more than one professional remodeler to look at your home at the same time. You may have limited access to the property before you close, but shuffling contractors in and out past each other is disrespectful and you will pay for it in the bids you get. Some contractors won’t even bother bidding on a project when they get a feeling that they aren’t being respected while others will simply increase their bid by 20% or more to cover the possibility of working with a problem homeowner.
  8. Never emphasize that you are getting other bids. Contractors know this and assume it. Throwing it in their face will make them not trust you which will make their bids higher. Promising future work after the project they are bidding on also sets off alarms for construction professionals.
  9. Good kitchen designers will always insist on measuring your home first. Any designer willing to accept someone else’s measurements is at best irresponsible and at worst incompetent. Designers need to measure themselves and see your home BEFORE they begin working on designs. Never work with a kitchen designer that doesn’t insist on this.
  10. Do not insist on your timeline for work and materials. The length of time a project takes shouldn’t vary that much from one competent contractor or cabinet dealer to another. The homeowner has little control over timelines and being insistent that things are completed when you want them could translate into your selecting people to work with that are simply telling you what you want to hear. Honesty is what you should be looking for. The people giving you realistic competition dates usually meet them, while people that tell you what you want to hear will never give you honest answers.

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Remember that the thing that people refuse to spend to get a great kitchen is not money. It is the time required to plan well.

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Paul, Julie, Ed, John, Lauren, Tom, and Stacia

Main Line Kitchen Design

In a word . . . Architects.

Over the 25 plus years that I have been a kitchen designer there is no question that some of the worst kitchens that I have seen sold have also been the most expensive. Even the most expensive kitchen that I personally sold was a design that I was slightly embarrassed to sell.

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Why are these expensive kitchens so poorly designed? The first reason is that customers with the most money to spend nearly always start their project by consulting with an architect. Once the kitchen design process begins with an architect, seldom does the architect consult with an actual kitchen designer. So the architect who in far less experienced and knows none of the rules of kitchen design nor how cabinetry is built or priced works on the design with the customer until it is nearly complete.

As a kitchen designer it is incredibly frustrating to be handed an amateurish design to price in the most expensive cabinetry that we sell. The homeowner and the architect have spent hours creating a design that often breaks the most fundamental kitchen design rules and looks like what it is. The work of non professionals. Unfortunately after all the time spent creating the ill conceived design it would frustrate everyone involved to go back to square one where the mistakes began. Worst of all, neither the homeowner nor the architect realize how silly these designs are because they aren’t kitchen designers. And to tell them that “the Emperor has no clothes” is usually met with both anger and skepticism.

Just in the last two weeks I have been given two designs to price in custom cabinetry done by respected architects that place expensive 48″ SubZero refrigerators behind the primary sink in the kitchen. You could not place such a wide refrigerator in any worse location. Toll Brothers who use architects to design their kitchens are notorious for making this same mistake.

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The problem with the refrigerator location, besides looking odd, is that every time someone goes to the refrigerator the person at the sink must leave so that the refrigerator doors can be opened when the person at the refrigerator steps back to open them. The refrigerator doors would also be dented in these designs if the dishwasher doors were down. What a waste of money!

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In one case the customer was considering spending $74,000 on expensive poorly made cabinetry and over $40,000 on appliances for their bad design. As is usually the case the homeowners were so invested in their poor design that hearing that it had problems or that the cabinets they were considering were overpriced and poorly made was not received well.

Another reason that expensive kitchens tend to be poorly designed is that wealthy clients are less amenable to hearing that their design ideas have problems. Or, that the expensive appliances, cabinets, or countertops they want don’t fit and have issues associated with them. Often people of means have grown accustom to the people working with them simply agreeing with them. Kitchen designers know that these sales will be very large and that by being critical of what the customer wants they risk losing the sale. So many kitchen designers will remain silent about problems that might alienate wealthy clients and their architects.

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Not all kitchen cabinet dealers and kitchen designers are able step in at the beginning of a major home renovation that removes load bearing walls and possibly adds an addition to a home but some most certainly are. Working with companies like Main Line Kitchen Design that help you design your home from the inside out prior to bringing in the architect fosters better kitchen designs and save on architects fees that were often wasteful and ill advised.


Wishing the 30,000 people that read our blog each month a Happy July 4th.

And to those considering a major kitchen renovation . . . Please find an experienced kitchen designer to work with sooner rather than later.

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Bon Appetit!

Paul, Julie, Ed, John, Lauren, Tom, and Stacia

Main Line Kitchen Design

I was surprised but not shocked when Wood-Mode Custom Cabinetry officially closed their doors and up to 2,000 Pennsylvania workers lost their jobs Monday afternoon. The unfortunate closure is not only a hardship for plant workers and management but also a blow to the regional cabinet dealers that sold Wood-Mode and their semi-custom cabinet line Brookhaven.

Wood-Mode plant

The reason the closure wasn’t such a surprise to me was that as the owner of a cabinet dealership I closely monitor our industry and try to make adjustments to how we do business almost on a daily basis. Wood-Mode on the other hand was unchanging in their business model almost to the point of arrogance. When I heard the news of Wood-Mode’s closure I shook my head and thought back 5 years to when we met with Wood-Mode representatives to discuss Main Line Kitchen Design carrying the Wood-Mode brand.

It was very apparent during those meetings that both companies were taking a very different approach to selling cabinetry. Wood-Mode had little interest in Main Line Kitchen Design’s on line marketing strategy or in generating any kind of significant internet presence themselves. Time and efficiency was paramount for me but was not really valued by Wood-Mode. They felt that pricing and designing fine kitchens needed to be done in the systematic fashion they had used for decades and speeding up the process wasn’t needed.

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I believe that kitchen designers showing customers what their kitchen will look like in three dimensions and determining how much it will cost as we make changes is essential. This can be a problem with custom cabinet lines like Wood-Mode because they offer so much customization that using CAD software like 20-20 or ProKitchens to show and price their cabinetry isn’t possible. Pricing a kitchen in these custom lines can be a great deal of work and take a ridiculously long time. Main Line Kitchen Design solves this problem by designing the highest end kitchens we sell in slightly less expensive cabinet lines and simply making a good guess on how much more the cabinetry in the more expensive custom line will be. We don’t actually know until sometimes weeks after we sell these very expensive kitchens exactly how much money we will make. We live with this problem so that both our time and our customers time can be spent effectively. This time is money concept was lost on the Wood-Mode reps we spoke with. They poo-pooed our technique believing that selling fine cabinetry didn’t require the speed and computer visualizations I did.

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The custom cabinet market has suffered the last ten years as semi-custom cabinet lines have continued to offer greater customization. And the difference between fine custom cabinets and less expensive brands is not as obvious in the full overlay painted cabinetry that is very popular today. It is inset and beaded inset cabinetry and the fine furniture stains and other more complex finishes that distinguish the highest end cabinetry from less expensive brands.

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The custom lines that will survive in today’s market need to change with the market and recognize that making their products more designer and customer friendly is essential. This is why we carry and sell both Brighton and Wellsford custom cabinetry. Besides making beautiful cabinetry, both these custom lines make our design process easier. We may not find out how much the custom cabinetry we sell will cost us until weeks after our customers order their kitchens but our designers and customers spend their time more efficiently and with fewer frustrations. Making the design process easier and more cost effective is one reason that Main Line Kitchen Design has grown over 20% each year we have been in business.

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Brighton Custom Kitchen

I’m hoping that everyone affected by this sad turn of events adapts and finds new work. Living in a time of rapid change can be both exciting and frightening. Often when something like the Wood-Mode closing occurs I think of my Grandfather who was born before automobiles and yet saw a man land on the moon. He worked for a single company his entire life, starting as a box boy and retiring as a CPA. Today this would almost certainly never happen.

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As our society continues to change I marvel at the changes and root for a better world…

… and as Julia Child a trend setter and culinary pioneer born a little after my grandfather would wish her viewers …

Bon Appetit!

Paul

We often get asked by our customers what percentage of the money they spend remodeling their kitchen do we think they should get back when they sell their home. The Return On Investment, abbreviated ROI, for a kitchen renovation is more complex that most homeowners and real estate professionals believe. The most common misconception is that there is some approximate percentage that a newly renovated kitchen should bring upon selling a home. Another is that renovating a kitchen in a home that is already valued higher than most others in the area won’t be a good investment.

In reality we have seen the value of a home do anything from actually decreasing in value to increasing in value many times the cost of the renovation. The biggest factor affecting the the ROI of a kitchen renovation is the kitchen design itself. For example redoing the same poorly designed kitchen the same way could have very little ROI. Or a new even worse design that gives a homeowner what they think they want despite it not fitting or working well in their space might lower the value of their home.

Knowing what designs are good choices and what doesn’t work are often not obvious to homeowners. If fact many homeowners want to implement designs they thought of themselves even when we explain why they are poor choices. Or they want to keep the present terrible design because it is what they know.

At Main Line Kitchen Design we believe our first obligation is to at least show our customers better designs than what they might ask for. It wouldn’t be ethical or professional in our opinion to simply implement a design a customer asked for if there were better designs or design improvements we felt that they needed to see. Of course they can buy the kitchen they envisioned after seeing what we recommend, so long as it isn’t dangerous. But working together and having a professional kitchen designer critique different designs usually leads to sensible compromises that customers appreciate. Especially after the dust settles and they begin cooking and living in their new kitchen.

Below is our generalized list of the top ROI’s we see on kitchen renovations. Notice that high end appliances, quartz countertops, custom cabinetry, and gadgets don’t appear.

Top ten ROI ‘s for a Kitchen Renovation:

  1. Working with a talented and experienced kitchen designer
  2. Removing a soffit
  3. Removing a wall separating the dining room and the kitchen in smaller homes
  4. Going to the ceiling with molding
  5. Upgrading cabinets to all plywood construction
  6. Upgrading to soft close dovetail drawers and soft close doors
  7. Building the refrigerator into cabinetry
  8. Double trash pull out next to sink
  9. Recessed door style
  10. Large single bowl sink

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Main Line Kitchen Design wishes everyone a happy Mothers Day and as always a hearty – BON APPETITE!

Paul, Julie, Ed, John, Tom and Stacia

Main Line Kitchen Design

To Celebrate Mother’s Day we are rerunning one of my favorite blogs. We are also reducing our measure deposit to $100. Simply give the promo code MOM when scheduling your measure.

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Blog first posted January 1, 2018

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Kitchens are where many of our memories take place. Even the simplest kitchen will host some of our best times and the warmest memories of friends and family. Here is a story written by my mother who passed away this fall about the simplest of kitchens and the happiness that she remembered there.

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.

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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”.

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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.

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

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Jean McAlary passed away in October, but the little boy under the sink still loves kitchens and is of course the founder of Main Line Kitchen Design.

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Hoping all our kitchens bring our customers the kind of joyful memories my mother’s 1960 kitchen brought her.

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And as Julia Child who passed 17 years ago said  …

Bon Appetit!

Paul

The 14th Annual Ardmore Library Kitchen Tour is taking place on Sunday, April 28th.  Main Line Kitchen Design is delighted and honored to support this very worthy local cause.  This year, we will be featuring two kitchens and annual attendees will again meet my wife, Julie Meyer, at one of them. 

Both Julie and the kitchen she’ll be hosting, this year, have a special story.  It all began three years ago when Julie hosted this kitchen by Main Line Kitchen Design.


As she will again this year, Julie, enthusiastically and more expertly than I anticipated, answered hundreds of questions about the process of working with our team on a project like this one.  Participants in this year’s tour will see one that began in the kitchen above!

This year’s kitchen – the one that began on an Ardmore Library tour, is an exciting example of what’s possible with open collaboration between homeowners, contractors and kitchen designers.  In this case, the collaboration was so successful, that the kitchen has also been entered in local and national design competitions.  The local awards will be announced shortly before the tour.  Stop by to see if we have a trophy on display!



This kitchen is also an good example of how the kitchen renovation process often differs from what homeowner’s expect.  When Bob and Gail met Julie, they had been considering renovating their kitchen for years.  Bob even had a  10+ page document of all their needs, wants and ideas.  Julie emphasized that the first steps of Main Line Kitchen’s design process involve the designers measuring and presenting an independent initial design based on best use of the space at hand. 

Bob and Gail set up their measure and initial consultation within days of their Library Kitchen Tour.  When I came out to measure, Bob had a copy of his notes and design ideas including a home addition for me to consider as I prepared their initial designs.  This is where the first unexpected part of the process differed from what Bob and Gail expected . . .

I didn’t take the list.  Bob gently urged me to keep it to consider as I prepared their designs but I reiterated I would not look at it at this stage in the process.  The first design any Main Line Kitchen Design customer receives represents the best use of the space we are considering.  That way, every customer can better understand what they will give up to incorporate a particular feature or appliance. 


Original Kitchen

While I left the copy of the list with Bob and Gail, I did tell them that, in addition to doing our starting ‘best use of space design’, I’d also prepare a preliminary design including an addition which was one of the design ideas Bob had mentioned his notes contained.  I also told them the other design I’d have for them involved no addition and combining the kitchen and dining room, which would save them $40,000 on the project.   

Despite the sizable savings, Bob and Gail insisted I shouldn’t bother with a design that combined the kitchen and dining room.  And once again, suggested I take their notes so as to provide them with the kitchen remodel they intended to proceed with. 

I left without the list at which point Bob lamented ‘You’re nothing like Julie’.  Which, of course, is why you will meet Julie on the Library Tour.  But she’s the first one to tell you, you’re in better hands with me designing your kitchen. 

A week later, Bob and Gail had their first meeting in our offices.  I began the meeting by suggesting we take a minute to see the 3D renderings of the kitchen they didn’t want – combined with the dining room.  Bob and Gail reconfirmed they had no interest in this approach.  I countered with ‘Since it’s $40,000 less and I spent an hour working on it, let’s just look at it for a minute.’

Reluctantly, they allowed me to put it on the screen for them.  Are you ready for the next unexpected part of the process that differed from what Bob and Gail expected . . .

They liked the design option with the combined kitchen and dining room. “It’s beautiful!  Is the cost really $40,000 less than an addition?” they reacted.  When I assured them it would save at least that much, Bob responded – to the design that he had told me would be a waste of time to work on, “Then we should get this design.”

My response was “Let’s look at the design with the addition and compare.”  Bob and Gail thought they were set but agreed to see their original request to humor me. 

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Kitchen Addition in Progress

The second design went on the large screen for their consideration.  “This design with the addition is much better!” Bob exclaimed.  He continued, “It’s not the addition I had planned – you moved the whole back of the house back.  Can we really do that for just $40,000 more?”

Bob and Gail’s remodel began with this second design.  Main Line Kitchen Design blog readers have learned that designers who provide customers with what they say they want are actually short changing them by not doing a bit of extra work to demonstrate what is possible. 

Bob and Gail had at least 6 more two hour meetings with me during which we evaluated how we could accommodate each of the needs, wants and design ideas Bob and Gail had developed over the years.  During the weeks in which we finalized their design, they shopped for their countertop, flooring, backsplash, lighting, appliances and even the dishware and glassware the planned to use in their dream kitchen. 


Months later – yes, months, all of their hard work and “willingness” to consider different viewpoints on the project resulted in . . .  Well, you be the judge.  We think it’s a fantastic kitchen and are looking forward to having you visit it on April 28. 

Finished Kitchen with addition

In closing, thanks to the Ardmore Library Kitchen Tour for including our kitchens each year.  Thanks to Julie for preparing tour participants for aspects of the design process like our designers considering customers’ ideas after preparing initial designs.  Thanks to our builder, Mark Veiera, whose craftsmanship and meticulous supervision provided workmanship that further enhanced Bob and Gail’s visions. 

And, most of all, thanks to Bob and Gail who were both an absolute pleasure to work with and whose ideas and hard work made their kitchen as beautiful as it.  Hoping you can make the tour and, as this kitchen almost demands . . .

Bon Appetit!

Customers often ask us whether they can donate or sell their old but in good condition cabinets, appliances, and fixtures. The answer is a most definite YES!

 

For clients that would like to recycle and not waste materials that others might want, donating these lightly used materials to Habitat for Humanity is a great idea.

Link to donate to Habitat for Humanity

Habitat advises that they accept 8 types of construction materials. Even cabinet hardware that is in good condition they can resell to help finance their organization. Keep in mid though that all materials must be in very good condition. Ask your kitchen designer if he or she thinks your materials meet Habitat’s donation criteria.

 

Here are the three most popular donations with notes from Habitat:

1. Sinks, toilets and bathtubs
Donating is a great way to keep these bulky items out of the landfill. If you’re donating a bathtub or sink, make sure that they are not stained and do not have chips in the porcelain. If you are remodeling an older bathroom, your vintage fixtures will be surprisingly popular at the local architectural salvage store.

2. Cabinets
Remodeling a kitchen often means replacing kitchen cabinets. Luckily, someone else may want those kitchen cabinets you remove, and recycling them will cut down on construction waste. Kitchen cabinets should be in good working order: Check to make sure that the drawer pulls work, and keep the doors and drawers together when you donate them.

3. Working appliances
You also can donate working appliances like stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers* and washing machines. They need to be clean and in good working order. Many organizations will help these appliances find a new home, including Habitat for Humanity, home salvage shops, and secondhand stores like The Salvation Army and Goodwill.

 

Even if your cabinetry, countertops, appliances, and fixtures don’t meet the standard needed to donate them to Habitat, The Salvation Army or other charities this most certainly DOES NOT mean that they couldn’t be sold on Craigs List. Link Here In fact people will buy almost any of these items if they are simply in working order and the price is right.

So if you would like to be charitable and see your materials reused, simply set the price low for these materials.

Or if you would like to add to your kitchen renovation budget set the price a little higher.

 

Hoping your new kitchen is everything you dreamed and MORE!

And of course . . .

Bon Appetit!

Main Line Kitchen Design

At Main Line Kitchen Design ninety percent of our customers come to us believing that they know the kitchen design that they would like. Customers are confident that they just need to shop around for cabinet lines, styles, and colors. Surprisingly the vast majority of our customers end up getting very different designs than what they asked us for initially. Why? The answer might surprise you!

 

It’s because we don’t do the designs our customers ask for in the initial design we present to them.

When customers tie the hands of the professionals helping them with pre-selected layouts, appliances, and colors they will never see the best designs for their kitchen and will probably pay more than they needed to for their renovation. If the kitchen design professional measures and works on redesigning a kitchen space independent of the clients initial wishes customers often select those designs or ones close to them.  Additionally because customers don’t realize that subtle color and style changes can reduce cabinetry costs significantly designers can save money making small compromises in color or style to free up other money.

The common consumer strategy of asking 3 different kitchen designers at three different cabinet dealers to price out a layout not done by an expert in three separate cabinet lines usually results in  making poor choices beyond just the kitchen design.

I advise customers to treat selecting a cabinet dealership and their kitchen designer like they would selecting an auto mechanic. You want to hear the mechanics advice and you want to shop for the garage that gets the best reviews and that customers recommend for reasonable pricing and good service. You don’t want to tell the mechanic what to do without his or her input and I always let the mechanic recommend the parts and manufacturer they think best serves my needs. This way I take advantage of the expertise of the professional who has spent a lifetime learning their trade.

At Main Line Kitchen Design all our designers are instructed to do their first designs to achieve the best kitchen possible within a customers budget. Even if they have to ignore requests made by the customer.  There is always time to make the changes that our customer wants. We know from experience that compromise and collaboration is what creates the designs people love most. And that just giving customers what they ask for is the easy and less professional path.

 

 

Hoping your kitchen designer is brave enough to show you beyond what you ask for.

 

and as always . . .

 

Bon Appetite!

 

Paul

 

 

Kosher kitchens are an interesting meeting between very specific traditions and what can be accomplished with technology to make adhering to those traditions more convenient and the resulting kitchens still efficient and easy to work in.

Generallythe kitchen design process is  about making tradeoffs between the pros and cons of each of the design elements. As all Main Line Kitchen Design customers learn, creating the best kitchen designs requires both customers and their designers to be flexible about wish lists such as giving up some positive aspects or desires to gain better designs or to save money for other splurges.

 

Kosher kitchens add additional requirements to designing a kitchen that limit what tradeoffs are possible. This generally makes designing a kosher kitchen more of a challenge, particularly for less experienced designers. Over the past few years, new material and fixture choices, and high tech appliances with Sabbath mode settings and other conveniences have made designing a great kosher kitchens easier for kitchen designers familiar with the newest products and materials.

 

The web site Star-K is a wonderful resource for designers and homeowners planning a kosher kitchen. Star-K explains the strictest interpretations of kosher rules and guidelines, and helps in evaluating the newest Sabbath mode appliances. Keep in mind when using Star-K that, even the most orthodox Rabbis sometimes have different opinions on what materials can be considered kosher. Accordingly, we recommend checking with your Rabbi if you are considering using Quartz or Corian countertops, dishwasher drawers, or other surfaces, fixtures, or appliances that can fall into a grey area on the kosher scale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following appliance innovations further demonstrate this fascinating meeting between technology and tradition:

 

Refrigerator/Freezer Doors placed in Sabbath Mode that:

  1. will not cause circulation fans to go on/off. (kosher)
  2. will not activate any tones or digital readouts. (kosher)
  3. will not affect defrost cycle.  (kosher)
  4. will not turn on interior appliance lights. (kosher)
  5. pause automatic ice makers. (kosher).

 

Sabbath Mode Ovens 

While very popular are in the kosher grey area. Many Sabbath Mode Ovens will do a vast array of  anything you preprogram them for but most of these amazing conveniences do not meet the strict criteria of Star-K and other orthodox rabbinical groups. As a result, simpler and less automated ranges are the most appropriate when considering the strictest halachic concerns.

 

Being a kitchen designer means designing great kitchens for all your customers. Our job is not to determine the style of our customers’ kitchen. It is to help them implement their style whether it is simple Modern or ornate French Country. With kosher kitchens, our job also is to understand the level of compliance our customers and their Rabbis are comfortable with and to design within those boundaries.

 

Hoping your kitchen designer places your style and preferences above their own in helping you create a great kitchen together.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR 

. . . and of course . .

Bon Appetite!

 

Paul, Julie, Ed, John, Stacia, and Tom

Main Line Kitchen Design

 

 


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