Main Line Kitchen Design
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Kitchen designers should first consider the 30 plus National Kitchen and Bath Association  guidelines when designing a kitchen.

After doing that the best designers know the simple tips below. Inexperienced designers, architects, interior designers, and home owners usually do not. This is just the tip of the ice berg for good kitchen design.

1 ) Never leave crown moldings closer than 9 inches from a ceiling. Once you get within a foot of the ceiling you should have the cabinetry and molding meet ceiling. Don’t create spaces that look odd and that can’t be cleaned.

Molding too close to ceiling without reaching it.

 

2 ) Professionals avoid corner sinks and equal sized double bowl sinks because they create such dysfunctional designs.

3 ) Keep cabinetry the same distance away from each side of a window.

4 ) Keep cabinet doors the same size and on either side of a window, sink or cooktop.

Cabinet doors on either side of the window are different sizes. Notice the other mistakes like the distance from the wall cabinets to the window is different on each side of the window and the crown molding is too close to the ceiling.

 

5 ) Some cabinet door styles or colors are so unpopular they that destroy the value of a home. Arched wall cabinet doors or golden oak stained kitchens are home value detractors. Pickled pinkish stain and white raised panel plastic Thermafoil cabinets are also home value killers.

6 ) Never run cabinets all the way to the ceiling without a two piece crown molding or a solid wood spacer. Ceilings are never level and there needs to be some way to disguise this.

7 ) Never put 8 feet of cabinetry in an 8 foot space. Professional kitchen designers know that walls are out of plumb or have bulges and that you can NEVER completely fill a space with whole cabinets. Fillers allow designers to make the adjustments that make a kitchen look right.

8 ) Good designers almost never use 42″ high wall cabinets. Builders and amateurs use this height to maximize cabinetry not realizing that the higher height looks out of proportion and gives little added space benefit. Cabinetry doors look best when their size is closer to The Golden Ratio. Good designers will stack cabinets with small cabinet doors on top to avoid overly tall wall cabinets.

42″ Wall Cabinets. Don’t they look silly so tall?

 

9 ) Always upgrade to all plywood construction or at the very least make every exposed surface real plywood. Particle board cabinets have plastic pictures of wood on their sides that discolor and peal quickly.

10 ) Highly grained man made quartz and Corian countertop patterns such as the beautiful Cambria Brittanica can not be seamed inconspicuously. These type patterns only work on tops without seams.

Cambria Brittanica countertop

 

11 ) Never start even the demolition on a job without a completed design plan finalized. NO time is EVER saved rushing. When contractors know what the complete project entails costs are lowered and the job runs smoothly.

The people that finish first are never the ones that started first they are the ones that planned to completion first and then started. When you hear a story about a kitchen that took 6 months or a year this was the fault of the unprofessional people organizing the job.

12 ) How much cabinets cost has little to do with their durability and more to do with the cabinet lines ability to customize. Doing a simplistic design or finish in a very popular door style like a shaker style in an expensive cabinet line is often just throwing money away.

13 ) Higher price level stone and man made tops, are not more durable, they cost more because of their color and pattern. In fact the higher level tops while beautiful may require more maintenance or be hard too seam.

14 ) The first constructive step in starting a kitchen project is having a professional kitchen designer measure the space. Any design work or material selections made prior to a professional kitchen designer measuring is inefficient and can lead to frustrations when surprises and problems are revealed to you by someone with more knowledge and experience .

15) The best kitchen designers will not ask for the the design you want. They will show you designs that make sense for your space and that you should at least consider. You can make changes from there to arrive at the kitchen that you want after considering what a profesional would do with your space. Saving money on material selections will make almost any design affordable. So keeping a layout the same ALMOST NEVER makes sense. It is the design itself that gives value to your home. Upgrading to professional appliances or custom styles and colors can be beautiful but the added expense is wasted if the design itself is poor.

Designers that give customers what they think that they want without at least showing them what’s possible are taking the easy road and the final kitchen always suffers.

Close up of the kitchen range and vent on the island

Main Line Kitchen Design 2014 CotY Award winner

 

Wishing all our customers a relaxing and enjoyable summer. And of course…

Bon Appetit!

Paul, Julie, Tom, John and Ed

Main Line Kitchen Design.

 

Most homeowners research cabinet lines before selecting the line they will buy. Unfortunately sometimes little research goes into selecting the dealer and kitchen designer that they will buy from. And the later can be more important than the former. Here’s why.

If you select a good cabinet dealer and an ethical kitchen designer they should give you the vital information that you need to select the cabinet line that is the best fit for you. The best kitchen cabinet dealers also carry cabinet lines that are well made and of good value. Being a knowledgeable dealer means selecting the cabinet lines that you believe will offer the best construction, styles and finishes to your customers for the best price.

Unfortunately many cabinet dealers either don’t know much about cabinetry or don’t have home owners best interests at heart. For example, if a dealer’s primary business is selling directly to contractors and builders then they will carry the cabinet lines that contractors prefer. IE cheap, less durable cabinetry with more flash than quality. This is because spending extra money for better cabinet construction is something most builders are not willing to do unless the cabinetry is for their own homes.

About half of all cabinet dealers focus on getting and retaining commercial customers. And this makes sense for them. Contractors are repeat customers and selling to them and to new home builders is the easiest market to sell to. Kitchen design is less valued among these customers so less design expertise is needed to sell to them. Often just giving architects and builders the cheapest cabinet that looks good and taking them golfing is a recipe for success.

For home owners and for the contractors that value construction quality, selecting a cabinet dealer that specializes in selling to consumers is usually the better choice. By selling directly to homeowners confusion concerning orders is reduced and there is not a middleman between the dealer and the end user. This is why Main Line Kitchen Design chooses to sell directly to homeowners.

Selecting a dealer that is financially stable with a great reputation and working with a talented kitchen designer with many years experience is also essential. Savvy customers should do a google search of the dealers and designers they are considering. Do they get good reviews? Are they registered with the Better Business Bureau? Do they have outstanding complaints?

Look on the Houzz.com page of any kitchen cabinet dealer you are considering. Legitimate companies will have many of their projects posted for you to review and evaluate. Are their kitchens attractive? Do they have odd or out of place design features? Remember companies will be posting only their best work. So posting odd kitchens is a bad sign.

Reading the bad reviews a company gets can be telling. Do the customers who complain seem to have a valid problem or do they seem a little nutty? Did the company you are considering address the complaint in a satisfactory way?

Does the company you are considering insist on measuring your kitchen? Good companies will insist on this while poor ones will take any measurements simply to expedite a sale.

Big sales on cabinetry with expiration dates are a bad sign. Reputable kitchen dealers should always be offering their best price. So big sales mean inflating prices to begin with which is dishonest. And pressuring customers to order complicated kitchen projects possibly before they are completely planned out and selections soberly considered is irresponsible. A kitchen is not a toaster. Selling kitchen projects like they are shows incompetence and a disregard for your customer’s best interest.

These considerations are possibly more important than researching cabinet lines but can be overlooked by consumers.

Hoping you do all your research.

And as always…

Bon Appetit!

Paul, Tom, Ed, John and Julie

Main Line Kitchen Design

 

 

We Discuss Whether or Not HGTV Remodeling Shows Are Realistic

If you ask almost any kitchen design professional they will immediately shout NO!

In fact on Linkedin kitchen forums and at industry events nearly all kitchen designers and remodelers routinely complain about how misleading HGTV renovation shows are.  Professionals believe that these shows make our lives harder.

PBS shows like This Old House or Hometime are factual and try to give accurate and interesting glimpses into renovations. Conversely HGTV cares very little if anything about accuracy. Their renovation shows are reality television created to garner ratings. It frustrates real professionals when our customers bring up things they have seen on HGTV. For example customers will often believe they know the correct way to do something, what a realistic time line might be,  the cost of a project, and the possible calamities that might befall a project all from the over dramatic and fact free shows they have enjoyed on HGTV.

Nearly every HGTV remodeling show will have a “Construction Surprise” during the remodeling project. The TV personality (show hosts are not real renovation professionals who remodel homes when not on TV) will tell the homeowners something like “I’m so sorry Bob and Jean but this turns out to be a load bearing wall and it will cost $5000 extra to remove it.” Real professionals must determine what is load bearing and what is not before even giving an estimate. When contractors and design professionals know what they are doing surprises almost never happen and if they do they are small ones and inexpensive.

Unfortunately seeing these unprofessional surprises routinely on HGTV  frightens homeowners into believing that their projects might have similar surprises. Unscrupulous contractors can use this misconception to over charge home owners and under bid honest professionals. This is especially frustrating to the knowledgeable pros that bid jobs accurately and stand behind their bids.

Celebrity renovators like Alison Victoria from HGTV’s show Kitchen Crashers are not real. You cannot become an expert designer and renovator 2 years after leaving The University of Nevada Las Vegas with a degree in psychology. Professionals know that it takes at least a decade of experience along with talent to become a competent kitchen designer and to direct remodeling projects. And the information obtained from HGTV is less real than their hosts.

If you enjoy HGTV reality remodels think of them as simply entertainment. Your kitchen designer and general contractor will breath a sigh of relief. And if you hire competent professionals for your kitchen renovation you can expect no HGTV type surprises.

As my favorite TV chef would say at the end of her show …

Bon Appetit!

Paul

 

Viking Range, LLC, the leader in residential kitchen technology, has named Paul McAlary as the March Designer of Distinction

Paul McAlary, president and designer for Main Line Kitchen Design based in Bala Cynwyd, PA is the third monthly winner in the 2017 Viking Kitchen Design Competition. Designers from around the United States are vying for the coveted honor to become the 2017 Viking Designer of the Year.

Viking Award Winning Kitchen

This residential kitchen and bar project was recently completed in Sellersville, Pennsylvania.

Paul describes the project below:

Like many of our designs this project moved the existing kitchen into the former the dining room. It also combined both the kitchen and dining room to create a larger dramatic and less formal space that can be enjoyed on a daily basis instead of on occasional holidays.

At the center of this beautiful and functional kitchen is a Viking professional 48 inch refrigerator and a 48 inch Viking gas range.   The spacious Bishop custom color matched grey and brilliant white Danbury kitchen leads into a distinctive home bar and game room.   Looking out the kitchen window of this elegant home is a view of the pool, gazebo, and a custom tree house.

Along with the distinction, Viking awards the winning monthly designers with $1600 in Viking cookware. And the 2017 Viking Designer of the Year chosen from the monthly winners receives a Viking range valued at over $10,000.

Julie Meyer, Paul’s wife and an integral part of Main Line Kitchen Design has plans for the Viking Cookware. But having seen some of the other winning designs from around the US, winning the Viking Range will be a challenge. Ossy Kim a Las Vegas kitchen designer and the February Designer of Distinction has a particularly striking kitchen.

Below is a link to past winner’s kitchen:

http://www.vikingrange.com/consumer/category/design/viking-kitchen-design-competition

 

 

 

A good kitchen designer nudges customers towards better designs & investments in their kitchen

Otherwise upon the completion of a kitchen renovation home owners could find themselves regretting some of their decisions. Below is a short conversion on this topic between Doug Mottershead CKD of McHale’s Kitchen and Bath and Paul of Main Line Kitchen Design. Both Doug and Paul are minor celebrities in the kitchen design world.

Before joining McHale’s 15 years ago Doug was the highest selling and highest paid kitchen designer in the entire Lowes Home Improvement chain as well as the first kitchen designer at The Home Depot to break the million dollar mark in sales. Doug’s creativity, knowledge, and his astounding amount of patience are what helped place him above all 10,000 other home center kitchen designers.

In print, speeches and online Paul’s advocacy for good design and most importantly safe design has produced strong reactions within the kitchen design community. His holding kitchen designers, trade magazines, and the National Kitchen and Bath Association to ethical standards generates mixed emotions from many professionals. Consequently, Paul’s presentation entitled Murder by Kitchen Design can illicit as many laughs as sour faces when he speaks to kitchen designers and general contractors.

Hoping you have no regrets when you renovate your kitchen . . .

and of course . . .

Bon Appetit!

Main Line Kitchen Design

We believe the best resource for unbiased information on appliances is Yale Appliances located in New England

The Yale web site supplies PDF tutorials on a vast range of appliance topics and has insightful blogs that honestly appraise new trends in the appliance market. We trust Yale’s evaluations above less reliable information from Consumer Reports and JD Power.

BlueStar-1.jpg

For actually purchasing appliances we advise using local suppliers as any problems or damages during shipping or delivery can be more easily addressed. Kieffer’s Appliances in Lansdale PA is the local appliance dealer we like the most. Main Line Kitchen Design customers working with Kristen at Kieffer’s will receive preferred pricing and she can help coordinate appliances with our designs. Below is her contact information:

Kristen Cossa Outside Sales Representative Kieffer’s Appliances

(215) 852-3910 cell

kristen@kieffers.com email

www.kieffers.com

If customers choose other appliance dealers that’s fine too. Main Line Kitchen Design will assist any appliance dealer in our area.

Here are the links to the website and the blog of Yale Appliances. They originally assembled their PDF’s for employee training purposes and now generously supply them to the world:

https://www.yaleappliance.com/       Main web site for Yale – pay special attention to their Learning Center

http://blog.yaleappliance.com/          Yale blog. What’s new and interesting in Appliances!

http://blog.yaleappliance.com/best-new-appliances-architecture-digest-design-show-2017

 

Hoping your appliances help create the kitchen of your dreams… and as always…

Bon Appetit!

Paul

Main Line Kitchen Design is proud to have two kitchens featured in The Ardmore Library Kitchen Tour

The general contractors on the projects were Jack Gardiner of Third Generation Contracting and Al Panaccio of AD Panaccio Inc. We have worked with both Al and Jack on many projects and they are always a pleasure to collaborate with.

We invite you to join the Ardmore Free Library as it hosts the 2017 “Recipe for Renovation” Kitchen Tour on Sunday, April 23. This library fundraiser presents seven kitchens on the lower Main Line recently renovated by some of the area’s talented kitchen designers, architects, and builders. The kitchens reflect innovative solutions to a host of spatial challenges and demonstrate the stylistic diversity to be found in current kitchen design. Whatever the style, each of the kitchens has eye-catching elements and its own individual character.

Here is a link to information about the tour:

http://www.ardmorekitchentour.org/information/

And here is a preview of each of our featured kitchens:

 

 

 

Hope to see you on the tour, and as always . . .

Bon Appetite!

Main Line Kitchen Design

Main Line Kitchen ranks the best selling cabinets in the US

All the designers that gave us input on the cabinet lines below have greater than 20 years experience in our industry. When possible all construction specifics were double checked on the web sites for each cabinet line.

Main Line kitchen design acknowledges that we are dealers for the following cabinet lines: Wellsford, Bishop, Brighton, Fabuwood, 6 Square, and CNC.  We could be prejudiced towards ranking these lines more favorably, but we have tried to be impartial. However, since the cabinet lines we carry were chosen specifically for their construction quality and value, our ranking them well should not be a surprise. 

Below is our comprehensive list of the top selling cabinet manufacturers in the United States and how they rank for construction quality and  for value considering the price point of each cabinet line. Price point is rated from 1 to 6 with 6 being the most expensive cabinetry on the market.

We rate cabinetry assuming each line is upgraded to the top level of construction available. A grade of A for construction quality will not be equal across different price levels, as the more expensive price point cabinets will have far nicer finishes and construction options.

The value grade we give is not a rating about the quality of the cabinetry but a rating of how good an investment a cabinet line is considering it’s cost. For example, many of the most expensive well made cabinet lines receive lover marks on value even though as designers we think the cabinetry is the best in it’s class. These lines receive lower grades on value simply because there are competitors offering the same quality at slightly lower prices.

Note: The highest grade for Quality in any frameless European style cabinet line is a B. While frameless cabinetry is easier to access and is sleeker looking, it is also less durable than the best made framed cabinetry.

 

Cabinet line                   Price level 1-6     Quality     Value
6 Square 2 B+ B+
American Woodmark 3 B C+
Aristocraft 2 C C
Bertch 4 A A-
Bishop 4 A A-
Bishop Framelss 5 B B+
Bremtown 6 A+ C
Brighton 4 A A+
Brookhaven 4 A B
Cabico 4 B B
Candlelight 4 A A
Canyon Creek 3 B B
CNC 1 B+ A
Collier 5 A B-
Crystal 5 A+ A
Decora 4 A A
Design-Craft 4 B B
Diamond 4 B B
Durasupreme 5 B+ B
Durasupreme frameless 3 C C
Dynasty Frameless 4 B C
Dynasty Pinnacle 5 A B
Fabuwood 2 A A
Fabuwood Frameless 3 B A+
Fieldstone 4 B+ B+
Grabill 6 A+ B
Haas 3 B B
Hanssem 1 ? C
Homecrest 3 B+ B
IKEA (frameless) 1 C C
Innermost framelss 3 B B
Kabinart 3 D D
Kemper 3 B C
Kitchencraft Frameless 3 C B
Kith 2 C C
Kountry Kraft framed 6 A B
Kountry Kraft frameless 6 B B
Kraftmaid 4 A A
Legacy 3 B+ D
LifeArt 1 C+ A
Marsh 6 B B
Medallion 5 B C+
Merillat 2 C D
Mid Continent 2 C C
Mouser 5 A A-
Mouser Frameless 5 B A
Ovation 4 B C
Plain and Fancy 6 A B
Poggenpohl frameless 6 B C
QuakerMaid frameless 4 B B
Rutt 6 A+ A
Schrock 3 B B
Schuler 5 B C+
Shenandoah 3 B C+
Shiloh 3 C C
Showplace 3 B+ B-
Solid Wood Cabinets 1 A A
Starmark 4 B+ B+
Thomasville* 4 B- C-
Timberlake 3 B C+
Ultracraft Frameless 2 C C
Village 5 A A
Waypoint 2 B B
Wellborn 4 A A
Wellsford 5 A+ A+
Wolf 1 B+ B
Wood Harbor 2 C C
Woodmode 5 A+ A
Yorktowne 3 C D

* Note: Home Depot changes who manufactures this line on a regular basis.

Remember that choosing the designer, the cabinet dealer, and the installer you are working with is just as important as the cabinet line.

Below is a more general review of cabinetry from 2015:

2015 Popular Kitchen Cabinetry Brand Comparison.

Hoping you make all the right choices . . . .

and of course . . .

Bon Appetit!

Main Line Kitchen Design

Paul, Ray, Ed, Tom, and Julie

 

 

 

There’s a lot to consider when designing a kitchen

Designing a kitchen well means creatively moving appliances, sinks, cabinetry and even room openings around to promote working in the kitchen while making the design as attractive as possible in the style that your customer prefers. Becoming good at this takes years of experience and an unusually good grasp of spacial relations. Obeying simple design rules like the “kitchen work triangle” between your sink, range, and refrigerator can help avoid the worst floor plans.  But beyond that the primary kitchen design rules are too simplistic to find the great kitchen that is hidden in any particular space.

One of the most important ways I evaluate how well a kitchen is designed is by analyzing how the countertop in the kitchen is likely to be used. Imagine if we were to create a drawing of the shape of your countertop. Next we shaded that drawing from white to red according to how often the countertop was used. If the countertop was used frequently it would be shaded red and if it was hardly ever used it would remain white. Using this technique a well designed kitchen would have pink countertops showing that all the countertop in the kitchen was being used. While a poorly designed kitchen would have a bright red spot between the sink and the range and all the rest of the countertop would be nearly white.

Lets look at two examples.

Example of poor countertop function

Example of poor countertop function. This is most definitely NOT a Main Line Kitchen Design kitchen.

Look carefully at the kitchen in the photo above. Think about how the countertop here will be used. Imagine you are cooking at the cooktop. The countertop both left and right of the cooktop is only 12″ wide and too narrow to stand in front of and cut and chop. In fact the countertop on the left of the cooktop will be covered by the refrigerator door every time it is opened. And when the refrigerator is open the person putting things away or taking them out also won’t be able to use the counter that the door to the refrigerator is covering! The only place to work at or place things conveniently on the countertop close the cook top and refrigerator is the countertop left of the sink. This means as shown in the photo that a drain board or drying area will have be to the right of the sink.  So people working at the sink will also want to use the countertop left of the sink. All the countertop on the peninsula in this kitchen is too far away from someone cooking to be convenient using, and the person at the sink will be forced to bypass the drain board every time they go to the peninsula. The peninsula may get used making sandwiches but it isn’t where you need the greatest amount of top in your kitchen. This kitchen is a perfect example of a poorly designed kitchen. Using the shading technique there would be one bright red area of countertop left of the sink and everywhere else the countertop would either be shaded lightly or not at all.

Now look at a kitchen with a similar amount of countertop designed by Main Line Kitchen Design.

Well designed kitchen with functional countertop arrangement.

This is a well designed kitchen with functional countertop arrangement.

722 Argyle Ave-1

Notice in the kitchen above that the countertop both left and right of the range is wide enough to comfortably work at. The countertop left of the sink has an expanse of countertop that can be worked at and the area right of the sink is not very narrow. The refrigerator is in a separate area with countertop of it’s own, and while when the refrigerator door is open only a portion of the countertop will be covered by the refrigerator door and the peninsula in back of the refrigerator is also close enough to be useful loading and unloading the refrigerator. The peninsula is also serving double duty for the people sitting at the peninsula. Shading this countertop according to how often the countertop will be used will show a completely pink top with some areas slightly darker than others.

Creating this design required closing a window that was formerly above the range, relocating all three of the “kitchen triangle’s” components and removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room. However the added construction costs to make these changes was only about $4,000 and so about 10% of the total cost of the project. Money well spent in my opinion. Some customers will spend that much money just upgrading their range to a professional range or their refrigerator to a Subzero. Those changes while nice have a very limited impact on the overall beauty and function of a kitchen.

Check out our Facebook page to see a slide show of this and other kitchens set to music.

https://www.facebook.com/Main.Line.Kitchen.Design/

Hopping your countertop is “all pink” . . .

and of course . . .

Bon Appetit!

Paul

Let us explain why investing in your kitchen is a great idea< & how to do it/h2>
 

Most people believe they can’t do it or that it will be too expensive.  And, they’re wrong.

It’s almost always doable, usually costs nothing and can even save money.

What IS the best investment your in your new kitchen?  It is changing the lay out!

Barely a day goes by that a customer doesn’t  say to us “I have a small kitchen so there isn’t much that I can do.” or “We are on a budget so we need to keep the layout of our kitchen the same.” Actually, there are many design possibilities with nearly every kitchen and improving the layout costs next to nothing.

Most of our customers don’t realize that just moving a sink, an appliance, or a doorway can dramatically improve an entire kitchen and incur little or no addition construction costs.  A kitchen renovation includes installing flooring, drywall, lighting, cabinetry, backsplash, molding,  fixtures and appliances.  Changing the location of a sink or appliance rarely impacts the total construction costs.  Even moving a doorway which might cost $500 could be offset by design improvements that make the cabinetry more standard and less expensive.

Berwyn PA Kitchen after

Many choices make kitchens expensive but improving the layout is not one of them.   Homeowners  frequently select a doorstyle that is 25% to 40% more than that of a similar less expensive style.  Adding a glaze to cabinetry generally adds 10% or more to the cost.  Higher price level granite, quartz, soapstone, or marble countertops can cost thousands more than similar looking selections that wear equally well.

Upgrading appliances can have the greatest impact on a kitchen budget.  But all these expenses have a very limited effect on what the finished kitchen looks like.  For example, the difference between a stainless steel shallow depth GE profile refrigerator costing $3,000 or a Sub Zero costing $9,000 is barely noticeable.  Good designers want to see you get the most for your money and will suggest similar, less expensive options.

Kitchen Pictures 06152012 008

 

The layout of a kitchen can change an entire home for the better, sometimes increasing the home’s value far more than the cost of the renovation. Even removing a wall which can cost a couple of thousand dollars could save overall costs because it reduces the number of wall cabinets.  If because of the reduced wall space, the design also switches from having a wall oven and cooktop to a range, the reduced price of the appliances and cabinetry saves far more than the cost of removing the wall.

Selecting the doorstyle, finish, countertops, and appliances is the easy part of a kitchen renovation but not the first part.  Layout possibilities, available materials, and many of the details kitchen designers help clients with have the most impact on your happiness with the finished project and the cost.  That is why it is so important to shop for your kitchen designer first, and cabinetry and materials second!

The path to getting the best design and spending a kitchen budget effectively can be elusive.  At Main Line Kitchen Design we look forward to finding and taking that path with you.

All the best, and as Julia said……

Bon Appetit!

Paul

 

 


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