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As we approach what is going to be an unusual Thanksgiving, my wife and I have been reflecting on a number of past Turkey Days. Our most vivid memories often include Main Line Kitchen Design, cooking, home repair, and Thanksgiving destinations.

First to give readers a little background, both our marriage and Main Line Kitchen Design began the same year. My wife and I took on the challenge of integrating me as a new stepdad to her teenagers, and starting a business at the same time. Both took lots of work and love. Now, ten plus years later, we reflect almost every day on how lucky we are.

Typical Holiday meal prepared by Paul 🙂

One of our first Thanksgivings together was actually before we were married. I was to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for my future wife and her children in their home. While my wife ran holiday errands, I prepared an elaborate meal. In between my cooking duties, I did a some minor home repair assuming that my home repair skills would be as appreciated as my cooking prowess.

During my repairs, I needed to turn off the main circuit breaker to her home. Calamitously, the breaker broke, and replacing it required opening the electric meter and a licensed electrician. Without the repair we would be without heat, electric, and a stove on Thanksgiving! My wife returned home from her errands to find her daughter, Riesling, waiting by the front door to report that “Paul broke the house!”

Everything worked out in the end. We found an electrician willing to come on a Thanksgiving morning and make the repair. He left with our thanks, a huge tip, and an apple pie. “Paul broke the house” is now a family inside joke and we keep that circuit breaker along with other “less formal” tangible mementoes in my great-grandmothers crystal bowl.

Great Grandmother never intended her bowl for this!

Another Thanksgiving soon after we were married pitted myself against the rest of the family when my wife and Riesling picked up a special turkey from a farmers market. Due to extended shopping after the turkey pick up, there was a debate on how long a fresh turkey could sit in a car on top of an ice pack and remain safe to eat. The argument was settled when I threw the 23 pound turkey in the trash. No holiday meal now goes by without referencing that famous turkey and contrasting how delicious it was sure to have been, with whatever’s on this years menu.

Main Line Kitchen Design’s second office opening.

On two other Thanksgivings, my wife and I devoted the extended holiday weekend to setting up new offices for Main Line Kitchen Design. We built displays, hooked up electronics, and installed flooring and countertops. Sore and famished, we particularly enjoyed our holiday meals at outstanding local restaurants.

Now that the “kids” are grown, their Thanksgivings are sometimes spent with significant others and their families.

Chateau Frontenac our hotel in Quebec City

We use these “two of us” Thanksgivings to travel. One year we played Duplicate Bridge in broken French followed by a Thanksgiving dinner in Quebec City. We’ve hiked glaciers, explored caves, and sat in thermal baths in Iceland before enjoying a Thanksgiving gourmet chef’s tasting and wine pairing in Reykjavik.

Wheres The President
Paul emerging from glacier

This Thanksgiving will be memorable too. We will stay at home and I’ll cook just for two. We will see our family on Zoom and play our weekly game of Quiplash. Knowing that we are all being safe will help us persevere to better times.

Wishing all our customers and readers the the happiest of Thanksgivings. Please stay safe. Don’t “break the house!” . . and of course . . .

Bon Appetit!

Paul and Julie

If you enjoyed this Thanksgiving blog here are two other similar ones:

Main Line Kitchen Design can but usually doesn’t act as a Design and Build company. While we are capable of supervising a kitchen renovation, we believe that kitchen renovations run smoothly and are the best value to the client when the experts in each part of a complex renovation focus on their area of expertise. Because of this we normally recommend general contractors to our customers who can supervise every detail of their kitchen renovation. Or we will work with a general contractor the customer knows. Working with a new builder can expand our contractor base and be beneficial to everyone.

Kitchen designed By Main Line Kitchen Design and Installed by Third Generation Contracting

Under this plan Main Line Kitchen Design would do all the design work needed and sell cabinets, countertops and sometimes hardware to our customer but the day to day decisions during the renovation would be handled directly by the people on the job site daily. Namely the customer and the general contractor. Jobs tend to run smoothly this way and the customer saves the added cost of making the kitchen company responsible for their renovation. Most kitchen companies would simply sub out the renovation to a general contractor and charge an additional 20 percent for this responsibility.

Home centers like The Home Depot and Lowes charge up to 35% over what the contractors charge them. Ironically even though home centers charge a higher percentage they do not become involved in the instillation unless there are problems, and their employees don’t normally have any experience in the work they are charging the higher percentage for.

Over my many years in the kitchen renovation industry working first as a builder and a general contractor, before becoming a full time kitchen designer, I have found that most design and build firms don’t add value to the project. You can not be an expert in all things and so most design and build firms excel at building but their talents are lacking as designers. Paying a firm more money to supervise what they aren’t great at makes little sense.

Separating the design phase and cabinetry and countertop purchasing from the construction saves the home owner the 20 to 35% in additional charges and allows everyone to do what they do best without added middle men.

Main Line Kitchen Design uses this same philosophy for the other materials our customers need to purchase. And so we pass on our discounts at appliance, flooring, lighting, and tile companies and have clients work directly with expert sales people in each area.

Spending less to get a better designed and better installed project make sense for everyone! Please examine our portfolio of award wining kitchen renovations and see if you don’t agree. LINK HERE

Paul McAlary

The drawings and designs produced by kitchen designers are considered the intellectual property of the design firm. Watching the funny video below will help you understand the kitchen designer’s perspective.

The work required to do the preliminary designs for a customer’s kitchen usually requires at least 8 hours of the designers time. This includes measuring the customers home, creating the designs in 20-20 CAD and then, during Covid-19, Zooming with the customer for one long or two shorter appointments. During these appointments designers make design changes and give detailed estimates on the cost of cabinetry, countertops, appliances, and other materials as well as a budget for construction costs. Customers may also want to visit our offices to review cabinet lines, door styles, and finishes.

All the work that the designers do to get to this point is included in Main Line Kitchen Design’s initial $150 deposit.

After showing a customer these designs and pricing out their kitchen in detail if customer wants to proceed and pay our second $350 deposit then we will give them copies of our designs and have more appointments helping them make selections and additional changes. We give the customer our work product as a good faith gesture under the assumption that the customer will be buying cabinetry from us. The total $500 that the customer pays in deposits is credited towards the cabinetry upon ordering.

However paying the $500 does not pay for the designers time, the companies overhead, or the designer’s expertise. Customers that have many appointments working with their designer only to take their drawings and buy cabinetry from someplace else are taking advantage and stealing the intellectual property of the company that designed their kitchen. They have also bought a kitchen from someone lacking integrity who was not present for any of the conversations and considerations that produced the design. This is a recipe for disaster.

As the funny video above points out some professions lend themselves to being taken advantage of while others do not.

We look forward to helping our clients with the creative and detailed planning that goes into a complex kitchen renovation. If we respect the each other and the work we do together the end result is always one that makes everyone involved feel proud.

Stay safe, please vote, and of course . . .

. . . Bon Appetit!


Over the last 10 years Main Line kitchen design has offered coupons on such sites as Yelp, Angie’s List, Local Saver, Groupon, Living Social, Home Adviser, and many other places. Surprisingly, only a few customers have ever used these coupons when purchasing a kitchen.

Customers working with Main Line Kitchen Design are also given discounts at appliance, countertop, flooring, tile, lighting and other retailers. By simply speaking with the appropriate sales people at selected stores, our customers can receive discounts of 5, 10, 15 and even up to 30% on some materials. Not only do these salespeople offer our customers discounts but they are experts in their fields and can assist customers coordinating their selections. These knowledgeable sales specialists can prevent mistakes and steer customers to better values. Yet the majority of our customers don’t take advantage of these opportunities.

Kitchen designer

Customers often ask our designers directly for discounts but this is different than availing themselves of the coupons and discounts that we have prearranged. Asking for a discount at a Kohl’s or Bed Bath and Beyond without a coupon would seem silly. The cashier can help you find the coupon but you don’t negotiate with them for a better price. Our designer’s feel similarly perplexed when customers want better pricing on our already very competitively priced cabinetry simply by asking.

So please take a moment and search online for a Main Line Kitchen Design coupon. We would love to give you a prearranged discount. And once you are working with a designer we encourage you to take advantage of our network of expert salespeople that will give you great advice and discounts if you work with them as well.

Stay safe, be well . . . and of course . .

Bon Appetite!

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

Main Line Kitchen Design

Construction changes are by far the best investments when you are renovating a kitchen. Surprisingly, these investments are usually considered last by home owners who chose instead cabinet, appliance, and countertop upgrades. While those upgrades can be nice and add some value to a kitchen renovation project they pale in comparison to the investment rewards that removing a wall, moving a doorway or enlarging or moving a window can add to a homes net worth.

Kitchen Renovation

Homeowners can focus on color selections such as getting a custom Dove White painted finish over an Egg Shell finish. Or choosing a Navy Blue finish over a more common Gray. These type of color upgrades often cost several thousand dollars. Selecting professional appliances such as a Sub Zero refrigerator and a Wolf cooktop or range would cost at least 8 thousand dollars more than selecting a GE profile slide-in range and counter depth refrigerator.

KBIS 2016 9
KBIS 2016

The eight thousand dollars difference could pay for ALL the following construction changes: Removing a load bearing wall, moving gas and plumbing lines, enlarging and lowering a window, and adding patio doors. Any one of those changes, and certainly all of them, would transform a home. While the appliance upgrades would be nice the construction changes could make a home tens of thousands of dollars more valuable than others in that neighborhood.

Kitchen that removed walls and added windows and doors
Kitchen that removed walls and added windows and doors

Unfortunately homeowners, real estate agents and contractors have a hard time envisioning design changes and often fight changes believing that they are not needed and are too troublesome and expensive. And when you can’t envision a kitchen transformed by radical design improvements you focus on what you can envision. Colors and material upgrades.

Paul and Doug
Paul McAlary and Doug Mottershead explain why you need a kitchen designer.

This is why Main Line Kitchen Design INSISTS on showing our customers design changes first. Even when customers fight us, insisting it isn’t what they want. We know that over 75% of our customers choose very different kitchen designs than they originally planned. So we simply start with the design improvements that the kitchen designer recommends and then change the design into what the customer wants after they have considered ALL of their options.

We don’t make money on design changes and in fact eliminating color, countertop, or cabinet style upgrades COSTS us money. But giving customers a better kitchen for their investment makes everyone happier and helps us earn 5 star reviews and referrals.

Listed below are selected quotes from three Masters who influenced, in their own way, the art of kitchen design.


Julia Child Chef, TV personality and the first woman graduate of Le Cordon Blue

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”

“The only time to eat diet food is when you’re waiting for a steak to cook.”

“I enjoy cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.” Also said by WC Fields

“I was 32 when I started cooking. Up until then, I just ate.”

“A party without cake is just a meeting”

“You’ll never know everything about anything, especially something you love.'”

“How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like kleenex?”

“It is hard to imagine a civilization without onions.”


Pablo Picasso Artist

Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.

Every positive value has its price in negative terms… the genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima.

It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.

Everything you can imagine is real.

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.


Leonardo Da Vinci Artist, Inventor, Engineer.

God sells us all things at the price of labor.

Not to punish evil is equivalent to authorizing it.

One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.


Bishop Beaded Inset Kitchen

Kitchen design is a profession I love. Picasso best expressed the most fundamental rule that applies to kitchen design when he said:

Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

Every accomplished kitchen designer knows that this truth is vital in designing kitchens. Kitchen designers need to learn the rules of our profession and work as designers full time a number of years before we can become even competent at our job.

Most professionals would feel it was arrogant for a non professional to believe they could do THEIR job without training. Yet many people firmly believe that they can design their own kitchen and manage their kitchen renovation without the help of an experienced professional. Often architects, engineers, real estate agents, and contractors believe their limited exposure to kitchen design is sufficient to create a well designed kitchen. Experienced kitchen designers will tell you that the designs we get from these related professions are the worst ones that we see. Because, as the saying goes, “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

I once received a phone call from an attorney who wanted me to price out his design and use his measurements for ordering his kitchen. He told me that he didn’t need a kitchen designer and was fully capable of designing his own kitchen “as it wasn’t rocket science”. I asked him if he had ever heard the joke about a Lawyer who represents himself in court having a fool for an client. He said of course! Well I said, “A lawyer that designs his own kitchen has THAT same fool for a kitchen designer”. He screamed that HE had never been so insulted in all of his life. “Welcome to my world” I replied.

Our designers look forward to helping customers design a great kitchen and not simply selling customers the kitchen they want before getting the professional help that can open their eyes to what’s possible.

We love what we do, which is visible in the kitchens that we create together.

“Bon Appetit!”

Paul McAlary

Fireclay farmhouse sinks and wall mounted pot filler faucets placed over the cooktop are popular higher end kitchen fixtures. They both also come with risks usually never considered by the homeowners and designers that select them.

Delta Pot Filler Faucet
Curlington Farmhouse sink

While there is some risk of damage often associated with many popular kitchen conveniences repairing the damage is usually simple. For example, water damage on painted cabinetry is quite common.

These three kitchen fixtures can cause water damage to cabinetry:

  1. Tilt out trays on the sink base drawer. Homeowners place wet spongers in these tilt outs and over time the drawer front gets wet and the paint peels.
  2. Trash Can Pull Outs. Water get dripped as people throw wet items and recyclables away. Overtime the pull out’s front door can be ruined.
  3. Farmhouse sinks. Water drips down the front of the sink and falls on the cabinet doors below. Over time the paint on the tops of the doors will peel.

The good new is that all the damage from these issues is easily repaired for a few hundred dollars. Furniture re-finishers can repair paint damage or the cabinet doors and drawer fronts can be replaced.

By comparison, these two calamities caused by Pot Filler Faucets and Fireclay farmhouse sinks can cost many thousands of dollars.

Homeowner innocently filling their pot on the cooktop

Imagine the woman above innocently filling her pot when her cell phone rings. She runs to get her phone, says hello, and is greeted by an agitated family member. While trying talk calm her caller, the doorbell chimes and she looks through the window to see a UPS driver needing a signature for the delivery that she has been waiting for. After handling the delivery and calming her family member she returns to her kitchen just 10 minutes later.

The average pot filler will have spilled 40 gallons of water onto the cooktop and floor during those ten minutes. Many types of floors will be ruined by that much water and a finished basement below with carpeting and a pool table could easily add up to ten thousand dollars in damage.

Main Line Kitchen Design recently had a customer assure us that this would never happen to her. Because this was why she was redoing her kitchen now! The potfiller catastrophe had already happened a few months before causing $20,000 in water damage. She assured me that no one in her family would ever make that mistake again. AND SHE LOVED HER POT FILLER and wasn’t having a kitchen without one.

What if the light fixture needs to be replaced over this fireclay farmhouse sink?

Now imagine a homeowner deciding to replace a light fixture or add new window blinds over their fireclay farmhouse sink. While working on their small home improvement project the screw gun or screw driver slips out of their hands. Tools tend to fall point down so the falling tool could puncture or crack a fragile clay farmhouse sink.

The fragility of fireclay farmhouse sinks is also why heavy cast iron pots and pans should never be cleaned in a fireclay sink. Even utensils caught in garbage disposals have been known to make the disposal shake enough to crack a fireclay sink. For this reason Main Line Kitchen Design recommends using cast iron farmhouse sinks and not fireclay. Cast iron sinks can chip but can be easily repaired.

If a fireclay farmhouse sink breaks it is a huge problem. Fireclay sinks are custom cut into the sink cabinet with a solid wood or steel cradle supporting the sink underneath. All the supports as well as all the plumbing below must be taken out to replace the sink because it sits under hundreds of pounds of immovable countertop. And fireclay sinks are never perfectly shaped so the new sink will never fit like the old one. If you can find a contractor willing to preform this complex repair expect his bill to be many times the cost of the expensive new sink.

Print 1331 Medford 14
Award winning Main Line Kitchen Design kitchen with a Pot Filler

Some of Main Line Kitchen Design’s customers still choose potfillers, fireclay farmhouse sinks, and occasionally both. There is no denying that these fixtures can be beautiful and you can see many kitchens with these features on our Houzz page. Link Here.

Part of a kitchen designer’s job is help customers become informed about what they should consider and be careful of. Homeowners should expect their kitchen designer to give them all the information they need, to make the decisions that are right for them.

As this very difficult summer comes to an end we want to wish all our customers and the thousand people a day that read our blogs good health. Please stay safe and of course . . .

Bon Appetit!

Paul Mcalary

President Main Line Kitchen Design

Mark Smith, Industry and Technology teacher from Reed Custer High School shows a novel way to make a better kitchen cabinet. If more kitchen cabinet companies employed people like Mark our industry would be far better off.

In his video Mark acknowledges the superiority of framed versus frameless cabinetry but goes one step further making a truly superior framed cabinet. Notice his design is pocket screwing and gluing the plywood sides of his cabinet into his rabbited face frame. Plus he is using superior frameless hinges on framed cabinetry with his novel back plate for even more stability and strength.

How can so many incredibly expensive cabinet brands with fine furniture finishes and exotic woods types not be using these types of relatively inexpensive and innovative upgrades?

Here are two other blogs that explain the difference between framed and frameless cabinetry and cabinet construction.

In the drive to complete a kitchen renovation before moving into a new home, new home buyers usually end up wasting money, making mistakes, and creating delays. These rushed renovations often finish later than the projects better organized and begun after homeowners move in.

Kitchen demolition

Most kitchens can be renovated in about 6 weeks from start to finish once designs are finalized and a renovation is organized well with everything ordered and coordinated in advance. Homeowners are far happier with the final kitchen if they don’t shortchange themselves in the amount of time it takes to make sensible selections and design considerations. 

It makes sense to start working on a design as soon as possible but don’t attempt rushing. All professional kitchen designers know that the jobs that finish first are never the ones that started first rushing, they are the ones that were organized the best. 

When people tell me horror stories about kitchens that took a year or more to complete I know everyone involved was responsible for making poor decisions. The contractor for encouraging the homeowner to rush instead of giving them sensible advice, The kitchen designer for undertaking such a poorly planned project. And the homeowner for  changing their minds a dozen or more times because they didn’t make wise choices shooting from the hip. 

Kitchen remodel complete

If you are a new home owner and would like to begin working on your kitchen renovation project now we would love to help you. Most existing kitchens are OK to live with temporarily, and if you move in first and begin the project when it makes sense to start you will actually avoid undo stress. You will also save time and money, and get a kitchen that you know you love before the work begins and marvel at every day after it’s done.

Click on photo to see great kitchens.

Congratulations on your new home

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

Main Line Kitchen Design

Kitchen renovations are complex. This is why it can take a professional kitchen designer a decade of working full time to become good at their job. Below is our test to determine your kitchen design and renovation IQ.

What’s your Kitchen IQ?

Answer the following ten True or False questions. Get 9 or 10 correct and you are a kitchen genius and Albert would be proud of you!

  1. Kitchens need to be gutted and any walls removed before measurements can be taken to order cabinetry. True or False?
  2. Granite and engineered quartz countertops are OK to put a hot pot on. True or False?
  3. If your ceiling is 8 feet high then the largest wall cabinets you can use are 42″ high. True or False?
  4. Your contractor should supply the measurements to the kitchen designer and cabinet dealer. True or False?
  5. Painted cabinets are more easily damaged by water and chipping. This is why it is important to get more expensive cabinetry when you want a painted finish. True or False?
  6. It is important to find cabinets that are Carb 2 compliant and meet off gassing standards. True or False?
  7. For less expensive cabinets, getting cabinets made in the United States is a valuable upgrade. True or False?
  8. Solid wood doors on a slab style stained wood door is important in order to get the nicest looking doors. True or False?
  9. Stopping by a showroom to see what they have is a good place to start before considering a kitchen renovation. True or False?
  10. Researching to find a kitchen designer that can make your dream a reality is always worth the effort. True or False?

Find out your score and your kitchen design and renovation IQ at link below:

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