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Main Line Kitchen Design asks the question: “Do crazy kitchens have anything in common?”


I was looking for an unusual topic for this months blog, possibly with a humorous bent, and so I was inspired to try a Google image search for “crazy kitchens”. Not surprisingly there was no shortage of search results. The 6 photos of kitchens below were the oddest and most unusual.


Being a kitchen designer for going on 30 years, I suspected  the results I would find would all share some common traits on top of just being wild looking. Namely:



  1. The kitchens would all be modern, contemporary, or eclectic in style.
  2. The kitchens would use strange and unconventional colors,  I am not labeling them as tasteless, although some critics might.
  3. The kitchens would not be very functional or convenient to work in.
  4. Useful storage would be at a minimum.
  5. They would not obey NKBA (The National Kitchen and Bath Association) guidelines.


Each of the kitchens below do in fact have these characteristics in common.


How could I predict the offending kitchens would all share these traits? Because the inexperienced people who create the worst kitchens are most often architects and interior designers and these styles and lack of  design considerations are common among those professions.  As the saying goes “A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.”


The worst design offenses for each kitchen are listed below each photo.


Image result for crazy kitchens


No storage areas for food. Improper venting of cooktop. Freezer door hits wall not allowing complete access. Faucet on side of sink ruins work zone. I suspect cabinetry is not being properly supported.


Color Crazy Kitchen


An eclectic mix of cabinetry and appliances that looks ridiculous. Little storage space for food, plates, and glassware. Drawers  on back of island pull out under countertop overhang. Sink and cooktop are too close. Inadequate cooktop ventilation. Sink faces wall with window too high to see out of. Many more issues.


Interior Designs: Chameleon Crazy Kitchen


Sink faces wall with no good work space on either side. Cabinet left of the sink will be ruined by water damage, Refrigerator door sweeps counter left of sink Freezer door hits cabinet. Window and curtains next to cooktop are a fire hazard. Lack of useful storrage. Seating extends into work area. Just curious, why not put the sink in front of one of the windows?



Tasteless mix of color. Sink faces wall. Inconvenient storage. I suspect cabinetry is not properly supported. Venting of cooktop uncertain.


Image result for crazy kitchens


Effective design for a live-alone octopus. For human beings, not so much. The biggest crime here is that the materials for this tiny kitchen exceed $40.000.00 Other issues include once again no venting for cooktop and most of the function issues listed in the previous kitchens.


Image result for crazy kitchens


Why the posts? They are in the way and prevent a decent work area on either side of the cooktop. Refrigerator placement has door hitting counter and everyone going to the refrigerator interferes with the people at the sink and the cooktop. Storage issues, and like all the poor kitchen designs above, this would be a terrible kitchen to work in.


The bathroom above won Best Bathroom  in the 2014 NKBA national competition.


Unfortunately this demonstrates that kitchen designers and the professionals judging kitchen and bath competitions can be just as crazy as the designers for the kitchens we highlighted above.


At Main Line Kitchen Design we try to do more than fulfill our customers’ dreams, we sometimes try to temper them. A dose of common sense can make the difference between something you might see in a design magazine but would never want your home to look like, and a kitchen you love that you would want to spend time in and enjoy every day.


Hoping your kitchen designer has the strength and common sense not to design you anything like the designs above!


And of course…

Bon Appetit!


Main Line Kitchen Design


Intro: In addition to decades of experience designing kitchens, each of our designers has many outside interests. We hope you enjoy this account of a recent break Stacia took from working with our clients. Talk about Bon appetite!!


I recently had the unique pleasure of dining at the Grant Achatz restaurant Alinea in Chicago. This experience was not just another sit down dinner, but a performance! If you who haven’t heard of Grant or his restaurant, Grant Achatz is one of the greatest chefs in the world, specializing in molecular gastronomy. Grant’s cooking creates a food experience that leads to course after course of surprises that are beautiful works of art. His accolades include a James Beard Award for “Best Chef”, three Michelin Stars and Alinea ranked in the San Pelligrino Best 50 restaurants in the World (just to name a few).


I had first heard about Grant Achatz on the radio during my kitchen design related travels. The story revolved around how this amazing chef was diagnosed with mouth cancer within a few months of opening the doors to Alinea. Yes, all of that is a story in and of itself, but what piqued my interest was his exploration of creating a dining experience that played upon the senses.


The radio story inspired me to read his book, Life on the Line, and to add Alinea in Chicago to my bucket list. Over the July 4th weekend, we made a slight detour from time with family to experience Alinea ourselves. The restaurant was in an assuming part of town marked only by the address. And don’t let me mislead you  you have to purchase tickets on line months in advance.



Our meal began with the menu in the form of a word search. Minutes later, the wait staff activated a bowl of orange halves on dry ice with a hot pitcher of water.  As the mist from this unusual and spectacular center piece covered our table, we were served a smaller and illuminated bowl of small kumquat like fruits with cocoa butter.  Each bite of this first course turned out to be filled with a spiced citrus liquid.



The courses kept coming and the amazement continued. In the third course, dumplings made from scallops rested on top a bouquet of lavender over a smoldering fire. Later, the waiter dug into the salts from this fire to find a potato that was used to create a table-side deconstructed clam chowder. Following that, we were taken from the table to the kitchen for a cocktail playfully mixed with the elaborate contraption seen in photos below. Once in the kitchen I could only imagine what behind the scenes magic we would get to see!



I certainly didn’t expect the kitchen to be as quiet as a library with our next course being prepared with tweezers. There were no burners of bubbling concoctions or the gas flames I expected.



It seemed as if each course was more intriguing than the next. One included a test tube placed in front of each guest. The liquid inside was a pineapple infused citrus and the open end was corked by a red gelatin. Once you embarked on the journey you had to commit. The gelatin popped into your mouth and gravity took over with the pineapple infused liquid. What a divine surprise. And if all of this wasn’t enough, I knew there was another surprise to come for the grand finale…


No matter the guest or the age everyone was handed a balloon – an edible balloon made from what could only be described as a green apple taffy. And, it was filled with helium to put the entire experience over the top.



Munchkin giggles came from some of Chicago’s most elite. The evening was complete. And as much as I threatened the need for a deep dish after all of these small bites, we left beyond satisfied.


I still haven’t met Grant Achatz but hope to, and to return to Chicago and experience Grant’s next and newest endeavor.


Stacia Fischer

Senior Designer Main Line Kitchen Design




Below are our updated 2018 cabinet reviews including additional cabinet lines from our very popular 2017 cabinet ratings blog. If you value this blog then take a moment review our top blog LIBRARY on the column to your right . This lists the blogs that consumers find the most helpful.

If you are ouside our service area we are happy to answer any questions on this blog’s comment forum.  But please do not contact us on our web site contact page.

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.


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.


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 lower 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.



Cabinet line Price level 1-6     Quality Value
21st Century 1 A A-
6 Square 2 B+ B+
Adelphia Kitchens 3 B B
Adormus (frameless) 3 B B
All Wood – framed 2 A A
All Wood – frameless 1 C C
American Woodmark 3 B C+
Aristocraft 2 C C
Bertch 4 A A-
Bishop 4 A A-
Bishop Frameless 5 B B+
Bremtown 6 A+ C
Brighton 4 A A+
Brookhaven 4 A B
Brubaker 5 A A
Cabico 4 B B
Candlelight 4 A A
Canyon Creek 3 B B
CNC 1 B+ B
Collier 5 A B-
Crystal 5 A A
Decora 4 A A
Desginers Choice 4 A A
Design-Craft 4 B B
Diamond 4 B B
Durasupreme 5 B+ B
Durasupreme frameless 3 C C
Dynasty by Omega (frameless) 4 B C
Dynasty Pinnacle (framed) 5 A B
Echelon Cabinetry 2 B- C
Executive (frameless) 4 B B
Fabuwood 2 A A
Fabuwood (frameless) 3 B A
Fieldstone 4 A B+
Grabill 6 A+ B
Haas 3 B B
Hanssem 1 under review
Holiday (frameless) 3 C C
Holiday Kitchens 4 A A
Homecrest 3 B+ B
Homestead Custom 4 A A-
Ideal Cabinetry 2 B A-
IKEA (frameless) 1 D C
Innovation 2 C C
JSI Cabinetry 1 B+ B+
Kabinart 3 D D
Kemper 3 B C
Kitchencraft (frameless) 3 C B
Kith 3 B+ C+
Kountry Kraft (framed) 6 A B
Kountry Kraft (frameless) 6 B B
Kountry Wood 2 C C
Kraftmaid 4 A- A
Legacy 3 B+ C-
LifeArt 1 C+ A
Marsh 2 B B-
Marsh (frameless) 2 B- B
Medallion 5 B+ C+
Merillat 2 C D
Merit Kitchens 4 B+ B
Mid Continent 2 C C
Mouser 5 A A-
Mouser (frameless) 5 B A
Ovation 4 B C
Plain and Fancy 6 A B
Plato Woodwork 4 A A
Poggenpohl (frameless) 6 B C
QuakerMaid (frameless) 4 B B
RD Henry 4 A A
Rutt 6 A+ A
Schrock 3 B B
Schuler 5 B+ C+
Shenandoah 3 B C+
Shiloh 4 C C
Showplace 3 B+ B-
Siematic 6 B C
Signature Custom 5 A+ A+
Solid Wood Cabinets 1 A- A-
St. Martin (frameless) 4 B B
Starmark 4 A B+
Stylecraft 5 A A
Thomasville* 4 B- C-
Timberlake 3 B C+
Ultracraft (frameless) 2 C C
Village 5 A A
Waypoint 2 B B
Wellborn 4 and 5 A A
Wellsford 5 A+ A+
Wolf 2 A B+
Woodharbor 4 B+ C
Woodmode 5 A A-
Yorktowne 3 C D

* Note: Home Depot can change who manufactures this line although Masterbrands has been manufacturing the line under the Thomasville name for over ten years.


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 explaining types of cabinetry construction:

To celebrate the high school and college graduation season Main Line Kitchen Design gives some tips on how to graduate  Summa Cum Laude in Kitchen Renovations.


Tip #1  Like all graduates you will need to do some studying and research to get your diploma. One of the  best first steps will be to go on the web site  to look at photos of kitchens to determine the styles, materials, and colors you like. Making an Idea Book on Houzz or a board on of kitchens you like will help communicate your style to the designer you eventually chose to work with.



Tip# 2  You will next need to research to find the best kitchen designers and cabinet dealerships in your area. or will a list the profiles of all the kitchen places close to you with reviews of each company you can read. It’s a good idea to Google the places you are considering too, in order to find out what people say about them on line.



Tip #3  Once you have selected a kitchen designer to help walk you through the steps involved in renovating a kitchen you will have a professional directing you. They will help you find contractors if you need it or many can run the project themselves should you prefer. Here is a list of the steps involved in a kitchen renovation. Your designer will help you focus on the next step for your individual project. Here is also a breakdown of how long your renovation might take. This is an average kitchen renovation and smaller jobs would take less time and larger jobs more time.



Note: Trying to speed things up beyond what is reasonable will usually backfire and you will never graduate at the top of your class rushing. You might even be left back!


Successful kitchen renovation upon completion.



Once you have made these first big steps on your kitchen renovation things should proceed smoothly and you will be on your way to the top of your class.


Congratulations to our designer Stacia Fischer for recently achieving NARI’s CLC certification.


And . . .Congratulations to all this seasons graduates.



Main Line Kitchen Design

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




The best procedure for renovating a kitchen is often different from what homeowners believe. Because of this home owners can mistakenly buy materials or hire professionals in the wrong order. Unfortunately doing so usually wastes money and hurts the final result.


Below are the most common mistakes and misconceptions:

  1. Hiring an architect first.  Often because homeowners know that they want to remove a load bearing wall or add an addition onto their kitchen they start their project by hiring an architect. This is putting the cart before the horse. Yes an architect or engineer may be needed for the project. But designing the space and the kitchen is the first step, and architects are not kitchen designers. Initial drawings done by architects are usually poor kitchen designs and so the entire project needs to be reworked to create a better kitchen. Often the homeowner has invested thousands of dollars on a design that is nearly worthless. Hold off hiring the architect until the kitchen plans are nearly completed with the kitchen designer and the contractor is selected. The contractor may recommend an architect he likes to work with and the costs for the drawings needed will be less and only need to be done once. Home centers and some less experienced kitchen design firms may not be comfortable designing larger construction projects but the more experienced showrooms and cabinet dealers will, and this is where we would recommend beginning the project.
  2. Getting bids from contractors before your design with the kitchen designer is finalized. Contractors need plans to estimate a kitchen renovation. Having them bid on a project before the kitchen design is done and they can see the scope of the project will make their final estimate higher. You only get one bite at the apple getting a contractor’s most competitive estimate. The more information you give the contractor the more accurate the estimate will be. And comparing estimates between contractors is easy when everyone is bidding on the same thing.
  3. Thinking it saves money and time buying everything through the kitchen showroom or cabinet dealership. Kitchen showrooms and cabinet dealers usually have  several designers and carry several cabinet lines. They have samples of all the cabinetry they sell and of their design work. As discussed, this is where you should begin working on your project. However kitchen cabinet dealers will have a poor selection of appliances, flooring, tile, and fixtures. Buying these materials through the cabinet dealer will be more expensive, and while most kitchen designers would have helpful advice, they are not the experts you need in each area. Appliance, flooring, and tile sales people will be more knowledgeable about the products they sell and their showrooms will offer the largest selection. Some cabinet dealers such as Main Line Kitchen Design pass on their trade discounts at these locations to their customers. Buying these products through the kitchen showroom just adds an unneeded middleman as well as the possibility of added confusion.
  4. Buying natural stone countertops through the Cabinet dealer. Artificial countertops such as Engineered Quartz or Corian are usually selected from samples and so it can save time and money buying these types of tops through your cabinet dealer. However viewing the slabs of natural stone is required when buying tops such as granite, marble, quartzite, or soapstone. Since the individual granite yards own the stone and install it themselves it makes little sense to buy the countertops from your cabinet supplier. Adding a middle man here will cost you more and increase the likelihood of misunderstandings. Some cabinet dealers such as Main Line Kitchen Design will pass on their trade discounts at stone yards to their customers.
  5. Starting demolition before the kitchen design is finalized. Without a kitchen design finalized it makes no sense beginning a renovation. Work can be done more efficiently when the complete plans are available. Since any quality cabinetry always takes at least a month to arrive after it is purchased, wait until the cabinets are ordered to start construction. It won’t slow you down and it could save time, money, and big headaches.
  6. Buying appliances before your kitchen design is finalized. Handcuffing your kitchen designer with appliances you purchased before you knew what design choices the designer might recommend will never help and could hurt your finished kitchen. Many people mistakenly believe that they know the design and appliances what they want before they begin working with a kitchen designer. In fact it is often the first thing they tell their kitchen designer. As kitchen designers we know that the more certain a customer is about what they want the more likely there will be aspects of the design that haven’t been considered. Considering that 80 percent of our customers get very different kitchens from what they originally expected, buying appliances before working on the design with a professional isn’t helpful.

Hoping your renovation proceeds in the right order . . .

. . . and as always. . .

Bon Appetit!

Paul, Julie, John, Stacia, Tom and Ed

Main Line Kitchen Design

The IKEA effect is a cognitive bias in which consumers place a disproportionately high value on what they partially create.” Wikipedia


The IKEA effect was identified and named by Michael I. Norton of Harvard Business School, Daniel Mochon of Yale, and Dan Ariely of Duke, who published the results of three studies in 2011. In these studies researchers found that consumers valued their own work product far above what would be considered reasonable or rational.


As Kitchen Designers this effect is troubling for a number of reasons. IKEA cabinetry is poorly constructed and not a particularly good value, yet due to this documented effect home owners rate IKEA cabinetry above all other brands in nearly every Consumer Reports and JD power ranking. Even more concerning to kitchen designers, IKEA and others now supply complimentary and extremely rudimentary kitchen design software. Due to the same IKEA effect consumers who create their own designs using this free software can believe their designs are equal to or better than far superior designs created by knowledgeable and experienced kitchen design professionals.

Experienced kitchen designers know that it takes at least a decade of exclusively designing kitchens to become a competent designer. Why is it that people accept that they can’t fix their transmission – or even cut their own hair without professional training and, yet, believe that they would be competent designing their own kitchen?


As a kitchen designer who studied Engineering for 4 years at The University of Pennsylvania and ran a construction a company specializing in kitchen renovations, I know that my own kitchen designs from 20 years ago were simplistic and uninspired compared to the designs I do today. It took me many years working exclusively as a kitchen designer to become a good one. And part of becoming a very good kitchen designer is being able to help a customer spend the money they have budgeted for their renovation effectively.


Helping customers understand what options they have within their budget is not intuitive to anyone without extensive experience as a kitchen designer. The following videos elaborate on this in both an informative and humorous way.


Please enjoy them, beware of the IKEA effect, and of course . . . Bon Appetit!


Paul, Julie, John, Stacia, Tom and Ed

Main Line Kitchen Design





The way to get the best bang for your buck renovating a kitchen is surprising to many people. Often consumers assume that reducing the amount of construction and keeping the appliances and cabinetry locations the same will save them money. The reality is that since everything in a kitchen renovation is getting ripped out and replaced moving cabinetry and appliances has little impact on overall costs. Even removing an entire wall which might cost $2000 could also mean less wall cabinetry keeping the overall project costs the same.


Kitchen designed in inexpensive but well made cabinetry


The materials that you buy during a kitchen renovation offer the best opportunity to save money without compromising on the kitchen design itself or the quality of the cabinetry, countertops, or appliances you purchase. Often compromising slightly on cabinetry color or door style can save 20 to 40% on cabinet expenses. Switching to a less expensive cabinet line doesn’t mean you are sacrificing durability or the construction quality of your cabinets. In fact, if the door style you are choosing is available in a less expensive cabinet line it could be a waste of the project’s resources to upgrade to an expensive cabinet line since custom colors and unusual door styles are what make custom cabinetry expensive.


Inexpensive professional style range


Reducing costs  without sacrificing very much is also possible with countertops and appliances. While expensive professional appliances can be beautiful and offer great features most home owners won’t appreciate the difference between name brands like Wolf and Viking and the less expensive alternatives. For example the range above is less than half the cost of a more expensive brand like Wolf or Viking.


Level 1 or 2 granite can be beautiful!


In the Delaware Valley granite countertop pricing starts around $40 per square foot. Level 5 granite colors and most man made quartz countertops as well as natural stone tops such as quartzite, soapstone, and marble typically cost at least double that price. The more expensive natural stone tops are more unique but also slightly less durable and can require more maintenance and upkeep. The quartz tops which require no maintenance are easier to scratch and more likely to be damaged by heat. So spending double the price for your countertops could go unappreciated by people unfamiliar with these high end tops and not give added durability. And while spending double the price for a countertop is common, there is no limit to the price of exotic stone and some synthetic tops.


Custom inset cabinetry and professional appliances


Splurging on expensive appliances, custom inset cabinetry, or exotic stone tops can make a beautiful kitchen that much more distinctive like the kitchen above. But compromising on the design of a kitchen is always a bad idea. The value of your home is determined by how desirable the kitchen design and layout is. If moving a wall, window, doorway or other design feature enhances the design of your kitchen then this is where you need to spend money first. Getting the best bang for your buck starts with the design itself and not with the name brands and subtle color variations consumers often focus on.


Below is a related blog from SmartReno, a Canadian web site we have found informative:

Kitchen Renovation Mistakes to Avoid


Hoping your renovation makes all the smart choices.


Bon Appetite!

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

Main Line Kitchen Design

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” for two couples who worked with Main Line Kitchen Design.


Both Bob and Jenny Smart and Craig and Lisa Knowbetta began considering their kitchen renovations in late June.


[note – Ladies and Gentleman the story you are about to hear is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent]


The Smarts went on the internet and began reading reviews of kitchen cabinet dealers and spent time on the web sites and Pinterest looking at photos of kitchens evaluating the styles and colors of other people’s choices. The Knowbettas wanted to get things moving. Thinking they would save money, they  gutted their kitchen themselves to get a “feeling for the space”. Lisa Knowbetta began working on a design using software she found online.


After about a week, the Smarts finished their research on kitchen designers and cabinet dealers. Based on the reviews they read, they made their first appointment with Main Line Kitchen Design. Inside the Knowbettas home, Craig Knowbetta having recovered from  an electrical shock and a few stitches, finished gutting the kitchen while Lisa continued trying out different layouts on her free online software.


Lisa and Craig’s progress



About a month into their kitchen projects, the Smarts had completed their preliminary kitchen designs with one of Main Line Kitchen Design’s designers and were awaiting estimates from the contractors Main Line Kitchen Design and a neighbor had recommended.


The Knowbettas were having trouble getting  contractors to give them bids on their project. They thought they were seeing why contractors got such a bad rap.  What the Knowbettas didn’t understand was that contractors are hesitant to take on the risk of projects with rudimentary and incomplete designs like the one Lisa had produced.


By mid-August, the Smarts had selected their contractor and were finalizing the plans on their beautiful kitchen. The Knowbettas were surprised by how expensive the construction quotes turned out to be. The contractor they hired took their deposit and told them he could start when the cabinets were ready to be delivered. Then using printouts of Lisa’s design, the Knowbettas began getting cabinet pricing from different showrooms and home centers.


September and school began with the Smarts already having ordered their cabinets, appliances, countertops and flooring. Their start date for construction was October 1st. The Knowbettas were finding that kitchen design centers had serious issues with Lisa’s design. The project was turning out more expensive than planned and the family was still living in a construction zone. Dan was also frustrated that his new car had been dented in the Lowes parking lot.


On October 1st construction began on schedule for the Smarts. The Knowbettas were still confused, having problems fixing design issues with their kitchen and finding a cabinet line and doorstyle they could afford. They resorted to going online and found a highly rated cabinet dealer and design firm in their area and called Main Line Kitchen Design.


Months after starting their project,  the Knowbettas found themselves where the Smarts had been back in early July! Main Line Kitchen Design measured the space they had demolished more than three months ago, worked on designs, and gave them detailed pricing for their project. The good news was that the new kitchen design was more beautiful and functional than any design they had gotten from home centers. Best of all the cabinet costs were less! A mixed blessing was that Main Line Kitchen Design informed them that their installation quote could have been less but knew their contractor and that he did good work. By November the Knowbetta design was finalized and the cabinets ordered. Their contractor scheduled construction to start after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving at the Smarts



On Thanksgiving the two families had very different holidays. Family and friends enjoyed a wonderful meal hosted in the Smarts new kitchen. Compliments flowed and the Smarts had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday. The Knowbettas traveled to enjoy the holiday with out of town family. A nice break since they had now been without a kitchen for nearly 5 months and didn’t expect their construction to be finished until early January.


In the end both families got great kitchens, but had very different experiences.


All kitchen designers know that the people who get a finished kitchen first are never the people that start first. They are the ones who planned the most BEFORE starting.


Looking forward to providing you with a Smart kitchen and, of course . . .

Bon Appetite!

Paul, Julie, John, Stacia, Ed and Tom

Designing a kitchen requires making trade offs between costs, style, layout and function. Each choice will have an effect on your kitchen’s  look and how easy it is to work in. For example a large 48″ range needs to be placed on a long wall to look proportional and to function effectively. This could require the kitchen designer moving a doorway or even closing a window. Customers review 3D cad drawings with kitchen designers to evaluate how any  choice they make effects their design. After seeing all of their options it is unusual for everyone in a family to agree on what they like and on the choices they prefer and so compromise becomes necessary.

When customers have trouble making the compromises needed  to create a kitchen that everyone can be happy with I often tell them a story about my own kitchen. Below is a photo of my simple but well designed kitchen.

Natural wood with light granite counter top kitchen design

Here is the story:


After my wife Julie and I renovated our kitchen in 2015 we had a holiday party a short time afterwards. One of our friends who has known Julie since college and who’s kitchen I had designed a few years before was at our party and complimented me on our kitchen. She said “I love your kitchen. Is maple your favorite kind of wood?” I replied that I liked maple but alder, cherry, or a painted finish might have been my first choice. She smiled and prodded a little “Julie liked maple?… and I know you don’t like microwaves over the range, Julie wanted that too?” I answered that I had wanted a microwave drawer but that Julie preferred extra pots and pans drawers instead. I explained too that as long as the kitchen was well designed I was happy, and that everyone had to make compromises when designing a kitchen.


Just as I was finishing my comment Julie entered the room . Her good friend then followed up saying “If I was married to a successful professional kitchen designer I would do exactly what he recommended!”  My wife who is privy to a great deal of what goes on in my business thought for a moment “Well” she said pointedly, “my husband was YOUR kitchen designer and I KNOW you didn’t do half of what he recommended!”


Trying to mediate I reminded both women that kitchens are all about compromises and that no customer chooses to follow all my recommendations. And knowing this I certainly expected to make compromises on our kitchen. Thankfully this diffused the situation and the three of us then began discussing our new kitchen’s artwork including a print of a slice of cheese by artist Mike Geno who specializes in drawing cheeses.


Hoping you can make all the compromises needed to create a great kitchen.


And of course…

Bon Appetit!

Our cheese print



Fully equipped outdoor kitchens with exterior cabinetry and a complete range of appliances can make your backyard an extension of your home. Add an awning and a gas heater and you can be cooking and entertaining outside most days throughout three seasons.


In January we stopped by the NatureKast display at the 2018 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, KBIS, in Orlando and saw how far the outdoor kitchen industry has progressed. NatureKast cabinetry is striking and even exposed to the elements comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. As the video below explains outdoor cabinetry is a fusion between real wood and a high density resin.

One of the challenges for the landscape architectural companies who most often design and install exterior kitchens is that they lack expertise in what constitutes functional kitchen design. They are also less knowledge about cabinetry styles and appliances. How the interior of a home transitions to it’s exterior is also important to coordinate. This is why traditional kitchen designers are asked by the more sensible exterior design companies to assist designing the cooking areas in their overall designs.


Traditional kitchen cabinet dealers are now beginning to design with and sell exterior cabinetry such as NatureKast.

Outdoor Kitchens at night

Main Line Kitchen Design is exploring the demand in the outdoor kitchen market and a possible partnership with NatureKast. Designing with professional appliances in exterior settings would be an enjoyable change of pace for all our designers. Several of Main Line Kitchen Design’s designers have commented how much they enjoy attending events at Fretz in the Philadelphia Navy Yard and seeing the Fretz outdoor kitchen displays.


Below are some exterior kitchens designed in NatureKast. Let us know what you think!

Exterior Kitchen Dattime Outdoor Kitchens at dusk

Looking forward to warmer weather and some outdoor cooking.


If a simple charcoal barbecue can make a summer day special, an outdoor kitchen might make your summers unforgettable. Wishing you a special summer either way. And of course…


Bon Appetit!

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

Main Line Kitchen Design


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