Viking Range, LLC, 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.
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 . . .
We believe the best resource for unbiased information on appliances is Yale Appliances
Located in New England, Yale’s 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.
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
We’re 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.
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.
FOR PEOPLE OUTSIDE OUR SERVICE AREA OF WITHIN A TWO HOUR DRIVE OF OUR BALA CYNWYD PENNSYLVANIA OFFICE, BELOW IS A LINK TO RECOMMENDED DEALERS IN OTHER AREAS. GOOD DEALERS CLOSE TO YOU CAN BETTER ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT’S AVAILABLE IN YOUR AREA:
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. 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.
This is a well designed kitchen with functional countertop arrangement.
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.
Let us explain why investing in your kitchen can be a great idea & how to do it.
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.
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.
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.
Our cheatsheet to help select your kitchen designer
So many kitchen designers are less than competent that I thought I’d give customers a cheat sheet to help them evaluate the designer they might be working with. Here are my top ten warning signs. If several apply to your project then you are almost certainly working with a less proficient kitchen designer.
Your designer is not a full time kitchen designer. IE they are an architect, interior designer, contractor, family friend, or real estate agent. Kitchen design is a complicated profession and anyone not designing and selling cabinetry full time for a number of years can’t have learned enough to be good at it. Would you pick non professionals to replace your transmission or cut your hair? If that would worry you then why are you using a non professional to be your primary adviser on a 20 to 200 thousand dollar renovation?
You are planning on keeping the footprint of your kitchen the same just replacing the old cabinetry with new. Every kitchen we see can be improved. And since most customers mistakenly believe that they have limited design possibilities and that design changes have a large effect on costs, it is almost certain that if you are keeping the foot print of your kitchen you are making a mistake. For the same money you could always get a better design because that’s what good kitchen designers do; show you how better designs than you realize are possible.
You have serious design issues and the designer can’t find a solution. Examples of serious design errors would be: having a range or cooktop next to a doorway, having the primary sink without at least 18″ of countertop on one side and 24″ on the other, having a cooktop or range under or immediately next to a window, or having cabinetry or molding within a few inches of the ceiling without reaching it.
You are getting a side by side refrigerator and your refrigerator is within 12 inches of a side wall so that one of the doors can’t open completely. The smaller freezer side hitting the wall would be the worst case scenario.
The designer has 24″ wide cabinets in your kitchen with single and not double doors. This is one of the first lessens kitchen designers should learn. 24″ wide doors sag over time and look out of proportion. NO good kitchen designer will EVER use a 24″ cabinet with a single door.
You have more than one or two types of unusual gimmicky cabinets in your kitchen. Examples would be corner drawers, tall pantry pull outs, Magic Corner or Lemans corner cabinets, mixer lifts, chefs pantries, or more than a couple of lift doors. There are always design issues associated with these unusual conveniences, that’s why they are unusual. They are also expensive and are less efficient in using space. If your designer has added several of these items without letting you know about their limitations it means that they probably don’t know about them and that they are spending your money ineffectively.
You are getting frameless cabinetry and your designer hasn’t warned you about durability issues. Frameless cabinetry looks best when your kitchen is a contemporary or modern slab door style. But because there is not a front face frame on the cabinets the hinges, doors, and drawers are all attached to often only particle board sides. IKEA cabinetry is the most common example. Kitchens using this less durable style of cabinet construction need to be designed to minimize stress to the cabinetry. If your designer hasn’t mentioned this then it is unlikely that they understand the limitations of the cabinet line they are designing your kitchen in.
Wall cabinet doors are NOT the same width on either side of your sink or cooktop. Assuming that there are wall cabinets on both sides of your sink and cooktop it looks odd if the doors to the cabinets are different widths on each side. Good kitchen designers will be able to accomplish this when designing a kitchen.
All the wall cabinets align with the base cabinets in your kitchen. This is a novice kitchen design error. Good kitchen designers know where symmetry is important and where it is not. Aligning all the base and wall cabinets usually means that your designer has only designed a few kitchens in their lifetime.
Your designer is placing great importance on centering tables and islands with windows. This is another novice error. Since alignment can only be determined from a single perspective in a room, centering an island or a table with a window is usually less important that maintaining the correct travel space around it. Having light fixtures centered over the table and island will make them feel like they are in the correct position while leaving you the functional space you need for a well designed kitchen. Many customers worry about this concept but when their kitchen is done they are always grateful that the didn’t give in to their concerns and let space override alignment when designing their kitchen.
Kitchen design is a profession I love for many reasons including the creativity involved, the people you meet, and the sense of accomplishment when you do a good job. But, the biggest reason I love designing kitchens is that it is an incredible challenge.
Let Us Help You Decide Which Kitchen Cabinet Brand Is Best For You
Bishop Richmond Door Style in a Medium Stain. Designed by Paul. Installed by A.D. Panaccio. Photographed by Linda McManus
“What kitchen cabinet line is best?” and “What kitchen cabinet line do you recommend?” are the most common questions we receive. The answer depends on several factors including budget, how fast cabinetry is needed, and how long you want the cabinetry to last.
Every cabinet line is trying to fill a certain niche in the cabinet market. About half of them are trying to compete for contractor and builder business. These cabinet manufacturers and the builders they primarily sell to tend to rank construction quality below finish, style, and availability. So, if cabinet durability is a priority for you, these lines should be avoided.
The reason for this is that builders and people renovating to sell homes have less incentive to pay even small upgrades for well made cabinetry as their responsibility to the seller only lasts 12 months. A good example of how little home builders value cabinet construction is that an expensive home builder like Toll Brothers uses the lowest construction quality Yorktown cabinetry in their new homes.
Cabinet manufacturers that are trying to sell to home owners usually make cabinetry that either comes well constructed or can be upgraded to acceptable standards. The following is Main Line Kitchen Design’s criteria for quality construction:
A face frame made of 1 1/2″ x 3/4″ thick solid hardwood.
1/2″ plywood sides, bottoms ,and tops with 3/4″ plywood shelves.
A solid wood 3/4″ hanging rail or a 1/2″ plywood back. A 3/8″ back is OK but not preferred.
Ibeam construction and wooded corner blocks are preferable to plastic corner blocks.
Solid wood dovetail drawers and Blumotion tracks and soft close doors are mandatory.
Example of well constructed cabinet
It is surprising how many higher cost cabinets do not meet these construction minimums. On the other hand, after meeting these construction minimums cabinetry should last a lifetime so there is very little advantage in paying for cabinetry that exceeds the criteria. Generally, the best choice for most consumers is the least expensive cabinet line with the desired wood species, finish and custom features.
Home owners and kitchen designers must balance the cost to be in different cabinet lines with how well those lines meet design and finish preferences. It is not uncommon for small compromises to save a significant amount of money. For example, the most expensive cabinet lines are high priced because of their ability to customize or to do unusual finishes. This means if you don’t need cabinetry customization or you are getting a solid painted finish, you could be paying for the availability of features you won’t be selecting. Beaded inset doors, furniture grade stained finishes, distressed finishes, and glazes and paints with visible brushstrokes are features only available in higher priced cabinetry. These expensive and distinctive finishes usually aren’t perceived as superior or more expensive by the general public and aren’t chosen when ordering cabinetry. A home owner not opting for these features does just as well in a less expensive cabinet line as long as the cabinetry being ordered meets the recommended minimum requirements.
Beaded Inset Cabinetry – Doors and drawers are recessed into the cabinet face frame.
Main Line Kitchen design sells 7 cabinet lines and all 7 meet our requirements to be considered well made. The 5 major cabinet brands Main Line Kitchen Design carries are Fabuwood, 6 Square, Bishop, Brighten, and our custom line Wellsford. We selected these lines because all are well constructed and all also do more customization than comparable lines at their price point. This also makes each of them a great value for designing more complex kitchens.
Which line is best? Well of course, the most expensive full custom one Wellsford. Can our customers recognize the difference between Wellsford and even the least expensive line we carry Fabuwood? Surprisingly, most can not. So extra money spent upgrading to higher cost cabinet lines often goes unappreciated.
On the other hand, almost all our customers prefer and can recognize a well designed kitchen when we show them one. And, most of the designs we see done by designers from home centers and other dealers are poor. Accordingly, home owners should focus on finding a good kitchen designer over spending time determining “which cabinet line is best”.
It should be noted that European frameless cabinetry is in a class of it’s own and no frameless cabinets meet our minimum construction requirements for a well made cabinet. Because contemporary and modern door styles look so much better with the ultra tight gaps between doors and drawer fronts only possible with frameless construction, they are only available that way. So, The ONLY reason to purchase the lower quality frameless construction is if you are getting extremely modern and contemporary door styles. Main Line Kitchen Design’s Bishop line has the greatest door style and finish selection in European frameless construction. And Bishop, Fabuwood, and Wellsford all make their frameless cabinetry with 3/4″ plywood sides – the best possible way to make a European cabinet.
Frameless Construction Bishop European Cabinetry
Since Main Line Kitchen Design’s customers are 90% home owners, we put kitchen design and cabinet construction quality first. We only offer cabinet lines that provide our customers the highest quality at the best price.
Here are two other blogs concerning what constitutes a well made cabinet: