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Main Line Kitchen Design

Main Line Kitchen Design Trends Blog

KBIS – The National Kitchen and Bath Industry Show was held last week in Las Vegas. This year’s changes included an increased presence of Asian made cabinetry often sold by US companies and a decrease of American cabinet manufacturers. The quality of the Asian cabinetry and countertops also dramatically improved.

The Fabuwood display particularly stood out. Close to 50 salespeople were on site answering questions and providing product demonstrations. Their extensive displays of custom finishes, hoods, and other features showcased Fabuwood’s move into the higher end cabinetry market.

Display of New Fabuwood Doorstyle

Display of New Fabuwood Doorstyle

Appliance manufacturers were in higher attendance than I have ever seen. Below are photos from a tiny sampling of their displays:

KBIS 2016 4

KBIS 2016 5

KBIS 2016 7

KBIS 2016 8

KBIS 2016 9

KBIS 2016 17

The Rev-a-shelf display was also a standout and included new and unusual cabinet interior conveniences.

Coffee Drawer

Coffee Drawer

Multi-use Drawer

Multi-use Drawer

Top cabinet swing out

Top cabinet swing out

Wall cabinet pull down shelves

Wall cabinet pull down shelves

And faucets, showers, and tubs were everywhere. Several convention goers could be seen taking a break in an empty tub. Some of the water displays were fun to watch:

Kohler waterworks

Kohler waterworks

But nothing seemed to impress this shower occupant.


KBIS 2016 16


The Main Line Kitchen Design team wishes you a warm and safe winter and of course a hearty …

Bon Appetite!

Main Line Kitchen Design’s new office and cabinet selection center is now available for meetings with our designers.
Office Sign
Our address is :
19 Bala Avenue Suite #305
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
If you feel like venturing out this winter, make an appointment with your designer and see all our cabinet lines, door styles, and finishes on display. At our office you can make changes and view your design on a 42″ flat screen monitor. Or, stay in the comfort of your own home viewing designs on our laptops and we’ll bring you the cabinet samples you are considering. Design changes and samples can be easier to evaluate when you see them in the kitchen you are renovating.
Happy New Year … and as the sign in our office says…
Bon Appetit!
Paul, Ray, Tom and Julie
Main Line Kitchen Design

Over the past twenty years, kitchen cabinet storage solutions have become increasingly diverse and popular. Chef’s Pantries, Tall Pantry Pull Outs, Spice Pull Outs, Corner Drawers, Mixer Lifts and Blind Corner Solutions like the Lemans and Magic Corner  are very popular. But usually, as the “cool” factor increases on these cabinet interior devices their practicality decreases. Let’s look at some examples:

chefs pantry


Spice PO

The above Chef’s Pantry, and Spice Pull Out at first glance all seem like great conveniences. However, think about each this way: First, having all the shelves pull out together means that the shelves above obscure what’s on the shelves below. You may need to crouch and look at each shelf from the side to see what’s on it. What if each shelf just pulled out individually? Well then, you could simply examine each shelf and pick up what was on it without needing to turn cans and bottle sideways to get them over the metal side runners on each shelf. Not to mention the stress cabinets are put under when the cabinet’s contents cantilever out of the cabinet or the weight of heavy canned goods is put on hinges.

The Chef’s Pantry, although seemingly convenient, actually diminishes usable storage space. While less convenient, simple shelves use up 10% of the space inside a cabinet. The more convenient roll out shelves give the easiest access to the cabinet while only using up 25% of it’s space. The Chef’s pantry eats up almost 50% of the usable space inside the cabinet to allow for moving parts and the gaps needed for them to operate.

Pantry roll outs


Above is a pantry with simple roll outs. It will cost, on average, $1000 less than a Chef’s Pantry and provide for 50% more usable space. The cabinetry will also last longer without the added stress of the mechanisms.

Corner drawers


The corner drawers above are a favorite with many kitchen designers who don’t realize how much storage space they eat up. The drawers only make available 40% of the space of the cabinet. The Easy Reach cabinet or Easy Reach Lazy Susan make available 90% or 75% respectively. See the example below:

Super Susan

Mixer bases are another example of sacrificing storage space for “cool”. As the photo below shows, mixer bases take up close to an entire medium size cabinet.

And if you thought lifting the mixer up would save a step – think again. You probably won’t want to be operating the mixer anywhere but on a stable countertop where splashes don’t land on the floor and where you can work effectively. So you will find yourself moving the mixer onto the countertop most of the time, anyway.

Finally, the three very popular corner devices pictured below are equally flawed. Kitchen designers should use these storage solutions as a last resort when Super Susans, Easy Reaches or Corner Lazy Susans aren’t possible.


As with many things, the simple solution is often the best. However, if you have a large kitchen and aren’t concerned about storage space, then all these storage solutions do add a WOW factor.

After understanding the limits of “cool,” below is a link to just some of the storage solutions Main Line Kitchen Design can incorporate:

Link to Storage Solutions

We look forward to helping you to get the kitchen of your dreams …

and of course…

Bon Appetit!

New Kitchen Cabinets in Berwyn, PA


  1. Select a cabinet dealer and a kitchen designer to work with.
  2. Have this professional measure the kitchen and come up with a preliminary design.
  3. Rework and refine the design until it is close to complete.
  4. Decide on type of flooring, heating, lighting, doors and windows.
  5. Get estimates from contractors and select a contractor.
  6. Finalize the cabinet line, door style, and finish of the cabinetry.
  7. Select appliances, sink, and usually countertop.
  8. Order cabinetry and schedule contractor start date.
  9. Order doors and windows.
  10. Order appliances and and sink. Schedule an approximate delivery date.
  11. Select and purchase flooring.
  12. Purchase backsplash tile or material, backsplash grout colors and spacing.
  13. Select and purchase lighting, faucets, and garbage disposal.
  14. Select handles and or knobs.
  15. Decide on paint colors for walls, ceiling, and trim.
  16. With construction nearly complete, shop for furniture.
  17. Purchase kitchen table, chairs, stools, and countertop appliances.
  18. Clean kitchen, rest of home and put everything back into the kitchen.
  19. Shop for your first real dinner in your fabulous NEW kitchen.
  20. Bon Appetit!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Natural lighting for this Berwyin PA Kitchen

                                       Broomall PA kitchen
I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. – Henry David Thoreaux

My cooking is so bad my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor. – Phyllis Diller


I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land. – Jon Stewart


Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. – Oprah Winfrey


Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence. – Erma Bombeck

My own life is wonderful, but if I had to live the life of someone else, I’d gladly choose that of Julia Child or Dr. Seuss: two outrageously original people, each of whom fashioned an idiosyncratic wisdom, passion for life, and sense of humor into an art form that anyone and everyone could savor. – Julia Glass


HAPPY THANKSGIVING from Main Line Kitchen Design … and of course …

Bon Appetit!

Paul, Ray, Tom, and Julie

Below are three videos Main Line Kitchen Design and McHale’s Kitchen and Bath created together. The first one is very funny! It makes the case for why you need a kitchen designer when you are renovating your kitchen. The main character’s part was written and preformed by Mark Mitten of Zayda’s Pickles. The two videos that follow are discussions between Paul McAlary Main Line Kitchen Design’s founder and Doug Mottershead CKD from McHale’s about what makes a kitchen cabinet well made and how to avoid regret when you are renovating a kitchen. And does every kitchen really need 8 dishwashers? …..Well you be the judge!

Bon Appetite! – Paul

If you are working with a good kitchen designer then picking your appliances before meeting with your designer is probably not an effective use of your time. The space in your kitchen and the final layout will influence the appliances you select. And even though most of our customers are confident that they know their layout when they begin the design process, the majority are surprised to find themselves selecting different layouts and different appliances once choices they hadn’t known about or thought of are brought to their attention. 


The money you spend on your kitchen renovation can be spent many ways. And the best money you spend will be on the best design and layout. Expensive cabinetry door styles, finishes, and professional appliances can be important upgrades but have less impact on the finished kitchen then the design itself. 

To invest your time most effectively, work with a professional kitchen designer on your kitchen’s design first and come up with a budget. Then work on the selections and pricing for each element of your kitchen such as the cabinets, countertops, appliances, backsplash, flooring, fixtures, and the cost of installation. 

Example of a Frameless Kitchen

Choosing what aspects of your kitchen you are going to splurge on is difficult. For example saving a thousand dollars on an appliance and putting the savings towards a more distinctive backsplash might make your backsplash what everyone talks about while the appliance change could go unnoticed. 

Close up of the kitchen range and vent on the island

You’re the boss in deciding where to splurge on your new kitchen. But if you get all the information you can before starting to make choices, your choices will almost certainly be different. And most importantly you will be happier with your finished kitchen.

We hope to help you find that kitchen …

Main Line Kitchen Design




Kitchen Gallery


How long does it take to complete a kitchen renovation?  The simple answer for most people is that it takes longer than they think. And several common errors done to speed things up can actually end up adding time and increasing costs!  Starting demolition before finalizing your design or rush ordering cabinetry more often creates delays than efficiencies.  Listen to those experienced carpenters who recommend “measure twice and cut once.”

A kitchen remodel planned and organized by professionals prior to construction proceeds much more smoothly and is substantially more likely to be completed on time and on budget.  Too many companies and designers pass on unrealistic time lines to secure a sale. Be wary of anyone that does not give you a time line at least similar to the one below.

The following is a realistic timeline for a successful kitchen renovation from the planning phases through demolition, construction, installation and finally to completion.

Shaker Inset Kitchen

Day 1         A professional kitchen designer measures the kitchen. 

Day 8        Designer and homeowner meet to go over preliminary designs created by the kitchen designer, make changes, and create a budget and timeline for the project.

Day 9-39    Homeowners consider their different design options and cabinet lines, door styles and finishes, and pricing. Appliance, countertop, flooring and fixture shopping begins. Coordinating is ongoing as selections are made.

Day 24-39 Designs are usually solidified enough to obtain estimates from contractors. Bids will be lower, more comprehensive, and easily compared when contractors are bidding from near complete plans. 

Day49-60    Major design decisions, appliances, cabinets, countertops and the contractor are finalized and scheduled. Cabinets are now ordered.

Cabinet delivery time varies depending on the cabinetry selection. Generally, the more expensive the cabinetry, the longer the lead time. No cabinetry that is of any quality will take less than 3 weeks. Higher end semi custom cabinetry usually takes around 6 weeks and custom cabinetry  from 8 to 10 weeks. A 4-6 week delivery time is used for this timeline; a capable designer will assist you in managing this aspect of your project. 

Day 80-100    Demolition and Construction begins. 

Day 95-120     Cabinet installation complete and countertops templated.

Day 105- 134 Countertops installed.

Day 115-150 Kitchen Complete (There will always be a small “punch list” of things the contractor will need to return to complete or touch up at a later date)

So, from the first day a professional measures, it is usually almost 4 months before a customer will have a completed kitchen. It is rarely less than two months from the day the cabinets are ordered before the job is complete.

Being aware of a realistic timeline at the start of your remodel  will eliminate surprises and becoming one of the horror stories about kitchens taking 6 months or a year to complete because it was rushed and begun before the entire plan was in place.

Main Line Kitchen Design Kitchen

Click on the photo above to watch our 211 second video following a kitchen from demolition to completion. The video is both entertaining and gives you insight into what’s involved in a kitchen renovation.

I usually conclude my blogs with Julia Childs’ signature sign off – remember her recipes are so excellent because they are well planned, too.

So plan well, enjoy the process, and when your kitchen is complete…

Bon Appetit!

Paul, Ray, Tom, and Julie

Main Line Kitchen Design

An edited version of this article appeared in the May 2011 issue of the national publication of Kitchen & Bath design news.

One of the greatest challenges for a kitchen designer is to create a design that the customer appreciates aesthetically and simultaneously provides them with a functionally well designed kitchen.  It’s equally difficult to just not make any mistakes.  And sadly, that’s something very few kitchen designers can actually accomplish.

When customers show me designs done elsewhere, I can usually rattle off 10 blatant errors before I even closely examine the floor plan.  Even more alarming, many designs actually have the potential to kill.  And, these same fatal designs have even won awards.

In the last few years, I honestly have yet to pick up a kitchen trade magazine without a featured kitchen on either its front or back cover having major mistakes.   Often they possess one of the possibly fatal design flaws listed below.  Here is my list of the 8 deadly kitchen designs that I see over and over again.

  1. Wall cabinet, spice pull out or an appliance garage too close to the cooktop or range
    Kitchens with hearths or grottos are the biggest culprits with the Professional high BTU burners being mere inches from the sides of the wood cabinetry creating a fire hazard.                                                                                                                                                                       .
  2. Range too close to the window
    Most building codes require a range to be a minimum of 12 inches away from a window for a number of reasons.  A fire on the stove can jump to curtains on the windows.  Or a breeze from an open window can blow out the flame on a gas burner and allow gas to accumulate possibly unnoticed prior to a potential explosion.  I have seen many, many, examples of designs with the range actually underneath the window.                                                                                                                                                                                                      .   
  3. Range or cooktop on the end of the run
    Handles of pots and pans can be left extending out in space to be flipped onto homeowners or their children.  This is usually seen all the more disastrously in high traffic areas and next to doorways where people are entering the room unprepared for the foolish design flaw.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             .  
  4. The deadly cousin or number 2 and 3.  A range next to the exterior kitchen door for all the reasons listed in 2 and in 3.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        .
  5. Wall cabinets extending out over where there is no countertop or by themselves without protective bases below them
    Usually this tends to be customer driven.  Out of the need to create storage space literally everywhere in their kitchen, cabinets get put in places where someone leaning or bending over unsuspectingly can stand up and fracture their skull.  I actually know of a contractor that fractured his skull this way and is now blind.                                                                                                                                     .
  6. This one is a little of a stretch.  But today many children and adults have respiratory issues such as asthma, severe allergies, or emphysema.  Placing cabinets with moldings approaching but not reaching the ceiling can create a space that is impossible to clean and yet accumulates over time inches of dust, dead skin, and dust mites.  This could cause potentially fatal health reactions to those sensitive.  I have seen where this is done intentionally to create a “shadow line” on the ceiling.  Once you get 3 or less inches from the ceiling, you must go all the way.                                       .
  7. Probably one of the biggest issues on the kitchen design horizon.  Today’s powerful hoods coupled with tightly sealed energy efficient homes create negative pressure inside the home when the windows are closed in the winter and the exhaust fan is on.  Without a heat/air exchanger or a heating system designed against negative pressure the exhaust fan will pull carbon monoxide back down the water heater exhaust, the furnace chimney, or more dramatically pull the smoke right out the customers fireplace into their home.  Nearly all designers and appliance salespeople never even consider this and only in the most expensive and usually colder climate neighborhoods like Jackson Hole Wyoming are there any building codes regarding this.**Just a note:  12 months after this was published Pennsylvania became one of the first States to regulate this very issue. Presently all 50 states require replacement air systems for all hoods over 400 CFM.                                                                                                                        .
  8. This one is almost no longer an issue but still exists.  Customers must have GFCI outlets within 4 feet of their sink but if they have an electric range with spiral coil heating elements and the kitchen designer places the range too close to the stainless steel sink, the 110 volt outlet issue will be benign in comparison to the 220 volt range, sink, and water shocker.                                       .

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.

To answer any questions regarding the significance of today’s date (originally posted March 15th 2011):

“Beware the ides of March”

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Hoping you don’t have any of these issues,

Paul McAlary


Recently, one of our customers told me a story about how they nearly bought a kitchen at Lowe’s. After working with a designer who took their direction regarding the design and type of cabinetry they wanted and getting a quote from Lowe’s on their kitchen installation, they were nearly ready to order. The Lowe’s designer told them that if they ordered that day they would receive a 20% discount!

Lowe’s Home Improvement

Fortunately our customer was very sales savvy and knew that any company that offers you a 20% discount to sign their contract today will still honor the same offer a week or two later if “push comes to shove”. Just asking for the sale this way made him and his wife uncomfortable  so they decided to do a little more investigating.

A friend had recommended Main Line Kitchen Design and Matt Super from MS Contracting to them so they decided to get quotes for their cabinetry and their installation from us as well. They contacted the contractor first for an estimate.  Matt gave them a ball park and recommended contacting one of our designers to review their design before he would get into too much detail. Just Matt’s “ballpark” was significantly less than their quote from Lowe’s –even with the 20% discount included.

I was the Main Line Kitchen Design designer who came to their home and, after looking over their plans, was unimpressed to say the least. Their Lowe’s kitchen plan was very similar to the kitchen they were looking to remodel and used the available space very poorly. But this shouldn’t be surprising since the Lowe’s designer was just doing as he was directed and, more than likely, wasn’t bringing any design expertise to their kitchen. The customers were slightly skeptical of the initial design I came up with for their space, it didn’t have a few of the components that they thought that they wanted. However, the design I recommended was more spacious. It also offered better functionality and  more cabinetry and countertops. It only took a few days examining the new design for them to warm up to the changes. And they were saving money and getting more — Main Line Kitchen Design’s price for the increased cabinetry was also about 15% less than the sale priced cabinetry from Lowe’s!

Our customer’s kitchen is now complete. Since it’s been done, they’ve told me that a day doesn’t go by when they don’t appreciate how the design by Main Line Kitchen Design has enhanced both working and socializing in their new kitchen. They also can’t believe that they came so close to spending $10,000 more for a kitchen and installation that in retrospect was so inferior.

Buying a kitchen and doing a kitchen renovation should be a thoughtful and well reasoned process. Trying to pressure customers into making decisions quickly and to order on the spot doesn’t have the best interest of the customer at heart. Lowe’s Home Improvement and The Home Depot aren’t alone in pressuring customers to make these big decisions, and any dealer that does is unprofessional in my opinion. And, if they can offer 20% discounts then it stands to reason that they are over charging at the outset.

Wishing all our customers a pressure free and wonderful New Year’s.

…and as Julia Child who would have been 103 years old this summer said with such enthusiasm…

Bon Appetit!




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