Main Line Kitchen Design
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Main Line Kitchen Design Trends Blog

 

Realtors, HGTV, and home magazines often quote numbers on the return home owners receive on their home improvements. A 70% or 80% return on investment for kitchen renovations is a commonly quoted figure. But be careful.  Simplistic formulas placing values on renovations are misleading.

Wynnewood kitchen Before

Wynnewood kitchen before. See the finished kitchen in the next photograph!

Lets examine why these numbers are meaningless using a few examples:

A beat up kitchen that’s 30 to 50 years old was designed in a era when kitchens were usually small and overcrowded with tall cabinetry. Typically, they didn’t have enough countertop and had soffits built over the tops of the wall cabinets. Installing new cabinetry, countertops, and appliances, without updating the kitchen’s floor plan will probably not make your home much more attractive to prospective buyers. Often the new owners would plan on gutting the room you just renovated. Possibly removing walls and soffits, or moving doorways, to change the outdated floor plan you reinvested in. In this case you would most likely get very little of your investment back.

Finished Wynnewood PA Kitchen

Finished Wynnewood PA Kitchen.

Another example is when homeowners select a style or type of wood that’s very unpopular. Oak cabinets, cabinet doors with arches, or white thermafoil doors are presently so unpopular that any kitchen remodeled in these styles will recoup almost nothing. Outdated stains and paint colors will also severely limit how much of your investment you get back when you sell. Choosing a pink color kitchen cabinet would obviously be unpopular. Choosing a Burgundy stain on a raised panel cherry cabinet might not be obviously out of fashion to people other than kitchen designers. But since that color and style is identified with the 1980’s and 1990’s it also has less resale value.

Berwyn PA Kitchen Before

Berwyn PA Kitchen before. See the next photo for the after!

What types of renovations pay off?

Transforming a kitchen by removing a wall, adding part of another room, or making other major design changes is much more than an update – it can fundamentally change your home. Even simpler but less substantial changes like moving a doorway or raising a window to allow cabinetry and countertop below make dramatic changes in a kitchen. When Main Line Kitchen Design designers eliminate serious problems in prior kitchen layouts, it is actually common for Main Line Kitchen Design customers to get over 300% returns on their kitchen renovations.

And, any additional construction costs for the new floor plan that make a kitchen space work have little impact on what people spend on their complete kitchen. Instead, nearly all overspending occurs on cabinets, appliances, and countertop decisions that break a budget while having a smaller effect on how much a prospective buyer actually likes a particular kitchen.

Berwyn PA Kitchen after

Berwyn PA Kitchen after.

Being a good kitchen designer means understanding the value of design changes and helping your customers maximizing the impact of the more expensive materials used in their renovation. Less experienced designers and non professionals tend to focus on what matters less, often placing great importance on subtle color differences, brand names, or design preferences that don’t work in a particular space.

Kitchen design is a challenging, and complex profession. And much like Julia Child felt rewarded sharing her love of cooking and fine food, it’s very rewarding creating kitchens that transform homes, maximize their value, and improve the lives of the people using them.

Hoping your kitchen renovation is the best it can be… and of course…

Bon Appetit!

Paul, Ray, Tom, Ed, and Julie

Main Line Kitchen Design

 

On Wednesday evening Main Line Kitchen Design and Eric Spiro Inc won The National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s 2016 DelCY award for the best kitchen in Delaware and Chester counties between 60 and 100K. The kitchen was designed by Paul and the construction and installation done by Eric Spiro. The kitchen’s  open floor plan required removing two walls and installing a 18 foot long laminated beam comprised of several beams “sistered” and bolted together.

A bar area and a home office were also part of the project. Cabinetry was the Bishop Utica birch door style in a light finish. A two level island, color coordinated granite countertops, and  a distinctive porcelain tile floor and backsplash helped make this simple functional design an award winner. Photos below:

Mainline Kitchen Designs kitchen remodelling in Berwyn PA

New Kitchen Cabinets in Berwyn, PA

Natural lighting for this Berwyin PA Kitchen

Remodelled Pennsylvania kitchen

 

Recently my sister Alison remodeled her kitchen.  While her kitchen was one of more than 100 kitchens Main Line Kitchen Design sold this year, the intimate perspective I got from working with a family member helped me better appreciate the value of taking the necessary time to make important decisions.

Broomall PA kitchen

During the early stages of the design process, Alison and her husband Kevin wrestled with some of my design suggestions. Removing the load bearing wall between the dining room and the kitchen was something everyone agreed on, but closing a doorway and choosing a peninsula instead of an island were two recommendations that were difficult for them to feel comfortable with. It took examining other alternative designs and time before these choices felt right for everyone.

New Kitchen Cabinets in Berwyn, PA

Once the design was done, as with many of our customers, there was some delay while all the pieces in a complex renovation were resolved. Finding a contractor was especially difficult since my sister lives several states away from me. I recommended using Houzz.com, Angie’s list, and her friends as the most reliable resources to find a general contractor. After several meetings with contractors that just didn’t feel right she met Terrence. Alison’s willingness to devote time until she found a capable contractor paid off! The help she got from Terrence and his attention to detail were invaluable.

As with many of our customers, Alison’s kitchen continued to change as she and her husband made all of their selections. The traditional door style they originally chose became a more transitional style. The color of their cabinetry became an egg shell instead of a beige. And the tile design over the range became simpler and less dramatic.

The granite countertop they picked was also affected by Alison’s extended timeline. She began to notice the level one granite colors used in restaurants and hotels, and as she became familiar with them she began to like those colors less.

Main Line Kitchen Design Kitchen

In the end, my sister got a beautiful kitchen that she loves. She told me she sometimes finds excuses to go down stairs just to look at her kitchen, and it always cheers her up if she is stressed. But some of the elements that she loves the most wouldn’t have been her selections if she had rushed into her renovation immediately.

Often time is the investment people aren’t able to make to get themselves the best kitchen for the best price. Plan carefully and get professional help making your selections and in learning about the products you are considering. And if you give yourself a little more time like my sister Alison, your kitchen can be a place that will lift your spirits each and every time you enter it.

Alison's kitchen

Alison’s kitchen

Hoping you take the time to get the best kitchen…  and of course …

Bon Appetit!

Paul

Kitchen renovations are one of the most expensive home remodeling projects. And, regardless of economic conditions and interest rates, financing a large home renovation can be challenging.

Kitchen Financing

A  recent development helping homeowners to pay for large renovations is online banking institutions offering nearly instant financing at competitive rates. While we don’t endorse any of the many lenders that offer these programs, below is a video on one such lender – Lightstream.  We met a Lightstream representative at the January 2016 National Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas. Their rates seem good and they get great reviews considering the fact that everyone they turn down could easily post a negative one.

YouTube Video on Lightstream Lending

YouTube Video on Lightstream Lending

Homeowners should also beware of predatory lenders offering free financing for 12 to 18 months and then charging retroactively over 20% interest rates on the balance. Many kitchen companies and home centers promote this deal to their customers through lenders like GE. This is unfortunately not the only unsavory deal promoted by GE. For example, GE is paid by The Home Depot to allow their brand name to be used to sell low quality knock off water heaters.

Hoping you find reasonable financing for the project of your dreams……and of course…

Bon Appetit!

Paul, Ray, Tom, Julie and Ed

Main Line Kitchen Design

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.
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Office Sign
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Our address is :
19 Bala Avenue Suite #305
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
610-500-4071
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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.
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Happy New Year … and as the sign in our office says…
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Bon Appetit!
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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
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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


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