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Main Line Kitchen Design Trends Blog

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. Mark is an Engineer by the way. 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. Please let us know how you like the funny video and if we get a good response we  will follow up with more of Mark Mitten’s crazy kitchen characters in other videos. 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

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 fouth of July.

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

Bon Appetit!




Main Line Kitchen Design Kitchen Comparing cabinetry brands can be confusing and difficult for everyone except experienced kitchen designers. Here are the most important things to understand when comparing cabinetry lines and how the kitchen cabinet lines Main Line Kitchen Design is proud to carry stack up against the competition.

There are two basic ways cabinetry is made. Cabinets can be Framed Construction or Frameless Construction also called European or Easy Access Construction.

Framed Cabinet Construction

Frameless Cabinet Construction











Almost all frameless cabinetry is made similarly with either a 3/4″ thick plywood or particleboard box.  A plywood box is superior construction wise but will not work with some of the high gloss laminate and foil finishes that are popular in the European style cabinetry. With these finishes only particleboard sides are possible.

Knowledgeable cabinet professionals usually agree on a few things. First, that the more streamline frameless cabinetry looks better with modern door styles because of how close the drawers and doors are. This is due to how the European hinges operate. Second that Traditional and Shaker style doors look equally well in both framed and frameless cabinet lines. And thirdly, that a well made framed cabinet is a much more durable cabinet.

Example of a Frameless Kitchen

Example of Framed Kitchen











In a framed cabinet the frame holds the cabinet box square and each solid wood cabinet front is screwed to the ones next to them adding considerable strength.  Also the hinges and drawers are attached to solid wood in framed cabinetry as opposed to the particle board in most frameless lines.  A well made framed cabinet will last almost forever and simply become scratched and possibly out of fashion with the passing years.  Frameless lines require designers to consider the frameless cabinetry’s construction limitations  and to keep door widths and drawer widths to a minimum to avoid undue stress on the cabinetry. Even designing this way, the average lifespan of a well made frameless line is probably 20 years, especially if you are hard on things in general.

With frameless cabinetry lines since the construction is nearly identical from line to line the construction quality difference between each European line is negligible.  Expensive lines will have better drawer options but if the drawers are upgraded to at least a solid wood box and blumotion tracks the longevity of each cabinet line will be very similar whether you are buying inexpensive IKEA or very expensive Poggenpohl cabinetry.

Popular frameless cabinetry lines are:

IKEA, KitchenCraft,  Poggenpohl, Merit Kitchens, Pedini, UltraCraft Cabinetry. Design-Craft and most Merillat and Omega styles. The majority of the cabinetry coming from Europe and Canada is frameless.

All Main Line Kitchen Design’s frameless cabinetry is upgraded to the best construction possible. Frameless construction is available in our Bishop, Wellsford and Fabuwood cabinetry lines.

With framed cabinetry there are many variations in construction. To make framed cabinetry durably you need several construction minimums or the construction advantages of a framed cabinet are lost. Cabinet fronts are always 3/4″ solid wood. All plywood box construction is far better than having any particle board. Cabinet sides, tops and bottoms must be at least 1/2″ thick. Base cabinets can have plywood tops or I beam construction.  Drawer tracks should always be upgraded to either Blum’s Blumotion tracks or the equivalent and drawer boxes should be solid wood dovetail drawers with a captured plywood bottom. Soft close doors are a nice feature as well as full depth shelves.

Main Line Kitchen Design only sells cabinetry with all these features. Our framed cabinetry brands include Fabuwood, 6 Square, Bishop, Wellsford, and Bremtown.

Click the photo above to watch our 211 Second Kitchen Transformation


Even some more expensive framed cabinet lines will need to be upgraded to this minimum level of construction quality. Examples of more expensive lines that need to have their construction upgraded to meet these minimums are DuraSupreme and Medallion. Often if you can’t find out on a cabinet company’s web site how the cabinets are constructed it is because they don’t meet these minimums. A company’s web site might highlight their cabinetry being green, carb compliant, or American made but if they are avoiding showing you how the cabinetry is constructed watch out!

One of the largest cabinet distributors in the United States is MasterBrand Cabinets. Up until a couple of years ago all of the popular lines that they carried with the exception of their Decora line fell short on construction quality. They have since upgraded about half of their lines.

The popular framed cabinet lines below CAN NOT be upgraded to this level and DO NOT meet these minimums:

Yorketown, Aristocraft, Homecrest, Armstrong Cabinets, Showplace Cabinetry, Wolf Cabinetry, Marsh, and Mid Continent Cabinetry.

Many builders use these lower quality lines as the standard cabinetry in their homes. The added cost for better made cabinetry is usually no more than 10%. When a builder uses these inferior lines I wonder where else they are cutting corners.

One important fact that consumers should be aware of is that both Consumer Reports and JD Power publish inaccurate cabinetry ratings based on customer satisfaction. IKEA and other lesser made cabinet lines always do very well in these reports because customer satisfaction is rated immediately after the cabinets are purchased. Consumers buying less expensive cabinetry have lower expectations which are easily met and the cabinetry hasn’t had time to develop the problems caused by poor construction.

Kraftmaid, the best made cabinet offered at both Lowes and The Home Depot, consistently does poorly in these reports despite being easily upgraded to the best framed construction. This I believe is due to the much higher expectations of the consumers buying a home centers “top” brand and to the fact that home center designers are usually less knowledgeable and are have less time to explain the properties of the cabinets that they sell.

Both Consumer Reports and JD Power also rate the same cabinetry being sold under different names at different places completely differently. Cabinet professionals know that these reports are misleading and consumers should be advised not to consider them when evaluating the quality of cabinetry. 

If you have any questions about the cabinet lines we carry or about any other cabinet lines please feel free to contact us.

… and of course just as Julia Child wished her audience we wish you…

Bon Appetit! 

Paul, Ray, Tom, Mary, and Julie

Main Line Kitchen Design



Japanese and then Korean cars were at first considered to be of lesser quality than American automobiles. Eventually, many consumers considered them to be of equal quality and a good value. Chinese cabinetry may be on the same type path.

Main Line Kitchen Design carries 5 US made cabinet lines and I am familiar with dozens of others and the Chinese made Fabuwood line we carry I believe is equal to or better constructed and finished than many American made lines that sell for up to 15% more. Sure, when I saw the first Asian cabinetry offerings at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show they were very rough. But now I suspect that the cabinet industry is about to be hit by a tidal wave of less expensive Asian cabinet lines that will soon include high quality products.

Below is one of our Fabuwood kitchens:

Main Line Kitchen Design’s CotY Award winning kitchen by Ray Gardner appeared in the National Kitchen and Bath Publication K+BB online yesterday. The article by Erinn Waldo highlights Ray’s design process and what goes into creating such a striking design. One of Ray’s quotes from the article particularly resonates with all our designers.  Ray’s quote:

“Our guiding principle is that great designs increase the value of a home and look better than lesser designs – even if those lesser designs possess higher-end materials,” said Gardner. “All the products we recommend are of good quality, but spending $35,000 on professional appliances makes no sense if the location and size of the appliances ruins the space.”

Once again. Congratulations Ray!

Click on the photo below to link to the article.

HGTV is very popular with homeowners contemplating future home renovations. And by the number of shows that are about kitchens it is apparent that kitchen remodeling is one of the most popular renovations. So how accurate are the HGTV shows that focus on kitchen remodeling? And what do the actual professionals that design and install kitchens think of these programs? Since this is a frequent topic of conversations among kitchen and bath professionals, I thought I’d share some of their comments from a recent LinkedIn discussion on the topic.

Most professional kitchen designers don’t mince words – and their opinions of HGTV range from unprofessional to unrealistic to intentionally misleading.  Alternately, many professionals in the field recommend PBS TV shows like This Old House and Hometime for being reliable sources of information. Here are some quotes from a LinkedIn kitchen professional discussion group:

 “It’s tough to combat and sometimes correct what consumers are believing to be true. I honestly don’t even watch HGTV anymore because its mostly just phooey and I get frustrated with the misconceptions and bad information being shown.”

 “As certified kitchen designers, we work very hard to make sure we are meeting codes and specifications. When we allow HGTV and Houzz to be our voice, we are NOT promoting professionalism.” [Note from Main Line Kitchen Design – is an excellent source for ideas but home owners should still use caution and work with qualified professionals]

 “I cringe when I see poor design or flagrantly wrong design that presents a safety, health or code issue to the end user.”

One designer observed:

“HGTV… not much different than reality TV, right? The more drama, the better, right? Everyone knows, there is a production company behind the scenes directing what they believe people will watch, right? (here, Honey BooBoo, eat this bag of corn curls!). They need the ratings, right? So it makes you wonder, then, why so many consumers think what they see and hear, is gospel.”

And  from another designer..”And so often consumers take it as gospel. ‘Well, I saw it on a program on HGTV!’ “

The comment we hear most often is that HGTV over simplifies the kitchen design and  remodeling process and generally includes unrealistic timelines and pricing.

I believe HGTV does a disservice to the kitchen industry.  Far from being helpful it is actually  misleading  to viewers who understandably believe the stories and expect the staged results that they see on TV.

Main Line Kitchen Design’s advice is to turn the channel if you are watching HGTV ..and of course…

Bon Appetit!


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