Category Archives: New Kitchen Design

Kitchen Cleaning Done Right…Right from the Start with Your New Kitchen Design

Kitchen cleaning is probably not top of mind when you start planning your new kitchen design, but maybe it should be. Once your gorgeous new kitchen is in place, it will be in use—and that means keeping it clean will be a priority. Imagine that first day in your new kitchen with everything sparkly and spotless. The only way to keep it that way is to keep up with cleaning!

Yet kitchen cleaning is a chore many of us dread. It seems you can’t do anything in the kitchen without causing some kind of mess, even if it’s just a dirty glass after a drink of water.

But hang on: If you plan your new kitchen to minimize cleanup, it will be easier from the very first day your new kitchen is ready for you! The preparation in the design phase can lighten the load. To help you get started, try this advice:

  • Keep your kitchen clutter-free:When you’re designing your new kitchen and shopping for semi custom cabinets, think about ways to avoid clutter. Look around your current kitchen: What items take up space on the countertop or island? How can you design your new kitchen storage so these items can be put away? When you have well thought out kitchen cabinets and storage, it’s much easier to keep your countertops free of clutter. And when you clear away clutter, you have more workspace plus it’s just easier to wipe down the countertops after meal preparation. The result? Easier kitchen cleaning!
  • Have a place for everything and everything in its place:Like thinking “clutter-free” in the design stage, seriously thinking through kitchen storage is also critical as you’re looking at cabinets. Get specific. Today’s built-in storage options can meet just about any need. When you’re thinking about a place for everything, we really do mean everything. This includes mail, keys, purses and other things that tend to get dropped wherever when someone walks through the door, as well as charging stations for phones and other non-kitchen items that seem to end up in the kitchen. Also plan for storing cleaning items close at hand, because you’ll be more likely to wipe down a counter or stovetop when it’s convenient to do so.
  • Choose high quality kitchen cabinets:High quality kitchen cabinets will stand the test of time, faring well despite the daily use of your kitchen. Kitchens get a lot of wear and tear and poorly built cabinets can quickly look worn—and never clean.

If you’re planning for a new kitchen, congratulations! It is one of the most important rooms in a house, and you and your family will enjoy it more when it’s designed to meet your specific needs. And when one of those needs is to cut down on kitchen cleaning, that’s possible too!

To Soffit or not to Soffit: Kitchen Soffit Solutions

Are you designing your new kitchen and trying to decide whether or not to have a soffit above the kitchen cabinets? There are definitely reasons for and against having a soffit, as well as several ways you can approach that space between the top of the wall cabinet and the ceiling. Consider these kitchen soffit solutions…

Kitchen soffit solutions: Plenty of soffit space
Reasons against a soffit above kitchen cabinets include difficulty in cleaning the space and too little room to make use of it for either storage or display. A kitchen such as the one pictured here has generous soffit space, and alternating heights so the homeowner still has the advantage of taller cabinets in some places (with the extra storage that comes with the height) yet lower cabinets elsewhere so the soffit is generous in space. That makes plenty of room for plants and pottery to be displayed and easy cleaning and dusting when needed.

This airy kitchen uses plenty of soffit space for displaying baskets, while the “cabinetry” enclosing the vent hood extends all the way to the ceiling.

Kitchen soffit solutions: Double-stacked cabinets
Some homeowners choose double-stacked cabinets, putting shorter cabinets on top of the normal wall cabinets to fill up that soffit space. The kitchen pictured here uses double-stacked cabinets, although the homeowner opted for a bit of soffit above the kitchen cabinets. Double-stacked cabinets like these are a nice kitchen soffit solution because they fill up the space and provide dust-free storage, but the shorter cabinet on top visually breaks up the cabinets, adding visual appeal.

Kitchen soffit solutions: Transom cabinets with glass fronts
Another option uses glass-front cabinets as the shorter cabinets, as in this kitchen. The soffit is totally enclosed, eliminating the need for dusting, but offering a way to display lovely plates and glassware. Glass-fronts on the transom cabinets also gives the kitchen an airy feeling.

This kitchen also uses glass-front doors on the transom cabinets, with solid decorative “cabinetry” around the vent hood, and over the sink, providing a pleasing visual break to the repeating pattern of the paned glass door fronts.

Kitchen soffit solutions: Getting creative with cabinets
The owner of this kitchen took a novel approach to the soffit above the kitchen cabinets: It is left open in some places and enclosed in others, with every other cabinet double-stacked. The homeowner gets the advantage of the extra storage space, but doesn’t overwhelm the kitchen by taking all of the cabinets to the ceiling. With the dark cabinets used in this kitchen, it might be oppressive to have all of them ceiling high.

This kitchen has another creative approach: double stacked cabinets broken up with only the occasional glass-front doors.

You can see you have several options if you’re wondering about soffit vs. no soffit! But no matter the kitchen soffit solutions you choose, you can rest assured you made the right choice for you.

Customizing Your Semi Custom Cabinets With Glaze

You’re choosing semi custom cabinets because they fit your budget yet still give you the look you want, but you want just a wee bit more nuance in your new kitchen design? Go for glaze.

A glaze can give your semi custom cabinets a very different look, no matter which door style you’ve fallen in love with. And if you’re the only one choosing that particular door style with that particular glaze, you have custom cabinets—for a semi custom cabinet price.

Wait! It gets even better, because a glaze is not simply a one-size-fits all approach to customizing your cabinet finish. There are several different types of glazes.

The hand-wiped glaze
With the hand-wiped glaze technique, we quite literally apply the glaze by hand, wiping it over the stain or paint of your cabinets. This gives the whole door a hint of color, with more glaze (and therefore color) in the edges and corners of the cabinet door, where the glaze is harder to wipe away.

The heirloom finish
Heirloom finishes are hand-wiped onto the cabinet doors as we just described above, but then the finish is distressed to give your semi custom cabinets the appearance of age. We sand down the cabinets doors in places that would naturally get wear and tear over time. If you want your kitchen to have a lived-in and much-loved look, consider the heirloom finish.

Pencil glazes
Pencil glazes are not applied like the glazes described above, with glaze wiped on and rubbed off. Instead, pencil glazes are applied in a very deliberate way. It’s kind of like drawing details on to the edges and corners of the kitchen cabinet doors and drawers. The look is much sharper compared to the hand-wiped glazes.

Brushed glazes
If you prefer a sharper, more symmetrical look, consider brushed glazes. As with the pencil glaze, a brushed glaze is applied in a deliberate way, brushed on to the cabinet doors in long strokes so you get consistent vertical brushwork detailing.

To learn more about glazes and finishes, you can read about the many ways we can customize your semi custom cabinets, including custom color paint matching and stains. You can also see an online version of our door style and finish guide, where you can see samples of our stains and glazes.

Consider Quartz Countertops, for a Stone Look but Less Maintenance

If you’re shopping for semi custom cabinets for your new kitchen, that might be due to budget. After all, not everyone can afford the high price of custom cabinets, and with semi custom cabinets, you get the custom look without the custom price.

If you’re being mindful of your kitchen remodeling budget, then you might also be considering alternatives to the granite countertops found in so many of today’s kitchens. And that brings us to quartz.

Why you should consider quartz counters
Quartz countertops are more than a natural stone look-alike that might save you money on your new kitchen remodel. Quartz has one big benefit granite doesn’t, due to the way it is made. Yes, made.

Although they look like natural stone, quartz countertops are “engineered stone,” meaning they aren’t 100% natural materials like a slab of granite. Rather, they are a combination of natural materials (the quartz) and resins. Quartz countertops are about 90% quartz, which is almost all natural as far as the ingredients. But they are manufactured in a factory rather than mined like granite.

Maintenance: Why quartz wins big over granite
That means quartz countertops are more resistant to the inevitable stains that will occur in any busy kitchen. Because granite is all natural, it is—naturally—porous. Granite countertops are sealed to protect them from stains, but you must keep resealing them to keep up with the protection. Quartz countertops, on the other hand, are impervious because they are mostly stone, but not all. The way they are manufactured makes them nonporous and resistant to stains.

That makes quartz countertops easier to maintain as well because you don’t have to reseal these countertops—ever.

But you still get the natural stone look that’s so popular in today’s kitchens remodels. You also get a countertop that’s heat and abrasion resistant, like granite. With quartz countertops, you can get the look (and durability) of stone but without the price and maintenance of granite.

So if budget is a concern when planning your new kitchen remodel and picking out your semi custom cabinets, take a look at quartz for your countertop too.

P.S. If you’re considering quartz for your new kitchen, you might enjoy these eight facts about quartz!

Are Semi Custom Cabinets “Just Right” for Your New Kitchen Design?

Semi custom cabinets are akin to Goldilocks preferring the baby bear’s chair, porridge and bed: All three fit her “just right.”

In the world of kitchen cabinets, you as a homeowner face the same kind of three choices, although the bears didn’t have any kitchen cabinets that we know of. However, you could say the three choices of stock, semi custom and custom kitchen cabinets are like the choices the storybook character faced when she had Papa Bear’s, Mama Bear’s and Baby Bear’s things to choose from. In each case, she tried out all three and found she preferred Baby Bear’s.

In a similar way, you might consider your three types of cabinet choices which we’ll explain below. First, we’ll address stock cabinets at the low end, then custom cabinets at the high end, and lastly the semi custom cabinets…that are for many homeowners “just right.”

When to consider stock kitchen cabinets
Stock kitchen cabinets have two big advantages. First, they are the most affordable of three options. Second, they are premade so you won’t have to wait for your cabinets. If your kitchen is a standard size, and you’re on a tight budget and/or in a hurry, stock cabinets are probably the right choice for you.

That said, stock kitchen cabinets also have limitations. They come in set sizes, although cabinets usually come in different widths, so that gives you a little flexibility, not much. Plus you only get a very limited choice of wood and finishes with stock cabinets.

Stock cabinets are often the right choice, however. If you’re building a low-budget vacation home, redoing the kitchen in a starter home, or putting in a mother-in-law apartment, stock cabinets might be the best way to go.

When to consider custom cabinets
If you have a generous remodeling budget, an odd-sized space, and/or a lot of customized details you want to be included in your new kitchen, custom cabinets might be for you. With custom cabinets, you can get exactly what you want.

On the downside, custom cabinets cost much more than the other two options, and it will be weeks or even months before your cabinets are built and installed.

Yet custom cabinets are often the right choice for certain kitchens. If you’re building your dream home and you can afford to have exactly the kitchen you want, custom cabinets are probably just right for you. On the other hand, if there’s a chance you’ll move someday and won’t be staying in your home forever, custom cabinets might not be a good use of your money.

When to consider semi custom cabinets
We saved the best for last in this short list of three. And we say “the best” because many kitchen designers and bloggers say the same thing about semi custom cabinets: They are the best of both worlds.

With semi custom cabinets, you can get literally hundreds of choices in styles, stains, colors, and finishes. (Only take a quick look at our huge selection of kitchen cabinets for proof.) You also get more size options compared to stock cabinets: Semi custom cabinets can be made in different depths, and cabinet width is usually available in one-inch increments.

And unlike stock cabinets, semi custom cabinets can look custom! With all of the choices you have for styles, stains, and finishes, plus extra details you can add, there’s a chance you’ll be the only one with that particular cabinet design in your stunning new kitchen. You can also choose the higher end option for better quality details and hardware. For an example of those kinds of options, see our three cabinet lines compared here.

Then there’s the price: Semi custom cabinets are much more affordable than custom!

Is there a downside to these “just right” cabinets? Possibly. You will have to wait for semi custom cabinets, as they are built when you order them, not before, but they are built much faster than custom cabinets. If you’re in a hurry, semi custom might not work. And you might have to go custom if you’re stuck with a very odd-sized space.

For most homeowners, however, semi custom cabinets are the “just right” solution for getting the look and price they want in their new kitchens.