Welcome to Kitchen Views’ Designer Blog

Kitchen Views at National Lumber is a kitchen & bath design company with seven unique design showrooms. From contemporary to traditional cabinetry, countertops, decorative hardware and more, our designers will even come to you. We serve the Greater Boston area and all of New England. This blog has been dedicated to offering you the best kitchen remodeling advice from our design experts here at Kitchen Views.

We have recently welcomed two new designers to the Kitchen Views team. Don James is working out of our Warwick, RI showroom and has his first blog posting this week. Diane Long is working out of our Berlin, MA showroom, and we will have a blog posting from her soon.

If you’d like to keep up with the blog via email, you can easily subscribe using the box at the right. Also, if you have any feedback, questions or concerns, be sure to leave a comment!

Historical Roots of the Modern Kitchen by Don James

Don James, Kitchen Views

Have you ever thought about the historical roots of the modern kitchen? As with most things in life that we take for granted today, form really does follow function.

Born and raised in historic downtown Hingham, Massachusetts, I’ve always had an affinity for elements of architectural design and aesthetics. Researching historic facts of architecture has informed my design ability. There is so much we can learn about ourselves by studying the past and the lessons learned by those who came before us.

Sioux indians (mid-1800s) gathered around the cooking fire

Sioux Indians (mid-1800s) gathered around the cooking fire

Settlers of the American West gathered around the Chuck Wagon

Settlers of the American West gathered around the Chuck Wagon

We are inherently drawn to the source of our nourishment, but most of us don’t think about it consciously. Without a building, we are drawn together around the cooking fire. This shared experience forges emotional ties. Family loyalty is strengthened by these everyday routines.

The kitchen is now truly the heart of the home, however, this wasn’t always the case. From the colonial period up until the mid-20th century, most kitchens were an afterthought in the planning of a house.  They were simple rooms predominantly for food storage and minimal food preparation. They lacked space and no one could say they were “designed.” The cooking methods and tools of the day were primitive, which left kitchens dysfunctional for centuries.

Typical kitchen in the early 1900s

Early 1900s

Typical kitchen 1920-1930

1920-1930

Typical kitchen in the 1940s

1940s

It was not until the late 19th century that iron stoves became commercialized and municipality systems for gas, water and electric became readily accessible. Once these advances took place, kitchens were poised for transition, and the kitchen industry was born.

The industrial period led to scientific studies of productivity that considered efficiency dealing with movement and spacing, from which came kitchen design concepts that took into account the process of food preparation. The stove, sink, refrigerator and counter space were identified as key work areas and were now being spaced according to a well-thought-out design for maximum efficiency.

Starting in the 1950s, household work came into vogue depicting the “perfect” middle class household. As a result, even more emphasis was placed in the kitchen. Traditionally, the kitchen had been built at the back of the house, away from living areas. The advancement in technology, flooring, lighting, etc., changed the location of the kitchen within the home.

With this new focus on kitchen appliances, and the development of suburban neighborhoods, competitiveness required that upwardly mobile families had state-of-the-art kitchens. “Keeping up with the Jones’” became a way of life. These modern appliances had become both necessities and status symbols.

With pride in their modern kitchens, families were happy to gather at the kitchen table to eat meals together, instead of in a separate dining room. Kitchens were becoming the place that brought the family together. This was the beginning of the concept of a kitchen as “the heart of the home.”

This period of rapid development from the 1950s through the end of the century saw the family gathering place being improved. With homeowners willing to invest in modern kitchens, designers explored color choices and new materials (such as the aqua blue 1960s kitchen shown below), storage options inside the cabinets, and new configurations to eating areas (such as the 1970s picture with seating around an island instead of a stand-alone table).

Typical kitchen in the 1950s

1950s

Typical kitchen in the 1960s

1960s

Typical kitchen in the 1970s

1970s

The 1980s saw a change in kitchen layouts, which most people didn’t realize was moving them out of “the heart of the home.” Kitchens began to be designed with work islands in the center, to provide more work space for meal preparations. The kitchen table got pushed to the side, or back into a designated dining room. Individuals went to their bedrooms or a designated family room and/or entertainment area during their recreation time.

Typical kitchen in the 1980s

1980s

Typical kitchen in the 1990s

1990s

How many people understood that this physical separation was creating an emotional rift in their family? There is no one factor responsible for the shift in American society. But any honest observer recognizes that we went through a turbulent period with jobs requiring relocation or frequent travel, a rise in the divorce rate and a generation that was out there trying to “find itself.” Perhaps that’s why we’ve finally seen a shift back to the importance of family, whatever form that family takes.

Today’s kitchen is the focal point and gathering place for family and friends. Kitchen islands have transitioned back to include seating for the family to gather in the kitchen, at least for casual meals. The family is also being brought together with the contemporary concept of an open floor plan. This could include a dining area as well as a family room and/or entertainment area. Parents want a line of sight to see small children playing while they do their kitchen tasks. Older children working on homework or playing video games are still “part of the family” instead of off in their bedrooms alone. The family cook may have felt separated from the family, alone behind a wall. With open concept layouts, the person preparing meals can easily converse with the family. The concept of the kitchen as “the heart of the home” has been expanded to include a larger family living area.

It’s where family bonds are made, a place where kids do homework and preparing meals with one another is a pleasant activity. Today’s kitchen is fully integrated into your lifestyle and deserves to be stylish and functional.

contemporary 2014 open concept kitchen and living area

This open concept kitchen and living area layout is a good example of what we have discussed as a contemporary style.

Traditional cabinetry details are included in this contemporary open concept kitchen.

Traditional cabinetry details are included in this contemporary open concept kitchen.

current-2014-two-islands-in-open-concept-kitchen-layout

This open concept kitchen includes two large islands, with natural flow into the family living area.

 

As you can see from these examples, there are endless variations on the theme of open concept. Your kitchen should reflect your aesthetic and your lifestyle.

Don James | Showroom Sales & Design
Kitchen Views | 3356 Post Road, Warwick, RI
djames@kitchenviews.com

Don graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Architectural Engineering Program. He began his career in 1986 hand drafting kitchens for other designers. Don’s notable skill in conceptual design has earned him a reputation as one of the areas premiere kitchen designers.

Completing the Ensemble: The Importance of Quality Decorative Cabinetry Hardware by Dennis Serge

Dennis Serge of Kitchen Views

Customers face a great many decisions when designing or renovating their kitchen. For whatever reason, choosing the hardware for their new cabinetry can sometimes be one of the more daunting selections. Frequently, the questions my clients ask me fall into one of three categories:

WHAT COMBINATION OF KNOBS AND PULLS (HANDLES) IS BEST FOR ME?
Some people like the simplicity of using knobs throughout the kitchen. Others, especially in a more contemporary design, will use all pulls. Most folks seem to prefer a combination — knobs on the doors, pulls on the drawer fronts, or vice versa. Also, consider how the pull or knob feels when you pull on it. A pull might look great, but if it doesn’t feel comfortable to you then it will quickly become annoying. One great thing about visiting our showroom is that you can try out the function of decorative hardware that is installed in our inspiring kitchen vignettes. The truth of the matter is that there is no right and wrong here. The deciding factor is what is most functional for your family and looks the best in your eyes.

This drawer pull has crisp features that look great. But delicate hands might find this pull uncomfortable to use.

This drawer pull has crisp features that look great. But delicate hands might find this pull uncomfortable to use.

WHAT HARDWARE WILL CONTRAST WELL WITH MY NEW CABINETS?
Beyond the obvious observation that a highly stylized, contemporary hardware will tend to look out of place on very traditional, raised panel cabinetry, consider what style is currently popular and see if you think they are a good match for your cabinets. Plain chrome and polished brass hardware can look nice on certain styles of cabinetry, but for the most part they have given way to finishes like brushed chrome, oil rubbed bronze, and other weathered type finishes. These should remain popular for years to come, and are not a “trendy” choice like some glass hardware, hardware with inserts, and other styles that a customer might tire of a few years down the road.

This cabinet pull with curved shape and textured surface works well with traditional or contemporary cabinetry.

This cabinet pull with curved shape and textured surface works well with traditional or contemporary cabinetry.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY FOR MY HARDWARE?
Here the old adage applies, “you get what you pay for”. Don’t be afraid to ask if the hardware you are considering is solid metal or an alloy, of if there is a warranty on the finish. If the hardware is too inexpensive or poorly made, it can literally begin to tarnish in just a few months. Hardware is the finishing touch on your new kitchen, and it can be a focal point that enhances or detracts from the overall appearance you are trying to achieve. As an example, imagine if you will, watching a glamorous actress stroll down the red carpet in an exquisite designer gown, and then seeing that she is wearing obviously cheap dime store costume jewelry. It ruins the whole ensemble. It’s much the same with cabinet hardware. Don’t make the mistake of skimping on the hardware to save a few dollars at the end of the project.

The finishing touches make all the difference.

Dennis Serge | Showroom Sales & Design
Kitchen Views | 71 Maple St, Mansfield, MA
dserge@kitchenviews.com

Fighting Germs With Decorative Hardware From Häfele

Who doesn’t want to have a healthier home and/or work environment? Parents of young children are familiar with those long stretches of time when a cold or other virus sweeps through the whole family. Office workers try to keep their hands washed to avoid catching whatever is going around the office. Now Häfele declares they have decorative hardware that can help fight the ongoing battle against germs.

Where health and hygiene are important considerations, pulls & handles with antimicrobial finish are now available in a choice of six distinctive pulls and handles.

Häfele Antimicrobial Collection of decorative hardware

Häfele Antimicrobial Collection

Häfele’s Antimicrobial Collection starts with exceptional craftsmanship and contemporary style. Then a durable, powder-coated antimicrobial finish is applied that reduces the possibility of developing “superbugs” or other strains of bacteria. With today’s health and hygiene concerns, this collection offers new possibilities for residential, commercial and institutional applications.

Whatever your decorative hardware priorities, Kitchen Views offers a wide selection of brands to complement your cabinetry, your style and your budget.

 www.kitchenviews.com

Check List for Kitchen & Bath Remodeling

Brandy Souza of Kitchen Views

Kitchen Views at National Lumber enjoyed hosting our first EM NARI Networking event on April 16 along with co-host Allstate Glass. Two of our PRO Force salesmen, who specialize in working with remodelers, were there discussing current building projects.

Steven Kaitz, owner of National Lumber at the EM NARI Networking Event

Steven Kaitz (right), owner of National Lumber at the EM NARI Networking Event in the Kitchen Views showroom, Mansfield, MA

Many demonstration areas were available, including:

•  Allstate Glass frameless glass shower enclosures and back-painted glass backsplashes

•  Schrock and Dynasty representatives showed our vignettes of their cabinetry products and answered questions

•  Häfele introduced their new cabinet lighting that is installed in our two new kitchen vignettes

•  One of our Mansfield designers introduced our new cabinet re-facing program

•  Closet Factory showed their new finishes for custom closet products

Look for more photos in our Facebook and Google+ albums.

The night was filled with food, drinks and fantastic company. We had big winners too! Nancy from Masters Touch won a gift certificate to Closet factory. Dave from Home Repairs Carpentry in Norwood won a gift certificate to Allstate Glass, and Dave from Miller Construction won a Häfele tool kit and gift certificate for their product line.

But the biggest winner is the EM NARI scholarship fund. Annually, a scholarship is awarded to an immediate family member of an EM NARI member who is a high school graduating senior who has been accepted as a full-time student to an accredited college or university in any program of study. Thanks to everyone who attended we collected $800 for the scholarship fund.

Builders had a chance to see many of the new products going into kitchens now. Many of them feel the market for remodeling is strengthening. Adding these products to any renovation is sure to add value to a customer’s home.

Mike McDole speaking to a guest at the EM NARI Networking Event

Mike McDole, National Lumber’s Senior Vice President of Sales, speaking to a guest at the EM NARI Networking Event in the Kitchen Views showroom.

We are looking forward to another networking night! We invite you to check National Lumber’s website Events page, national-lumber.com/events, periodically to see what’s coming up.

In the meantime, we invite you to visit a National Lumber location near you to find out about the PRO Force Remodelers program. Feel free to visit a Kitchen Views at National Lumber showroom and speak to one of our designers about your next project.

Brandy Souza
General Manager of Kitchen Views

Brandy Souza has been promoted to General Manager of Kitchen Views

NATIONAL LUMBER PROMOTES FROM WITHIN

Brandy Souza has been promoted to General Manager of Kitchen Views

Brandy Souza

Mansfield, MA – March 3, 2014 – Continuing a tradition of promoting from within the company, National Lumber has proudly announced the promotion of Brandy Souza to General Manager of Kitchen Views, their cabinetry and design division. Souza will report directly to company President Manny Pina. 

Brandy began her career interning for Paul Brent, a world renowned seaside architect and artist. After her internship she went to school and worked for a general contractor, Rex Spencer, where she drew plans and managed residential projects. She loves working with materials that remind her of beach vacations, both Miami exciting and Cape Cod relaxing. She draws from her ability to design a kitchen to meet specific needs of her clients and bring their dream kitchen to life. She combines her technical expertise with a fine eye for design and a commitment to customer satisfaction.

Brandy Souza has been with Kitchen Views since 2005, starting as a designer in National Lumber’s New Bedford location. She has consistently shown strong leadership and a determined attitude to improve every situation with tact and graciousness. Her amazing design acumen is demonstrated in her work creating Kitchen Views’ lovely and comprehensive Warwick showroom. Most recently Brandy designed stunning updates for the flagship Kitchen Views showroom at the Mansfield headquarters. Brandy is expected to continue Kitchen Views’ promise of exceptional customer service, leading by example.  Attending Design and Construction Week, the combined 2014 IBS and KBIS show in Las Vegas, Brandy was recently commended by clients for her delightful hospitality and expert guidance through the KBIS portion of the show.

A sought after expert for her design and materials expertise, Brandy has been interviewed and quoted in articles for Boston Home Magazine, New England Home Magazine, Rhode Island Monthly’s Annual Home Design issue and others. Brandy enjoys sharing her expertise through articles posted on the Kitchen Views blog.  With readers from around the United States, and many followers in England, homeowners are drawn to Kitchen Views for the product knowledge and design insight provided. Her posting on design trends for 2014 was picked up on Twitter by several industry sources.

The Ultimate Open Concept Shower Enclosure

Glass clarity impacts the ambiance of open concept bathroom design, and Kitchen Views strives to bring you the best advice for selecting the materials that make our designs a reality. Kitchen Views only deals with vendors that are the best in the business. For kitchen or bath glass solutions, we recommend Allstate Glass for their quality products and friendly staff. They are available to answer any questions regarding your project.

Ultra-Clear Shower & Steam Enclosures from Allstate Glass

Allstate Glass low-iron "Ultra-Clear" glass close-up

Allstate Glass low-iron “Ultra-Clear” glass close-up

Just when you thought ALL glass was clear — compare the standard “clear” glass you see almost every day to this low-iron, “Ultra-Clear” glass and you’re in for an ultra-clear surprise. Growing more and more popular, particularly in high-end homes, ultra-clear glass is fabricated by reducing the iron to increase light transmission and reduce the greenish tint in clear glass that is visible when viewed from the edges.

Allstate Glass low-iron "Ultra-Clear" glass shower enclosure

Allstate Glass low-iron “Ultra-Clear” glass shower enclosure

This Canton homeowner loved the idea of maximizing the natural light in his new bathroom with an ultra-clear glass shower enclosure and chrome hardware. Contact Allstate Glass to learn how you can bring more light and clarity into your bathroom with an ultra-clear glass shower or steam enclosure!

Click here to see our brochure that is available through the Kitchen Views website.

Brittany Shellington
britt@allstateglassco.com
781-248-4683 cell

AllstateGlassShowers.com

LinkedIn  |  Houzz  |  Twitter

ALLSTATE GLASS
1385 Washington Street
Weymouth, MA 02189
781-331-3344


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