Welcome to Kitchen Views’ Designer Blog

Kitchen Views is a kitchen & bath design company with six unique design showrooms; located at four National Lumber locations in Massachusetts, at National Building Products in Warwick, RI and now at Oxford Lumber in Oxford, CT. 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. Gabe Cabezas and Danielle Valenti in Oxford, CT joined the team when the National Lumber Family of Companies added Oxford Lumber and Building Materials to the family earlier this year. There showroom has been completely remodeled and you can get a peek at it on the Kitchen Views website. If you are in the area, please stop in to browse through the new kitchen vignettes and bathroom cabinetry displays.

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!

Convenient Coffee Fix: How to Create the Best Coffee Station

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Convenient Coffee Fix

Does caffeine get you going in the morning? Or keep you going all day and night?  The popularity of coffee isn’t new, but featuring the preparation of this liquid energy has become a focus in many kitchens. Some call it a coffee station. Some call it a necessary convenience for their morning routine. Whether you go all out with an espresso machine or just dedicated cabinet and counter space for your coffee fix, there are plenty of options to consider.

Mug Drawers Keep Your Cups Handy and Safe

One of the must haves in a coffee station is to have coffee mugs handy. The idea of keeping them in a drawer is new, if you have drawer space available. Having a deep drawer with a nonslip liner in the bottom keeps your coffee mugs from getting chipped, something that happens all too often when put in regular cabinets or drawers. It also keeps you from having to keep your mugs on open shelves, which could lead to them falling and getting broken.

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K-Cup Storage Drawers for the Keurig Machine Lovers

Addicted to your Keurig machine, but not sure where the best place to store your K-Cups might be? If you don’t want a rack on the counter, you can have a small drawer under the counter beneath your Keurig, they actually create drawer inserts made specially for your K-Cups.  They even let you organize them by flavor and brand.

If you’re more of a Nespresso person, there are special wood capsule storage units. They can be put in a drawer or even hung on a wall. The arcs built into them allow you to organize the capsules in such a way that the colors can actually create their own kind of art.

Go All the Way and Make it a Breakfast Station

If you have the space, you can just go all out and create a breakfast station. You can have a cabinet that hides away the toaster and other appliances, and perhaps even a small refrigerator for milk, juices, and breakfast items that need a fridge. You could also have storage for small plates and glasses.

Winding Down at the End of the Day

Coffee lovers can also end their day by winding down with decaf. Or perhaps you enjoy tea when you unwind. Don’t forget hot chocolate for those cold winter nights. A dedicated beverage area can be used for multiple purposes throughout the day and night.

These are just a few ideas to consider for a coffee station. Of course, this also applies to tea lovers. Perhaps you can keep a small electric burner in a cabinet along with the teapot or whatever you use to boil water. No need to use the regular stove just for breakfast.

There are plenty of more coffee station ideas on websites such as Houzz. Do you have any creative ideas on how to create the best coffee, tea,  or breakfast station for you? Let us know!

If you need help with creating a coffee or breakfast station, Kitchen Views can provide for all of your cabinetry and countertop needs. Whether you want to add a few cabinets to an unused area to create a coffee station, or incorporate it in a new kitchen, we can help you design whatever you need. Whatever you decide is a must have in your kitchen, you can always ask your kitchen designer for advice in making your daily routines more convenient.

Kitchen Views
www.kitchenviews.com

What Kind of Kitchen Does My Vacation Home Need?

 

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Are you looking to upgrade your kitchen at your vacation home? Over the years, Kitchen Views has helped remodel many kitchens on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. When it comes to having a kitchen that you don’t use for most of the year, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

How often do you plan on using the kitchen? You don’t necessarily need a restaurant-quality kitchen if you’re only spending a couple months a year. If you plan on renting it out when you’re not around, you may want to invest more into it. Since many people on vacation would rather go out to eat or barbecue outdoors, the kitchen just needs to be functional with the bare essentials.

If your vacation home will eventually become your primary residence, however, then you’ll want to have a kitchen similar to that of your current home. The more full-featured your kitchen is, the better it is for your vacation home’s value, as well. When deciding how much to spend, you typically want to budget between 10 to 25 percent of your vacation home’s current value for a kitchen remodel. With a vacation home, you want to try to spend closer to 10 percent, since the kitchen isn’t used all year.

Like when budgeting with any remodel, you want to look at other homes in the neighborhood and what people expect from their kitchens. Knowing the local real estate market is just as important as it is for your regular home. Many vacation homes have smaller kitchens, so it doesn’t make sense to blow your budget on something extravagant unless the market calls for something larger.

One major kitchen design trend you can consider for a vacation home, however, is an open-concept layout. Some older vacation homes have closed-in, cramped kitchens. Knocking down a wall and making the small kitchen part of the main living space may be all you really have to do to make your vacation home kitchen much better. Knocking down that wall can allow you to put in a counter, greatly expanding prep and eating space.

If your vacation home already has a functional kitchen or kitchenette, you may not have to do much as long as it has recently updated appliances and sufficient counter space. Try not to go overboard if you don’t have to. While having the nicest kitchen in the neighborhood is a nice bragging point, it’s not the most important thing. You just want a comfortable, functional kitchen to allow you to eat in whenever you want to, while being as conservative with costs as possible.’

Kitchen Views
www.kitchenviews.com

In-Law Apartment Kitchens: Small But Functional

This kitchen designed by Lee Turner for The Wiese Company won an EM-NARI CotY award for "Best Kitchen Remodel."

This kitchen designed by Lee Turner for The Wiese Company won an EM-NARI CotY award for “Best Kitchen Remodel.” Photo © Kitchen Views

With multiple generations occupying many homes today, in-law apartments have become popular additions. They are often small, but functional. If it’s not quite functional, however, you may be looking to remodel the space to make it more so. You may be wondering what you should budget for such a remodel and what should go into it.

It’s possible you may have bought a home that already had an in-law suite. But the kitchen may be outdated when compared to the rest of the house. This is actually not all that uncommon. To be fair, in-law apartments should be as close to the style of the rest of the house as possible, especially if it is its own separate living space. But sometimes, the other kitchen becomes where all of the old appliances and many of the other useful items from the previously remodeled kitchen end up. If they are still reasonably functional, you may just need to give the space a facelift.

The major trend today with in-law apartments is to make them handicap accessible and use universal design elements. Especially with aging in-laws, you want to make sure that the kitchen is usable by everyone. Some in-law kitchens may be more like kitchenettes stacked up against one wall, with perhaps some counter space. Depending on the size of the space, this may be enough, especially if it’s easily accessible. You don’t want to put a huge island in an in-law suite kitchen. You want to maximize the available square footage and not make the kitchen take up too large of a percentage.

The other thing to keep in mind is if the in-law apartment will be used on a regular basis or only for part of the year. In-law apartments, especially when separate from the rest of the living space, can also serve later as rental space. So you want to have the best kitchen possible for the small space. Not only is an upgraded, but budget-conscious, kitchen good for your home’s value, but it makes for a pleasant experience for your guests, and potential renters, as well.

Kitchen Views
www.kitchenviews.com

Improving Your Kitchen’s Design for a Great ROI (Return on Investment)

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© Kitchen Views | Kitchen designed by Ed Nunes, Chestnut Hill, MA

by Steve Constable, Chicago Home Remodeling

When it comes to home renovations the best return on investment of any part of the home is found in the kitchen. Improving your kitchen can return 75% to 100% or more of your initial investment. But before you dig into your toolbox or head to the home improvement store it is helpful to know what design choices offer the best value for your investment. Implementing the right elements is often the difference between getting the price you want when you hit the market and having to slowly lower your asking price.

A common mistake people make when looking to revise their kitchen is focusing too much on the money spent. Having a budget is very important, but you want your money to be spent productively. Installing expensive Lazy Susans or wine racks are not smart monetary moves if your cabinets are falling apart. The first step is to evaluate the status of your space. Focus on aspects that draw the most attention: counters, cabinets, appliances and wall color.

Counters and cabinets take up the most space in your kitchen (typically 60% to 70%) and get the most use. Reach for a plate or glass, chop food or rest a dish—it’s critical your counters and cabinets are up-to-date in form and function. Homeowners typically view appliances for function first, but a strong aesthetic appeal will help your space stand out to buyers. Kitchens are the first thing realtors show prospective buyers. This is your first impression.

Are your cabinets in dire need of an update? Before you grab your sledgehammer, consider refacing the cabinets. With this the existing frame or skeleton and layout stays intact. Everything else (75% of what people see) is replaced. Adding new doors, drawers, and hardware will only run you between $2,000 and $6,000. A full tear down can cost double or even triple that amount. Of course, a new fresh coat of paint and new cabinet jewelry might be all you need to breathe new life into your cabinets. Creativity is key when you are remodeling on a tight budget. A popular, cost efficient, option is wood refinishing. You cabinets stay the same, but the urethane and stain or paint is stripped away and sanded clean. Then new layers are added. You can expect to pay between $3.30 and $3.70 per square foot on a wood refinishing job, and it’s a project for even the most novice DIYer!

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© Kitchen Views | Kitchen designed by Ed Nunes, Chestnut Hill, MA

A project you might want to leave to the experts is replacing your countertop. And you’ll be glad you left this to the pros because a new countertop offers 70% ROI or more. But it needs to be granite. People love granite for its durability and aesthetic look. Not only can you slice food right on its surface (if you do not mind scratching the polish), but you can also choose from a plethora of colors and patterns when picking it out. Be sure to have your kitchen colors locked down before picking your countertop color. You can pick a darker granite color and let it pair with lightly colored walls to be a focal point of contrast. Light colors like whites and yellows are quite in vogue these days. They are inviting, reflect plenty of natural light, and make spaces look bigger. The same cannot be said of dark or “strong” colors like deep blue or green. Use these colors as accents, but make sure they match your countertop.

Don’t worry about matching your walls with your appliances. When buying new appliances, there is one aesthetic that reigns supreme: stainless steel. Nothing is sleeker or cleaner than this metal sheathing, making it the most desirable material among homeowners. Buyers too! People want to know you home is up-to-date. Stainless steel embodies contemporary aesthetic and reliability.

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© Kitchen Views | Kitchen designed by Ed Nunes, Chestnut Hill, MA

Real estate experts agree that a kitchen remodel should cost between 5% to 10% of your home’s estimated resale value. In an average US city like Chicago this is anywhere from $12,000 to $24,000 as homes in 2016 are now selling for an average of $240,000. By applying this formula to your kitchen remodeling budget and also incorporating the right design elements into your kitchen remodel you can ensure that your house sells above the fair market value of other homes in the area.

About the Author: Steve Constable is a design and build specialist who lives in Chicago, IL. You can learn more about his company Chicago Kitchen Remodeling Inc. by visiting: http://kitchenremodelingchicago.com

Kitchen Design Doesn’t Have to Be Black and White

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The striking blue wall color in this photo adds vibrancy to this kitchen with traditional white cabinetry and black countertops. Remodeling your kitchen is one of the best times to put a splash of color into your home. Painting the wall another color is a fairly easy, inexpensive way to change the ambience of your home.

White kitchen cabinets have been extremely popular for many years. On the flip side, black cabinets, when paired with lighter countertops and other colors as accents, are also growing in popularity. But, of course, kitchen design doesn’t have to be black and white. There are so many color options available. The trick is to not overpower the space with too much color coming from foundational elements. But since black goes with everything, you may actually find that you have a different range of color choices that you may not have considered with white, neutral cream or gray cabinetry or countertop.

Usually, monochrome kitchens focus their color palettes on white, grays, and black, then include accents of color in their backsplashes, countertops, flooring, and accessories. By having a contrasting color for cabinets in the island, for example, you can add depth to the visual design of your kitchen. If your kitchen is too white, it can look washed out and some of the details of the cabinetry can be overlooked. But if you select an unusual custom color cabinetry and end up not being happy with it later, that will be expensive to change. However, if you splurge with paint to accent your cabinetry, you can always repaint it later.

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North Kingstown, RI Kitchen Designed by Lisa Zompa. Image © Kitchen Views

Darkly stained wood cabinets are another popular option when you don’t want your kitchen to look whitewashed. Keep in mind that the overall visual effect will be dramatically different depending on your choice of countertops and/or backsplashes.

Here are two examples of how different it looks when you choose either dark or light countertops with dark cabinets.

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Black hutch designed by Lisa Zompa. Image © Kitchen Views

 

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Media Kitchen designed by Lisa Zompa. Image © Kitchen Views

If you really want to make a strong statement, black countertops and/or backsplashes are a great complement to lighter colored cabinets. Black is bold, especially when set against plain white, off-whites, silvers, or grays.

 

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New kitchen designed by Amy Mood. Image © Kitchen Views

Whatever you decide to do, there are a range of color palette options available. You want to keep in mind the style of your home and the neighborhood you are in. While having a stunning kitchen is cool, if it doesn’t fit the rest of your home, that will hurt your home’s potential resale value. However, if you don’t care about reselling your home, you can go wild with it. Consult your friendly local kitchen designer to discuss the colors you have in mind.

Kitchen Views
www.kitchenviews.com

Keeping the Kitchen Up to Date

 

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Sometimes all your tired kitchen needs are a few updates. For example, you may be considering new appliances. For example, check out the cool features on the front of the updated refrigerator, as well as the up-to-date wall oven, in this kitchen.

For many of us living in older homes, keeping it up to date seems like a constant work in progress. Oftentimes, if the space works reasonably well as it is, it doesn’t seem necessary to undergo a full blown remodel. Today, there is a growing focus on aesthetics plus keeping up with the latest in kitchen technology. Of all the rooms in your home, the kitchen is usually the one you want to keep updated the most. So how can you do this without blowing your budget?

First of all, it’s important to consider the most functional aspects of your kitchen and focus on upgrading these first. According to Home Advisor, updating countertops and cabinets are homeowners’ top priority. But it’s also important to update certain other features such as appliances, flooring, lighting fixtures, and sinks. The question you have to ask before any remodeling adventure is: “What about your space doesn’t work?” But building function into a space is far more expensive than aesthetic upgrades. Maybe all you really need is new countertops, flooring, lighting, or a new sink.

When it comes to countertops, granite is still the most popular choice. However, quartz countertops, such as those from Silestone by Cosentino, have been quickly gaining in popularity. Other options include ceramic, concrete, Corian, slate, soapstone, and wood. If you are on a really tight budget, modern laminate choices will amaze you, and can transform a kitchen. A new countertop can almost completely transform a kitchen aesthetically on its own. Having a countertop that will look clean for the foreseeable future definitely helps a space in multiple ways.

If you have the funds and desire for a more substantial update, refacing or re-dooring cabinets is a popular option, although re-painting or re-staining can be an even more affordable option if the existing cabinets are worth the investment. For new cabinets, Home Advisor says that the most popular options were red oak, cherry, and laminate. If you decide to replace your cabinets, make sure that you choose the most solid construction that you can afford. There are good options for laminate cabinets, but be sure you’re getting ones that will stand the test of time. You want them to look good, but also function properly for years to come.

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In this modernized bistro kitchen, notice that the range top is separate from the oven. Also, you can see the television/computer mounted under the upper cabinet on the left.

You may also be considering updating your appliances. This is probably the best way to upgrade the function of your kitchen. Unless you’re considering much larger appliances, you don’t have change the layout of your cabinetry at all to accommodate them. One of the main reasons to look into updating them includes energy efficiency. With so many ENERGY STAR certified models of refrigerators, stoves, wall ovens, and microwaves available today, there are plenty of sizes and features to choose from. You can make back much of the cost of the new appliances in energy savings over the life of your new units.

Also, if your kitchen can accommodate it, a larger refrigerator can actually save you in the long run. A refrigerator that’s too full has to work overtime. Not only does this mean that it likely won’t properly keep food cool or frozen, but it also takes a lot more energy and can wear out your fridge more quickly. With energy efficient models, a bigger fridge, if you actually need it, is actually better. Having stoves, wall ovens, or microwaves that have new features that you will actually use are also handy. If you want to compare the various options available when it comes to appliances, Yale Appliance has a handy resource guide to help you make decisions about what you want to look for when you are buying appliances.

If you don’t want to invest in new cabinets, appliances and countertops, there are many simple and less expensive ways to help your older kitchen feel fresh. New flooring isn’t all that expensive, especially in a smaller kitchen. Perhaps you don’t even need a new sink, and just need a new faucet. New decorative hardware can make your cabinetry feel new. That is a very simple change you can make yourself. Check out our information on decorative hardware choices. Updated lighting fixtures, or even just light bulbs, can provide more light with less power usage.

If you’re really stuck about what you need to focus on for upgrading your kitchen, ask your friendly local Kitchen Views designer for advice. Remember, Kitchen Views is where the designers are pros and the views are yours.

 

Kitchen Views
www.kitchenviews.com


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