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   KITCHEN MAKEOVER  Considerations in Kitchen Remodeling
2011 - Volume 1 Issue 1
Casas Bonitas
Article: Bob Skolnick
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The kitchens built in new custom homes have advanced in both size and technology well beyond the kitchens of homes 20 years old and older. The first consideration when remodeling is how the kitchen will be used. Will it be a place to just cook? Will you be doing any significant baking? Will more than one person be cooking at the same time? Will the kitchen counter serve as a casual eating area and require seating? Will you be using the counter for a buffet when entertaining? If you have a large family or do a lot of cooking, will you need a closed pantry area? Do you already have natural gas plumbed to the house, and to the kitchen?

    Photo Captions

1.) Contemporary styled homes, long a desired style in many urban areas, are gaining in popularity in the Southwest. Cabinet systems in this Mebel Rust kitchen come in numerous configurations and cabinet front colors.

2.) The ceramic tile backsplash in this country kitchen adds zest. The Saltillo tile provides the Spanish country charm. Adding in a special hanging light fixture and above and under cabinet lighting makes the kitchen glow. The custom stone tub sink provides an added feature to this beautiful kitchen.

3.) A granite countertop with a great pattern makes a beautiful focal point atop the two-tone cabinets. Many stencil tile backsplashes are available to create a portrait behind the cook top. This kitchen centers around a large skylight.

4.) Here is a special kitchen where the base of the hood shows hand-hewn wood to match the hand-hewn beams. Also, the black granite countertop rises in continuation as the backsplash.

5.) This elegant kitchen has it all going – a special granite counter with “leathering,” a barrel brick ceiling and lush cabinetry. The kitchen was doubled in size and two windows and a curved sink area were added.

6.) A skylight tube adds focused light over the kitchen work area. LED clusters are now housed in attractive fixtures.

7.) Under counter LED light panels allow for softer light with a lower energy demand and a long life capacity.

8.) This existing kitchen got a classy facelift with stained glass panels inserted into the cabinet doors. A new countertop was a perfect match.

9.) This is an example of an existing kitchen where the cabinets were distressed and received a new color change and aged finish. This is a great way to change the look of your kitchen affordably.

77 Stone

A-1 Kitchens by Sierra

Builders Source
Appliance Gallery



Designer’s Mart

Ferguson Supply Showroom

Goff’s Appliance & TV


Kitchen Concepts

Mebel Rust

Sher-wood Fine
Wood Designs


Stained Glass Overlay

The Design Center
Carpet One


Trinity Marble

Westside Lighting Gallery

W. Kowalski
These are just a few questions that should be asked and answered. One of the biggest questions is do you have space to enlarge the kitchen or open it up? Kitchens of yesteryear seldom had center islands or pantries and as a result had less square footage allocated. When you have the answers to the above questions, the answers will in great part tell you what needs to be done from a functional side. You have to settle the space and functionality issues before you can get to the fun stuff like picking appliances, countertops, tile, cabinetry and lighting. Next, consult with your remodeling professional. They understand the implications of moving walls, plumbing, exhaust and electrical. They have good ideas on style and can take you to the various wholesale sources to see and touch plus be able to ask the manufacturers', staff or the custom artisan direct questions. Also, consult with your professional remodeler about energy efficiency. Your kitchen is a big consumer of power. Planning properly and selecting appliances will save you significant money over time. At the end of the day, the new kitchen you design and build will be a new family gathering spot where not only food preparation occurs, but where children can communicate with parents and entertaining of family and friends occurs.

The choices of appliances are numerous with respect to brand names and components. Many appliance manufacturers offer not only different configurations, but some offer several levels of lines and corresponding prices. Again, ask yourself how you cook? Do you need a lot of burners? Do you need a flat grill for breakfast preparation? Do you need oven space? Determine what kind of space you need for refrigeration and freezer, then add a little more. Do you need a warming drawer or wine cooler? Kitchen appliances are a big investment, but one that creates the look of the kitchen, adds to your enjoyment and helps your home hold its value over time. On sinks, always “go big.” Remember sinks are not only places to wash dishes and pots, but can be used for icing beverages or as a seafood bar for gatherings.

First you need to talk to them about lifestyle. What function besides cooking is the kitchen going to serve? Lifestyle is the main thing. With today’s products and appliances, if you are trying to stay within the existing walls, it is hard to do.Max Goldfien

We always try and improve. You can move an electric range and a fridge as many places as you want, that’s pretty easy. Relocating plumbing and gas to create a more efficient and enjoyable workspace is more complicated – we help our clients get there with the right design. Kevin McGinley

CounterTops & Tile Backsplashes

Your choice of a countertop in great part defines the look of your kitchen because of its dominance of visual space. My advice is to select the appliances and cabinetry first and then select a pattern of granite or another surface that compliments the colors of the above choices. Your professional remodeler has done the groundwork and can make a good recommendation on who to use for this important element. Always work with someone who specializes in locating and cutting hard surface countertops. The cutting, preparation of the edges and the polishing must be done by well-equipped professionals.

No two kitchens are alike and everyone uses them differently. With some people, the husband and wife both like to cook, so the kitchen should be expanded to accommodate both their needs. Sometimes just the wife or just the husband likes to cook. There is no cookie cutter way to do a kitchen.Pat Ganey

Lighting LED & Tubular

When you design your new kitchen, lighting is an important element. Makes sure your lights are positioned to illuminate the primary work spaces and the counters if used for eating and serving. Your kitchen is also the warmest room in the house, as a rule, and it is a room where the lights are on a lot. Select lighting that is soft when general illumination is needed. Upward lighting above cabinets is a good choice. Also, skylight tubes placed in strategic locations in the kitchen will give you adequate daytime light and will allow you to turn off your general kitchen lighting. LED lighting is just coming into its own. Although more expensive, the LED lights last significantly longer and give off no heat, which is important for a room that is already warm from cooking. LED multiple light panels are also an excellent under-cabinet installation and can provide localized cool countertop illumination. Ask your lighting professional about the different sizes and colors of the fluorescent light bulbs now readily available on the market. With the right choices you can control not only the brightness, but accent areas where you have design elements.

My Focus is to make sure areas are well lit where you are going to work. The under cabinet lighting is an absolute must as far as I am concerned. You want good lighting over your sinks – you want good lighting over your cook top.Pat Ganey

Cabinetry Refinishing

If your budget allows for new cabinetry, that is my first recommendation. After living in the house you know what is convenient and what cabinet space you need and where. You know what can be stored high and what needs to be lower and more accessible. New cabinetry, whether custom made or purchased from a high-end manufacturer, offers a variety of interior rack and pull-out configurations. Having your spices next to the cook top is helpful as well as having your cooking pans right near the cook top, either underneath or just behind you in the center island. Custom cabinetry offers you the opportunity to select the best woods, apply a variety of stain colors and select unique pull hardware.

If your budget does not allow for an investment of new cabinetry you can take the face of the existing cabinet doors and have stained glass panels custom made and installed, which provides for a very unique appearance. Another option is to take your existing cabinets and antique and distress them to provide a rustic look of an old world kitchen. You can have a Tuscan kitchen without traveling to Tuscany. The key is convenience followed by beauty. Remember, you use the cabinets every day.

For cabinets, I review all the sources of wood with my clients. The bottom might be oak or elder and there are many choices of stains that can be applied. Once the decisions are made, we take clients to our cabinetmaker and they can visit them while the work is in process.Rudy Guel ///
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