Cabinet & Countertop Inspirations

The cabinets in your kitchen and bathroom have a difficult life. Constantly being opened & closed, residing in an environment with water & moisture, and being run into by people, vacuums, pets, and any number of household items. Given this wear and tear, your cabinets are very likely to be inadvertently scratched. How do you touch-up your cabinets to make those little mishaps disappear?


Most new cabinets come with a Touch-up Kit. These typically include a fill stick and a touch-up marker. If you do not have a kit, or it has wandered off over the years, you can purchase one from your cabinet dealer. Hardware stores also carry these touch-up markers and fill sticks, however, the color match will not be as close as the one from the cabinet manufacturer.




Fill Stick

Think of the fill stick as a big crayon. It is used to fill in bigger scratched or indentations in the cabinetry. This includes nail holes, gouges, cuts or deep scratches. Simply apply pressure to the fill stick to completely fill the scratch. There will be excess around the damaged area. Gently use an old credit card to smooth and match the surface. Finally, wipe off the area with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth.


Touch-up Marker

The touch-up marker is used on spots where the finish is damaged and raw wood is seen. This includes scratches, joints where two pieces of wood/molding meet, areas with excessive wear, or the edge of a piece of cabinetry. Before starting, most markers need to be shaken to eliminate settling of the colors. Once shaken, take and run the marker over the damaged area. It will likely take more than one coat to cover the damage. Wipe any excess off using a clean, dry, lint-free cloth. Recap the pen to prevent it from drying out.

As discussed in a previous blog, remodeling a kitchen can be expensive. One alternative is refacing cabinets instead of replacing them. Refacing cabinets can be a viable option, however, there are situations in which refacing cabinets does not makes sense. Let’s look at what refacing is and the advantages/disadvantages of this option.

With cabinet refacing, the existing cabinet doors and drawer fronts are removed and replaced with new doors/drawer fronts. The exposed face frames and cabinet ends are covered with material to match the new doors/drawer fronts. New molding is installed to cover any raw edges or exposed areas. Typically, the new finish is painted or stained wood.



The key advantages of cabinet refacing are:

  • Cost – Typically, refacing cabinets will cost less than complete replacement. That said, the difference versus replacing cabinets may not be significant as it involves replacing the most expensive part of the cabinet … the door and drawer front.
  • Time – Refacing cabinets will take less time than removing and replacing cabinets. Most refacing projects take around one week, while replacing cabinets typically takes four weeks.
  • Cleaner – There will usually be less mess/dust with refacing.
  • Convenience – During the cabinet refacing, you will still be able to use your kitchen in the evening.


Disadvantages of refacing cabinets include:

  • Poor kitchen layout – Many remodeling projects are undertaken to improve the functionality or layout of your kitchen. Refacing cabinets will not solve this problem.
  • Tired cabinets – In many cases, the existing cabinets are tired … sagging shelves, falling apart. Refacing will not fix worn out cabinets.
  • Structural issues – There may be structural issues in the home, including floors that have settled, causing problems with the cabinets. Refacing cabinets will not correct these structural issues.
  • Cabinet accessories – Today, there are a growing number of wonderful cabinet accessories to improve the storage, functionality, and design of kitchens and bathrooms. In a refacing project, you will likely be limited in the ability to incorporate these accessories into the existing layout/design.

Refacing cabinets is a good option for some kitchens, however, if any of the above issues exist, examine all the options before making your final decision.

You are getting the itch to renovate your kitchen. When you go to the internet, Houzz, Pinterest, and other home décor sites are your first stops. While dreaming, a couple of questions continue to nag you … “How much will a kitchen renovation cost and can I afford it?”.

While a variety of factors impact a project’s cost, you can use a rule of thumb to get a general idea of the required budget. Remodeling experts estimate a kitchen renovation costs around 15% of your home’s value. So, if your home is valued at $200,000, the budget for an updated kitchen is approximately $30,000. For a $350,000 home, you would spend $52,500. The biggest cost element of a kitchen remodel will be for cabinetry. One industry source breaks down the elements in a renovation budget as follows:

  • Cabinets                       40%
  • Countertops                 10%
  • Appliances                    9%
  • Lighting/Electrical        8%
  • Wall Covering               4%
  • Floor Covering              7%
  • Labor/Installation        20%
  • Miscellaneous               2%
  • Total              100%

As mentioned above, a number of items influence the final budget. For example, removing existing walls increases the labor cost. If you are a serious cook, appliances will likely cost more than a typical kitchen renovation.

Your budget should consider how long you plan to remain in the home. If you are only planning to remain in the home 1 – 5 years, there is less time to recover your investment in appreciation. This mentality reduces the overall amount you should plan on spending.

If you expect to stay in your home for a long period of time, you want to ensure the renovation works best for your family. Typically, this results in a larger budget as you enjoy the benefits of the renovation for a longer time.

You should also plan on encountering surprises impacting the budget. Often these are not significant. However, we have encountered projects with significant electrical or plumbing issues requiring resolution. Fixing these problems can have a big effect on the budget.

Finally, the specific cabinet, countertop, flooring, appliance, and fixture selections you choose drives the final budget. Using experts will help you avoid making costly mistakes and identify opportunities where spending less may equal more. Typically, any fees paid to experts is more than offset by the added value they bring to the project.

With your nagging questions answered, go ahead and return to planning your new kitchen with better knowledge of what you can afford.

Cabinet Inspirations & Ideas

Universal Design in the Kitchen

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In many areas of life, we tend to think in terms of the here and now. This is often evident in the areas of buying, building, or remodeling a home. We seek out design elements that are representative of our current stage of life. Life, as we know, is fluid and ever changing. Our situation today may not be our situation tomorrow. That is where Universal Design comes in.

Popularized by architect Ronald Mace, Universal Design is the idea of taking a space, then designing it in such a way that it is functional and practical for all age groups, ability levels, and life stages. With Universal Design, you are designing your home so that it not only works for you today, but also in the future. You are planning with tomorrow in mind.

   Universal Design does not need to be clinical or institutional-like in appearance, nor should it be. When implemented correctly, its features will flow smoothly into the overall design of the house, almost to the point of not noticing them. There are a number of areas within the kitchen where you can implement Universal Design and demonstrate that functionality can also be stylish.

Appliances

  • Microwaves built into base drawers below the counter, making them easier to reach.

 

  • A raised dishwasher to prevent bending over, OR a drawer style dishwasher to make loading easier than traditional dishwashers.

 

  • Wheelchair accessible cooktops. Cook with ranges with front or side mounted controls to eliminate reaching over dangerously hot burners. Also, consider having a pot filler installed at the stove to keep from carrying heavy pots of water from the sink.
  • Wall ovens installed at various levels.
  • A refrigerator/freezer with the frozen food compartment in a bottom drawer OR a side by side unit.

Cabinets/Drawers

  • Oversized hardware on doors and drawers which are easier to grab, OR magnetic touch and release cabinet doors.
  • Adjustable height shelves, pull down shelves, and Lazy Susans.
  • Open storage or glass doors, making things easier to locate.
  • More base cabinets with drawers as opposed to doors.

 

Countertops

  • Lowered countertops, two tiered islands, or countertops at various heights, making them accessible to everyone.

  • Easy to clean surfaces such as granite of laminate.

 

Sinks

  • Open space beneath the sink, giving knee clearance for wheelchairs.
  • Single lever or touchless faucets.
  • Variable height sinks between 32” and 40”.

Other ideas in Universal Design include lowering light switches, using slip resistant flooring such as cork or ceramic tile, and widening doorways to 36”.

Universal Design is all about making sure your home will be as perfect for you in the future as it is today. Implementing this concept in your home design or remodeling project will help ensure your kitchen remains both functional and enjoyable whatever the future may hold.  Stop in to The KitchenWright in Carmel, Indiana showroom and let us help in designing an accessible space for you.

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