Showing posts with label cabinet hardware. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cabinet hardware. Show all posts

20 February 2015

How much should you spend on redesigning your kitchen?

The past few years have seen the kitchen grow in importance, in comparison with the rest of the house. Today, people eat, gather, and even have parties in the kitchen. Larger kitchens have replaced the small, basic ones with conveniences such as larger sinks, islands, fancy lighting, beautiful refrigerators, cookers, and so on. Most homes have picked up on the cozy, social kitchen trend. But how much should you spend on redesigning your kitchen?

Creating A Budget

After conducting thorough research on the re-designing options for your kitchen, it is time to consider your budget. The following tips will help you estimate more accurately.
When planning, decide what exactly needs to be done. Your decision will place your project in one of two remodeling categories:

Minor Remodels

Minor remodels average at around $17,000 to $25,000. These are usually done when a  kitchen has a good layout, or its plumbing and electrical systems meet the current building standards. However, the finish may be outdated and needs revamping. The design, in this case, will remain identical to the original, and it will mean you change the cabinets, flooring, ceiling colour and worktops.

Major remodels

Major remodels are far more costly. Mid-range projects in this category average at around $50,900 to $59,700 while high-end projects average at around $103,500 to $115,500. Due to poor planning during construction, some kitchens require significant updates or repairs, and expansion in size, hence the sharp difference in cost between the minor and major remodels.

After determining what your kitchen needs, coming up with a budget that will cover your expenses becomes less daunting.

Break down the Costs

Come up with an easily comprehensible way of breaking your budget. On average, you can break down your budget – as a percentage of the total amount – as follows:

  • Cabinets: 35 percent,
  • Appliances: 20 percent,
  • Labour: 20 percent,
  • Windows: 10 percent,
  • Fixtures: 5 percent,
  • Fittings: 3 percent,

Prepare for the Unexpected

Something unexpected always happens during construction – especially in older residences. For example, on ripping out your walls, you may realize that the electrical wiring is outdated, or that your floor has rotted after pulling out your dishwasher. Leaving about 20% of your budget to cover the unexpected is practical.

List what You Consider most Important

List what you feel needs revamping the most. If you feel that new appliances will give your kitchen the most pleasing restoration, ensure that they are at the top of your list. This way, even if the cost supersedes your budget, you will have taken care of what is most important to you.

Acquaint Yourself with the Charges Design Professionals Demand

Design professionals can take your project from conceptualization to selecting the finish materials for your construction.

  • Architects charge, on average, $150 per hour and above, or a flat fee of about $500 to $5,000,
  • Interior designers charge an average of $100 to $150 per hour or a flat fee of $500 to $10,000, and
  • Kitchen designers charge $50 per hour.

Of course you should shop around for this. Some kitchen builders in Melbourne offer free design consultations along with their services.

You should also acquaint yourself with the charges that your local buildings permit office requires for such a demolition. Some areas determine their fees basing on the planned work while others require you to pay a percentage of the total project.

Your kitchen reflects your lifestyle, and spending money on it gives you the chance to get a kitchen you’ll love to be in, whether to cook, socialize or relax. Since a cozy, social kitchen is the new trend, revamping your kitchen should be among your top priorities if you've the budget to spare.

24 January 2013 you're killing me

I haven't written for for a year and a half, yet every day I wade through no fewer than five e-mails from Houzz members. To a one, those emails are asking questions that can be answered by clicking on the "more info" link next to a photo I posted, or they're asking unanswerable questions such as "what color is that?" or "what's the name of that granite?"

Again, judging precise color based on an internet photo is impossible, especially if it's in a product photo. Product photos tend to be heavily Photoshopped and actual colors get lost in the mix. Never mind that you're viewing everything on an uncalibrated monitor.

What prompted this post was an e-mail I received a half an hour ago. Here's the question and the photo:

Clicking on the "more info" link would have told this person that what's in that photo is a cork floor from US Floors in Atlanta. Those floors aren't sold retail and are only available from a showroom at around $8 a square foot. I get it that most people don't buy things like new floors every day and that the general population doesn't have the product knowledge that people like I do. But still, think and be respectful. Houzz's links are clearly identifiable and they're there for a reason.

Aside from that, the colors and patterns you see on the internet aren't real and the only way to select a color for anything is by looking at a sample in real life.

This vignette is from a showroom where I once worked. The cabinetry colors are Oyster Vintage over Maple and Harvest Bronze on Knotty Alder from Medallion Cabintry. The wall color is Sherwin-Williams 7037. The back splash is two colors of mother of pearl. The hardware on the cabinets is from Schaub and the finish is oil-rubbed bronze. The faucet is from Rohl and the counter is Tusk from Avonite. I know this because I designed this display.

However, this vignette was shot by a professional photographer who flooded the whole showroom with artificial light. In your home, colors such as Oyster Vintage, Harvest Bronze and Sherwin-Williams 7037 will look nothing like they do in this photo. Asking for their names is irrelevant  Ask instead for a white-ish paint color, a rich brown color and a strong neutral for the walls, because trust me, the colors shown here look very little like this in real life.

Similarly, natural stone patterns don't have formal names. What's Labrador in your market is Uba Tuba in someone else's. Not only that, those patterns change, often radically, over time. A stone labeled Crema Bordeaux today looks nothing like the same stone from the same quarry in Brazil five years ago.

I get a lot of e-mail from people who describe a room and then tell me about their dilemmas about how to furnish or paint said room. While I appreciate that strangers see me as an authority, I won't answer a question like that out of principle. My training as a designer taught me early that I need to see and be in a room before I can figure out what to do with it.

A designer sees things from a dispassionate, removed perspective and it's a designer's job to a) plan a space, and b) save you money in doing so. If you have a difficult room or if you've hit the wall, hire a designer.

Good design advice is never free in the same way that legal, medical, real estate or tax planning advice is never free. Designers make a living from their expert opinion, the same as any other professional. It's as true in real life as it's true online. has done amazing things in providing the public with a library of inspirational photos. They've done a great job of designer outreach too. But there's a disconnect in there somewhere. The people who write for that site aren't there to offer free advice. They're there to increase their presence on the internet and they do it for very little money. Please respect that. What you see on the internet isn't real and there's no substitute for a design professional. Hire an independent designer.

30 October 2012

Here's a great source for cabinet hardware

A web-based hardware supplier called Bayport House Hardware has been brought to my attention recently, and I have to say I'm impressed.

They offer styles that range from contemporary to traditional and in five different finishes: stainless steel, satin nickel, matte black, oil-rubbed bronze and pewter. As a net-based business, they're able to wholesale to the public essentially.

Hardware can be an unexpected expense that comes toward the end of a renovation project and by the time  most people are ready to select hardware, they're looking for a break. Bayport House Hardware can provide that and more.

As a bonus for people who are doing their own renovations and even some professionals  Bayport House Hardware's offering a free hardware installation template that can take a lot of the guesswork out of hardware placement.

Check out their website if you're in the market for hardware for a renovation or if you're looking for a quickie face lift for your kitchen or bath.

28 November 2011

Three reader questions for a Monday morning

Help! My husband and I are planning to finish up our kitchen with all new appliances and by fixing our old cabinets at some point after the new year. Ideally we want to replace the cabinets rather than just fix them, however  we want to keep the granite counters we had installed a few years ago. Is it possible to replace cabinets and keep our existing granite counters?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but here goes. No.

Except for cases that are very few and very far between, a granite counter can't be reused. The act of removing them carries with it the very real chance that the counter will crack or break all together. Granite's a very hard material, but it's also very brittle. I has to be supported completely when it's in a horizontal position. That's why it's always transported vertically. Sliding a counter off of the cabinetry where its's resting will leave it very vulnerable to being held in an unsupported, horizontal position.

Adding a layer of complication and risk to all of this is granite's sheer weight. 3cm slab granite weighs between 18 and 20 pounds per square foot, depending on the density of the stone you have. So if you have a counter that's eight feet long and 25 inches deep, that single counter will weigh around 330 pounds. Manipulating a large object that weighs that much will take a team of people. Dropping it will destroy whatever it lands on, be that a floor or the feet of the people carrying the stone. If it breaks while it's being carried, potentially catastrophic injury and damage await. Do not attempt this on your own. Please.

Since it's not a DIY project, one would think that a stone yard would take on a project like that. Don't hold your breath. You'll be amazed at the cost if you look into it. A team of stone workers' labor costs that aren't folded into the cost of an installed counter can be pretty steep and that's if you can find a company willing to take on the liability of moving a previously installed counter.

Barring some miracle, you'll end up saying goodbye to those counters unless you're willing to do a cosmetic do-over on the cabinets you have already.

Since you asked me this question I'm going to tell you what I think is a better plan. For 2012, have you and your husband set a goal to save between $25 and $30,000 so that you can renovate your kitchen correctly and without having to resort to Band-Aid solutions. Once you have that goal set, make an appointment with a local, independent kitchen designer. If you need a referral, I will find someone for you. In that appointment, tell the designer your budget and talk about the items on your with list for your new kitchen. Explain too the time frame you have in mind.

If you have a rapport building, terrific. Any designer I'd send you to is there to help you get as much for your money as it's possible to get. It's his or her job to do the math, figure everything out that needs to be addressed and to make sure that everything not only looks great, but that it works too. You'll spend less money with a good designer at the helm than you would on your own, as paradoxical as that sounds. Good luck!

Help! Do you have any idea how to refinish brass cabinet hardware? The knobs in my kitchen are legion and I'm in no hurry to buy new ones. I just replaced my faucet with a new one that has a brushed nickel finish. I really like how that looks and I'm wondering if there's a way to change the finish on my knobs to brushed nickel. Is there a product out there that can help?
No there isn't, sorry to tell you that. While it's true that there are metallic spray paints out there, they cannot accurately recreate the appearance of something like brushed nickel.

Spray painting cabinet knobs is a surprisingly enormous undertaking because all of those knobs have to be removed from the doors and drawer fronts, attached to something like a piece of cardboard and then sprayed evenly. Spray painting is not as easy as it looks under normal circumstances and in the case of kitchen cabinet hardware, the existing finish will will working overtime to prevent you from painting it.

Metal knobs and pulls (and faucets and just about everything that gets installed in a kitchen) have a stain-resistant clear coat applied to them while they're being manufactured. This clear coat locks in a factory finish and makes cleaning up spills a whole lot easier. It makes adding a new finish over top of that clear coat nearly impossible at the same time.

While it's true that you can remove that clear coat with a solvent, you'll probably end up damaging the metal underneath as you rub off the clear coat.

A much better use of your time and resources is to bite the bullet and replace everything. Lee Valley Hardware sells a plain, brushed nickel knob from their Atherly collection for $2.80 and if you buy ten or more, the unit cost drops to $2.40.

Start saving up your shekels and save yourself a whole lot of heartache and replace your brass knobs.

Andrew Coppa, Vis Vitae/In Touch Weekly
I get it that in certain areas of the country like Florida and California there's a historical and cultural link to Spain, so the architectural heritage of that country informs the aesthetics of those parts of the US. But in the northeast, kitchen designers are still pushing miles of tile, corbels, distressing and glazing in an attempt to recreate their idea of Tuscany. I think theme rooms belong at Disney hotels or Graceland. Any thoughts?
Oh you bet I have some thoughts. You hit a nerve. But before I get to that, let's have some geography first. While it's true that Florida and California were once Spanish territories, so was the rest of North America. However, it was only in the southern areas of what's now the US that the Spanish actually did any kind of development. Surviving Spanish structures in California were primarily missions and the surviving Spanish structures in Florida were forts and a handful of homes. Oh, the wild pigs that wreak havoc in our great state are their legacy too.

Furthermore, Tuscany is a region in northern Italy. Tuscany, while lovely, is a very different place than Spain is and the Italians never played a role in the colonization of North America.

What passes for Tuscan design in the United States is a uniquely US creation and yet another embarrassing example of trying to prove one's cultural awareness through excess. The nightmare in the photo above has nothing to do with Tuscany or anywhere near the Mediterranean. It is however a testament to the striving ambition of the nouveau riche vulgarian standing in the middle of it.

Here's a kitchen in a home for sale in Gandia, a coastal city 70km south of Valencia in Spain.


The hole on the left side is where a washing machine will go and the hole on the right side is where a dishwasher will go. Notice the oven and the cooktop. They're the metric equivalent of 24" wide. Note the absolute lack of "Mediterranean" details. By Spanish standards, this is a large kitchen and by Italian standards, it's enormous.

Here's a kitchen from a villa in Montagnana, 20 minutes outside of Florence, the capital of Tuscany. That makes this a real, Tuscan kitchen.


Where are the corbels? Where are the multi-step glazes, the dried flowers, the tapestries and the enormous appliances? I'll tell you where they are. They are in every cul de sac subdivision in the United States.

I've said it here more times than I can count, a home is no place for themed decor. Architecture should look the time when it was built and it should reflect the place where it sits.

There is no way someone walking around the streets of Florence or Valencia could conceive a kitchen such as the fist one show at the top of this question and then call it Tuscan or Mediterranean. A kitchen such as that is the product of some kind of warped nostalgia, too many weekends in Las Vegas and too many dinners at the Olive Garden.

But all of that excess is expensive and I believe very honestly that it's the expense of that stuff that drives peoples' asking for it and designers' willingness to give it to them.

So there you have it. My thoughts.

15 April 2011

Bring home the Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in the city of Rome. In a city brimming with architectural wonders, the Trevi Fountain stands out.

As massive as the fountain is, the piazza where it's located is relatively small. So small that it's nearly impossible to photograph the entire fountain without a super wide angle lens. My regular wide angle could only capture this much of it as I was standing in front of it.

This shot is from Wikimedia Commons and it's been electronically manipulated to remove the distortion. It's the clearest shot of the fountain I've ever seen.

Though you can definitely see the whole thing, photographing it is another matter all together. It's 85 feet high and 65 feet wide and by any measure, that's a big fountain.

Like everything in Rome, the Trevi Fountain has a story behind it that weaves together threads of Ancient Roman history, the Papacy and Roman identity. There's absolutely nothing subtle about the fountain itself or the story of how it came to be.

In 19 B.C., Roman engineers finished the Aqua Virgo, one of the aqueducts that made life in Ancient Rome possible. The Aqua Virgo terminated where the Trevi Fountain stands now and it supplied Rome with fresh water for 400 years. During the sieges of the Goths in the 500s, the Goths drove Rome to its knees and delivered a death blow when they broke all of the aqueducts in Rome.

Fast forward to the 1450s when Pope Nicholas V repaired the Aqua Virgo (now called the Acqua Vergine) and commissioned a fountain. The original fountain was a pretty basic affair, little more than a basin that collected the water from the aqueduct.

In 1629, Pope Urban VIII found the fountain to be too plain and commissioned no less than Gian Lorenzo Bernini to draw up a new fountain. The pope died before construction could start and the project died with Pope Urban VIII.

In 1730, Pope Clement XII held a contest to see who could design a fountain grand enough to mark the triumph of the repaired aqueduct. Clement XII was a Florentine and he chose the Florentine architect Alessandro Galilei's design over the Roman architect Nicola Salvi. The outcry from the streets of Rome was as instant as it was intense. No Florentine was going to build anything in Rome in the 1700s, thank you very much. Bowing to public pressure, Clement XII awarded the commission to Salvi and the fountain you can see today looks exactly like it did when Salvi designed it.

Knock offs of it at Epcot Center and Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas do it a supreme disservice. The original is a glorious pile of travertine, one well worth the effort it takes to stand in front of. When I heard that Top Knobs had released a new series of cabinet knobs and pulls that paid homage to the Trevi Fountain I was suspicious.

Once I saw them I dropped my suspicions immediately.

Top Knobs Passport series manages to invoke the details of the fountain without going overboard. As soon as I saw that cup pull I went back through my photos of the Trevi Fountain and found this detail shot I took in Rome.

Nice job Top Knobs.

The Trevi Fountain-inspired hardware is but a part of the entire Passport series from Top Knobs. Other collections in the Passport series pay tribute to such iconic locations the Great Wall of China, the Sydney Opera House, the Tower Bridge in London, the ancient temple complex at Luxor and Victoria Falls. I haven't seen any of the rest of collections, but they'll be debuting at KBIS in a few weeks. You can find the rest of Top Knobs' extensive offerings on their website.

06 December 2010

From Cornwall to you with Merlin Glass

Last April, I wrote a post about a Cornish glassblower named Liam Carey. I'd met Liam on Twitter and I was very impressed with the glass door and cabinet knobs he makes. I'm still impressed and Liam's been working overtime on his marketing efforts. Liam's company is called Merlin Glass.

Merlin Glass just made a marketing video. As a glassblower, Liam makes far more than door knobs and in this video he's making a perfume bottle. Feast your eyes on this:

This video's as well-made as his glass. Wow.

Merlin Glass is available outside of the UK if you buy from Liam directly. If you're interested in becoming a dealer they would love to talk to you. Check out Merlin Glass' website.

05 November 2010

Counters to go with the kitchen that Henrybuilt

Almost a year ago I wrote a post about Viola Park, a new semi-custom cabinet line from amazingly custom cabinet maker Henrybuilt. A year later and my fondness for Viola Park remains as does Henrybuilt's commitment to bringing great design to more people.

Recently, Viola Park has added a series of counters to go with their semi custom kitchens and by combining a counter order with cabinet order, it's possible for someone to streamline their renovation process and save some money at the same time.

Because the counters are made to go with the kitchen design at the Henrybuilt factory in Seattle, all of the edges can be finished and the overhangs calculated ahead of time. Any corners are also machined and ready to be installed upon delivery.

Most intelligently, the rear edges of the counters are left unfinished so that they can be scribed against an uneven wall in the field if need be.

The materials in Viola Park's counter program are part of the program due to their high quality and longevity but also due to their relative ease in installation.

It's a really smart idea and it's being executed very well.

Viola Park is only available from Viola Park directly. If you're interested in a Viola Park kitchen, I encourage you to contact them through their website. Viola Park's dedicated project coordinators are waiting to answer your questions and help you get started on their process.

As I said a year ago and so so again today, bravo Viola Park.

23 October 2010

Autumnal re-runs: Let me off in the Bronze Age

This post appeared originally on 30 October 2009 and I'm running it again because I like talking about the Bronze Age and the Elamite people who ushered it in.

Six thousand years ago, an unknown and enterprising tradesman of the Elamite city of Susa combined copper and tin in a crucible and ushered in a new age of human development. It was the dawn of the bronze age and the Elamites were the first people to leave the stone age behind. Bronze was the first metal alloy devised by anyone, in Elam or anywhere else, and the technology to make and use it spread outward from what's now Iran and it eventually circled the globe. Its two component metals, copper and tin, almost never occur near one another and making bronze required trade with other civilizations. So ancient people found it to be not only useful, it also made them talk to their neighbors.

Bronze had a relatively low melting point, it resisted corrosion, it could be made into as many shapes as could be imagined and it was made from materials that were in ready supply in the Middle East. Bronze remained the go-to material until the beginning of the iron age, some three thousand years later. Bronze never lost its usefulness and human beings have been making and appreciating bronze for six thousand years and counting.

I can't think of a metal that feels as good as bronze does. It has a nearly velvety feel to it and that comes from the surface corrosion that results from the copper in bronze reacting to oxygen in the air. Bronze has the unique ability to stop corroding as soon as its surface has a layer of copper oxide coating it. It lasts forever and actually looks better over time.

I'm fortunate to sell a line of cabinetry hardware from Schaub and Company in Grand Rapids, MI. Schaub sells some of the finest hardware I can think of and when Tom the Schaub rep comes calling it's like Christmas. Schaub and Company approaches what they do with the care and precision of jewelers and they do a lot with bronze. Tom's visit yesterday afternoon didn't disappoint.

This is a collection called Vinci, and it features some pretty modern shapes in an ancient metal. Well sign me up. I knew I was going to love it before he even unwrapped his sample kit.

These handles and knobs come in two finishes and the handles come in five sizes. Measured center to center, the handles come in four-inch, six-inch, 12-inch, and 18-inch cabinet handle and then a chunkier 18-inch appliance handle. The knobs come in two square sizes and the entire collection is available in two finishes, antique bronze and polished white bronze.

Polished white bronze is an almost mirror finish on a roughly cast modern shape. It's sensory overload and my new favorite handle.

As if it weren't beautiful enough already, the entire Vinci collection is unlacquered and has what's called a living finish. I wrote a series on living finishes last winter in response to a reader request that I come up with a definitive answer. I came up with three definitive answers and you can read them here, here and here.

A living finish means that the surface will continue to change color with time and exposure to the elements. This takes time and it provides true character to a metal finish. Your life leaves a mark on a living finish and the idea of my leaving a mark on an inanimate, decorative object is something that appeals to me on a really basic level. It's for that same reason that I like marble counters so much. I'll take character over something that looks pristine any day and believe it or not, I kind of like my crow's feet too.

Anyhow, this new Vinci bronze collection from Schaub and Company has given me one more thing to love about their hardware. Poke around on their site, there's enough there to appeal to just about everybody.

07 October 2010

Not to jump the gun, but the holidays are around the corner

Believe it. Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend. Thanksgiving in the US will be here in seven weeks and Hanukkah starts a week after that. Hanukkah starts in eight. Christmas is in 79 days. Kwanzaa starts the day after Christmas. I'm sure I'm missing more than a few of them. Oh yeah, Saturnalia runs from December 17th through the 23 if anybody out there still celebrates Roman holidays.

So it's already time to start thinking about exchanging gifts with the people in your life and I just came across a gift idea that never would have occurred to me but makes perfect sense.

In keeping with the practicality that's suddenly all the rage, Top Knobs is selling gift certificates. Theses gift certificates are available in amounts from $50 to $500 and are redeemable at any of the 5000 Top Knobs showrooms found all across North America.

The best way to give a quick makeover to a kitchen, a bathroom, a closet or a piece of furniture is to replace its hardware with something new. Top Knobs has over 3,000 products available in 30 finishes and there's something for everybody in their collections. What an original way to give somebody something most people wouldn't do for themselves. Especially now.

I have to say I thought this was an odd idea at first but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made and the better I liked it. If somebody on your list is putting off a remodel until things start to improve, this is a great way to give them a mini-makeover without breaking the bank. After all, 400 of their offerings sell for $7.99 or less.

You can buy Top Knobs gift certificates on their online store, just follow this link.

And no matter how much I want to ignore it, the holidays really are just around the corner. I think this is going to be a hardware Christmas.

02 August 2010

Life's too short for cheap hardware

Schaub and Company, the Michigan-based purveyor of amazing hardware, just released some new collections and one of them features a new material for them, art glass. The collection is called Ice and here it is.

Its companion collection, Fire, follows here.

I wax rhapsodic about Schaub's offerings from time to time and it's a pleasure to be one of their resellers. Schaub and Company has a long history of producing unusually beautiful hardware. So much so that they are alone at the top of their field when it comes to knobs and handles designed and produced with such care.

What drew me to them originally was this series, Branches, that uses Swarovki crystals and black pearls. Any company who can produce this can produce anything so far as I'm concerned.

From Branches, Schaub and Company have moved on to revive the dying art of semi-precious inlays. Check out the pen shell in these crabs from the Neptune Designs collection.

People refer to decorative hardware as House Jewelry and Schaub's taken that to heart with their Heirloom Treasures collection.


They're not kidding.

So when Schaub and Company releases something like this Northport collection, I pay attention.

Good hardware should last a lifetime and its use isn't limited to your kitchen cabinets. I can see those Heirloom Treasures on an armoire or a buffet and my dresser is screaming for that Northport square knob in Polished Nickel.

So remember two things when it's time to think about this stuff. Remember to spend some time with Schaub and Company but above all, remember that life's too short for cheap hardware.

30 June 2010

Cabinet hardware by DuVerre adds the finishing touch

I've long admired DuVerre hardware and it's both a pleasure and an honor to sell it now. DuVerre takes a different approach to what's all-too-frequently a mundane afterthought and makes it the center of attention. How can something like this not be the attention grabber wherever it's used?

Though most often used on cabinetry doors and drawers, this hardware's beautiful enough that it could be used anywhere. I can see it on furniture, on closet doors, even used as hooks in a bathroom or master suite.

DuVerre works with such design luminaries as Clodagh, Christopher Smith, Scot Laughton, William Harvey and many more. The results of these collaboration are unlike anything else out there. Here are some more terrific examples of what's available.

You can see the rest of their collection on their website and if you're ever interested in having any of these selection in your own home, I can help you with that. That wasn't too obvious was it? Anyhow, don't settle for an afterthought, use DuVerre for a real finishing touch.