What’s the Beef

This is a figurative and literal complaint with tenants and
homeowners alike. The kitchen is the most used room in the house and
wear and tear is evident on cabinetry, countertops, walls and floors.

It also appears as the most substantial room in the house; it is designed to be so.

Other rooms have walls, windows, a floor and perhaps a door.

Your
kitchen comes equipped with walls covered in cabinetry, appliances and a
design you did not choose unless you designed the home or remodeled it
to your taste. It is also the one place in your home when a deciding on a
new design is sure to cost plenty.

Let’s assume you don’t make that decision. Remodeling your kitchen is an expensive proposition.

Homeowners dream about it and plan for it; tenants attempt to shrug it off, believing there is nothing they can do about it.

Worse, many people assume their own style in a home is defined by the cabinetry.

If you are a homeowner review these potential solutions for Cabinetry:

Painted cabinets

a)
The most obvious fix is painting the cabinets. If this is the choice
you are making you may be surprised at the myriad of paint treatments
available. Study them carefully and choose one that fits your new design
plan. These pictures represent a before and after preview of a kitchen.
The angles are different but you can easily see they are the same
kitchen. While working with one couple we decided to paint the cabinetry
and switch the hardware and add new appliances; their completed design
appeared to be a brand new kitchen. The savings on this room alone was
$29,000.00.

b) To get a good finish that you will be proud of, plan on removing all the cabinet doors and hardware.

c) The hardware can be sprayed in a color or finish that compliments your cabinet paint selection.

d) If your cabinets are wood you can rent a small hand sander and rough up the existing finish and smooth out any blemishes.

e) If your cabinets are plastic coated (this is another shocker, a
lot of the newer cabinets are coated with plastic to appear wood) look
for the application that will adhere to the smooth finish allowing your
paint to adhere to the current finish.

f) Primitive and Country designs look great with the bases painted a
dark or neutral color; then add barn siding with adhesive and change
out the hardware to match.

g) Cottage designs work perfectly with the bases painted white and bead board adhered to the doors.

h) Southwestern designs look great with the spray on treatment that
looks like sandstone. Just apply and then spray the poly as a top coat.

i) Budget permitting, you can purchase new doors and finish them
with a stain or Min Wax. You will need to sand the bases and apply the
same stain treatment or purchase the covers for the bases when you buy
the doors.

This process will produce an entirely new kitchen when it is completed.

If
you are ready to tear out walls and redesign the kitchen;, you will
want to get bids and consult with at least two contractors, including
the stores who sell cabinetry or appliances They all offer ideas and
suggestions.

If you have the space, look for a table with drawers,
a buffet that is substantial or prep table and paint it a contrasting
color to create an island.

Add wood or Plexiglas chopping blocks
across the section you want to use for food prep and dramatically
increase your counter space.

Take a look at the trim pieces that Lowe’s and Home Depot feature.

The
best rule of thumb abut arranging cabinets is this; Walk through your
kitchen and imagine preparing a meal, making and serving coffee or
snacks and all the activities you do in your kitchen. Without thinking,
go to the cabinet where you would expect the items necessary to complete
that tsk would be, not where you have them, but where you expect them
to be without thinking. This is where they go!

Cabinets should be arranged so that glasses, coffee cups and the items most used are around the sink area.

Plates, serving bowls and other place setting dishes and the larger bowls used for food preparation should be near the stove.

The
base cabinets should be used for canned goods, each placed near the
area where you keep the proper bowls to prepare or serve the items.

Small appliances and pans should be stored in the base cabinets near the area where they will be used.

The
ideal kitchen sports a triangular layout with the sink at mid point,
the range and refrigerator across from the sink to complete the triangle
layout. This is a step saving and time saving layout.

Your ‘Plain
Jane’ cabinets become rich, new and can even appear Tuscan by adding
the corner trim pieces to the base of your cabinet corners and the edges
of your upper cabinetry.

They appear to be deep and thick but
actually adhere to and wrap the corners of the cabinets; this completely
alters the appearance of the cabinets making them appear far more
substantial.

Purchase the trim pieces that extend to the floor for
Tuscan, Spanish and Mediterranean designs. The wood is intricately
carved or super simple; choose the one that works with your design plan.
These are all available in faux wood with a foam backing to save money.

Matching decorative trim pieces can be used to replace the tiny one inch trim at the tops of the cabinets.

Trims To Change Your Style

a)
Take a long, close look at the toe kickboards (the trim at the bottom
of the cabinets by the floor). If yours are wood, paint or touch up the
stain if they are scuffed.

b) If your kitchen cabinets are finished with the rubber trim that
has been used for many years in less expensive cabinetry, tear it off
and replace it.

c) Home improvement stores all offer this very affordably. Pick up a
can of adhesive while you’re there. You need it in your ‘tool kit!’

d) You must have your own tool kit!

e) If you have more than ample base cabinet space think about
leaving the doors and hardware off of one set of strategically placed
base cabinets; fill the screw holes with wood filler, sand and paint or
stain to match the cabinets and add decorative baskets that hold
vegetables and fruit.

f) This also works if you have located that perfect accessory table
to use as an island (one with a shelf). Look for baskets or containers
that compliment your style.

g) This is a space and time saver, providing easy access for food preparation.

h) If you have open wall space that does not offer anything you are
interested in using consider this option to add storage and interest to
that area.

Check your favorite thrift stores and Craig’s List for a hutch that compliments or contrasts with your kitchen design.

Another storage solution:

Search
thrift stores and yard sales for a hutch that is no more than 48″ wide;
find one that fits the style you have chosen. Anchor the hutch to the
wall with screws and add trim boards that match your kitchen trim.
Presto! You have a gorgeous new addition to your kitchen. You can paint
or finish this in a contrasting color or match to your cabinets with
stain.

Adding an eating area:

If you have a ‘breakfast nook’
or eat in kitchen consider using a contrasting or matching base
cabinetry as your table base by simply adding a piece of glass to the
top.

This also works with pieces of furniture such as accent
tables if they are the correct height. If you can imagine it, you can
make it happen!

Find seating that compliments your design and works for your family at thrift stores.

Adding an office area to your kitchen:

If
you have extra wall space in your kitchen, usually near a corner, and
need a computer workspace or small office; look for base cabinet drawers
or upper cabinets that add a look you want in your kitchen.

Measure the height! Too low is a back breaker and too high will make your arms so tired you never want to come back.

Place one cabinet at each end of the space and anchor them to the wall.

Call
local cabinet installers and granite shops and ask about remnant pieces
and go out to check them out. They can cut it down for you to fit your
space; granite remnants are available in the $100.00 price range.

Use adhesive to anchor the top to the bases.

If
granite is not your style, look for glass pieces or narrow table tops
that can be disconnected from the legs and anchor the top to the
cabinets.

If your desktop is long enough, look for matching or
contrasting upper cabinets and anchor them at each end to complete your
private office with loads of storage.

If not, look for the
compartmentalized shelving units typically used for display and anchor
them to the wall above to maximize the use of space and increase
storage!

You can utilize an unused closet with these same tips.

Countertops:

Countertops
are at the top of the list of things people hate about their kitchens.
They are either worn, burned, dated or just plain ugly.

Consider
the following solutions; if these do not seem feasible you may at least
have expanded your idea of what changes can be completed easily. If so,
apply a fix that feels right to you.

If you are planning a complete remodel of your kitchen
all of the tips and pitfalls, including pricing and arrangement, take
the time to get quotes and ideas from contractors as well as the home
improvement stores. Knowledge is power and will save you money!

a)
Solid surface and granite countertops are the most desirable. If you
want them, then spend some time pricing and budgeting for the
installation.

As a rule of thumb; light cabinetry goes will with darker surface
countertops; dark cabinetry is compliment by lighter surface
countertops. The exception to this rule is when you want to create a
white on white kitchen. White granite is rare and expensive but there
are solid surface solutions that work nicely.

b) Formica is glued onto plywood to create your countertops. The
Formica can be removed and replaced with a new color and design that
compliments your style.

Just measure and head back to your favorite online search engine and
look for the best pricing. The adhesive is sold at hardware and home
improvement stores, typically the same stores that offer the Formica.

c) Stainless steel is sold in rolls. If this is your choice, use
adhesive to attach it to the wood that is exposed from removing the
Formica.

If you choose not to remove the Formica, you must sand the existing
Formica countertop before applying adhesive. If you fail to do this it
will pop up in the heated kitchen and become a dismal failure.

d) Strip off the old Formica and install a tile that makes your
statement. If you use tile don’t leave off the sealer coat when you are
finished.

If you fail to follow this advice you will soon notice grout that
lifts and falls out or changes color, giving your new countertop a
completely different look.

e) Tiling a countertop is not a new idea; however, you can also use
20″ pieces of marble and install exactly as the tile is installed.

Pick a complimentary grout color, seal and you have marble countertops.

f) Contemporary and a few other design styles work well with concrete countertops.

While this is more typical for lofts and very contemporary spaces,
concrete comes in colors now and a whole new set of design ideas spring
from that change. This also requires a sealant.

g) Whimsical designs and cottages work nicely with mosaic tiles on
the countertops. Again, peel the Formica off and then buy scraps of
colored tiles that match your d

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