Recreating Your Old Kitchen
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You need to learn as much as you can about kitchens. You, after all, are the primary kitchen designer. All the professional does is refine your ideas into a workable plan. The smarter you are about kitchen design, the better your kitchen will be.
The articles on this site were written by our kitchen and bath design staff to help you learn what you need to know about kitchens. These have been widely reprinted on many other web sites, but here are the very latest revisions of the originals. Take the time to read about the many interwoven elements of a well-designed kitchen.
Start with our complete articles index.
our kitchen is probably the most actively used room in your home. On average you will spend over 1,100 hours each year in your kitchen. Today's kitchen is no longer just a place where food is prepared. It has become the administrative and social hub of your home. Unfortunately, it is also likely to be the worst designed room in your home, and one of the most expensive to fix.
Even new homes commonly have kitchen problems — primarily because whole-house plans used to construct new homes are seldom developed in consultation with a kitchen and bath design specialist. The kitchens look good.
In fact, the kitchens often look great. But they often don't function very well.
Add Value to your Home
The very good news is that the value added to your home by an updated kitchen will offset most of the cost of your new kitchen. A kitchen is generally considered by real estate professionals to be one of the remodeling projects that pays for itself when you sell your home. Your costs is largely offset by the value added to your home. (You bathroom is another room that almost pays for itself when updated with new fixtures and features.)
The bad news is that the cost of adding all those splendid features you have always wanted can be a little jaw-dropping.
That is where we come in.
The Small Kitchen Specialists
We know how to
wonderful kitchens that conform to all of the accepted
and building codes.
We know that most of our customers do not have enough space for a giant "designer" kitchen. So we have become the small space specialists — using imagination, ingenuity, creativity and the latest technologies to pack more features and utility into fewer square feet.
Beautiful, Functional, Affordable Kitchens
Most importantly, we know how to design affordable kitchens by careful substitutions of less expensive alternatives that will still give you that special look and feel.
Designing and building the right kitchen can be a daunting task.
We help you pare down these choices into something manageable, then incorporate them into a kitchen design that is uniquely yours.
Matching the Heritage of Your Home
We know that you probably bought your house, at least in part, because you like its architectural style. It fits the way you live and it's in a neighborhood of houses of similar to yours that make up a very special place. How to update your home with all the modern conveniences and still keep its historic character is one of the issues we frequently face when designing a kitchen for a heritage home. Owners of heritage houese are keenly aware that a contemporary chrome and glass kitchen does not go well with a 19th century Victorian home, but what does? Victorians did not actually have kitchens like we have today, so how do we build a fully functional modern kitchen look like it could have been a part of the Victorian Era?
You first have to fully understand the period.
kitchens have their own look and feel, resulting from the technology, economics, social trends and popular aspirations of the time. Understanding these influences is the key to a successful design. A heritage kitchen tells a story. It discloses the hopes, struggles, successes and disappointments of its original owners. It incorporates the social and design trends of the period. The expansion of American railroads after the Civil War had an enormous impact on Victorian kitchens, as did the sudden avalanche of processed foods in the 1920s and '30s on kitchens of the Arts & Crafts period. Thirteen million returning war veterans had a profound impact on Post-War kitchens after 1945.
These historical events shaped the kitchens of their times, lending them unique features and their characteristic appearance. Capturing that heritage look while adding modern equipment and conveniences takes a bit more work than merely selecting cabinet doors that look more or less Victorian or have a certain Craftsman feel.
Our Computer-Assisted Design
Getting that design just right requires merging the available space with the features you desire, then compressing it into something you can afford.
Our computer assisted, three-stage design process
organizes and focuses your planning efforts. We will guide you step by step through the process required to turn your ideas and dreams into a beautiful and functional kitchen; first by working with you to develop a full-color concept design, then drafting a full set of working construction blueprints, and finally by building your kitchen using the latest cost-saving techniques and materials.
Our design-build process is widely recognized as the fastest and most economical way to remodel your kitchen. Studies conducted by Pennsylvania State University for the Construction Industry Institute found that the
approach to remodeling takes on average 33% less time and costs up to 30% less than conventional remodeling. We combine everything under one roof: carpentry, cabinetmaking, counter tops, plumbing, electrical, heating and ventilation, even tiling and glazing, so that every aspect of the work is coordinated and controlled.
Our No-Nonsense, Plain English, Lifetime Cabinet Warranty
We guarantee our workmanship. And, we back up that guarantee with written warranties, including a warranty on our cabinets for as long as you own your home.
Our promise is very simple: if any defect in our cabinets resulting from poor woakmanship is discovered at any time during the warranty period, we will fix the problem at no cost to you. We could not make it simpler. No other remodeling company that we know of has this much faith in the quality of its work. We promise to do it right, and we stand behind that promise.
Your Kitchen Reflects Your Unique Style
Our common-sense, adaptive design and building practices result in kitchens that are precisely fitted to our clients.
Every kitchen we build is unique. We do not build cookie-cutter kitchens. We never ask our clients to adjust to a kitchen that does not quite fit because it is the only one we can buy from our preferred cabinet supplier.
We don't use stock factory cabinets, so we are not restricted to the stock sizes and limited menu of features that cabinet factories offer. We make out own cabinets out of any wood, in any style, and in any size needed; and as far as accessories and organizers go — if it is made someplace in the world, we can get it, and if it can be made out of wood, we can probably make it.
All of our cabinets are custom made and custom fitted to you, your kitchen space, your work habits and your life style. But, even with all of this customization, our prices are usually lower than those charged by big lumber stores for their factory-built cabinets. How can we do that? Our low-overhead approach and local Nebraska cabinet shop means we don't have to add the cost of an expensive showroom or cross-country shipping to the price of our cabinets.
So, Let's Get Started
When you are ready, fill out our kitchen questionnaire
. This will get us started with a design for your special kitchen.
If you are not quite ready yet, take a look at the list of articles in the right panel. This is a just a few of the many remodeling articles we have on our site to help you get started. A much more extensive list appears below, and even more articles are listed in our Index to Articles.
When you finish reading, contact us
and let's discuss how we can help you design and build your new kitchen.
Need to know more about kitchen remodeling? Try these articles:
- Adapting a Kitchen to a Budget — A Case Study (Sidebar)
If you feel you cannot afford a great kitchen, think again. A terrific kitchen does not have to break the bank. You may have to get creative and even make a few compromises in your original grand design, but you will end up with a wonderful kitchen that will look good and serve your needs for years to come.
- Adapting a Kitchen to Human Dimensions and Movement - A Case Study (Sidebar)
Few homeowners are of average height, average girth; have average reach or average range of motion; or use their kitchens in an average manner. Yet almost all kitchens are arranged and sized using standards written for the the mythical average person. Unless you happen to be that perfectly average person, standard kitchen dimensions and arrangements may not be right for you. Here is how we adapted one kitchen to the physical characteristics and limitations its owners.
- Behind the Scenes — The Hidden Kitchen
Behind the beautiful new cabinets, under the sparking countertops, beneath the gleaming tile floor are the invisible bones and sinew that make the kitchen work - electricity, venting, heating and plumbing. Find out all that's needed behind the scenes.
- Body Friendly Design: Kitchen Ergonomics
Planning for efficiency and ease of use are more important than ever in kitchen and bath design, and in the context of universal design has become the hot new topic among kitchen and bath designers. Every aspect of kitchen and bath design is being given a new, hard look, from countertop and toilet heights to the optimum placement of the microwave and dishwasher and the best depth of the kitchen sink.
- Cabinet Basics
Oak, maple, hickory, ash, cherry. Faced and unfaced. Framed and frameless. Custom, semi-custom and manufactured. MDF, Melamine, Thermofoil, even steel. So many choices. How do you pick the cabinets that are just right for you? Click here to find out.
- Cabinet Door Styles
There are an almost infinite number of cabinet door styles available. Here is a chart of just a few dozen of the styles we build. We could not possibly show them all. There are too many. Since we are an entirely custom cabinet builder, we can make any door you can describe.
- Comparative Kitchen & Bath Cabinet Construction
Some cabinets are made better than others. Learn the difference between a cabinet that is solid, well-built and will last a long time, and all the others.
- Designing Efficient and Effective Kitchen Lighting
The kitchen is more than just a place to cook and eat. It usually serves as the administrative and the social hub of the home. The kitchen uses a lot of energy for lighting. That makes this room an important place to use efficient lighting. While remodeling your kitchen, you have the perfect opportunity to create a highly efficient lighting system. Find out how.
- Distributed Cabinet Manufacturing: Today's Cabinet Making Revolution
Local and regional cabinetmakers are catching up the the factory manufacturers in creative technologies to make custom cabinetry that rivals factory cabinets in price, but exceeds factory cabinets in creativity, construction and finish.
- Finding Some More Kitchen Space
In many cases, existing kitchens are just too small for any real improvement in space management. Learn where to get more space, or at least the illusion of more space for your new kitchen.
- Fine Furniture and Built-Ins
We craft fine furniture and built-ins to match any decor or preference. From traditional to avant-garde, from Chinese to French Provincial, there is no look we cannot reproduce.
- Flooring Options for Kitchens and Baths
Wood, stone, vinyl, ceramic tile, laminated flooring. What are the pros and cons of each? Learn the fundamentals of kitchen flooring.
- Guide to Nebraska Hardwoods for Cabinetmakers and Woodworkers
Most of the fine native American hardwoods commonly, and uncommonly, used in cabinetry grow and are milled into lumber in Nebraska. If you were not aware that hardwood is a Nebraska crop, read this detailed guide to Nebraska hardwoods.
- Kitchen Ergonomics (Sidebar)
The kitchen — unlike most other rooms in the home — is a workplace. The job of preparing and serving meals gets done there. Making that environment fit you is a most critical factor in your satisfaction with your kitchen.
- Kitchen Remodeling on the Cheap: Simple, Practical Ideas for Creating Your Dream Kitchen on a Budget
If you feel you cannot afford a great kitchen, think again. A terrific kitchen does not have to break the bank. You may have to get creative and even make a few compromises in your original grand design, but you will end up with a wonderful kitchen that will look good and serve your needs for years to come. Here are a few practical ways of reducing the cost of your new kitchen.
- Mise en Place: What We Can Learn from Commercial Kitchens
Organized to prepare a large variety of appetizing meals at a moment's notice, we can learn a lot about kitchen efficiency from studying commercial kitchens.
- New and Traditional Countertop Choices
Exciting changes are happening in the world of countertop materials. Options that simply did not exist 10 years ago are in every home store today. Is solid surfacing, laminate, stone or tile your best choice? Or maybe something more exotic. Take a look at the incredible selection of modern counter top materials.
- Off the Wall Kitchens: Living Without Wall Cabinets
Wall cabinets are unquestionably useful storage, but with drawbacks. A major disadvantage is that wall cabinets make a kitchen seem smaller by closing in the space at eye level — which is where we subconsciously judge how large the space around us is - and limit the number and size of windows in the kitchen. Can your new kitchen do away with wall cabinets? Probably. Find out how.
- The Rules of Kitchen Design
In 1944 the University of Illinois conducted a study of kitchen design and developed fundamental design principals that have been modified periodically from time to time, but are still very much in use today. Here are the 31 rules for designing great kitchens.
- Saving Household Water
Fifteen billion gallons of fresh, treated water are used in American households every day. It not only deletes our water sources to waste this water, but costs a fortune in electrical power to treat and pump it into our homes. Find out what you can do to reduce your impact on the environment while saving 33% of your water bill.
- Solving Corner Cabinet Woes (Sidebar)
Corner base cabinets are notorious as dark, difficult-to-reach storage space. Useful corner storage requires some pretty fancy hardware to make the space work. There are a variety of solutions, some better than others. But is is possible to make a corner cabinet effective storage with just a little prior planning.
- Sources of Supply: Faucets
Thinking about buying a faucet? Before your do, see our list of major faucet manufacturers with ratings and guidelines on what to look for and how to select a good, lifetime faucet.
- Using Toe-Kick Space (Tips and Tricks)
The toe-kick space under your cabinets can be effectively used for extra storage, to store kitchen and bathroom accessories and for truly dramatic lighting.