Friday, December 23, 2011

Countertop Highlights

When it comes to planning a new kitchen it’s easy to spend the majority of our time pondering over door profiles and colours that we would like to have.  However, an often overlooked feature which can drastically alter the look and feel of your space is the countertop.  Today, countertops can be made from a wide variety of materials which vary in cost and features, so it can be a little overwhelming when it comes time to make a selection.  To help simplify the process we’ve put together this brief overview of the most popular countertop materials.

Laminate – The most economical and common product on the market, Laminate is available in many differently colours and textures.  It can be easy to clean, but it is very difficult, if not impossible, to repair if damaged.

Granite – Natural product which provides a luxurious look to any room.  Extremely durable, but it does require occasional maintenance (e.g. applying of sealer) and the high price point can be a little hard to swallow for some.

Solid Surface – Produced in a variety of shades and colours, Solid Surface countertops give the appearance of stone, but by comparison are much less expensive.  However, you need to be very careful as it is susceptible to scratching and heat damage.

Concrete – Highly flexible in design, concrete can be molded into virtually any shape that you require.  A variety of tints and textures can also be applied to further enhance the look, but like Granite, concrete does require occasional maintenance.

Solid Wood – A renewable natural material that provides an appealing look, wood countertops are increasing in popularity.  But, a word of caution as wood countertops can scratch and will become discoloured if hot objects are placed on them.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

“Try” Before You Buy

Would you purchase a new car without first taking it for a test drive? Probably not. Well, it would only make sense to apply that same principle to a purchase which you will own, in all likelihood, longer than a new car; your new kitchen cabinets. With today’s modern technology it’s becoming easier to do just that.

How it’s Done
After determining the room dimensions from an onsite measurement, or from a blueprint, a kitchen designer, who is trained in the use of the latest technology, will input this information into a computer program which has been developed specifically for cabinet design.

Next, a plan for your new cabinets will be designed within the software which is based upon not only your kitchen size and layout but, most importantly, the list of items and features that you desire most for your new kitchen.

Take a Tour
When finished you will be presented with a 3D representation of what your future kitchen could look like, complete with appliances. This will allow you to take a “virtual tour” and see how things will look and feel when the project is finished. If you see any elements of the design that you would like to change they can easily be altered by the designer so they match exactly what you envision. For example, major project items such as cabinet locations and sizes, as well as, door profiles and light fixture positioning can be changed. Even seemingly smaller items like wall colour and power receptacle placement can be adjusted so you will have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t for your specific requirements.

A new kitchen is a large investment which can increase the value of your home, so a prudent step would be to know exactly what you are paying for before the project begins; 3D cabinet design technology allows you to do this.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kitchen Organization

A pull-out recycling center keeps
your trash out of sight and will
free up floor space.
In recent times there have been a number of innovations in cabinet accessories which can help you make better use of your storage space.

Recycling Made Easy
Today we are all conscious of the importance of recycling our waste.  To make recycling an easier task many have placed a series of bins in their kitchen for separating trash.  However, do you really want to put your garbage on display?  Instead, you can opt to have a Pull-Out Recycling Centre installed in your cabinets.

A Pull-Out Recycling Centre looks like an ordinary cabinet door, but when opened it reveals waste containers on roller bearing tracks.  These centers fit neatly into your cabinets and provide you with a great way of not only freeing up kitchen floor space, but also of hiding the unsightliness of your household recycling.

Space Rediscovered
Pull-out shelving is another great option for making the best use of your cabinet storage space.  Instead of having a shelf which is permanently fixed in the same location, pull-out shelving is attached to a movable track (or post for corner cabinet units) that can be fully extended once the cabinet door has been opened.  These shelving units allow you to easily access all of the items you have placed on the shelf; even the traditionally hard to reach items in the back.

There are many more cabinet accessories which can be installed in your kitchen to help with organization, including those which can be retrofit to your existing cabinets.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Made How? - Laminate Countertops

If you're anything like me you probably like watching those television programs where they show you the manufacturing process for products that we use everyday.  I always find it interesting to see how much work goes into producing something that most of us usually take for granted.  With that in mind I though I would share with you a short video that provides an interesting tour of VT Industries facility where they manufacture high quality laminate countertops.

Laminate countertop is by far the most popular choice for kitchen surfaces, which makes us all familiar with what it looks like and how it functions (like me, you probably prepared your breakfast on it this morning). That's why I think that you'll find it intriguing to see what goes into making this commonplace item.

So, sit back, put your feet up and enjoy this quick video from VT Industries... you're on your own for the popcorn.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Benefits of Buying Local

You can shop the world, but what
are the benefits of buying local?
It’s been well documented that buying local helps to boost the community economy, but when it comes to purchasing cabinets from a local cabinet maker what are the benefits for you?

Buy Local, Save Big
A common misconception is that to save money on your cabinets you have to purchase from nationally recognized outlets.  And while it’s true that these large companies do have enormous buying power they do not always offer the best price.  For example, most large outlets only offer cabinets in a small number of stock sizes, and will charge significantly higher prices if you require cabinets that do not fit these dimensions.  Furthermore, most large chain stores do not build cabinets but are simply dealers for cabinet manufacturers who are located in other parts of the world.  Consequently, shipping and handling fees will usually be factored into the final price of your order.

However, most local cabinet shops will build to order so you never have to worry about paying more if your cabinets are not a standard size.  In addition, because the cabinets are manufactured locally and sold through modest showrooms you avoid any extra shipping charges on your order and hidden overhead fees. 

Local Cabinets, Local Service
How often have you called a company only to find that the person you were speaking to was located on the other side of the world?  When dealing with a local cabinet maker you never have this issue, but instead you enjoy personalized service that you can’t find anywhere else.  Because they are members of your community you can be confident that a local cabinet shop would be more than willing to visit with you in your home and provide the one-on-one support that you need.  Additionally, if you are replacing existing cabinets, your neighbourhood cabinet shop can help with the removal of your old cabinets and ensure that they are disposed of properly; try receiving that level of service from a website that sells cabinets. 

As has been shown, purchasing your cabinets from a local business is a win–win arrangement for everyone involved; not only do you support local business, but you receive the savings and service that you deserve.