No Running In The Kitchen - I've Been Tagged!

OK, here we go, I've been tagged by the fabulous (and I do mean fabulous) Linda from Surroundings.  Let me take a moment, comply, and totally excite you with details about me...

Four jobs I have had or currently have in my life:
1. demonstrator of cuisinarts
2. chef in a small Italian restaurant, including pizza maker
3. mom of 3
4. designer of cabinetry for kitchens, baths, built-ins, custom furniture

Four countries I have been to:
1. Denmark
2. Spain
3. Sweden
4. Norway

Four places I’d rather be right now:
1. Copenhagen
2. Martha's Vineyard
3. My apartment - Upper West Side, NYC
4. Bornholm, an island in Denmark

Four foods I like to eat:
1. Frikadeller (Danish meatballs)
2. mint chocolate chip ice cream
3. sushi
4. bread from Cassis restaurant

I'm tagging:

Old Friend, Peggy - Kitchen Exchange 

New Colleague, Ann - KitchAnn Style

New Blogging Friend - Patricia Gray

New Dad, Mark - Living Well in Westchester


Custom Kitchen Cabinets - What You Need To Know, Part 1

custom%20cabinets.jpgChoosing your cabinetry is a huge decision. It's so permanent, isn't it? So many choices too! Since the cabinetry is often one of the largest parts of the kitchen remodeling budget, I'll be doing a series of informational posts on selecting your cabinetry. Today's post will be a simple explanation of custom cabinetry. Is it right for you? We'll see.

The phrase "custom cabinets," or "custom cabinetry" can be quite confusing. In fact, it means different things to different people! Do you want custom kitchen cabinets? Will they last longer? Will you pay much more? Is it worth the money? Here is some insight, and answers to common questions, to help make your decision making a little bit easier. These questions and more will be addressed in future posts. For now, let's begin at the beginning with a description of custom cabinetry and what makes it appealing to some.

What is this image?? It's an image of custom cabinetry integrating seamlessly with surrounding millwork.

What is custom cabinetry?

Custom cabinetry can be defined as cabinets which are made to order, first and foremost. Whether by an individual at a shop or a factory, the cabinetry is not pre made, taken off a shelf, and delivered. They are not manufactured until an order is placed. This is one definition.

How else is custom cabinetry defined? 

Custom cabinetry can also be defined as cabinetry which allows customizations, such as changes in cabinet sizes, wood species, and finish. True custom factories will also produce anything that can be built! The designer draws it, and the factory builds it, end of story.   

Why should I consider custom cabinetry? 

You should consider custom cabinetry if:


  • in the course of the kitchen design process, you discover that you want specific, and customized, design solutions that may not be widely available in the less costly, more middle quality cabinet lines
  • you want to make the most of every fraction of an inch, engineering your cabinetry to fit as opposed to working with standard sizes
  • you'd like to create a cabinet finish that is yours alone, or you feel you need to tweak an existing standard finish sample to get the look you want
  • you appreciate, desire to own, and can justify the extra expense of a high quality product, the construction and useful features of which will be enjoyable to use and experience every day
  • you appreciate the more distinctive wood species and fiishes that come with custom cabinetry, you want something special and/or innovative
  • you will remain in this home for the very long term and desire a product that has top quality construction and a top quality finish


From my experience as a professional kitchen designer, any or all of these points noted above, are the compelling reasons why my clients choose custom cabinetry. My job, as I see it, is to point out the differences among the cabinet lines that I represent, and let the appropriate product "speak to" my clients and then we go from there.

In future posts, I will cover middle quality cabinetry, also known as semi-custom, sellers of cabinetry, differences between types of cabientry, cost issues, and much more. Stay tuned! So much more to come.


Kitchen Dining Inspiration

an-eye-for-an-interior-1.jpgI happened to see that a blog I frequent (A LOT), An Eye for an I:nterior featured this post of mine, an interesting kitchen design, and I immediately noticed the table and chairs that Jen was putting together, and I'd love to chat about it.

As you notice, the table is raw, rustic, natural, and the chairs are modern, smooth, and white. The thread that they have in common are simple lines.

But, the real interest is found in their differences. I really love this look, and an-eye-for-an-interior-2.jpgI encourage my readers to go beyond their comfort zone and experiment! Pairing together "rustic" and "modern" makes them each POP, a wonderful study of contrasting style and theme.  Another nice contrast is the juxtaposition of straight lines and curved lines. Each element looks strong and important. It also brings to mind my cousin's kitchen in her summer house in Denmark in terms of the rustic/modern combination.

Just thought I'd take a quick opportunity to share this concept.

Thanks, Jen, for the inspiration! 

An iPhone For Every Kitchen Project?

Yes, I succumbed, followed the crowd, became an iPhone fangirl, and all the rest, I admit it! But, oh, it's soooooooo sweet! Needing a new phone, I researched for a month before the iPhone's release, hardly even considering the iPhone in the equation, discarding it early on as a contender, as I was focused on Blackberrys, the Nokia N95 (with an incredible camera, but alas had some dealbreakers) and other smart phones. I was democratic in my comparisons. That said, I ultimately decided to purchase the iPhone, and it has already made my life and my work easier, and isn't that the test?

Here's why I bought the iPhone, but please note, in general, how important some of these features can be, whether one is a designer or a client. It's a tool!

iPhone-1.jpgThe large screen

In the end, this was my number one reason for purchasing the iPhone, end of story. I am so done with small screens! The experience of using a large screen (important when having a smart phone) enhances the usefulness of the device by a huge margin in comparison to other devices. I mean, otherwise, what's the point? I want the biggest screen I can get, and this is it (at least from what I researched).

Images - Great for Designers' & Clients' Purposes

The iPhone is ALL about images. Let me clarify that. Kitchen Design is MUCH about images, therefore, how a device handles images, to me, is huge. The camera is 2 megapixels, better quality than most other camera phones (except the Blackberry Curve, also 2 mp), not as good as the N95, with an astonishing 5 mp camera. But, it's definitely good enough.

It's good enough for clients to take quick shots (again, with a large screen as a handy tool) in a showroom (ask permission first!), at a detail from a friend's house, at the granite yard, to remember whatever details you want to remember on the spot.  And, the image can be quickly and easily emailed to anyone, meaning your designer! I don't know how I lived without a camera in my previous smart phones before! A tip when using the camera: hold very still and make sure you have enough light. That's really all you need to know.

iPhone-2.jpgBesides the camera capabilities, I quickly loaded nearly 200 images into the iPhone from my computer, of kitchens, built ins, and custom furniture pieces, and it took up a negligible amount of space in the phone's storage capacity. I'll add many more. I've already shown details, and whole kitchens, easily seen on the large screen, to clients at meetings in their home. The iPhone turned sideways, makes the images even larger, if they are horizontal images. AND, to make it even more crazy, the images are organized into albums that I can quickly and eaisly select!  The images are viewable in a meaningful way.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Taking additional images at a client's home that I may have missed with my camera the first time around, taking pictures of images from a book or magazine that they are showing me, of an architect's floorplan before I get my copy of it, is invaluable.  For so many purposes, a quick snapshot tells a story far better than words can.


This really makes me happy. There are TWO alerts you can set. I set one alert the day before, the second alert two hours before the appointment. I'm covered! 


While not super fast, to be able to enlarge text and images, and situate a page sideways, is far more valuable than any other device out there for that reason alone.  

Google Maps

If you don't have gps in your car and you need to get to my design studio, again, you're covered. Google maps has already saved me from being late to an appointment after a detour in the road changed my route.


I have 4 email accounts loaded, and the large text and fast scrolling is delightful to use, mostly, due to the large screen. A vast improvement over my previous pda.


These are just a few of the features that I'm enjoying using. Sure, it's not perfect. There is not one phone that is, that I've found. But, for my profession, where images are so important, it's so much and more! It's an elegant device, and it definitely exceeded my expectations. The images shown are from my design studio and have been (very) quickly enhanced to show the possibilities, as I never NOT tweak an image straight from the camera. All right, they're just ok, but it gets the job (an important job) done.

Oh, please take a look at this absolutely over the top, hysterical video on the iPhone from the New York Times technology critic, the adorable David Pogue. 

Kitchen Design Details - Banquette Height

I've added a new category, "Kitchen Design Details". Sometimes, I'll come across a useful piece of information, or am reminded by a detail from an image that I feel might be important to pass on, so I thought I'd create this new category.

It's funny how this happens. Today, I saw an image in the hot, new, building and design site, PointClickHome. I immediately honed in on the built in banquette. First, let me say, this is a beautiful image, isn't it? It is a lovely representation of a rectiliniar design.

What I want to highlight in this image is the height of the banquette, nothing else. When planning a banquette, consider the following:

  • What is your table height?
  • Will you want a cushion on the top of the banquette?
  • How comfortable will you want the banquette to be? 
  • If you want super comfort, then think in terms of THICK cushions, sofa-like, as much as 4-5" thick, and watch the firmess of the cushions as the cushions dimension will then compress easily or not, changing your seat height.
  • When planning for thick, comfy, cushions, your banquette may be as low as 14-15" high, which LOOKS very low, but have no fear, this is an acceptable height to plan for, if, for example, your cushions are a medium firmness.
  • If you do not want a cushion, your banquette height may be 17-18" - measure a chair and compare that height to your table height to determine a comfortable height
  • Try to experiment in advance with a variety of seat cushions you have on hand from existing furniture, to guage your comfort needs/desires. And, yes, take that sofa cushion off as well and try it out!
  • Visualize if you will want to linger at the table or even stretch out with a book, or if the purpose is for quick, efficient, meals only. This will also help you focus in on the comfort factor you want designed into your banquette.

Me, I don't think this particular cushion would serve my purposes for comfort, being so thin, but that's just me. Know what you want to feel when you sit down at the table!