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Forum topic by Lukeg199 posted 06-03-2015 04:13 PM 884 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Lukeg199

2 posts in 1392 days


06-03-2015 04:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: kitchen design layout architect kitchen designer

I am at the point now where my shop is finally ready to handle cabinet making tasks. Just bought a brandy new sawstop PCS, i’ve got a lunchbox planer, 6 inch jointer, shopvac dust collection system, drill press, router table, solid workbench, and all the necessary hand tools. I figure that if i ever hope to make my wife believe that the investment (especially in the sawstop) was worthwhile, i better make her the best damn kitchen (on the cheap with free labor) as possible. Aside from saving money i figure the following benefits will apply:

  • I get to use premium materials (ply as opposed to MDF, etc)
  • We can use whatever style or combinations of style we like
  • we get to break free of the constraints in a prefab modular cabinet system that you order

I love taking time to create something custom that is also functional. For those that know him, Matthias Wandel, and his use of custom tool holders is very much an inspiration to me, and i would love to take that same philospohyand apply it to my other workshop – the kitchen. I’m not saying i want to make a fork holder, but for those items which i use often, i want very handy. Like creating a super strong purpose built mount for our vintage wine bottle opener (See image), or a purpose built coffee station, or a beer tap for dispensing homebrew, or an integrated veggie prep/compost bucket station. The kind of thought you just wont be able to pull off with a prefab design. I guess what i am looking for is a kitchen designer (or maybe architect) that can run with this type of freedom and help us design a kitchen that is both outside the box in terms of purpose built utility, but also incorporates your best practices in terms of layout, box sizes, etc. Although i’ve read a book or two about kitchen design, it’s still no match, i’m sure, for someone who has dedicated their professional career to design.

Have any other lumberjocks been faced with this same scenario? Do you have any suggestions about a kitchen designer vs architect? Any thoughts on this topic are very much appreciated.


21 replies so far

View SirIrb's profile

SirIrb

1239 posts in 698 days


#1 posted 06-03-2015 05:38 PM

My big one, and this is strictly bathrooms, is make those vanities 36” high. I know. someone will po po that. But I have to tell you, in my first house I skipped the standard vanity height and went with kitchen cabinet height and loved them. I hate bending over a short sink to brush my teeth.

Sorry, but the bathroom was the only place I had any “original” ideas.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1961 days


#2 posted 06-03-2015 05:55 PM

My dream is to have a pro design us a new kitchen, I would build the cabinets (for all the reasons you mentioned) and have someone install them. The first part of it has me stumped. At least around here, searching for “kitchen designers” gets you nothing but folks/firms that sell stock cabinets. So I called a few “interior designers” up, only to find they sell furniture/fabric/etc. for the house. I’m completely stymied, the current kitchen is what you get when someone buys cabinets to fill the available space, and I want a custom design. I guess I could call some architects and see what they could do, but it’s been a disappointing experience for me so far. As for designing it myself, not gonna happen…I don’t have a creative bone in my body.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile

TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1403 days


#3 posted 06-03-2015 05:59 PM

Designers/architects are spotty, just like all professionals. Some are great, some are not even close to as good as you in you spare time. I’d say design it yourself. If you are going thru the trouble to think about all this stuff, you might as well do the design.

My .02 on the kitchen is make all your food and utensils accessible. Easily accessible. Avoid deep shelves, max 12” deep. Use drawers (these can be deep) wherever possible to make it easy to get to everything. I can’t stand digging back in deep shelves to get to things. I end up breaking dishes and knocking things on the floor.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

907 posts in 1503 days


#4 posted 06-03-2015 06:39 PM

Things I wish I had in my kitchen after working in a cabinet shop for the past 13 years:

Lazy Susans in the corner cabinets- (no blind corners) or one of those pricey pullouts that run around the corner.
Tray dividers somewhere.
More drawers instead of base cabinets with shelves.
Slide in range to keep junk from falling down the cracks.
Granite tops (they’re a lot more comparable to SS these days, but still more $$ than laminate)
European style hinges (the Salice C2R6A99 can’t be beat for adjustability).
Full Extension Slides (possibly soft close)
A microwave opening instead of one using up counter space.
lighting under the wall cabinets to light up counter space.
Cope and Stick doors instead of scored MDF with a veneer.
Real plywood carcass instead of veneered MDF.
If there was room, I’d have a double oven cabinet where the tray dividers and microwave went.
A real vent for the range instead of one of the recirculating dealies that are useless.
Oh. Plus one on the 36 inch vanity height. I’m 6’2” and can’t stand my 32” vanities.
We hardly EVER do 32” vanities these days.

And SOMEWHERE I’d sneak in a carving or two since I have experience with relief modeling software and CNC routers.

Just a few thoughts.

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4459 posts in 3428 days


#5 posted 06-03-2015 06:53 PM

Yep! The drawers are a must for quality design. The more, the better.
Work triangle to strengthen the process.
Make sure that any doors on appliances don’t interfere with other cabs, etc.
Corners should have lazy susan type access. No bending over and digging for stuff. Diagonal upper corner cabs.
Use pulls wherever possible. Knobs can be “fiddly”.
Quality hinges and drawer guides are a must. Hidden hinges for sure. Cleaner look.
Paint or stain? A finish in the kitchen needs to be as bullet proof as possible. Splashes and drips on a crappy finish can cause all sorts of grief.
Proper venting for the cooktop. Wall oven/microwave stack. Microwave vents just recirculate steam and odors. Vents should exhaust outside.
I could go on for hours but, after a long track as a kitchen cab designer, these are just the highlights.
I prefer face frame cabs. Overlay doors and drawer fronts. Just my spec when possible.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View hotbyte's profile

hotbyte

844 posts in 2443 days


#6 posted 06-03-2015 06:53 PM



More drawers instead of base cabinets with shelves.

- Underdog


This seems to be a current movement that makes lots of sense…

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4037 posts in 1819 days


#7 posted 06-03-2015 07:36 PM

Consider the rule of 22. There is a work triangle in any kitchen that consists the sink the fridge and the range. Measuring from the center front of each appliance the sum of the 3 legs of the triangle should not exceed 22 feet.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2200 posts in 948 days


#8 posted 06-03-2015 07:51 PM

You’re thinking ahead and going in the right direction with a kitchen designer.
I used one when I build my kitchen. She was actually my dentist’s daughter, who is a client of mine, so we did some trading out. Anyway, she looked at my drawings and came out to the house and bingo, right off the bat made one suggestion that kept my from making a big mistake.

So, yeah, find one and use them its money well spent.

I researched quite a bit and decided to go with the 32MM/Euro/Frameless cabinet method (whatever you want to call it). The big attraction to me was 1) simplilcity of design and build and 2) I wanted pull out shelves in the bases, which is very much more difficult with face frame cabs. If you’re interested in this route, Danny Proulx has a very good book on building frameless cabs.

Also, remember, this is not furniture building. It is cabinet building. Don’t use expensive plywood you don’t need to. I used high quality double sided melamine and the boxes are simply screwed together. You’ll be doing alot of edge banding but its pretty easy to get the hang of it. You’ll also use leg levelers instead of building toe kick bases, which is a whole lot easier. My wife likes the white interior of the melamine. It is bright and easy to clean.

I also tried to simplify the building process by making as many cabs the same size. Since I like symmetry, this suited my design tastes. These are the type of things to let a designer know about going in.

You can still do some ww’ing because you’ll be building raised panel doors, or at least cope and stick doors (most likely). This is where the money saving really comes in. Plus, if you’ve elected to go with DS melamine, you can used the money for some nice wood.

Most kitchen designers are in the cabinet selling business, so I don’t know about finding one for just design purposes. I would think an interior designer or architectural firm could refer you to a kitchen designer.

I’m laughing about your comment re: buying ww’ing tools. I had a little over $5K in materials in my kitchen and our designer estimated around $25K if we had it built and installed by them. She said the pantry alone would have run around $5K.

What did I reap? Lets see, a drum sander and 20” planer.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 989 days


#9 posted 06-03-2015 08:13 PM



My big one, and this is strictly bathrooms, is make those vanities 36” high

- SirIrb

This is what we did, as well, and it works out well for us. There are no children in our house and, if there were, it may be different but 36” vanities is just right for us .. and we’re not tall people.

Make sure that any doors on appliances don t interfere with other cabs, etc.

- Bill White

+1 .. don’t forget to account for cabinet door and drawer handles that may interfere with appliance doors.

Make sure your upper cabinets are designed deep enough to accommodate what you plan to put in them. For example, make sure your dinner plates and serving dishes (if applicable) will fit in with the doors closed.

If your design tastes are anything like mine, think about staggering either the front projection or heights, or both, of upper cabinets to break up long lines of the same profile.

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

907 posts in 1503 days


#10 posted 06-03-2015 08:21 PM

More thoughts:
Clearances…
Make sure between counter top runs you have the bare minimum of 36 inches and preferably 42.

The stiles or fillers against the wall (or against a blind cabinet) should be wide enough to keep the door pulls from banging into the wall or adjacent cabinets in the corner. Ditto for drawers. Nothing worse than having to remake a cabinet because you didn’t put a wide enough stile on the end, and drawers collide in the corner preventing even opening.

Make sure to note any floor, or wall vents, any electrical outlets, or light switches, and plan accordingly. Same for door and window casing. Measure every width and height. I’ve had to work around windows that were too low and boy do some of those backsplashes look funny….

Plan for crown and other molding. It’s too late after you install your cabinetry to realize that the crown won’t return well into the casing of that door you got too close to.

Face frame versus frameless:

If you want the clean look of frameless, with the accompanying advantages of more space, be forewarned that it’s more difficult to execute in almost every stage. Everything needs to be square. When was the last time you ran into an exactly square and exactly plumb wall? And did you get that carcasses of your cabinets exactly square so that they all fit together well when you hang them on the wall? Do all the reveals look even across the run of cabinets?

Face Frame cabinetry covers a multitude of sins. Lots of fudge factors built in, but you sacrifice space with that interior scribe. Sturdier build too.

Measuring!
This is very important.
Get your clipboard, your colored pens, and a sturdy tape measure.
Make your first set of measurement in one color and date it. Make any corrections on later dates another color and date them in that same color. This way you know when you’ve screwed up. Keep the record.
Make your measurements when no one else is around to distract you with lots of questions. If anyone else is there, make sure they’re focused on helping you measure.
Double check your measurements.
Measure wall heights and lengths. Note edges of all casing for openings (doors and windows). Measure to center of plumbing and to all electrical fixtures, and vents (don’t forget the floor vents)! Measure the distance between walls.

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View rockindavan's profile

rockindavan

299 posts in 2104 days


#11 posted 06-03-2015 09:33 PM

I’m in a similiar situation. My wife and I just bought a house and plan to redo the kitchen. I would prefer to have some sort of plan to start from instead of starting from scratch. My mind goes a bit crazy with the possibilities. My wife stumbled on a guy who works at steinhafels that does design work. Apparently for $500 he will give us 2-3 different layouts with measurements based on our house. Since they don’t sell cabinets he won’t really be selling us anything, basically just paying for the design service. I think they hire designers that normally sell couches and other decor, and can be hired out for design work. My wife said the guy was excited to have the ability to do custom cabinets and dimensions since I would build them. I think we will take a chance, at least for 500 we could get a plan to work off, and best case he has a lot of good ideas we wouldn’t have thought of. If I remember correctly this included up to 19 hours of design work including coming out to your house.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2200 posts in 948 days


#12 posted 06-03-2015 10:02 PM



Face frame versus frameless:

If you want the clean look of frameless, with the accompanying advantages of more space, be forewarned that it s more difficult to execute in almost every stage. Everything needs to be square. When was the last time you ran into an exactly square and exactly plumb wall? And did you get that carcasses of your cabinets exactly square so that they all fit together well when you hang them on the wall? Do all the reveals look even across the run of cabinets?
-Underdog

Udog I’m not an expert only built 1 kitchen, but I did not find this to be a problem. Matter of fact, it was really easy.

For the bases, I found if you position the cabs slightly away from the wall clamp and screw together, THEN shim, etc the whole run as a unit, it really works out pretty well. Using the leveler feet is super easy way to even the tops, too, which make the countertop guys really happy.

The uppers are, I admit, a little more tedious.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2200 posts in 948 days


#13 posted 06-03-2015 10:02 PM



I m in a similiar situation. My wife and I just bought a house and plan to redo the kitchen. I would prefer to have some sort of plan to start from instead of starting from scratch. My mind goes a bit crazy with the possibilities. My wife stumbled on a guy who works at steinhafels that does design work. Apparently for $500 he will give us 2-3 different layouts with measurements based on our house. Since they don t sell cabinets he won t really be selling us anything, basically just paying for the design service. I think they hire designers that normally sell couches and other decor, and can be hired out for design work. My wife said the guy was excited to have the ability to do custom cabinets and dimensions since I would build them. I think we will take a chance, at least for 500 we could get a plan to work off, and best case he has a lot of good ideas we wouldn t have thought of. If I remember correctly this included up to 19 hours of design work including coming out to your house.

- rockindavan

Good choice!!

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View hotbyte's profile

hotbyte

844 posts in 2443 days


#14 posted 06-03-2015 11:45 PM

If your floor is extremely unlevel like ours (house built in 1895, kitchen added in 30’s), build a 2X4 base “ladder” to go on floor that you can level up. Build the base cabinet boxes without the toe kick portion. Then mount the boxes to the 2X4 ladder.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

5734 posts in 2835 days


#15 posted 06-04-2015 12:11 AM

I agree with the “premium” material choice but I would not rule out MDO painted surfaces, if you are going to paint. Divided glass doors and white or off-white is what I have been seeing on “House Hunters”, HGTV, and the DIY channel and seems to be the “trend today”.

Don’t forget a trash/recycle compartment. This takes the ugly containers out of sight!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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