Get inspired to tackle that kitchen re-do by these dream kitchens from local designers and builders.
1. This customized kitchen was added to a classic stone manor house that was on the Chester County Day tour. Locally crafted custom cabinetry, soapstone countertops, plaster walls and new custom columns adorn the kitchen. Tongue and groove bead board ceiling and hand planed beams create the window cupola, while beautiful salvaged heart pine floors add charm and character to this addition.
Courtesy E. C. Trethewey Building Contractors
2. This kitchen will always be a favorite. The warm white cabinets and walnut island top create such an inviting feel, while the depth of the natural soapstone adds character and the black island grounds the room. The unique hood design and custom lighting are what make this kitchen personal.
Courtesy Waterbury Kitchen & Bath
3. Chrystal white Colortone cabinets with a pewter glaze brighten this traditional styled kitchen—a classic bright white look. An ebony colored island adds an accent to the center and a whisper of Old World charm to the space. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances complete the kitchen’s new design.
Courtesy Kitchen Magic
4. A stunning, contemporary kitchen featuring high gloss cabinets, stainless steel accents and two islands. The unique and functional center island is a combination of materials—maple cabinets, stainless steel drawers, tubular legs and butcher block countertop. The barrel vault ceiling detail softens the angular design of the space.
Courtesy Creative Nook
5. This design has a minimal modern aesthetic that’s still inviting, spacious and warm. It incorporates a subtle and diverse range of greys—from a darker grey with hints of blue to a lighter grey marble backsplash that’s almost white—offset by the darker floor that grounds the kitchen’s lighter aesthetics. The layout of the cabinets, as well as the recessed island, open up the feel of the kitchen.
Courtesy Black Forest Design & Build
6. When designing a new kitchen, it’s important to stay consistent with the existing overall aesthetics of the home. This kitchen complements the French Country style of the home as well as function for a family that loves to cook and entertain. The details of the new kitchen transition well with the clients’ home.
Courtesy Sugarbridge Kitchen & Bath. Photo by Letitia Clark
7. A 300-year-old ballroom was converted to a bright kitchen, with custom coffered ceilings and floor-to-ceiling millwork. A track and rolling ladder were installed to provide access to the upper cabinetry that reaches the 12-foot ceilings. Dark marble countertops on the custom built island contrast with the light white Carrera marble backsplash for an elegant space.
Courtesy Gardner Fox Architecture & Construction
8. This space has a crisp yet comfortable transitional style. Kitchen cabinetry is maple with a coastal gray stain for a “weathered” look that warms the room while retaining a cool palette. Black 30-sheen paint on the bar cabinetry separates kitchen and dining spaces. For sparkle—stainless steel appliances, brushed satin nickel hardware, backsplash mirror, glass doors and chandeliers.
Courtesy Main Street Cabinet Co. Photo by Jan Greene Photography
There are signs that the time has come. Here are a few.
Let’s face it—in an ideal world, we’d all love to upgrade our kitchens every few years or so to reflect our changing lifestyles and changing kitchen styles. But the reality is that most of us can’t afford that daydream, nor is it the green way to go. Which brings us to this important question: When is it time?
Are your cabinets falling off their hinges? Are you storing your roasting pan in the oven? Do you stumble down to the basement to retrieve your waffle iron? Do your lighting fixtures look like they belong on the set of The Partridge Family?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you already know the time is now! But let’s consider other reasons for transporting your kitchen into the 21st century.
For Your Consideration
Since these days the kitchen is the center of our home—where our families and friends gather to cook, work and unwind—it’s important that the space be functional, efficient and aesthetically pleasing.
Before 1990, most kitchens were designed with a sole chef—mom—and a sole purpose—cooking—in mind. But today’s kitchen needs to serve more than one cook as well as a variety of purposes.
Whether filleting a flounder, checking Facebook or playing Friday night poker with the Joneses, the kitchen is the place to be.
Here are some things to consider when evaluating the state of your most used and useful room:
1. Are the major elements deteriorating?
2. Is the space efficient?
3. Is the room functional for your family?
4. Does it make you smile?
5. Could it be greener?
6. Are you planning to sell soon?
NEWS FLASH—Your kitchen wasn’t meant to last forever! Cabinets, counter tops, hardware, fixtures, lighting and flooring are not eternal. Sooner or later, they’re all gonna go! And that’s a sign that an update is in your future.
But don’t despair. There are a variety of workable solutions available, and consulting with a design expert (we’ve provided a few names below) makes the job much easier and the outcome even better.
Main Street Cabinet’s Skip Rudderow says, even when working with a budget, a creative kitchen designer can craft cabinetry to look like it belongs in your home. Simplifying the cabinet design will also help control the budget—for example a Shaker design kitchen generally costs less than a Tuscan design.
Energy-hogging appliances are a great reason to make a change that can save on monthly utility bills. More efficient appliances can also help to reduce your carbon footprint. GreenAmerica.org and NRDC.org (The National Resources Defense Council) are two nonprofit groups that offer online tips to consider when shopping for appliances.
Be careful when making your selection, though. Expensive isn’t always better. Bells and whistles you don’t need can cost you more in the long run when they break.
If you have a large family or do a lot of entertaining, consider replacing your conventional oven with a convection or double-tier to save cooking time. A trash compacter may also be a useful timesaver. And here’s a tip from the pros—updating your appliances before they go is always a better idea. Remember Murphy’s Law? You don’t want your oven or fridge konking out on the day of your next big party.
The first step in evaluating functionality is to assess your family’s unique needs. Identify what’s working and what changes could make your lives easier—such as lighting, storage and counter, eating and work space.
Minor upgrades can go a long way towards making your kitchen the haven it’s meant to be. An improvement could be as simple as a new piece of furniture for storing clutter or adding a moveable island for more counter space.
Custom cabinetry can also enhance space and functionality because it fits with no fillers and is designed just for your needs. Tray cabinets, spice racks, knife drawers and pull-out boxes are just some features that can be individualized for you, says Dave Dilworth of Dilworth’s Custom Design.
Considering the amount of time you spend in the kitchen, it’s a room that should make you smile. If you take a walk of shame every time you enter, it’s overdue for a change.
Replacing just one of the many elements in your kitchen could make a huge difference in how it makes you feel. A simple change can breathe new life and comfort into your tired space.
Transitional style—with clean lines and a hint of modern design—is returning to popularity say Michael Walsh of Wall and Walsh and Trez Pomilo of Sugarbridge Kitchen and Bath. And it’s a perennial favorite among families.
It’s not easy being green, but if you’d like to reduce your carbon footprint, the kitchen is a great place to start. If it’s time for a new fridge, consider the Thermador—energy efficient and it will extend the life of your groceries!
Incorporating reclaimed or recycled materials can add warmth and interest to both traditional and modern design. Sabine Illias of Narberth replaced conventional cabinetry with early-1800s door panels for vertical storage. Eliminating bulky cabinets made room for a gorgeous triple window! Search online for local architectural salvage and vintage furniture shops for ideas.
For countertops, Alex Hall of Creative Nook recommends granite versus man-made materials like quartz. He says that less than one percent of the earth’s supply of granite has been harvested.
The quickest way to add resale value to your home is to update the kitchen, but DON’T PANIC! Adding value doesn’t mean a complete renovation. Updating fixtures, hardware and paint may be enough to give the room a cleaner, modern look. Andy Madsen of Madsen Kitchens saved a recent client more than $20,000 by recommending just that.
Before the client’s home went on the market, dark cabinets were painted creamy white, outdated hardware and fixtures were replaced with brushed nickel and Formica countertops made way for Corian. The house sold in a week!
When upgrading your appliances, note that not all buyers will want to pay for innovative gadgetry. Look at general trends in your neighborhood before deciding and invest in eco-friendly products with universal appeal.
Designer tip: If you’ve recently purchased a home, consider living with your kitchen at least six months before making any drastic changes. You may learn to love it!
Back to our friends the Joneses … You don’t have to keep up with them anymore. Having a kitchen that works for you and your family is all that matters. Bon appétit!
- Appliances: integrated, energy-efficient
- Fixtures/hardware: chrome, brushed nickel, brass
- Backsplashes: subway tile
- Countertops: marble, soapstone, granite, quartz
- Range hood: with outside venting
- Walls: cream, white, pale gray
- Flooring: heated, hardwood, porcelain
- Islands: moveable with storage
- Seating: built-in and face-to-face
- Cabinets/Pantry: light woods, whites, grays; pull-out and vertical shelving
- Lighting: pendent or chandelier over sink and island; recessed lighting under cabinets; industrial style
- Extras: microwave drawer, warming drawer, charging stations, beverage bar
To find out more, contact:
Alex Hall, Creative Nook, Paoli, 610-644-6665
Dave Dilworth, Dilworth’s Custom Design, Phoenixville, 610-917-9119
Andy Madsen, Madsen Kitchens, Broomall, 610-356-4800
Skip Rudderow, Main Street Cabinet, Newtown Square, 610-325-5500
Trez Pomilo, Sugarbridge Kitchen & Bath, Paoli, 484-318-8367
Michael Walsh, Wall and Walsh, 610-789-8530