Kitchen Cabinetry – aim to buy quality: Oakville Designer

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Vanda Albuquerque

Vanda Albuquerque

Located in Oakville, Ontario, Vanda Albuquerque, owner and lead designer of Designed for Comfort & Style, has a unique edge in the interior design and decorating industry. As a Certified Interior Decorator & Designer, coupled with years of experience in Marketing and Project Management, Vanda brings an extensive educational and experiential background that is rarely found in this industry.

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Are you are planning to live in your home for the next several years? If the answer is ‘yes’, then a kitchen renovation will not only help boost your eventual selling price, it will also let you enjoy a new kitchen featuring new cabinetry and hardware, countertops and new products you’ve coveted for a long time. That said, I know of several friends and clients who’ve had kitchen renovations done recently because they planned to sell their home. Interestingly, some homes sold very quickly because the kitchen renovations were done professionally and with quality products and finishes while some of the ones that didn’t sell so quickly were renovated by the inexperienced ‘do-it-yourself’ pro. In fact some of the do-it-yourself home renovators were certainly very surprised and taken aback to realize that all their hard work, time and money didn’t achieve the result they hoped. Little did they know that home buyers today know quality when they see it, especially in a kitchen renovation.

dNbMngP2b942cVqi1x0s1Tl72eJkfbmt4t8yenImKBVaiQDB_Rd1H6kmuBWtceBJThat said, I am sure you aren’t surprised at how savvy home buyers are today……to some degree it could be because they’ve been watching those home renovation shows on TV (you know the ones I’m referring to) that show all the pros and cons of improperly done renovations, or it could be that they’ve talked to contractors and decorating professionals to learn what is acceptable or not in a kitchen renovation.

So, before you run out to take advantage of that ‘special kitchen promotion’ you saw advertised by your local home improvement store, you may want to arm yourself with some information about how to select kitchen cabinetry and countertops. After all, these are the major components of your kitchen. Oh yes, and also keep that realistic budget in mind because good quality comes at a price.

1. Choose quality over quantity when it comes to cabinets. Fewer high quality cabinets cost less than a pile of poor quality, inexpensive ones.

2. The ideal cabinet box should be ½” to ¾” thickness furniture-grade plywood. MDF (medium density fibreboard) is okay. Do not opt for coated particle board.

3. You should look for solid-wood frame doors surrounded by solid-wood or plywood panels. Veneered particle board or MDF is okay. You should avoid inexpensive laminate or Thermofoil over particle board.

dovetail-joints4. Because drawers get used the most, their construction is critical. Best quality drawers are built with solid-wood sides using dovetail joinery and the drawer bottoms are generally made of plywood. The draw runners and door hinges should be the best quality you can afford. Opt for the soft-close door hinges and soft-close drawers. Watch out for and do not purchase stapled particle board drawers.

5. Custom-made cabinetry will not only give you the instant ‘wow’ factor, the cabinetry is generally built to last for a long time, if not forever.

6. Ill –fitted, extra large cabinets or modular ‘fillers’ are not only a waste of money, potential home buyers these days can spot these flaws quite quickly.

7. Wall cabinets should be the same size where possible. Avoid the use of varying sized wall cabinets as the eye is trained to look for symmetry and repetition.

8. To create interest and show your sense of style, you may want to pick a contrasting colour base cabinet. However, you may want to choose wisely as not everyone likes this trendy option. The contrasting colored base cabinet idea may work very well in an island.

9. Large drawers look nice. If you have multiple sets, keep them the same size and proportion.

kitchen-design-mistake110. Cabinet shelves should be constructed of ¾” plywood or MDF. Do not opt for particle board shelving as they may sag.

11. White or antique white cabinetry while not everyone’s first colour choice is the most popular for cabinets. This colour certainly makes a small space kitchen look open, bright and light. To add interest, a contrasting color countertop adds beauty and style.

12. Select darker-coloured cabinetry wisely. While you might like a strong colour, think of the resale potential.

13. An experienced contractor will use ¾” hardwood strips or metal strips with bolt holes to mount cabinetry. If other types of mounting strips using thinner wood, MDF or particle board are used, this could be a major concern especially with heavily loaded wall cabinets.

14. Countertops should be stylish, practical and beautiful so don’t settle for unattractive countertops. Today with the myriad of finishes available you can select from Quartz (manmade, no maintenance with a huge variety of colour combinations); Granite (requires maintenance and available in a variety of colours); Corian, Avonite and Swanstone (manmade, not heat-resistant, vulnerable to stains and available in a variety of colours, can be expensive); Laminates – Formica, Nevamar and Wilsonart – coated synthetics with a smooth surface (scratches and chips are almost impossible to repair, available in a variety of colours); Wood/Butcher Block – Look is warm and beautiful and comes in a variety of colours and finishes (can be expensive, requires maintenance as it can be damaged by water and stains over time, scratches must be oiled and sealed periodically); Stainless Steel – and may dent and scratch, cannot cut directly on this surface); Soapstone – often seen in historic homes and can be used today to create a modern/contemporary look (requires regular maintenance with the application of mineral oil, may crack and darken over time, heat resistant); Marble – creates a look of luxury and beauty. Can be very expensive and requires maintenance unless it was professionally sealed. (May require periodic resealing, stains easily, waterproof, heatproof.

creative-funny-kitchen-design-style-with-teen-themeSo, now are you confident that you could go out and buy your kitchen cabinetry or countertops? Maybe ‘yes’ maybe ‘no’?

Well either way it can be a stressful and frustrating venture especially if you cannot agree jointly (assuming there are two people choosing). Seek advice from a designer/decorator who can help you navigate through the intricacies of a kitchen renovation. You’d be surprised at how it can lessen the stress level.


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