Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Designer's Kitchen Renovation

Oh the fun of kitchen renovations!  My original plan was to post the day to day steps of renovating my kitchen. However, 2 weeks into the project, the automatic shut off valve for our furnace malfunctioned and my life quickly turned into a renovation nightmare.  I decided at that point, maybe I should wait until we progress a little further so that I do not scare off any readers who are considering renovating their kitchens. So now my blog will read like a Quentin Tarantino movie.  Start from the middle somewhat closer to the end, add bits and pieces of the beginning and then a big finish where the whole movie now makes total and complete sense.  My husband's new saying was "We're back".  I am assuming that means back on track after the living room flood. And although, my life resembled one of the characters on the show Hoarders, Buried Alive, the light at the end of the tunnel is at least a glimmer.

Kitchen renovations are not for the weak of heart, especially when your home is an old girl like ours.  It's messy, unsettling, displacing and down right aggravating.  One never knows what lurks behind the walls, pipes, electrical, support structures, etc. In our case, we weren't able to order our cabinetry prior to the rip out, because of the uncertainty.  Although, I will never openly admit this to my husband/contractor, "It was best that we waited, our cabinetry order would have been completely wrong and we would have wasted thousands of dollars because of it". So the moral of that story is listen to your contractor's suggestions about ordering the cabinetry.  

All good design starts with a floor plan. Once a kitchen floor plan is developed, a wish list of appliances, cabinets and finishes can be made based on budget and square footage.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Get the Look!

'Get the look for less' does not only apply to fashion - it also applies to interior design.  As designers, one of our main objectives is to stay within our client's budget.  It's not always easy and often we prioritize and make a "wish list".  However, when working with a clients kitchen renovation, we must not only prioritize, but the wish list must be considered into the plan.  Realistic budgets are paramount when planning your kitchen.

Kitchens are one of the most expensive interior renovations that a home owner will incur.  It is also one of the biggest factors when selling your home.  Unless a prospective home buyer is braced to invest addition funds, new homeowners are not looking to immediately renovate the kitchen. Whether renovating your kitchen for resale or renovating your kitchen for the "look" without breaking the bank, the following Better Homes and Gardens article, by Beverly Staal, CKD, CBD is one that I found interesting with valuable comparison budgets.  Ms. Staal had redesigned an outdated kitchen that desperately needed an improved floor plan.  As she states, "No matter the size or the budget, good space planning is the way to get a kitchen that functions correctly."  

As I read the article and looked over the comparisons, I was impressed with the appliance breakdown.  The appliance list is an area where a client has the most flexibility and does not necessary have to choose all top-of-the-line items, but can mix it up.  One of my favorite appliance showrooms is Reno's Appliance in Paterson, NJ.  Their sales personal are helpful, friendly and extremely knowledgeable.  They also have a very user friendly website, that I would encourage potential clients to preview.  Having an idea of what appliances you want on your "wish list' and the pricing will help you with budgeting your kitchen renovation expenses.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Kitchen Renovation: Melding Modern Amenities with Old World Charm

When designing a kitchen, whether it is new construction or a renovation, form follows function and function, as well as form is dictated by the square footage.  It is important to know how our clients "cook" or "do not cook" in their kitchens - do they the fix it and forget it, prepare their meals in minutes, or are they the "next best chef" or the "next best baker". These questions as well as a wish list of appliances, and amenities such as warming drawers and wine refrigerators must be considered.  Today's kitchens also function as command central for busy families.  It's where the family calendar is kept and often the computer is a permanent fixture, whether lap top or desk top many of today's kitchens also function as home offices. 

Designing newly constructed kitchens are in many ways much easier than their renovated cousins.  New construction consideration include my above list, as well as the budget.  Cabinetry and Appliances are the largest budget items.  Followed by counter tops, flooring, back splashes, then lighting and hardware.  Furniture, window treatments and accessories, although considered more decorative should also be budgeted.

Kitchen Renovations have all of the above expenses as well as construction costs, including plumbing and electrical.  Depending on the age of your home and the extent of the renovation, you could also incur the costs of an architect or engineer.   

This awarding winning new kitchen addition, is a combination of new construction and renovation.   Our clients are a busy couple who usually eat dinner later and love to entertain on the weekends. They wanted their kitchen to have a large open floor plan that incorporated their family room with all the amenities of today's kitchens, while emphasizing the charm and architectural details of their field-stone cottage. We transformed the original kitchen to butler's pantry, increasing their storage and service areas. 


Cabinetry- Painted and Glazed, Home Supply - Hawthorne, NJ
Appliances-  Miele Dishwasher, KitchenAid Refrigerator, Dacor Cooktop; Reno's Appliance- Paterson, NJ
Backsplash- Bergen Brick, Stone & Tile- Wyckoff, NJ

To see more please visit

Photography By David Gruol

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Recipe For Success

The kitchen is the heart of the home. No matter how large or how small, it is the gathering place for family and friends. It is where meals are prepared, gossip is shared and memories are made. During the next couple of weeks we will be re-visiting some of our favorite kitchen projects, sharing our design concepts, products and finishes. We will also be taking you through the design process, renovation, selections and installation of the Durocher kitchen renovation!

The February/March issue of Design NJ features a kitchen that we co-designed with Peter Salerno Inc., titled A Recipe for Success. This kitchen was awarded first place in the 2010 NKBA awards for the Large Kitchen category.

Our clients wanted their large open kitchen to have an intimate feel. Architectural molding created interest and unity as well as the finish selections. The perimeter of the room has linen white cabinets with a chocolate glaze and Jerusalem Sand Caesar Stone countertop. The two cherry islands with Rio Gold granite countertop, were designed to be freestanding furniture pieces. The homeowners use the islands as buffet stations, breakfast/ lunch bar and for meal preparation.

The room is wrapped in a warm golden glow, from the random Jerusalem Gold tile flooring to the soft yellow walls, it’s all in the details. The glazed porcelain backsplash above the cook top unites the stunning mantel hood and creates a beautiful focal point. The furniture’s antiqued walnut finish is a warm contrast against the room’s light pattern fabric and Chestertown Buff walls. The floral panels accentuate the scale of the room’s 10’ ceilings and allow for natural daylight. The dimmer switched chandeliers and sconces offer both functional and ambient lighting. 

To see more of this spectacular kitchen please visit

Photography By Peter Rymwid