Yearly Archives: 2016

Your Cabinet Store Terminology Guide

Mortises, tenons and ogees can all be found in a cabinet store. But what even are they?

Kitchen Cabinets Utah

Cabinetmaking is an ancient trade, so it’s no surprise that some of the lingo and terminology is a bit strange. Stroll into your local cabinet store, and you (hopefully) won’t be greeted by such foreign-sounding terms. A reputable cabinet store will have employees who are happy to help you decode and find what you’re looking for.

Still, if custom cabinetry is in your future, you might want to brush up on some basics. Here’s your ultimate guide to cabinet store terminology, with the funkiest of terms deconstructed.

  • Mortise: Simply a hole created to let a tenon pass through. But, wait, what’s a …
  • Tenon: A tenon is a protrusion with a collar. Put a tenon and mortise together, and you have a joint.
  • Ogee: When you make a single cut to two pieces and the result is an S-shape, you have an ogee.
  • Rail: Frames, whether doors or cabinets, are either vertical or horizontal. The horizontal frames are “rails.”
  • Valance: Valances are all about looks, and are commonly extra hardwood panels placed in open regions like above sinks.
  • Worm hole: No, this isn’t physics. In cabinet stores, a worm hole is a technique where the cabinet maker puts tiny round holes in a piece of wood so it looks like an insect snacked on it. Why would you want this? It’s how wood looks in the wild, and worm holes are much easier to glaze than real insect holes.
  • Rub through: It’s a special sanding technique that will sporadically show undercoats and/or natural woods. It’s also how you make shabby chic furniture. You can use sandpaper, steel wool or another abrasive material.
  • Reveal: Are you ready for the big reveal? Reveal means how much face frame you see around a drawer front or door when everything is closed.
  • Peninsula: You know about kitchen islands, but what about peninsulas? Once you get the reference, it’s easy to guess what a peninsula is. It’s usually connected to a wall and has three open sides.
  • Medium dents: Sometimes cabinet store lingo is blunt. Medium dents are a technique where wood is struck randomly to make indents so it looks antique. Larger than worm holes, they’ll pool glaze but are a must for antiquing your cabinetry.
  • Butt doors: While the pre-teen in you wants to giggle, this isn’t actually a type of cabinet that looks like a bum. Instead, it’s when two cabinet doors are used to cover an oversized opening. Usually, the opening is too big for a single door. The edges almost meet.

Prefer to not to stress about cabinet store lingo? Call AWA Kitchen Cabinet, and let local cabinet maker experts go to work for you.

Kitchen Remodeling for Bigger Kitchens

Size matters, especially with kitchen remodeling. But what if you can’t knock down any of your kitchen walls? Make it look bigger by using some kitchen remodeling tips instead.

kitchen remodeling

The recent trend of taking kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling doesn’t just increase your storage space, it also makes the room look much bigger (the higher the ceilings, the more dramatic the impact). Top off where the cabinet meets the ceiling with classic crown molding for a finished look.

Choose lighter colors, including traditional white, to make any space look bigger. White cabinets are timeless, they go with any theme or décor and they’ll instantly brighten up any room. Wooden cabinets are a prime kitchen remodeling investment, and you can sand and re-paint or stain them if you decide to switch up the look of your kitchen in the future.

Details of Kitchen Remodeling

Simpler is often better with kitchen remodeling. You can feel overwhelmed when you have a multitude of cabinet door styles to choose from. However, traditional Shaker cabinets or another basic style with minimal ornamentation won’t just withstand the test of time, they can also make your kitchen look bigger. Ornate lines and features might be a showstopper, but they’re too busy for the eye to take in and can make the space look smaller.

Forgoing dramatic ornamentation goes for kitchen remodeling hardware choices, too. Select handles and knobs with simple, smooth lines instead of going for the outlandish. Great choices include straight handles, basic knobs and cup pulls. Picking lighter colors that blend in, such as brushed nickel, instead of bright or dark hardware, can also open up a space.

Complement Your Cabinets

Accessorize your light-colored cabinets with stone slabs and kitchen appliances that are also neutral, light in color and work well together. Fortunately, the stainless steel appliance trend is here to stay for a while. Or give a nod to classic Americana with white appliances. Both shades work well to suggest a larger space.

Stone slabs in quartz or granite in the white, light gray or beige families also make rooms seem larger. And when stone is sealed, you don’t have to worry about stains.

Maintain the look of your new kitchen by keeping surface areas clear of clutter. Select a few key accent pieces, such as your beloved industrial mixer in a bright pop of color, and let those pieces be what draws the eye.

When deciding on kitchen cabinets, it can be tempting to go with glass doors, but that’s a big responsibility. Behind the glass, you’ll need to either paint or wallpaper the interior cabinets a complementary light hue, and also keep the insides neat and tidy.

Get more tips on kitchen remodeling by contacting AWA Kitchen Cabinet today.

Cabinetmaker Career Path

How can you tell if you’ve found a good cabinetmaker?

Cabinet Maker

Like many skilled vocations, cabinetmakers undergo an apprenticeship, and after several years of practice can achieve master cabinetmaker status. Carpenters have various skill levels, depending on their area of expertise. For example, framing a house requires a lot less finesse than hand-carving a custom wooden fireplace mantle, cabinets or bookcase!

Cabinetmakers may use the latest computer-directed lathes or antique hand tools, depending on their preference or the client’s request. Some cabinetmakers use downloaded blueprints, while others are commissioned to design their own.

Many regions offer a cabinetmaking and/or carpentry apprenticeship, often at community colleges or vocational schools, and require applicants to be at least 18 years old and a have high school diploma to enroll.

Cabinetmakers Put in the Hours

Requirements vary from state to state, but cabinetmakers need at least 2,000 hours in an apprenticeship to move to the next level. During this stage, they learn how to use tools, measure properly and master join-and-fit techniques. They also are introduced to a number of carpentry materials and occupational safety rules.

Next, they have formal classroom instruction (depending on state requirements).

On average, apprentices must complete a minimum of 140 hours per year of classroom training. There, they learn about the characteristics of wood, types of finishes, and the science and technology required to handle blueprints and the ever-changing digital carpentry equipment. A solid grasp of math and science is helpful for cabinetmaker apprentices.

Pressure Tests

Most states require a journeyman exam after a certain number of hours of classroom training and apprenticeship. Usually, this includes multiple-choice tests on cabinetmaking, safety and related knowledge.

Getting hands-on experience and theoretical instruction are necessary to pass these tests. In many cases, the schools or trainers have direct contacts in the cabinetmaking industry to help place candidates once they pass their exams.

Every state has a master cabinetmaker exam that demands several years of extensive practice and continuing education to pass. Refining cabinetmaking skills, mentoring others, keeping up with trends by reading journals and checking out trade shows all help move a cabinetmaker into the elite category.

In some areas, master cabinetmaker certification courses are offered by the Cabinet Makers Association, which requires a minimum of five years in the field to enter. Programs are highly competitive.

Whether you’re interested in learning the trade yourself, or you simply want to ensure you’re talking with a highly skilled cabinetmaker for your next project, it’s a good idea to make sure the proper training, certification and schooling is on the agenda. To connect with skilled cabinetmakers in your area, contact AWA Kitchen Cabinets today!

Kitchen Remodeling Triage

Kitchen remodeling can be a thrilling — but overwhelming — process.

Kitchen Remodeling Triage

Since your kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in your home, you’ve got a lot on the line. Realtors and home buyer surveys repeatedly note that kitchen upgrades are the No. 1 way to improve your home’s value.

Many homeowners, especially those on a budget or who want some use of their kitchen while the work is being done, prefer to remodel one part at a time. You can take your time, save for the next step and still ensure you get the kitchen of your dreams with this approach.

Where do you get started? It’s a good idea to tackle the biggest parts of a kitchen first — the ones most likely to catch the eye. The cabinets, countertops and sometimes the flooring take up a lot of space and can dictate the overall feel and theme of a room.

Starting with kitchen cabinets is a fantastic way to see instant results and also provide a frame for how the rest of the kitchen will be transformed.

Kitchen Remodeling from the Cabinets Up

Unless you choose a modern and custom look like steel cabinets, you’ll almost certainly go with wood. Wood is a classic, solid, luxurious choice that will withstand the test of time.

Choose a wood that’s strong and a hue that you like. You can certainly stain and/or paint your cabinets, making them look brand-new whenever you like, but it’s best to start with a foundational shade that you like.

Kitchen cabinet styles also make a big impact. Right now, one of the most popular styles is Shaker because it’s classic, relatively affordable and it goes with absolutely any aesthetic.

Other timeless styles include French (with glass inserts that may be clear, colored or etched) as well as flat-front cabinets. Choosing ornate finishes might be just your style, but keep in mind that if you plan to sell, it’s best to stick with looks that appeal to everyone.

Next Up

Once you have your kitchen remodel kick-started with the right cabinets in the right color and style, it’s time to tackle the next feature: hardware. Your kitchen cabinet hardware can dramatically change the appearance of any room.

Trending right now are “cup pulls,” which harken back to classic farmhouse styles. Yes, they’re trending, but they’re actually a classic look that’s a gorgeous statement piece.

You might also fall in love with slim square or rounded handles and matching knobs. A brushed nickel helps to avoid fingerprint marks and will likely match your range hood and stainless steel appliances. However, hardware is relatively low-cost compared to some other kitchen remodel items, so feel free to get a little wacky and shake things up!

Tackle countertops next, opting for a natural stone slab if possible. Kitchen floors in a sturdy hardwood, laminate or tile keep the kitchen cool and make cleanup easy. For more tips on kitchen remodeling, contact AWA Kitchen Cabinets today!

Matching Hardware to Kitchen Cabinets

The style of your kitchen cabinets, from their construction to the wood and finish, is tied to your hardware choices. While your instincts can guide the way for much of your kitchen remodeling, some traditional design matchmaking should take place.

Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

For example, a rustic shaker-style cabinet in a knotty pine stained a rich red color might clash with modern, sleek, brushed steel hardware. It’s a good idea to match style for style, whether you lean toward mid-century modern, traditional, rustic or contemporary.

One of the biggest trends in kitchen cabinet hardware, and one that’s here to stay, is cup pulls for both kitchen and bathrooms. These large, easy-to-grip handles look like upside-down small cups and are an homage to traditional hardware of the first half of the 20th century. They work well with farmhouse styles as well as modern and contemporary looks.

This type of hardware comes in a variety of colors and finishes, although stainless (brushed or not) and black are the most popular.

Size Matters

It can be difficult to look at various sizes of hardware and match them correctly. Go too big, and the hardware can overpower a kitchen or look clownish. A good cabinet store will ask for the measurements of your cupboards and help you match hardware size accordingly.

Most hardware comes in standard sizes, and unless your cabinets are extra large or extra small, it’s best to go with the ready-made sizes. One exception would be a homeowner with exceptionally large hands, in which case comfort may override looks.

Where the hardware is placed on the cabinets also can play a big role. For example, bars (often on tall cabinet doors) are traditionally placed either directly in the middle of the cabinet or aligned with a stylistic element (for example, shaker-style cabinets often feature bars aligned with the top of the panel insert).

Both choices are correct, but more modern designers tend to favor an off-center look. Play with both options at home before choosing one.

Durability for Life

Ideally, your kitchen cabinet hardware is strong enough and installed well enough to last for life. However, swapping out hardware is one of the most fun and easiest ways to change the look of a kitchen. Still, you want to make sure you’re getting quality hardware, and that’s usually best found at a reputable cabinetmaker shop.

Cupboards and drawers that get a lot of use might end up with loose handles, knobs or pulls, but those should be easy to fix yourself. If a piece of hardware perpetually loosens up, that can be a sign of subpar hardware, or worse, trouble in the cabinet wood.

Get expert help with hardware troubleshooting and contact AWA Kitchen Cabinets for more information on complete kitchen cabinet care, from wood selection to hardware options.

When Kitchen Cabinets Peel

Your kitchen cabinets might peel for many reasons, including water damage, a poor paint job or high humidity. Areas near the sink and above the stovetop are especially prone to peeling, and it’s an eyesore that can drive you batty.

Kitchen Cabinets Peeling

If you want to replace or professionally repaint your kitchen cabinets soon, a simple touchup can make your kitchen more bearable in the interim.

Cabinets that are solid wood can simply have the single, peeling panel swapped out (end panels are thin and dubbed “the skin,” and are especially easy to replace).

In some cases, non-custom cabinets might even sell replacement end panels. Otherwise, you might want to lightly sand the damaged area before applying a matching stain or paint. Kits for this are available at home improvement stores for under $50, or you can buy sandpaper and matching stain or paint yourself.

Using a file to remove loose particles before swapping out panels ensures a smooth seam and can help you get the snuggest fit between the cabinet back edge and wall.

Panel Replacements

End panels cost less than $40 in most cases, but the struggle is in matching the replacement panel to your current cabinets. Even if you know the brand and name of the stain and paint used (which is rare), a new application isn’t going to match perfectly, since the color on your cabinets has faded some. But a slightly off fix is still going to look better than a peeling cabinet.

Another option is swapping out a couple of panels, such as one on each side of the sink, so that they’re even and match one another despite not matching the rest of the cabinetry.

Most importantly, any problem that you can fix is worth the effort to research. For example, sometimes appliances are the cause of the peeling, like a leaking dishwasher. Steam coming from sinks is a popular troublemaker, too.

Choosing a wood for your cabinets that’s durable enough for your daily use should be a priority when cabinet shopping.

Getting Steamy

Since you can’t avoid steam in the kitchen, you might want to beef up compressed wood fibers so any waves or dents are less noticeable. It’s a great trick if you have wood with annoying dents but isn’t chipped or broken .

Test the area by sprinkling some water, covering it with a cloth, and then using a hot iron’s tip on it briefly. You may need to repeat this process or play with how long you leave the iron on the area to get the best results for dent removal.

Depending on a professional for cabinet repair and replacement yields the best results. Call AWA Kitchen Cabinets today and talk with an expert about your kitchen cabinet concerns.

Cabinet Maker on Shaker Styles

Ask a cabinet maker why Shaker styles are so popular, classic and affordable, and the answer may surprise you!

Shaker Style Cabinets

Shaker cabinets are defined by their plain appearance, a simple panel placed into a frame with no frills, and that’s exactly what makes them so perfect for any kitchen or bathroom. Cabinets are rarely the showstoppers in a room (unless you choose a French cabinet with glass inserts), and instead should serve as a high-quality background to showcase a kitchen’s hardware, countertops and fixtures.

Watch any designer in action or HGTV show, and you’ll see Shaker cabinets are strongly featured. They work for any décor or architecture style, whether you prefer country or contemporary, with the recessed panels dishing up a blank canvas for anything you desire.

Practicality and pride for great craftsmanship are the foundations for the Shaker movement, and it’s still evident in the furniture. Shaker cabinets are known for being stable, which ensures this cabinet profile has what it takes to last for generations.

Hardware Options

If you’re remodeling or building a kitchen, choosing lasting, non-trendy items is a good call. Shaker cabinets pair well with absolutely any hardware, but going with a classic cup pull, mid-sized slightly rounded handles, or a simple knob in brushed nickel will give you a look that withstands the test of time.

Quirky homeowners who want to feature custom knobs or handles can enjoy a little more balance with Shaker cabinets, which are harmonious enough to serve as a background for even the most outlandish of hardware picks.

Shaker style cabinets also pair well with the most luxurious, standout countertops. If you’ve picked out granite, marble or another natural stone in bright colors, big swirls or a lot of sparkle, Shaker cabinets give you the balance necessary to avoid overloading a kitchen or bathroom.

For many homeowners, countertops are a statement piece, and they need some neutrality to keep them in check.

Colors Galore

Shaker cabinets, when made of a good wood and crafted well, can be stained or painted virtually any color. However, a neutral and light tone from the white, cream or gray families gives the room an inviting yet open appearance.

The lighter the cabinet colors, the larger and brighter a room appears, which explains why a white or off-white is so popular. Plus, lighter colors make rooms seem cleaner and a little more sterile, which is a plus for kitchens and bathrooms.

Choosing a good wood like maple, birch or chestnut helps achieve a richer look for this “rail and stile” type of cabinet construction.

The Shaker movement started hundreds of years ago, and there has been some evolution in cabinetry since then. For example, adding panels to this square design can bring a touch of contrast and excitement to the repetition-driven, orderly look. Beveled edges can give cabinets a softness, and burnishing an air of authenticity. For more information about the Shaker style — or any other style — talk to a cabinet maker today at AWA Kitchen Cabinets.

Kitchen Remodeling on a Budget

Remodeling your kitchen can do a number on your finances, but you can to find ways to save money.

Kitchen Remodeling Budget

First, consider the big-ticket items, including cabinets, countertops, appliances and flooring. Each of these can be the showstopper that increases or decreases your home’s value. Real estate agents have revealed in numerous studies that remodeling a kitchen is the best thing you can do to up a home’s appraisal, so it’s no wonder that it’s often the most expensive.

How can you get a better kitchen on a budget?

Wooden cabinets are by far the most desirable, but also range widely in style and cost. Consider different types of wood and even bamboo to keep your budget in check.

Unpainted cabinets are also more budget friendly, and you can still customize the look with a staining and finish of your choice. Choosing a wood that’s local, abundant and easy to work with can drastically reduce your kitchen remodeling budget.

Go the Popular Route

Right now, Shaker style cabinets are both the most popular and the most budget-friendly for renovations. This classic style has a recessed middle panel and a classic look that will never be dated. It’s a safer choice than more lavish cabinet styles, some of which cost a pretty penny and will be out of style in just a few years.

If you want to shake things up with your shakers, you can stain the recessed panel and the remaining wood contrasting shades.

Another way to save money is by having your cabinet installer ditch doors altogether. Adopting a clean, glassless French country look or opting for open shelving instead of cabinets gives your home a quaint feel. In this case, go with a wood grain that stands out beyond the stain to embrace even more of that rustic vibe.

Coming Full Circle in the Kitchen

Countertops are the second place your eye goes in the kitchen, and the options are nearly limitless. Natural stone counters, especially granite and quartz, are in demand. It may be worth it to splurge on one of these natural stone options instead of tile or laminate, but you can still be financially savvy.

Choose a thinner slab in a pattern that’s more common, or score a remnant to really save big! As a bonus, more popular patterns are likelier to pair well with your cabinets, which is the most important aspect to consider.

Appliances can be found gently loved for a fraction of the cost. Shop clearance items, Habitat for Humanity Restores and discount shops selling last year’s models or those with minor cosmetic damage. Unless you’re going the vintage route, seek out appliances still under a manufacturer’s warranty. You might be able to save by picking up and delivering yourself, too.

For more tips on kitchen remodeling on a budget, call AWA Kitchen Cabinet.

Cabinet Store Necessities

Walking into a cabinet store isn’t the same as strolling into your local home improvement warehouse just to poke around.

Cabinet Store

By the time customers go into a cabinet-only store, they’re usually already deep into a custom build or remodel project. They’ve done some research and might have an idea of what they want (even if it’s just from an HGTV binge).

However, many customers don’t understand the differences in woods, styles, painting/staining options, prices or what a cabinet installation project entails.

A quality cabinet store should, first and foremost, have knowledgeable and friendly staff members who aren’t pushy. Ideally, these employees don’t work on commission, but if they do, it certainly shouldn’t feel that way.

Cabinet shopping and customization can be an overwhelming process. Some customers prefer an “inbound marketing” approach that allows them to peruse undisturbed and approach an employee if and when needed. Others want a little handholding from the moment they arrive.

Your First Visit

Countless cabinet combinations are available when you consider style, wood, finishes and hardware. The cabinet store probably won’t have every single combination on display, but they should have an impressive variety.

Many homeowners don’t know exactly what they want until they can see and touch it for themselves. Online shopping for a custom cabinet can give you ideas, but it can be dangerous to order a cabinet without seeing the wood and workmanship in person.

Customers also should expect to be informed and educated on which materials might be the best fit for their needs. As you think of questions for a cabinetmaker, write them down. How long does the entire process take, what are the total fees, what are the pros and cons of certain woods and finishes, and which style or hardware appeals most to buyers?

It’s a Process

In many cases, customers don’t make “the big purchase” during their first visit. It’s wise to shop around, mull the options over and take plenty of photos and notes to go over at home. You might want to do more research on your own, or maybe you’ve fallen in love with a wood or style that you never would have considered when shopping online.

A cabinet store should provide you with plenty of materials to think about, and they should start a complimentary, no-pressure account so all your information (top picks, etc.) is in one central location.

By upgrading your kitchen or designing a gorgeous one for a new home, you’re making a big investment in the house’s value. A kitchen upgrade — and especially countertops and cabinets — is one of the biggest ROI moves you can make.

Whether you want to enjoy a gourmet kitchen yourself or you’re planning a house flip, the cabinets you choose matter greatly. Contact AWA Kitchen Cabinets to schedule a personalized, in-store meeting with a helpful, expert representative today.

Kitchen Remodeling in 2016

If you’re planning a kitchen remodel this year, plan to strike a balance between classic and trendy.

2016 Kitchen Remodeling

Take a look at the kitchen profiles that have sustained year after year. Going with a traditional look like French country is a safe bet, as is a contemporary style with sleek finishes and frosted glass cabinets set in solid wood frames.

Also consider your reasons for remodeling; an upgrade for a better sell price is totally different than an upgrade to make it your forever home.

A safe and economical bet for cabinets are Shaker style in a neutral, white shade. Available in a variety of woods, Shaker cabinets withstand the test of time and can be sanded down and re-painted or stained when you’re ready for a change.

However, white is not only classic, it also goes with everything and makes any kitchen look bigger and brighter.

French Country Kitchens

French doors are a classic upgrade that looks great in every kitchen. For cabinets, adding glass doors to existing high-quality frames is surprisingly fast and easy. However, be careful; French glass doors show everything inside, and therefore you may need to paint or wallpaper your inner cabinets (and always keep the items on display looking neat).

An alternative is frosted or stained glass, so that you still get that French country appeal without having to be a neat freak. Some homeowners are even opting for totally open shelving, whether that means removing doors completely or adding shelves in lieu of cabinets.

Using reclaimed, thick woods (think a rustic fireplace mantel) is a fantastic way to overhaul your kitchen.

You’re So Vain

Kitchen and bath vanities can be the focal point of any room.

In the kitchen, many homeowners are opting for vanities and/or islands that are a different color than the other cabinets. Here you can play with color, resting easy that any “out there” hues can be offset by more neutral countertops. A white, cream, or gray quartz slab looks excellent on top of both neutral and bold vanity colors.

It’s also important to consider all kitchen details and how they relate to cabinets. The right backsplash is vital, and going with a glossy or matte subway tile is a choice you’ll never regret.

Glass, mosaic and metallic backsplashes can be great accents, but be careful that they don’t stand out too much (also know you’re risking it being out of style in a few years).

Kitchen Matters

What matters most in any kitchen is what takes up the most space: cabinets, countertops and sometimes flooring. No matter the size of your kitchen, bigger and brighter is always better.

Avoid clutter (or at least the appearance of it), and embrace light colors that help feed the mood you want in the kitchen, whether it’s calm and peaceful or energetic.

If you’re planning a kitchen remodel this year, don’t start without talking to the experts at AWA Kitchen Cabinets.