One Designers Top 5 Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes

Kitchen remodel with hidden venting, Wolf electric cooktop and built-in oven.

You might not read about these remodeling mistakes in your design magazine …. but here’s my top 5 after over 22 years in the business of kitchens:

1- Making Emotional Decisions 

While there is nothing wrong with being enthusiastic about a project, try not to make those big expensive selections when you are “falling in love” with a certain product. Find someone to be accountable to with your plan and budget. Being in agreement with your spouse on everything probably isn’t going to happen, but sticking to a plan is going to take mutual encouragement.

2- Remodeling in the wrong order

  Watching a homeowner replace their flooring first can be a painful experience for us remodelers! This is only one example of remodeling in the wrong order …. since many times existing appliances are “trapped” and so often appliances are purchased with the idea of simply sliding them in under existing counters or cabinets, and guess what? They don’t fit. I’ve seen existing cabinetry “chopped up”, new flooring destroyed as refrigerators are moved in and out of place and so on. Try to wait, and save the money to remodel at least the main elements of a kitchen in the proper order. Cabinets first, accomodate the proper appliance sizes, counters ….. flooring is usually last. 

3- Proceeding without a plan 

It doesn’t matter how small the project is….homeowners will stay organized, timely and on budget with a preliminary and then final plan. Finding a professional kitchen designer can save a homeowner a pounding headache! The plan should include a blueprint of existing, a blueprint of new layout with cabinetry details and all mechanical locations. Detailed elevation drawings should also be included.

4- Putting in new granite counters on old cabinets 

This is just a “bandaid” fix for most people who were told that they’ll never sell their house without granite tops. I personally disagree with that philosophy. Worn, old golden oak cabinets don’t deserve granite …. investigate new cabinets in a stock cabinet line if you have a modest budget. I enjoy the Medallion Cabinet line when working with a limited budget. (

5- Ignoring the traffic pattern in your kitchen 

So many homeowners see an show or magazine pic that does not take into account the fact that many couples and families have a morning routine in the kitchen that needs to be paid attention to when planning a remodel …. and also suppertime for young families is important when planning ,as well as homeowners who love to entertain. What about those holiday gatherings?  Your kitchen is going to have “seasons” ,  just like our weather!

Stay tuned for 10 planning tips.We’ll be talking about planning ahead, breaking the rules, creating a beautiful space, buying quality and resources for researching product lines and much more.  Kitchen planning is time-consuming. Let me help you!! 


Painted or Stained?

deep stained cabinet, beadboard front framed

Such a dilema… what will look best in your house? There is usually a big question about what the majority of new cabinets should look like, and the color can really set the stage for a great kitchen.Do you love a traditional look for your home? Usually that means softer looking painted cabinets for a classic cottage look, or a dressed up classic feel in a kitchen, such as the photo in this blog by Mouser Custom Cabinets (

Oh, by the way…please paint your woodwork after your remodel. (At least in the kitchen)

Now about that stained wood… for those of you who love to see the wood grain of cherry or beech or maple, pay for the quality of a catalized stain on all the cabinetry. I personally like a furniture look in a kitchen that’s open to other rooms. Blending colors and stains can begin with your kitchen cabinets.

And I still say…paint your woodwork. Unless you have a rustic cabin in the forest!

Quartz and Granite still the Leading Countertop Choices for Kitchens

So your hubby forgets to take out the cutting board … and starts chopping on your countertop. Ouch! If it’s not quartz or granite, that’s going to scratch for sure. According to the makers of Caesarstone quartz surfaces, their products are “non-porous, scratch resistant, and highly resistant to stains….and retains it’s beauty without sealants.”

Beautiful quartz countertops by Caesarstone in “desert20limestone”

Granite, unlike quartz, is still harvested in slabs from the ground and therefore each piece is unique. Homeowners who like the pattern and beauty of granite will still be investing in a scratch resistant surface that holds up very well for many years to come. Both granite and quartz need to be fabricated and installed by certified professionals. In my area, I like to refer homeowners to Bradley Stone Industries in Macedonia, Ohio.

Black honed granite surfaces with white painted Mouser Custom Cabinets

Deb’s 3 favorite countertops

Black honed granite surfaces with white painted Mouser Custom Cabinets

Usually I would give you the “pros” and “cons” of various counter surfaces….but you can read those in just about every kitchen magazine and many of you have already Googled your favorites. Here are my favorites and my reasons.

1. Honed Granite

The process for your local fabricator to take the shine away on granite might cost more, but the look is softer. There are now satin type slabs that are already honed. A great place to see those in northeast or central Ohio is Mont Granite.

2. Quartz

It’s pretty much the hardest surface you can get right now. Ceasarstone offers the best selection. The color choices are amazing and no sealing needs to take place. Love it!

3. Wood

But let me qualify what I mean. Each species of wood has it’s own qualities. I love to lean on wood simply because it is a softer material than stone …. and you’ll need to embrace this surface as it ages.  Why not get a 2-inch thick end-grain material for chopping….or an edge grain with full length boards. Check out The Grothouse Lumber Company (

There are a few other countertops to enjoy at modest budget levels including the HD Laminates by Wilsonart. ( Many of these mimic granite, and as long as you wipe dry every day and avoid chopping, they’re really nice.

Happy countertop hunting.

Kitchen Backsplashes are a blast to design!

Metal Signature backsplash by Daltile creates visual interest in this kitchen

Afraid to add pattern & color to your kitchen backsplash? Get over it! There are design professionals to help you figure it out and create a lot of visual interest to really help you finish your kitchen project. The stone, glass, and various tiles offered now are gauged and ungauged; rough and smooth; colored and textured. Daltile is one of the largest distributors of tile. ( Also available are designer tile creators and distributors such as AnneSacks.  (

 Gather your ideas and report to your favorite interior/kitchen designer. ASAP. Happy 4th.

 So much freedom. All problems disappear. Deb