How to make your kitchen space work for you

Reface Story #3

By G. Marion Johnson, Postmedia Content Works ©2017 Postmedia Network Inc.   Photos by Mat Simpson ©2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
 

Having the kind of sparkling, beautiful kitchen worthy of a glossy-magazine spread is one thing, but when it comes to a functional space, it’s what’s behind the cabinets that counts. If you can’t find your small saucepan because your drawers are crammed with pots and pans or your spice jars keep toppling over every time you open the cupboard, you can end up feeling as frustrated as Gordon Ramsay on Hell’s Kitchen.

The good news is you don’t need to undergo a costly, complete overhaul to optimize every inch of your kitchen. These new, clever organizing and storage solutions can transform your kitchen into an efficient space worthy of a professional chef.

Reface Magic is the go-to source for bringing simple yet dramatic changes to your own home. Proudly based in Edmonton since 2002, Reface Magic has the expertise and selection to help you optimize every square inch of your space.

“True organization makes your life so much easier,” says Reface Magic owner Ken Nicholl. “You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.”

Not-so-lazy Susan

Most kitchens have a Lazy Susan in a corner cupboard, but older versions tend to be flimsy and unable to support much weight. Rather than being supported on a central pole, modern Lazy Susans are supported on four corners, meaning they can withstand greater loads—think stone wear, big bags of flour, or bought-in-bulk cans of soup. Plus, the new ones have a centre portion that pulls out like a drawer, giving you easier access to your goods.

Tip-out trays

These are located right underneath the sink, occupying what’s typically unused filler space. The small tray tilts out toward you, becoming the ideal space to store scrubbing pads and brushes and other small items neatly out of sight.

The perfect pantry

Having a pantry is wonderful, but it’s less so when shelves are so deep that products end up being shoved way in the back—no wonder crackers go stale when you can’t see them and forget about them. New slide-out pantries solve the problem of crammed shelves. With a series of height-adjustable baskets that pull out, they allow for total visibility and easy access to all of your products. Tip: Tired of the sound of slamming cabinet doors? Add shock-absorbing mechanisms for a soft closing.

Go deep

Kitchen drawers are nothing new, but what may come as a surprise to homeowners is that oftentimes they aren’t as deep as they could be; many cabinet companies default to using 18-or-20-inch drawers in a 24-inch space. Even a few inches can make a tremendous difference when it comes to storing pots, pans, plates and serving dishes, making deeper drawers an invaluable upgrade. Fully customizable features such as inserts, pegs and dividers allow for sleek separation of kitchenware and equipment.

Secret compartments

Many kitchens have narrow filler spaces between cabinets that traditionally aren’t used effectively, if at all. New solutions include sliding baskets that make for ideal places to store cooking oils, cleaning products, paper towels, baking sheets and more.

No more messy drawers

They’re the bane of anyone who has ever found themsleves fumbling for measuring spoons or steak knives: disorganized drawers that contain a jumble of utensils and tools. Cost-effective, user-friendly dividers come in a range of configurations, some even designed for saucepans and plates, that allow every object to have a place.

Cleaning up garbage

With today’s kitchens requiring room for a garbage can, recycling bin and compost bin, spaces can become awfully cluttered.  Available in all sorts of sizes and configurations, new systems allow for waste bins to be attached to sliding shelves, maximizing space and optimizing organization. Odour-controlling lids even have room to stash old newspapers until recycling day.

Spice it up

If you can’t see the cinnamon through the jars of peppercorns, curry powder, and paprika on your cupboard shelf, you’ll love drawer inserts and dividers made specifically for herbs and spices. Their graduated design means the jars lie face up and you can see all of your spices at once.

These are just some of the many affordable options out there to make your kitchen more functional and efficient. As any professional chef will tell you, a well-organized space makes cooking that much more efficient and enjoyable. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Learn more about how you can make your kitchen-space work for you at refacemagic.ca

 

This content was produced by Content Works, Postmedia’s custom content studio.

Kitchen looks bigger, brighter with ‘new character’ after refacing makeover

Reface Story #2

Bernadette and Bill Scott had wanted to renovate their kitchen for years. Once they learned about refacing their cupboards it completely changed their approach to their plans. They were able to save costs and time, and had more budget room for high-end appliances and other luxury features. Photo Walter Tychnowicz, ©2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
 
By Chris Standring, ©2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
 

Like many couples facing retirement, Bernadette and Bill Scott toyed with the idea of downsizing from their spacious Riverbend home. They even had it on the market a short time. But there were too many features they loved about their home, from the soaring two-storey living room to the attractive neighbourhood with its easy access to Terwillegar dog park for their two Labrador retrievers, Bonnie and Clyde.

But once they had decided to stay, the kitchen had to go.

“We were originally going to gut it,” says Bill, who spent months researching the options and lining up quotes from contractors. “But then I saw this ad in the paper about Reface Magic and decided to check them out.”

In July, the couple went into the showroom at 2988 Parsons Rd. and what they saw and learned there about refacing their existing cupboards completely changed their approach to the upcoming reno project.

Refacing is a simple way to achieve a whole new kitchen look without a full demolition and reinstall. Existing drawer and door fronts are removed and discarded. Exposed surfaces are prepared and covered with laminate, vinyl or veneer to match the new doors. Cabinets can be modified to gain new space for storage and to accommodate new appliances.

This made sense to Bill, who saw that they didn’t really have to significantly change the configuration of their kitchen to achieve the new look and functionality they wanted.

“We were able to save the original cupboards, which meant we didn’t have to rip out the flooring and the ceiling,” says Bill.

The renovations included new LED lighting, quartz countertops and new backsplash. Walter Tychnowicz, Postmedia Content Works

Including what they saved avoiding demo costs (i.e. ripping out old cupboards and replacing much of the drywall in behind), Bill calculates they saved between 40 and 50 per cent of the overall costs he had originally anticipated. This gave the couple more budget room for high-end appliances, new lighting, quartz countertops, an undermounted sink and other luxury features.

But saving money wasn’t the only advantage of going with Reface Magic, says Bill. The reduced time to complete the reno was a significant factor. Everything, from cupboards and countertops to plumbing and lighting, was done in an astounding nine days.

“They came in on a Monday, after we had pulled off the backsplash on the weekend,” says Bill. “The cupboards were done by Thursday, the countertop came in Friday and the backsplash (done by another firm connected to Reface Magic) was finished by the end of the following weekend.”

The reduced installation time meant much less disruption to the couple’s routine and access to the kitchen. Bill estimates it would have taken weeks to gut and replace the cupboards, ceiling and flooring.

Everything, from cupboards and countertops to plumbing and lighting, was completed in nine days. ‘We couldn’t be happier,’ says Bill Scott. Walter Tychnowicz, Postmedia Content Works

One-stop shopping “We were able to get nearly everything done through Reface Magic,” says Bill. “Everything dovetailed to make the transition smooth and fast. That’s the advantage of working with a single, local business — you only have to make one phone call. Everyone’s invested in making things work smoothly and keeping me, the customer, happy.”

How do they like the results? “We had 17 here for dinner at Christmas and everyone couldn’t believe the difference. We got great feedback. The kitchen feels and looks way bigger. (With the new LED lights and over counter, under-cupboard lighting) it’s brighter and less costly to run. The cupboards have new definition and character.”

How was the experience with Reface Magic? “Exceptional. These guys definitely know what they’re doing. They did a lot of extra things they didn’t have to do, and responded quickly to any concerns we had. We couldn’t be happier.”

Changes and upgrades

  1. Completely changed the look with new doors and matching “skin” to cover old cupboard frames.
  2. Added sleek new hardware with modern handles and Euro-style concealed hinges.
  3. Added storage space by incorporating previously open space above the cupboards.
  4. Accommodated a new and larger fridge by building a new box over the fridge.
  5. Through pullout inserts, provided new functionality and full access to previously inaccessible space in corners.
  6. Added style and finish with crown mouldings.
  7. Converted French-style door cupboards to easy-access storage and pot drawers.
  8. Replaced old drawers with new easy-close units.
  9. Added style and durability with new quartz countertop.
  10. Added brightness and task lighting with LED lighting.
  This content was produced by Content Works, Postmedia’s custom content studio.

10 signs your kitchen has gone from timely to behind the times

Reface Story #1

By Chris Standring,  ©2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
 

Today’s kitchen is more than just an area for cooking and eating. This is where the family gathers and guests socialize.

It’s clearly the most evolved room in the house, moving from mere utility space a few decades ago to a high-functioning area for living and entertaining. Given the pace of that evolution, it’s no surprise that kitchen renovations are in high demand and offer some of the best returns on investment for homeowners.

But beware of overspending on a kitchen reno, say professional appraisers.  The value of whatever you pull out needs to be factored in with the cost of replacement when calculating return on investment. That’s why it often makes more sense to reface existing kitchen cabinets, especially if their construction is sound and the configuration will remain largely the same.

“New isn’t always better when renovating an older kitchen,” says Ken Nicholl of Reface Magic, a leading Edmonton company for over 15 years in environmentally friendly kitchen and bath renovations.

“Often in older homes we see solid wood construction in the kitchen cabinetry that’s of a higher quality than what is going into new cabinet construction today.” So it can make more sense to keep the old cabinets but reface them with new doors and hardware.

Not only does refacing makes sense financially, “costing 40 per cent less on average than installing new cabinets,” says Nicholl, but it makes sense ecologically, with less waste going into the landfill.

Refacing is a simple way to achieve a whole new kitchen look without a full demolition and reinstall. Existing drawer and door fronts are removed and discarded. Exposed surfaces are prepared and covered with laminate, vinyl or veneer to match your new doors. Cabinets can be modified to gain new space for storage and to accommodate new appliances.

Even if resale value and return on investment aren’t your primary considerations, being able to enjoy your updated kitchen and bathroom may be all the motivation you need to undertake that reno this year.

So what features date your kitchen the most, bringing down the value and appeal of your home? These are questions that Nicholl deals with all the time. He says there are 10 signs your kitchen has gone from timely to behind the times.

  1. Old-style stained wood grain in kitchen cabinetry. “Whether dark or golden oak, a prominent wood grain will date the kitchen more than any other feature. Also, wood isn’t the best choice for the dry climate of Alberta. It dries out, cracks and fades. We’re seeing more homeowners opt for sturdy fresh-looking laminate in neutral palettes that are classic and timeless.”
  2. Angled bulkheads over the upper cabinets. “These aren’t done any more and are just wasted space. Today’s look is to have them open overhead or extend the cabinets straight up to the ceiling, adding height to the room and more storage space.”
  3. Exposed cabinetry hinges. “Most of today’s kitchens are built with concealed Euro-style hinges. Switching to these new hinges can instantly update your kitchen.”
  4. Wasted space in corners, with shelving that’s inaccessible. “We can install handy pullouts and new, more-stabilized lazy susans that provide access now to this formerly useless space.”
  5. Hanging (overhead) peninsula cabinets that block sight lines. “These are eliminated in modern kitchens to open up space and add lighting.”
  6. Decorative range hoods and pot racks that add clutter and obstruct sight lines. “Today’s kitchens are streamlined and aim for openness and clean lines.”
  7. Old-style laminate countertops with dark seam lines at the edges or tiles with grouted lines. “Today’s countertops, whether granite, tile or laminate, are seamless with a substantial bevelled edging. We have a variety of countertop materials. But to save costs, we recommend customers have a second look at the new generation of laminates that use advanced printing techniques to closely resemble more expensive materials like travertine, granite, butcher block and even stainless steel.”
  8. Single-sourced overhead lighting or big, fluorescent lighting panels. “These are very dated now. Installing a variety of lighting fixtures, such as pendants and under cabinet lighting, can all help bring some light and life to the space. Lighting on the underside of the upper cabinet with LED tape lights can be a hidden asset in any kitchen, providing task lighting as well as soft, ambient lighting to give the room a warm glow.”
  9. Backsplashes that only reach a few inches above the countertop. “When building or remodelling, take the backsplash right up to the upper cabinets for a modern designer look.”
  10. Old, scratched or stained sinks. “These are an inexpensive way to update a kitchen, especially if you are going to replace your countertop.”

Refacing is a simple way to achieve a whole new kitchen look without a full demolition and reinstall, says Ken Nicholl of Reface Magic. “New isn’t always better when renovating an older kitchen.”  Photos: Walter Tychnowicz, Wiresharp Photography, ©2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

  1. Ken in showroom / It can make sense to keep the old cabinets but reface them with new doors and hardware to get a new look for your kitchen or bathroom, says Ken Nicholl.

  2. Wall of Cupboards / More homeowners are choosing neutral palettes that are classic and timeless for their renovations.

  3. Lazy Susan / New, more stabilized lazy susans can be installed to make better use of awkward spaces.

  4. Wire organizer / There are all sorts of handy pullouts that can be installed to gain new or better storage areas.

  5. Wall of Hardware / New hardware will give your kitchen an immediate update.

  6. Hardware / The choice of new knobs, pulls and handles will speak to your style and have an impact on the whole room.

  7. Countertops / Modern countertops — whatever the variety of material used — should be seamless with a substantial bevelled edging.

  8. Laminate / To save costs, you may want to look into the new generation of laminates that use advanced printing techniques to closely resemble more expensive materials.

  9. Hinge / Switching to concealed Euro-style hinges can instantly update your kitchen.

  10. Backsplashes / When building or remodelling, take the backsplash right up to the upper cabinets for a modern designer look.

This content was produced by Content Works, Postmedia’s custom content studio.