Cabinet & Countertop Inspirations

Kitchen layouts come in an almost endless variety. However, almost all layouts are derived from one of five basic designs. Each layout is designed to create an efficient work triangle ... the path between the three primary work stations in the kitchen -- food storage, food preparation/cooking, and clean-up. The five basic layouts and the associated benefits for each are detailed below.\

  • L-Shaped Kitchen is created by running cabinets along two adjacent walls. There are a number of benefits to this layout, including
    • Very flexible design allowing appliances to be placed in a variety of locations
    • Efficient work area with the three stations in close proximity to each other
    • Ideal for large families or entertaining as it can open to a table or nearby room, making it easy for the cook to interact with guests


  • A Galley Kitchen consists of cabinets on two parallel walls. This layout is the most efficient as it allows plenty of room for preparation and moving between the various kitchen work stations can be as easy as turning around

This layout is great for smaller kitchens, keeps the appliances close to one another, and makes cooking easy. On the downside, the work triangle is in the traffic pattern, unless one end is closed off. You also need to ensure at least four feet of space between the cabinets.  This allows doors/drawers on each side of the room to be open simultaneously.


  • U-Shaped Kitchens are another versatile layout. Using three walls in the kitchen, the work stations can be spaced throughout to provide convenience and efficiency. Benefits include providing an abundance of countertop space, the work surfaces are continuous, and is ideal for people who use their kitchens frequently. The layout's shortcomings can include not being ideal for entertaining or accommodating multiple cooks.



  • G-Shaped Kitchens are very similar to U-shaped, using three walls of the kitchen. The key difference is the addition of a peninsula or partial fourth wall that includes additional cabinets and countertop space. Benefits are similar to a U-shaped kitchen, including plenty of storage, long, contiguous countertops, and the ability to convert one leg of cabinets into a breakfast bar. This layout can often accommodate multiple cooks in the kitchen.



  • Single Wall Kitchen has cabinets and appliances lining one wall. It is a simple solution for narrow rooms or small kitchen spaces. Typically, the sink is located in the middle of the wall, with the refrigerator and stove on each side. While it is the most space-saving layout, it is the least efficient, requiring the cook to walk from one end of the room to the other.


With most home remodeling projects, there are a myriad of decisions to make and a virtually endless number of choices.  One of these decisions is whether to use a professional kitchen/bath designer, or not.

Spiceland Wood Products believes professional designers add significant value to a kitchen or bath renovation. I am sure that is not surprising. Let me provide a few tangible reasons to support my bias for using a professional designer. Hopefully, these provide better understanding of the benefits a professional designer brings to home remodeling projects.

  • Redesigning your kitchen possesses a number of special challenges. Choices made throughout the project are both expensive and semi-permanent. When complete, you want the kitchen to meet your unique needs, function properly, and look as envisioned. A professional designer is trained to understand your vision and translate the vision into a well-functioning space. The designer's expertise ensures the end result reflects your style, works effectively, and fits within the budget.
  • Designers utilize the latest technology to provide drawings and renderings to help you visualize the space before any work starts. This helps refine the design and is used in decision making for various project components and fixtures. An example of a kitchen rendering is below.

  • Kitchen and bath designers can reduce costs by using more efficient cabinet layouts, awareness of lower-cost options, and avoiding expensive corrections or repairs to a poor design.
  • A professional designer is knowledgeable in kitchen and bath planning guidelines. Following these guidelines ensure meeting local building codes and safety regulations and makes the space more functional for you. Two examples include designing sufficient countertop space next to cooking surfaces and knee space for island seating areas.
  • The kitchen or bath being renovated may have design challenges ... numerous doorways or angled walls. Professional designers are trained to develop various options for these complex spaces that achieve desired functionality and aesthetics.
  • Designers work with you to consider all the details of a project. This includes developing the necessary drawings, paying attention to lighting and electrical requirements, and choosing cabinet hardware and finishes to enhance the final design.

While the above items are not an exhaustive list, a professional designer provides valuable assistance in creating an attractive space to meet your needs, maximizing the project's budget, and solving the challenges that may be encountered throughout the project.


Installing a kitchen island is an excellent remodeling project to improve the functionality of your kitchen and add unique design elements to your home.  The island can be as simple or elaborate as you desire.  Larger kitchens can have multiple islands serving a number of purposes.

To ensure the island is designed and located correctly, it is important to consider how the island will be used. Islands provide additional storage in the kitchen, serve as a buffet for large meals or entertaining, create incremental countertop/food preparation space, or establish an area for specific tasks, such as baking. In a number of instances, the island incorporates additional appliances, including cooktops, undercounter microwaves, or wine storage. Many islands have an informal eating space for snacks, breakfasts, or quick meals. Understanding your needs will make the island as functional as possible.

There are a number of items to consider in planning an island addition. The first step is determining if there is sufficient room for an island. Kitchen design guidelines suggest having 36" to 42" walkways between the island and perimeter cabinets. This facilitates movement around the island and ensures the ability to open/close appliance doors. The island also needs to fit with the kitchen's current work flow/work triangle. An easy way to check fit is to layout the island's shape using masking tape or boxes. Then, live with the "imaginary" island for a week to determine if the layout works. The tape/boxes can be adjusted to deal with any shortcomings. If appliances are included in the island, you will need to understand the implications of running electricity/gas to the island. This can be more challenging when the foundation is a concrete slab.

From a design perspective, the island can be very simple or serve as a focal point for the kitchen. The options are virtually limitless. Cabinets and countertops can be chosen to blend with the existing design, or provide a contrasting look using a different style/finish. The island can be designed in a single height, or multiple heights, creating additional interest. A higher level bar top can provide seating at the island and help shield food preparation and clean-up from adjacent living space.

A well designed island will be a valuable addition to your home and increase the enjoyment and functionality of your kitchen.



"Sonja and I want to thank you for the great experience that you and your company provided to us throughout the design, manufacture, and installation of our library cabinetry you made for our condo. Our friends and family rave about its quality and appearance. You are all craftsmen and it was a real pleasure watching the project come together during the whole process."
Al & Sonja
"Thanks again for successfully completing our project today. Special kudos to Mike and the other craftsmen at the shop for a job well done. We could not be more pleased with the results. Mike’s attention to small, finer details was very much appreciated. He was patient, pleasant and understanding. It’s all about the “fit & finish” with us and Spiceland Wood Products did not disappoint. We WILL be doing more business together soon – we look forward to it. Given the opportunity, we will highly recommend SWP to everyone. It was a true pleasure working together."
Wayne & Tonia