Cabinet & Countertop Inspirations

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.


Installing new cabinets in your home is a great way to update the style of your house as well as increase its value.  Updated cabinetry adds charm and functionality to virtually any room in the house, from the bathroom to the kitchen.  Cabinets come in a multitude of wood species, finishes, styles, and level of customization.  Another variation available to homeowners is the design of the cabinet doors. Cabinet doors are typically mounted to the face of the cabinet in one of three ways ... Inset, Full Overlay and Partial Overlay.  Each of these types offer unique benefits.

Inset Doors are set into the cabinet frame and fit flush with the face of the cabinet when closed.  This type of cabinet door provides the entire cabinet with a very smooth, sleek look.  As the door is flat with the rest of the cabinet, a door pull or knob is needed to open the cabinet.  Hinges can either be hidden or exposed on this type of door.

These cabinets have the smallest opening of the three door styles, and are usually the most expensive. However, they provide a look that is unique and timeless.  It is also important to note that the expansion and contraction of wood due to humidity can cause rubbing between the door and frame.


Full Overlay Doors do not sit in the cabinet frame like Inset Doors, but they almost completely cover the cabinet face at a uniform level, making a flat cabinet front.  This type of cabinet door offers the largest opening into the cabinets, providing easy access to stored items.  Full overlay cabinets have less than 1/8th of an inch between doors / drawers and need a door pull or knob to open.  Full overlay doors are a great option for the homeowner who wants cabinets with a sleek look, but doesn't want the higher cost associated with Inset Doors.


Partial Overlay or Traditional Overlay doors are the most common and least expensive type of door. The door sits on the face of the cabinet and the total area of the doors is smaller than the area of the cabinet face.  This leaves "gaps" of usually one inch between the doors where the face frame of the cabinet can be seen.  If the door is "back-beveled," door / drawer hardware is not required.  However, if the edge of the door / drawer is square, hardware will still be needed.




A cabinet drawer is quite simply, a box.  There are numerous methods to construct a drawer with regards to materials and joint design.  The joint design is important as each time a drawer is opened or closed, the drawerfront undergoes a significant amount of stress.  The more a drawer is used, the better the construction needs to be to ensure it does not fail.  In the case of a silverware drawer, this could easily be opened 5 to 10 times per day, or up to 3,650 times per year.  Over ten years, the drawer would be opened more than 36,000 times!

The strength of a joint primarily comes from two factors ... 1) how the two pieces of wood are connected and 2) the size of the gluing area.  In a dovetail joint, a series of "pins" are cut into the end of a piece of wood.  These pins interlock with a series of "tails" cut in the end of another board.  Once glued, a dovetail joint requires no additional mechanical fasteners.  The picture below provides an example of a typical dovetail drawer joint.


The dovetail is one of the strongest joints used in cabinet construction.  The pins and tails can only be joined together in one direction, similar to putting your hand in a glove.  When the drawer is opened, the pressure actually makes the joint tighter.  In addition to locking mechanically, the joint creates a very large surface area for gluing.  The more glue in the joint, the stronger the joint will be.

Spiceland Wood Products is a strong proponent of dovetail drawers as the strength of this joint will help ensure the cabinet drawer performs over a long period of time. 


"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