Cabinet & Countertop Inspirations

In many areas of life, we tend to think in terms of the here and now. This is often evident in the areas of buying, building, or remodeling a home. We seek out design elements that are representative of our current stage of life. Life, as we know, is fluid and ever changing. Our situation today may not be our situation tomorrow. That is where Universal Design comes in.

Popularized by architect Ronald Mace, Universal Design is the idea of taking a space, then designing it in such a way that it is functional and practical for all age groups, ability levels, and life stages. With Universal Design, you are designing your home so that it not only works for you today, but also in the future. You are planning with tomorrow in mind.

Universal Design does not need to be clinical or institutional-like in appearance, nor should it be. When implemented correctly, its features will flow smoothly into the overall design of the house, almost to the point of not noticing them. There are a number of areas within the kitchen where you can implement Universal Design and demonstrate that functionality can also be stylish.

Appliances

  • Microwaves built into base drawers below the counter, making them easier to reach.

 

  • A raised dishwasher to prevent bending over, OR a drawer style dishwasher to make loading easier than traditional dishwashers.

 

  • Wheelchair accessible cooktops. Cook with ranges with front or side mounted controls to eliminate reaching over dangerously hot burners. Also, consider having a pot filler installed at the stove to keep from carrying heavy pots of water from the sink.
  • Wall ovens installed at various levels.
  • A refrigerator/freezer with the frozen food compartment in a bottom drawer OR a side by side unit.

Cabinets/Drawers

  • Oversized hardware on doors and drawers which are easier to grab, OR magnetic touch and release cabinet doors.
  • Adjustable height shelves, pull down shelves, and Lazy Susans.
  • Open storage or glass doors, making things easier to locate.
  • More base cabinets with drawers as opposed to doors.

 

Countertops

  • Lowered countertops, two tiered islands, or countertops at various heights, making them accessible to everyone.

 

  • Easy to clean surfaces such as granite of laminate.

 

   Sinks

  • Open space beneath the sink, giving knee clearance for wheelchairs.
  • Single lever or touchless faucets.
  • Variable height sinks between 32” and 40”.

Other ideas in Universal Design include lowering light switches, using slip resistant flooring such as cork or ceramic tile, and widening doorways to 36”.

Universal Design is all about making sure your home will be as perfect for you in the future as it is today. Implementing this concept in your home design or remodeling project will help ensure your kitchen remains both functional and enjoyable whatever the future may hold.  Stop in to our Spiceland, Indiana showroom and let us help in designing an accessible space for you.

 

   If you have looked at kitchen cabinets for any amount of time, you’re very much aware of the myriad of options that are available. From wood species to paint, stain, and glaze finishes, your choices can seem endless. Lest you think your decisions are confined only to the cabinet’s exterior, here are just a few examples of what can be done inside your cabinets.

   Tilt-Out Sink Trays take the drawer front and transform it into storage that is not only convenient but also out of sight. Small items such as jewelry are kept safe in these trays while items such as soap and scouring pads stay close by for use and hidden when not needed. 

 

   Spice Racks incorporated into a kitchen design can eliminate the jumbled mess that often occurs when numerous bottles of spices inhabit one cabinet, saving you time and frustration during meal prep. They are available in different forms, including simple drawer inserts, shelves on the back of cabinet doors, and dedicated cabinets. They can also be hidden behind decorative molding or legs.

 

 

   Waste Basket Kits keep the trash can hidden in a base cabinet, allowing a cleaner look in your kitchen. Multiple bins can be included for purposes such as recycling or housing soiled kitchen linens. 

 

   There are a variety of Cutlery and Drawer Organizer Trays available in numerous sizes and designs. Some are even designed to protect valuable silverware or provide safe storage for sharp knives.

 

   Vertical Tray Dividers create partitions for items such as cookie sheets, serving trays, and baking pans. Not only does this make storage more convenient, but retrieving them when needed is much easier. 

 

   The options do not end here. Whether it be an Appliance Garage that provides out-of-sight storage for small countertop appliances, Rollout Trays that maximize the storage space in your base cabinets, or a Lazy Susan that allows for easy access of dishes or pantry items, there is no shortage of ways to fit your cabinets to your needs, giving them that personal touch. 

 

Stop in at our Spiceland, Indiana showroom and let our designers show how to get the most out of your new cabinets.

 

So much thought is put into the desired cabinet style that it may be easy to overlook the type of wood used for those cabinets. After all, wood is wood, right? Actually, there are quite a few differences between the wood species, including durability, grain variation, and color. Let’s examine some popular wood choices for cabinetry and their specific characteristics.

OAK- Strong and very durable.  Oak contains a rich, coarse wood grain which accepts a wide range of stain colors very well. More affordable than other wood options, Oak has stood the test of time and has been a consistent favorite for many years. Rift Cut and Quarter Sawn are wood cut options often available when choosing Oak.

HICKORY- Similar to oak in strength and durability, Hickory is known for its dramatic grain patterns. Color and streaking vary greatly, even within a single door panel. Adding to the rustic appearance of Hickory are the random pinholes, knots, and streaks of color. These only add to the charm of Hickory cabinetry and are not considered defects.

MAPLE- With a less pronounced wood grain than Oak or Hickory, maple has become a favorite choice in cabinetry. It is desired among families in large part because of its durability and clean, uniform appearance. Paint adheres exceptionally well on this wood species.  With the current popularity of white painted cabinets, Maple is an excellent choice for today’s cabinets.

CHERRY- Easily recognized by its deep red undertones, Cherry adds an elegant look to any room. Cherry has a fine grain, and its texture is sometimes referred to as “satiny”. Though the wood itself is lightweight, it is still considered a durable hardwood that resists scratches. Maybe the most sought after characteristic of Cherry is its transformation as the color deepens over time. From a cost perspective, Cherry cabinets generally cost more than previously mentioned wood species.

ALDER- A lesser-known cabinet option, Alder is considered a medium density wood and slightly less durable than Maple, Oak, or Cherry. With a similar grain appearance to Cherry or Maple, Alder can be stained to look like Cherry without the higher cost. Choosing “Knotty Alder” can add a rustic feel to your room thanks to unique wood grain patterns, wormholes, knots, etc. The versatility of Alder can take you from the sophistication of Cherry to the rustic feel of a cabin.

Even with this brief rundown of the different wood species and their characteristics, it is always best to go in person and look at various samples in order to fully appreciate what each species can offer. Hopefully, then you can choose the right wood and the right style for your perfect room.

Stopping in our Spiceland Indiana showroom to see samples of the various wood species is an excellent way to help determine the best species for your renovation project.  We look forward to seeing you.


 

Unique (Custom) Wood Working

With our custom woodworking capabilities, Spiceland Wood Products is often asked to create and manufacture unique, one-of-a-kind items. These unique wood products can end up in a museum, church, commercial structure, or a historic residence.  In many cases, the product is designed to hold a valuable, historical relic or sentimental family keepsake. These are fun jobs to complete as they challenge our creativity to provide a meaningful representation of the client’s concept or idea. These unique, custom wood projects can be in odd shapes, incorporate other materials, or include engraving on the surfaces.  With Spiceland Wood Product’s CNC routing capability, ingenious craftsmen, and ability to understand our customer’s vision, we can help turn ideas into meaningful heirlooms.