Several years ago I decided to give my kitchen a facelift and set about: pulling magazine pages for inspiration; visiting kitchen and bath showrooms to talk to designers about cabinets, counters and plumbing fixtures; reading how-to do kitchen remodel books from cover to cover; and walking the appliance aisles at the big box stores all with the intention of creating my dream kitchen on my own. How hard could it be? I loved DIY and design, and had been decorating the homes of others for quite a few years so I didn’t give it a second thought. I would undertake the kitchen facelift project on my own.
A few months into my project my enthusiasm waned as I learned that kitchen design is a whole different beast. I got through the project but I suffered needlessly. One of my biggest frustrations was the day the refrigerator was delivered. I had worked closely with the appliance store to make sure the refrigerator would fit perfectly in the niche left behind by the late 80s era refrigerator the previous owner had installed. I measured, measured, measured, so imagine my surprise when this expensive refrigerator refused to fit where it was supposed to based on the wall, cabinet and counter measurements and the appliance specifications. My frustration turned to absolute dread when the delivery guys said to me, after trying to shimmy the refrigerator for 30 minutes, “We have another delivery and as much as we want to help you out here, we can’t. Got to go.” They left me with a refrigerator which was slightly angled in place because the top cabinet jutted out less than 1/16th of an inch. Enough to prevent the refrigerator from sliding in snuggly right under it – and the problem wasn’t with the cabinet and counter measurements; no, the refrigerator specs on paper were off by a bit coupled with a less than level floor and a slightly less than square wall-all of which led to the fitting problem. The nightmare scenario then ensued. I had to go to my husband and ask him for help. After some discussion we agreed that we’d keep the refrigerator. I really wanted it and didn’t want to send it back. So we removed the upper cabinets forsaking valuable storage space in the process.
How I wish I had my friend Kelly Morisseau’s handy guidebook “Kelly’s Kitchen Sync: Insider kitchen design and remodeling tips from an award-winning kitchen expert.” back then. Kelly is a second-generation kitchen designer who lives and breathes kitchen design and remodeling. It’s her passion; one that she has generously shared with readers of her blog, Kitchen Sync. She gleefully answers questions on all things kitchen design with a perfect balance of charming wit, and top notch expertise. Her newly released book expands on the topic of kitchen remodeling and design and offers up loads of tips, advice and recommendations delivered in a warm and conversational tone – just like having Kelly right alongside you!
I adore Kelly’s take on writing this book, as she shares not only the tips from her successful projects, but she opens up and shares about several design challenges she encountered and how she approached the problems and delivered to the homeowner the kitchen of their dreams. In the following passage, Kelly details a design challenge: fitting a refrigerator into an angled corner:
Refrigerators are deeper than all other appliances, up to a maximum of 34” deep with handle. Even the “built-in” refrigerators still protrude further than 24” deep once we allow for the electrical plug and counters and side panels. How the doors swing also determine whether they’ll pinch against a corner.
The last refrigerator I placed next to a lazy susan, I allowed 15” of swing space to the adjacent counter. The design was hindered by the kitchen door to the garage, which wouldn’t allow us any more movement away from the corner. So I designed with the understanding that according to the appliance specifications, 14” of clearance width to the corner was sufficient.
Except it wasn’t and the specifications were incomplete. Any time the door swung wider than 135 degrees, it hit against the counter and eventually had to be redesigned.
When you design the refrigerator next to the corner, ask how wide you will be swinging the door open before you make your final decision…and allow more than what the specifications say.
Kelly also goes beyond offering her design expertise in this book. She discusses some of the leading appliance and cabinetry trends in the kitchen design industry which I think makes this book even that much more useful to homeowners. For example she shares why she thinks Induction cooking ranges will overtake gas ranges over the next few years. Those little industry insights peppered throughout the book will give homeowners the additional information that they won’t necessarily find at the design showrooms or big box appliance or cabinetry stores where they only show you what’s available now. Which is fine if your project is a near-term endeavor and/or you don’t necessarily care about technological or design innovations. But if your project is slated for a few years out, and you do want to buy the most technologically advanced designs, then it’s imperative that you know where the kitchen design industry (appliances, cabinetry, surfaces, etc) is headed.
“Kelly’s Kitchen Sync” is a wonderful guide book that covers kitchen remodeling from inspiration to designing to purchasing to completion while offering homeowners fantastic and insightful tips to help them avoid many of the pitfalls often associated with remodeling.
Where to buy: