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From sushi to soduko Asian is all the rage.
Look at any design magazine and you’ll discover that the west is looking to the east for design inspiration.  Kitchens and baths have found new expression and streamlined function through the clean lines of Zen design.  (Think sushi bar?). the simplicity and organic features of zen design are at the forefront of kitchen design today.  The newest appliances are integrated in dark rich woods and exotic wood veneers such as Wenge and Zebra Wood.with Asian details including metal and shapes reminiscent of the pagoda.  An emphasis on natural materials such as stone and bamboo, exotic woods and simple symmetry are the order of the day.
Ken Charbonneau, a color marketing consultant whose clients include Benjamin Moore Paint says, “More people are looking to create Zen-like spaces.  To achieve this means to use carefully edited color palettes, pare down the excess and use the color to bring out the true essence of a room instead of letting it dominate a space.” There is another added benefit to paring down and that is saving money.  If you have a place for everything it’s perfectly acceptable, even desirable to leave a little open space. 
The Japanese architectural aesthetic is one of straight lines, no muss, no fuss.  It’s pure, simple and elegant.  But can a zen kitchen work in your Mediterranean-style home or a Lake Worth cottage-style?  The good news is no matter what your style you can incorporate the simplicity, organization and organic finishes that make zen design so appealing today.    If your house is a Mizner showpiece you can still pare down in the kitchen.  The trick to making it work is to include a common element.  For example you could keep the same palette but just simplify the details for a more uncluttered feeling of simplicity.  De-cluttering is something we can all do to reap the benefits of the  Zen aesthetic in the kitchen.  Organize it.  Put it away with state of the art cabinet accessories that pull out divide and categorize for convenience and high function.

This kitchen by Holiday Kitchens, Inc. exemplifies the zen principles of simplicity and straight line.
High art and function coexist with the peaceful ambiance of Zen design. Next post: Quickies for your kitchen


Since the current financial climate has most of us staying in our current homes for the time being, 2010 might just be the year to bite the bullet and create the kitchen you’ve always dreamed of.  Prices have never been as competitive and choices have never been as abundant as they are now.
Planning a new kitchen involves a mine field of details.  A mine field because some of those details can make or break the project.  How do you get from start to finish?  It can certainly be an overwhelming prospect, especially if it’s your first time.  The secret is to break it down in small chunks.  The steps are measuring, creating a plan on paper, ordering, demolition and installation.
Begin by measuring the space you have to work with.  Then, if you are currently living in the home think about what you like and what you’d rather not live with anymore.  Collect ideas.  Use magazines and books. Look around your house for clues that will tell you what style and color palette will be right for you.  Before a working plan can be developed you will also have to decide what appliances you’ll be using.  Some are standard sizes but refrigerators vary as do microwaves, wall ovens and cook tops. If you want to really explore the variety and pricing available in cabinets it can be worth your while to hire a professional kitchen designer to draw detailed plans with elevations. That way it will be easier for you to obtain pricing that will be comparable from one line to another.
When ordering your cabinets make sure to read your contract carefully.  Your kitchen dealer should take all the time necessary to outline every detail of each cabinet.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions not only about the product you’re ordering but also about the process and scheduling of the job.
Don’t remove your old cabinets until your new cabinets are on hand.  Remember disposal of old cabinets must be addressed.  Sometimes your old cabinets can be recycled for use in the garage.  Talk to your installer to see if this is a feasible option in your particular situation.
Installation of new cabinets generally won’t take more than a few days.  Usually base, or lower, cabinets are installed first so that the counter tops may be templated.  You’ll want to get this done as soon as possible as once your tops are installed you will actually be able to use your new kitchen.
Always bear in mind that with so many details something is sure to go at least a little awry.  Maybe a finished end on a cabinet is missed or someone among the large number of people you count on to make your kitchen a reality could, heaven forbid, make a mistake!  Relax it happens and there is always a solution.  For this reason it is a good idea to pad your budget to help compensate for these unanticipated occurrences and when you have to wait a few extra days remember it’s small in the scheme of things.  You will have your beautiful kitchen just the way you want it for years to come.  The important thing is that it’s done right. This stunning kitchen by Holiday Kitchens features lots of natural light, great storage with cabinets extending to the counter top and a multi-functional island. Next post: East meets West…


No matter the size or style of your kitchen, sink selection will be one of the most important decisions you make as you plan a new kitchen or update your existing one.
With an abundance of new technology and materials the choices can be overwhelming!   To the average homeowner – a sink may look like – well – just a sink. But there’s a lot to consider.  While the kitchen is the heart of the home, it is probably safe to say the kitchen sink is the heart of the kitchen.  Unless you have a separate prep sink, your sink will serve in both the clean up and food preparation roles.  With this in mind, here’s what I look for as a kitchen designer:
1.       Quality– The adage “you get what you pay for” has never been as true as in this case.  Your kitchen sink is heavily used on a daily basis so good quality will certainly pay off.  Some choices include cast iron, natural stone and, the most popular, stainless steel.  If opting for a stainless steel finish the gauge, or thickness, of the steel is the most important consideration.  The lower the number the thicker the steel and the better the quality.  This means it will not ding or spot as easily as a lesser quality product.  If you opt for one of the other materials make sure to do your homework.  Speak to a professional and research the wealth of information available on the internet.  Always get the highest quality your budget will allow.
2.       Design– Next you will have to decide if you want a drop-in or undermount design.  The advantage of having your sink mounted underneath the countertop is that you can simply wipe your crumbs away without the lip of the sink being in the way.  This option can be used if you have a granite or solid surface countertop and will add a little to the price of your countertop and installation. Drop in sinks on the other hand are easier to install and replace. Blanco has just introduced what they’re calling MicroEdge technology. MicroEdge represents the first breakthrough in stainless steel sink design since the introduction of the undermount sink more than 10 years ago. MicroEdge (shown above) is a sleek drop-in overmount sink technology that creates the illusion of an expensive flush undermount installation. Achieve the flush look for less time and money as MicroEdge can be installed over virtually any counter material.  For more information, visit
3.       Configuration– The large single bowl sink is becoming more and more popular.  It is the most versatile when it comes to accommodating large pots and platters.  If you are washing dishes by hand however you’ll probably still prefer the double bowl variety.  Really think about how you use your sink and don’t be afraid to make a change to something that better suits your lifestyle.

            This is just a beginning but good enough to get you started and    thinking in the right direction. 
Next   post: Secret to a Dream Kitchen…               



Today the guys are assembling a new kitchen from River Run Cabinetry.  My client originally approached me requesting a reface of the existing cabinets.  Cabinet refacing involves replacing all the doors and drawer fronts.  Sometimes it’s just the face lift you need especially when you have expensive countertops that you DON’T want to replace.  In this case the counter tops needed replacing as well.  After exploring the price options we found that for just a little more I could offer my client these all wood cabinets from River Run. In addition, new cabinets offered us the opportunity to tweak the existing layout into something more efficient for the customer’s needs. If you are looking for quality and great value these are the cabinets you’re looking for.  You can even assemble them yourself if you prefer the “I did it myself” approach.  Just click on the “Assemble Your Own Cabinets Link” to the right.  My clients selected a birch wood door with applied moulding.  It has a warm stain and a dark glaze.  New black appliances will fit right into the color scheme.  These are being installed next month.  Stay tuned for before and after photos.  Next Post:  What is the heart of the heart of the home?



                                                 Brendan Donovan & Trevor Collins

Welcome to Kitchens for Living! As many of you know I was with Masters Kitchen Gallery since its inception, fifteen years ago plus!  We had a nice long run and for that I’m very grateful.  At Masters, whenever we needed total custom cabinetry we turned to Brendan Donovan.  Since the economy has brought about so many challenges to our business, I have noticed that the segment of our industry that has thrived is the cabinet shop.  It is here that one can still find the beauty and soul of a hand-crafted product with flexiblility in price, thanks to low overhead.  I’m very excited to be working with Brendan and Trevor  and thank them for welcoming me to the team.  In the coming posts I will show you what we are working on and how these projects just might relate to you and what you are dreaming about for your own abode. If you have questions about your own kitchen or suggestions drop me a line.  I’d love to hear from you.

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