Glenwood Custom Cabinetry

Glenwood Custom Cabinetry by Glenwood Custom Cabi... @
There is no other room in the house with more decisions and selections to be made than the kitchen....and with each item needed there is a plethora of items from which to choose.....and the sink is just one of those item!  Undermount?  Drop in?  Apron Front?  Single Bowl?  Double Bowl?  Equal size double bowls?  (and we haven't even asked about color/style preferences yet!!)

Yes, it's a bit overwhelming.  ...and each project is different, but here are a few opinions about kitchen sinks.

The hot new trend now is for a stainless steel apron front sink, which I think can be really appealing.

This one is great looking, but it may feel a little too slick for your taste...

Here's a stainless steel unit in a more traditional style kitchen, and I think it fits right in...the only thing I don't care for in this installation is the fact that it was not placed below the height of the countertop, and here's why:  I like to clean my kitchen counters and swipe the crumbs directly into the sink...that's the beauty of all undermount installations!  ...but here I would need to scoop the dirties into my hand (yuck) and then toss them into the sink (that is if they don't fall on the floor as I scoop them up!)  ...and this one is not only exposed it's above the height of the countertop!

Here's a large sink that has a lot going on:

The sink has a ledge near the top.  Accessories are available to rest upon this ledge to make it more useful, such as a cutting board and colander.  ....and having such a wide sink like this makes it almost a necessity to have to faucets as shown here, especially if there are two cooks in the kitchen!

...often clients say that they want a double-bowl undermount...

My only concern for clients is to think about what tasks will be done in each.  The ideology is that the smaller bowl will be for prep; the larger for clean-up. make sure that if this is the case, the larger bowl is on the same side as the dishwasher; the smaller bowl is closer to the cooktop. where to put the disposal!  Often designers place the unit in the smaller bowl as they scraps of prepped food are in there....but what happens when someone brings their dirty plate to the sink and places it in the larger bowl and their leftovers fall off?  Someone will have to pick them up and move them to the smaller bowl to dispose of them!  (again, Yuck!)  

IF at all possible, I try to encourage clients to consider two disposals.  If not, I'm really more inclined to place a colander in the small bowl to catch the scraps and put the disposal on the big bowl side.  ....but no matter which way you do it; there's no wrong answer; just be sure to consider the ramifications of your choice.

(me?  I prefer ONE BIG BOWL.  Large enough to soak my largest pan, and undermount so make for easy clean up.

...then there are interesting and unique applications for sinks:

How about this in the corner:

...or this in your island:

Despite the fact that it has cost you any real usable space on your island, it sure is fun!

Here's a cool one:

Talk about a multi-tasker!! This one's got it all!! Knive block, soap dispenser, faucet, only thing I don't care for is that I can't mount it under the countertop.  

....and if you really want the sink that's got it all, check out this sink/island from KWC:

this is the end-all be-all in kitchen sinks!  The faucet and swivel 360 degrees to use from any side; the cutting boards and colanders can glide along the top rim of the unit, and the waste bins and storage are all below!

Like I said, it's overwhelming how many choices there are today...but that's the importance of working with a designer that can sort through all the options and help  you find what works best for you!

Glenwood Custom Cabinetry by Glenwood Custom Cabi... @
For a while there it seemed that the sign of quality in a new home was a beautiful Cherry Kitchen.  Every contractor and builder seemed to believe that Cherry wood in a rich stain was the sign of an rich design with expensive products.  ....but one of the things they overlooked when installing the gorgeous wood was to balance the dark tones with some other form of light.  I love the warmth of a rich Cherry or Walnut wood in a dark stained finish, but there's got to be a sense of balance in the space or it can consume the room.

Here are a few ways to lighten up an otherwise dark room:

1.  Windows.  Despite the time of day that this image was taken, the room appears more spacious because of the windows.  Not only are they ample, which will provide a tremendous amount of sunlight during the day, they are also framed out in larger than usual casings, painted in a bright semi-gloss paint.  The white color of these larger moldings obviously increases the "light factor" but so does the finish:  Semi-gloss paint reflects the light in the room adding even more light.

2.  Open Spaces.  The other thing that's helpful in this kitchen is also the abundance of open or glass-door cabinets.  In the island, by simply placing a few white ceramic platters it draws the eye to the space and accentuates the presence of space there.  ....Left and right of the rangehood the cabinets fixed with glass doors highlight the homeowners' stemware and china collection while increasing the light values on that wall.

3.  Wall Color. you're not ready to start major demolition to exterior walls for the sake of additional windows, how about rethinking your paint choices?  This image shows the impact of a can of paint.   ....and while I'm not sure it's my favorite color for this room, it definitely brightens the space and attempts to balance out the weight of the left side of the room.

I think if I was going to inject that seafoam color into my dark kitchen, I might do it this way.  4.  Reflective Backsplash  Here the color is in the form of a glass tile backsplash.  The color visually separates the dark base cabinets from the dark uppers and the reflective quality of the glass also contributes to the brightness of the space.
5.  Countertops

This design feels light and open because of their choice of a lighter countertop, but also because the countertop material is void of design.  Its simplicity keeps the kitchen serene as well as light.  ...and carrying the countertop up the walls a few inches adds to the visual height of this contrasting color, breaking it up further.  Lastly, the height of the uppers also facilitates the brightness as by stopping short of the ceiling they were able to add just a little more light (via paint on the walls) before reaching the ceiling.  (and once again the designer added glass (this time frosted) to the uppers to contribute to the light of the space as well)

...and of course there's the easiest way to lighten a kitchen:  6.  LIGHTING:

I've lost count of how many lights are in this kitchen!!  3 pendants over the island, (note the shine of the countertop reflects some of that light back up again)  6 recessed cans overhead (that I can see!) for a well illuminated walkway...
Under cabinetry lighting beneath the uppers, and halogen pucks in the hood.
The stainless further reflects the light, as does the cabinetry which is finished in a high-gloss or lacquer finish.

What could have been a dungeon of darkness is a beacon of light!!  
Glenwood Custom Cabinetry by Glenwood Custom Cabi... @
The funnest part about my job is seeing all of the newest, latest and greatest materials coming into fashion for kitchens and baths.  Going to the trade shows is invigorating and inspiring.  I often see materials and try to catalogue their information so that I can call upon them when I have a job that fits in with their styling.

Here are some of the cool things I've seen recently:

How cool is this??  These are coconut shells netted together in a herringbone pattern.  Very cool.  There are many different versions to this, but all create a very unique and interesting look.

Metal mosaic backsplash.  I love this look.  These "tiles" are actually bowed, creating a little more depth, which, while beautiful, makes me a little worried about cleaning the splatter behind the cooktop!


 One of my favorites!  Mini Glass subway tiles.  The iridescence of each tile reflects the light and adds to its beauty.


Very linear by design, this backsplash stretches the eye visually across the length of the run making the space feel wider, but the color pattern is so subtle that it's almost imperceptibly doing so.


This is a very 'current' color palette.  Beautiful warm grey tones.  The backsplash is again, subtle and collaborative with the rest of the design.


 A classic for many years, the standard white subway tile seems to have lasting power, while maintaining a bright airy, and clean feeling.


Fun, shiny bright tiles reflect the light and adds to the drama of the space, yet the absence of a bright or contrasting color keeps the feeling less jarring....although I don't think I would have picked that light fixture (or that table for that matter)  I would have gone for a sleeker look with maybe a glass top-table and polished nickel light fixture.

Here's your classic subway tile, but with a twist!  The installation of these tiles create a more dramatic herringbone pattern, but again, the absence of color makes the impact more subtle.

Some folks still like to create a center piece behind the range.  This is a picturesque design created over several tiles and framed with ceramic molding.

This is a beautiful look.  I love the natural look of the stacked river rocks....but again I fear how I would keep it clean with all of those crevices.  

Okay, I'm not sure what happened here.  Was this intentional???  Or did they just run out of tile?

this, I believe, is stamped tin.  it's very pretty.  I've seen this material before and it adds a lot of interest (and light by way of reflection) to the space.  Adding the reflective quality to the backsplash can go a long way in an otherwise dark kitchen...

Here, the pencil-thin horizontal tiles in a neutral palette add to the softness of the room, yet increase the visual width of the space.

I love the look of this.  Very clean.  Using solid sheets of glass means no grout joints to clean and simple glass cleaner to maintain.  

Here's another with a pattern:  

...and just for fun, here's one you may not have thought of:  LEGOS!!  ; )

Glenwood Custom Cabinetry by Glenwood Custom Cabi... @
“There are no facts, only interpretations.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

I've always seen the world a little differently.  I'm very interested in colors and shapes and how the two co-mingle.  And I have felt I have a kinship with dyslexia because I, too, see things backwards sometimes.  But that's not always a bad thing.  

It took me a while to figure out what this bright child had done...but that was only because I wasn't thinking like him/her.  HOW CLEVER of this kid to truly follow the directions explicitly!!   Just another example of seeing something from a different perspective.

It's important, in my life, but also in my role as a designer to be able to view things through another's eyes.  Sometime I think it's easy to make the leap from what we think someone wants to what we want for them....but the two aren't always aligned.

....and taste is honestly a matter of opinion.  Not everyone likes the same things I do....wouldn't it be a little boring if they did??

As a designer often it's our job to find the beauty in what's being presented.

Listening to clients is very important, granted, but understanding what they're saying is key.  Like an investigator, one needs to ask the right questions to garner the meaning of what's being said.  

I like to ask lots of questions.  I like to visit their home and understand their surroundings.  This can give a sense of their style, and color palette.  It's just as important to understand what isn't working for them as what is.  Ask about what bothers them most.  Investigate.  How many kids?  What are their ages?  What are their roles in the kitchen?  Ask about entertaining vs. every night events.  Ask about what other tasks transpire in the space.  (crafts, homework, etc.)  See if they can provide you with a variety of images (on-line or in magazines) of things they're attracted to....they may not see it, but you might see a trend common to all of them.

The inspirations for my designs come directly from the clients themselves.  I have never felt the need to leave a "signature" in the design; the sign of a good design for me is when the homeowner says, "It's so ME"

Here's a great example of looking at something from different amazing is this? I just love that the designer had the ability to 'see' more than just one perspective of it...and brought it to fruition!

Not everyone has the same taste as me, and, quite honestly, being in this industry is quite difficult because your taste changes every day....what once used to be beautiful to me is now too much for me.

....and while I love contemporary design

I think my taste has morphed to a more eclectic style:

   ...this beautiful design is by Bennett Frank McCarthy Architects...

....but the reality is:  it's not MY kitchen, and while I love when my style aligns with my client's; it's not necessary.  What is required is that I hear what they're trying to convey and develop a plan that reflects their perspective!

Glenwood Custom Cabinetry by Glenwood Custom Cabi... @
Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought I'd write about what scares me the most:  Shocking Kitchens!  (I know; shivers down my spine and everything!)  ....well, maybe not for you, but it has that effect on me.
....and there are many types that scare me...there are the ones that are too cluttered:
    Where do I begin?  I stress just looking at this.
 Clearly they like their crafts, but I'm not quite sure where they find the room to do them...  
  Sadly it looks as though the liquor bottles are empty...I'd be drinking too if I had to clean that up!

Then there are kitchens that are just dated:  
 I'm sure it was meant to feel sunny, but all it feels like to me is sad....note the Avocado Green range...thank goodness that trend has passed.
  While it is all coordinated, it's definitely passed its prime; I feel like any moment now Suzanne Pleshette and Bob Newhart will walk in....    
   This kitchen is actually not the offensive part of this kitchen...Grandma, you hottie!

It can also be creepy when kitchens are designed with poor color choices:  
  We get it; you like fuscia!  
  Is that Crayola's "Mullbury" I see?  
  Clearly someone took a Sharpie to these cabinets; no one PAYS for that look.  

There are also looks that are alarming only as a matter of taste:
  I'm sure the owner of this kitchen thinks it's beautiful...
  I'm sure the owner thinks...No, the owner MUST know this is Ugly!

But the most hair-raising of all in kitchens is bad kitchen design:

  Wait, what?

True, some out there can "plan" and install a kitchen that simply doesn't function properly.  Place the cabinets on one wall and just drag the range and fridge over to the nearest outlet.  (I think Grandma's vitamins will store nicely in the cabinet over the window) 

  Cannibalized yard sale find perhaps??   

  Most don't think about the traffic patterns of their home and how the placement of their cabinetry effects (for good or bad) the functionality of the space and the people within it.  It's important to consider all of the things you and your family do in the kitchen in order to create a kitchen that functions to its highest level.  
So make the scariest thing about your home the Jack O'lantern and leave the kitchen design to a trusted professional!  

Glenwood Custom Cabinetry by Glenwood Custom Cabi... @
This is truly my favorite time of the year.  I love when the air gets crisp at night and I get to pull out all my cozy sweaters from hiding.  (My pumpkin-colored cashmere hoodie is one of my favorites!!)

I love the sound of the leaves rustling about as I walk through them, clearing a path as I go.

...and the colors!  For a kid who always said she wanted to be a professional "colorer" when she grew up, the spectrum of colors that surround us in New England this time of year are absolute heaven to me!

And while it's so sad to be on dry land instead of in the Ocean (my first love) for the next EIGHT MONTHS, the Fall marks the beginning of all the indoor activities I like to do:  Canning, Baking, and Nesting!!

As we near the end of October, it's also time for some serious Halloween Décor.  First, I made a wreath for the back door:

and gave my attention to the front door:

I think it gives the right hint of what's to come....

Next is the Living Room, which has a warm fireplace. much as I could have gone a little more to the dark side, I liked this because, once Halloween is over, I can sub out the Jack O'Lanterns for various pumpkins and gourds and move straight on to Thanksgiving!

Enter:  The Kitchen.  Where all the action takes place REGARDLESS of where you had planned for everyone to hang out.

Of course we'll offer our guest something to eat     and maybe a drink or two  

but decorating the room is what really sets the tone for the gathering

...and I think this sign warns guests to be appreciative!  

All that's left is to sit and eat!!  

Here's wishing you more treats than tricks this Halloween!!

Glenwood Custom Cabinetry by Glenwood Custom Cabi... @
Just like the Old Sinatra song, many folks have regrets on a kitchen project.  In fact, I often tell people that if they really want to get opinions from family and friends, the best thing they can ask them is what they regret not doing rather than what they did.

Six months after you buy a new car, doesn't it just figure that the newer version of your car comes out??  So, too, can be the case with kitchens.  New accessories, new finishes, new versions of your cabinets....and that's life, and cannot be avoided....but the real regret comes when someone says, "Why didn't you do such-n-such" and your reply is, "What's a such-n-such?"  That's the heartbreaker!  You missed out on something that WAS available, you just didn't know about it!!  

One of two things could have avoided that:  1.)  HOMEWORK. LOTS OF IT.  Search, scan, read & learn about the latest in kitchen design.  Figure out what's a fad and what's essential.  Survey friends to determine their impressions of the latest innovations.  

or, 2.)  Hire a good designer.  Your designer will be able to tell you about all of the newest trends and discern for you whether or not they are right for you based upon your space and your lifestyle.

As beautiful as we want our kitchen to be, if it's not fully functional than it's missed the goal.  Form must follow function.  When I visit a friend with a new kitchen, the first thing they want to show me is not the look of the exterior of the cabinets, it's what's inside!  Invest in some key organizational accessories that work for you.

A worthy investment for me is something that better utilizes the dreaded corner cabinet.  this unit pulls out into daylight to give full access and visibility to all inside.

Here's another favorite.  Knives at the ready but because this is 2-tiered, there's no waste of space and the sharps are concealed from the little ones in the house.

....then there are you even know how many you have??  Are they all the same size?  How often do you use them?  these are the questions a good designer should have the answers to before designing.  ....with these answers, the designer will know which storage solution is best for you:

As you can see, the choices are many and it takes work to know which works best for your needs.....and that's just spices!!  

I know; it's overwhelming!  But that's why I believe option 2 is best.  Find a designer that asks the right questions; digs a little deeper to understand how you live in your space now and what will make the room more efficient and comfortable for you and your family for years to come.

....and then you can say, "I did it MY WAY" ; )

Glenwood Custom Cabinetry by Glenwood Custom Cabi... @
Okay, so if you've been following along...I mentioned that one of the most overlooked items in kitchen design is often lighting, the second, I think, is ventilation.

There are a few goals of good ventilation:  Proper ventilation covers the entire width of the cooking surface, removes the smoke and steam efficiently and provides good lighting for the pots below.  It also keeps that annoying smoke detector from going off!!

Seems simple enough, but it's a little more technical than that...

As you can see by this image, smoke and steam don't go straight up--they billow out.  This is why it's so critical to have a ventilation system that both covers the area AND has adequate capabilities.  ...and this is where it gets a little confusing.  In order to pick the proper vent, you first need to determine what kind of cooktop you'll be using.  For instance, will you be cooking with gas? Electric? If the answer is gas, what are the BTU's of each burner?

The general rule of thumb is to add up the BTU output of each burner and divide by 100.  (A 5-burner gas cooktop with a total of 60,000 BTU's should require a 600 CFM motor)  That means that the hood can pull 600 cubic feet of air through its duct each minute, ensuring that the smoke and steam are cleared from your kitchen and purified in one way or another.


Over the years, I've heard many people tell me, "Well, we don't do a lot of frying"...that's not truly important.  Even steam can be your enemy in the kitchen!  I've heard that the amount of steam coming off a pot of spaghetti once a week for a year would equal over 5 gallons!!  ...and the steam, if not contained, will travel throughout the kitchen and rest everywhere:  on your cabinetry and walls (risking damage to your paint finish) and attracting dust in the air (this is what truly creates that 'grimy' feeling)

The best way to use your hood is not simply for the lights; you need to turn the blower on too.  ...and people:  make it your religion!!  Turning the hood on as soon as you turn on the burner gets the flow of air moving in the right direction BEFORE you begin cooking, so it doesn't have to work overtime to catch up to the cooking you've already begun!

Great, so we know we need a hood.  But what kind??  Well, there are many options as far as styling is concerned, but my best wish is for something that is actually larger than the cooking surface and nearly as deep, too, so it can collect the steam as it expands beyond the pot.  I also want it to be easy maintenance so I'll be more inclined to use it!  Many hoods offer filters that have multiple layers of mesh (if you can see through it it's not doing as much as it could) that pop out easily and go right into the dishwasher.  (I can do that!!)  My hood even has a light that blinks to let me know when they need a bath!!

Wait!  What about microwave hoods???  Yeah, I get asked that a LOT!  Microwaves are necessary items in the kitchen, but my favorite place for them is NOT above the cooktop or range.  Here's why:  Most folks use microwaves to reheat leftovers...which come from the fridge.  I'd rather place it adjacent to or nearby the refrigerator.  Here's my logic:  Busy families do a multitude of tasks each day within their kitchen.  And many members of the family do them simultaneously.  While one is emptying the dishwasher, another is prepping a meal, and yet another is heating something up.  In order to eliminate cross traffic from these locations, I prefer to have the microwave away from the cooktop and the dishwasher typically on the opposite side of the sink & cooktop.

Think about it:  if you're trying to cook and a burner is on, do you really want (or do you want someone in your family) to reach over that hot stove to retrieve something hot out of the microwave??
Additionally,  microwave hoods are typically no deeper than 16-17"--so they're not even covering the front burners of your cooktop (which is why all that steam surfaces on the door of the microwave)  Side note:  moisture is bad for electronics (which is why the keypads on those microwaves begin to fail after a bit)  ...and lastly they usually have a CFM rating that is less than 300.  Did I mention those filters??  Nevermind.  It's clear I don't care for them.  You do your homework and decide for yourself!

But let's say we agree and we need a hood, what kind??  Well, there are MANY options:

This one is very subtle looking.  Nice for a clean look.  When you pull that glass portion forward  you're effectively covering the front burners and protecting the finish on the cabinetry above.  When not in use it recesses back into the cabinet façade.

this one is beautiful.  (the ventilation is in the form of a "power pack" self-contained unit that fits into the wooden hood we've designed for our client)  It makes a statement.  A striking focal point to the room.  Oversized for the cooktop, but perfectly to scale with the space.  Here's a picture of the "power pack" before it's installed:

...then there are some amazingly unique designs out there....

Very Chic!!

Just plain fun!!

That crystal hood actually has filters that go in the dishwasher, but also THE OUTSIDE goes in the dishwasher too!!  (okay, so it's not oversized as I prefer, but they show it over an electric cooktop (which is typically a lot less output, and what a statement!!)

Downdrafts!!  You missed Downdrafts!!!  No I didn't, I saved them for last.  You want your cooking in the island, but hate the obstruction of an island hood.  Yes Virginia, you can do a downdraft.  ...but please bear in mind a few things:

The ideal downdraft needs to come up OVER the height of your pots so that it can collect the smoke and steam off of the top.  The filters should come out and go into the dishwasher like before, and the duct work must travel the shortest distance to get outside, with the least amount of turns and connections possible.  (each elbow and every 10 feet of ducting reduces your CFMs.)  ...oh, and you might want to cook more on the back burners than the front to help gravity along.  Even the hood manufacturers admit that they are only 60% effective....but for some folks that's the sacrifice they are willing to make.

Whichever you decide, consider it carefully.  The underdog of your kitchen will be your hood as it keeps you in the clear for years to come!

Glenwood Custom Cabinetry by Glenwood Custom Cabi... @
....when designing a kitchen, one of the two most important, yet most neglected items in the project is often LIGHTING.  (I'll get to the other most important item later) ....but for now, just take a look.  You be the judge:

the lack of under cabinet lighting makes your work surface too dark to do any cooking....

with the under cabinet lighting you can cook with ease!

When you look at a pretty kitchen in a magazine or on-line, one of the most appealing things about the image is often the same thing you overlook:  lighting.

In fact, the reason it's so overlooked I think is because, when done effectively, it's so subtle that it's not detected.

A well-designed kitchen should have three types of lighting:

Ambient lighting provides an area with overall illumination. Also known as general lighting, it radiates a comfortable level of brightness without glare and allows you to see and walk about safely.

Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks, such as reading, grooming, preparing and cooking food, doing homework, and working on hobbies..

Accent lighting adds drama to a room by creating visual interest. As part of an interior design scheme, it is used to draw the eye to specific parts of the kitchen, such as an island or eating area.   It can also be used to highlight the texture of a wall, or window.

A combination of all three of these light sources, in harmony, creates a warm atmosphere conducive to cooking, entertaining and living within your new kitchen.

Stay tuned to find out what the second most overlooked item in the kitchen is.....

System Administrator by System Administrator @
Glenwood Kitchens U.S.A was opened by the Belliveau family in the summer of 1986 and has grown to be a premier cabinet supplier in the greater Boston area.

We provide a quality product at a competitive price. We understand that outstanding design and service are imperative. In order to accomplish all of our goals, we maintain the highest standards from the initial cut to the final installation.
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