A Touching Way to Open: Servo-Drive Flex

How do you open a refrigerator or dishwasher without a handle or a routered channel to grab onto? This is where Blum's new Servo-drive Flex system comes into play.

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A Touch of Colour

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Sometimes all you need is a little bit of colour in your space. A little bit of accent to help tie the room together. We'll even go so far as to go with the cliché "POP" of colour.

Some people are really looking for a dramatic vision, by choosing a unique Benjamin Moore or Pratt and Lambert colour to match and just go for it on the entire project! This will absolutely create that intense impression on you and any guests you might bring over. Sometimes the best way it to incorporate subtlety when introducing colour into a space. One of the ways in which we've found to bring colour into a millwork project in an understated manner is through layered painting. Keep in mind that this would be most applicable in a traditional or transitional setting, but some modern and contemporary projects - with the right design panache - would benefit as well.

The technique is usually done with a wooden door, typically alder or maple, then a base-coat of your chosen accent colour is applied, then after drying your more subdued, white or off white would be applied to that. Then, the hand-sanding process begins on some edges and corners to expose the accent colour and wood below.

Come down to the showroom and have a look at some applications of this technique and maybe it might find its way into your next millwork project.

Handling no Handles

Millwork cabinets aren't very useful if you can't open them, hence the need for handles. Current design trends are leaning decidedly to the style of the minimalist and with that comes the desire to make handles and knobs all but disappear...or at least appear to disappear.

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Narrowing Down Your Style

Want to renovate but have no idea what you want? Do you see pictures you like in magazines but don’t feel ready to commit? You’re not alone!

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Help us help you. Communication is all part of design.

Just like in a marriage, design relationships are not based on reading minds...they're based understanding each other.

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Your kitchen looks great, performs like a dream...but how does it feel?

Handle Hardware

Don't forget to touch!

Our senses are always bombarding us with information about our surraoundings, and kitchens are no different. We hear the satisfying 'thud' of a fridge door closing and the clatter of plates and cutlery. We enjoy the well-designed colour combinations of cabinet fronts, countertops, backsplashes, and paint. We smell and taste the dinner as it cooks on your new appliances. But what about touch?

The smooth finish of a painted door, the rigid texture of a quarter-sawn oak panel, or the cool, solid touch of granite or engineered stone counter tops are often what will help clients decide on what finishes they'll have in their kitchen.

Arguably one of the most important tactile surfaces in a kitchen are the cabinet and appliance handle hardware.  Counters are often swept over with our palms when the kitchen is new, as are the cabinet fronts, but when you get down to actually working in your kitchen the most 'touched' item are the handles. And the parts you touch are usually not the parts you can actually see.

When you're making a decision on handle hardware...grab it. Get your hand under the handle and see how it feels. Make sure you can actually fit your hand underneath; nothing more annoying that trying to open a large pot drawer with only two fingers (even if the slides are extra smooth!) Some less-expensive handles have manufacturing ridges, some can have sharp edges or corners. Some just feel plain awkward. Remember...these are the handles you'll be grabbing onto each time you're in your kitchen.

So sight, smell, taste, and sound aren't the only parts of the kitchen experience. Touch plays an important role in how much you'll enjoy your kitchen in the future.

Don't build yourself into a corner...unless you have one of these.

For those of you with kitchens that don't have corner units, you haven't had the pleasure of trying to crawl in to the dark recesses of you cabinets to try and find that salad spinner or strainer that you know is in there somewhere.

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Now is the time!

Renovations and new construction are notoriously difficult to plan a completion date for, but with experience some pretty good guesses are possible.

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How do you choose the right person to do your kitchen?

Fear is a big part of what drives the interest in many of the renovation shows on the television as of late. Why? Because fear is an effective way to grab someone's attention, as well as a way to show you someone who can do away with whatever scary situation is put in front of them.

There's always going to be concern when spending your hard-earned money on a project that you're spending it with the right person or group of people. If you don't have someone on your flatscreen telling you that they're the best person for the job, how will you know? Here's what we think is important to consider if you're purchasing kitchens, or any other big-ticket item:

'Bricks and Mortar' location: When a company has a showroom or other place of business, it shows you that they're willing to invest in themselves and invest in you as a potential client. They're proud of what they offer and want to show it to you. Without that, will you really know what you're getting?

Length of time in business: If a company stays in business for a long period of time, it usually means that they're doing more than just a few things right, but it takes time for that to bear fruit. You can be sure that in the kitchen business word eventually gets around and friends of friends don't recommend companies that don't perform. But when a company is able to 'rob Peter to pay Paul,' it can take years for the other shoe to drop. The longer a company has been around, the better value it usually offers.

Communication: Find someone you can talk to, someone who understands what you're really looking for. When spending large sums of money you really don't want it to feel like you're throwing darts at a board blindfolded and hoping for the best. Get to know the person wanting to provide you with their product and/or service and make sure that you can establish a good relationship with them.

Reasonable pricing: Everyone's in business to make a living, and pricing will vary from company to company.  If you're just looking for the lowest price, you can probably expect other areas of what you're purchasing to be on the lower end of the scale as well; on the other end, a high price does not beget the best quality either. When buying big-ticket items that can sometimes be surrounded by some serious flashy marketing, make sure that the basics are still sound and the service is what you expect...nothing worse than spending extra money and still not getting what you want.

How does it feel?: This can be an important one. Trust your gut. If it feels right based on the above criteria, you're probably in good hands. If there's something bothering you about the process, step back. You want someone you can trust to do a good job for you, and you want to be comfortable with the whole process.

Of course, we here at Reynolds feel we score pretty high on the above list when it comes to kitchen design, but that's really up to you to decide. Pay us a visit, get to know us, what we do, and what we can offer you. You'll be glad you did.

 

Why Kitchen Designers Matter

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The word "Designer" means many things to many people. To some it's all about colour; to others, it's about space planning. Many think being a "designer' is being able to approach an environment with an effort to refine the feeling it portrays, whilst some know it's all about function...if it doesn't work, it doesn't matter how it looks.

After a couple decades of calling myself a kitchen designer, I've come to understand the importance of defining the roles of what a 'designer' does. Being a kitchen designer brings together all aspects of function and form. We need to define a space, make sure it functions correctly, make sure it's cost effective, and - of course - make sure it just 'feels right.' I've found that the best way to pull all of these tangents together into one coherent stream is by getting to know and understand the people we're designing for and having a vast array of experience to draw from to predict and solve those complicated issues before they happen.

It's far too often that I hear stories of clients approaching the 'big box stores' hoping for a panacea of renovation knowledge and experience, only to find that they're surrounded by a well-meaning order-takers. Most people just don't have the depth of knowledge or the years of experience required to pull all parts of a kitchen project together. Sure, they can produce drawings for you, or they can point you to the wall of door samples, but can they explain why a foil door is inexpensive, but often heat-unstable? Or will they be able to explain why a design will...or more importantly won't work based on past experience?

Luckily, we at Reynolds do this kind of thing on a daily basis, and we like to think we do it very well. 35 years in business can attest to that fact.

When it's time for you to make a decision on who will help you with the complex task of your kitchen project, make sure you give us a call and pay us a visit. You'll see why kitchen designers matter.

Counter Culture

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We use the horizontal surfaces in our kitchens and bathrooms in so many ways. Prepping and cleaning up meals, dropping groceries, eating meals, doing homework, and...of course...showing off to visitors.

Choosing a counter top that suits your specific needs can be a daunting task, but with a little bit of understanding you'll be able to choose your perfect material with ease.

The current darling of the industry is engineered quartz. The material is made combining a high percentage of quartz crystals with a bonding resin to create a very durable, often very uniform surface. If you're looking for a cool-to-the-touch, high gloss surface this is a great choice.

For something with a more natural look, stone is a great choice. Every piece is different and will be unique to your project, but are much more porous than a quartz surface. Granite and marble tops are sealed with a penetrating sealer to help mitigate spill issues, but over time you'll usually see some spots that will be darker than others. Marble is especially susceptible to acidic/bleaching damage (think orange juice or toothpaste) so is often not recommended for counters. Soapstone and quartzite fall into this category as well and have their own unique properties.

A long-time staple surface in the industry is plastic laminate. Manufactured by gluing together multiple layers of paper, with a coloured layer on top, then surfaced with a clear plastic coating, they're the least expensive and usually the most varied in styles. Seams are more prone to water damage, so keep the joints away from the kitchen sink if possible.

Reclaimed wood, concrete, recycled glass, Paperstone, and many other surfaces are used for countertops these days and they all have their own unique properties to take into consideration. If you're interested in understanding more about countertops, have a look at our Palette section of the website, or make an appointment to visit our showroom to have a look at one of the largest collections of countertop samples in the lower mainland.

Deadlines & Drop Deadlines

Fortunately, it's very rare that projects are significantly delayed.

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Planning a renovation around our ever-hectic lives is never easy; in fact, it can be downright stressful. We strive to do our work as quickly as possible for our clients, but sometimes things take a bit longer than expected. This can be due to contractors not quite being ready, extra work needing to be done, or just simply product delays.

We've found that to minimize any stress during the process of renovating, make sure a timeline is worked out well before hand and that if any special events are coming up that they are well after that deadline date.

Remember: hope for the best, plan for the worst.

A big 'drop-dead' date is coming up quite quickly: Christmas. We're well past the stage of ordering new products and having them ready for the holiday season, but we're also usually raring to go when the new year rolls around and a wide-open spring is ahead. Get started your planning now for a great low-stress project to begin 2014!

Also, make sure you check out our updated website: www.reynoldscabinetshop.com !

When 'natural' isn't quite good enough.

Structured surfaces

Structured surfaces

One of the great difficulties in creating cabinetry is deciding on which materials to use based on their durability.  As we often like to tell our clients, "Water is a slow, but extremely effective solvent." Kitchens and bathrooms, of course, are the main source of water in the house. What then should we choose to make sure that water will have as minimal an effect on our cabinetry?

If you're planning a more contemporary project, or at least something on the minimalist side of things, you'll probably be heading towards a flat (or slab) doorstyle. Often we use natural veneers such as a painted MDF door or a quarter-sawn oak or fir veneer. Alas, water will penetrate those surfaces given enough time.

Now we have the ability to use what's called a 'textured laminate' which gives the appearance and the feel of a real wood, but with the added effect of being highly durable towards water damage. With the latest in edge-banding technologies the edging of the door is melted directly onto the substrate eliminating glue lines and the possibility of a glue failure.

Stop by the showroom and have a look and feel of the textured materials and put your mind at ease when planning your next high use project.