Kitchen & Bath Design News
The use of cabinets in places other than the kitchen and bath is a huge and growing part of work done by kitchen and bath designers today. In fact, I'm aware of two design firms and one showroom in my "neighborhood" (the Northwest) that have shifted their focus and their marketing efforts to built-ins throughout the house.
Recently, I had the chance to talk at length about built-ins, and stock cabinets in particular, with a design friend who literally wrote the book on this. The friend is Connie Edwards, CKD, CBD, director of design for American Woodmark, and the book is Beautiful Built-Ins: Plans for Designing with Stock Cabinets, hot off the press from McGraw-Hill. While Connie's focus is stock cabinetry applications, my experience is that the design concepts that come out of stock applications can easily be used and expanded on with custom materials.
Several key factors have influenced the fast growth of cabinetry outside the kitchen and bath and, in fact, throughout the house. First, the open plan is a part of most new and remodeling projects today, and this calls for better coordination among adjacent spaces. The quality and variety available in many levels of cabinetry makes this an easy task.
With interest rates at an all-time low, that fact that built-in cabinetry can be rolled into a mortgage where furniture cannot is another positive. Specific-use rooms or spaces are well-served by built-ins, as is our never-ending need for storage and better organization. The ability to customize has always been a driving force in the creation of built-ins. A favorite of many, Frank Lloyd Wright considered every aspect of the interior to be integral to the architectural statement, and so designed many built-in features. In fact, he used built-ins for everything, down to the table and chairs in the dining room. Today, built-ins allow us to create furniture that precisely fits the client's needs and the home's personality.
Just as in the kitchen and bath, the design of built-ins is inspired first by our clients and their intended use of a space. When you take this concept outside the kitchen, the sky is the limit.
Many designers have, for a long time, been including special-purpose rooms like the laundry, the library or the great room. Today, these designs are expanding as the purposes for the space expand, and the list of additional specialty rooms or spaces is growing. Included in Beautiful Built-Ins is a home with a dozen rooms of built-in cabinetry outside the kitchen, including a computer area, a loft-library, a child's imagination room, a home office and an energy room.
While many things are similar between kitchens and baths and built-ins, a few differences are noteworthy. Differences in heights and proportions are a good place to start. For one thing, as a rule, standard cabinetry elevations in the kitchen total 84", 90" 96" above the furnished floor. Most "full-height" furniture pieces finish between 72" and 80", a significant change in proportion that has great impact on the finished piece.
The differences in heights and proportion continue to the heights of the computer or mid-way break in the piece. While the height of the horizontal break in a furniture piece is usually lower than the 36" kitchen standard, it varies widely according to its intended use. An entertainment center might be much lower to accommodate the television at the appropriate height for seated viewers, v=but a hutch might go higher to provide better storage and a visual barrier between the kitchen prep area and the adjoining spaces.
To create a furniture look with built-ins, the proportions common in furniture pieces will be the best guide, along with consideration of the ceiling height and proportions of the space the built-ins will occupy.
Whether antique, reproduction or newly introduced, furniture can be a great source of inspiration, copied in great detail or simply in spirit.
Another aspect of balance and proportion comes into play when built-ins involve stacked cabinetry. One common stack is short-over-long, similar to what you might see in a tall utility cabinet. Reverse the order of the stock to long-over-short and the utility cabinet takes on the appearance of an entertainment or china cabinet...
Along with attention to proportion, details are a critical element in the design of built-ins. Moldings are one of the easiest ways to achieve a richly detailed look on even a simple built-in. Particularly with stacked cabinetry, it's also worth noting that more is definitely not better. Rather, the most important factor influencing trims, moldings and details will be the quality of the installation.
As previously mentioned, the designs for some of our old favorite areas for built-ins have expanded along with their intended uses. The laundry, once consigned to the basement, is now commonly placed near the kitchen and/or near the bedrooms. Near the bedrooms, it often takes on the storage and space required for a morning kitchen or a snack/medicine station as well as linen and clean laundry storage. Near the kitchen, the laundry/mud room has expanded to become the family foyer, with individual lockers and organized spots for outgoing items. In some cases, this expansion includes a family activity center, a computer nook or space for leisure time activities like planting or potting.
The designs of some of the new special-use rooms are particularly fun to consider. Given our growing appreciation for the "itty bitty sacred ones," rooms for our children are a great opportunity, untapped until recently. This space may be the corner of a family or great room, or it may be a dedicated room. It may be part of a child's bedroom or an unused bedroom given over to a child's imagination room. It may be as little as toy storage and a "work" surface at child's height, or a window seat and nook with everything planned to a child's scale.
Because children grow constantly and rapidly, flexibility and adjustability should be part of good design of this space. Given the nature of the intended uses, a design focus including safety, rounded corners, sturdy materials and secure installations with plenty of storage will serve well.
Another new direction, the home spa is a personal favorite. In the newer designs of home with so much open or public space, this is the opportunity to create a private space that is truly a sanctuary, with the comforts and therapeutic influence of water.
Flex space adjacent to a master suite in new plans or redesign of an unused bedroom in remodeling can elevate an exercise room to new levels. Two features that I am seeing more often in high-end projects are the massage table and the lap pool. These certainly speak to the stress-relief needed to balance our frenetic schedules.
We have barely touched on the opportunities for the design of built-ins throughout the house. Computer stations, home offices, entertainment centers and home theaters are but a few of the directions we have not taken, and certainly, Beautiful Built-Ins offers a place to delve further. Hopefully, the ideas and lessons learned, as shared here, will give you new directions for spaces you frequently design, as well as some thoughts on spaces and purposes you haven't considered.
McGraw-Hill recently published Beautiful Built-Ins written by former area resident Connie Edwards, CKD, CBD (certified kitchen and bath designer). She is the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Worth Hammond of Columbus. Hammond was Warren County superintendent of highways in the 1960s. Connie is also the sister of the late Worth Hammond, Jr., of Miller Hill.
She practiced kitchen and bath design in the Corry, Warren and surrounding area before moving to Winchester Virginia in 1991 to accept a position as director of design for American Woodmark Corporation. American Woodmark is the third largest manufacturer of cabinetry in the United States.
Beautiful Built-Ins features 200 illustrated designs for every room in the home, all constructed from stock kitchen cabinetry. Stock cabinets are reasonably priced modular cabinets available in standard sizes and in a variety of the most popular woods and finishes. Anything from library walls to hutches and entertainment centers can be assembled from these pre-made modular units. Homeowners with some carpentry skills can assemble many of the units and others are more suited to professional installers. Also included in the book are many molding details, ways to adapt the designs to individual preferences and general installation tips.
Beautiful Built-Ins is richly illustrated and is an idea book for the homeowner as well as a source book for the remodeling and building professional. The book is available at local bookstores and online through Barnes & Noble (www.bn.com) and Amazon.com.
Connie Edwards has over 25 years of design experience. She is a popular speaker at national trade shows such as the International Builder Show and the Kitchen and Bath Industry show. She has appeared on HGTV and Good Morning America. Her design work is frequently pubished in consumer magazines throughout the country.
Former Corry resident, Connie Edwards, recently had a book published entitled Beautiful Built-Ins, which is an illustration planning guide on how to design any room in the home.
Edwards, who is a 1965 graduate of Corry Area High School, is a certified kitchen and bath designer with over 25 years of experience and has appeared on "HGTV" and "Good Morning America."
She spent most of her career in the Corry area before moving to Winchester, VA, in 1991 to accept a position as director of design for the third largest manufacturer of cabinetry in the United States.
Her book features over 200 designs all constructed from stock kitchen cabinetry. Homeowners with some carpentry skills can assemble many of the units and others are better left to professionals.
The book is available at local bookstores and online.
Edwards Writes Book About Built-Ins
American Woodmark's Director of Design may be well known in Cabinet Head circles, but she's about to be known throughout the world. Connie Edwards' book, Beautiful Built-Ins: Plans for Designing with Stock Cabinets, was published on August 9, 2002, and is available wherever books are sold including Amazon.com.
The 512-page book, with more than 750 illustrations, features all of the details, plans and ideas one needs to use stock kitchen cabinets to create beautiful and functional built-ins throughout the home. Some of her ideas include bedroom, bath and exercise areas; children's rooms; dining areas; libraries, offices and desks; craft rooms; entertainment centers; and utility areas.
...Edwards is a certified kitchen and bath designer with over 25 years of experience in the field, which is why the book is so comprehensive. According to publisher McGraw-Hill, Beautiful Built-Ins: Plans for Designing with Stock Cabinets is packed with plan details, striking room photography and installation tips. It also includes specifying and ordering materials and showing assembly information to make it easy and efficient. Edwards not only provides the functional "how to" information, she also provides the inspiration.
...Edwards spent 15 months of evenings and weekends working on the project followed by several more weeks proofreading the galleys and cover illustration. "The whole thing has been interesting. I really learned a lot about the publishing process and it is exciting to have the book completed," Edwards said.
The Winchester Star
Local Resident Publishes Book on Beautiful Built-Ins for the Home
Stock cabinets often used in kitchens have more decorative storage uses than most people realize.
That's why certified kitchen and bath designer Connie Edwards of Winchester wrote "Beautiful Built-Ins: Plans for Designing with Stock Cabinets."
Cabinets are used by builders in book shelves, entertainment centers, children's rooms, and home offices to give homeowners more storage space, but the novel idea got Edwards a first-time book deal with McGraw-Hill.
The photo on the cover features a (flower) potting room with built-in cabinets.
Edwards works full time as director of design for American Woodmark. It took her about 15 months to write the book in her spare time on evenings and weekends.
"Beautiful Built-Ins" is aimed at two people, Edwards said, homeowners who are "do-it-yourselfers" and those who will take the designs to carpenters and say "Let's do something like this."
Builders may also get designs from the book, she said.
It includes 200 different design ideas and lists necessary materials for each, plus tips and variations.
Edwards said the major advantage of using cabinets in designing a room is space.
"You can't buy furniture with this much storage in it," she said.
For people in the process of building homes, modular cabinetry for added storage can be included in the mortgage, Edwards said.
She doesn't recommend a particular brand or type of cabinet. "Some are actually in stock if you went into Home Depot or Lowe's," she said. "Most will be special ordered."
The advantage of special ordering cabinets is that they can be personalized with different wood and stains.
Edwards got her start in interior design working for a boutique company in Corry, Pa. for 15 years. Her collective experience totals 25 years.
She'd been thinking about writing a book for 12 or 13 years. When she approached two publishers with the idea for "Beautiful Built-Ins," both were interested.
She completed a book proposal outlining each chapter and illustrations. When she took the proposal to McGraw-Hill, it included 125 designs. They wanted 200, so Edwards complied.
The book is divided into categories like children's rooms and home offices; each includes about 20 designs.
"There's probably 15 to 18 different things you can do in a children's room," Edwards said.
An allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, Edwards is teaching a certificate class in kitchen and bath design at Lord Fairfax Community College.
She is a chairholder in the Color Marketing Group, a member of the Board of Trustees for The National Council of Housing Industry, and chairman of the manufacturers council of the National Kitchen and Bath Association.
"Beautiful Built-Ins" sells for $39.99 and will be available in most bookstores. Edwards said it is less expensive through some online dealers offering discounts.
Distinctive Country Kitchens
off the shelf
This informative book is the ultimate reference on using stock kitchen cabinets to create beautiful built-ins. Since most stock cabinetry comes assembled, the book carefully details the installation process and includes ways to adjust materials to job-site conditions. The plans offered can be re-drawn to scale or worked up with computer design software. There are cabinet specifications tools and materials lists, and ideas for variations to personalize the look. Whether you are a professional builder or do-it-yourself remodeler, this book has the necessary plan details, installation tips and creative ideas to make your cabinets a stylish and functional success.
Distinctive Kitchen Solutions
This informative book is the ultimate reference on using stock kitchen cabinets to create beautiful built-ins.
Since most stock cabinetry comes assembled, the book carefully details the installation process and includes ways to adjust materials to job-site conditions. The plans offered can be re-drawn to scale or worked up with computer design software. There are cabinet specifications, tools and materials lists, and ideas for variations to personalize the look. Whether you are a professional builder or a do-it-yourself remodeler, this book has the necessary plan details, installation tips and creative ideas to make your cabinets a stylish and functional success.
Written by certified kitchen and bath designer Connie Edwards, Beautiful Built-Ins is packed with valuable plan details, installation tips, and 750 illustratiosn, making it a valuable presentation tool.