Check out my building blog to learn more about construction for your home or office in Austin! David L. Traut, President, CAPS Certified (512)444-0097

Kitchen Remodel Ideas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 @ 15:11 PM

    Whether you're looking for a local residential construction contractor to accomplish a kitchen remodel or a construction professional to complete an entire gutting and remodel of your entire home including a home office transformation,  the final accenting finishes most likely will include the use of fine cabinetry. The choice between frameless European and Northern face frame cabinetry styles will highlight any design.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist  

     When the time finally arrives for remodeling an Austin kitchen,  there are many choices to be considered concerning the new kitchen cabinetry.  Frameless European full overlay style cabinets are a type of fine cabinetry having either a painted or stained wooden exterior or one with the exterior  totally covered on all exposed surfaces in plastic laminate per your choice of color, pattern, or manufacturer.  The laminated exterior application provides a much cleaner and more modern look for easier maintenance.  The doors and drawer fronts on all European cabinetry are flat having no crevices to conceal grease and grime and directly overlay the cabinet box. Each door is mounted on the inside of the box using fully concealed and adjustable two part hinges.  The frameless European style is represented only by the cabinet carcass or box, composed of the walls, bottom and top (if needed), and back without any face frame components yielding only a 3/4" outward appearance for all the stiles and rails.  This European style which eliminates the usual two inch face frame gives full access to any stored contents with more usable room.  These frameless cabinets limit the amount of exposed stile and rail surface area between the door and drawer faces.  The exposed cabinet area is normally limited to 1/8-3/16 of an inch.  This holds true between any two finished faces coming together presenting a half overlay situation on either a horizontal rail or vertical stile; hence, exhibiting the full overlay method.  This clearance is also typical at the juncture toward the outside walls beside the cabinets. One other characteristic of the European design lies in the adjustable shelving.  A series of 5mm holes are repeatedly drilled in 32mm increments (approximately 1 1/4") continuously at the front and back of all vertical cabinet pieces receiving shelves.  This configuration allows for shelf supports to be inserted to adjust the shelves.  In time, the shelf supporting "dogs" might wear out the holes and become loose causing the shelves to collapse.  The retro use of metal pilasters will remedy the problem.

     Following cabinet installation,  there is no room for the application of wall trim in the European method.   Spaces against the walls should be caulked in place to seal the carcass to the walls.  If the gap toward  the side walls is greater than 1/8 inch preventing a reasonable caulkable joint, a laminated filler must be constructed.  This new filler should be cut and sanded to fit the taper tightly filling the gap. As mentioned above, the narrow but typical gap from the side of the cabinets to the wall can and will be a problem when European style cabinets are specified for a remodel. 

     Don't forget that the 1/8th inch spacing rule means that no passage door or window trim can be any closer to the new cabinet faces than the cabinet drawers themselves are deep.  Any such trim will always be 1/2 inch or more in thickness thus impedes cabinet function.  By practicing this rule of thumb you will allow the drawers to fully extend. Cabinet doors will also have a clear swing radius and not be wedged against any perpendicular entry door trim.  If the above needed clearance from the cabinet faces to the door trim is nonexistent the entry doors themselves must be relocated.  This aspect will include any wiring for light switches or outlets and should be done by a qualified electrician.

     Kitchen remodel ideas in Austin, Texas like most other cities includes many of the same aspects.  Be sure to choose a local qualified remodeling contractor whose personality and qualifications are agreeable with you personally.  You are about to undertake a very important short term relationship in your life with someone you may know by reputation only.  The relationship needs to be comfortable and free flowing thus enabling the contractor's creativity level to be at it's highest during your remodeling project. Look at it as a partnership between your needs and the remodeling contractor's abilities.  This is not new construction and the use of the European cabinetry must be accomodated for.  His professional remodeling experience will include his capacity to identify many construction limitations and hazards.   These variables underlie the major pitfalls that can be avoided while enabling a remodeling design to come to reality.  His experience can also aid you in accomplishing remodeling upgrades that include dissability issues.  The job needs to flow between the various trades involved to produce a better final outcome.  This too is a reflection on his remodeling experience for which there is no substitute.

A Frameless European Kitchen Design

Frameless European kitchens in Austin, Texas

Kitchen Remodeling

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Fine Cabinetry in Austin, Texas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, May 04, 2010 @ 10:05 AM


     If you plan to remodel the ‘food production room’ in your home, then choosing your kitchen cabinets is probably going to be part of the plan. Not surprisingly, kitchen cabinetry is up for scrutiny in terms of the modernization tsunami changing home décor trends in recent times.

     Modern cabinets are breaking away from the ornate design found in traditional cabinet styling, rather reflecting minimal trends such as simple, clean design features. Streamlining and modernizing kitchen cabinetry works in tandem with other kitchen furnishings such as new-age countertops and complimentary backsplashes.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     To determine what style of kitchen cabinets are in your home you need to look  directly into their face beyond the doors.  Are they the face frame North American type or are they the European frameless version?  Fine cabinetry comes in many choices to suit your desires.

     The face frame North American type has long been a popular cabinet style.  It is characterized by the plywood cabinet box, or carcass, having a 3/4" thick hardwood front frame  application of 1 1/2"-2" widths.  These are present on both the vertical components, or stiles, and on the horizontals called rails.

     The frameless European style is just the carcass without any face frame yielding only a 3/4" outward appearance at the stiles and rails.  Both the frameless and the face frame styles use the same carcass body enabling the same European hinges, drawer guides, and cabinet legs to be used.

     The greatest difference is seen once the door or drawer fronts are mounted on fine cabinetry in Austin, Texas.  The European frameless type makes the adjacent door spacings smaller showing less of the stile beyond.  The framed units have more space between the door applications showing more of the stiles and rails beyond. 

    Frameless is a little less expensive to construct than the face frame style so that it really becomes a matter of personal preference and different styles can be mixed within the same house using one type in the kitchen and the other in the bath.

A Typical European Cabinet Design

Custom European Cabinetry in Austin, Texas

Typical Face Frame Look

Face frame cabinetry in Austin, Texas

Fine Cabinetry

     Typically bathroom vanities are 21" deep and approximately 29" tall. The depth is not a problem but most folks would prefer a universal design height of 34".  This height will work for your son or your father making the vanity more accessible to all.   Fine cabinetry is a must for any bathroom makeover.  As for the vanity, you can work your way down from the upgraded cabinet top that has been installed at the correct height for you.  The vanity should have adequately accessible storage satisfying your needs.  Incorporating  easy operating and properly sized drawers and pull out shelves within the design can be very beneficial.  Linen, medicine, and "over the potty" wall cabinets need to be well thought out. The correct species of wood used for the construction of your fine cabinetry and the style of you cabinet doors are two very important factors to consider.  Remember, you do have a choice and you are going to be looking at these new cabinets for a while.

     There are basically two styles of ADA vanities that comply with an unobstructed 27" tall roll under area below the sink.  ADA sinks with a rear drain location provide for better plumbing drain hook ups.  This modification has everything to do with both the water supply lines and the waste line connecting the sink.  There must be provisions made to protect the user from being scalded when coming into contact with any one of the plumbing pipes serving the sink.  These connecting pipes may become heated merely by the water passing through them creating the problem.  The open type model should always receive both waste and supply insulating jackets applied directly to the pipes providing protection for the wheelchair user.  The closed model concealing the pipes will be equipped with a removable face or face board covering the pipes.  This pipe concealing panel must be installed at the correct wheelchair user clearance angle.  This allows for the needed unobstructed legroom required for the  user.  The vanity can extend beyond the sink but the area containing the sink is required to have this roll under capability.  This section of the vanity top must not be any taller than 34 inches above the finished floor with sufficient lower leg clearance.  Clear unobstructed reach distances around the counter top area must be observed.  Any motion controlled sensors integrated into the various dispensing devices and/or plumbing fixtures throughout the restroom present a true hands free benefit to all the restroom users.  If these aren't in the budget then at least wrist handles used for controlling the faucet can be incorporated into the design of the vanity.  Furthermore, automatic flush valves should be used on all toilets and urinals that provide for hands free use.

Austin ADA Vanity

    A completely serviceable special needs bathroom must contain at least one ADA vanity and the accessible route must be defined.  The vanity must be one with a clear underneath scald protected area having an unobstructed roll under capability for wheelchairs.  These new residential vanities do not need to look institutional.  They can be designed like any other piece of fine furniture.  A five foot turning radius allowing the wheelchair to maneuver into any approach must also be associated with the ADA vanity.  A 36x48" clear approach area to the vanity must be observed and this can overlap the five foot turning radius.  The area of travel will then be enhanced by an unobstructed clear accessible barrier free route dedicated to reaching the vanity. 

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