How to Plan for a Microwave in a Kitchen Remodel

 Blog, Cooking, Remodeling, Specials  Comments Off on How to Plan for a Microwave in a Kitchen Remodel
Sep 082011

By Kristan Hart

For years, you’ve managed to get by with your microwave sitting on your countertop. Now that it’s time for a kitchen remodel, you can get that microwave off your countertop and into a designated space. You’ll have more space for food preparation and a more attractive kitchen.
Here are some tips to remember:

  1. Determine your microwave type. Full-sized models can prepare more food; compact models help save space, but don’t cook as efficiently.
  2. Consider who will use your microwave. If it’s you and your spouse, anywhere in the kitchen is fine. But if you want your kids to have access, it may not be a good idea to install the microwave over the stove.
  3. Place the microwave away from your cook top. Design your new kitchen so you can have open counter space next to your cook top; place your microwave preferably near the refrigerator.
  4. Place your microwave at eye level when you install it over your cook top. Be aware that you’ll need to run a vent outside the kitchen for the microwave.
  5. Replace your double wall oven with a microwave double wall oven. You’ll still be able to access the doors outside the cabinetry. Typically, the microwave sits on top of the oven.

Do you feel like there are too many choices and designing your kitchen seems like an overwhelming task? Consider working with a professional like Betty Nairn a Certified Kitchen Designer at Cabinet-S-Top (1977 Medina Road, Medina – 330-239-3630). To help you save money Cabinet-S-Top is offering a FREE over the range microwave with a $10,000 kitchen remodel. Act now, offer ends September 30, 2011.

Betty Nairn

Company: Cabinet-S-top, Certified Kitchen Designer, GM
Phone: 330.239.3630

 Posted by at 10:36 pm

How to Choose the Perfect Countertop for your Family

 Remodeling  Comments Off on How to Choose the Perfect Countertop for your Family
Jun 142011

Your kitchen is the heart of the home and how it performs and how it looks are the most important factors to most families. The countertop material you choose will be based on your budget, your style preference and how durable it is for your lifestyle. When considering countertop materials do your research ahead of time. While some are more beautiful than others, some have to be maintained to keep their beauty and durability. Read on to see how to choose the perfect countertop for your family and lifestyle.

  • Assess your family and lifestyle: For busy families on the go the wear and tear of everyday life can take a beating on countertop surfaces. If your family only uses the kitchen occasionally, higher end granite may be perfect. If you are constantly cooking, the kids are using the countertop for science projects, and you don’t want to keep up with maintenance a low cost plastic laminate countertop may be a better choice.
  • Durability & Price: When choosing a countertop, you should consider the durability before the price. Just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean it will hold up in your home. Here are tips for durability

o Plastic Laminate: Durable for moderate wear, comes in a multitude of colors, low end in price, can chip at the edges and should not be directly cut on.

o Solid Surface: Man made material with color throughout, scratches easily but can be buffed or polished out by professional. Mid range price and has a wide range of colors.

o Butcher Block: Wood product, best used for islands away from water sources/sinks. Medium durability – can absorb stains because wood is porous. Color is chosen by different wood stains, moderate to high in price.

o Tile: Durable if taken care of properly. Porcelain tiles can chip, crack or break if items are dropped on the counter. Grouting can also chip and discolor. Price is based on how expensive the individual tiles are. Can get expensive with hand painted and imported tile.

o Granite: Very durable because it is stone. Since it’s porous it will need to be sealed periodically. Granite is in the high price bracket.

o Concrete: Very durable although it is possible to crack. It can be molded into shapes and stained different colors. It too, should be sealed and is in the medium range price bracket.

o Heat resistance: One of the considerations when choosing a countertop material is the heat resistance when you are cooking. You should not put hot pans directly on countertops. Using a trivet between the pan and the countertop surface is a good idea. Natural stone materials and concrete can endure heat better than plastic laminate which can leave a scorch mark. Ceramic tile countertops can take heat, but may crack due to rapid temperature changes. To be certain, do not place heated pans on countertops. Stainless steel is one of the few countertops that can endure heat.

Choosing a kitchen countertop should be considered thoroughly. Lifestyle, budget and durability are the main determining factors. At Cabinet-S-Top we can help guide you on the different materials and countertop varieties on the market. Just stop by our showroom at 1977 Medina Road, Medina (330-239-3630) and let our designers help you select the countertop that is right for your family.

Kitchen Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

 Remodeling  Comments Off on Kitchen Cabinet Knobs and Pulls
Apr 142011

Kitchen Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

Courtesy of

Kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls may seem like just mundane hardware, whose sole purpose is to provide a means for opening and closing the cupboards. But they don’t have to be just that. With hundreds of styles available you can dress up your kitchen cabinets any way you choose.

Choosing them however is probably the toughest job because there are so many choices available.

We can’t choose them for you, but we can help by pointing out some considerations before you choose (yes, they’re simple items but there are some things you might not have thought of when it comes to choosing cabinet knobs).

Knobs And Pulls – Lots Of Variety And Not Just For New Cabinets

The choices for kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls are as numerous as snowflakes in a blizzard. Their styles are just as varied too. And despite their sometimes diminutive size relative to the rest of the cabinets, they really can ‘make or break’ a cabinet’s look.

Buying new knobs and pulls can be an inexpensive way to upgrade the look of your existing cabinets. You might even want to replace your cabinet doors which, when combined with new knobs and pulls, could achieve a refreshing kitchen upgrade at a fraction of the cost and time associated with a full remodel.

Some Practical Considerations To Think About First

Often it’s easy to get swept up in the process of choosing the knobs and pulls for your kitchen cabinets, particularly with all the style choices available. What gets overlooked are some of the more practical considerations that go along with those choices.

Before you make any final decisions on which cabinet knobs and pulls to buy consider the following points. They may help you refine your ultimate choice.

1.  Knobs vs. Pulls – Cabinet knobs are harder to grasp and pull than cabinet pulls (handles). That’s because they utilize finger strength to ‘clutch’ the knob in order to pull it. Cabinet pulls are easier to open because they allow for the hand or most of the fingers to grasp the handle. This may be important for people who have difficulty using their fingers and hands such as arthritics, disabled or elderly people.

2. The Feel Is Important – How a knob or pull feels in your hand is important — you’ll be using some of them numerous times a day, everyday. Those interesting starfish knobs may look nice but they can also feel awkward. Make a point to actually feel the knobs and pulls you’re considering. You’d be surprised by the number of knobs that look benign that turn out to feel uncomfortable every time you grasp them.

This turtle-shaped cabinet knob adds an interesting look but it’s feet poke your fingers every time you grasp it to open the cupboard door.  


3.  Knobs/Pulls That Catch Clothing – Cabinet knobs, depending on style and shape, can catch on clothing such as pockets and pleats on waist-high and lower cabinets. The same applies to handles that have extensions. Fuller, round knobs are less likely to snag clothing than knobs with flatter faces or irregular shapes.

  Notice how the ends of this cabinet pull extend out beyond the posts that attach it to the cabinet drawer. These “free ends” are what tend to catch in pants pockets and other parts of clothing.


4.  Drop Handles – Drop handles are cabinet pulls that hang or dangle vertically from a small hook or loop. They require you to pick them up to the horizontal position in order to pull a cabinet drawer open. If you’re thinking of this style, consider the finger-lift motion you’ll have to do each time in order to pull them up to open the drawer. It may be annoying for some.

Size Matters – The size of the knob or pull makes a difference depending on the size of the door or drawer they’re attached to and how easy it is to open. The smaller the knob and the larger or ‘stickier’ the door/drawer is to open, the harder you’ll have to grasp and pull on that small knob. New cabinets usually have easy-open doors and drawers but some, including older cabinets (if you’re just replacing knobs) use mechanical or magnetic “catches” to keep the door closed. They offer more resistance to opening and require more strength when using a small knob.

  This knob doesn’t have much surface area to grasp (notice how much of the fingers are still exposed) therefore making it harder to grasp and pull. These types of knobs don’t “mushroom out” very much and have a wide mounting post making for a minimal grasping surface.

5.  Short vs. Tall – “Shorter” knobs and pulls (the distance between the surface of the cabinet and the grasping part of the knob or pull) make your fingers contact the cabinet more than taller ones. Over time that will tend to wear on the cabinet finish. Darker cabinet finishes will tend to lighten as the finish wears around the knob and lighter finishes will darken from dirt.

The cabinet finish around this knob has worn off revealing the lighter wood color underneath the stain. Preventing your fingers from touching the cabinet surface may not be completely unavoidable but taller knobs or using pulls (handles) will help.  


 6.  Get Samples – Get samples, both to see how they’ll look on your cabinets as well as to make sure they’ll feel right (see #2 above). You typically have to pay for the samples.

7.  Buy More Than You Need – Yes, cabinet knobs and pulls can be expensive but it may be good insurance down the road. Styles come and go and if you ever break or damage a knob or pull you’ll be able to replace it. If the style line is no longer in production however, you’re forced to find a close match (which is possible, depending on style), living with an odd-ball, or replacing all the knobs. Granted, it’s not often that knobs and pulls break but buying one or two extras might be beneficial.

8. Consider 2 Pulls On Long Drawers – Using two average-sized pulls instead of one on a long drawer (for example, a drawer >30″ long) may provide better visual balance even though you only need one to actually open the drawer. A pull with a 3″ center-to-center dimension may look dwarfed by the drawer. You could use longer pulls, such as an 18″ handle but depending on style, you might reduce cost by going with two smaller handles instead.

9.  Crooked Knobs – Square, triangular or irregularly-shaped cabinet knobs have a tendency to ‘go crooked’ whereas round ones don’t. If the knob loosens a bit, which does happen occasionally, it can rotate slightly, putting it out of line with adjacent knobs. It’s easily fixed but it’s something to consider if you’re a stickler on visual details.

10. Understand The Finish – Finishes on knobs and pulls may wear and change over time, depending on the material used. Oil rubbed bronze will wear and reveal a different color in the wear areas. Brass will tarnish if it’s not protected with a lacquer or periodically polished.

11. Knobs/Pull Get Dirty – Remember that kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls are prone to getting dirty over time. Grease spatters, dirty hands and spilled food stuffs all contribute to a buildup over time. Knobs or handles with intricate designs may be difficult to clean.

So whether you’re installing new cabinets or just looking for a way to freshen up your kitchen or bath, we can help you select the right hardware.  At Cabinet-S-Top, we have a large selection of pulls and knobs to choose from; so stop by our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina (Rt. 18) and let us help you put some bling on your cabinets this spring.

Betty Nairn

Company: Cabinet-S-top, Certified Kitchen Designer, GM
Phone: 330.239.3630


 Remodeling, Uncategorized  Comments Off on WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN SHOPPING FOR NEW FLOORS
Mar 102011

Courtesy of


The decision to update floors in a home is a decision that many consumers make each year.  Whether their current floors are outdated or the homeowners are just ready for a change, each year millions of people hit the home improvement and flooring stores in search of the perfect product for their homes.   

There are many factors to consider when you’re in the market for new floors.  One of the most important things to remember is that finding the right flooring material to meet your needs is vital if you want to be happy with the finished product.  While there are many different types of floors available to you, not all materials are going to provide you with what you’re looking for.   


Here are a few things to consider when you are shopping around for the perfect flooring product.

Tip One: If you have kids, look for kid friendly floors

If you have young children in your home, it is important to remember that, although they are adorable, they are going to make messes – and lots of them.  But just because you know your little angels are going to wreak havoc on your home doesn’t mean you can’t have the floors you really want.  There are many kid safe flooring materials out there that you can choose from.  

If carpet is at the top of your list (which is a great flooring choice to have in kids’ rooms since the majority of their play time is spent on the floor) look for a durable carpet that cleans easily.  Stainmaster carpets have always done well and are great for small children.   

If you would rather have wood floors but are afraid of the maintenance and possible damage from your kids spilling liquids, wood laminate floors may be the perfect alternative.  Laminate is available in many different colors and wood looks.  It is easy to maintain and a breeze to clean.

If carpet and wood or wood laminate don’t seem like the right choice for your home, there are other materials available that work well with kids, including tile, vinyl and eco-friendly options like concrete and cork.  Tile is great for clean-ups and is fairly durable.  Although concrete can definitely jazz up a space and is extremely durable, it is obviously very hard and may not be a great choice if you have small children who tend to play a lot in the house.

Tip Two: Do your homework   

Make a list of what you want in flooring materials and look for the best match.  New flooring options are emerging everyday and unconventional flooring products are becoming more and more popular in homes and businesses.  Find out what your options are before you make a blind choice.  If you are well informed, you will be much happier with your overall finished product.

Tip Three: Beware of maintenance   

If you aren’t the kind of person who likes to clean or who likes to maintain things, there are certain flooring products you just aren’t going to like.  Keep in mind that all floors require some type of maintenance, whether it is regular cleaning or sealing, but some floors require more treatment than others.  When you are researching flooring choices, be sure to look up what is required to maintain the floors once they are installed. 

Choosing the right flooring for you is what is most important.  Stop by our showroom and let Cabinet-S-Top help you make the right selection for your home and family.  We are located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina ~ 330.239.3630. 

Betty Nairn
Certified Kitchen Designer, GM
Cabinet-S-top – Fairlawn Team
Work Phone: work330.239.3630

Modern Kitchen Trends for 2011

 Remodeling  Comments Off on Modern Kitchen Trends for 2011
Feb 072011

Modern Kitchen Trends for 2011

Courtesy of Modern Luxury of Interior Designs

Discover the hottest kitchen trends for 2011 that you will want to include in your kitchen remodeling project:

1. The kitchen is the new family room
More and more, the kitchen is transforming into a room in which families gather, cook and entertain. Many homeowners are adding sitting areas and entertainment centers with TVs and stereos. Other ideas include adding built-in desks and bookshelves, or opening the kitchen to the family room to create one large open area.

2. Environmental Products
In 2011 look for more products that are produced from green or recycled materials. Going green means using natural materials such as wood, bamboo and cork, low volatile organic substances, faucets that conserve water and more energy efficient appliances. This not only improves the atmosphere at home, but also plays a role in the conservation of nature.

3. Integrated appliances
Refrigerators tend to increase in size, but new technologies make them virtually invisible, building them into walls or niches. The same applies to other similar kitchen appliances such as stoves, dishwashers, and washing machines. This saves space and the interior design does not look gaudy.

4. White kitchen cabinets
Beautiful and timeless, white kitchen cabinets are an excellent choice for the kitchen interior. This allows flexibility to combine great color with different shades of furniture and various architectural styles of the room. The white color makes the room light and spacious, and you can safely add a brighter color on the walls.

5. Stainless steel appliances
Stainless steel appliances not only look stylish and sophisticated, but also give the room a unified look. Silver clean lines give a more luxurious look to refrigerators, stoves and even rubbish bins.

6. New Technology
New technologies make people want more modern and more functional things for your home. The main trend in this direction is embedded electronic devices and wireless systems.

7. Multilevel kitchen lighting
Lighting in a room can set the mood and affect the overall atmosphere of the kitchen. Embedded fixtures create soft lighting while wall lights can be used for lighting specific areas. Lighting that is mounted under the upper kitchen cabinets or inside them is both functional and frugal. The trend is to use LED lights which are environmentally friendly and economic.

For assistance in incorporating these new trends into your kitchen remodeling project, contact Betty Nairn, Certified Kitchen Designer at Cabinet-S-Top, 1977 Medina Road, Medina – 330-239.3630 or

Betty Nairn
Certified Kitchen Designer, GM
Cabinet-S-top – Fairlawn Team
Work Phone: work330.239.3630