Category Archives: Kitchens

Garbage Disposals: Do You Need One?

If you live in Grosse Pointe Woods, you do.

We just failed a city inspection in GPW because the homeowners did not want a garbage disposal in their newly remodeled kitchen. Since 99% of people DO want a garbage disposal, we had never run into this issue before today.

My first thought was “who doesn’t want a garbage disposal?” But after some researching online, I found out that there are many reasons to go sans-disposal.

Sending your food scraps back into the waste water is costly to the system, and the grease from food causes plumbing problems in your home. But throwing away your food scraps and sending them to the landfill causes an increase in methane gas emittance which is harmful to the environment. The greenest way to dispose of food scraps is to compost them, and return the nutrient-rich results back into the soil.

After living for years without a dishwasher or a garbage disposal, I felt like a queen when I moved into my new house with both of these amenities. But I found myself overdoing it. I put such filthy dishes in the dishwasher that food scraps collected in the bottom and started to rot and smell. I shoved 12 jars full of homemade pickles (a failed experiment…I was trying to hide the evidence) down the garbage disposal at once, and broke it.

My advice would be to keep the garbage disposal, for convenience, for those times when you need it, but not to over-do it. In some cities, you have no choice. But if you don’t have one, don’t worry about it; you’re not missing out on much. Then, start a compost bin and turn your waste into nutritious food for the earth!

The A-Z Glossary of Home Remodeling Terms

Abatement
The encapsulation or removal of building materials containing pollutants (such as lead or asbestos) to prevent the release of or exposure to fibers.

Acclimation
The adjustment to changes in the climate or environment. Some materials may need time to acclimate before they are positioned in a kitchen or bath.

Accessories
Additional cabinetry items such as overlays, moldings, etc to enhance the appearance and quality of a project. Also includes towel bars, soap dishes, hardware, etc.

Apron
Trim attached below a tabletop or window sill

Backsplash
1)The portion of the exposed area between the bottom of the wall cabinets and the top of the countertop. 2) Also, an elevated section of counter material approximately 4″ high typically part of the countertop. Backsplashes are necessary to prevent water from seeping into the seam between the counter and drywall.

Banquette
A built-in table with chairs in an alcove.

Barn door
Hardware that allows the door to slide along a wall. Useful when a pocket door is too costly or not possible.

Base cabinets
Cabinetry used on the floor to provide countertop support and typically is 34 ½ inches tall and 24 inches deep.

Bearing wall
A wall designed and placed in a position to hold more of a load above it. Usually around the perimeter of a house and in strategic locations to support floor, ceiling, and roof beams.

Casing
An enclosed frame around a door or window opening. Also called trim.

CFM
Cubic feet per minute; used as a measure of the amount of air a fan can move

Chair rail
A trim piece that runs horizontally on a wall at the height of a chair back and is used to make the transition between a wainscot and upper wall. Originally used to prevent damage to a wall from the backs of chairs.

Crown Molding
Crown molding encapsulates a large family of moldings which are designed to gracefully flare out to a finished top edge. Crown molding is generally used for capping walls, pilasters, and cabinets, and is used extensively in the creation of interior and exterior cornice assemblies and door and window hoods.

In recent times, crown moldings have generally made their appearance as mostly decorated plaster or wooden trim where walls meet ceilings.

Clearance space
The space required for a safe and clear use of an appliance, cabinet doors and safe passage.

Color temperature
The color of the lamp itself as compared to the color of a black reference substance when heated to various temperatures Kelvin, and the effect the lamp color has on the color of an object being illuminated by it. Or an index of how the light source itself looks to us, measured in degrees Kelvin (K).

Compact fluorescent (CFL)
A type of fluorescent lamp with the fluorescent tube coiled into a compact shape in a size similar to an incandescent bulb.

Compartmentalized bathroom
A bathroom where individual activities, like toileting or showering, are separated by walls into individual compartments.

Concealed hinge
A hinge that is attached to the door and the inside end panel or stile of a cabinet, making it not visible from the exterior of the cabinet

Construction plan
A drawing that shows both the existing conditions of the structure and the changes to be made to achieve the design

Dormer
A structure built atop a roof to increase the usable space below or to contain windows. A window set vertically in a structure projecting through a sloping roof

Energy efficiency
Ratio of energy output of a conversion process or of a system to its energy input.

Farmhouse Sink
A deep sink that has a finished front. Set onto a countertop, the finished front of the sink remains exposed. This style of sink requires very little “reach-over” to access the sink.

Gable Vent
Vent openings mounted in the top of a gable of a house to allow the exchange of air in the attic.

Grab bars
Safety bars installed in bathtubs and showers to prevent falls. A device, usually installed on a wall, that provide support while rising from, sitting in, entering, or exiting a bathtub or shower.

HVAC
Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning.

I.L.T. (Integral Light Technology) Grilles
Grilles are permanently bonded to the inside and outside of your window glass. Nonglare foam spacer in between the grilles casts a realistic shadow like individual windowpanes would. Creates the most authentic look of true-divided-light windows.

Island
An area of cabinets and countertops which can be accessed and walked around from all sides. Considered free standing.

Laminate
Any thin material such as wood or plastic glued to the exterior of a cabinet, countertop or other surface.

Lazy Susan
A corner cabinet on which the shelves are mounted on a vertical axle such that items may be retrieved by pushing on the shelves to turn them may also be called a lazy Susan. This type is usually found in kitchens. Closed, this type of lazy Susan appears to be two normal cabinets at right angles to each other. When pushed on, the cabinet “doors” reveal the shelves, which are circular except for the ninety degree cutout where the doors are mounted.

Lead time
The time between when a product or item is purchased to the actual delivery date.

Linoleum
An all natural flooring material made of linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, tree resins, ground limestone, and pigments; regarded as environmentally friendly flooring.

Low-E (Low Emissive)
Glass that reflect heat, not light, and therefore keeps spaces warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Molding
An embellishment in strip form, made of wood or other structural material, that is used to decorate or finish a surface, such as the wall of a room or around a door or window

Muntin
A small vertical or horizontal strip that divides window panes from each other.

Oil-Rubbed Bronze
The Oil Rubbed Bronze finish is a chemically darkened surface designed to simulate aged bronze. This finish is very dark and varies from a deep chocolate brown to a dark gray and usually has copper undertones.

Particle Board
A panel product made from sawdust or wood particles, bonded with a resin under high heat and pressure.

Partition Wall
A wall that separates rooms, or divides a room. Partition walls are usually not load-bearing. Partition walls are constructed of many materials, including steel panels, bricks, blocks of clay, terra-cotta, concrete, or glass blocks.

Pedestal sink
A free-standing fixture with a wide top and narrow base that conceals the plumbing.

Pendant
A lighting fixture hung from the ceiling containing one or more lamps.

Peninsula
An area of cabinets or counter fastened on one side which can be accessed and walk up to on three sides.

Picture Rail
A horizontal trim piece installed high up on a wall as a means of hanging pictures without puncturing the wall with nails or brads.

Pocket door
A door that slides horizontally on a track and is typically moved inside a wall for storage.

Powder room
A small bathroom for guest near the public areas of the home. Consists of a sink and toilet.

R&R
Remove and Replace. A term describing simple remodeling project that involves removing and replacing cabinetry, fixtures and appliances without structural or mechanical changes.

Radiant Heating
An efficient heating system that warms cold objects, which then radiate heat into the surrounding space evenly.

R-Value
A measure of the thermal resistance of material, especially insulation.

Sconce
A light fixture that is fixed to a wall.

Scope
The sum of the products and services to be provided as a project.

Sheetrock™
A brand of drywall that is itself often used as a term for drywall.

Sight lines
The range or visual field in direct line with a person’s eyes, impacted by the position a person will be in when the space or product is being used. This is useful in planning heights of fixtures, fittings, lighting, windows, and more.

Sill
The portion of the door or window assembly at the bottom or floor, including the fixed and movable parts of the window or door and the fixed portion of the building into which the window or door mounts.

Site Plan (Mortgage Survey)
A drawing prepared to scale showing the placement of a proposed building(s), location of existing structures, and other lot development features — setback measurements, driveways, fencing, landscaping.

Soaking tub
Extra deep tub that allows the user to submerge to their neck.

Soffit
A lowered portion of a ceiling. The horizontal surface below the eave. A porch roof. The under surface of a lowered portion of the ceiling. A “bulkhead” in Canada. An enclosed area used to fill a space between the tops of the wall cabinets and the ceiling.

Solid Surfacing
A class of rigid surfacing materials made of acrylic and/or polyester resins mixed with alumina tryhydrate.

Studs
Framing members of the wall, usually 2x4s or 2x6s which the cabinets are fastened to.

Subcontractors
Contractors who will work specifically for another contractor or design firm

Sub-flooring
The flooring applied directly to the floor joist on top of which the finished floor rests.

Task lighting
Added lighting for specific tasks, like grooming, dressing, reading, etc. Lighting focused on an work area.

Toe kick
An indented space in cabinetry near the floor to accommodate the feet while standing next to a cabinetry.

Tongue and Groove
A method of fitting similar objects together, edge to edge, used mainly with wood, in flooring, parquetry, panelling, and similar constructions. Tongue and groove joints allow two flat pieces to be joined strongly together to make a single flat surface. Each piece has a slot (the groove) cut all along one edge, and a thin, deep ridge (the tongue) on the opposite edge. The tongue projects a little less than the depth of the groove. Two or more pieces thus fit together closely. The joint is not normally glued, as shrinkage would then pull the tongue off.

Traffic Patterns
The normal walkway or passage a person would go from one place to another.

Transom
A horizontal window set above a door or other windows.

Underlayment
A material placed over the subfloor plywood sheeting and under the finish covering to provide a smooth, even surface. A non-structural sheet material installed on a subfloor to provide a stable, level and smooth base for the floorcovering.

Updraft ventilation systems
A kitchen ventilation system that includes a hood over a cooking surface to capture the air borne by-products of cooking and a fan to pull air up; captured air is either exhausted to the outside or filtered and re-circulated into the room, depending on the system

Vanity
Bathroom cabinet with the sink on top.

Vapor Barrier
Any material used for damp proofing, typically a plastic or foil sheet, that resists diffusion of moisture through wall, ceiling and floor assemblies of buildings to prevent interstitial condensation.

Vessel sink
A sink bowl or basin that sits on top of the counter or ledge.

Wainscoting
An application of wood paneling up to the middle or lower half of a wall

Work Triangle
The distance between the three primary work centers (cooking surface, clean-up/prep primary sink, and refrigeration). Ideally between 12 and 26 feet in total length.

Source: Many of these definitions were obtained from the NKBA.

The Benefits of Visiting Our Showroom

The majority of our potential clients will initiate their contact with us by sending an email or calling us on the phone, and requesting a free in-home consultation. While we in no way discourage this, I would humbly suggest that the better route to take would be to first stop by our Showroom. We are open from 8:30 to 5:30 Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 to 3:00 on Saturday, which should accommodate almost any schedule.

The reason I see it most beneficial to visit our Showroom before making an in-home consultation appointment is, by visiting, you will have the opportunity to meet with multiple members of our staff, from design, to pricing, to production. Even potentially the installers who will be working on your job, the bookkeeper who can answer any questions related to financing, and the marketing team who will gift you with a promotional item or two! We might be having an employee’s birthday party and invite you in for a slice of ice cream cake. You will have an inside view into our company culture instead of one stranger appearing on your doorstep.

Sometimes a walk-in client will be greeted by one of our designers, begin a discussion about their project, and come to a technical question that that individual is not an expert on. We can easily grab the nearby expert, and answer your question for you right there. Have a question about how long your project will take to start? Ask our production department, who know their schedules better than anyone. You can even meet the owner and shake his hand. I think you are beginning to get my point.

Additionally, we have thousands of product samples here that will inspire you. You will have a much better direction of which samples you would like brought out to your home during the in-home consultation. You can even borrow some to take home with you!

I would sincerely suggest visiting us here, developing a rapport with a design consultant, and then making an appointment for him/her to meet with you at your home to proceed further. By visiting us you will have a much clearer picture of whether or not our company is a good fit for you. Call 596-777-6633 to make an appointment to come visit, or walk-ins are always welcome!

Why Can’t My Remodeling Project Be Done Sooner?

On 90% of our jobs, the customer makes changes to the scope during the install. This causes major problems with timing of manpower, scheduling of subcontractors, and ordering of materials. Every time an additional cabinet piece is needed, it adds 4 weeks to the job. Every time 1 or more pieces of tile are needed, it adds 3 – 30 days to the job. Granite and quartz tops take 10 days to make and install (after the cabinets are set).

If customers could make up their mind early, and make no changes, the jobs would go fast and efficiently. But that isn’t reality. And that’s okay! We want the finished project to be exactly right, so we don’t mind taking extra time to order the accent tile piece that came to you in your dream last night.

Additionally, there are inspections that cause delays. Almost all municipalities have gone to part time inspectors, so there will be gaps in the work while we wait for the inspections to take place. For example, we may call for an electrical inspection on Tuesday, but not get it until Friday or Monday, depending on the inspector’s backlog and or vacations / training / government holidays, etc. Unfortunately, virtually none of the municipalities are interested in making it easier for contractors to speed things up for the homeowners.

So, if you want things to go fast, then no changes and no permits – BAM… DONE.

Sink Options for Your Kitchen or Bathroom

Earlier this month, an article was published in the C&G Newspapers about everyone’s favourite basin, the sink! Several contractors were interviewed for the article, including our own Alan Seeley. Read the article here:

An undermount sink commonly is found in the kitchen and helps with food preparation, as everything may be wiped from the counter directly into the sink without getting caught in the sink lip. (Photo by Patricia O’Blenes)

METRO DETROIT — It may not be the sexiest topic when discussing a kitchen or bathroom remodel, but sinks have come a long way from function to fabulous.

Gone are the days when a divided sink was necessary. Multiple local experts agree that bigger is better when choosing a kitchen basin.

“It was primarily you would wash your dishes in one side and rinse them in the other,” said Alan Seeley, general manager of Kopke Remodeling & Design. “But because everybody has a dishwasher and garbage disposal underneath it now, they are getting away from the double bowl and going towards the bigger bowl now.”

Seeley said the biggest trend in the kitchen is a farmhouse-style sink…

Read the entire article on the C&G News Website

Design the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen with These Simple Tips


Everyone loves to BBQ, so it’s no surprise that the next trend in outdoor cooking is the outdoor kitchen. An outdoor kitchen can improve the value of your home in every possible way – it’s great for entertaining, it’s a joy for the enthusiastic cook and, of course, it will increase the monetary value of your property. If you’re thinking about building one, be sure to keep a few things in mind throughout the process.

Don’t be Afraid to Enlist a Professional

People make entire careers of professional kitchen design, and the design of an outdoor kitchen can be very difficult to bring together. Bringing a professional designer into the project all but ensures that you’ll end up with exactly what you’ve envisioned while helping to avoid potential design and maintenance problems down the road.

That said, it doesn’t hurt to have a vision before hiring a professional. It won’t be easy to help you build the outdoor kitchen of your dreams if you haven’t yet established just what those dreams are. Here are a few things to consider as you put together plans.

What’s on the Menu?

Outdoor kitchens are becoming as well-equipped as they are trendy. While the typical space will consist of simple prep, grill and dining areas, new outdoor kitchens can match their full-size indoor counterparts in terms of size and capability. When you’re designing your outdoor kitchen, you’ll need to consider your goals.

An outdoor kitchen that’s made for fun family nights can be designed feel and function much differently from one that’s made for entertaining large groups of clients and colleagues. This is the aspect of design that will bring your budget in line with your needs, helping to define the look and feel of the end product.

Location, Location, Location

The ideal location for an outdoor kitchen is as close to the indoor kitchen as possible. Not only does this provide access to existing gas and electrical connections, but it also makes it easy to utilize additional storage space and seating areas if necessary. This proximity is especially important if you plan to grill outdoors while monitoring the food cooking inside.

There are plenty of other things to consider as well. Don’t forget that the smoke from your grill will generally blow downwind of your location. You’d do best to avoid placing it in a position that could potentially blow smoke indoors – or worse, into your neighbours’ homes.

Environment and Ambience

You’ll want to make sure that your outdoor cooking and dining areas are comfortable, so shade is another vital consideration. If you’re connecting the outdoor kitchen to your home, you can extend an eve or awning to protect your cooking and dining areas from the sun. You can also make use of the natural, cooling shade provided by trees, a shade trellis or a built-in umbrella.

When the sun finally sets, lighting is of the utmost concern. It is, of course, crucial that your cooking area have sufficient lighting to perform your grilling duties effectively. At the same time, ambient lighting in the dining area will provide you and your guests with a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. Careful planning can help you ensure that the lighting of each area is effective and appropriate.

Pick the Proper Materials

Choosing the proper materials for your outdoor kitchen can be difficult. You want it to look its best no matter the weather, but it’s also got to stand up to spills, stains and cleaning.

Natural stone countertops look great, but they’re subject to a wide range of contaminants so you’ll need to seal them regularly. Granite countertops are another good option, but they’ll lose their colour and gloss if they don’t contain a UV stabilizer.

Tile countertops are subject to cracks if they’re used in regions that must endure frequent thawing and freezing. Wherever you live, you’ll also want to stay away from porous materials like limestone – while it may do well with the proper treatment and care indoors, it’s not an ideal material to use in your outdoor countertops.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that your outdoor kitchen is made for entertainment. Whether it’s a family BBQ or an upscale dinner, you’re building it as a place in which people can sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of contemporary life and outdoor living. As long as you keep this in mind, you’ll love the kitchen you create.