Posts Tagged With: kitchen cabinets

Quick! What’s Trending in Kitchens for 2013? Here are is our top 4 likes for the first half of the year!

Kitchen Trends 2013

Quick! What’s Trending in Kitchens for 2013? Here are is our top 4 likes for the first half of the year!

New Colors: Kitchens are once again breaking tradition and continue to move away from the long standing wood based colors, such as Cherry and Traditional Browns. Although Espresso colors remain extremely popular, many of the younger homeowners seem to be gradually trending towards cutting edge high gloss finishes in whites, reds, greens and other unusual designs and patterns. Color combos in also seem to be making their way into the kitchen. These are definitely not your mother’s kitchen.

New Hardware: The nuts and bolts in kitchen cabinets are transforming the way we use our kitchen. Hardwar manufacturer Blum is coming up with some innovative hinges that offer push to open, which allows customers to eliminate the handles, and innovative opening designs that combine functionality with that “WOW!” factor.

New Sinks: From the green apron-front sink by Kohler to stainless steel farmers sinks to seamless quartz sinks from Silestone, sinks are quickly shifting from functional to eye catching art.

And don’t forget, new High Tech Faucets: Welcome to the future! Touch to start or sensor driven kitchen faucets are helping those hands by allowing us to initiating the flow by with a simply touch. Great for those dirty hands!

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The debate of Chinese imports: Why Chinese cabinets are shutting the doors of local manufacturers.

It is a highly fragmented market place that is dominated by mostly small business entrepreneurs. Aside from a few industry giants such as Masco Corporation and Fortune Brands, many homeowners have historically turned to the small, privately owned local manufacturers who have been serving their community, in many cases, for decades. But as American importers and Chinese manufacturers began their charge into the multi-billion dollar kitchen and bath cabinetry industry, a detrimental combination of an economic recession, a failing housing market and high unemployment began to stack up against local manufacturing, as cash strapped consumers hunted for the highest quality cabinetry at the lowest price.
kitchen cabinets

This perfect storm allowed Chinese imports of ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets to take hold of an already distressed market, putting many small businesses, out of business, as their inability to compete against importers grew. So why are the importers still around now? It comes down to simple profit and loss.

Manufacturing cabinetry here in the United States is expensive business, from overhead to equipment to personnel. And since most small business owner or entrepreneurs aren’t in the business to lose money, the cost of manufacturing is passed on to the consumer, either through lofty pricing or poorer quality. With local manufacturing, a company has to factor in significantly larger facilities to accommodate their production and manufacturing operations, which translates to higher rent and additional costs for the purchase and maintenance of equipment. The hiring of more personnel, means more highly skilled carpenters who require the manufacturer to carry additional, high risk insurances in addition to higher salaries. And although many local manufacturers turned to China for raw materials and equipment, the cost of operating was still enough to force them to close shop.

Manufacturing importers have been able to seize the opportunity of the lagging economy by operating with significantly lower manufacturing costs and lower overhead, allowing them to offer considerably lower pricing to the end users, whether it’s wholesale to industry pros or consumers at retail prices. When comparing to local manufacturers or large home improvement stores, this difference could be in upwards of forty percent or more. Additionally, value driven importers will take advantage of affordable raw materials and low manufacturing costs in China to significantly improve the quality of their cabinets in an effort to strengthen their competitive edge in the market. Opting for standards such as ¾ inch plywood boxes, higher quality hardware such as soft closing hinges and matching cabinet interiors to go with the customers color selection continues to give the importers a strategic advantage from manufacturing companies who offer these as pricey upgrades.

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Contractors: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

Contractors: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

We have always said, choosing the right contractor is 75% of the job of any homeowner and researching a contractor’s history should be priority number one. Unfortunately, the joy of finding that right guy, girl or company for the job may NOT be as apparent to someone who has never been let down, lied to, or ripped off by some shady crook with a pencil and a measuring tape. So we’d like to introduce you to some tragic characters we recently found on the internet:

The Fraudster

Steven Jay Sizemore, 31, is going to spend a little time behind bars for defrauding 21 homeowners in Riverton, Utah. Utilizing a not so elaborate scheme to cheat unsuspecting individuals of thousands of dollars, Steve was collecting pre-payment on orders for kitchen cabinets that were never, ever delivered. Now to the issue of researching contractor’s background, prosecutors also found out that while out on bail following his June 2011, Mr. Sizemore was still collecting payment from at least 7 of the 21 victims. Sitting in the penalty box last week, the judge sentenced him up to 15 years in prison.

The Unlicensed

Contractor Jeff Edwards of Astoria, Oregon is going to spend 13 months in jail for three counts of identity theft. Jeff was offering house painting and pressure cleaning services using the Oregon Construction Contractors Board’s license numbers of other businesses, or creating false license numbers, so it would appear as if he was appropriately licensed and bonded with the state of Oregon.

Now as a homeowner, you may be inclined to bring an unlicensed Jeff Edwards of Astoria to maybe save a few bucks on your home improvement or remodeling project. But consider the risk. In June, the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) in Florida ran a two day sting to put unlicensed contractors behind bars, putting 40 offenders in prison. BSO said 14 similar operations in the last three years have netted 240 arrests. Of those 240 with about 60 percent, or about 140 of those contractors apprehended were convicted felons. The crimes ranged from burglaries to homicides.

Bottom line is when hiring people to work on a home, it’s important to research the background of the person or company providing the work. Always ask for license numbers, and don’t be afraid to ask for professional references and call them to see how things went with this particular individual. The internet also provides a good way to research a home improvement professional through online reviews. Remember, experience is the greatest teacher, and its always better to learn from someone else’s than your own.

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