Finding The Right Cabinet Hardware Style For Your Kitchen

You have made an important decision to remodel your kitchen and make it functional and inviting for friends and family. Now it is up to you to decide exactly what kind of look do you want and the type of cabinet hardware that will fit your style? Are you wanting one that is traditional, country, or contemporary (Modern, Retro Modern)? You will most likely find that the right style for you will probably be the one that will harmonize with the design of your house from the inside and out. If you have architecture which is classical, a formal look may be the right choice for you. Country styles seem to suit people who enjoy a casual and relaxed lifestyle. The contemporary, modern and retro modern look and design will be a good choice if you like clean lines, minimalistic layouts and a minimum amount of accessorizing.

A Traditional Kitchen

When you have chosen the look you what for you kitchen or bathroom, you will find that the cabinets and the cabinet hardware set the stage. In traditional kitchens and bathrooms, where the ambiance is elegant, gracious, and just a little bit formal, you will find cabinets are most commonly crafted of rich, gleaming woods, usually cherry or mahogany or any wood stained to resemble them. Ivory, or white painted cabinets are another frequent choice, but the key to the cabinets is a rich, glossy finish and the look of fine furniture. For the cabinet door style, choose a raised panel design and such architectural details as crown moldings and other millwork. One of the reasons for the popularity of the traditional kitchen is its gracious style its timelessness and the fact that it is unaffected by design trends that come and go. There are so many finish styles of cabinet hardware drawer pulls that can match the traditional kitchen or bathroom. Some of our most favorites are: Oil Rubbed Bronze drawer pulls, Antique Bronze drawer pulls, Weathered Brass, Rustic Brass, and Wrought Iron drawer pulls.

A Country Kitchen

Some kitchen designers and other industry experts in the cabinet field theorize that we love the country look because it recalls all of the warmth of grandmas kitchen. The county kitchen conjures up so many romantic notions of the keeping rooms of old, or simply links us to what we believe was a simpler, gentler time. Whatever the reason is that we love the country kitchen, this is one of the most popular styles, and and gives such a great opportunity for personal expression. The country kitchen is informal and relaxed, and it is a good choice for a casual lifestyle. Because the look of wear and tear is so desirable in the country kitchen, it suits busy families and active kitchens, too. It is best to build your country kitchen around wood cabinets in a natural stain, a weathered or bleached finish, or a even add cheerful paint color such as deep red. Neither elegance nor sleekness (as most commonly seen in the contemporary style) is the goal; so mismatched cabinets, freestanding unfitted pieces, or open shelves filled with dishes are the norm. There are many offshoots of this basic look – English country, cottage, Victorian, and arts and crafts, to name a few. If you are the country kitchen type, one of these variations is sure to please you.

Residential Architecture – A Definition of Terms

You may have decided that, in order to get the house you’ve always dreamed of, the best idea is to hire a respected residential architect. However, you may have some reservations, especially as you think that you might not be able to understand the designer’s jargon, in order to have meaningful conversations. While the architect has been trained to visualize spaces in 3 dimensions based on technical drawings, you may have some difficulty doing the same. Don’t let these issues handicap the design process! Let me try to help out with some clarification of some of the terms you may encounter during your dealings with your architect.

Types of Drawings

As you go through the design process, your architect will present a variety of drawings to you, to present the design options. Some of these may make more sense to you than others, so here’s a quick overview of the major drawing categories.

Plans – This is likely the most familiar drawing, as it presents a horizontal “map” of the spaces. Conceptually, imagine taking a building and slicing it right at about waist height, then looking down; that is what a Floor Plan is meant to show. A Reflected Ceiling Plan, on the other hand, imagines that the floor is covered with mirrors, so instead of looking down you’re really looking up to see the ceiling features. One other plan type is the Site Plan, which shows the property and locates the new features, often demonstrating that Zoning rules such as a minimum setback or yard depth is being met.

Elevations – An elevation is close to what the building will actually look like, since it doesn’t involve any conceptual slicing. Rather, it shows the building in a vertical plane, as though you were standing far away and viewing it with a telescope (in other words, without any distortion caused by perspective). In the real world, of course, we always view things in perspective, meaning that elements closer to us appear bigger than elements further away. Exterior Elevations show the outside of the building, while Interior Elevations show a limited portion of the interior (such as one wall of a living room where the fireplace sits).

Sections – Section drawings are somewhat like x-rays of a building, intended to show what is going on within the hidden spaces. Similar to how Plans are drawn by imagining a slicing of the building horizontally, Sections imagine a slice (usually vertical) happening wherever their “cut line” is, as represented on a Plan or Elevation. A Building Section will extend the cut line all the way across the building and show the entire width of it, whereas a Wall Section just cuts across a single wall to show how that wall is built.

Details – Details can usually fit into one of the above categories (Plans, Elevations, Sections) but they tend to show only a limited condition, at an enlarged scale so that more specific information can be presented.

Schedules (drawings) – While not as common for residential drawings sets, sometimes Schedules may be used to present information. In this sense, a Schedule has nothing to do with time, but rather it is a table or spreadsheet that lists a number of similar items. For instance, a Door Schedule will list each door and describe its qualities, such as what kind of hardware it will use, or its size. By doing so, this information does not have to appear on the other drawings. A Room Finish Schedule will describe the finish materials used on each wall, ceiling, and floor surface.

Schedules (construction) – Your architect will use the time or calendar sense of the term Schedule when discussing project timeframes, and will be able to work backwards from your targeted completion date to determine when the various phases of the Design Process (see below) need to be complete. If your architect also provides Construction Management services, then a more detailed Construction Schedule can be developed as well.

Renderings – This refers to a more artistic image which attempts to show the building as it will be experienced, often in 3D perspective and full color. As a non-technical drawing, it is of lesser value to your builder, but it will probably be the best way for you to envision the space. Renderings take time to produce, though, so ask your architect if you want to see one. In addition to static renderings, with computers a “fly-by” can be produced, which is a short video in which the camera moves around or through the building.

Design Process

There are many phases to the design process, during which the expectations for the drawings presented will vary. You may be familiar with the notion of an architect sketching out some concept on a napkin while talking at a deli, but in the real world it takes a lot more detail than that before something gets built.

Master Planning – While not as common for residential architectural projects, this refers to a process of using estimated building sizes and other assumptions to lay out a guiding plan, usually for an entire site onto which multiple projects are going to be built. Because it is concerned with general configurations, buildings or rooms may be represented by single-line boundaries, and may not include doors and windows. The amount of detail is arbitrary, as too much detail can hinder the process at this stage.

Programming – This refers to a process of documenting how you will be using the spaces provided and what your spatial needs are. For residential projects, this is usually a thorough interview between you and your architect at the outset of the project.

Schematic Design – During this phase, the general shape of spaces is determined, often with multiple options for your consideration. The building will be shown in greater detail, with wall thicknesses and doors and windows, but not quite as much detail as the contractor will require. The drawings developed during this phase are intended to facilitate decision-making.

Existing Conditions and Field Measurement – If your project involves modifications to an existing building, then before any other design development can occur, the existing building must be documented. This means time spent with a camera and tape measure, followed by time in the office drawing up what was measured. Accuracy here can mean fewer problems during construction, and your architect might need to do additional measurements later in the project when considering how to resolve specific construction details.

Construction Documents – Often referred to just as “CD’s”, these are the fully detailed drawings that your builder will use, and actually act as part of a legal instrument. These will include plenty of specific notes and dimensions, so much in fact that they may be hard to read. That is why it is best to have design decisions made prior to engaging in the CD phase. Construction Documents may also include Specifications, either within the drawing set, or issued as a separate book.

Permit Submission – Usually, once the CD set is done, it is submitted to the local building department in order to receive a permit. Depending on the project scope, it might also need Zoning approval. In both cases, the drawings are reviewed by the authority and either approved or rejected, with revisions requested. A Zoning submission can be done earlier in the process, since the full set of CD’s is usually not required – the Schematic Design versions of many drawings will suffice.

Other Terms

While there are potentially many more terms that could use explanation, here are just a few that may be helpful.

Massing – this refers to overall major shapes and their configurations. It ignores finishes and fenestration.

Finishes – the exposed surface materials on the completed building, such as carpet for a floor.

Fenestration – openings in walls such as windows and doors.

Roof Pitch – the steepness of a roof, measured in terms of inches gained vertically over 12 inches of horizontal run. It is not an angular measurement.

CMU – “concrete masonry unit”, or what is often called “cinder block” because at one time cinders were used as an aggregate (but no longer).

Rebar – Reinforcing Bars, used within poured concrete walls and slabs to strengthen them.

Casework – basically cabinetry, built to fit the space, which may include features like a desk.

Rafter, Truss, Joist, Beam, Column – these are terms for different kinds of structural elements that act in different ways. As such, they are not interchangeable.

Heavy Timber – wood members of a large cross-section that are usually intended to be left exposed, used for their rustic character.

Topography – the shape of the land, usually denoted by contour lines which could be thought of as wedding-cake layers cut at some regular vertical interval.

Barn Door Hardware For Customized Doors

Barn door hardware is a very popular hardware style for doorways and doors. It is not only stylish but also extremely strong. For people who are not familiar with this arrangement – a path runs above a doorway with a couple of hangers attached to the door that tend to roll straight on the track. This system is known to be very stable.

An Overview

This hardware style is also called flat track hardware and is popular among people who wish to spruce up their houses. Its simplistic and rustic nature goes well with any room. Whether a person has doors of glass, custom wood or any other kind, barn door hardware adds the right touch.

Most designers and homeowners are continually trying different ways to enhance the aesthetics of their home and an exceptional way to do it can be using these doorways. In this process, it is imperative to have custom doors cautiously crafted for entry locks to the living room, library, dining room, study, and even bedrooms. This is one reason why so many people are opting for customized doors rather than typical Home Depot variety.

However, if the door slides into the wall or is on hinges, then who will notice it? There is no point having such beautiful sliding door hardware if they just slide out of sight when opened. With the help of barn door hardware, an individual can get a customized door which becomes an element in the room. When gliding, open portion of the door hangs towards the outside of the room’s wall, looking like a piece of decoration in the room. And when closed, it looks like a classy enclosure that one intends it to be.

Flat Track Design

As mentioned above, this style has a track which is mounted over the doorway stretching along the length of the wall with a couple of track hangers which can be attached to the door knobs and revolve horizontally down the length of the track. The track is built of solid steel. Due to the physics involved, this kind of setup provides the track with exceptional power.

Solid Steel Construction

The hanger, track, and practically every single part of the system are made of solid steel. This is important to the style, strength and largely the durability of barn door hardware.

A very economic and easy way of adding value to a house is using barn door hardware to shut and open doorways such as that of a study, a home office, dining room or even a bed room. Barn door hardware is rustic, simple, and aesthetically very pleasing. It lets doors add to the aesthetics of a house. The hardware on its own also adds to the overall beauty of a room. Using such material is a fantastic way to economically and quickly add value to a house. It is attractive, neat, strong, and reliable. It is definitely the best alternative to normal doors. However, before choosing a company which offers these doors, it’s best to do some research and make enquiry about their reputation in the market. The company one chooses must offer good quality and competitive prices.

Bahama Shutter Hardware – Perfect, Long Lasting Companion for Your Windows

Bahama Shutters, also known as Bermuda Shutters, are distinguished by their mounting that resembles an awning placed over the window. Since they’re found aplenty in coastal areas, hence the name Bahama Shutters. If you want to shield your windows and your home from the harsh coastal sun, Bahama Shutters are just the thing for you! These shutters open upwards and shut downwards, providing shade when they are open, also allowing adjustable air flow. And when closed, they provide strong protection from the harsh winds and torrential rains that lash the coastal areas. In fact, in some places Bahama Shutters are also aptly known as Hurricane Shutters! Bahama Shutters are available in a variety of styles and colors to suit your personal taste, and they also blend harmoniously with your home’s d├ęcor.

shutters not only boost the aesthetic appeal of your house but also safeguard it against the elements of nature. Shutters are designed to provide long-term protection. However, regular and proper maintenance is duly needed if they are to maintain their durability and integrity in serving your purpose. The choice of cleaning and maintaining materials also determine the lifespan of your shutters. The same goes with choosing the right spare parts in case of wear & tear.

These Shutters are usually mounted and bolstered by three main hardware components -

1 – Bahama Shutter stays that are fixed or adjustable,
2 – Hinges and pintle sets, and
3 – Tie-backs or shutter hooks/dogs.

Sturdy good quality hardware ensures your Bahama Shutters go a long way in enduring the harsh weather that they are subjected to all year round.

Shutter Stays -

Bahama Shutter Stays are primarily of two types i.e. of fixed length and adjustable length. Sold as a set of two arms, they are available in cast or extruded aluminum, stainless steel, and even bronze. Efficient and lightweight, they come with locking pins in a variety of metals, along with screws to fasten them.

Shutter Hinges -

Bahama Hinge is what fastens the other part of the shutter. Comprising two parts that slide together for easy installation and removal, the integrated hinge provides a top-down rotational function that causes the Bahama Shutter to open or close. These parts are of utmost importance in making the Bahama Shutter sturdy and long lasting!

Tie-backs or Shutter Hooks/Dogs -

Hinges are usually sold in a complete set per window, including fasteners that hold the shutter open or firmly closed. These fasteners are also known as shutter tie-backs or shutter dogs. Apart from serving a functional purpose, shutter dogs also add to the architectural and aesthetic appeal of your house. Shutter tie-backs are available in three mounting options, the first being Surface or Post Mount. This is the most popular shutter tie back mounting option that is used on stone, stucco, brick and frame construction. Surface Mount Tie Backs is another option that can only be used on frame construction buildings. This type of tie back includes all the necessary hardware for direct mounting onto your wood sliding. The third option is Sill Mount Tie Backs that is superbly compatible with stone construction and other types of siding. This tie-back finishes where the lag mount or surface mount tie-backs fail to be mounted securely.

Additional parts -

Several additional parts such as shutter slide bolts, pull rigs, acorn anchors can also supplement your shutters. The shutter slide bolt and lock helps secure the shutter in a closed position. Usually made of heavy-duty steel or iron, the slide bolt and lock are sold as one unit. Pull Rigs, usually made of wrought steel galvanized and mounted on steel plates, ensure ease of closure for customized shutters. Acorn Anchors, also knows as bullets, are a convenient and secure spring action shutter holdback. Used to secure the shutters to the sides of homes, Acorn Anchors help keep them open.

Bolstered with the right Bahama Shutter hardware, your shutters will definitely maintain their utility and aesthetic quotient for years. Easy to assemble, most of these are easily available online, ready to be shipped to your doorstep. And once you know which part goes where, you are ready to assemble your brand new Bahama Shutter, or tend to your old shutters that have loyally, unflinchingly secured your home by keeping the elements at bay.

Pivot Hardware – Use and Selection Guide

I get calls every week from clients who want to install pivot hardware to hang their doors (and sometimes other items like bookcases and even refrigerators). Using pivot hardware can serve several different criteria on a job site such as aesthetics or perhaps because a door is too heavy, tall or wide or maybe just because the owner is looking to do something different or less common than hinges.

In my experience there seems to be a general lack of understanding of the use and application of pivot hardware by many home owners, contractors and even architects. Most of the time this is where the knowledge of the hardware professional is indispensable and can help save money, aggravation and even delays on projects. But first we must define pivot hardware (or sometimes called pivot hinges).

There are two primary types of pivots used in commercial / residential construction

a. Offset Pivots
b. Center Hung Pivots

The selection of the proper pivot hardware for a given application can best start with asking a simple question.

The first question I most commonly ask is whether a door is single acting or double acting. A single acting door is one that swings open in one direction only. Typical single acting doors are classroom doors and bedroom doors. Double acting doors swing open in two directions. Typical double acting doors are seen in restaurants where the door to the kitchen can swing “in and out” so as to better allow people to move into and out of the kitchen with a try full of dinner plates.

We can easily eliminate offset or center hung pivot based on the answer to the above question. If a door is single acting, then both offset and center hung are still possible candidates. But if the door is double acting, then we can absolutely eliminate offset pivots. So lets move forward with a better definition of center hung pivots.

Center Hung pivots are unique and allow for a special set of design criteria for a doorway to be met. These pivots should be considered when a client wants the hardware to be concealed as much as possible or when a doorway is double acting. Center hung pivots are mortised into the bottom and top of the door generally centered in the door in relationship to the thickness and typically about 3/4″ from the pivoting edge of the door to the center of the pivoting axis. This makes the pivot hardware very nearly completely hidden when the door is closed.

Also because the axis of pivoting is in the center the door can be accommodated to double act if the application calls for it. A typical double acting door can been seen in a hospital room bathroom. The pivot hardware on these doors is center hung. Typically this bathroom door swing in but in the event of an accident (such as a patient collapsing) the nurse can, by disengaging a special strike plate, swing the door out into the room to allow access.

Center hung pivot hardware is available for doors less than 100 lbs. as heavy as up to 1,000 lbs., range from just over $100.00 to well over $1,000.00 dollars, are available is most sprayed and architectural plated finishes and made by many manufacturers such as Rixson, ABH, Ives and Dorma.

The following are a few considerations when specifying or using center hung pivots.

a. Center Hung pivots are not for use of fire rated doors
b. May violate the warranty of the door manufacturer
c. Typically require a radius edge to one or both stiles of the door.
d. Can be used on single or double acting doors but the way a door is machined depends on this.

Now moving onto offset pivots and back to our first question weather or not a door is single or double acting. Again if it is double acting then offset pivots are not an option. But if the door is single acting the then offset pivots are required.

Offset pivots can be specified for a number of reasons but the most common are weight of the door and the design criteria set forth by the owner. Offset pivots have a much higher weight capacity than hinges and can be considered the best possible means of hanging a door. Because the weight of the door is born exclusively on the bottom arm of the pivot (which is directly connected to the pivot spindle) the weight of the door itself is carried by the floor (and ultimately the remainder of the building).

Offset pivots are visible at the top and bottom of the door and are generally only slightly more difficult to machine in doors than center hung pivots.

Offset pivots are named such because the vertical pivoting axis is “offset” from the face of the door. There are two common offsets, 3/4″ and 1 1/2″. 3/4″ is by far the most common. This means the distance from the face of the door to the pivoting axis is 3/4″. 1 1/2″ offset is also not uncommon but are generally only used when the the doorway requires a greater offset such as thicker than standard casing or when a door is set deeper into a jamb than normal.

Typical applications for offset pivots are wardrobe closets or lead lined doors in hospitals and clinics. And like its cousin center hung pivots, offset pivot hardware made made for doors as light as less than 100 lbs. as heavy as up to 1,500 lbs., range from just under $200.00 to well over $1,000.00 dollars, are available is most sprayed and architectural plated finishes and made by many manufacturers such as Rixson, ABH, Ives and Dorma.

The following are a few considerations when specifying or using offset pivots.

a. Offset pivots can be used on fire rated doors
b. Intermediate pivots can be specified so as to not violate the warranty of the door manufacturer
c. Do not require a radius edge to either stile of the door.
d. Can be costly depending on the size and weight of the door they are installed onto.

I enjoy talking about pivots, their general and less common uses and helping people determine the right pivot for their application.