By Marwan Rizek, Cameo Kitchens

Your dream kitchen will be the heart of your home –– an expression of your ideas, needs and passions. It will embody love, family, food, friends and happiness. Done well, it will also add great value to your house but this is not a small undertaking. That’s why the best cabinetmakers and designers must share your passion and take it as seriously as you do.

At Cameo Kitchens, we have as much passion about beautiful kitchens as you do. Whether you are updating cabinetry or tearing down walls, here are five helpful steps and guidelines to consider:

It’s about layout and lifestyle
Do not focus on the current layout and simply think of replacing the cabinets using the old footprint. This is your opportunity to realize a dream. Perhaps the sink is better situated on the other side, or maybe you need to accommodate an additional wall oven. Will your kitchen be task-oriented or entertainment-oriented? What is the size of your family? What type of cooking do you do? Is baking your passion? What small appliances do you use most? Questions like these will help you find the best solutions to how your kitchen should function and this will help you plan.

Choose your look
This is the fun part. It’s an opportunity to add “wow” to your kitchen. We suggest that you rely a bit more on your emotion when choosing your look. Ask yourself –– what gets me excited? Is it traditional or contemporary? We always say, “Investing money in a new kitchen means you want to smile every time you walk in.”

Test drive and touch
Be sure to get out and visit a variety of showrooms to touch and feel cabinet finishes. Here are the insider tips on what to look for: Don’t just open cabinets but rather see how well the doors align. Check the drawer bottoms. How solid are they? What is the quality of the hinges? Try out the drawers and see how smoothly they slide. Here is a great tip: see how busy the showroom is, because with so many customers opening and shutting cabinets, you know they have been put to the test and still look great.

Accommodating the gadgets big and small
Collect brochures of appliances you like and bring them to your kitchen designer. This will provide dimensions your designer can work with. Do you want a smaller or an oversized refrigerator or a grill function? There’s nothing worse than trying to accommodate a wine cooler later when the space hasn’t been taken into account. Identifying the appliances and kitchen gadgets you want now will save time, money and any headaches down the road.

Think small – the finishing touches
When it comes to dressing up the kitchen, it’s all in the details. Even though there are thousands of faucets, backsplash tiles, countertops, and cabinet hardware to choose from, it’s important that everything you choose integrates with the look you are trying to achieve. Explore your options and share them with your designer, who will be able to guide you towards the right choice.

Marwan Rizek is President of Cameo Kitchens. With showrooms in Toronto and Mississauga/Oakville, Cameo Kitchens have been manufacturers of fine custom cabinetry since 1983. They practice an old world craftsmanship that is rarely found today, including manufacturing by hand, precise installation of every new cabinet, and experienced design experts at every turn.

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