Blending Personality with Functionality By MEGAN JOYCE
hen Brian and Carol Cohen of Camp Hill considered their options for remodeling their kitchen in early 2013, it quickly became apparent to them that a piecemeal renovation wouldn’t be a smart choice. “This was a spec home when we bought it 20 years ago … although it’s a great house, things are not where I would have liked them,” Carol Cohen said. “All the appliances were going, the floor was going—it was all going. We decided we were not going to replace piece by piece. We said, ‘Let’s just do it.’ “This is a Colonial home, and we decided to bring it back to its Colonial feeling.” Cohen’s primary complaint about her kitchen was its island’s lack of functionality. Her gas stovetop and oven were part of the island, which made it an unsuitable place to seat children as well as a limited workspace. The Cohens hired Deimler & Sons Construction in Harrisburg for the renovation after a happy neighbor’s recommendation. “The existing kitchen structure remained (the walls), but other than the framing, we gutted everything back to the studs, and we did a complete reorganization of where things were located in the kitchen and put all new products in,” said Craig Deimler, president. Cohen said that although Deimler’s bid wasn’t the cheapest, they felt confident the job would be done to their satisfaction and that any problems that arose would be taken care of quickly.
This traditional-style kitchen’s features include a custom drawer base for the sink cabinet (on right) and large pot drawers below the cooktop. The custom tile accent piece accentuates a hammered black commercial hood.
Deimler said their initial meeting with a client covers the client’s likes and dislikes of their current space; how they use the kitchen; how they entertain; and what their future needs might be as family dynamics change and the owners age. Storage, too, is always a concern. A preliminary layout and budget is then refined with the clients’ input, after which the clients are taken shopping to select final finishes. This, Deimler said, is when they furnish a final project estimate, which is broken down into the major phases of construction: cabinetry and countertops, flooring, plumbing, installation, etc. “That way, they can see where they are spending their money,” Deimler said. “It allows them to say, ‘We really don’t want to invest that much in a certain area—what are our options?’ And then we can help them select different materials to keep it more in line with their expectations.” Deimler said he and his staff are aware of the inconvenience they will be causing the family during the renovation, which, for kitchens, usually lasts between four and eight weeks. “We had done an addition to our house 17 years ago, so we knew now what we didn’t want to have happen,” Cohen said. “We talked about it [with Deimler] and he understood where we were coming from, and he was very easy to work with.” Deimler advises families considering a kitchen overhaul to evaluate their options for meals. Will they go out to eat? How will that affect the overall project budget? He noted that many clients do renovations in the spring, summer, and fall so they can grill outside to keep meal costs down. “Whenever possible, we create a makeshift kitchen of a refrigerator, microwave, and sink so that they can semi-function while they are without their kitchen,” said Deimler. The Cohens were unable to reuse their original cherry cabinetry as they’d originally hoped, so they chose to donate it to Habitat for Humanity. “They went crazy. They were so excited,” Cohen laughed. “Which was
great; it made us feel fabulous.” Instead, they selected soft maple cabinetry with a custom cherry stain from Heirloom Cabinetry in Mifflintown. Barry Hildebrand, custom design and salesman, said he and his clients compare different wooden samples and stain colors with their chosen tile and countertop to make sure nothing clashes or contrasts too sharply. Hildebrand shows the client a digital design with door styles for their approval, and together they go through cabinet by cabinet, making sure the clients can put away all their belongings. “Once the design is complete and meets with their approval, then I take the time to price it all out; that way, I’m pricing exactly what they have chosen,” Hildebrand said. “After all, it’s their kitchen, not ours. I’ll make suggestions when [clients] make requests … but still, the final decision is theirs.” “The cabinetry people came up with some ideas that had never been done, and when we finally figured out how to do it, it came out beautifully,” Cohen said. Cohen was thrilled that Heirloom Cabinetry worked with her to create a rolling buffet from one of their old cabinets and that her new cabinets have “the ease of use that was really important to me as we age within this large home.” She was eager to replace her Congoleum countertops and did so with granite called Bordeaux River from Lesher Natural Stone, Quartz, & Tile in Middletown. Mary Jane Herr, project manager at Lesher, said they often like to see the selected cabinetry so they can pair it with granites that include complementary color tones. “The island is fabulous. I love the granite we picked,” said Cohen. And she finally has the large, functional countertops she always wanted, clear of clutter. Her two favorite features in her new kitchen are simple pleasures: The microwave is located in a drawer that’s built into the cabinetry under the island—so it takes up no counter space. Plus, under the gas range top is a 3-inch-deep drawer that houses all the spatulas and cooking tools that
Every modern convenience in a tight space can be found in this painted and glazed kitchen. The bead board and full-height granite backsplash and sidesplash beside the induction cooktop help disguise the fact that this kitchen used to be a 'black hole.
'This white-stained maple kitchen replaces a 1970s dark pine kitchen. The custom unit on the left allows for a hutch on the dining room side (beyond the raised island) and a functioning appliance garage and pantry on the kitchen side.
An overall view of the picture on page ah2, this traditional-style custom kitchen with large island features a warming drawer below the double ovens and a microwave drawer in the island.
normally need to be corralled in a countertop container. The flooring and backsplash were provided by Essis & Sons Carpet One in Mechanicsburg. Cohen was grateful for the input of Joe Essis, co-owner, as she struggled to select flooring. “I had a general idea. I knew we wanted porcelain tile because it is so hard,” she said. “[Essis] suggested the larger, 20-inch square because it’s a very big room and there would be fewer grout lines, and it would increase the flow. He was so right.” Cohen and Essis also put their heads together in designing the backsplash. They ended up going with a tan tile with a marbled effect. Small, wrought-iron medallions were interspersed throughout the entire backsplash and culminated in a pattern under the range hood. Deimler urged homeowners
considering a kitchen renovation to do their research. The kitchen is one of the most expensive rooms to remodel, and there can be huge swings in pricing simply based upon the materials selected, he advised. Ask questions when comparing estimates, and do not make the decision based on price alone. Ensure that all materials are ordered and in stock prior to construction, which, Deimler added, will minimize the chances for cost overruns. And, expect at least a bit of the unexpected. “Always allow room in your budget for unforeseen items if you are reorganizing the location of things,” he said. “Keep an extra 5 percent of the budget off to the side for these items.” After 20 years in a kitchen that never quite felt like hers, Cohen marveled that she is left with just one
very good problem to have: “I have more storage than I know what to do with.” “Our process is focused on the
client and their needs,” Deimler said. “We can make anything look great. But if it doesn’t function well, why spend the money?”
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Above: Anderson hand-scraped wood floor plank.
Right, from top: Marazzi Archaeology porcelain tile shower; Marazzi Archaeology porcelain tile whirlpool encasement, decorative backsplash, and floor; Marazzi’s American Heritage Collection porcelain tile in a wood look.
Flooring Possibilities and the Modern Homeowner
beautiful floor will be a home’s showpiece, setting the foundation for any inspirational home project. The last few years have represented something of a renaissance for the home-flooring industry; there have never been more options for individual products or a wider range of statements that can be made through their use. “There are so many exciting options out there, more than there have ever been in the past 20 years,” Elmer Stoltzfus, owner of Heritage Floors in Lancaster County, says. “There is no limit to what you can do with a great floor.” Genuine wood flooring is the most luxurious option and a rightfully popular one. The natural hues of wood and rich color presented in a design are strong yet subtle. Anderson flooring represents the
By LEE DUSSINGER
industry leader in authentic wood for the South-Central Pennsylvania region. An American-made brand, Anderson floors offers both traditional options and a manually produced “hand-scraped” wood style. In contrast to other machine-made, glossy wood merchandise, Anderson’s “hand-scraped” pieces are created using antique carpentry techniques, which give the final product a desirable, rustic appearance. Rustic styling is especially popular in this region. Even contemporary homes look beautiful when fitted with hand-scraped floors that reflect the area’s frontier homestead history. This aesthetic can be achieved with either light or dark shades, using natural wood or tile printed to resemble wood. The organic imperfections seen in hand-scraped wood flooring contribute to this rustic sense, as do
the authentic methods used in its production. Innovation has brought vinyl and porcelain tile to the forefront of the home-flooring industry. Advanced digital-printing technology allows manufacturers to incorporate the visual qualities of authentic wood or slate on affordable, long-lasting material. This marriage of practicality and distinct appearance has rapidly made vinyl and porcelain tile supreme favorites. Congoleum, a manufacturer of vinyl tile, leapt to prominence with the invention of Scotchgard Protector. Tiles equipped with Scotchgard Protector are nearly impervious to household damage and require only the most basic cleaning measures. A permanent marker’s ink will disappear with the use of a cleaning cloth. “The Scotchgard Protector is really a game changer,” Stoltzfus says. “All I
have to do is a simple demonstration, and it sells itself.” Carpet is still a highly popular option due to its affordability and comfort factor. In spite of the increasing prominence of other materials, carpet remains the preferred choice for the bedrooms of the home. Regardless of make or material, simplicity reigns in contemporary flooring. Neutral tones are more popular than bold colors. Subtle but attractive floors of any material often segue the homeowner’s attention to more vibrant walls and colorful furniture. In these cases, the floor sets the tone for the entire room. As a homeowner, selecting a floor can be overwhelming as flooring options seem endless. It is safe to say, however, that whichever flooring you settle on will be key to the overall design in your home.
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