Kitchen Planning Kit

Making kitchen design & construction in Mackay easy

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Learn how to design the ideal kitchen for the life you lead

kitchen 06 - Cabinetmakers in Mackay, QLD
Your kitchen is probably the most important room in your home. It needs to look attractive and be easy to maintain. It must also be functional and safe for you and your family.
Today’s modern kitchen is packed full of new technology to make your life safer and easier. Whereas other rooms in your house can be refurbished with a touch of paint or a change in furniture, your kitchen is another thing. It will have to serve you for a long time so it’s important to design it so that it will suit your lifestyle for years to come.

When I established Australian Prestige Cabinet Company back in 1992 I already had 15 years experience in the industry. I have manufactured and installed literally hundreds of kitchens and I have learnt that careful planning and attention to detail in the manufacturing process are all that is needed for you to be absolutely delighted with your new kitchen.

If your in the process of designing your house you should give particular attention to the location and space you’re going to allow for the kitchen. All too often this important room gets what’s left over and it can be very difficult to incorporate the variety of cupboards and benches that you need. A few simple mistakes when you’re planning your kitchen can lead to years of frustration. It’s important therefore to give it a lot of thought. The best advice we can give is to consider the kitchen very early in your planning because when the house is completed you’ll be spending a lot of time there.

Think about kitchens you’ve had in the past and ask your friends what they think about their kitchens. Ask lots of questions, do lots of looking and buy yourself a book or two on kitchen design.

White kitchen table top - Cabinetmakers in Mackay, QLD

2004 Finalist 06 - Cabinetmakers in Mackay, QLD
The first thing to think about is where you want to locate your kitchen. If you have young children you’ll want to be able to keep an eye on them while you’re working.
Most of today’s homes incorporate a family room and it’s not by accident that this room is generally adjacent to your kitchen. Not only does this mean you can keep an eye on your children but you can also talk with your spouse or watch TV while you prepare meals. It’s all part of family living.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on your children when they’re outside playing so think about the location and size of your kitchen windows. But remember, you don’t also want your neighbours keeping an eye on you, so check out adjoining houses too.

2004 Finalist 06 - Cabinetmakers in Mackay, QLD
The first thing to think about is where you want to locate your kitchen. If you have young children you’ll want to be able to keep an eye on them while you’re working.
Most of today’s homes incorporate a family room and it’s not by accident that this room is generally adjacent to your kitchen. Not only does this mean you can keep an eye on your children but you can also talk with your spouse or watch TV while you prepare meals. It’s all part of family living.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on your children when they’re outside playing so think about the location and size of your kitchen windows. But remember, you don’t also want your neighbours keeping an eye on you, so check out adjoining houses too.

Also in North Queensland our lifestyle often incorporates the kitchen adjacent to outdoor living areas and deck areas of the home so the kitchen is easily accessible when entertaining outside. Often servery widows are incorporated or doorways directly onto these areas.
It is important to have good lighting and the best and cheapest lighting is natural light. If the location of the kitchen does not allow good natural light think about having a skylight installed. This will also save your electricity costs.
The location of doors and passage ways through the kitchen is terribly important. A poorly located door, for example, can significantly reduce useable bench and cupboard space. It can also create a high risk work area by causing traffic congestion in the vicinity of cooking food.
In the planning stage make sure you give thought to the number and location of power points and plumbing. It is better (and cheaper in the long run) to have too many power points than too few. You’ll also save by having your plumbing ‘in line’ rather than the sink on one side of the room and the dishwasher on the other.
Most homes have a dishwasher but if you’ve decided against having one remember that you may want one in the future or perhaps a potential buyer of your home will want one. You can easily and cheaply allow for this in your kitchen design and your plumbing plan.

Fittings such as knobs and handles can complement or destroy the look of your kitchen. You may know the design you want, but have you thought about their precise placement? Do you want them in the centre or to one side? High or low? Is the handle to be placed horizontal or vertical? It’s hard to change once holes are drilled in the doors!

The essential functions that are carried out in your kitchen are Cleaning – Washing, Cooking, Preparation and Storage. For food storage you will need to provide for a refrigerator and possibly a separate freezer. You will also require cupboards for food including perhaps, a special vegetable cupboard, incorporating sliding baskets. A good size pantry is a valuable component of any kitchen design and it enables you to fully utilise difficult corner spots.

Kitchen with cabinet and stove - Cabinetmakers in Mackay, QLD

The essential functions that are carried out in your kitchen are Cleaning – Washing, Cooking, Preparation and Storage. For food storage you will need to provide for a refrigerator and possibly a separate freezer. You will also require cupboards for food including perhaps, a special vegetable cupboard, incorporating sliding baskets. A good size pantry is a valuable component of any kitchen design and it enables you to fully utilise difficult corner spots.

Kitchen with cabinet and stove - Cabinetmakers in Mackay, QLD

Advances in the strength and design of drawer runners have allowed the construction of sliding plate shelves which reduces the need to get down on your knees every time you want to get at something at the back of your cupboard.

Don’t forget you’ll need to store your brooms, mops and general cleaning gear. If your laundry is handy to the kitchen you might want to use a cupboard in that room; if not, you’ll need to consider a broom cupboard.

You need to think about how many, and what size drawers you want. Obviously, you’ll require a cutlery drawer but you’ll also need others for small utensils, towels and all those other things that seem to be stored in the kitchen. As well as pot drawers and plates and cups drawers, and very sensible pantry slide out drawers.

Depending on your preference you can incorporate a whole range of other time and space saving features including open or concealed wine racks, display wine glass holders, towel cupboards or spice racks.
For food preparation, adequate bench space at the right height and proximity to your stove, oven and sink is required. Also important here is the location of your utensils including pots and pans etc. Space-saving pot drawers have become very popular as have bench height appliance cupboards to quickly store away frequently used appliances such as your toaster, blender, jug and tea pots.
Many people like to have a wall oven and separate cooktop. You should note that this combination will use more space than an underbench oven and cook top or an upright stove/oven combination.
The location of your microwave oven needs careful thought. If you plan to sit it on a workbench leave yourself at least 500mm of free bench space on the side the door opens so that you have somewhere to place food before and after cooking. Your microwave can easily be incorporated under a work bench but if you use it more frequently than your conventional oven it may be sensible to build it into a wall unit not higher than shoulder height – this will be safer. You can than locate your conventional oven under the bench.
With the location of your refrigerator, microwave and conventional oven you should think about the direction of the door opening. There’s nothing worse than working with a refrigerator or oven where the door opens into a corner or a passage way.
Cleaning is not one of the most pleasant chores you’ll do in our kitchen but it is necessary. There are two aspects to the cleaning question. Firstly, by locating an underbench waste bin cabinet in your main food preparation area you’ll save a lot of time and your kitchen will be more tidy when you work.
The other aspect of cleaning concerns your choice of bench and cupboard finish and edge style. Modern laminates are easy to keep clean but some colours are more serviceable than others. What looks great in a magazine picture may be a nightmare to keep clean so give some thought to that.
For bench tops the traditional square edge finish is still available but by far the most popular style now is the round edge. You can have a full round edge or a half round. You can also have the back of your bench rolled up to meet your wall tiles. This makes cleaning a breeze and it looks terrific.
The hinges we use today are all concealed so that all you see is the flat cupboard surface. This makes for easy cleaning – just wipe with a damp rag.
You will also need to decide whether to take your cupboards right to the ceiling or to leave a void. Going right to the ceiling will give you more storage space for those infrequently used things and it will prevent the accumulation of dust and grime.
If you decide to finish your cupboards below ceiling height you might consider finishing the cupboard top with a rolled edge or cornice mould. This presents a neat finish to the border of you cupboards.
If you have a large kitchen area to work with, you may want to have a central island bench. Ideally you could allow for a least 900mm distance between the central island and your surrounding wall benches. Sometimes a servery is incorporated with the island bench so family members can sit and eat at the island bench or you can entertain guests as they sit and share a drink while you are working in the kitchen.
Remember to allow for power points.

Yellow Kitchen table - Cabinetmakers in Mackay, QLD

We will listen to you, then spend time together designing a kitchen you will love! We care and you’ll notice the difference that makes! We are committed to superior quality and only use the very best materials and fittings.

We will help co-ordinate everything for you, including plumbing, tiling and electrical work. We are absolutely committed to offering you the highest standard of service possible and we’d appreciate the opportunity to be of service to you.

How To Plan Your Kitchen Layout

Kitchen layout - Cabinetmakers in Mackay, QLD
You will need to make up a couple of sheets of grid paper. Make each square 5mm so on a scale of 1:20 (ie. 5mm is equivalent to 100mm) a single sheet of paper will accommodate a room of 3.6metres (3600mm) by 5.2metres (5200mm). If your kitchen area is larger than this we suggest you use two sheets.

Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to plan your kitchen layout:

Measure the internal room dimensions – use a tape measure to measure the length and breadth of your kitchen and remember to note the exact location of doors (as well as the direction of swing if applicable) and windows – show the height of the window above floor level as well as its width and height. It is best to take your measurements at benchtop levele ie. About 900mm above the floor. Also make a note of the ceiling height and the door height.

Draw your plan – on the grid paper draw an outline of the room showing the location of doors, windows, power points (make a note of how high above floor level) and existing or proposed plumbing. Once you’ve got the dimensions marked out it’s a good idea to take a couple of photocopies so you can ‘play around’ with different layouts.
Layout your kitchen – mark out where you plan to have your benches and other units. The normal bench depth is 600mm (ie. 6 squares). For above-bench cupboards the normal depth is 300mm (ie. 3 squares) You can, however, have any depth you want. On the layout plan, show where your sink, dishwasher, refrigerator, oven, cooktop and pantry will go. Also mark where you want cutlery drawers, pot drawers, wine racks, garbage bins and towel racks. Remember the principle of the work triangle and keep in mind people traffic flows.
Bring your plan to the factory – after you’ve mapped out your concept we’ll go through it with you. You can select from the wide range of bench and cupboard finishes and colours and decide what type of edging you prefer. We also have photos of previous kitchens we have constructed and installed and tutorials from previous clients.

If you don’t want to draw your own plan, just phone our office and we will come to you!

We can help co-ordinate everything for you, including plumbing, electrical work and tiling.

When you’re absolutely satisfied with the kitchen design we’ll give you a firm price and delivery date. Before you know it we will have completed your new dream kitchen quickly and with little disruption to you or your family!

The materials and construction that go into your kitchen.

Reputable manufacturers only use quality high moisture resistant (HMR) panelboard for the kitchen carcass. A specially pre-decorated, white surfaced, moisture resistant material which is the only choice for longlasting, hardwearing cupboard cabinetry. It may not be seen, but it must last the test of time. However, unless you know what you’re looking for its difficult to distinguish this material from cheaper versions. It’s always a question of you get what you pay for!

HMR adds about 7 – 8% to the bill, so it’s an area where shonky cabinet makers might try to cut costs.

Our benchtops and kickboards are made of high grade structural ply, which are by far much superior and more water resistant than other products. Once again this is another area where other cabinetmakers might try to cut costs. And once again you get what you pay for! Cheaper usually means more expensive in the long run.!

There is a wide range of quality available in hinges and drawer runners. Initially, they all seem to do the job but after a couple of years with normal use problems emerge with the cheaper products. We used ‘Blum’ hinges and drawer runners that have a lifetime guarantee. Its a good idea to check other materials manufacturer’s guarantees.

You should be absolutely certain that you’re getting the best quality products in your kitchen. Don’t be afraid to ask if it is not stipulated on the quote. Firstly it should be obvious by the price difference in quotes. And another way to judge this, is to look at the guarantee that is offered. We offer a written 5 year guarantee with every kitchen which is well above the industry average.

One of the reasons we offer such a strong guarantee is that we don’t skimp when it comes to the manufacturing process. To start with, we make sure that your kitchen is made to precise specifications…we don’t have such a thing as standard modules. Cabinetmakers using standard modules usually don’t fit neatly into the dimensions of your kitchen, so there maybe gaps or filler panels which look unattractive or waste useful storage space. …The other thing is that every shelf is not only screwed but it is glued and nailed to achieve maximum strength.

Add to this the fact that every join in the benchtop (careful design minimises the number of joins) is epoxy glued and metal bolted. The kitchens that we make and install are designed to look good and last for a long time.

Kitchen surfaces take more battering, wiping and scrubbing than any other surfaces in the home. If kitchen surfaces mark easily this creates more work because of extra cleaning, and more cost because of replacement needs. Surfaces play a critical part in giving your room both individuality and character, though when choosing them it is vital to take in practical considerations: all surfaces and materials must be resistant to water, steam, grease and smells and should be easy to clean and be able to take knocks. Don’t be entirely seduced by the appearance of surfaces. Good looks are important, but so are strength and durability. Fortunately there is such a wide range of modern kitchen surfaces to choose from that it is always possible to find a solution which will suit your style of decorating, your working requirements and your budget. Today, the most popular material for benchtops is laminate.

Benchtops need to be even more wear resistant than cupboard doors, drawer fronts and shelves. They will need to cope with spillages, knocks and everyday wear and tear, as well as messy stains and constant scrubbing. The benchtop needs to look good, too, as it adds up to a large expanse of horizontal surfacing in your kitchen

The design of the benchtop needs to take into account how wide it will be, how much overhang you want and its relationship with the splashback, adjacent appliances and door and window openings. The benchtop edging selected is important too, not only for its look but also for its practicality.

In choosing a benchtop material, look for a trouble free finish that does not harbour dirt or need stripping back and resurfacing. Joins in the benchtop material should be as few as possible and kept away from the immediate working area. Edges of cooktops and sinks need to be properly sealed against moisture seeping through to damage the cabinetry.

The material used for your benchtops can range from Granite or Natural Stone, Engineered Stone, Acrylic Solid Surfacing, Solid Timber, Stainless Steel to Laminates. Because of the cost factor the wide range of texture and colours available, laminates are the most popular.

There is no reason to choose one brand or laminate ahead of another, other than that some brands are more expensive. The more important issue is whether to have a gloss or flat finish. A gloss finish will show scratches more clearly and the colour may go out of the pattern along the scratch line. A ‘crystal’ or textured finish conceals scratches better. Take a sample of the laminate you want and scratch it with a knife. Compare this to a sample with a matt of flat finish. Laminate bench tops are easy to look after and durable. To be on the safe side, anything caustic or with a strong colour (even fruit juices or cleaning chemicals) should be cleaned up immediately, not left to sit on the laminate. Laminate is not completely heat resistant so hot surfaces should not be put directly on laminate bench tops. It is recommended that the use of wooden chopping boards and heat mats for pots and pans when using any laminates as a work surface. 

The bench top appearance can be enhanced by having rolled edges, this gives a beautiful line to the bench top, or make the edges a feature by using timber edging, or inlaid routed edging.

Engineered Stone is a composite material made of crushed stone bound together with adhesive resins. Two common stones used in producing the products are quartz & marble. It is a an excellent alternative to natural stone as it is easier to maintain. Having unique features including a high resistance to stains, scratches, heat and liquid, uniform colour and pattern, plus it also is available in over 250 colours.

Granite is an excellent durable surface and it is available in many colours and grades. Being quite porous granite, terrazzo and natural stone is subject to staining from some foodstuffs such as beetroot and lemon juice and can stain by absorbing cooking oil. They are also suscepitale to scratching, but usually can be polished out.

Solid timber benchtops look great. Timber must have a good surface finish and properly sealed to make it water resistant and stable, so to minimise against denting, scratching and scuff marks. Soft timbers are subject to to impact damage. Environmentally unfriendly, unless purpose grown timbers or recycled timbers are used, which limits the choice of timbers available.

Stainless Steel is very hard-working and hygienic and consequently often found in commercial kitchens. It’s an expensive option as the entire benchtop needs to be custom-made. Stainless Steel is very fashionable. There are losts of new textures and colours available now. The old flat stainless smears as soon as it’s touched, ruining the sleek effect and unless it is almost clinically cleaned after each use, wipe marks tend to be obvious and mar its appearance. But the new textures look great and are a lot more user friendly. Chopping boards are needed. Spilt liquids can run over the edge of the benchtop and underneath unless it is sealed underneath or there is a drip point along the lower edge.

When choosing materials for cupboard doors, drawers and shelving it is essential that you select a material that will stand the test of time. Key things to consider are impact resistance (especially important with young families), moisture resistance and ease of cleaining.

Cupboard doors and drawer fronts also represent the largest area of colour in a kitchen, so it is important that you choose a door colour that can be designed to complement your selection of colour and material for the benchtops.

The most practical, and good looking! This combines moisture resistant qualities with the benefits of the colour, pattern or woodgrain of your choice with a hard working surface that is bonded to both sides of a moisture resistant core. It can cope with use in high humidity areas and liquid spillage. It is easy to clean, impact resistant, longlasting and hardwearing. Bullnosed (rounded) edges are available on laminated doors, this allows you to achieve a number of different looks and finishes. Available in Gloss, Matt, or Satin finishes.

Timber is a natural product and subject to great variation. If you want every door and panel to look much the same in terms of colour and woodgrain patterns, solid timber may disappoint. Don’t expect a perfectly matched set of doors. There is a number of styles and patterns to choose from, to create modern or colonial country feel.

A superb alternative to solid timbers, made from real timber and offers all the character and beauty of natural wood while helping to preserve our precious forests because so little timber is needed to produce them. There is a large range of species to select from. The smooth, flat surface makes it easier to clean than solid timber doors.

Timber veneer doors – look exactly like solid timber doors, but are usually cheaper.

A natural manufactured board made from a renewable resource; pine forest thinnings. Its warm
honey colour is retained by applying a clear finish directly on to the surface, or coloured stains
to achieve different looks. Specialist finishes such hand painting, including effects like
dragging and marbling, can also be applied. Craftwood can be machined, routed and shaped
to achieve virtually any decorative effect. However, painted craftwood is not impact resistant or
as easy to clean as a decorative laminate surface.

Vacuum-wrapped doors are a process where a heavy duty vinyl is vacuum sealed to the face and edges. Vacuum wrapped doors are not recommended in our North Queensland area – due to the heat causing the plastic film to open up – especially around the oven/stove and rangehood which are the heat areas of the kitchen.

A natural manufactured board made from renewable resource pine forest thinnings. Its warm honey colour is retained by applying a clear finish directly on to the surface, or coloured stains to achieve different looks. Specialist finishes such hand painting, including effects like dragging and marbling, can also be applied. Craftwood can be manchined, routed and shaped to achieve virtually any decorative effect. Painted Craftwood is not impact resistant or as easy to clean as a decorative laminate surface.

Framed doors with centre panels allow your to imagination to go wild to create an individual door. Example Timber frame with galvanised mini orb centre panel or painted frame with your choice of laminated centre panel or stainless steel centre panel.

The most popular materials used for splashbacks are Laminates, Tiles, Stainless Steel and the new trend glass.

Laminates and Tiles have been around for ages, laminates allow you to match your splashback with your benchtop. Tiles have so many options and always new styles are on the market. Stainless Steel has exciting new textures and colours to choose from. Glass is the new exciting option for splashbacks. Any paint colour, gloss, matt, or metallic is applied behind the glass and sealed. Also there is endless textures and patterns you can have instead of plain flat glass.

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