suggestions on how to declutter your closet

April Showers Bring Opportunities to Declutter your Closet

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-04-06 15:52:58

It’s officially spring, and while that gives us hope that beautiful weather is just around the corner, April is notorious for dishing out some dreary, rainy days. While gray days may inspire you to sink onto your couch and binge watch your favorite TV series, these days provide a wonderful opportunity for channeling your energy into spring decluttering, especially when it comes to your closet. Getting more organized now means you can spend warmer days basking in the sunshine rather than rummaging through your closet.

So, how do you tackle this seemingly overwhelming feat?

Start by removing everything (yes, everything!) from your closet.

This prevents you from ignoring items you might be indecisive about. You’ll be forced to assess each item and decide whether or not it is worthy of taking up valuable closet space. Plus, clearing your closet gives you the chance to dust your shelves and vacuum or sweep the floor.

Once the dust settles, stand back and admire how much bigger your closet looks without all the clutter. Feels better already, doesn’t it?

Designate boxes or large bags for items you decide to donate, sell, consign, or discard

Having a convenient place to put unwanted items makes it more likely they won’t end up right back in your closet.

Retrieve your spring clothes from storage, if necessary

If you’ve stored your spring clothes somewhere other than your closet, now is the time to get them out so you can sort through them and determine what is going to make it into your closet.

Identify your favorites

Take inventory of your winter clothes first since they’re fresh in your mind. Which items are you absolutely sure you will want to enjoy next winter? These are most likely the items you wore regularly last winter, whether it was every other day (we won’t tell!) or every other week. Put these items in a “keep” pile.

Next, move on to your spring clothes, since you’ll be putting those front and center in your newly organized closet.

Remove items you don’t (or can’t) wear

Clothes that no longer fit, are uncomfortable, or just aren’t right for you fall into this category. Maybe you roasted every time you wore that turtleneck sweater, or avoided wearing those jeans you shrank in the dryer. Whatever the reason, if you didn’t wear something this past season, chances are you won’t wear it next year, either. Sell or donate these items and let someone else enjoy them. If you get in the habit of doing this after every season, you’ll be able to pull the next season’s clothes into your closet with little effort.

Discard any clothes that are extremely worn or beyond repair

If something is in such bad shape that you wouldn’t wear it in public, nobody else will want to wear it, either. Keep in mind that some charities that accept clothing will automatically recycle items they find unfit to be sold or donated to families in need. You can always call area charities in advance to find out if this is an option. If not, consider keeping the clothes to wear for tasks such as home improvement projects, yard work, or heavy cleaning. If neither of those are options, then it’s time to discard the items.

Get your winter clothes ready for storage, if necessary

If you only have room to keep one or two season’s worth of clothes in your closet, now would be the time to store away the winter clothes you decided to hang on to until next year. Before you store these items, make sure to launder or dry clean them. Once laundered, store them in a plastic container with a lid, preferably in a climate-controlled area.

Start putting your favorites back in your closet

Put your favorites for the current season in your closet first, and see how much room you have left, keeping in mind you’ll need space for any new clothes you plan to purchase for the season.

Tackle the in-betweens

This is the hardest part of the process. Once you’ve selected your favorites and eliminated clothes you definitely won’t be keeping, you’ll probably be stuck with the in-betweens—those items you aren’t sure you’re ready to part with, but that definitely aren’t your favorites. If you’re on the fence about keeping something, try it on and make sure it still fits well and feels comfortable. If you’ve got a lot of clothes in this in-between category, sometimes deciding what to keep depends on space. Other times, it depends on how many like items you have. After all, how many striped shirts or black pairs of pants does one person need? You’ll be able to evaluate and make comparisons much easier when you can see all of your favorites in your closet.

Once you’ve decluttered your closet and decided what to keep, it’s the perfect time to think about how to maximize your space. That’s where we can help! From custom-built shelving, drawers, and storage cabinets to pull-out ironing board storage, we can help you make the most of your space. Give us a call to get stated!

the pet friendly kit friendly kitchen remodel

The kid-friendly, pet-friendly kitchen remodel

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-03-07 10:24:34

Whether you have kids, pets, or both, chances are when you’re in the kitchen, that’s where they want to be also. After all, the kitchen is where the food is…though maybe they enjoy your company a little, too! 

Kitchens are often the hub of all the activity that occurs in a home, and if you’re considering a remodel, it’s a good idea to design a plan that accommodates your kids and pets. Doing so can help ensure that your kitchen not only looks great, but stands up to wear and tear, conceals clutter (and finger and paw prints), and provides a safe hangout spot for your kids and pets.

Select the right kind of flooring

Spilled juice. Broken dishes. Muddy paw prints. Hairballs. Trails of dog slobber the size of the Mississippi. 

With kids and pets, these things are bound to happen, and your floor needs to be able to stand up to it. Ideal flooring for kids and pets should be resistant to stains, scratches, and water damage, and be able to withstand impact from dropped objects such as heavy toys or shattered glass. 

Good flooring choices include porcelain or ceramic tile, resilient vinyl, and linoleum. Although durable, none of these options is as comfortable as carpet for napping pets, crawling toddlers, or your tired feet after a long day at work. Investing in several good quality slip-resistant rugs can provide extra comfort and warmth. Make sure they are machine washable so you can easily toss them in the laundry when messes do occur. 

Choose floor colors that conceal pet hair 

If you have pets, it’s also a good idea to choose a floor color that will conceal pet hair as much as possible. If you have a black dog that sheds constantly and you install a white tile floor, any amount of hair will be clearly visible. The same goes for a white cat and a dark floor. Unless you have a robotic vacuum, you’ll be spending a lot of extra time sweeping that very noticeable pet hair off the floor—and you’ve got better things to do! 

Choose easy-to-clean surfaces that conceal messes

It’s a given that you want your new kitchen to look great well past it’s debut. But what you don’t want is to have to be continually fussing to keep it that way. Choosing surfaces wisely can make a huge difference in the amount of time you spend polishing your kitchen. 

For countertops, black or very dark shiny surfaces such as granite will forever reveal fingerprints, smudges, and water rings. Even wiping them down with a damp rag can leave visible streaks. White or extremely light countertops can—depending on the material—easily show stains such as spilled grape juice or an abandoned popsicle that melted on the counter. Choosing countertops with some degree of variegation can help conceal imperfections. Materials such as quartz and laminate are durable, stain-resistant options for busy families, and both have limitless selections when it comes to variegated patterns and colors.

For backsplashes, choose a material that is easy-to-clean and water resistant, such as porcelain, ceramic, or glass tile. Walls are easily scrubbable when painted with a semi-gloss or satin paint. 

As far as appliances go, black stainless steel is an increasingly popular option for parents who want the look of stainless without the hassle of constantly wiping fingerprints and smudges.

Don’t forget safety

There are several things you can do to make sure your new kitchen is as safe as possible for kids and pets. 

  • Choose countertops with rounded edges to protect against head bumps
  • Purchase appliances with kid-lock features when available
  • Place kids’ dishes and snacks in easily accessible lower shelves, drawers, or cabinets so they don’t need to climb to get to something
  • For younger kids, keep a step stool handy for times when they need to reach the counter. Just make sure there’s a convenient place to stow it away when its not being used, to avoid anyone tripping over it
  • Install a fire extinguisher in a pantry or cabinet near the stove 

Make convenient built-ins a part of your new design

  • Homework station. While older kids may prefer doing homework in the quiet of their rooms, younger kids often end up doing their homework in the kitchen where they can be around other family members. If you’ve been battling an unending pile of school supplies, papers, and books scattered about your kitchen table, consider adding a small built-in desk in your kitchen to serve as a designated homework spot for younger kids. It could even be built with a pull-down door to conceal unsightly clutter and supplies when not in use. If you have the space for two islands, a second island can be an ideal spot for kids to do their homework and eat their after school snacks while you use the other island for food prep. Drawers and storage inside the island can then be used to organize papers and supplies. 
  • Pull-out snack drawers. Custom, pull-out sections inside cabinets and pantries work great for storing kids’ snacks and school lunch items, keeping them safely within reach. 
  • Built-ins for pets. Many modern kitchen designs are featuring built-ins for pets, such as pull-out dog food or treat storage or pet food bowls that slide into a drawer or island when your pet is done eating. If your dog or cat loves to lay around in the kitchen while you’re cooking, you might even consider building a pet bed into an area under an open cabinet or shelf. That way, you’ll be less likely to step on a tail or trip over your pet as you rush around the kitchen. 

If you’re thinking about starting a kitchen remodel and want to include kid- and pet-friendly options, ask us how we can help! 

choosing hardware for your cabinets

Choosing hardware for your cabinets

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-02-05 11:06:32

When it comes to designing or remodeling a kitchen, there are many options to consider: countertop materials, cabinet wood species and color, appliances, and lighting—just to name a few. One of the smaller details of a kitchen design is cabinet and drawer hardware. Though this may seem less important than the larger decisions, hardware impacts the look and feel of a room, improves the usability of cabinets and drawers, and protects them from fingerprints and smudges. With all the different choices for hardware, from knobs and pulls to a variety of finishes, making decisions can seem a little overwhelming. Here are some things to consider when selecting hardware:

  1. Knobs vs. pulls. One of the first decisions to consider is whether to choose all knobs, all pulls, or a combination of both. When a combination is used, pulls are commonly used for drawers, while knobs are used for cabinet doors. Another popular option is to use cup pulls for drawers in combination with straight pulls or knobs for cabinet doors. Regardless of the combination used, knobs and pulls should coordinate in both finish and style.
  2. Comfort. Comfort should be the deciding factor when it comes to choosing between knobs and pulls, as well as style. Test how the different styles feel in your hand. Try to consider anything about the piece that might bother you down the road, such as a knob that has sharp square edges or a pull that seems too short or shallow for your fingers to fit comfortably beneath. You may want to consider having family members test the various options as well.
  3. Finish. While there are many types of finishes available, deciding on a color preference helps narrow the choices from the start. Most finishes essentially fall within one of these colors:  gold (brass), silver (chrome or nickel), brown (bronze), or black. Once you choose a color preference, different finishes can really add character and depth to a room. Options within the silver color family include chrome, stainless steel, polished nickel, satin nickel, and antique silver. The most popular options within the gold color family include polished brass and antique brass. Options within the bronze family include antique bronze, oil-rubbed bronze, and Venetian bronze. Even black finishes come in a variety of tones and sheens. Though it doesn’t need to match exactly, the color you select for cabinet hardware should coordinate with the cabinet finish, as well as kitchen appliances, lighting fixtures, and plumbing fixtures.
  4. Size and position. Determining the best size and position for hardware can help ensure ease of use of your cabinets and drawers. Generally, pulls are used vertically on cabinet doors and horizontally on drawers, although a trend in modern designs is to place pulls horizontally on doors as well. When considering this look, you may want to try out a horizontally placed door handle to make sure you feel comfortable opening a door that way. Pulls or knobs that are placed too high on top cabinet doors may not be easy for everyone to reach. On drawers, pulls that are too narrow or too wide may look disproportionate. If you have different sizes and widths of drawers and are using pulls, it is best to choose a pull width that accommodates the varying sizes, or use two pulls on wide drawers (one on each side). Similarly, if knobs are used, installing knobs on each side of a wide drawer could make it easier to open.
  5. Styles. Cabinet and drawer hardware comes in a variety of styles to compliment any room, from minimalist and modern to ornate and traditional. When choosing a style, make sure it coordinates with the overall look of the room, and isn’t something too trendy that you may grow tired of a few years down the road. 

If you are considering a kitchen remodel, give us a call. We can help you decide which hardware options are best for your project!

Choosing a wood species option for your cabinets

Choosing a wood species option for your cabinets

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-01-22 20:36:53

While there are many decisions to make when it comes to selecting cabinets, one of the most important is what kind of wood species to use. The type of wood can drastically impact the look of a room, and it is important to choose a material that will work with your design preferences, lifestyle, and budget. Here are some options to consider:

Red Oak

A classic favorite for cabinets, red oak is known for its strength, durability, affordability, and distinctive open-grain patterns with varying flared appearance. The porous nature of red oak makes it ideal for staining or painting it to fit many design styles.

Quarter Sawn White Oak

Unlike red oak, white oak is non-porous and is more resistant to moisture. In fact, it is a choice wood for boats and outdoor furniture for this reason. Quarter sawn white oak reveals dramatic flecks and rays as a result of how it is cut, giving cabinets a unique appearance. Quarter sawn white oak can complement styles ranging from traditional to modern. Due to the way it is cut, it generally costs significantly more than red oak.


Cherry has long been a popular wood choice for kitchen cabinets, with a fine-to-medium closed-grain pattern, smooth texture, and medium durability. Exposure to light will cause cherry to gradually darken as it ages, which can add even more depth to its rich, beautiful color. Cherry is a great choice for traditional kitchens, but works well with most design styles.


Another popular choice for kitchen cabinets, maple has a smooth texture and fine, subtle grain pattern, which makes it the perfect backdrop for many different design styles. Maple is strong and durable, and looks great with stains or paint.


Birch is a strong wood species that offers a very consistent, smooth, closed-grain pattern. Birch is comparable in appearance to maple, but generally costs less.


Like oak, hickory is an open-grain species, but with drastic changes in contrast and grain pattern throughout. Due to the distinctive look of hickory, it is favored in rustic and country kitchen designs. Because hickory has such bold patterns, it can create a busy look if the overall kitchen design doesn’t offset it with a more subtle look. Hickory is one of the hardest and most durable wood species available, but it can also be one of the more costly options.


With its rich color and intriguing grain pattern, walnut can enhance traditional or modern designs with a slightly rustic charm. Though not as durable as oak or hickory, walnut resists everyday wear and tear well, requires little maintenance, and is moisture-resistant. Walnut is not as common as some of the more popular wood species, and is generally more expensive as a result.


Lyptus is wood produced from a hybrid of two species of Eucalyptus trees, and is grown on plantations in Brazil. The trees can be harvested in just 15 years, which is much faster than most other wood species. Lyptus is a very strong and durable wood with a fine, even grain pattern and is comparable to mahogany in appearance. It works well in a variety of design styles, from traditional to modern. Lyptus does have a higher shrinkage rate than other wood types, so it does best in areas where moisture and humidity are controlled.


The light color and distinctive grain pattern of bamboo make it an excellent option for modern kitchens. Bamboo gets its unique look from strips of bamboo stalks that are placed side-by-side and glued together. The varying grain pattern can run vertically or horizontally, depending on how the stalks are arranged. Bamboo cabinets are very durable, which is why bamboo is also a popular material for flooring. Unlike wood, bamboo resists warping due to moisture. Bamboo can be stained, although many homeowners choose to highlight its light, natural beauty by selecting a natural finish.

If you’re considering custom-built cabinets, give us a call! We can help you choose a solution that’s just right for your home!


holiday storage solutions from lutes custom cabinetry

7 kitchen organization tools worth putting on your Christmas list

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-01-22 20:36:39

It’s that time of year when family members and friends are asking you to drop hints about what you might like for Christmas. If you’ve been dreaming of getting your kitchen more organized, it’s highly unlikely Santa’s elves will have the time to reorganize your kitchen for you. There are, however, some practical gift ideas you could suggest to get your kitchen in order during the quiet winter days following Christmas. Then, you’ll have both the time and the tools for reorganizing your kitchen!

Utensil organizers

Here at Lutes, we are experts at customizing cabinets and drawers with organizers built just for your specific needs. If new cabinets aren’t in your plans just yet, adding a few utensil organizers could make life in your kitchen a little easier. Utensil organizers come in a variety of finishes and sizes to fit your drawers, and with your utensils neatly organized, they’ll be at your fingertips right when you need them.

Food storage canisters and containers

Not only are transparent food storage canisters and containers a great way to keep your food fresh, their see-through appearance can help you locate foods quickly without the hassle of sorting through half-used boxes and bags. Food storage containers are great for cereal, oats, pasta, rice, dried beans, coffee and tea, baking ingredients, bulk spices, and snacks. They also help give your pantry or shelves a tidy, uniform appearance.

Label maker

When it comes to organization, there are a multitude of ways a label maker can be helpful throughout the home. In the kitchen, one of the best uses for a label maker is for food storage. Labeling food containers with the contents and “use by” date can help ensure food safety and prevent unnecessary waste. Labels can also be used for designating areas to keep like items together, such as drawers, baskets, or shelves in the pantry or freezer.

Removable, reusable labels

These versatile labels work well for labeling items you might have on display, such as canisters or decanters. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, and are typically larger and more decorative than the labels produced from a label maker. They can be written on with a dry erase marker and easily removed and reused for different items later…or when it’s time to wash your container.

Tiered shelves for canned goods or spices

After a trip to the grocery store, it’s easy to haphazardly stash canned goods or jars into the pantry, but it doesn’t make it easy to locate items when you’re scurrying to make dinner. Adding several tiered shelves to your pantry or cabinets is a great solution. They sit right on top of your existing shelves, and allow you to place taller cans, jars, or containers in the back and shorter ones in the front so you can quickly see all your items at a glance. Tiered shelves also work well for spice containers.

Under-sink storage solutions

The area under your kitchen sink can become a catch-all for everything from dish scrubbers and rags to cleaning supplies. In fact, when we build custom cabinets, we love to talk with our customers and come up with solutions for these challenging areas. Pull-out shelves for cleaning supplies or convenient, hidden storage for rags and scrubbers are a couple of the ways we’ve helped make kitchen storage more efficient for our customers.

There are a variety of products you can install on the back of your cabinet door or even ones that can be hung right over the door to organize items such as soaps, scrubbers, sponges, cleaning sprays, or boxes of plastic wrap or resealable plastic bags. Some retailers even have freestanding shelves you can add under the sink that are designed to fit around pipes, although additional items such as garbage disposals or instant hot water dispensers may make this a challenge.

In-cabinet dividers for pots and pans

Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of the cooking process is attempting to dislodge buried pots and pans from your cabinets. That’s why when we build cabinets, we often work with homeowners to incorporate built-in dividers to keep large items separated and easily accessible. Purchasing freestanding dividers for your cabinets is a great option to maximize and organize your cabinet space. Vertical dividers work wonders for tall, flat items such as cookie sheets and cooling racks. Horizontal dividers are great for pots and pans and can eliminate the need for stacking.

Cabinets that are custom built to maximize and utilize potential storage space will help your kitchen run smoothly and efficiently. If you’re thinking it might be time to add some custom-built solutions to your kitchen, just give us a call. We’d love to help!

organize your home before the holidays

Get your home organized before the Holidays

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-01-22 20:36:04

As the days get colder and shorter and you find yourself spending more time inside, now is a great time to get your home organized before the holidays, especially if guests will be visiting or staying with you.

After all, what’s more embarrassing than having your mother-in-law ask where your containers for the leftovers are, only to watch helplessly as your disheveled collection comes tumbling out at her from the depths of your cabinet? Taking some simple steps now will help everything run more smoothly during the holidays.

Create extra space for guests to leave their coats, hats, and shoes. If you have an entryway or hall closet, assess whether there is adequate space for additional coats, and whether there are enough empty hangers for everyone who will be visiting. Consider temporarily moving some of your own items to another closet if necessary. If your closet has shelving, clear some space for guests to place items such as hats or bags. A few hooks could also be installed on the side walls of your closet to hang loose items.

Hall trees, coat trees, and coat racks are a great solution if you don’t have an entryway closet, or if you just want to provide an additional convenient place for guests to leave their coats.

It is also a good idea to provide boot trays, mats, or shoe racks close to your entryway for guests to leave their shoes. This is especially helpful this time of year when the weather is unpredictable and guests could arrive with wet, snowy, or muddy shoes.

Clear clutter from your countertops. Don’t wait until guests start arriving to figure out where they’ll put their casserole dishes and slow cookers. Take a look a your counters now and think about what you could store in your cabinets or pantry instead. Items you use on a daily basis, such as coffee makers, canisters, or cooking utensils can be left on the counters, whereas items you use less often could be put away. Knick knacks or piles of paper that end up on your counters should also be cleared ahead of time. If you are hosting a holiday meal and have limited counter space, even items you use on a daily basis could be relocated on the day of the event to help make room for food and serving trays.

Corral serving spoons, hot pads, and oven mitts into one convenient location so you don’t have to dig for them after guests arrive. If guests will be bringing slow cookers, assess whether you’ll have enough available outlets. If not, keep a power strip nearby that you can easily locate that day.

Organize your cabinets and drawers. Keep your mother-in-law from getting swallowed by that avalanche of plastic containers by organizing storage containers and their lids in a convenient, easy-to-reach location. Plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and resealable storage bags should also be easily accessible.

Make sure guest bedrooms are guest-friendly. Guest bedrooms and their closets seem like the perfect catch-all for storing random items that don’t already have a home—that is, until it’s time for your guests to arrive. Instead of having to frantically clear space in the guest room at the last minute while your potatoes are boiling over in the kitchen, take some time now to assess what needs to be done to make it guest-friendly. Put fresh sheets and blankets on the bed. Leave extra blankets in a convenient location. Clear enough space in the closet or dressers for guests to store their clothes, especially if they will be staying more than a couple days. If you don’t have a convenient place in your bathrooms to store extra towels for guests, place enough clean towels and washcloths in their guest room for them to use throughout their stay. Make sure they have convenient access to a laundry basket or hamper to discard used linens.

Do the deep cleaning now, before your schedule gets even more hectic. Sure, you’ll still have to clean before the holidays, but with the deep cleaning out of the way, it won’t be nearly as time consuming. Even if you aren’t planning on hosting, now that you’re probably spending more time indoors, it’s a great time to tackle deep cleaning projects. These might include polishing your stainless steel; cleaning your refrigerator, freezer, oven, stovetop, or microwave; scrubbing tile grout; wiping down walls in high-traffic areas; dusting blinds and washing and ironing (or dry cleaning) curtains; or spot cleaning furniture, area rugs, or throw pillows.

If you’ve been avoiding hosting a holiday gathering because you’re in need of a kitchen or bathroom overhaul, give us a call! Next year, your house will be the one everyone wants to visit!

remodeling your kitchen and choosing the correct colors

Choosing timeless renovations

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-01-22 20:35:47

Have you ever been in a home where you immediately sensed which bygone decade the last updates occurred in? Maybe the avocado green kitchen screamed 1970s, or the pastel floral wallpaper made you feel like you stepped right back into the 80s. Whatever the style, it was trendy at the time, but trends seem to fade about as fast as that hot new paint color can dry.

Kitchen and bathroom renovations can make a home more functional and enjoyable, bring it up to date, and increase resale potential. Although revitalizing your home is an exciting process, the decisions that go along with any major renovation can be difficult, since you—or future owners of your home—may be living with these decisions for a long time. Selecting timeless style elements is a good way to continue to enjoy your renovation for years to come.

Stick with a neutral color palette
Bold colors bring energy to any room, but when it comes to major items such as cabinets, countertops, backsplash, appliances, flooring, and even plumbing fixtures, sticking with neutral colors has greater potential to create a timeless look.

Keep patterns traditional
These days, you can find tiles with just about anything on them—flowers, geometric patterns, even birds and animals. And wallpaper has made a comeback in recent years, featuring contemporary patterns and textures.

While trendy patterns can look great in moderation, it’s a safe bet to say that they’ll go out of style long before neutral tiles and painted walls. Consider whether you’ll want to live with the pattern five or ten years from now, or whether you’ll be ready to make another update when it goes out of style.

If you’re absolutely set on incorporating a trendy pattern into your design, try using it as an accent instead of filling a large space. For example, wallpaper a single accent wall while leaving the other walls in the room painted a neutral color. Or create a border row on a tile backsplash or wall that features a bolder color or pattern than the rest of the tile.

Add color, patterns, and textures by accessorizing
If you’re going for a timeless look, choosing neutral colors and patterns for your renovation does not mean your home has to look ho-hum. Think of these neutrals as a perfect backdrop for whatever design style you want to showcase. Adding bold accessories is a perfect way to let your personal style shine. Window treatments, area rugs, and throw pillows can bring color, texture, and warmth to your home. Artwork, dinnerware, pottery, or seasonal decor can show off bold colors or patterns. Even choosing a few accent pieces of furniture can pull a look together and make a room feel more inviting. These accessories are generally much easier to replace than major elements such as flooring, countertops, or tile.

Consider your home’s current style when selecting cabinets
If kitchen cabinets or bathroom vanities are part of your home remodel, consider drawer and door styles that work well with your home’s existing style. Raised panel, recessed panel or shaker are timeless favorites that work well in traditional, country, or transitional style homes. Flat-panel cabinets look great in modern style homes. Door and drawer styles can even be mixed for a unique but timeless look.

Whether your goal is to create a timeless update, embrace the latest trends, or integrate both, we can help design the perfect solution for your space. Just give us a call!

preserving your kitchen during canning season

Preserving your Kitchen During Canning Season

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-01-22 20:35:31

As summer draws to an end in Ohio, canning season is in full swing, giving us a way to enjoy the fresh taste of homegrown produce year round. September is the perfect time to preserve Ohio-grown sweet corn, peaches, pears, and applesauce. Late-harvest tomatoes are also a popular September canning item, yielding savory pasta sauces as well as tomatoes and tomato juice for soups and stews.

While home canning is a rewarding process, it can be taxing on your kitchen if precautions aren’t taken. Here are some tips to help you preserve your kitchen.

Make sure your stovetop is safe to use for canning

Glass or ceramic stovetops may not be suitable to use with canners, especially pressure canners, so it is always a good idea to check your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer before you start canning. Coil burners are generally safe to use for any type of canning, but it is still a good idea to check the owner’s manual for specifics about your model.

Some glass-top units are built with a sensor that automatically shuts the burners off if they get too hot — a feature that prevents potential cracking or damage. Glass-top burners may also fluctuate temperature continuously in order to maintain the desired heat without overheating. When using pressure canners, either of these scenarios can present an inconsistent pressure problem, resulting in undercooked and potentially unsafe food.

If you learn that your glass-top stove is safe to use for canning, keep in mind that many glass-top stoves have a weight limit, so excessive weight in the canner could cause damage to your stove top. Also, canners that are full and heavy can easily scratch a glass surface, so avoid sliding or dragging canners across the surface.

Consider the effects of canning on different countertops

Heat damage While surfaces such as granite, marble, quartz, and stainless steel are more heat resistant than laminate, they are not completely heat proof. Care should be taken with all countertops during and after canning to protect against heat damage.

If you plan to use your countertops to store canned jars as they cool, use racks, towels, hot pads, or trivets to protect the surface. Even heat-resistant countertops can crack under extreme thermal pressure, and laminate surfaces can melt, warp, or become discolored. With any surface, it is best not to place hot pots and pans directly on countertops without protection. Not only can pots and pans cause heat damage, but the bottoms can scratch many surfaces.

Etching and stains In canning, vinegar is a must for pickling, and lemon juice is often added to jams, fruit, and even tomatoes, depending on the recipe. On any surface, care should be taken to clean up these acidic liquids right away. Acids can etch and stain surfaces such as marble, and can soak into and stain granite or quartz if left on the surface too long. Laminate countertops stand up well to acidic liquids, but juices from tomatoes or grapes can stain a lighter surface.

Scratching One of the most laborious tasks in the canning process is the prep work, which often involves chopping or cutting fruits and vegetables before canning. While surfaces such as quartz and granite are scratch resistant, cutting directly on those surfaces can dull knifes. Marble, laminate, and solid surface are prone to scratching.

No matter the surface, it is always best to use a cutting board to protect countertops from scratches and even stains from certain fruits or vegetables.

Regulate humidity to prevent damage

The canning process can leave any kitchen hot, humid, and generally uncomfortable to work in. Extreme humidity can cause damage to wood surfaces such as cabinets, especially if they are close to the stovetop where you are canning. Cabinets that have a laminated outer surface—or are painted—can bubble or peel when exposed to steam or moisture for long periods of time. While you may not see noticeable damage to surfaces right away, if you can multiple times a year, year after year, eventually you may see the effects.

Control the humidity in your kitchen by running your range vent throughout the process. If the temperature and humidity outside is lower than inside (one of the many benefits of fall), consider opening your windows. Otherwise, running your air conditioner will help regulate the humidity and keep you comfortable throughout the process.

Canning is hard work, but the rewards far outweigh the investment of time upfront. If you are an avid canner who is considering a kitchen remodel, Lutes Custom Cabinetry and Furniture can help you choose the best options for your kitchen!

stay organized throughout the school year by creating zones in your home

Stay Organized Throughout the School Year by Creating Zones in your Home

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-01-22 20:35:16

August is back-to-school time, and for many families, that means life is about to become chaotic again. Mornings will be bustling, and after-school activities can makes afternoons and evenings just as hectic. Taking some steps in your home now to get organized can help things run more efficiently when school begins.

Create a drop zone in your home for items such as backpacks and shoes

No parent wants to have to run to school to deliver a forgotten backpack, or be frantically searching for shinguards just minutes before soccer practice is supposed to start! Creating a place for family members to drop these items off when they get home makes it easier for kids (and parents) to remember them the next time they head out the door.

Entry ways, mud rooms, laundry rooms, and even attached garages are great areas for this zone to be located, providing a central home for items such as backpacks, coats, purses, shoes, sports gear, and rain or snow accessories. Clutter can be kept under control by using built-in storage cubbies, coat hooks, storage benches, and shoe organizers so that every item has a place. Families with multiple kids can even designate a special zone for each child using fun labels.

Organize lunch items so they are easy to grab and go

Designate space in a lower cabinet, drawer, or pantry shelf for school lunch items. Custom, pullout sections inside cabinets and pantries work great for this purpose. Storage containers, water bottles, lunch boxes, and non-perishable lunch items can be stored in this space for quick and easy access. In the refrigerator, keep lunch items such as deli meat, cheese, yogurt, fruit and veggies, and cold drinks together. Divide food into serving-size portions ahead of time using resealable plastic bags or storage containers.

Stay on top of paperwork by keeping it in a central location

School handbooks, sign up sheets, classroom schedules…the list goes on and on! In the first fews weeks of school, kids tend to bring home a steady stream of paperwork that can quickly consume your kitchen counter or dining room table.

To get a grip on the paperwork, choose a central location in your home (preferably not your kitchen counter!) where kids can unload their school papers each day. Having all the paperwork in one place makes it easier for you to sort through.

Prevent stacks of paperwork from accumulating by immediately tossing papers you don’t need. Whether it’s for a sport your child just isn’t interested in, or a chaperone signup slip for a field trip you know you won’t be able to attend, don’t let these papers create unnecessary clutter.

Then, separate paperwork into manageable categories using labeled folders, trays, or plastic bins made for hanging file folders. Categories might include:

  • Urgent. Use for items that need to be reviewed and returned to school ASAP. This would include permission slips, medical forms, school picture forms, sports signups, or volunteer forms.
  • Review. Placing items such as school handbooks, classroom rules, or school-year calendars in this folder lets you sort through the paperwork now and review these items later. Just make sure to check for acknowledgment slips that might need returned to school by a specific date.
  • Out. Use for items that have been reviewed and are ready to go back to school.
  • Reference. Use this folder for things you may need to refer to throughout the school year.

Create a family message station

Creating a family message station in a high-traffic area of your home, such as your kitchen, can help ensure that everyone in the family sees the messages and is on the same page. Hang a dry erase board for writing notes or lists, or use a bulletin board to pin important information such as invitations. Keep track of school activities, sports schedules, and appointments with a dry erase board calendar.

If you’re thinking it might be time to add some custom-built solutions in your home to help your family stay organized, just give us a call. We’d love to help!

why choose custom cabinets over boxed cabinets

Why choose custom cabinets over manufactured (box) cabinets

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-01-22 20:34:12

Whether you’re building a new home or considering new cabinets as part of a home remodel project, one of the first decisions you’ll face when it comes to your cabinets is whether to choose custom cabinets or pre-manufactured (box) cabinets.

There are many advantages to choosing custom cabinets to increase your home’s value and efficiency. Here are just a few ways custom cabinets really outshine box cabinets:

Custom cabinets can be built to any size

Each home is unique, and one of the greatest benefits of choosing custom cabinets is the flexibility to design something that will work within your specific space.

Box cabinets are produced in a factory and come in standard sizes in set increments (typically 3”). More often than not, the space you need to fill will not be within those exact increments. The solution is to order cabinets that are smaller than the total area, using fillers to make up the difference. While fillers can be made to look like they are part of the overall cabinet design, they will not be utilizing the space to its fullest capacity.

Custom cabinets can be built to any size, maximizing storage potential. Cabinet makers can help you figure out how to take advantage of spaces around appliances, windows, plumbing fixtures, and other existing elements. Even in odd-shaped areas where it may be impossible to find a box cabinet that would work, custom cabinets can be built to fit exactly.

Custom cabinets can incorporate built-ins for better functionality

Just as custom cabinets can be designed to maximize storage, they can incorporate functional, built-in features that help keep you organized and decrease clutter. Box cabinets without these built-ins may leave you constantly rummaging through drawers and cabinets to find what you need.

Custom cabinet makers can help create built-in solutions for your specific needs, or suggest options such as:

  • Pull-out shelves
  • Vertical dividers for baking sheets and pans
  • Under-sink storage solutions
  • Custom drawer organizers for silverware and utensils
  • Plate racks and drawers
  • Trash can pullouts
  • Small appliance “garages” or pullouts
  • Spice cabinets

You can create a one-of-a-kind look, or match an existing style

With so many choices between door styles, profiles, hardware, finishes, and wood species—and the ability to mix and match them—custom cabinetry provides endless possibilities for creating a unique look.

Custom cabinetry is also a good option if you are looking to match the style or finish of existing cabinets or woodwork, especially if you want to enhance the original, timeless charm of an older home. With box cabinets, many styles eventually become discontinued, making it difficult to find a match for older cabinets.

Custom cabinets are hand-built in a cabinet shop

Working with a custom cabinet maker means that your cabinets will be carefully crafted by hand in a cabinet shop—not mass produced in a factory and then stored in a warehouse like box cabinets. In a cabinet shop, custom cabinets are built with attention to detail, and your cabinets will be manufactured as a group, ensuring the finishes match meticulously. Once completed, they are ready to be installed in your home!

Wondering if our experts can design the perfect custom cabinetry for your space? Just give us a call!

protecting your custom cabinetry from humidity

Protect your Cabinets from Summer Humidity

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-01-22 20:33:35

Aside from your basement, the most humid areas of your home are kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms—the hub of all cooking, cleaning, and—you guessed it—moisture! Since your cabinets happen to be conveniently located in these busy areas, it is important to understand how they can be affected by humidity, especially during warm summer months.

While a couple days of high humidity probably won’t permanently alter your cabinets, you may start to notice subtle changes, such as doors and drawers that stick when opened.

Over time, the effects of high humidity can cause wood to swell, creating noticeable and sometimes permanent problems such as:

  • Warping, buckling, or bowing
  • Changes to stiles and rails on cabinet doors
  • Exposed stain lines or unfinished areas due to movement of pieces

While all wood naturally expands and contracts with temperature and humidity changes, some species of wood “move” than others. Finishes can help slow expansion and contraction on wood, but they will not stop it.

Cabinets should be designed and constructed to be able to reasonably tolerate this natural movement without compromising appearance or functionality. It is important for cabinetmakers to ensure that purchased wood has been properly dried and stored so that the finished product doesn’t contain too high a moisture content from the start. This reduces the chance for extreme movement down the road.

To protect your cabinets from humidity, take the following steps:

  1. Monitor the humidity level in your home. If you don’t have a hygrometer built in to your thermostat, purchase an inexpensive digital hygrometer. In fact, it is a good idea to have more than one, so you can place them in high humidity areas and compare the humidity levels in different areas of your home. Your hygrometer should alert you when the humidity is too high. During the summer, levels should be around 45%-55% relative humidity.
  2. Avoid opening your windows when it is humid outside. Hot, humid days are obvious, but sometimes cool days can be surprisingly humid, especially in the morning or evening.
  3. Maintain a consistent temperature inside your home. Along with keeping your house cool, a properly sized HVAC unit can work wonders at reducing indoor humidity during the summer months.
  4. Use vents or exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom.
  5. Consider dehumidifiers for humid areas, especially if vents or exhaust fans aren’t an option, or if you do not have an HVAC system.
  6. Promptly address plumbing leaks or moisture problems that could increase your home’s humidity and cause damage to surfaces.
  7. Do not allow clothes to dry inside your home.

Do you have questions or need more information? Just give us a call. We’d love to help you discover the best solution for your home!

Choosing a Countertop for You and Your Kitchen

Choosing a Countertop for You and Your Kitchen Part II

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-01-22 20:33:13

As we mentioned last time, new countertops are a great way to refresh your kitchen and add to value of your home.  Plus, they are normally a critical part of any kitchen remodel or renovation project. 

In our prior post, we discussed the more common countertops, including Granite, Marble, and Laminate.  This time, let’s take a look at the newer and/or more unusual countertops that are on the market.

These include:

Solid Surface countertops are seamless, durable, and nonporous.  Importantly, a scratch can easily be buffed out due to its accommodating composition.  But as these countertops are susceptible to heat, a cutting board is a must.

Soapstone countertops are relatively durable, stain- and bacteria-resistant, and definitely unique in appearance.  In fact, no two Soapstone countertops will ever be the same.  While durable, soapstone is softer than most other surfaces and prone to scratching, pitting, and other damage.  Some maintenance may also be required if you desire surface consistency as the countertop ages.

Concrete countertops can offer nearly unlimited design options relative to color, shape, and edge profiles.  Likewise, a concrete countertop is highly durable and stain-resistant when sealed.  However, the sealer can also hinder heat resistance, a tradeoff the homeowner will need to consider.  

Bamboo countertops are not just for the tropical get-a-ways!  With pricing comparable to other hardwood options, Bamboo can be an excellent renewable, environmentally-friendly choice.  However, it is susceptible to heat and, despite its strength, can be nicked and dented. 

Copper countertops are truly beautiful and can quickly add character to your kitchen.  They are easy to clean, and by nature, are anti-bacterial.   Depending on your tastes, though, a change in color when in contact with various substances can be a plus – or a negative.    Copper can also scratch and dent easily, resulting in even more “character” over time.

Pewter countertops are easily stamped and formed.  As a result, Pewter can accommodate nearly any shape and used for decorative, unique edges. Original Pewter contained lead and was not recommended for surfaces that would contact food.  Today’s Pewter, however, is typically lead-free and can be used for countertops, backsplashes, and more.  Soft by nature, Pewter can be scratched and dented.

Zinc countertops are unique as they are beautiful.  Plus, they are resistant to bacteria, mold, and mildew.  Like other metal countertops, Zinc can scratch and dent and are susceptible to marks from hot pans. 

IceStone® (or Bio-Glass) countertops are made from recycled glass and cement.  If looking for an eco-friendly countertop, this may be your solution!  They are durable, relatively nonporous, and heat-resistant.  However, they are prone to cuts and scratches and require regular sealing.

Paper Composite (such as PaperStone®) countertops are a composite material made from post-consumer recycled paper.  These countertops are durable, relatively heat- & stain-resistant, and easy to clean.  They do, however, require sealing and shouldn’t be cleaned with abrasive materials.  Some scratching can occur, as can staining on lighter colors.

That rounds out our discussion on the many countertops that we’ve seen used in kitchen and bathroom remodeling & renovation projects as well as new construction.  If you have questions or need more information, just give us a call!

Check back again! We’ll continue to add helpful information for your remodeling, renovation, and new home projects.

marble countertops from lutes custom cabinetry

Choosing a Countertop for You and Your Kitchen Part I

by Lutes Custom Cabinetry on 2018-01-22 20:32:56

New countertops are a great way to refresh your kitchen and add to value of your home.  Plus, they are normally a critical part of any kitchen remodel or renovation project. 

Before choosing your new countertop, however, you should ask three important questions. 

  1. First, what is my budget and how much can I afford?  You don’t want to reach the halfway point and discover you’re out of money! 
  2. Secondly, what is the “look” I am trying to achieve? 
  3. Finally (and if not remodeling the entire kitchen), what color and textures will complement the rest of my kitchen? 

Answer these questions and you are on your way to new kitchen countertops!

As there are many choices available, we would like to provide an overview of the pros and cons of the most common countertops.  In the first half of our “Choosing a Countertop” discussion, we’ll take a closer look at some of the more common surfaces.  Then in the second half, we’ll discover some of the newer and/or more unique countertops that homeowners are enjoying! 

Let’s take a closer look:

Granite countertops offer plenty of character through unique grain patterns.  For endurance, however, sealing is the number one priority.

Quartz, an engineered stone, is tough, nonporous, and eco-friendly.  However, it’s not heat resistant so additional care must be taken to protect it from hot surfaces.

Marble countertops are heat resistant and the mainstay of classic elegance.  Just ask any pastry baker you know!  Everyone loves their unique patterns that come in countless color tones.  While beautiful, the relative soft surface will etch and scratch.  Accordingly, nonabrasive cleaning products are required to protect the surface when cleaning.

Laminate countertops are the surface of choice for budget-conscience homeowners.  These materials are available in countless patterns and colors.  Wood grains to glossy to marble-like looks are all available.   Unfortunately, laminates are more susceptible to heat damage.  Plus, they can take on an older, dull appearance as more scratches and dents occur. 

Butcher Block countertops go with nearly all styles.  They are truly beautiful and add warmth to any kitchen.  Importantly, Butcher Block countertops are easy on knives and other cutting utensils and your options are limited only by available hardwood species.  As a natural wood product, surfaces can be damaged by sharp edges and hot items.  Proper (and regular) sealing can limit this and other damage from water and chemicals.  Likewise, sealing will prevent germs from residing on the porous wood surface.

Tile countertops can offer homeowners a complete new look at an affordable price.  Tile is durable and offers a wide array of selections that allow one’s creative sense to reign supreme in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, keeping the grout clean may become a least favorite household chore.  Likewise, rolling pie dough on a tiled surface will be a little more difficult.

Stainless Steel countertops are the mainstay of commercial kitchens.  Stain-resistant, easy to clean, durable, and long-lasting are all factors that make them worthy of consideration for your home, too.  However, water spots, smudges, and fingerprints are hard to keep at bay. 

As you can see, there are many countertop options from which to choose.  Next time, we’ll take a look at some other countertop materials, such as Solid Surface, Soapstone, and more!

Do you have questions or need more information?  Just give us a call.  We’d love to help you discover the best solution for your home!