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Guidance For Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen

It’s Spring. The weather has started to change, the aroma of flowers is in the air and attitudes are improving for the better. Spring also is a traditional time for organizing your home. The annual writ of Spring Cleaning not only provides a more enjoyable home life, it also can help improve your mood, decrease stress levels and enhance creativity, claims Psychology Today magazine.
An organized kitchen can make meal preparation more enjoyable and could help improve the quality of meals. Domino magazine asked organizing expert and Keep This Toss That author Jamie Novak for decluttering kitchen advice. Novak’s guidance for organizing your kitchen is as follows:
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Stock your kitchen with:
• One set of dry cups (preferably those that nest together for storage)
• One liquid 2-cup measuring cup
• One set of stainless steel measuring spoons
Donate any additional measuring spoons or cups that you have.
Pots and Pans
Every kitchen needs one of each of the following essential pots and pans:
• 10-quart stockpot with lid for boiling pasta or steaming vegetables
• 3-quart sauté pan with lid for searing meats
• 2-quart saucepan for reheating food, making sauces and general cooking
• 9” by 13” baking pan for roasting chickens and baking cakes
Novak believes any additional pots and pans are unnecessary.
You only need three:
o 8-inch chef’s knife
o 3-inch paring knife
o 10-inch serrated knife
Kitchen Shears
Kitchen shears are a cook’s best friend. They can be used for slicing pitas, mincing herbs, trimming piecrusts and snipping beans and snow peas. They can also be used to open stubborn food packaging.
You need two – a Y-shaped peeler for large jobs and a swivel blade for smaller items.
If you have more than two sets of dishes, you have too many sets.
Potholders and Dishtowels
You need just one set of silicone potholders, and when it comes to dish towels, seven is the magic number. And remember, when you use dishtowels you make a contribution to the environment by cutting down on use of paper towels.
Bon Appetite magazine identified 24 essential spices for any kitchen. To help unclutter your spice drawer, consider investing in an attractive storage container. Throw out any ground spices that have been in your spice drawer or rack for more than six months and whole spices that are a year or older because they are past their prime.
Things to Eliminate
• Metal tongs because they can easily scratch pots and pans, which can make them unsanitary. Instead use silicone or rubber-tipped tongs.
• Scratched or warped pots and pans.
• Dull or rusted knives.
• Stained or chipped mugs and drinking glasses
• Deli containers
• Condiments that you get with take out food such as soy sauce, mayo, mustard, duck sauce, etc. They take up space in the fridge, they offer little benefit and are rarely used.
Things to Donate
• Pots or pans that don’t fit your burners.
• Small appliances that you only use once a year. How much space does that sandwich press take up in a cabinet? When was the last time you made ice cream waffles or fresh pasta?
• Mini specialty baking pans that are used less than once a year.
• Souvenir plastic cups you have acquired from your travels or that you thought were a good idea at the time of purchase.
• Travel coffee mugs that exceed the number of coffee drinkers in your home.
• Water bottles that exceed the number of water drinkers in your home.
• Glassware that is used less than once a year.
We can help organize your kitchen by recommending the latest storage devices available on the market. Give us a call at (847) 358-0143 or visit our showroom at 706 E Northwest Highway in Palatine so you can enjoy Spring, reduce your stress and enhance your creativity in the kitchen and beyond.

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April 22nd is Super Saturday
This Saturday is Super Saturday for Palatine. Shop selected Northwest Highway businesses for great deals on all sorts of items throughout the day. Pick up a flyer at participating stores to enter for a chance to win beautiful gift baskets. The more places you shop, the better chances you have to win!
This is part of the Latex Paint Recycling Fundraiser presented by Earth Paint and sponsored by d’Vine Wine and Gifts. Proceeds benefit Connect to Community, who are teaming up to build a better life for adults with special needs. Earth Paint is a charity that recycles water-based paint to be reused and also takes donations helping Connect to Community. Stop in Cabinets Plus and get info on the recycling process and where to purchase the recycled paint.
For more information, check out

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The Tax Advantages of a New Kitchen and Bath

April 15 is around the corner and we realize that many of our existing and future clients will be submitting their 2016 tax returns. This week we will review several of the tax advantages of being a homeowner and making improvements to your home.
The amount of tax that Americans pay is based on the amount of income that they earn from their employment, investments, and other sources less permitted deductions and tax credits. Tax credits reduce the amount on your tax bill. The most common tax credits for homeowners are a first-time homebuyer credit and expenses for childcare and home offices. A $1,000 tax credit will reduce your tax liability by $1,000 and save you $1,000 in taxes.
By comparison, a tax deduction lowers taxable income to amount equal to your marginal tax bracket. If you are in the 28% federal income tax bracket and you are entitled to a $1,000 tax deduction, your tax bill would be reduced by $280 (0.28 x $1,000 = $280).
Renovating an existing kitchen or bath may not provide immediate tax benefits, because those expenses are not deductible. However, they are factored into the value of your home when it is sold. When a home is sold, the IRS requires sellers to pay taxes on the difference in the original price owners paid for the home and the sale price of the home. The amount of tax you pay depends on how long you have owned the home and if you are single or married and file a joint return.
If you owned the home for five years and lived in it as your principal residence for two of the five years, you can exclude $250,000 of the profit from taxes if you are single, and $500,000 in profit from taxes if you are married and filing a joint return. Any amount of profit exceeding the $250,000 or $500,000 threshold is taxed as a capital gain. However, improvements you have made to your home that increase the home’s value substantially while you have owned it can reduce your tax exposure even more.
If you purchased your home in 1980 for $200,000, spent $50,000 renovating your kitchen in 2005 and $30,000 renovating your master bath in 2010, then the basis of your original purchase price for tax purposes would be $280,000. If you sold the home for $900,000 in 2016, the profit on your home would be $900,000 - $280,000 = $620,000. If you are married and filing a joint return, you would have to pay long-term capital gains tax on $120,000 of profit. The IRS will only allow you to increase the cost basis of our home if the improvement adds substantial value such as new kitchens and bathrooms, additional rooms, new roofs, etc. Check with your tax professional to determine which improvements would help raise the base of your home.
Additional tax benefits of owning a home and making improvements to it include the right to deduct the amount of interest you pay on both original mortgages and home improvement loans (or equity lines of credit). Real estate taxes also are deductible.
When you are considering a new kitchen or bath, do not overlook the potential tax benefits associated with making substantial improvements to your home or the ability to deduct interest on a home improvement loan. We would welcome the opportunity to show you how to make your dreams a reality by giving us a call at (847) 358-0143 or visiting our showroom at 706 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine. Please note, consult a qualified tax expert before taking any action on the guidance in this week’s blog.

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What's Trending in the World of Plumbing

The ISH Trade Fair, held every other year in Frankfurt, Germany, is the world’s largest exhibition of plumbing products. At ISH, held several weeks ago, there were 4,454 manufacturers from 96 countries. More than 142,000 people attended the fair, and they saw new, cool, and cutting edge products that will soon be available to you to help you create spaces that will wow your family and friends and provide a great sense of personal satisfaction.

Are you interested in capitalizing on these trends to make your home more enjoyable and valuable? See our website at, give us a call at (847) 358-0143, or visit our showroom at 706 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine.

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This Is Not Your Mom's Laundry Room

Check out our blog at for ideas on how to make your laundry room a functional space in your home.

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How to Get the Lux Look Without Spending a Fortune

Imagine how much more enjoyment you would get from your home if you could remodel your kitchen? Picture yourself at a beautiful waterfall countertop peninsula island with friends and family all participating in meal preparation, enjoying a favorite beverage and discussing the events of the day – that’s priceless. Our prospective clients typically ask how much a new kitchen costs. The answer? …It depends. The investment can range from a low of around $20,000 to more than $100,000. There are numerous factors that affect project cost. Moving walls, electrical, plumbing, gas, and other infrastructure items behind walls will add to the price tag.
Here’s how we create value and help assure that budgets are stretched to meet kitchen-remodeling goals. We start with the right layout. Kitchens not only have to be beautiful, they also need to be functional. The work triangle is a term used to describe the distance between the stove, refrigerator, and sink. We design to make sure that this triangle has the smallest footprint possible. Typically, but not in all cases, we locate the refrigerator close to an entrance to the kitchen because the refrigerator is the most used appliance in the kitchen.
Kitchen cabinets typically account for 35% of a remodel budget. Cabinets come in standard sizes, which leads some designers to believe that cabinets are not that interesting. We could not disagree more, and this is where homeowners who work with gifted designers can stretch their renovation dollars significantly. There is a wide array of cabinet options that come in standard sizes but can be tweaked to give a custom look without the custom price tag. Unless there is a space limitation, we can stretch renovation budgets by specifying taller cabinets that give our clients more storage space and options. The difference between a 36-inch and 42-inch wall cabinet equate to another shelf of storage space in the kitchen. The ability to identify a cabinet that meets your budget and aesthetic goals is one of the distinctive competencies of a professional showroom.
We also know where the greatest returns on investments are in a remodel. One is to allocate more resources to the backsplash. Backsplashes account for a significant portion of the visual space in a kitchen. Plus backsplashes provide our clients with an opportunity to make a personal and unique design statement. Additionally, you don’t have to spend a fortune to achieve your goals.
Little details matter a lot. Hardware for your cabinet doors and drawers is comparable to the jewelry you select when going out for a night on the town. It makes a huge difference but does not have to have a Tiffany price tag. You can make a striking statement with the right hardware.
Lighting provides another opportunity to obtain a lux look on a limited budget. Lighting is primarily responsible for how your new kitchen will look and feel. When you compromise the quality of light, you compromise the entire project. Today, lighting technology offers unlimited options to create different moods and feelings every time you use your kitchen. Plus, pendants, chandeliers, under cabinet, in drawer in cabinet, under cabinet, and well placed in-ceiling lighting offers another opportunity to express your individual style within a defined budget.
Flooring represents an opportunity to stretch budget dollars as well. Large ceramic tiles installed diagonally give a rich impression. In kitchens with an open floor plan, we encourage our clients to use wood flooring that matches the rest of the house to provide a consistent look.
Are you unsure if you have the budget to renovate your kitchen and achieve your goals? Please give us a call at (847) 358-0143 or come to our showroom located at 706 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine. We can provide you with a plan that meets your budget and your dreams.

Maintaining Your New Kitchen
Maintaining Your New Kitchen
Maintaining your new kitchen not only will increase the useful life of cabinets, appliances and floor and wall coverings; regular maintenance also will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the space.
Cabinet Cleaning
Grease and grime buildup can damage cabinets and destroy the look and feel of a new kitchen. To remove buildup wipe down cabinets using a soft cloth dampened with warm water and do so at least once every two weeks or more often depending on the amount of activity that takes place in the kitchen. If water alone does not clean cabinets completely, mix a little mild dishwasher soap with the water. Wipe down wood cabinets in the direction of the grain. Use a soft cloth to remove any residual moisture that may be left on the cabinets.
If routine cleaning does not remove stains or built up grime, create a paste by mixing baking soda with water. Place the paste on a sponge and scrub the stain until it disappears. Rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth. A mix of vinegar and water is another option for removing sticky grime or film from kitchen cabinets.
The following products and ingredients can damage cabinets so avoid using them or any product that contains them:
Petroleum-based products
Strong detergents and soaps
Nail polish remover
Paint thinners
Plastic brushes
Steel wool
Scoring pad
Repairing Nicks and Scratches
We typically provide a touch up kit to our clients so they can maintain the beauty of their kitchen. If you have recently updated your kitchen and did not receive a touch up kit, ask the showroom to obtain one on your behalf.
Avoid Water and Moisture Threats
Resist the temptation to place wet dishtowels or damp cloths over cabinet doors because the water and residue on the towels can damage a cabinet’s finish and result in peeling or color changes.
Always use your exhaust fan while cooking to minimize the amount of grease and grime flying onto cabinetry. Be sure to clean spills immediately; letting food, water, liquids or grease accumulate on your cabinets could damage the finish.
Avoid Light Damage
Direct exposure to sunlight can have a damaging effect on your cabinets especially those made from natural wood. Painted wood cabinets and laminated or thermofoil surfaces also are susceptible to fading from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Use window coverings to help reduce or eliminate damage caused by exposure to direct sunlight.
Avoid Heat Damage
Many of our clients use their oven’s self-cleaning feature. Because of the intense heat generated during oven self-cleaning, there is a small chance that if the heat escapes it could damage cabinets. If that does occur, remove cabinet doors and drawers closest to the oven before the next cleaning to avoid further damage.
These basic maintenance tips help our clients enjoy their new kitchens for many years. Do you have a kitchen maintenance question? Give us a call at (insert phone number) or visit our showroom at (insert address)

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What We've Learned from Restaurant Kitchens

On television and in movies, restaurant kitchens tend to be more glamorous than they are in real life. Series such as Top Chef, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and others provide an inside look into the life restaurateurs and their kitchens. In fact, the showcasing of professional kitchen areas has led to the open kitchen format found in many restaurants today where patrons can watch chefs in action and create the impression that diners are eating at a chef's table.
What are the lessons to learn from professional kitchens? Rule 1 is that function is more important than form. Professional kitchens must be practical, durable, and comfortable. These same benefits should carry over to your home kitchen. Most commercial kitchens feature a kitchen worktable. In the home, the worktable space may be an island, peninsula, long countertop, or other area that makes food prep easy and enjoyable. The popularity of open shelving concepts may have its roots in commercial kitchens. Open shelves not only allow you to showcase decorative items such as vases, ceramic pieces or eclectic items you have picked up in your travels, they also make it easy to access plates and other items you use daily.
When you walk into a professional kitchen, chances are you will be inundated with the amount of stainless steel surfaces that you see. Why stainless? Because you can place hot pots and pans on it without causing harm, stainless is called stainless because it doesn't stain and it is extremely hygienic. Plus it offers a clean, professional aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye and touch.
Many professional kitchens have a marble surface that is used by pastry chefs and those who are responsible for desserts. For our clients who have a passion for baking, we will specify a marble-top for an island or a cart depending on the size of the kitchen.
Other utilitarian features that we have borrowed from commercial kitchens are specifying pot and pan and utensil racks that not only allows you to grab what you need at a moment's notice, but also to showcase the tools you use to cook with.
If you are a serious cook, you need a serious place to clean up. That's why we often specify a commercial grade sink with separate compartments, space permitting, which makes clean up easier and capable of accommodating any size pot or pan. Today, many of the sink manufacturers providing commercial grade sinks for residential applications can custom make sinks in any size, length, or depth to accommodate specific client requirements.
Our serious cooking clients also fall in love with commercial grade refrigerators and freezers that have glass doors to enable our clients and their guests to see what's inside without having to open the door.
Commercial grade faucetry also is available for residential applications. We feature in our showroom the large goose-necked commercial faucets with spray nozzles that help make cleanup easier.
White subway tile has been trending for the past 10 years in both commercial and residential applications. We have found that when we specify floor-to-ceiling white subway tile, we create an aura of romance that our clients enjoy for many years.
Another restaurant feature that is a cool addition to a home is to employ a service door with a porthole window to bisect the space between a pantry and the kitchen or the kitchen and a dining room. Stainless steel front commercial-sized refrigerators are another popular option with our clients.
An oversized vent hood can make a unique and differentiating design statement for homeowners that are drawn to the industrial look that is trending now. Oversized vent hoods can integrate seamlessly into a design, especially for an open floor plan motif.
Next time you watch HGTV, Food Network, the Cooking Channel, PBS, or other media that showcases commercial grade kitchens, remember the design features, components, functionality, and look can be part of your home. Want to discuss the possibilities? Give us a call at (847) 358-0143 or visit our showroom at 706 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine.

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Stretch Your Kitchen Renovation Budget to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

When our clients make the decision to build the kitchen of their dreams, most times dreams and budgets don’t necessarily jibe. We help our clients to prioritize what is most important to them in order to stretch budget dollars without compromising either utility or aesthetics.
The first question we typically ask is, ‘How do you want your kitchen to feel when you enter and use it?’ Materials, texture, lighting, color, and utility create the feel of a room. We also encourage our clients to tell us how they plan to use their new kitchen. We ask how often they cook, and how many cooks use the kitchen at the same time. We also ask how often they entertain. Once we understand our clients’ goals and dreams, we capitalize on our years of design experience and our knowledge of products, space layout and construction to craft a design that meets their budgets and goals.
Unless the budget is unlimited, which is almost never the case, we help our clients stretch their budget dollars by paring down must-haves. Experience has taught us that warming drawers and steam secondary ovens are not frequently used appliances. They are nice to have and can really make a kitchen stand out, but their form typically outweighs their functionality. We find that a double oven can provide the same benefit as a warming drawer, especially for couples who work late hours and families with children engaged in after-school activities. One oven can be used for meal preparation and the other can be used to keep meals warm, providing the same benefit as a warming drawer without the extra expense. Plus, double ovens can be a real bonus if you entertain frequently or your home is the place for holiday celebrations and extended family gatherings.
Regardless of your budget, every new kitchen deserves an element that turns heads, that makes a distinctive design statement and that reflects the personality of the family member who uses the kitchen most often. This might be achieved with a dramatic lighting fixture, a statement-making backsplash or countertops adorned with rare hardwood.
Clients with smaller spaces can more easily stretch their budget dollars because the diminutive size limits the number of cabinets that can be used in the space. This frees up budget dollars for distinctive appliances, lighting, backsplashes, plumbing fixtures, or flooring.
Open shelving can help stretch budget dollars without compromising the look or functionality of space, providing necessary storage without the expense of an enclosed or glass-front cabinet. Full over-lay door styles typically require less of an investment than an inset cabinet. Quartz countertops are hot, but if the budget is tight, we often can find a granite alternative that provides a similar look and feel at less cost.
Cabinet hardware is another opportunity to stretch budget dollars. Cabinet hardware is jewelry for cabinet doors and drawers. We know of many options that provide a luxurious look without requiring a fortune to achieve it.
Our showroom understands how to stretch budget dollars and help our clients prioritize what is most important for their new kitchen. Wondering if your kitchen budget is reasonable given your goals? Please call us at (847) 358-0143 to discuss your goals and we will work with you to make sure that they are achievable within your budget. Better yet, make an appointment to visit our showroom at 706 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine so we can show you where investments can be minimized without compromising a great look and functionality.

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On Friday February 17th Cabinets Plus hosted a meeting of the charitable organization, Connect to Community.

Connect to Community is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding and facilitating purposeful employment and enjoyment for adults with developmental disabilities. Further, in an effort to help these adults live the lives they desire and deserve within the community, the organization provides person-centered services across all aspects of community life. (

We open the showroom to good causes for meetings and fundraisers, allowing us to support the community and show off our beautiful showroom. You never know when someone might need a new kitchen or bath.

On this night our efforts were doubled as Chef Lisa Bellan of Feast of Eden ( donated her time to give the group a cooking demonstration. Fresh baked bread, roasted garlic and hummus were a delicious treat. Lisa was wonderful with the audience and she has created a brilliant website with recipes and tips.
Our showroom was full of wonderful people and delicious smells. Do you belong to an organization that could use a night out? Contact us at (847) 358-0143 or visit our showroom at 706 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine and we’ll see if our space can work for you.
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