Five Creative Storage Solutions

When you want to add some more space and a little style to your kitchen without necessarily remodeling the entire thing, you need to be creative. If you rent your home, or aren’t ready to undertake major renovations, adding some accents that work as storage can help make your kitchen a better place. After all, you can’t remodel every year, so keep your kitchen fresh by adding in some fun yet functional storage pieces. These can also act as accent pieces that draw attention, show off your creativity and individuality, and of course, help keep your kitchen organized. Here are some easy to accomplish storage solutions.

  • Repurposed Island – if you already have an island, chances are it has plenty of space for you to work with. But many people forget about their island’s storage space for one simple reason: you can’t always see it. Bring that storage out in the open for everyone to see by removing the doors. With free, open space, you can store more items! Show off the good china, your special occasion crystal, or even your bigger cooking pots and pans. Because islands are in the middle of the kitchen, they are in a convenient location and can be made into an attractive accent.
  • Use Overhead Space – overhead space is a hot commodity, though you may not realize it yet. If you’re running out of room in your cabinets, make use of this space by hanging items. Repurpose an old chandelier by adding a few hooks or install a hanging system to hang anything you want – make a coffee mug mobile, or a dedicated space for your cookware. Glass racks are available at home improvement stores and come in many styles; choose one to hang from the ceiling and show off your wine or pint glasses can give your kitchen some vineyard style, and clear out room in your cupboards for other items. Make sure your system is hanging low enough to reach, but high enough that you won’t be bumping into it every time you reach for a glass.
  • Add Pull-Out Trays To Base Cabinets – Deep, low cabinets have ample storage but can also become inconvenient resting places for all your cookware that you don’t use that often. If you hate trying to dig in the cabinets to find the one item you’re looking for (here’s looking at you, mini skillet) you may want to consider installing a pull-out tray system to allow for better organization. Hang cleaning supplies under the sink, or matched cookware with lids, or just about anything – and pull them out into full view instead of frantically searching for them in the depths. Installing pull out trays certainly won’t cost near as much as a full renovation, but will give your kitchen an organization boost. Best of all, NorthWoods can custom size pullouts to fit your existing cupboards.
  • Use Wall Space To Hang Items – if you have the DIY spirit, you can use a portion of pegboard and some hooks from your home improvement or hardware store to create a wall space to hang utensils, mugs, or anything you want to get off the counter. You’ll need to mount this in your kitchen, so make sure you know what tools and supplies you’ll need (screws, anchors, etc.). Paint the pegboard a bright color (or whichever color that matches your kitchen) to give it more style.
  • Give Lids Their Own Home – if you have a lot of pots, you probably have a lot of corresponding lids. You probably also have spent a lot of time looking through these pots and lids. If you install a towel bar on the cabinet doors, you can slide pot lids into it and give the lids their own home. This will allow you to stack pots, saving you space and organizing the contents of your cabinets at the same time! Depending on the lids’ size and the placement of the bars, you can fit two to four pot lids along the towel racks.

Five Trendy Backsplash Ideas For Your Kitchen

Your backsplash can be the centerpiece of your kitchen, and a fresh, clean backsplash can go a long way towards making your cabinets and countertop look their best. Tile isn’t the one trick pony it used to be, and there are plenty of other materials you can choose from for a decorative backsplash. These days, do it yourselfers can find easy to install backsplash patterns at many home improvement stores. All you need is a free weekend and the will to take on a DIY project that will liven up your kitchen. Here are some trendy ideas for your new backsplash design.

Eco-Friendly – There are many choices for people who want to show off their style and their love of the environment. Recycled tile is a fun way to go when you are changing up your backsplash style. You can opt for either post-consumer products, which come from products such as recycled bottles and or repurposed counters, or pre-consumer products, which are made from unused but still in good condition materials that never made it to the end of the line. Choosing these recycled and repurposed materials is good for the environment.

Classic Subway – Even though it’s classic, the subway style backsplash is still something that many people enjoy. Perhaps it is because you can go in so many directions with it. Place the tiles side by side, or get funky and choose to use a diagonal or perpendicular/corner pattern. From standard black and white, to more interesting colors like forest green or salmon – as long as those little tiles are rectangular you’ve got yourself a subway pattern that is sure to look great for years.

Eye Catching Patterns – Get artsy. Make spirals or chevrons out of different colors. You don’t even have to make your own patterns, anymore. Some home improvement stores offer sheets of tile in already-beautiful patterns that you can simply purchase and install. Make sure your choice will mesh well with your existing cabinets, fixtures, and counters – and then go wild.

Create Your Own Art – If the pre-fabricated sheets of backsplash tile seem like they are the easy way out, you can always create your own piece of kitchen art. Mosaics are a great way to show your individuality while adding a functional backsplash to your kitchen. You can even use recycled material to mix and match tiles to create your perfect backsplash art.

Non-Tile Backsplashes – If tile isn’t your favorite material, there are plenty of other options. From recycled granite, rustic stone, treated reclaimed wood – as long as you can protect it from water (this is a kitchen, after all), you can create a unique backsplash for your home. Fabric covered in clear vinyl can give you a ton of color and pattern options, as can a mixture of reclaimed bottoms of glass bottles, and brightly colored acrylic sheets. It’s your kitchen, so let your imagination go wild.

Whether you are doing a full scale remodel with cabinets and counters, or just want a weekend project to change up the look of your kitchen, a backsplash that shows your individuality is a great idea. Take your time, and choose your materials wisely – then feel free to go wild with a trendy, eye-catching backsplash.

Have a great backsplash that you are really proud of? E-mail us a picture at We would love to share your success as inspiration for others!

Choosing a Contractor

Remodeling is a big deal! The process can take lots of time, money, and mental energy – so it’s normal to be a little skittish before you enter into renovation territory. One of the things that takes the most amount of the thought is picking out the contractor you are entrusting your kitchen vision to. Here’s the person who will be orchestrating your remodel, who you need to count on in order to get your dream kitchen. This is not exactly a decision to be made lightly! Here are a few things to consider when you are choosing a contractor.

Take Your Time

You do not want to rush into any major decision, especially when it comes to your kitchen. The kitchen is where a lot of the magic happens in any home: it’s where family calendars are hung and where we feed the people we care about most. You’re going  to live with your remodel for a while, so of course you want it to turn out amazing. Kitchen remodels are a great way to add to your home’s overall value, so treading carefully while picking a contractor is a must. Take your time, talk to more than just one contractor. Do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Talk To Your Friends

Chances are, you know a few people who have already gone through the kitchen remodeling process. Talk to them. Ask them what they loved about their contractor, and if they’d use the same one again. Ask what they’d do differently. Ask what surprised them during the kitchen renovation. You’ll probably come away with a list of contractors that have been vetted by people you trust, which is a good place to start when it comes to picking a contractor.

Discuss Budgets

Nobody likes to talk money, but you need to see if your contractor has the ability to make your vision come true with the budget you have in mind. It’s a good way to gauge personality as well – you want to work with a contractor that you don’t dread calling if you have a question or have noticed a problem. Ask your contractor for a written estimate, this provides a great way to compare your choices.

Ask For References

While you are researching your potential contractor, ask for references. You definitely want a contractor who not only does good work, but also maintains good relationships with clients. If you’ve found your pool of contractors via your family and friends, it’s still a good idea to ask for references from people you do not know.

Follow Up On References

Call homeowners and ask about their experience with the contractor you are vetting. If you can, visit a previous kitchen remodel that your contractor has worked on. This is easy if you have received references from people you know.

Once you’ve found the contractor you are going to trust with your kitchen renovation, make sure to keep the lines of communication open so you can align your schedules. If you have any information you want your contractor to know, tell them up front. This could be anything from budget concerns to specific design elements you want to address. Try to meet with your contractor once a week for a quick conversation – just to make sure you both are on the same page with the project. Good communication will make for a successful partnership!

Custom Quality

When it comes to creating a kitchen that combines good looks and great function, quality is key. From wood type and hinges to cabinet design and eco-friendly choices, high-quality components will make a big difference in the look, function, comfort, and longevity of your kitchen.

One of the first considerations when building a new kitchen is whether to go with Custom Cabinets or standard stock cabinets. While it may be tempting to walk into a big store and choose cabinets from the display aisles, custom cabinetry will save both time and money in the long run – and look great right from the get go.

One huge benefit of custom-made cabinets is that they’re designed to fit the space, rather than forcing your kitchen area to accommodate the cabinets available. Cabinets designed and built specifically for your kitchen will mean fewer fillers and more usable space for storage, cooking, and enjoying your kitchen.

Today, many custom cabinetry outfits use Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machinery, which puts an even higher level of precision into a custom job, ensuring that each cabinet, door, and drawer fits exactly the way it should. CNC technology also allows cabinet makers to use highly precise joinery methods not otherwise available, which makes for stronger, more durable cabinets.

To see NorthWoods Manufacturing’s CNC machine at work, check out this video. At NorthWoods, we take pride in the exceptional quality of our kitchen design, assembly, and installation. Give us a call – we’d love to show you around our shop and talk kitchen quality!

(And stay tuned here for more Quality Kitchen Tips…)