Heart of the home


The kitchen is the gathering place of the house, so it’s important to get the renovation right


Many people in New Orleans are renovating their kitchens, either because of storm damage or because they just want a fresh look. The kitchen is the place where everyone comes together, so the way you update it is important. Consider these tips from our local expert, 15-year-veteran sales manager Nancy Norton of Singer Kitchens. From the cabinets to the countertops, she can help ensure a successful renovation.

“Quality should be your first consideration, but a well-designed layout is of equal importance,” Norton says. She emphasizes that the layout and design of the kitchen must fit your style, while providing function and maximum storage capacity. A stylish kitchen is always nice, but a stylish and functional kitchen is even better.

If you have no idea what kind of kitchen you want, the process can seem difficult. The first decision most homeowners make is the choice of cabinets. Cabinets are the focus of the room and their design is the main thing that will be noticed. Norton recommends that you figure out first what you generally like and dislike and go from there. “It is helpful to narrow down the vast assortment of cabinets to those wood species and stains that you are attracted to,” she says.

The overall design and style of the room is vital. A kitchen is where the family hangs out most of the time, so make it a welcoming space.

“It is advisable to convey to your designer the overall feel or look you are trying to achieve in your kitchen,” says Norton.

Because there are so many choices, it can be difficult for customers to communicate what they want. Norton recommends looking through interior design magazines or books on kitchen renovation and deciding what you like. Clip photos and pull out pages and put them into a design portfolio. Give this to your designer and he or she will instantly understand your tastes.

Once you have chosen your design, cabinets and hardware, it’s time to select countertops. All the available choices can make the decision daunting. Renovators can choose between granite, marble, natural quartz such as Silestone, man-made surfaces like Corian, polished concrete or butcher block. Choosing the right one can make or break your kitchen, but try not to get overwhelmed; just think about what will flow with the rest of the kitchen.

“Countertops are of utmost importance in pulling the look of your kitchen together,” Norton says. “Today, there are many options at various price points to put the finishing touch on your kitchen-renovation job.”

Each material has its own benefits. Granite or marble can create a more modern look in a kitchen and is heat-resistant; butcher block is great because you can use it like a cutting board; and man-made surfaces are nonporous.

One of the newest and trendiest options among homeowners in New Orleans is the quartz surface or engineered-stone surface, such as Zodiaq or Silestone, which consists of 93% quartz and 7% resin. It is stronger than granite is easier to care for and comes in a wide assortment of styles and colors.

“It offers a natural look with minimal maintenance,” Norton says. With all the options out there, there is plenty of opportunity to create the kitchen of your dreams.

When choosing the appliances, homeowners should consider the overall style and color of the kitchen. Norton says that homeowners are now stepping away from trends. “An individual’s lifestyle and budget are perhaps the most important factors in appliance selection,” she says.

The big trend right now seems to be stainless steel because of the modernity and sleekness. According to Norton, however, it’s not necessarily the best choice for everyone’s kitchen because it can be expensive and difficult to clean and maintain. Another option that Singer Kitchens offers are built-in appliances that match the cabinets. Disguising the appliances gives the kitchen a sleek, uninterrupted appearance that you can’t get with regular appliances.

Smart homeowners on a budget might cut back on other things so they can splurge on the appliances. It’s important to use the bulk of your budget where it counts, and appliances do count!