Kitchen Transformations

Got Granite? Custom Cabinet Refacing, Tewksbury, NJ & New Hope, PA

Before: The kitchen cabinets in this Tewksbury, NJ home were custom made for the previous owners. The new owners appreciated that the kitchen cabinets were of excellent quality and made locally, but the knotty pine wasn't their preference. The granite countertops were only four years old, so to do a renovation with new cabinets of comparable quality would end of costing them over $70k. By budgeting about half of that amount for their cabinets they could have an upscale, custom refacing job which would look as though they invested in new, premium cabinets.

The home owners wanted solid cherry doors and features in a specific shade of cherry for the main cabinets and a different, darker finish on the island. They also wanted to give the island a furniture look and to get rid of the country bead board, to add nicer crowns and a "light rail" – the molding below the upper cabinets.



After: The main cabinets received new, full overlay doors, which were solid cherry and custom stained and glazed to their color preferences. Cherry crowns, side panels, and trim were also custom finished, then installed. The island was restyled with new doors, custom built posts, and coordinating side panels, all in a painted glazed cappuccino with rub-through finish.



Before: A New Hope, PA family systematically renovated the 15 year old house they recently purchased. The kitchen was the last room they addressed. Previously they installed new counters and backsplash, but now it was time to do something with the pickled, discolored cabinets. They also wanted to add more details to the cabinetry and keep the kitchen in line with other architectural features in the rest of the home.

A great space with lots of natural light, the owners wanted to give this much used room a cozy feel. They also loved rich neutral tones for their backdrops, with unexpected pops of color which could be swapped out when they are looking for a change.


The owners had a few minor renovation needs. They disliked the desk configuration along the back wall and preferred to dedicate that area to additional storage. They also weren't fond of the glass doors or the storage cubbies.


The island was also a challenge. Although it housed a microwave, it was basically a plain box which went straight to the floor and was too heavy for the small space. The main problem area was the wall oven, a particular area of dislike as the owners felt the space always looked unfinished.


After: New doors and all of the details transformed this space. The finish, our Sterling Pecan, has a color layer of pearlescent silver, making it the perfect complement for stainless steel. New cabinets for pot drawers replaced the desk and the full overlay doors hide the storage cubbies. The wall oven was framed out to give it more weight and a tailored look. A new island, with 8" legs, opens the space up a bit. A new counter for the island will complete the upgrade.




New Hope, PA, Before: Yes, we know this isn't a kitchen. While we were completing the above kitchen the clients asked us to also take a look at the dressing room off the master bedroom. The roome was basic, the room was off balance, and the linen closet was a behemoth in the space. The cabinets were rather cheap and not worth the effort and cost to reface.


After: The linen closet was removed, the walls were redone, and the portion of the floor under the old vanity and closet was replaced and stained to match. The main wall received a decorative plaster treatment.

We built a new, custom cherry vanity, custom finished to match floating sink vanities in the master bath. The master bath has simple lines and some great modern touches, so these cabinets were designed to be a bit sleeker and transitional in style. This new piece was designed to be symmetrical and to offer plenty of storage. Pullouts for laundry and grooming items were installed. The actual vanity portion was angled in towards the wall. In addition to opening up the space, it was now less stressful on the client’s back to sit or stand at the unit and bend in close to the mirror. Finally, instead of going all the way to the floor, we built the vanity with tapered legs so it floats a bit and opens up the space.




Custom Kitchen Designs for Hunterdon, NJ & Bucks, PA Homes

Annandale, NJ, Before: When this professional couple decided to upgrade their kitchen they did not want the burden and inconvenience of a total renovation to interfere with the busy lifestyle they and their four children led. They liked cherry, but the current cabinets had no real architectural interest and the cabinet doors were thin and unsubstantial. A custom refacing with new doors and all of the upgraded architectural elements seemed to be the perfect option for them.



After: The first thing done was the installation of a larger kitchen window. Upper cabinets were reconfigured to accommodate this change. The lower cabinets were lengthened with the addition of a bookshelf cabinet on the left end. Appliances were changed and moved and a professional, stainless steel hood was installed. The desk was modified to include a new cabinet with pot drawers while the upper cabinets, which were moved next to those alongside the new window, were replaced with deeper units which were designed to accomodate a custom appliance garage. New doors of solid cherry were custom stained and installed, as were side panels and substantial crowns.



New doors, which were solid cherry and had greater weight to them and more interesting architecture than the original, lightweight ones, were stained to match the original color, which the owners liked, and replaced the builders grade doors. Coordinating side panels, crowns, and a light apron were also installed. The end result is an upgraded kitchen which has classic, upscale appeal and will complement a variety of design styles for many years to come.



Bucks County, PA, Before: A galley kitchen was dark and tunnel-like, with a narrow doorway to the eating area and awkward path to the dining room. The cabinets, although dated, were solid wood with cherry frames.



After: Some cosmetic renovations, including expanding the doorway to the breakfast nook and pulling back the soffit, opened up the space. Some cabinets and appliances were reconfigured, improving flow to the dining room as well as increasing functional counter top space. An upscale soffit treatment, new wood doors with our popular Butternut finish, and a unique granite counter all contribute to the transformation. Next step is the backsplash . . .




Custom Solutions for Your Kitchen Cabinet Challenges

The space above the cabinets is often a challenge when remodeling the kitchen. Sometimes the area is blocked by a soffit, sometimes that soffit houses plumbing and electric, and sometimes the space is open and under-utilized. Here are three different examples of how to handle the space above your cabinets.

Before: The soffit was just one of the things the owners of this Pennington, NJ kitchen wanted to change about their space. The entire kitchen was in need of some updating. The granite was replaced about three years earlier, limiting the options for replacing the cabinets. The homeowners also wanted to install a wood floor, relocate the microwave, and remove the desk.



After: Removing the soffit allowed us to install all new, custom sized upper cabinets. The cabinets along one wall were 14" deep, versus the standard 12", to accommodate extra large serving platters. A new cabinet was also installed next to the range, designed to hold a convection microwave oven, as well as a large pot drawer. The cabinets and sides were refaced in a custom stained maple, the peninsula was dressed up with decorative millwork. The window was framed out to match the rest of the cabinetry, for a complete and polished look.



Flemington, NJ, Before: A busy executive put in new counters and a backsplash a few years ago and now was ready to address the cabinets. Ripping out the cabinets was not an option as she didn’t want to lose the investment she previously made on the counters and tile, nor did she want the inconvenience and intrusion of a full renovation. In addition to new doors with a new finish, she wanted something done with the soffit, the peninsula, and the refrigerator.



After: Our Bronzed Cream finish complemented both the granite and backsplash tiles. The soffit received our exclusive panel and double crown design, to finish off that space with the illusion of greater cabinet height. Side panels, trim moldings, and posts and panels on the peninsula added upscale touches to the cabinetry. The refrigerator cabinets were modified to give that appliance more of a built-in look.



Before: A premium equestrian property in Hunterdon County, NJ had an understated and dated kitchen which was very large with many, good quality cabinets. The space above the cabinets was underutilized. The new owners preferred dark, rich furnishings which leaned towards gothic traditional.



After: New oak doors were provided as were crowns and other decorative and functional features. All of the cabinetry was highly distressed and finished in ebony and chocolate stains, with bronze highlights. Bright accent colors balance out the features of the space.




Premium Princeton Cabinets Receive Upscale Upgrades

In many cases it doesn’t make sense to put the labor and other associated resources into refinishing old, damaged, or low-end kitchen cabinet doors. The time and cost involved to make these doors look good can be a poor investment. That is when we suggest new doors. And since the kitchen and its cabinets can account for a significant percentage of a home's value, Occasionally, however, there are circumstances where the existing doors are worth reusing. Here are two projects where that was the case.

Hopewell, NJ, Before: This home had custom cabinets which were painted a bright white. Over the years the color yellowed and became irregularly toned. It was also very stark and took away from the elegance of the home.

The owners wanted to do something different with the island, to give it the look of furniture. They wanted to remove the microwave from over the stove and install a range hood. They also preferred the upscale look of side panels, a larger crown, and other high-end details. Finally, it was important to them that the new cabinet color complement the granite better, a dense mix of deep black, taupe, and brown, with flecks of blue and green mica.



After: All of the perimeter cabinets received our Glazed Mushroom Souffle finish. The island received a darker version of the same color. Side panels and decorative moldings elevate this space with upscale style. The island is given greater weight and focus with panels and posts. A custom wood hood was built, finished and installed.



Princeton, NJ, Before: The owner of this country club home had excellent quality maple cabinets, but over the years they oxidized and discolored. They also lacked some of the architectural details that other kitchens in the neighborhood sported. She already had granite in place, as well.



After: She saw another kitchen we did and she loved it, so we gave her cabinets a similar treatment. An ornate crown was added, along with framed beadboard side panels. Beadboard and new corbels dress up the island. The main finish, “Butternut,” is an ochre based glaze on a creamy base. A dark rub-off with copper glaze finish was applied to the island. Eventually she ended up changing the granite on the island.



Refacing Rescues Bucks County Makeover Mistake

Before: The cabinets in this Chester, NJ home were ruined by an HGTV makeover of a sloppy paint/glaze job and the application of decorative tiles. The new homeowners tried to make the cabinets work by installing granite, but were still disappointed with the look of the space.



All of the doors were replaced and the main cabinets were colored in "Wood Moss," a green-taupe, painted glazed finish with pearlescent details, while the island received a warm caramel treatment. The buffet area received glass doors, while the roll-tops for the appliance garage were replaced with hinged doors. The insides of the glass cabinets were treated with beadboard and the same finish as the island.



Bucks County, PA, Before: This kitchen, already outfitted with granite and stainless steel appliances, received a low-budget, faux makeover on its cabinets. The homeowners soon realized that, from an investment standpoint, this DIY styled treatment wasn't the best choice for their home when the finish began to peel and rub off.



Knowing they would need new doors, they checked with local and "big box" refacing companies, but were not impressed with the plastic and lightweight, veneered doors they were shown. One of the homeowners came from a family of woodworkers, and she wanted real wood doors and details, custom stained to a dark cherry. We were more than happy to provide them with what they wanted.

After: New, solid cherry doors were custom stained and glazed in our shop. Decorative accents, including a leg and beadboard treatment for the island, edge moldings, and beadboard side panels, all of real cherry, also received the same finishing treatments. The remaining frame portion, which was only visible when the doors were open, was sanded down and given a matching finish. The owners were delighted with the final results, and this upscale, traditional kitchen transformation is our new "hot seller."




Custom Refacing Transforms Oak Cabinets

Before: The owners of this West Windsor, NJ home were ready to update their cabinets. After months of dealing with the big box refacing companies, they were frustrated because no one would advise them on color, the companies would not address the refrigerator area, and they thought that the quality of the doors and finishing was disappointing.



After: New, full-overlay, solid maple doors, trim, and side panels, all in a custom finish, transformed this kitchen. The pantry and refrigerator area were restyled to give the space a finished look and visually make it part of the rest of the kitchen.



Before: Grainy, oak cabinets and a soffit gave this Pennington, NJ kitchen a very dated look.


After: New doors are just the start of the changes in this space. Decorative side panels, light rails and crown moldings, all with our Butternut finish, lend an upscale look to the kitchen. The ceiling crown and finish on the soffit are the final details, giving the room the illusion of greater height.


Modern and Traditional Merge in this Clinton, NJ Kitchen Renovation

A vacation property in Clinton, NJ, which backs up to Round Valley Reservoir, this home is a classic in true Hunterdon County style. An addition was put on the house and every room underwent alterations, complete with upscale millwork and enhancements, most in keeping with the home’s Georgian style. The kitchen, however, was a slightly different story

Although they wanted it to flow with the rest of the home, the New York City based owners desired an edgier aesthetic to the kitchen. As they put it, they envisioned “a tension between traditional and modern.” They were working with an architect, Tewksbury based Columbro Architecture, and a designer, but we were given design control over the kitchen, including the lighting plan and trim-work for the room. The pre-existing cabinets were cherry, custom made, and solid. The problem was that they were dated and stylistically “too country.” Although most of the appliances were to be upgraded, the change in the footprint would be minimal. A custom island, which would be two-tiered and house a microwave, needed to be constructed. Also, the granite for the counter tops was already chosen: Vermont White, a white and blue-gray granite which is reminiscent of Carrara Marble.



Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said “God is in the details.” In the case of this kitchen, the homeowners were obsessively particular about all of the project’s details. In terms of the millwork additions and overall look, they did not want it to look “cookie cutter” – so unlike anything they would find in any of the typical home improvement stores or anything they might find with mass market kitchen cabinet refacing. They knew that they preferred a painted and glazed cabinet finish, not a refinished and stained look. They wanted a custom color which would complement the stainless steel appliances, and perfectly enhance the granite. And, most importantly to them, they told us they wanted a “sophisticated” look to the finished project. They wanted the depth and richness of a glaze, but it could not look glazed as they were afraid that would detract from the polished look they were trying to achieve.

Collectively we also decided that framing out and finishing the bay window area would balance the room. Originally the architect was going to frame it out the same way as the windows in the other rooms and it would just be painted in the same shade of white as the trim in the rest of the home. A design plan including a wall of glass tile and the removal and relocation of a few other cabinets was well received.


Sample making followed. The clients chose the finish on the door to the left of the granite. It was the one which they felt brought out some of the deep quartz details in the granite.


On-site work began soon afterwards. After much debate the large window was framed out. We considered the scale of the piece, as well as if should be grounded, with color extending to the floor and including the radiator covers, or have more of a floating feeling.

The cabinets to the left of the refrigerator were removed in order to open up the space. The remaining cabinets were enhanced with crown moldings and side panel treatments. Much of the millwork was prepped in our shop, primed and palm-sanded repeatedly on order to ensure as smooth as a working surface as possible. The finish was to be subtle and had metallic pigments, so this step was necessary to ensure a consistent finish with minimal flashing. We made the island in our shop, custom to their specifications. The new doors were finished and then installed, along with hardware which complemented the stainless appliances.

And here are the results so far:




And the blue tape in the photos? It outlines where floating glass shelves are to be installed. Stay tuned . . .

A Kitchen with Saltbox Style in Doylestown, PA

Custom cabinets, with custom painted and glazed finishes, are the heart and highlight of this Doylestown country kitchen. Located in Bucks County, PA, this house was constructed of refurbished materials from actual New England saltboxes. Except for the kitchen cabinetry and bathrooms it was an exact replica of the famous “Stencil House” in CT and was profiled in “Art & Antiques” magazine in 1996.

The new owners wanted to update the kitchen and make it a functional work space, but in a style which would work with the rest of the décor of the house. They wanted to save as much of the cabinetry as possible but, as it was a small space, they also needed maximum storage opportunities. They also wanted the ability to add high-end appliances. They also wanted the architecture of the cabinetry to be more detailed and preferred custom painted and distressed finishes.

Before: The cabinets butt up against the window frame, reducing the natural light available to enter the space. The cabinets boxes were solid wood and in good condition, although the doors were plain, flat panel.


After: The cabinets were reconfigured and a few new ones were built. Shelving replaced the cabinets alongside the window, opening up the space for more natural light. All of the high-end decorative details were added, such as crowns, light rail moldings, side panels, and a pair of appliance garages. An assortment of upscale appliances were installed, including a steam oven and induction cook top. The new counter is Black Galaxy granite.


New, unfinished doors replaced the old ones, and they were given an inset look upon installation, a style more appropriate for the home’s primitive country décor. The finish on most of the cabinets was a beige green glaze with faint pearlescent highlights. The cabinets under the farm sink and the peninsula were a distressed cream with brown glaze.


Because storage space was at a premium, we snuck “secret compartments” into the side panels of some of the cabinets. The peninsula top, which folds out for extra surface area, is distressed mahogany stained with dark walnut, as is the framing of the pass through, which leads into the custom-built butler’s pantry. The backsplash tiles are from the Moravian Tile Works, in Doylestown, PA.



The pass-through to the left of the cook top leads to a butler’s pantry. In that area, which was approximately 5 feet by 11 feet, we built custom cabinetry, complete with a wine cooler and overhead wine glass storage. The focal point of the space was an antique carved mantle. We fixed it, gave it a new finish which highlighted the carvings on it, and used it to frame the opening to the kitchen. The distressed, cream finish is perfect for the area, as it receives a great deal of foot traffic.



Elegant Details Define NJ Kitchen Cabinets

Before: This galley kitchen in Short Hills, NJ had basic architecture and a picked finish.


After: Photographed for Design NJ, this updated space sports new doors, extensive decorative moldings, and our Butternut finish on the main cabinets. All of these features combine for a high-end, designer look.


Before: A kitchen in Whitehouse Station, NJ is ready for some upscale, custom changes.

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After: A restyled island and doors with decorative moldings, detailed cabinet crowns and decorative side panel moldings, all highlighted in gold, give this space a formal elegance.



Before and After: Undersized corbels and plastic doors were just a few of the features these homeowners disliked about their recently refaced kitchen. So they did it again. New wood doors with applied moldings, properly scaled moldings and millwork, and a cherry finish with gold highlights make all the difference.

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Bamboo Refacing: Metropolitan Style in NJ & Bucks, PA

Both of these bamboo refacing projects won us first place honors in bamboo design contests.

New Hope, PA, Before: The owner of this New Hope, PA townhouse hated his oak cabinets. Refinishing the cabinets was not an option because refinished oak cabinets are still . . . oak. However, he wanted his renovation to be as "green" as possible.



After getting acquainted with his goals and décor preferences, we worked together to come up with a new design for his existing kitchen cabinets. His contractor removed the soffit and opened up the space. We took the bases of the cabinets to our factory in Frenchtown and made modifications for the appliances, including accommodation for an under-counter microwave in the island. We then used renewable bamboo to construct a refrigerator surround, new side panels for the island and base cabinets, and new, flat-panel cabinet doors.




Floating shelves were also made of bamboo, with the upper shelves having a glass insert on the shelf, to allow for light to shine through to the lower shelf. All of the bamboo surfaces were treated with a gold, pearlescent glaze for added depth, then top coated. The faces of the base cabinets were base coated a deep, black-brown. Even the Corian countertop was reused and resized to fit the new cabinet layout.

The end result was exactly what the client wanted: a kitchen which was refreshing, yet warm, and with a current, urban edge. "Going green" may never have looked so gorgeous!

Somerset County, NJ, Before: This kitchen cried out for an update. The owners wanted to open up the space and reconfigure it for greater style as well as better functionality. They hated the soffit. The doors were damaged and lacked architectural detail. And the addition of an island would be a bonus. Although it would have made more sense to gut the space they insisted we use the existing cabinet boxes.

Regarding color and style, the owners wanted a richer look, but with a clean-lined, more modern edge to it. They loved the idea of bamboo, but were not thrilled with the typical colors that bamboo cabinetry comes in. A custom stain for the bamboo was developed for this project.



After: The cabinets and the soffit over the peninsula were removed. The wall to the left of the stove was pulled back in order to open up the passage to the dining room. The wall by the refrigerator was opened up in order to add cabinets and countertop, for a new buffet/serving area.

New doors with edge details were made of bamboo, as were side panels and trim pieces. The face of the remaining soffit was also resurfaced with bamboo. The color is our Sedona finish, a multi-layer copper and brown glaze with darker edge detailing. The underneath and cabinet frames were finished in a deep brownish black. It was a stunning transformation, although, in the end, everyone felt that new cabinet boxes would have been worth the additional investment.



Quality Oak Cabinets are Restyled

Readington, NJ, Before: A large kitchen with good quality oak cabinetry no longer met the needs of this large family. The island was undersized and the space was awkward when several people were working in the kitchen at once. Also, the dated oak was overwhelming in the space; they preferred a less "country" look. Reusing the cabinets and being as eco-friendly as possible was also important to them.


After: Cabinets were reconfigured to offer a coffee and appliance station which stood outside of the main cooking area. New cabinets were added where needed. Two islands - one with under counter beverage storage and seating, the other with an oven and both an induction and gas cooktop - were custom made. Carpentry upgrades, including crowns, new doors, side panels, and a refrigerator surround were added to the cabinetry. The new painted, glazed finish is our "Celery Seed." A built-in wall cabinet was finished to match the rest of the cabinetry and stained glass was added to the doors. The Walker Zanger backsplash tile makes the space pop.



Pittstown, NJ, Before: The cabinetry in this newer Alexandria Township, NJ home was builders' grade oak. The owners wanted a more custom design for the space.


After: These stock cabinets went from plain to perfectly stylish. After carpentry, including moldings and panels, a distressed white finish, the best option for oak, was applied to the main cabinets. The island was given priority treatment with decorative corbels, bead and post panels, and our Pecan Glow finish.


Custom Cabinets Receive Custom Finishes

Before: White painted doors gave a sterile look to this East Amwell kitchen. The cabinets were plain but custom built, complete with pullout shelves and other functional upgrades. There was nothing of interest architecturally, and the microwave shelf was awkward.


After: A new finish of cream with a tan glaze with pearlescent detailing elevates these kitchen doors to designer status. A custom built hood and microwave surround, along with moldings and side panels, add to the upscale look. The island is expanded with a two tiered eating area. The new Rouge Rub finish with pearlescent copper details coordinates perfectly with the Diamond Red granite. Newly installed over cabinet lighting illuminates the space with perfect ambiance.


Before: The builder of this new, Bucks County, PA home couldn't offer the homeowners the glazed finish they were looking for.

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After: New rope crown with pearlescent detailing adds the finishing touch to these cabinets. The main cabinets are our Vanilla Creme, while the island is done in a high contrast black.