October is National Movement Disorders Awareness Month.
October is also National Kitchen & Bath Month!
I am going to combine these two themes into one post, because that's the way I live my life every day.
Obviously I am a kitchen and bath designer. Not so obviously, I have been dealing with a movement disorder, Essential Tremor, since childhood.
"Well known people with tremor include: Samuel Adams, Magnus Berg, Oliver Cromwell, Katharine Hepburn, and Eugene O'Neill.
Recognized for centuries, essential tremor and tremor related neurological movement disorders afflict millions of children, adults, and next generations, yet little is known about the etiology."
I remember being a small child and watching my mother tie my shoes. Her hands always shook when doing such tasks. She was in her early thirties at the time. Essential tremor is often "familial". It runs in families. My Mom had it; I and both of my brothers have it; my oldest daughter has it; my younger daughter has escaped...So far.
My first inklings that I might have a problem occurred when I had to get up on stage as a child. I would shake uncontrollably, with my heart pounding; and soon was avoiding those days at school with "sore throats" or "headaches".
I was an artistic child, always doing some sort of art or craft project. I was so good with my hands that I took up sculpture and painting as I progressed through school. I dreamed of becoming an artist, and spent most of my free time improving my work.
Unfortunately I never found a way to make money at my artistic endeavors. So I became a surgical nurse (also hand-eye intensive work) to pay the bills, but I still continued my art for my own enjoyment.
As I went through my twenties and thirties I noticed more and more occasions that would cause my hands to shake. Stress exacerbated the problem.
I married, had children, and left the work world to care for them.
I began remodeling our home and building and installing cabinetry (handy me). Eventually I returned to work and became a kitchen and bath designer. Finally, I had found a way to make a living drawing!
In 1991 we were in a terrible recession, very much like today. I had no work and talked my employer into sending me to CAD training because the State would pay for it.
I purchased a computer and AutoCAD software and went through a six month training program. Thank YOU California!
Ever since 1991 I have done all of my drawing and drafting on the computer in AutoCAD. It's a good thing too, because I would have been out of commission as a kitchen designer by the mid-nineties because my tremor got worse.
I learned about Essential Tremor and was diagnosed by a movement disorder specialist. I take quite a bit of medication to keep my tremor under control.
It doesn't work any longer. I can no longer conceal my tremor from my clients. But I still want to continue with my work.
The tremor doesn't affect my mind; just my hands and head.
So, if you don't mind working with a shaky kitchen and bath designer...Give me a call. Just remember: When I shake my head, it may not really mean "no".
Addendum: Essential Tremor is often confused with Parkinson's Disease. Here is an explanation of the differences between the two maladies by a cogent neurologist, Dr. Kieran.
Kitschy Kitchens is a blog where I critique the worst of the worst in kitchens. Poor design, an assault on the eyes, wrong colors, wrong materials; they all can be found there. Take an amusing detour to discover what you DON'T want in a kitchen.
Friday, October 16, 2009
October is National Movement Disorders Awareness Month.
Monday, October 12, 2009
What you are doing with this blog is WONDERFUL !!! Thanks.
My wife and I are remodeling our kitchen (with small eating area attached). We have just bought a complete (16 piece) used kitchen with Cherry cabinets made by Wood Mode. These are not very old as one of the pieces is the tilt out mixer cabinet. We have an electrician ready to rewire and the gutting of the kitchen will be within the next couple days, (cleared wall to wall area around 13x14). My question is: how do I go about installing the cabinets (with a good installer/minor cabinet maker)? Should I contact the dealer in the area (My Dream Kitchen) in Greensboro, NC and tell them what I have and my kitchen plan or should I simply rely on the installer to make decisions on "what else" is necessary to finish out the space?
I'm leaning toward the dealer IF they would work with and accept the used cabinets (and, of course, accept our $$$ for additional Wood Mode cabinet and accessories that we may need to finish the job.
Thanks for your help,
Thanks for your kind words Wayne.
Congratulations on your purchase of used Wood-Mode cherry cabinets for your kitchen. Hopefully you will be able to use most of them in your new design.
You are wrong in thinking the pop-up mixer shelf denotes that the cabinets are fairly new. Wood-Mode has been making that cabinet accessory since at least 1983, when I became a kitchen designer. I went to the Wood-Mode school, at their factory in Kreamer, PA., that year and they displayed it in their factory showroom. At the time I thought "What a wonderful idea!". Since then I have learned that using the mixer shelf is a real pain because you and your mixer are out in front of the counter (where all your ingredients are). Also any spills or spatters usually end up on the floor. It is one of those cabinet accessories that I always talk my clients out of buying.
Back to your questions:
The only way to find out if your local Wood-Mode dealer is willing to work with you on creating a layout that works with the cabinets you have purchased and supply a few new ones to match, and then install everything; is to ask them. In better times my bet would be that the answer would be "no". These are not better times.
Be prepared to pay them an hourly rate for the planning, since selling a few additional cabinets does not cover their cost in planning and design hours.
I have helped clients work with used cabinets many times over the years. Usually because I have sold them a display from my showroom (back when I had a showroom). It's always a difficult design exercise; since we designers are trained to design for efficient use of new cabinetry, rather than fitting in as many components as possible of a used kitchen. The more attention you pay to what you already have, the less efficient the kitchen becomes. The more you try to design for efficiency, the fewer cabinets you have that can be used.
There is another issue that will impact your new kitchen...Maybe to a great extent:
Those beautiful Wood-Mode cherry cabinets you have purchased have been mellowing since they were installed. Mellowing is the color change that cherry undergoes as it is exposed to light. The wood gets redder and darker in the process. Additionally, the finish has yellowed a bit over time, with cooking fumes, possibly cigarette smoke, and light exposure. These issues mean it is impossible for you to walk into a Wood-Mode dealer and look at samples and match the wood color and finish on your used cabinets.
If you are lucky, whoever staffs My Dream Kitchen will be somebody who has been working with Wood-Mode cabinetry long enough, and the stain color will be distinctive enough, that they recognize it. If not, it's a shot in the dark that any current stain color you choose will match your cabinets once the new cabinets mellow and yellow to the point that the old cabinets are.
If your used cabinets were some other manufacturer, the chances of matching the stain (eventually) would be even less. At least Wood-Mode has kept most of the stain colors they have had. Many other manufacturers are more "fashion oriented" and change constantly.
Be sure to cover any areas of the cabinets that may have been covered in the previous installation (under mouldings, or switch plates for example). Then you will have a much closer match to what the cabinets looked like to begin with. Also, if any original labels remain on unfinished cabinet sides or backs, you are in luck. Because the labels indicate door style and stain color.
Another issue is door style: Many cabinet manufacturers change door styles often. Wood-Mode still makes many styles that they made many years ago, so you are more likely to be able to match the door style because the cabinets are Wood-Mode.
It is also possible that the previous owners were the people who actually bought the cabinets new. If so they may have retained their original cabinet order from their dealer for their tax records. That makes life easy for you as well, since the door style and stain would be right on the order, and you would also have a complete list of the cabinets you have purchased to help the dealer design your new kitchen.
Then there is the issue of the wood itself: Ten or twenty years ago there was a lot more old growth hardwood around than there is today. My kitchen is twenty years old this year. The raised panels in an 18" wide door in my kitchen are made of three pieces of wood glued together side by side. Similar cabinets made today might have seven pieces of wood to make up that same panel. This makes for a lot more variation in each door, since every piece of wood looks a little bit different. That's why kitchens look a lot "stripey-er" these days.
As you can see Wayne, buying used cabinetry and matching it is a lot more complicated than you may have known until now (In fact I have probably told you WAY more than you want to know).
So, give My Dream Kitchen a call and explain your situation. Ask for their help in designing your kitchen, supplying the additional cabinets you need and installing for you. If they do agree to help you, you will be well ahead of the game since all the headaches will be theirs (for a cost). If they don't agree you will still need to work with them to order the additional cabinets, so don't burn any bridges.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
There was a large portion of Andrew S. Ross' "The Bottom Line" column, Wells Fargo cutting customers' lines of credit, in the San Francisco Chronicle today devoted to banks yanking Homeowner Lines of Credit from Bay Area customers with good credit.
Ross' article is required reading for any homeowner who plans to finance a remodel with an unused HLOC. Even with a stellar credit rating, you may find the HLOC is bye-bye.