Important Factors that Make a Kitchen High-End, Part 1
A kitchen is classified as high-end considering a few important factors. Dictionaries define high-end as exclusive, upscale and “of superior quality or sophistication and usually high in price.” Let’s examine some factors that define our kitchens as of superior quality, exclusive, and sophisticated for the right price.
Noble Tropical Hardwoods and their Inherent Value
Hardwoods are grain dense, therefore they are pressed tightly together. This quality aids in dent resistance. Finishes will also look better and last longer especially if polyurethanes are used. Low quality woods are less dense and highly porous and can be permeated by bacteria leading to a smelly and less hygienic environment. Cedar and Mahogany have a sweet scent that never goes away with the years. You will notice it as you open the door and enter the room. Hardwoods are extremely rot resistant so they can get wet.
Best Quality Hardwoods
Tropical hardwoods are valued between $7.00 to $9.00 a foot board. Depending on the variety and choice, they can go up to $29.00 a foot board. The most attractive hardwoods come from South and Central America. Our favorites are Mahogany, Cedar and Elephant Ear. This last one has a beautiful dramatic grain.
High bidders always get first choice. Of course, they get the best wood, the knot-free, perfect grain wood. This happens when important projects in first world countries are being built or renovated, like a luxury hotel or a palace. Then, the resellers chose what’s left of the pile. These pieces are also of good quality but not perfect. In our case, we buy the tree, so we get the first choice.
We also make sure that grain continuity is part of the design. And, since we are getting the first choice, we can also follow grain continuity inside the cabinet drawers and doors. The grain in some varieties is very dramatic. If its continuity is portrayed, the aesthetic value of the kitchen design is enhanced. This is a detail that adds value to our exclusive kitchens.
Virtues of Noble Hardwoods Versus Particle Board or Plywood
Particle wood and plywood have little tolerance for holding screws to fasten hardware like pullers or sliders. Even the holes for the hinge screws will become loose and the hinge will become unhinged with use. Hard woods will hold them tight for years.
Particle board and plywood are also highly sensitive to moisture. This is a disadvantage because water is necessary in a kitchen, especially for overall hygiene. Around faucets and sinks, moisture will cause particle board to bloat and create fungus. The veneer that covers the particle board will become unglued once it swells. The benefits of using solid hardwoods versus veneers is that hardwoods will never be unglued with changes in temperature or be damaged by moisture from the dishwasher or cooking vapors.
Plywood is more durable than particle board, but it can have gaps in plies and nails won’t stay firm. This can also cause warping. It also has the same humidity and weight-carrying problem as particle board and medium density fiber board or MDF. These materials are made of scrap wood and sawdust, considered waste in the industry. They are glued together with phenol formaldehyde, a volatile compound that tends to release gas, especially with vapors in the kitchen. The glue that holds these products together must be of the very best quality. Nevertheless, since this product is so affordable, usually that is not the case.
Eventually, particle board and its derivatives will disintegrate. Therefore, it will not provide many years of durability. Plywood quality depends on the number of plies and the thickness of the face ply. Fewer plies makes it less stable plus its resistance depends on how well the plies are glued together. It is easily gouged or scratched and eventually, if it is not mahogany or cedar, termites will affect it. Particle board is not the best choice for aerial cabinets.
Therefore, the first factor that leads to define our kitchen cabinets as high-end is that they are made with the best quality hardwoods. Tropical hardwoods have a track record of desirability over time. That makes any kitchen go up in value as the years go by. And since our designs are timeless and classic, made with an extremely durable wood, your kitchen will last a lifetime. You can consider it an investment that adds to the value of your property.
Don’t miss our next articles with more factors that define a kitchen as high-end. You can always contact us with any questions about our kitchen cabinet designs or other furniture pieces.
About the Author
After twenty years designing furniture for individual clients and institutions as varied as the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Dorado Beach Hotel, The Vanderbilt Hotel, Royal Isabela Hotel & Resort, Santa Catalina Palace, and all the furniture for the Church of the Jesuit order in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, artist, and furniture designer Diana Font, is currently designing high-end kitchens and cabinetry. Click here to see more about her kitchen designs.
- Diana Font