Hello everyone...it's been a long time since my last blog and I sincerely apologize to anyone that has been looking for some information on kitchen, bath or any room remodeling.  I've seen some activity on some of my past blog's and I am very excited to start writing again.  Please let me know if there are any questions you may have about a new project you may be starting.
Watch for my new blog on Sunday night...
An outdoor kitchen...pretty basic description...it could be as simple as a gas or charcoal grill with a picnic table and a few chairs in your backyard or as complex as an actual kitchen with built-in grills, storage drawers, warming drawers, beverage chillers, beer tap, pantry cupboards, and recycling bins on a patio or courtyard.   But you're still asking "Why?"...

Why are we moving our kitchens outdoors?...
With the past decades economic downfall, families have had to cut back on vacations and travel, so they looked for other ways to "get away from it all".  What better place to do that than your own backyard!  Backyard improvements can be more economical than trips to Europe or Hawaii, and they actually add value to your home.

Still asking "Why?"...
Let's look at the benefits...
*summer cooking can create extra heat in the house...an outdoor kitchen will keep the heat out of the     kitchen...
    BENEFIT:  air conditioning will work less, therefore, your electric bill will go down!!!
*no mess in the kitchen...
    BENFIT: no clean up is always a plus!!!
*adding an outdoor refrigerator eliminates the running back and forth into the house...
    BENEFIT:  you can just relax!!!  and again the saving on that electric bill!!!
*it's a great place to entertain your family and friends...add a small fireplace and some comfortable 
 outdoor sofas...
    BENEFIT:  your guests will never want to leave...okay that may not be a benefit!!!
*this kitchen will last a long time...all the materials used are weather resistant...
    BENEFIT:  you will enjoy your outdoor kitchen for as long as you own your home...and you will pass it
                          on to the next family!!!

Let's take a trip down memory lane...close your eyes...visualize a 20something year old you...the year is 1982...you've just purchased that new home...with the 1950's bathroom...wow!!! what were you thinking...time to remodel...exciting!!!
What does the 20something year old you want in this new bathroom...a huge whirlpool tub/a shower (not so huge)/his and hers sinks/a separate toilet area!!!
Now let's talk color...if you're smart you choose neutrals...but you want the "wow factor"...hunter green/mauve/peach/dark blue!!!
Now OPEN your eyes...your 50something year old you is saying...what was I thinking?
Don't worry about those choices...we are all in the same boat...time to update and make it "aging" friendly and "2016" acceptable!!!

Where to start...
tub/shower...how often did you use that large whirlpool tub...once or twice a year?  how often did you stand in the shower and wished you had a larger shower? maybe with a couple of body sprays, a seat? how about a steam unit?...Perhaps a smaller soaking tub would do the trick at this point in your life...
vanity/sinks...how many times have you looked at those double sinks and thought..."why?"...we only use one!  Perhaps it's time to eliminate one and create a make-up area...would you like to sit down while putting on your make-up?
And that separate toilet area...what were you thinking!!!

It's clear now...the 50something year old you...with eyes wide open...is ready for that 2016 remodel...
Stay tuned for more Blogs to help with your project...or call Cucina by Lina to get started!!!
See you soon!!!
I know...it's February...I've taken a little break to refuel the old brain...let's get started on new Blog's...hope you enjoy and that they help...
With the holidays quickly approaching, have you been secretly making that wish list for your new luxurious kitchen?  I'm sure you have...and you didn't start by cutting corners or making compromises.  But eventually, even the most luxurious of kitchen designs have to take budget into consideration.  You, as the homeowner, have to make smart decisions on where to allocate your dollars.
Here are some tips on how to get the best bang for your bucks...

*Countertops that make a statement...
      Your countertops make the biggest first impressions!  They cover the largest surface area and set the               tone of your room.  With so many different materials available to you today, whether natural or man
      made, your countertops should make the biggest impact! 
      (Come back next week for "Countertop Intelligence!")
      Your hardware is the jewelry of your kitchen!  It adds the finishing touch just like your earrings, 
      necklace, or bracelet.  And just like your jewelry, it should be a very personal thing...let it reflect your
*Custom cabinets...
      You can show your personality by creating  custom cabinets as focal points in your kitchen.  Exotic and 
       costly materials such as blackened stainless steel or bamboo can be used only in significant places to 
       create some interesting focal points!

*Leave the walls...
       You don't have to make a room larger, but you should look at it as an empty space.  Re-invision it with 
       more surface areas, refrigerator relocation, etc.
*Design, but don't overdo it...
      Over designing your kitchen often leads to overspending.  Adding to many crown moldings and                 
      excessive details and ornamentations, will increase to budget without any aesthetic payoff.  Keep your 
      design simple and stylish.
*Faux is fine...
      Not all materials you use in your kitchen have to be expensive.  Porcelain tiles that look like limestone, 
      wood or marble, are much less expensive.  You'll spend less without compromising on style!
      This is one of the best ways to save on a kitchen remodel.  There is no need to buy all top of the line 
       appliances.  You should choose those that are best suited for your needs.

With a little careful planning, you can have the luxury kitchen of your dreams without breaking your budget! 


Not long ago, the only alternative to cabinet replacement was to paint the cabinets.  Today, however, cabinet refacing is a quick and cost effective way to give your kitchen that much needed makeover.  It involves keeping the basic structure of the cabinets but replacing the doors, drawer fronts, and hardware.  Occasionally new cabinet fixtures will be installed and damaged drawer boxes may be replaced.

Consider the condition of your current cabinets.  If you are unhappy with the look but they are in good shape and the layout works for you, then refacing may be the right choice if cost is an issue.  However, if your existing kitchen layout does not work for you or the cabinets are structurally damaged, then replacing is definitely the solution.  Refacing does not correct damage or deterioration of cabinet material.

When refacing  your existing cabinets you are limited to three options.  
First...rigid thermofoil (RTF) doors are made of flexible vinyl foil over a medium-density fiberboard.  
Second...a wood veneer door which gives you the look and warmth of wood.  Wood veneers come in a                            variety of species and finishes.
Third...a plastic laminate that comes in a hundreds of colors and patterns.  They are durable and moisture                 resistant and are reasonably priced.  However, the rigidity of the material limits the design to a                         plain cabinet style.

A professional cabinet refacing project for a typical 10' x 12' kitchen could start at approximately $3000-$5000 (you can expect to pay more for real wood veneer).  The cost can increase to $7000-$10000 or more for a larger project.  In comparison, replacing old kitchen cabinets with new cabinets start at $4000-$5000 and higher for stock cabinets; semi-custom cabinets can cost $9000-$12000; and custom cabinets can cost anywhere from $15000-$25000.  All this depends on the size of your kitchen and the materials you choose to use.

Cabinet refacing, although it looks easy, is very difficult to do.  It requires techniques and tools that the average homeowner does not own.  Also, unless you are a professional refacer, you will not have access to the materials required for this project.  
Cabinet replacement is an easier solution for the do-it-yourselfer.  It consists of heavy lifting and precise leveling, however, as the voice of experience, your kitchen will be completed much faster and with less problems if you hire a professional installer.

Who doesn't want new kitchen cabinets?  If your budget allows, new cabinets are definitely the way to go.  You will have the flexibility to make changes in your layout that would make your kitchen much more user friendly.  New cabinets also give your kitchen long lasting value for your own enjoyment or for resale.

In the end, it is not your designer or contractor's decision as to whether to reface or replace...it's yours!  
My motto has always been..."we are here for a few weeks making your house beautiful, then we leave...you will be here forever, and you need to love where you live".
                        YOUR KITCHEN IS THE HEART OF YOUR HOME!...

The first step to that beautiful new kitchen you so desire is decluttering your existing kitchen.  Don't wait until two days before the demolition crew is scheduled to begin,  to start removing things from your cabinets.  Over the years, I have seen homeowners wait until the last minute, only to put everything away and end up with more boxes than they really need!  
Give yourself at least three weeks to prepare yourself for that new project...Week 1 for the upper cabinets...Week 2 for the base cabinets...Week 3 for miscellaneous items.  
Speak to your designer or contractor about setting up a temporary kitchen somewhere else in the house. Keep out any items you will need during the renovation...plates, soup/cereal bowls, glasses, coffee cups, pot, pan, silverware, etc.  At Cucina by Lina, we offer our homeowners a temporary microwave and an electric hotplate...for those nights that ordering in or eating out just aren't an option!

Before you start, give yourself an attitude adjustment.  To successfully declutter your kitchen, harden your heart before you begin...NO MERCY!!  Clear your countertops, get a minimum of four boxes and label them as follows:  Put Away (Kitchen), Put Away (Elsewhere), Give Away/Sell, and Storage.  Anything else gets thrown away!  
A good amount of sturdy black garbage bags will come in handy...why black bags?!?!...OUT OF SIGHT/OUT OF MIND...declutter into opaque trash bags for best results.

Now let's get started...
Open your kitchen cabinets...time to clean up!!!
Week 1 & 2...Empty the kitchen cabinets.
     *take everything out of the cabinets including any shelf dividers, racks, etc.
     *work on one cabinet at a time
     *avoid decluttering everything at once, it will help you to stay focused
     *give away or throw away small gadgets and appliances that are just taking up space
     *be rational about how many cups, plates, bowls, glasses, knives, forks, and spoons you actually need
        Suggestions:  If you're not sure, do a trial separation...pack up what you're not sure about and don't                   unpack it into the new kitchen...if you don't go back into those boxes, then perhaps you don't need it!
     *get rid of items you haven't used in a long time
   Week 3...Clearing up miscellaneous items.
     *consider removing items from the kitchen that don't belong there
     *remove all items for the top of your refrigerator and make a verbal promise to yourself to relocate them
       into another location in the new kitchen 

Once that new kitchen is complete, here are a few thoughts to avoid the clutter...
     *dish washing route...don't store dirty dishes in the sink...either put them in the dishwasher or wash them         right away (don't forget to dry them and put them away)
     *don't go out to buy containers for things that don't fit on your shelves...a good example are your coffee               cups...pick a shelf for your coffee cups...if it doesn't fit on that shelf, then you don't need it!
     *follow the "One for One Rule"...get a new skillet and get rid of an old one...it works for your wardrobe,             why not your kitchen gadgets!

Good luck...and feel free to suggest any Blog topics you would like to read about!
Time for me to go follow my own decluttering advice....see you next week!


Whether you are changing the configuration of your kitchen or planning to keep the same layout, a kitchen designer's expertise will make your kitchen more efficient by maximizing storage and functionality, while taking the beauty of the final product into consideration.  Designer's know what works and what doesn't!
Think of your project as a puzzle with so many intricate pieces which need to come together to create a beautiful living space for you and your family.  A kitchen designer has experience in placing all of these pieces.
Communication and comfort are crucial between a designer and the homeowner.  A good designer will listen to your likes and dislikes.  They will take into consideration any design theme or motif you are attracted to.  Finally, they will draw a full set of plans which include elevations or perspectives to help you visualize your new kitchen.
You may be asking yourself...."how do I choose a designer?"...."do I need an architect?"...."can my contractor help with the design phase?".  So many questions!  Let's start with the last question.  Most contractors prefer not to get involved in the design phase.  They will send you to a cabinet retailer to work with their "designer".  The showroom designer is a good source for ideas for your new kitchen.  Often these designers will not  recommend products they do not carry in-house, which may limit the final look of your space.  
What about an architect?  Architects have excellent technical abilities and are able to see the big picture, they often do not have the knowledge of what is available in cabinets, appliances, countertops, tiles, etc.
So where do you find a designer and how do you choose one?  The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) offers a list of certified kitchen designers who have completed various courses and have a certain amount of field experience.  The majority of homeowners, however, hire kitchen designers based on recommendations from friends and family.  But the most important factor in your selection process is to be comfortable with your designer.  The wealth of experience and information that a designer will bring to the table will give you a sense of security and will reduce your stress level during this time.  
Keep in mind that at the end of the day,  the designer goes home and you must live with your new kitchen everyday.  Therefore, your kitchen should be a reflection of yourself and the designers!!!

My name is Lina Inacio and I am the owner and design consultant for Cucina by Lina, Kitchen & Bath Design, LLC.  With a degree in interior design and 30 years of design experience, I ask myself..."WHY?"...Why am I writing a blog? I'm not a writer! But with 30 years of design experience, I do have A LOT of answers to A LOT of questions many people may have. As anyone who knows me can tell you...
            "If Lina doesn't know, she will know someone that does!" 

As a designer, I believe that the kitchen should truly be the heart of the home.  There is a familiar and inviting feeling in a kitchen that you don't get sitting in a living room or dining room.  But it's more than that...it's where the overall  "feel" of your home is set.  For that reason, my goal is to create a space where the fondest of memories are made.

Now that I have taken three days to write this first blog post, the rest should be smooth sailing.  I will be addressing various topics on a weekly basis to help you through your kitchen project.  If you have any questions,  would like to discuss any topics,  or if you have any product information to share,  please contact me...your input is always welcome! 
I would love to help answer any remodeling questions you may have...

Now let's get started...