Is an Open Kitchen For You?

For centuries the Kitchen was just a work space. Often hiding in the back of the house, cut off from the rest of your home. But many new Kitchens are stepping out from behind the wall, and becoming part of the view when you come through your front door.

Just like everything in life, the decision to open up your Kitchen, or keep it separate is a personal choice.  Let’s examine some of the pros and cons for both the open Kitchen and the traditional closed off Kitchen.

Open Kitchen

Removing walls between the Kitchen and adjacent rooms is a great way to create an open feel within your existing space.  Choosing an open Kitchen adds space to your home without changing the footprint – which saves you money! 

Open KitchenOpen Kitchens provide you with more social time. They allow you to stay in contact with your family and guests and to interact with them while you’re preparing a meal or cleaning up the Kitchen.   

Removing a wall will open up your view of the rest of the house so you can enjoy more of your home more of the time.  Young parents will appreciate being able to see their kids while they cook and do other household duties.   

An open Kitchen also benefits from more natural light after you tear down some of the walls.  The light from the dining room or the living room, which usually have large windows, can fill your Kitchen with sunlight.

Opening up your Kitchen also gives you the option of adding an island.  Sometimes, closed off Kitchens do not offer the space required for an island.  By removing a wall, you can add an island that will give you extra storage and a place for guests or your kids to sit while you are in the Kitchen. 

If you plan to stay in your home late into your life, or take in your aging parents, opening up your Kitchen creates a better traffic pattern, or fewer obstacles to navigate.

Traditional Closed Off Kitchen 

More walls mean more cabinet storage, countertop work space, and room for appliances.  Keeping the traditional Kitchen allows you to have more storage and work space.   

A traditional or closed off Kitchen makes it easier to hide or contain messes. With busy schedules, we don’t always have the time to keep the Kitchen neat and tidy.  Keeping it closed off from the rest of the home helps you to look like a better housekeeper to guests entering your home. 

By keeping your Kitchen separate from the rest of your home, you can also contain the noise.  Noise from appliances or clanking pots and pans won’t travel as far with extra walls to can help contain and limit noise.

Factors Affecting Your Decision

Your decision to open up your Kitchen is personal choice; however, there are some other factors that may play into that decision.

If the wall you wish to remove is not load-bearing and doesn’t hide plumbing pipes, it’s a relatively simple task for a contractor to:

  • Demolish drywall and studs
  • Reroute electric lines
  • Patch flooring
  • Patch and paint the ceiling where the wall was attached

However, if your plan includes taking down a load-bearing wall, it is not as simple, but definitely doable by a professional.     

Another factor to consider is what is behind the walls.  After drywall is removed, you may discover plumbing water and drain lines, electric cables, low-voltage wires for intercoms, doorbells or sound systems, HVAC supply or return air ducts, and even dryer vent piping. All of these things would have to be rerouted to take down a wall.

This job is best done by a full-service remodeling company. Gehman Design Remodeling has seasoned employees who know how to do the demolition and deal with all the things that need to be relocated.

One More Option

You don’t have to take down the entire wall to get a more open feeling.   A half wall will open sight lines and bring in more natural light while still defining the different spaces.  Half walls can also serve as an island to provide extra storage or serve as a bookcase or shelving. 

If you need help deciding what works best for you, or imagining what an open Kitchen would look like in your home, our team of design consultants can help.  Please feel free to call us at 215-660-5635 for a free consultation.

Kitchen Pain Points









The first thing that comes to mind when you think of pain is physical injury, or maybe emotional pain.  But… have you ever considered your kitchen may be causing you pain? 

When homeowners are considering remodeling their kitchen, it is typically because something about their current kitchen “pains” them.

So what are these dislikes that pain homeowners to the point when they say, it’s time to remodel?  Let’s take a look at the most common pain points:

Organization: Everyone would like to improve accessibility to appliances throughout the kitchen. They also want ways to reduce the amount clutter on countertops.

Supplee, Kitchen (2)

  • One solution is an organization station, which can be utilized in an end cabinet to incorporate a clever space for keys, a notice board for family and to-do lists, as well as stowaway slats for magazines and cookbooks.
  • Clear off countertops and maximize corner-cabinet space by installing a two-tiered carousel, or lazy Susan. This helps you to keep both often-used and rarely used items tucked away but within easy reach.
  • Having a paper towel drawer frees up some more counter space. The towels are easy to reach and out of sight.
  • Try adding hinges and a convenient tray to the false drawer under your sink for an extra place to hide cleaning essentials.
  • Kids love playing in the kitchen while you work, so look for clever options like toy drawers in your kitchen island, which can hold everything from crayons to puzzles.

Cleanliness: Homeowners want products, surfaces, materials, and appliances that are easy to clean and maintain.

  • When it comes to material, think smooth (no cracks, crevices, texture, or other places for dirt to accumulate), stain and water repellant, a pattern, earth tone in color (food colors), durable, and not glossy.    The more of these features a material has, the easier it is to keep clean looking.
  • A great way to see how well a countertop disguises daily messes, is to test out a counter sample using food crumbs and some common liquids
  • Consider soft close doors and drawers.  This allows you to close the door and drawer by just bumping it closed when your hands are dirty.
  • When searching for a cooktop, look for removable controls, sealed burners, and black grates that can go in your dishwasher.

Space:   Having more room is always high on a wish list.  Adding cabinets, pantries, and islands are typically how more space is achieved.

Gehman Kitchen (5)

  • There also are many options for making the storage capacity within the cabinetry more efficient. Among the most popular are the drawers for pots and pans that roll out from the cabinet.
  • Adding an island to your kitchen allows for more storage space, additional seating, and it’ll keep you in the middle of the action while you prepare meals.
  • If the shelves in your pantry don’t hold enough items, consider getting new shelving installed. Shelves that are deeper or wider can accommodate more. Instead of only using one type of shelving, vary the storage throughout the pantry. Pullout drawers and varying height shelves can give flexibility for housing small kitchen appliances and varying sized boxed goods.





Product Design: Homeowners want improved products and features those products offer. Many appliances, materials, and products were originally installed to save costs and people want to upgrade.  When you’re ready to upgrade appliances, you may want to take advantage of new or improved ideas since the last time you bought.

  • A sleek induction cooktop has no open flames and generates heat directly into compatible pots or pans, making it more efficient than gas.
  • Digital temperature controls on your refrigerator will display the actual temperature and the temperature you set.
  • Hot-surface warning lights are an important safety feature on electric ranges and cooktops because the surface can remain hot long after an element has been turned off.

 Noise: Too much noise from appliances and products in the kitchen are constant problems for homeowners.

  • Designing your new kitchen with appliances covered in integrated doors that match your cabinetry is an easy and smart way to reduce noise. Your dishwasher will be just as functional, and blends in nicely when closed.
  • Trash compactors and disposals should be installed with a perimeter strip-type gasket or with rubber spacers to isolate vibrations.
  • Mount exhaust fans outside the house and secure the ductwork by boxing it in tightly with plywood. Use rubber mounts to install the fan to reduce noise generated from vibrations.
  • Large, heavy appliances, such as refrigerators, transfer their vibrations to the supporting floor, creating additional noise. These vibrations can be isolated from the floor by placing pads of rubber underneath the appliance’s legs or corners.
  • Soft close kitchen cabinets close gently and physically can’t be slammed.
  • If noise is a concern, consider staying away from stone flooring. A stone floor will make the  room much more prone to echoes

Are any of these points paining you?  When you’re ready to discuss remodeling your kitchen to cure what pains you, please call us at 215-660-5635 for a free consultation.

Once upon a time before Google


I was sitting at my desk the other day, when the phone rang.  I answered, and had a very pleasant conversation with the person on the other end who had called us about a remodeling project.  Before ending the call, I asked where they had heard about us, they responded that they found us in the phone book.  That’s right!  Not Google, not our website… the phone book.  That big, heavy book that we used to find at the bottom of our driveway every so often.  Honestly, I didn’t think the phone book was still out there, but there I was, writing down that this person found us in the phone book.

Just-google-itSo I started thinking about how the world has changed since Google became more than a noun and the internet became as second nature as breathing.  We “Google” everything.  Need a quick dinner idea?  Google it!  Can’t think of the actor’s name from a movie?  Google it!  Want to learn song lyrics?  Google them!  Something wrong and don’t want to go to the doctor?  Google your symptoms!

Thanks to the internet, we have everything and anything we ever wanted to know, right at our finger tips.  But is this good or bad?

On the bad side:

  • Viruses affect our home or business computers
  • SPAM (enough said)
  • Scams have become more rampant
  • On-line stalking (although some might see this as a positive)

On the good side:

  • Instant access to news or events
  • Re-connecting with friends, family or business associates
  • Shop from home (my personal favorite)
  • Consumer reviews (to assist you in your on-line shopping)

On the positive side for Gehman Design Remodeling, many of our clients find us by using the internet.  When you take the first step in your remodeling project, chances are, you are going to search the internet for ideas and for reputable remodelers in your area.  Since you’re reading this on our website, you have found us; and we hope you give us the opportunity to guide you through the entire process of your remodeling project.  So, begin your journey.  Take a look around our website, and if you like what you see, give us a call.  We look forward to hearing from you, because the internet can do many things, but it can never replace human contact.


Morning routines.  I wake up, shower; maybe turn on the local news.  I pour myself a cup of coffee, as I high five myself for remembering to prep the machine last night – what’s better than waking up to a fresh pot of coffee?  I grab my phone and scroll through Facebook with my first, then second cup of coffee.  At the same time, I wonder why I have to do this morning ritual of checking Facebook.  Somehow, it really has become a habit.  I suppose at first it was a great way to re-connect with old friends, or even discover family members that you either lost touch with, or didn’t know you had.  However; it seems like nowadays it has become a place where you end up comparing yourself to other people.

steam-cup-coffee.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smartComparison.  Whether we mean to or not, we are using social media to boost our self-image.   We post pretty pictures of our family, our pets, or our home.  Why not?  Everyone else is.  Sometimes when I see someone else posting about their child’s great accomplishment, or a fun family trip or just a great photo, I’m happy for them – I hit that “like” button.  But that insecure part of me thinks, how can I top this?  How can I show everyone else that my life is great too.   But why?   Life isn’t a competition.

Maybe we all just need to be the best we can be and be that for ourselves.   But what if comparison is something that inspires us to be the best we can be?  Maybe comparing ourselves to other people helps us strive for success or happiness.

We all have a need, some greater than others, to impress people.  At Gehman Design Remodeling, we also have a need to impress and to please… but for us, it’s our clients that we want to impress and please.  If you decide to remodel your home with us, we want you to look at our work and be proud of your home.  Our hope and our goal is for you to show it off however you choose to… by inviting over friends, by simply sitting back and relaxing in your new room, or maybe even posting pictures on social media… go on, we know you want to.

The underlying need to compare ourselves to other people, or our belongings to theirs will always be part of human nature.   But we can’t let that rule our lives.  I think the next time I log on to Facebook with my morning cup of coffee (prepped the night before of course), I will just be happy for my friends… for whatever it is they have making them happy – their kids, their most recent adventure, or maybe… their newly remodeled home!

What’s Your Wish List?

The holiday season changes as you get older.  I remember as a child, the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas felt just as long as January through November.  There was waiting for school to let out for break, creating the perfect list for Santa, and helping out around the house just a little bit more to earn extra points from your parents.

45431c6aa2861ecc8a0573063a7efe19Fast forward to your late teens/early twenties, and now your thoughts turn to buying your boyfriend/girlfriend the perfect gift, and how can you get out of Christmas dinner early so you can spend more time with them.

Then you reach the age where you have kids of your own.  Now you understand the frantic looks you used to see as a kid on the adult faces as they raced around town buying gifts and planning family gatherings.  Even after you buy all the gifts, where in the world do you hide them all???  You think to yourself, how did my parents do this?

As time passes by, and you realize that Christmas is so much more than the gifts or the decorations, all you really want for Christmas is to be with your family under one roof.  Whether it be for a whole month for your college-aged kids’ winter break, or just one day when your grown children’s families come over for Christmas dinner; having everyone healthy and together in your home is what truly makes you happy.

When you decide it is time to remodel your home, whatever the size of the project, whatever the time of year, Gehman Design Remodeling wants to bring your family together in the home that you are dreaming of.  The home that your family will wake up in Christmas morning, the home where you prepare your holiday dinner, the home your children grow up in and will return to with their children someday.

We hope that you will put us on your wish list now, because time flies by, and next year’s holiday season will be right back at our doorstep before you know it.

From our family to yours, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!

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