A Guide to Kitchen Remodeling Materials
By Mary Ryan
The windows are a key part of any kitchen remodeling project. There are two things to consider with kitchen windows: the treatments and the windows themselves. We'll start by examining the window treatments.
Kitchen Window Treatments
The classic charm of cafe curtains is often associated with kitchen window treatments, but these aren't the only choice. Fabric valances make pleasing toppers to cafe cute; sets and are great for traditional and retro decorating schemes. Roman shades are chic solutions for neoclassical or contemporary spaces. Metal mini-blinds are also fine in modern rooms and have the added advantage of furthering any color scheme and being more fire resistant than other window treatments.
Matchstick or bamboo shades are a novel approach that adds an especially pleasing touch in kitchens showcasing an ethnic flair. In natural tones, they offer the plus of hiding dust. You may decide on an elaborate treatment in an eat-in area, but it's best to keep fabrics, tassels, and such well away from the cooking arena.
For a dramatic look without a lot of drape, consider pelmets (hard valances jigsawed out of thin wood) to frame your windows. If your kitchen opens into a great room or family room, try coordinating the window treatments. They don't need to match, but they should relate.
If your family room draperies are patterned in blue and gold, for example, consider a honey-hued bamboo shade or a solid blue mini-blind for the kitchen. If you've got elaborate burgundy floral draperies in the great room, think about a burgundy plaid in the kitchen, and line or trim the great room draperies with a bit of the plaid. In general, keep kitchen wallcoverings a bit simpler than those in adjoining rooms.
Windows may be custom, semicustom, or stock, but they're all constructed to fit snugly in the window opening provided. You can choose from aluminum, vinyl, wood, aluminum over wood, and vinyl over wood, depending on your needs and budget. Whatever material you prefer, the best news about double- or triple-pane windows is that separate storm windows are a thing of the past.
- Aluminum is the most economical material but may conduct cold, heat, and moisture. It's maintenance free, but if you elect to paint it, it requires yearly maintenance like any other painted outdoor surface on your home.
- Vinyl is also maintenance free and cannot usually be painted successfully, but it comes in a range of popular trim colors as well as in white.
- Wood, the classic window frame material, is still favored for many high-end and historic homes.
Casement. More common than double-hungs are casement windows, which are actually an older, simpler style than double-hungs. Casement windows are hinged on the side and can swing in or out to provide complete ventilation. They usually operate with crank handles, making them easy to operate, even when placed above counters and sinks. Make sure your casements are hinged to swing outward, or you'll need to allow space in front of the window for opening.
Decorative windows. Decorative windows are available in many shapes and sizes, but among the most pleasing is the half-round, sometimes called Palladian after the classic architect Palladio, who popularized them. Half-round windows can be positioned above doors, above other windows, or in shallow wall spaces to bring in more light and create architectural interest. Quarter-round and elliptical versions are also available.
Doors and hardware are the final two items on our list. In the next section, we'll cover these kitchen materials.