It’s been a long time since I wrote a book report - you remember those, back in grade school, right?
I’m reading an incredibly smart book on kitchen design right now, and I thought I’d write about it, for anyone in need of kitchen help.
But first, let’s talk about kitchen design books in the last 35 years or so. (Yes, I’m that old. )
When I built my first kitchen in 1985 or so, this book was my guide.
Back then, cabinets were mostly traditional face-frame cabinets, and this book -
was instrumental in helping me along. I did a few remodeling jobs here and there, working on a lot of older homes, but in '88, I built a home and jumped on the frameless cabinet bandwagon.
Paul Levine’s book - Making Kitchen Cabinets - was the perfect blueprint for me.
In fact, it was so helpful, I bought the video that accompanied his book. It was the perfect one-two punch for making contemporary cabinets. His plan was detailed, right down to suggesting the exact cup hinge to use, or drawer slides he recommended. I build my own handsome kitchen using Paul’s book, and never looked back.
As I started getting busier, kitchens didn’t interest me as much. They require a lot of time, with some very heavy lifting and the need for a helper. I prefer to work mostly alone, so I started working on bathroom cabinetry - smaller versions of kitchens, in my mind. They still demand some stellar design skills, and again - Paul Levine’s book was brilliantly helpful.
These days - I prefer building free standing furniture. My days of going to client’s homes and measuring walls and floors are over. A few nightmare encounters convinced me to give up making visits to anyone’s home, and... well... furniture is my first love, anyway.
But lately, I’ve been considering building a home, and luckily - Nancy Hiller’s book recently arrived in my mailbox.
It’s one of the smartest kitchen design books I’ve ever read.
Kitchen Think by Nancy Hiller is... simply terrific, especially if you're a maker of built-in cabinetry.
First off - I love woodworking books with great photography. (I feel the same way about cook books, too, BTW.) This book is loaded with page after page of kitchens that Nancy has built - giving the reader SO much inspiration. These details are instrumental in showing her thought process, and...well, what a wonderful process that is!
Even better - Nancy details her design, cutting and assembly process for building cabinet boxes, and let me say - there was one detail about her cabinet building that knocked my socks off. For anyone who doesn't build kitchens, this detail wouldn't amount to much, but to me - the way she constructs her cabinet boxes is brilliant.
And the way in which she describes scale and proportions of stiles and rails is so common-sensical, that I've never quite heard it described so well.
Can you tell I'm a fan?
It's been a long time since I've dreaded getting to the end of a book, and though I'm almost done with Nancy's - I'll be thinking about it for a long time. She's been fighting some health battles lately, and I certainly wish her the best... I want more from this gifted writer / builder.