Cab­i­nets with glass doors great for dis­play

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Leanne Brownoff

DEAR Leanne: We are se­lect­ing cab­i­nets for our kitchen and have de­cided on white with a sim­ple pro­file. We have planned to in­clude a den­til mould­ing around the top of all the cab­i­netry so the de­sign is more tra­di­tional than mod­ern. I have se­lected oiled bronze han­dles to give it an old-world look.

We have the op­tion of adding glass door fronts to some of the cab­i­nets and I am a lit­tle ner­vous about mak­ing this com­mit­ment. I like the look in mag­a­zines, but I don’t know how prac­ti­cal it is. If we added this look, how many do you rec­om­mend and where should they go?

A: Glass doors on cab­i­nets are a won­der­ful look, but there are a few things to con­sider. These door fronts are gen­er­ally used in kitchens as a fea­ture or show­case. That means you are go­ing to proudly dis­play what you have be­hind the door. Glass doors are fre­quently pho­tographed dis­play­ing beau­ti­ful glasses or dis­play plates.

If you have the space avail­able for dis­plays and you in­tend to keep the cup­board neat and tidy for all to see, then glass doors can be a spec­tac­u­lar ad­di­tion to a kitchen. If this is the op­tion you se­lect, take the time to in­stall re­cessed light­ing in­side the cab­i­nets. This will of­fer a stun­ning show­case as well as pro­vide an in­di­rect light­ing source for your kitchen.

The num­ber of glass doors re­ally de­pends on the kitchen plan as well as the num­ber of cab­i­nets you can de­vote to view­ing. Two well-placed full glass door pan­els may be suf­fi­cient for a vis­ual im­pact. If you are drawn to the glass look but un­com­fort­able with los­ing stor­age, con­sider ob­scure glass. This gives you the lighter look with­out the vis­ual im­pact of what is be­hind the door.

In this sit­u­a­tion, I would not rec­om­mend the re­cessed light as it will lose its ef­fect and show shad­ows rather than of­fer­ing a high­light fea­ture. Place­ment of these doors should be pre­sented to high­light a fea­ture in a kitchen, en­cas­ing a beau­ti­ful win­dow or artis­tic fan-hood or per­haps an an­gled corner unit.

Re­cently, I saw an advertisement for Southamp­ton by Wood-Mode (, which dis­played cab­i­nets with the only the top third of­fer­ing a glass in­sert. This pro­vided the fea­ture of a lit show­case, while al­low­ing the lower cabi­net to re­main func­tional. There are many op­tions avail­able; per­haps your cabi­net maker can be cre­ative to meet your de­sign needs as well as al­le­vi­ate your func­tion­al­ity con­cerns.

Dear Leanne: I am at­tempt­ing to go greener this year. In my plans to clean my win­dows this spring, I am look­ing for chem­i­cal-free prod­ucts, but at the same time I want to get the job done. I have heard peo­ple say to use vine­gar and news­pa­per, but then I have also heard peo­ple say that only leaves streaks. I don’t love do­ing my win­dows, so I would rather not have to do them over if it didn’t work the first time. Do you have any sug­ges­tions?

A: The prac­tice of us­ing vine­gar and newsprint was pop­u­lar from the 1940s to 1960s. Af­ter read­ing, newsprint was rel­e­gated to tasks such as lin­ing bird­cages and wrap­ping fish bones and cof­fee grounds. Some­one, no doubt, used the leftover newsprint to clean up a mess or two and likely at­tempted to wipe the win­dow.

Lo and be­hold, it proved ex­cel­lent at leav­ing win­dows sparkling clean. It wasn’t long be­fore mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies got in on the scene.

In an at­tempt to cap­ture the at­ten­tion of the busy house­wife, ready-made for­mu­las hit the mar­ket. Pack­aged in spray bot­tles, fresh scents and pines re­placed the vine­gar aroma as­so­ci­ated with spring clean­ing.

Af­ter years of clean­ing win­dows with these chem­i­cals, we’re see­ing a move­ment to re­turn to the sim­pler, greener meth­ods. Un­for­tu­nately, when peo­ple try to use vine­gar and wa­ter, the re­sults are less than sparkling, with streaks ev­ery­where. Good in­ten­tions are soon ditched and clean­ing prac­tices re­vert to the com­mer­cial spray prod­ucts.

Vine­gar and wa­ter can cut through most or­ganic prod­ucts, but the com­bi­na­tion has dif­fi­culty with waxy films left over from grime and years of us­ing new chem­i­cal prod­ucts. The film re­quires a bit more than a weak acid di­luted in wa­ter.

A sim­ple ad­di­tion of mild dish soap fixes this dilemma. Soap acts as an emul­si­fier that breaks down the waxy film and al­lows the vine­gar to do its job. A pop­u­lar recipe is 500 mL of very warm wa­ter with 50 mL of vine­gar and 2.5 mL of dish soap.

Newsprint has the ca­pa­bil­ity of ab­sorb­ing dirt and oil. While it spreads the soap and vine­gar mix­ture, it ab­sorbs the grimy film. The sur­face of newsprint is ab­sorbent with­out leav­ing lint, which can oc­cur with paper or cloth tow­elling. If you are not a fan of the vine­gar aroma, le­mon juice can be used as a sub­sti­tute.

Al­though it is good to have the wa­ter warm, a hot win­dow makes the clean­ing so­lu­tion dry too quickly for it to be ef­fec­tive, leav­ing streaks. Wait for a cloudy day for best re­sults. Q: Dear Leanne: When I hear it said that less is more, I’m un­sure of what less is. I am dec­o­rat­ing a new home and tend to add more as I shop and find things I like in the stores. How do you know when to stop and when to keep go­ing, when it comes to dec­o­rat­ing?

A: This is an ex­cel­lent ques­tion — and a com­mon one. First, you need to un­der­stand that the ar­chi­tec­tural style of your space will dic­tate the decor that best com­ple­ments it.

For ex­am­ple, an open-con­cept home with soar­ing ceil­ings and min­i­mal walls will be well-suited to a strong but clean, con­tem­po­rary look. A home de­signed in a tra­di­tional pe­riod will wel­come a lay­ered en­vi­ron­ment.

In all cases, the idea is to achieve a bal­ance of com­plete­ness. Less is more does not re­fer to an empty, in­com­plete feel­ing. In fact, it is es­sen­tial that less still be stun­ning.

Gen­er­ally, home­own­ers tend to err on the side of over-ac­ces­soriz­ing, which loses the de­sign style. The key here is bal­ance.

First, imag­ine your room in its un­adorned state and iden­tify its fo­cal point. If there isn’t a nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring fo­cus, then you will need to cre­ate one.

A spec­tac­u­lar win­dow, a fire­place, de­tailed mould­ings, soar­ing cab­i­netry or a spec­tac­u­lar kitchen is­land are ex­am­ples of ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures that com­mand at­ten­tion. Decor should en­hance these el­e­ments, not com­pete with them.

Con­tem­po­rary de­signs tend to be clas­si­fied, er­ro­neously, as the only spa­ces ap­pro­pri­ate for min­i­mal­is­tic de­sign. This is not cor­rect.

To un­der­stand the min­i­mal­is­tic ap­proach, you need to ap­pre­ci­ate that, by be­ing se­lec­tive, you can achieve greater over­all im­pact — and this is true for all styles.

Think of the lit­tle black dress. A sin­gle strand of pearls com­ple­ments the look per­fectly. Each item by it­self is not strong, yet, by com­bin­ing these two sim­ple el­e­ments, you have a bal­anced state­ment.

Adding a gold belt and gold ban­gles would not add to this look; it would de­tract from it. This is an ex­am­ple of too much. There is no longer a nat­u­ral fo­cal point, nor is an over­all bal­ance achieved.

Think of that when you’re tempted to add to your space. In a con­tem­po­rary kitchen, with smooth, gleam­ing sur­faces, flow­ing coun­ters and seam­less cupboards, the eye needs to have a place to stop and rest. This can be on a light fix­ture, or a stun­ning piece of art.

It’s nec­es­sary to in­cor­po­rate el­e­ments that en­hance the room’s per­son­al­ity with­out con­fus­ing the vis­ual state­ment it makes. A large stain­less steel bowl filled with green ap­ples adds colour and decor while blend­ing with the room’s style.

Adding ter­ra­cotta pots, porce­lain roost­ers, or wicker bas­kets will not make this space feel bal­anced. They would be bet­ter suited to a tra­di­tional or coun­try-style kitchen; how­ever, this look can get car­ried away.

To avoid com­pul­sive pur­chases that can over­whelm your home, keep to a plan. Take a crit­i­cal look at each room from ev­ery view pos­si­ble. Con­fine lay­er­ing to strate­gic lo­ca­tions.

Place one bas­ket on the floor with neatly folded blan­kets and throws rather than toss­ing var­i­ous pat­terns over chairs.

Sim­plify a book­case by re­mov­ing books from each shelf to pro­vide breath­ing space, re­plac­ing them with el­e­ments such as a glass orb or vase. Book­cases are fre­quently cul­prits of too much go­ing on, which is dis­tract­ing to a room.

Once you have placed items in your home, take a few away and see if your space still feels com­plete with­out them. Re­mem­ber the black dress. You may love the other ac­ces­sories, but they may sim­ply be too much for the space.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

Glass-fronted cab­i­nets are a won­der­ful look as long as you can keep your cupboards clean and tidy all the


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