Month: March 2016

The American Heirloom Collection of fine furniture offers excellent quality and timeless designs that satisfy even the most discerning customers.  This furniture line includes high quality custom chairs and benches available in a wide variety of styles to suit all of your design needs.  American Heirloom custom chairs are built from Pennsylvania cherry, oak and maple harvested from the Northeastern USA and is crafted using state-of-the-art equipment to aid in the efficiency and quality of manufacturing, while still providing top quality craftsmanship consistent with handcrafted furniture.

American Heirloom custom chairs are made with fine attention to detail.  We offer turned spindles that give character to chair design.  Tenoned leg detail means chair legs are driven into the seat and then screwed in for additional durability.  Frame chair legs are anchored with corner blocks under the seat to provide a solid structure.  The line also features bent chair parts that are crafted using a steam bending process that provides beauty and comfort in chair décor.  The wood is steamed for flexibility and then shaped and cramped in forms until it is set in the desired shape

American Heirlooms custom chairs offer a wide variety of seat options, including wood, fiber, leather, rush and fabric.  Wood seats are by far the most durable seat option, but our other seats offer flexibility in style and design.  Leather seats come in two grades – standard medium grade leather, or premium grade aniline leather imported from Europe.  The line includes antique reproductions of Early American Windsor chairs that feature thick sculpted seats, leg & spindle wedge joinery and hickory bows and arms.  The chair line also includes benches and stools to round out your home seating options.

Below is a gallery of some of the beautiful custom chairs in the American Heirlooms line to provide you with a sense of the scope of our seating options.  To request a catalog of the full line of custom furniture, contact us at 610-589-4575.

A talented kitchen designer can help you design the kitchen of your dreams.  The Kountry Kraft team is thrilled to work with a network of talented dealers and kitchen designers who create incredible custom cabinetry projects using our products.  This month I am happy to profile our friends at James Kershaw and Associates in North Haledon, NJ.

James Kershaw began drawing and designing in High School. Soon thereafter, he was hired as an industrial draftsman. His fascination for architecture carried him through college where at night, he began working for a local kitchen dealer. After college, he began a long teaching career while continuing his passion for kitchen design.

In 1981, Jim received his accreditation as a “Certified Kitchen Designer”. He started his own business, James Kershaw Associates, specializing in interior planning, kitchen design, bath design, home theaters & media cabinetry, closets & specialized storage, custom furniture, and libraries & offices.

Jim’s daughter discovered her own love of kitchen design after taking a high school drafting course. She attended drafting school and then joined her father’s firm to learn  design from the best.   Patty became a partner in James Kershaw Associates in 2009.  With almost 25 years experience working in the kitchen business, she gives much attention to design detail and engineering. She enjoys working with clients to make each kitchen special and personal. Patty believes “A satisfied client is the biggest reward.”

Jim and Patty also work with designer Bill Troncone, Bill studied interior design at Berkeley College of Business. He has focused on kitchen and bath design since 1998, and is committed to providing creative design solutions that meet a client’s needs while staying within their budget. Together the team at James Kershaw and Associates work to create designs that get the very best out of every space.

We are pleased to display several James Kershaw and Associates projects in the web gallery on our website. For more information and to see more of their work, check out the slide show of some of their projects below, and visit their website to see more of their designs at www.jameskershaw.com.

 

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Around the holidays last year we shared with you the inspirational story of how our company began when my mother, Helen Hurst purchased a Sears Table Saw for my father Elvin back in 1958.  We love that story – and around the time we shared it with you we also sent it out to a few home and woodworking magazines that we thought might find it interesting.  We were thrilled when Woodshop News magazine reporter Jennifer Hicks called us to let us know they read the story and she was interested in coming for an interview and a shop tour.

Woodshop News has been in print for 30 years. The publication is a favorite among woodshop owners and woodworkers with small to mid-sized woodshops, and has a very active readership of 70,000.  They cover news, business trends, advice and new products for professional woodworkers.  Their typical reader builds cabinetry, furniture, architectural millwork and remodeling projects.  Our own staff are Woodshop News readers, so we were thrilled to have them stop by for a tour of our facility last week and meet my parents, Elvin Jr and myself.

Jennifer spent a good deal of time with my parents, hearing stories from the early days of Kountry Kraft, and learning how we grew from a staff of 2 to nearly 100 in the past 50+ years.  It certainly wasn’t easy for my father to quit his job with a 14 month old and a 3 week old baby at home to launch our company.  The path from a 28’ x 58’ shop to our current 90,000 square foot shop wasn’t always smooth, but our commitment to the Germanic principles of practical hard work and our strong sales philosophy of giving people what they want so they will come back for more still guide every decision we make today.  Our path is a great example for other shops who start small with big dreams for the future.

I don’t want to scoop Jennifer and our friends at Woodshop News, but watch for a story in the May or June issue this year.  Visit woodshopnews.com for some great content for woodworkers, and consider a subscription to encourage the woodworker in your life – you never know what might become of it 🙂

metal fusion corbels

Metal Fusion by Kountry Kraft is an exciting new finishing process created to take a wood component from ordinary to extraordinary! Metal Fusion combines real pulverized metal particles with a special resin to create a metal finish. Together they form a coating that replicates the look of metal when applied to traditional wood products. Lighter in weight and lower in price than metal, this finishing process offers affordable options for dramatic accents and focal points throughout the home.

Metal Fusion is available in eight metals and three finishes to suit a wide variety of design styles and color combinations.  Metal styles include:

  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Copper
  • White gold
  • Oil rubbed bronze
  • Iron
  • Nickel silver
  • Stainless steelmetal fusion range hoods

Finishes include:

  • Satin Patina
  • Polished
  • Polished Patina

Metal Fusion can be used with range hoods, moldings, corbels, appliqués, legs, posts, bun fee, picture frames, and more. Design applications are only limited by your imagination.  Our metal finishes add a polished sophisticated look to any room, and ties in well with metal accents such as range hoods in kitchen design.

Metal Fusion will react to the environment, just as solid metal does, and will naturally patina overtime, thus enhancing the beauty of the piece.  On products such as corbels, posts and decorative on-lays, a patina must be applied to give the appearance of tarnishing and enhance the recessed areas that cannot be polished. Metal Fusion is not available on Styrofoam or silicone.  Cleaning cabinets with a metal finish is simple – simply wipe the surface with a damp cloth, and polish with a metal polish when necessary.

Our network of experienced dealers can help you decide where to incorporate cabinetry with a metal finish into your custom cabinetry design.  Metal Fusion is yet another way Kountry Kraft stays ahead of the trends, offering unique and high-end design solutions to enhance the beauty of your home.

craftsmanshipAdding custom kitchen cabinetry to your home is a big investment, and for some it is something they will do only once in their lifetime.  Making such a big commitment means you will want to make sure you are choosing a skilled cabinet designer who is knowledgeable and will listen to what you want.  Finding that person requires careful research and investigation.  Here are some basic tips to finding the right cabinet designer for you:

  1. Start by getting an idea of what you want – You know your kitchen isn’t working for you – now is the time to sit down to determine what you need to make your space more functional. Do you need storage?  Do you want a space that doubles as a working kitchen and an entertainment space?  Is having a high-tech kitchen important to you?  Knowing what you want and need is an important part of the process.  Visit Houzz.com and start your own idea books, pinning designs you like to help get your creativity flowing.
  2. Understand the process – a kitchen renovation is a huge undertaking. Be prepared to have your kitchen completely demolished and rebuilt.  This does not take a week, and depending on the amount of work being done could take several months.  Research the process, watch videos, and get a realistic sense for the work that will be involved.
  3. Ask for recommendations – while you can’t rely solely on recommendations from friends, having cabinet designer recommendations is helpful in narrowing down the pool of available options – and may help you know what and who to avoid.
  4. Search for professionals on Houzz – not only is Houzz a great place to get design ideas – it’s also a great place to search for professionals in your area, read reviews, and look at their designs to see if their style matches your own. Does a designer keep up with the style and trends? This will be important to know that you are getting the most current design and technology that will last for years to come.
  5. Do your homework – when you’ve narrowed down a short list of designer, make appointments to meet them and go see their work in person. Ask for references, and check them.  Find out how long they’ve been in business, how many kitchens they design in a year, and their certifications so you have a sense of their skill level and experience.

Once you’ve selected a cabinet designer the next step is to set up an initial consultation.   You’ll want to find a designer who makes time for you, answers all of your questions, and meets face-to-face to discuss your project.  This is like a job interview – and should leave you feeling secure in knowing that the designer you’ve selected can handle your project with expertise.  If you leave that meeting with any doubts, then it will be best to choose another professional from your list.

At Kountry Kraft we are proud of the incredibly talented group of cabinet designers we work with.  We have added a dealer locator to our website to make it simple to search by zip code for a designer near you.   We also feature photos of real designs our dealers have created in our website gallery as well as on our Houzz page, to give you glimpse of some of the amazing work cabinet designers have done with our custom cabinetry.

Building a custom kitchen can be a daunting task – but with the help of a talented kitchen designer it can be a very rewarding experience, and one that will add to the function and comfort of your home.