Article first appeared in “Home
Improvement,” October issue, 2002,
CNC/Herald Media Publishing, Boston.
There’s nothing like a kitchen
to cozy-up to for a heart-to-heart with a loved one or for a warm cup of cocoa
on a winter night, or a frosty tumbler of iced tea on a hot day. Our kitchens
are the heart of our
homes. If kitchens are the home’s
heart, then a luxurious bathroom is its soul. Nothing is more sybaritic and
soul satisfying than the richness of a
bubbling bath, wonderfully-scented candles, Castile soaps, exfoliating lufas,
and thick Egyptian cotton towels.
the heart and soul of the house is inconvenient, outdated, or just plain
uninviting, well, then, it’s time for a change.
And welcome change can come in the form of a makeover for any
kitchen or bath. Yes, there are those who pine after those gorgeous $100,000
kitchens and spa-like baths we see in glossy magazines, but for most of us,
there are excellent alternatives—a good eye for detail, a little ingenuity and
the services of a good designer or remodeler.
the metro Boston area, excellent resources and talented kitchen and bath
designers can make ho-hum rooms sparkle with texture, color and style.
In Quincy, the Ziegler Kitchen Design Center on Adams Street offers their clients
an affordable and tasteful opportunity to either install brand new or
incorporate existing kitchens and baths with a designer-look—all for those on a
and Maura Zielger, an innovative husband-and wife-team have been in business in
Quincy for a little more than a year, yet Richard’s experience goes back 20
years in the construction, remodeling and carpentry industry. The Zieglers
implement both up-to-the-minute CADD software that assists their clients in
viewing, beforehand, exactly what their remodeled kitchen or bath will look
One project they completed about
six months ago involved a 121-year-old Quincy house that had just a
three-quarter bath (sink, toilet, stall shower) and a post-World War II, 1940s
kitchen. The retro look is fine for some, but in this very old home, it was all
wrong. Ziegler measured what was there
and drew up a design on the computer.
“But first we designed the kitchen and bath in
3-D so our client
would be able to see what their new kitchen and bath would look like in
relation to its existing state.” Ziegler then fully gutted the kitchen and bath area,
removed a 13-foot
section of load-bearing wall and built a new wall 15 inches wider to
accommodate a full size tub.
Ziegler explains that this
remodeling job was not simply creating a fully-functional kitchen and bath, but
it was especially necessary to accommodate a family of four.
“Designing a kitchen for this
family that would be utilitarian was an important factor,” said Ziegler.
“But I did it so that it reflected the style
of this 121-year-old house. Accommodating a family yet still maintaining the
architectural integrity and age of the house was our challenge.”
“We discussed cabinet style and
they chose a maple cabinet with flat-paneled doors by Merrillat. We like
working with Merrillat, also the Diamond Cabinet Company; they both carry a
really solid and beautiful product.” Ziegler
then we replaced all plumbing fixtures, installed a new vanity and medicine
cabinet, and put tile on the floor and walls. In the kitchen a backsplash, was
installed and floor tiles and pine wainscoting added. “And for a finishing
touch, my wife and I hung the wallpaper border,” he said.
Ziegler and his wife Maura
realized the house had an awkward and uninviting front entry. “We modified both
the front and rear entranceways to allow for more convenient traffic patterns
and flow into the house. We built a new foyer in the front and actually created
a rear entranceway to the house, which was previously nonexistent. And yet we
designed it so that it looks like it was original to the design of the house.”
Ziegler keeps his prices
reasonable and his clients’ design goals within reach. “Yes, we are
reasonably-priced, especially when compared with other contractors and
designers,” Ziegler said. “The main thing is that we’re all-inclusive—not only
to create and implement the design but we’re licensed to do the remodeling
rather than going through another contractor.
It helps to keep costs down because I am doing the whole project myself,
from cabinetry to floor tiles. But there are some sub-contractors out there
looking to squeeze extra money out of a client.
By controlling all aspects of the project, I can better control
the cost and pass the savings onto my customer,” Ziegler said.
Kitchens and baths are rooms of
function for many students or young marrieds just starting out, and a kitchen
or bath makeover may not be as easily achievable, especially on a “no-budget”
budget. But pleasure and beauty knows no boundaries because color, texture, art
and fragrance can turn a nondescript bathroom or kitchen into a fantasy retreat
or workspace. Vivid paint colors or
soothing pastels with faux finishes, stencils or wallpaper borders, along with
serene or funky artwork or framed posters, matching or contrasting accessories,
curtains, towels and soaps all work together to inspire and delight the senses.
But when the resources do come, in time, the student or newlywed make-do
innovations will give way to all-out renovations and makeovers.
Eventually, the Home & Garden TV
channel, “This Old House,” Martha Stewart and the rest of TV-land’s decorating
fantasies comes full circle.
In Marshfield, Nivea Frattalone’s
Nivea Kitchen and Bath Designs on
Plain Street has enjoyed nine years of experience in the kitchen and bath
industry. An architect by profession, Nivea worked for architects and builders
and lived in Florida next to a showroom. She landed a job with them and helped
them establish a focus for design areas, and met people in the industry. Nivea
does medium-to-high-end work but is quick to point out, “I treat everyone
equally whether my customer spends $5,000 or $50,000.”
She describes her
medium-to-high-end work as both custom and semi-custom work and, being an
architect, she still hand-draws her floor plans and preliminary sketches for
customers. Nivea believes that anyone “can achieve a $40,000-50,000 ‘look’ for
about half the price. She believes it takes a good eye and in-depth knowledge
of the products available. Of course,
she has designed $50,000-plus kitchens and baths for her more affluent
customers but still insists the same “look” is possible for far less.
“I like working with
the Cabico Company because their prices are mid-range and
they do cabinets in particle board construction or solid plywood
construction. They offer any door and color style imaginable
and will color-match and size incrementally any cabinet perfectly.”
Nivea also likes working with
the Luxor Cabinet Company because of their customer service, speediness,
follow-up and back-up. For fixtures,
she likes the higher-end Robern or Allied Brass for the more designer look.
“Some of my customers may spend a few
hundred dollars for a toilet paper roll fixture!”
What may be every designer’s and
do-it-yourselfer’s dream, to have their work featured on HGTV (cable TV’s Home
and Garden channel), actually materialized for Nivea. Last November, Joan Kohn of HGTV’s “Sensible Chic” featured a
gourmet kitchen in Scituate that Nivea had gutted and designed. Host, Joan Kohn’s “Fantasy Tour” featured
Nivea’s design, including a duel-level peninsula workspace that houses a large
sink with brushed-nickel fixtures. The cabinets, done in hickory with Indian
iron pulls creates a light, airy feeling. Terracotta floor tiles and
medium-toned granite counters produce a monochromatic and calm aura in the
room. A large, four-burner commercial range and griddle completes the gourmet
kitchen. HGTV—the ultimate designer
coup to die for! Access Nivea’s work on
the net by logging on to www.HGTV.com, then “Sensible Chic,” then “Fantasy Tour,”
then by typing in Episode “KDE-906” it will take you directly to the gourmet
kitchen of Nivea’s design.
Because Nivea is such a people
person, she will go the extra mile for her customers. “We’re here to help
people design their kitchens and baths and I want them to be 100 percent happy
and satisfied. I always hear: ‘This is
just what I wanted!’ I love dealing
with people,” she said.
a homeowner is on a strict budget or has money to burn, beautiful, functional
kitchens and baths are doable and necessary to make life just that little bit