Designing Your Dream Kitchen


Whether you’re an entertainer always throwing dinner parties or the house where kids hang out after school, the kitchen is the center of every home, if not physically then spiritually. Given how much time we spend in our kitchen, having it be both aesthetically pleasing and highly functional is important.

Creating such a space is no small feat, which is why anyone designing a kitchen, be it for new construction or undergoing a remodel, should employ a seasoned design professional. At Main Line Kitchen Design, every designer has over 20 years of experience and each design is reviewed and approved by president, Paul McAlary, an internationally recognized authority on kitchen design, who has won over a dozen local and national kitchen design awards.

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He and his team are fierce advocates for design standards, ethics, and transparency in the kitchen industry.

Q: What can design experts offer that DIY or box stores can’t?

A: We tell customers that the first job of a kitchen designer is to “defunkify” a home and to make the space seem like it was created for the kitchen in it.  DIYers, home center designers, architects and other less experienced individuals can’t offer that. To make sensible decisions about what design works best and what materials are the best investment requires a great deal of experience. Kitchen design experts guide customers through that process to save money and increase the value of their homes.

Q: What kitchen design elements can maximize space/efficiency? 

A: A good designer’s mantra is that, “It’s all the same money.” This means spending a little more money moving a doorway or removing a wall to improve layout is always a better investment than splurging on high-end appliances or custom cabinets. Budget permitting, splurging is fine if layout works best for the design. We work with homeowners to balance their must haves with their space.

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Q: What is the Main Line Kitchen Design process? 


A: First, we cover any questions customers have over the phone. Based on our conversation, we provide an estimate of project costs. At this point, we charge a $150 deposit to proceed. The deposit is later applied to the cost of cabinets. From there, one of our expert designers does an on-site kitchen measure. We use these measurements to create an initial, detailed 3D preliminary design for use in the second meeting with the customer. During this 2-hour appointment, included in the $150 deposit, we review and modify the design. We also provide additional pricing information. If clients want to move forward, we ask for a second deposit, again credited toward the cost of cabinets. Upon receipt, we release all present and future floor plans, elevations, and drawings and begin the design process in more detail. 

Q: How do you take somebody’s conceptualized dream and make it a reality?

A: To provide the reality of the best kitchen possible, we spend hours with every customer considering designs and materials. The result is a kitchen that is a combination of our designers’ knowledge and experience, and what our customers truly love. â€¨â€¨

Q: How can working with a designer help avoid common design mistakes? 

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A: We see many avoidable design mistakes. These are among the most common:

  • Crown moldings closer than 9 inches from a ceiling. Once you get within a foot of the ceiling, you should have the cabinetry and molding meet.
  • Corner sinks. Professionals avoid corner sinks and equal sized double bowl sinks because they create dysfunctional designs.
  • Cabinets different distances away from each side of a window. Symmetry is important.
  • Different sized cabinet doors either side of a window, sink or cooktop.
  • Selecting styles that hurt the value of a home. These include arched wall cabinet doors, golden oak, pickled pinkish stain, white raised panel plastic Thermafoil cabinets.
  • Cabinets all the way to the ceiling without two-piece crown molding or a solid wood spacer.
  • Eight feet of cabinetry in an 8-foot space.
  • Forty-two inch high wall cabinets. Builders use these to maximize cabinetry, but it looks out of proportion and gives little added space benefit. Cabinetry doors look best when their size is closer to The Golden Ratio. Good designers stack cabinets with small cabinet doors instead.
  • Particleboard cabinets discolor and peal quickly. Upgrade to plywood.
  • Highly grained man-made quartz and Corian countertop patterns such as the beautiful Cambria Brittanica. These patterns can’t be seamed inconspicuously.

Q: Why is it best to work with a designer for a remodel? 


A: There needs to be a single, experienced and thoughtful mind behind any complex kitchen renovation. The person helping make layout, style, and material selections should be an experienced kitchen designer. Contractors can be great mechanics, but weighing design and style choices is not their strength. Consequently, the value of the renovation suffers.

Main Line Kitchen Design
(610) 557-1680

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!