For Useful Information or Just Inspiration, Guides Offer Design Tips to Ease Remodeling

Times Staff Writer

Are you building a home and planning a kitchen layout, or thinking of giving your present weary-looking kitchen a bright new lift? Even if you’re just dreaming of designing a kitchen that spells perfection and beauty, a new videotape and a new soft cover book on kitchen design ideas, are excellent sources of inspiration.

What would take weeks of research--visiting showrooms, touring designer home kitchens, reading remodeling information and consulting with designers or contractors--is condensed into a delightful 1-hour, 15-minute video learning program.

The tape by Mary Fisher Knott, R.S.P.I. (Residential Space Planner International), owner of Mary Fisher Designs in San Marino, makes planning easy for homeowners undertaking a kitchen renovation. Knott provides a complete consultation in her visually entertaining new videotape called “Designing Your Kitchen” ($29.95).

According to Knott, more money is spent more frequently in kitchen improvement (average $10,700) than in any other area of the home. Such improvements are reported to increase the value of the house by 26%. “Expenditures for residential remodeling will exceed $40 billion in 1988 and have been growing at a rate of 11% annually for the past several years,” Knott said.


Backed by her 25 years experience in home interior designs and space planning, Knott discusses a well-outlined program starting from gathering ideas to contracting bids. She begins with getting a list of do-wants and don’t-wants and creating a file of notes, clippings and material samples from showrooms and stores.

Throughout the tape many of these materials are shown, such as countertop materials from tiles to marble and granite, various flooring materials, cabinets ranging from laminates to white-wash woods with glass doors, French bay windows and doors, new appliances, faucets and sinks.

The program progresses to the fun part where 13 different kitchens are illustrated, showing several before and after views of kitchens.

The changes are dramatic, particularly those in which walls or doors were moved to create more efficient placement of appliances and storage cabinets. It shows how an old kitchen can be spruced up with just a simple paint job, wallpapering, by changing cabinet door knobs and installing undercabinet lighting.


One of the tape’s visual highlights includes the different cabinet designs featuring tray inserts, drawer partitions, pantry storage with pullout shelves, wine slots, rollout tables, half-round-shaped shelves or lazy susans for corner spaces, island storage and many others.

“Kitchens by Professional Kitchen Designers” (Kasmar Publications, CA: $10) is a valuable 108-page reference book that provides actual kitchen design illustrations in color to inspire remodeling attempts.

Reviewed by a panel of industry leaders and design experts, the book features 57 different kitchen designs in the West, including a biographical sketch of the designer and a listing of the products used in the each kitchen remodeled. Also included are brief explanations of space changes and cosmetic improvements, emphasizing the most dramatic effect.

Informative consumer articles related to kitchens written by industry experts are found in chapters such as: “A Revolution in Kitchen Appliances” by Lou Gans of California; “Kitchens, Floors and Countertops” by Chula Camp, president of Chula Productions; “Making the Right Choice in Kitchen Cabinets” by Francis Jones, executive director of NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Assn.), and “A Homeowner’s Guide to Kitchen Lighting” by Randy Whitehead, president of the Light Source.

Trends in Western states are discussed by Kenneth Rohl, president and CEO of Western State Manufacturing Co. while Lou Hall, a veteran of the kitchen and bath industry, provides a morale booster for apprehensive consumers by providing encouraging tips on how to deal with designers and contractors in a chapter titled, “Well, Let’s Just Start Remodeling.”

The videotape Designing Your Kitchen is available by sending $29.95 plus $1.50 handling and 6.5 % sales tax (California only) to Knott Communications Co., P. O. Box 3755, Alhambra, Calif. 91803; (818) 284-2949.

The book Kitchens By Professional Kitchen Designers is available at all Waldenbooks stores, selected B. Dalton bookstores and some kitchen cabinet showrooms; (213) 373-8915.