The kitchen has always been the heart of the home. It's where the warmth generates.
That's the feeling of Jim Schilber, owner of Modesto's All About Kitchens, which specializes in kitchen remodeling projects and transforming old and stodgy galley-style food preparation areas into vibrant home entertainment centers.
"It's the funnest place to work in a house," Schilber says. "The kitchen is becoming an entertaining space. Everybody wants an open kitchen. You no longer leave mom trapped in the kitchen while everybody else has fun."
Light-colored quartz products have become very popular in the last five years, Schilber says, replacing granite. Quartz counters are stain-proof and maintenance-free, with white and light-colored hues the craze right now.
"It (quartz) is 80 percent of what we install," Schilber says. "With quartz, you have 400 colors to choose from, with granite, about 100 colors."
Seventeen employees work for All About Kitchens, headquartered in a 5,000-square-foot showroom and office at 531 Kansas Ave., Unit D. The full design center firm handles kitchen construction projects 100 percent in-house, from the concept to completion and that means they don't have to depend on unreliable subcontractors who could delay a project.
Brandie Medina is a designer at All About Kitchens, joining the company last December. She enjoys putting collections of projects together and seeing the vision come alive.
She says white and greystone colors are trending now, which make a room feel more open and airy. She says many people come to the showroom knowing they want to remodel but needing assistance from an expert.
"People get overwhelmed during the process. They just need to believe it will be okay," Medina says.
Schilber says homeowners think they need to spend $30,000 for a kitchen remodel but that's high. His company does kitchens for less than $15,000 all the time.
Most people might think summer is the busiest time of the year for All About Kitchens. It's not — the busiest time of the year is fall when everybody wants a new kitchen done in time for Christmas, according to Schilber. All About Kitchens serves the Central Valley from Merced to Stockton, covering Merced, Tuolumne, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, also extending to Tracy, the East Bay area and the Sierra foothills.
Schilber says he has been a general contractor for almost 20 years and discovered kitchens and bathrooms are the best places to work in a home.
Some homeowners gravitate to timeless designs with brick-set tiles that give an original look with a modern twist. Opening up kitchens to incorporate them into the rest of the home is popular now. The kitchen and the living room are becoming one space these days and an "island" where eating takes place is expected.
Kitchen remodeling projects can range anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000, depending upon preferences, quality and style. It's a huge misconception that a great-looking project can't be done for less than $15,000, Schilber says.
Homeowners also ask about refacing existing cabinets but are surprised to learn that doesn't necessarily mean a cost savings. Projects typically take two calendar weeks but could stretch up to two months depending on the complexity of the job. The average project probably takes 10 to 15 working days.
White or grey-painted kitchen cabinets are the trend right now, although some people like the rustic, weathered oak look. These cabinets are manufactured to look old but are brand-new. European functionality and design also are been incorporated into American styles, Schilber says.
For more information, contact All About Kitchens at (209) 521-4490.
— Doane Yawger of Merced is a semi-retired newspaper reporter and editor.