A guide to design and construction, from refurbishing to renovation
By Nancy R. Hiller
For two decades, Hiller has made a living by turning limitations into creative, lively and livable kitchens for her clients. Her new book, “Kitchen Think,” is an invitation to learn from both her completed kitchen designs (plus kitchens from a few others) and from the way she works in her Bloomington, Ind., workshop.
Unlike most kitchen design books, “Kitchen Think” is a woodworker’s guide to designing and furnishing the kitchen, from a down-to-the-studs renovation to refacing existing cabinets. And she shows you how it can be done without spending a fortune or adding significantly to your local landfill.
“The first requirement is simply to think," Hiller writes, "where you are in life; what resources you have access to in terms of money, interesting materials, or time; the architectural style of your home and so forth.”
Yes, there are hundreds of pretty full-color photos of well-designed kitchens, which are organized into 24 case studies throughout the book. They range from the sculptural (kitchens by Johnny Grey and Wharton Esherick) to kitchens of a more recognizable form.
But there’s also a heavy dose of practical instruction: how to build cabinets efficiently, how to make a basic kitchen island, how to build a wall-hung plate rack. Plus butt-saving advice that comes only from experience – like how to maximize space in inside corners, how to scribe cabinets and countertops into odd spaces and how to make sure you’ve left ample space for hardware.
All of this is built on a foundation of research into kitchens from the past. Hiller’s historical perspective on design might just change your mind about what makes a good kitchen. It doesn’t have to be walls of built-in cabinets. So what’s the alternative?
You just have to think.
The book is intended for:
• Woodworkers, whether professional or not, who would like to expand their minds on the question of kitchen design, the culture of remodeling, materials and techniques used in kitchens
• Homeowners with some woodworking and home-renovation skills who would like to remodel their own kitchen, including building their own cabinets
• Homeowners who want a deeper understanding of what goes into a thoughtful kitchen remodel done by professionals
• Homeowners and others (who may not own a home) looking for design inspiration and unconventional, non-consumerist ways of thinking about kitchen design and remodeling.
“Kitchen Think” is 8-1/2” x 11”, 368 pages and printed in full color on coated, 80# matte paper. It has a printed hardbound cover, coated in a durable matte laminate. The binding is sewn, and covered with a fiber-reinforced tape spine to last for generations. Like all Lost Art Press books, “Kitchen Think” is produced and printed entirely in the United States.
About the Author
Nancy R. Hiller is a cabinetmaker who specializes in period-style work for late 19th- through mid-20th-century interiors. Since 1995 she has operated NR Hiller Design, Inc., based in Bloomington, Indiana. Her work has been featured in Fine Woodworking, Popular Woodworking, Fine Homebuilding, Old-House Interiors, Old-House Journal, and other periodicals. She is the author of four other books: “Making Things Work: Tales from a Cabinetmaker’s Life” (Lost Art Press), “English Arts & Crafts Furniture” (Popular Woodworking), “The Hoosier Cabinet in Kitchen History” (Indiana University Press), and “A Home of Her Own” (Indiana University Press). Plus she was the editor of “Historic Preservation in Indiana: Essays from the Field” (Indiana University Press).