Celebrating 20 Years  -     Cantebury Kitchens

By Michelle Howe

“Let Us Make Your Home Your Castle” is the tag line that Cantebury Kitchens began with in 1998, and it has worked! This spring they are celebrating 20 years of helping hundreds of clients throughout Eastern Iowa do just that.

Cantebury Kitchens is a kitchen and bath design studio for both remodeling and new construction, and offer cabinetry and countertops to fit any budget. Owner Shelley Shea and her team of designers focus on personalized service and getting to know their clients, while identifying both their individual and family’s needs. Two “knights in shining armor” stand in the showroom and often attract the attention of the youngsters who visit.

Shea graduated from Kirkwood with a degree in interior design and started the business to offer a relaxed option to a process that can sometimes be stressful. As with any industry, business has evolved with the advancement of technologies. With all the home improvement shows and the internet, people are able to see so many options it’s often confusing and unrealistic. Twenty years ago, clients would bring in a magazine and a few pictures. Now they bring in their phones or tablets with multiple pictures and sometimes don’t know specifically what it is they like. By asking questions, Shea and her staff help to identify whether it’s the layout, door style, color or maybe just the overlay they want…then it’s up to us to create a design to fit their budget. “The kitchen they see in a million dollar home is beautiful, but isn’t something most people can afford”, Shea adds. The designers at Cantebury Kitchens do custom hand drawings as well as using the computer to generate color renderings, as we’ve found not everyone embraces technology at the same level.

“A majority of our business is new construction,” Shelley says, “but we also do remodels.” “We’ve worked with clients to remodel the same kitchen they did with us 15-20 years ago.” They used to say the life of a kitchen was 20 years. Now they’re saying it’s going to be seven to ten years. Years ago, a worn out appliance or damaged floor/countertop used to be the reason to initiate a remodel. Sometimes a new countertop and hardware would update the look. Now with so many storage options and specialty areas, people are opting to go a step further. Customers are wanting coffee stations in their kitchens, where in the past a desk was requested. People are wanting larger laundry rooms, lockers and charging stations, which are taking the place of closets when coming in from the garage. Man caves are becoming part of the basement or garage and often incorporate a bar. Walls are being removed between two small bedrooms to create a master bedroom with an in-suite bath and walk in closet. Bathroom vanities now have hair appliance organizers and under sink caddies. Storage and convenience has become a driving force for remodeling all areas of the home.

The trends at this time are white and gray cabinets in a shaker style, although the industry is starting to see blue and other painted cabinets along with textured laminates. Often the perimeter is white with the island a different color. Wall cabinets may be a different color than the base cabinets, or a third color may be used for an accent. Islands are still popular, but one level (often with seating) instead of having a raised bar top. Granite and quartz counter tops have surpassed laminate, and often have a tile back splash for contrast or to bring a little bling to the area. They’re doing a lot more farm sinks, which goes along with the “rustic industrial” look which has become so popular.

Houzz, Pinterest and all the shows on TV have spurred the trends, and people’s interest in using reclaimed items. Pallets can be used for planters, wall coverings or to make outdoor furniture. Pennies are being used as floor covering, countertops and back splashes. Technology has made it possible for all the creative people to share their ideas, and to inspire many more on the DIY front.

The upcoming spring Parade of Homes will showcase many of these design features and will include work by Cantebury Kitchens. Dates for the open house are April 28, 29, May 3, 5 and 6. Tickets are available at any of the parade homes, Fergusons (the old Ar-Jay Center) or any Casey’s location.

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