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A guide to design and construction, from refurbishing to renovation

By Nancy R. Hiller

You can download an excerpt of this book here.

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

Professional cabinetmaker and author Nancy Hiller’s story is filled with all the places and characters and plots that make up the best biographies (which happens to be Nancy’s genre of choice). The author of five books, including “English Arts & Crafts Furniture” (Popular Woodworking Books), “Making Things Work: Tales from a Cabinetmaker’s Life” (Lost Art Press) and "Kitchen Think" (also Lost Art Press), Hiller also writes regularly for Fine Woodworking and her blog, “Making Things Work.” She has taught cabinetmaking, furniture and finishing courses, and she’s a member of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers and a Companion of Ruskin’s Guild of St George.

Nancy’s story begins in 1960s suburban Florida, a life that was soon challenged and broadened by homesteading hippies. There was divorce, a move to a tiny flat in London at the age of 12, boarding school in the English countryside, a strict grammar school, work, rain, boyfriends, work, cold, miles spent commuting on her bicycle, a City & Guilds certificate in furniture making, work she loved, more cold she hated, a move back to the States, a marriage, a divorce, work for others, work for herself, love again and grief; but through it all, passion.

Read more about Nancy in our full profile.

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