High gloss finishes entered the realm of kitchen cabinetry several years ago via the top European design houses. Since then the popularity of the look has increased, and high-gloss is becoming more prominent in everything from kitchens and baths, to closets and furniture. Materials technology has also advanced to bring high gloss to market across all price points.
At every level, high gloss has proven a very popular finish that will likely continue to thrive. Part of the allure is that the sheen can serve many different design functions. High gloss can create emphatic contrast, particularly when used with surfaces that reflect nature, like the dark, textured wood grains that are also waxing in popularity. A color trend that is increasing in popularity involves using high gloss for accent colors that really pop. But high-gloss can also be reductive. Take the white high-gloss kitchen for example. It is a perennial favorite for its sleek, clean, modern sensibility. In such an application the high gloss not only minimizes the attention to the surface, but goes so far as to defer the visual back into the open space of the room.
There are many ways to achieve a high gloss finish, and some of them also support other kitchen cabinet trends. Look for high gloss door and drawer fronts that have contoured edges and either integrated handles or no handles at all.
METHODS FOR ACHIEVING HIGH GLOSS
The classic approach to high gloss is to simultaneously apply paint and a high gloss lacquer to wood cabinets. This is best when it is professionally applied to ensure a uniform sheen. Lacquer is a good material for high-gloss finishes because it’s easy to work with and can be sanded flat and polished to a high gloss. The problem with high-gloss finishes is that with crisp reflections surface defects are very obvious. While undoubtedly beautiful, high-gloss lacquer is not the most durable or water resistant finish. Considering that the kitchen is an environment that is increasingly being utilized as living space, lacquer alone may not be the best approach to high-gloss. There are however some very intriguing hybrid applications, including the use of premium high gloss lacquers on top of thermoformed doors, which both ensures an ultra-smooth surface and improves the durability of the finish.
Another high-end option for high gloss cabinets is solid acrylic panels. This relatively new material is increasing in popularity in the luxury European kitchen houses. The material is specially manufactured so that the high level of gloss is consistent throughout the panel. While this may seem a bit like over-engineering for a surface aesthetic, the solid nature of the material allows for easy re-finishing and repair, suggesting a long product life cycle. Additionally, solid high-gloss acrylic panels are waterproof and will not warp or yellow in the sun.
At a more moderate price point, high gloss cabinetry can be achieved by laying up a thin panel of acrylic on top of a substrate, generally thin MDF. The surface aesthetic is the same as the solid product, but at a lower cost. The panels typically receive an edge treatment that seals them and the substrate material can be specified to be water resistant.
Traditional laminates, both HPL and TFM, offer high gloss finishes. There are several ways that this is achieved, including specialty overlays and technologies that impart textures (including press plates, release papers and belts). Technical HotCoating is another method that is beginning to make its way into the North American laminates market. For this process PUR is heated and applied in an even coat directly over melamine. In all cases the panel is sealed. Laminates are typically scratch and water resistant, characteristics that are increased with HotCoating.
Three-dimensional laminates, also know as rigid thermo-foils are another option for high-gloss. These plastic films (typically vinyl, OPP and polyester based) are thermo-formed around the surface of a panel in a vacuum press. This method allows the high-gloss surface to wrap around contoured edges or profiles.
There is no doubt that high gloss finishes have captured the imagination of designers and homeowners alike. The plethora of materials that offer the aesthetic give specifiers the flexibility to play with highgloss, whether they are just test driving the look as an accent, or committing to an entire project with materials that will stand the test of time.
Where do we begin, the kitchen is absolutely spectacular. From start to finish the process with Brooke and Laslo’s has been top notch, Brooke is a definite asset to the company. She is so attentive to details, and takes great pride in all that she does. It was a pleasure working with her from developing the design, thru fabrication and install. The install process was flawless, Tom and Brooke did an exceptional job.
My kitchen is now more functional then I ever imagined. As you age it becomes more and more difficult to bend and lift, the insert solutions are terrific. The construction is excellent, the finish is just beautiful. Congratulation on a quality product and an outstanding job! It was a pleasure doing business with Laslo’s once again.
Our kitchen was in desperate need of renovation when we bought our first home. A sink and two cabinets was not much of a kitchen. Since our budget was small we assumed box store cabinets would be the way to go, but after meeting with Neil we realized that what Laslo Custom Kitchens could provide us was superior and within budget . Neil and his team provided great ideas to optimize our layout, which quickly transformed the kitchen into our favorite room in the house. The kitchen was also our best selling feature when we placed our home on the market. We highly recommend Laslo Custom Kitchens to anyone looking for a new kitchen and can’t wait to use them again in our new house.
“We hired Neil and Laslo Custom Kitchens in 2006 to custom build all of our cabinetry. Neil and his company provided us with the best quality and service for our money. I would highly recommend Neil and his company!
My wife and I contracted with Laslo Custom Kitchens to entirely retrofit our existing kitchen. During our meetings with Neil, we were able to easily select the custom cabinets and countertops with the desired options by choosing from a wide range of samples presented at the local showroom. Additionally, Neil guided us through the selection process of the accent items so as to coordinate the completion of the entire project in a very timely manner. From the design stage through completion, Neil and the Laslo team treated us with professionalism and far-exceeded our expectations while staying within our established budget. Our kitchen retrofit was a resounding success, and we highly recommend Laslo Custom Kitchens. Andrew R
Neil brought a great sense of knowledge and professionalism to our project. He was more than willing to make changes when we asked him to and was extremely professional in all of our business dealings. –Mark C.
I have worked personally with Neil on three different occasions where he designed and installed cabinetry, libraries, kitchens, and six different bathrooms. Each time Neil and his excellent team have lived up to the word “CUSTOM” which is part of their company’s name. The projects that he worked on were quite complex as they involved redesign and complete renovation of existing spaces. He managed his staff so that I had minimal interruptions and ensured a high quality, on time and within budget outcome each time. In our home in Pennsylvania, Neil and his team were key in redesigning over 5,000 square feet of space and in our NYC apartment, Neil and his team converted a dull, small SOHO loft with little storage space into a highly functional, beautiful and unique living space. I highly recommend Neil and his team and would work with him again if/when I have the opportunity. -Ruthann R
As very satisfied customers of Laslo Custom Kitchens, we feel compelled to share our kitchen remodeling story:
When we decided to remodel our kitchen in March of 2007 we became quickly overwhelmed at the number of options, the differences in quality and, of course, the prices. We began dealing with a very-well known kitchen designer in Allentown and had only two major requirements – stay within our budget and complete the work by October. Six weeks after our first meeting our project was passed off to a new designer who finally gave us an estimate 50% higher than our budget and would not commit to a completion date.
We contacted Laslo Custom Kitchens through their website and had a response within hours. From that moment on, we were never disappointed. Neil Laslo and his staff were very prompt in responding to our questions or concerns. When the options we wanted put the estimate over budget, Neil worked with us to bring the costs back in line. Conscious of our schedule, Neil worked diligently and efficiently – always revising his conceptual drawings the same day and never wavering from his committed start and completion dates.
Demolition of our old kitchen started exactly when promised and the work was completed ahead of schedule. The few unforeseen items that required additional work were brought to our attention immediately and the associated costs were presented fairly.
The result is a beautiful kitchen that displays superior quality, outstanding craftsmanship and exemplary installation. Our kitchen has quickly become our favorite room in the house and we always receive compliments from visiting friends and family.
We highly recommend Laslo Custom Kitchens not only for their quality, but just as importantly, because of the integrity and commitment they demonstrated throughout our kitchen renovation project.
Dave and Donna B.
“We love our new Laslo Kitchen and can hardly wait to show it off. Knowing that a lot goes into design and planning we were very impressed with your skills. Your ability to manage and coordinate the entire project was truly remarkable.”
Wish you continued success,
Barbara and Richard L.
Our kitchen is complete and we could not be happier. Thank you for a wonderful job. When we started the process we mentally prepared for the worst. Whether it was getting through the myriad of decisions, staying on budget, or getting quality work done on time, we were prepared for things to go awry. With the job complete, we can now look back and say it was actually easy. The kitchen looks wonderful and was done on time.
You deserve a lion’s share of the credit for making it so easy. You clearly heard our needs, gave us plenty of options, guided us in the right directions, and put together a great design. We never felt like we were being upsold or that our decisions were being second guessed. We can’t say that about some of the other designers we met. In the very few, small instances when things didn’t go exactly right, they were quickly addressed without issue.
Great companies surround themselves with great people and that is certainly the case with Laslo Custom Kitchens. You and your staff are top notch, and you associate yourselves with great companies. I can’t say enough good things about Ed and everyone at Ed’s Remodeling, as well as Dawn at Garden State Tile. Like you, they were easy to work with, extremely knowledgeable, and delivered quality work.
Needless to say we are big fans of you and your company. If potential customers ever want to talk to a former customer or see your completed work, please don’t hesitate to have them contact us.
Rich & Pam S.