Custom Cabinetry-Fine Kitchen Cabinet Designs and achieving a custom look

Kitchen in modern home with door to deck
Kitchen in modern home with door to deck

Custom Cabinets.  The options are endless, and the sticker shock can feel that way.  What is great about custom cabinetry, however, is the freedom to go beyond just the same old tired look.   In the past, fine kitchen cabinetry designers relied on the custom cabinetry maker to create innovate spaces that were truly unique.  The goal has been to create something that works for you –function that performs and makes the tasks of cooking and living in your home easier, as well as reflects your taste and your perspective.    Custom Cabinetry is possible from a variety of sources, of course, but the term is evolving along with technologies from manufacturers, partnering from suppliers, and strategies from designers.

Sourcing custom cabinetry is also varied—from large manufacturers providing a huge variety of combinations of door styles and finishes, to small shops creating innovative and one of a kind pieces, the fine kitchen cabinetry designs of the past are becoming more accessible, and more affordable.  Designers know that a custom cabinetry appearance is often having the ability to balance design flourishes that separate the design from the humdrum, and utilizing more stock or reuse cabinetry in the existing space to prevent breaking the budget.

The sweet spot, if you will, is being able to access sources that allow flexibility in sizing and appearance,  streamline the process of achieving a custom cabinetry look, knowing when to go for it with a special design element, and knowing when to simplify.

Your options in the past were a complete gut of the kitchen space, ordering new cabinets, and going through the process of an extensive remodel.  Of course, in some cases, it really must happen, but in many cases, particularly in our aging housing stock (10 to15 years and older), our houses deserve a facelift, improved efficiency, and likely, doing something different than what was, at the time, the de facto look.

I find that often the urge to deal with an aging kitchen that seems to scream—“make me a custom cabinet kitchen!”—is often simpler than what we think.  There are often a few simple solutions to achieve a fine cabinetry and custom look.   The decision making process is part of your priorities—both goals and budget, and your solution will evolve as you explore the design process.

In remodeling, to achieve a truly customized cabinetry result, having flexibility and options is key.   Understanding the possibilities of custom cabinetry, and all its variations, along with stock cabinetry options is key.  Your own “stock” of cabinets, such as what already exists in your kitchen, is also a valuable resource and by refacing your existing cabinetry, you can achieve a truly custom cabinetry look, without approaching the custom cabinetry price point.

 Achieving a fine custom cabinetry look in older homes

If your kitchen cabinets are in good condition, but if the style is tired and some of the cabinets are damaged, or your expensive granite tops are still in great shape, but the cabinets date the whole house—this is the time to get custom—specific to you!

This situation is often the most common especially in homes that were built in the heated housing market of the late 90s and 2000s.  Yes, new construction was at its peak, but design thought and execution wasn’t always.   That said, tastes and lifestyles evolve, and what worked then, just might not now.  If your home is suffering from seemingly immovable countertops, unappealing door and finish styles, and limited functional options within the cabinetry itself you are likely ready to take a look at what is possible.  This is the ideal project for refacing and replacing the doors, adjusting inserts, and replacing hardware to get that custom cabinetry look.  Your goal here is to check out door styles that aren’t what everyone else already has—including thermofoil options.

The technology of manufacturing thermofoil doors has exploded past the finishes of the past which were limited to white and off white, and were a durable choice and often lesser cost choice compared to a painted wood version.  New technologies enable an incredible array of finishes and exotic wood looks that perform well and save cost if using the actual wood. Northern Contours is a top producer of this type of product. Even upon close inspection it is difficult for even an expert to see the difference in the door construction.

Another challenge is that your granite is still gorgeous, but you are just not seeing it in its best light—or with other nearby finishes.  Perhaps it just needs a new pairing with paint and cabinetry.  Throwing out this granite is both costly (to waste it or to replace it), and represents a significant percentage of the cost of your home.  Taking a look at the granite with new cabinets, paint, flooring, and backsplash just might make you love it again—and provide that custom look you are yearning to have in your home.

To achieve a fine and custom cabinetry look?  Replace the cabinetry doors, add a specialty item such as an island in the kitchen or new trim details.  Making the design unique, customized to you, and functional, doesn’t have to mean a total gut of the space—and can result in the fine cabinetry you have always wanted.

And be sure to research Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling Costs – Tips to Keep Your Remodeling Project Under Control if you do plan to do a custom cabinetry remodeling project.