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Custom Cabinets

Custom cabinets can be found in many houses and businesses. Over the years as a builder and carpenter, I installed a boatload of custom cabinetry. Custom kitchen cabinets were the most popular, but I’ll never forget the custom laminate cabinets made for a huge commercial job for a savings and loan. The massive new teller cabinets and counters that the customers used when transacting business with the tellers were one-of-a-kind and cost $35,000 back in 1986! A custom cabinet can be used in any room for any purpose, the trick is to find a craftsman who can make exactly what you desire.

There are many advantages to custom cabinets if you can afford them. The cabinet maker can include all sorts of special inserts, shelves, drawers, etc. that meet a specific requirement for your use. Maybe you want a special custom kitchen cabinetry to display seasonal plates and pottery. Perhaps you want a custom kitchen cabinet similar to one I installed years ago. A customer of mine wanted a narrow base cabinet that was used just for special baking cookie sheets that were thin and didn't take up much space. When you stop and think about it, the types of cabinets are limited only to your imagination.

Custom-built cabinets can be done by a large manufacturer. Some companies got into this market when they saw the marketplace expand during the 1990’s. But in many larger cities and some mid-size towns, you’ll discover a custom-cabinet maker toiling away in a nondescript shop, garage or warehouse. Quality custom cabinetry doesn't have to come from large state-of-the-art factories. I've seen gorgeous cabinets produced in small shops that resemble my own garage.

Custom bathroom cabinets are becoming increasingly popular as homeowners want to indulge themselves as they spend time in the bathroom. Because bathrooms are typically smaller rooms, space is at a premium. This is where a custom-cabinet builder can shine. An experienced craftsman can really squeeze in lots of functionality in tight spaces. Never forget to order a custom cabinet to fit over the toilet. This wall space is commonly overlooked, and it makes for a bonus area to store all sorts of things you’d normally try to stuff in the vanity beneath the sink.

One advantage to custom-made cabinets is the cabinet maker can create just one cabinet where you or I would have to screw together three or four semi-custom cabinets. Traditional stock cabinets come as boxes that you assemble. Where the two cabinets meet, you have to carefully clamp them together and screw through the sides of the face frame with great skill to ensure the front of the two cabinets are in the same plane. No matter how good you are, you always see the seam. A custom cabinet can be made 8 or 10 feet long in just one piece with no seams! I have a 100-year-old custom cabinet in my garage that was made this way. I salvaged it from a pantry in an older home I remodeled. It’s a magnificent cabinet.

When you start to plan your upcoming project that involves cabinets, take the time to visit a cabinet shop. The owner will gladly offer suggestions for your custom cabinet design. You want to glean from him any tips, suggestions and clever solutions he’s accumulated over the years as he’s solved problems for other customers. Many custom cabinet builders have a vast amount of photos of the cabinets they've built. Looking at those photos may stimulate an idea or two.

Quality custom cabinetry might not be as expensive as you think. Remember, if you go with a small cabinet maker, you’re dealing directly with the manufacturer. If you go to a cabinet distributor, he is making a profit on top of the actual manufacturer. When you deal with a smaller cabinet maker, his overhead may be less, his passion greater and you might get a better cabinet for less money than what you’d pay at a fancy store.

It really does pay to shop when it comes to custom cabinets. Be sure to ask for referrals, especially homeowners who have had the cabinets for five years or more. Ask them how the cabinets have held up and if they would order again from the cabinet maker.

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