Kitchen Cabinet Design
On the face of it, kitchen cabinet design seems so simple. Look at the picture above. Cabinets are a line of boxes that hold dishes and food. How tough can it be to replace them? But if you're shopping for those boxes, you'll soon find out there are many things to consider. Here's the skinny:
The bottom of the price line begins at a place called "RTA," otherwise known as ready-to-assemble. They are sold at many home improvement stores. Ikea carries nice ones and they have kitchen designers to help you with the design for free.
You'll also save a bunch of dough by turning those little wrenches round and round. Your choices of materials and finishes are limited. Visible parts like doors and drawer faces may be real wood, boxes are usually fiberboard. But if your budget's tight and you're not too picky about the look you're after, this is a great way to go.
Next up the price ladder is "stock" sizes that you can carry right out of your closest home improvement store, or they can be ordered and delivered in a couple of weeks. They're usually made from fiberboard, but like RTA, some have wood doors and drawers.
They come in stock sizes, and stock colors; apparently "almond" is quite popular these days. You buy what's available and plan everything else in the room around the cabinets. The good news is, they're already assembled.
Images Courtesy of Eco Timber
"Semi-custom" are available from a variety of sources including home improvement stores and designer showrooms. They can be made from wood or fiberboard and generally come in three-inch increments, which provides more flexibility in planning, and offer more options in styles, finishes, bells and whistles. An in-store designer will help you plan the design, usually for free. You pay a deposit and they turn up several weeks or months later. For a reasonable level of price and control, this is a popular middle ground.
The next step is "custom" typically sold through snazzy showrooms. Check out the moldings on those traditional ones seen above. Design services, which typically include visits to the home, are often free, with the designer getting a fee from the cabinetmaker. A trained professional will help you plan the overall layout and choose style, finishes, hardware and, if you like, appliances.
After several meetings, they'll give you a final price for what things will cost. After you regain consciousness, you give them a deposit and wait, depending on production cycles, weeks or months until your new kitchen arrives via truck, typically from a factory hundreds of miles away.
But there is another way. Find a local cabinetmaker tell him or her what you want and see if they can build it for you. The tricky part here is getting somebody to do the drawings for the craftsman and help you with the decisions. If the cabinetmaker can't assist with that end of talk to a kitchen designer.
The pros go to design school and are called "CKD's," or Certified Kitchen Designers (seriously). Or you can just go totally minimal by building a set of shelves and some nice boxes like the space seen above. When thinking about key interior design elements like
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