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Kitchen & 3 Bath Remodel
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There are basically two methods to populating a kitchen or space with cabinetry:
 
'Built-in" cabinetry; and "Shop Built" cabinetry:
 
~ "Built-in" cabinets:
 
Because they actually become part of the interior wall structure themselves, Built-in's are generally quicker to implement and  therefore less expensive. They also have the possible benefit, by being built into the actual space, of inexpensively providing more usable kitchen space.
 
The downside to "built-in" cabinetry, particularly in a kitchen environment, is that they become part of the walls, floors and ceiling, or other structural components of your home. Walls and other structural components in a house move - along with anything attached to them (your new "built-in" cabinets). It is not uncommon, over an increasing period of years, to find that as the result of almost guaranteed structural movement, the doors and drawers of built-in cabinetry will no longer close and operate properly, with gaps and other possible undesirable side effects also becoming apparent.
 
This dimensional instability is the very reason, along with not being able to find anyone who could build cabinets to my standards and satisfaction, that I decided to build the kitchens in the homes we caused to be built these past ten years or so. I did not want either of us, me as the builder, or you the buyer, having to deal with the statistically higher likelihood of callbacks when using this method.
 
~ "Shop Built" cabinets:
 
As the name implies, shop built cabinets are built off site in a factory or cabinet shop and are then attached, as a separate component, to the walls, floors and/or ceilings of the intended space. When done properly, this allows the separate cabinet components to maintain their dimensions, squareness and integrity despite any movement of the walls, etc.
 
In general there are two choices with "shop built" cabinets:
 
1. "Off the shelf" cabinets - are usually factory built (KraftMaid brand is a good example) and purchased individually to fit the intended space as closely as possible.
 
NOTE: "off the shelf"  cabinetry is built in industry standard 3" increments as far as width, depth and height are concerned, and therefore may not precisely fit into your kitchen space, necessitating the use of "spacers" which results in unusable space.
 
2. "Custom made" cabinets" - are usually built by a cabinetmaker in a cabinet shop and, most importantly, are almost always built to precise dimensions that will  maximize use of the intended space, as well as fulfill the requirements of your design.
 
Other than the drawbacks above of using industry standard 3" increments in the "off-the-shelf" variety, shop built cabinets are generally more expensive, but make up for the additional cost with a decided increase in dimensional stability over time.
 
MOST IMPORTANTLY: A well made, and square, "shop built" cabinet, even when attached to a wall that moves, will almost always remain intact and square, resulting in properly working doors and drawers for the life of the installation.
 
"Shop built" cabinets are also usually more amenable to future upgrades and design changes. (the 'look and feel' of a kitchen is almost always dependent upon the design of the visible components: the cabinet doors and drawer fronts).
 
Given the choice, it is my professional and experienced opinion as a cabinetmaker that "custom made" "shop built" cabinets are the absolute best for longevity, most desirable for use of space, and are ultimately the most cost effective over time.
 
With that out of the way, and having built many homes, and having designed and built the kitchens that go into them (including a number of full kitchen remodels where existing cabinets were removed, the space was taken "to the studs", and the new cabinets fabricated and installed), I can attest to the fact that the use of a "Certified Kitchen Designer" (CDK) can be a smart choice, with a few caveats:
 
CKD's are particularly valuable with respect to their up-to-date knowledge of the latest trends, resources and products; and using one can be instrumental in taking your new kitchen space from simply being adequate, to being exceptional.
 
That said, a designer is only one piece of the puzzle, and should you choose to use a CDK, they should only be considered as a part of your team, for it is the collective and coordinated effort of all involved who will properly implement your wishes in a manner that ultimately results in the kitchen of your dreams.
 
~ And, most importantly, not just an implementation of a design, but one that will stand the test of time.
 
Designers, as a rule, do not do the actual work themselves, but subcontract that work to someone else (most, but not all, often benefit financially from that arrangement). The homeowner, not being thoroughly experienced in this aspect, will often find that this delegation of the work, and therefore lack of close and experienced supervision, may result in a weak link with the potential to impact the desired results over time.
 
Besides choosing the designer, you should absolutely consider taking firm control of, and guiding the direction of this important aspect yourself, as it will be a decision with which you alone will have to ultimately live.
 
~ Simply put, the letting of a project out for "bid" by the designer may not necessarily insure the results you expect.
 
In addition to you, and the designer as members of your team, it is of utmost importance to insure that the team member who will actually implement the design is thoroughly experienced, with your best interests in mind, and that he/she be made a part of the process as early in the project as possible.
 
In that regard, a proven track record in implementing a kitchen design in all aspects, from providing supervision in removing existing cabinetry and components, to preparing the space for the new cabinets, to the actual installation of all the component parts of the new kitchen (including all mechanical, electrical, ventilation and lighting) is of utmost importance in choosing this key element of your team.
 
What may not be so apparent is the inestimable benefit of choosing someone who, besides being experienced in all aspects of implementing a kitchen design, is that person be the one who actually has a direct hand in building the cabinetry themselves.
 
I can absolutely guarantee that there will be no one on your team as thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the nuts and bolts of realizing your kitchen dream as the person who is also charged with the task of actually fabricating the component parts and cabinetry that implement any design, including, in all cases, the CKD themselves.
 
A maxim that has the ring of truth and experience:
 
The success of each step in a project of this type is dependent upon that which went before
 
It is in the custom cabinetmaker's best interest, and therefore yours, that he/she closely monitor and supervise each of these steps. Do yourself and your new kitchen a favor and, whomsoever you chose, make him/her a part of the process as early as possible, for it is he/she who will ultimately insure the long term success of your project, long after everyone else has gone their way. 
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Finally got back to take pictures of this 2011 desk project after it was put into use by the client.
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eWoodShop - SG Curved Wall Desk - 2011 (51)
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While these photos were taken (with a cell phone) at the time of fabrication and installation, I recently got to see this project again at a dinner party given by the client a few months after finishing the job. It was a nice feeling to see it in its intended setting, and especially when viewed as an individual project, instead of just the small part of the very large remodel that it was. (Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to take current/better photographs, but it is now filled with beautiful glass artwork which looked stunning, backlit in the evening light, and was the subject of much remark by the guests). Simple, but satisfying in its intended function ...
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eWoodShop - Backlit Glass Display Shelf (6)
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