Benefits of custom or prefab cabinets

Cabinets can provide a big impact when it comes to setting the mood of your house. Well designed cabinets can set the tone and help define the style and overall feel of interior space. The design palette consists of the material (and how it’s finished) and the type of hardware. If you desire a warm, inviting, or casual space – consider natural wood cabinets.

Belmont-Kitchen-clerestory-topos architects
Belmont-Kitchen cabinets-topos-architectsFor a more formal space and feel – consider painted cabinets.


Cabinets: New Wood Products


Cabinets: New Wood Products

Both finishes have their advantages and disadvantages. If you’re a design geek like us, you will love how natural wood finish allows you to construct the drawers from a single piece of wood to create cabinets where the wood grain flows from one door to the next, uninterrupted.

Natural wood cabinets are often darker than painted cabinets, therefore drawing more attention to themselves. We see this as an advantage since we spend a great deal of design effort into every detail, but it is not for everyone. Another consideration should be the other woods you have in the house, even furniture – new cabinets don’t have to match the existing wood, but it’s important to make sure the materials don’t clash with each other.

The key to designing painted cabinets is all about the shadow lines. We tend to design painted cabinets to have a “profile” (as opposed to being flat) to provide for more shadow definition. A light paint color will also help to enhance this definition. This kind of cabinet design lends itself nicely to a more formal space. Painted cabinets will help create a bright, well lit space. One downside to painted cabinets is that the lighter the finish the more you see dirt and other marks.


We like consistency throughout the houses we design. So choosing the finish of the cabinets right off the bat can help accelerate the design process. We like to match the interior trim work (baseboards, window and door casings, etc), so the finish is a big design decision.

The next item to consider is whether you want custom or prefabricated cabinets.

Custom cabinets are exactly that; Each cabinet is constructed based off specifications we create after detailed discussions with our clients. We go into every detail, including asking our clients for an inventory list of their kitchen gear so we can create a custom design to house all your gear. In spaces that are unusual in size or with odd angles, custom cabinets can be made to fit exactly for a very sophisticated look. We love to design custom cabinetry for our clients, because we have the freedom to design the room exactly to fit your space and to function for your individual needs.

We can often achieve the same ‘built in’ look with prefabricated cabinets, but we need to start the design with dimensions of the cabinets – putting us in a ‘cart before the horse’ situation. This can sometimes present some design sacrifices; however, we have had good results. There is now a large selection of high quality prefabricated cabinets and hardware available. The advantage to prefabricated cabinets is generally the cost, providing a savings over their custom counterparts. Often they come prefinished, resulting in a shorter lead time, since they are “off the shelf” items. This can help to shorten the construction schedule.

For good craftsmanship and fair pricing, it is important to shop around when selecting a cabinetmaker, or ask your architect (or contractor) for a recommendation. To get information on prefabricated cabinets visit your local home improvement store to see their products in person.


Cabinets: GM Cabinets

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