Q. How do I begin to shop for cabinets?

A. Our website is a good start! Learning about cabinets, countertops and accessories will make your decisions easier. It’s important to be actively involved in the details of planning of your kitchen. Leaving all the decisions up to your kitchen designer may not end in the results you want. So be sure to convey your ideas for your new kitchen…how it blends into the rest of the home, whether it will be used for entertaining…and any special requirements you may have. 

Q How can I set a realistic budget for my kitchen?

A. Separate big ticket items: Cabinets, Countertops, Appliances, Flooring, etc. Then research your options and go shopping! Get at least two quotes on each item. Then add up the costs…you’ll have a high and low number. Your budget is somewhere between the two. 

Q How can I get a new kitchen on a small budget?

A. Cabinets make up a large portion of the overall cost of a kitchen, and their costs vary greatly. Things that impact the cost of cabinetry include: 

  • Materials used to produce the cabinet box, door and drawer. 
  • The wood species. 
  • The door style. 
  • The type of overlay for the door and drawer fronts. 
  • The application of any stain, glaze or other finish 
  • The quality of hardware components (hinges, slides and pulls). 
  • The variety of available cabinet sizes. 
  • The variety of available accessories in a particular line of cabinets. 

When talking with your designer it is best to be candid about your budget as well as your design priorities. A good designer will show you cabinetry that will allow you to stay within your budget and provide the most important features you want. Look for quality, value for the price and service. Always try to compare “apples to apples” on the different features and finishes. Remember that your cabinets are a more permanent part of your home, as opposed to appliances and countertops. 

You’ll find countertop prices vary as much as cabinets due to the wide differences in materials. Plastic laminate countertops are the least costly and come in hundreds of designs. You can also save by installing cabinets yourself. We can offer you tips on tackling the job on your own. And a good designer can make the installation process easier for DIY-ers if you know you’ll be doing it yourself. 

Q. How do I choose a designer?

A. The single most important step in achieving your goal of a dream kitchen is the choice of a designer. You need someone who is knowledgeable about the products, has experience designing kitchens, and who listens to your requirements and will incorporate them into the design. Your designer should educate you on the basics of cabinet design and styles as well as the pros and cons of your final design. If you feel comfortable with your designer, the purchase process will be enjoyable!  

Q. What type of wood is right for my kitchen? A. There are literally hundreds of wood species, paints, stains and glazes to choose from, making the selection process very challenging. Do you like dark or light wood? Do you prefer a subtle or more pronounced grain structure? What types of wipes or glazes would you favor choosing, or definitely rule out?

If you know what your walls and floors will be, consider using a wood color that will contrast with them. Too much of a good thing can become boring if the colors tend to blend. Or it can be overwhelming if there is too much grain structure, such as knotty pine or hickory cabinets in a log home kitchen with solid pine walls. Using a subtle grained wood in a contrasting color, such as natural knotty cherry, gives the cabinetry separation from the walls and lends definition to the overall look of the kitchen. 

Q If I’m remodeling, does it make sense to re-do the kitchen I have while keeping the same cabinet boxes? A. In some cases, yes. If the cabinet boxes are in good condition and the layout of the kitchen works well, then a kitchen re-facing may be right. We will assess your kitchen to help you determine if re-facing is a good option. 

Q. What are the pros and cons of face frame cabinets vs. frameless cabinets? A. Face frame cabinets, standing independently, are sturdier and stronger than frameless cabinets because they have a frame bracing the front of the cabinet opening. However, when frameless cabinets are screwed together in multiples and then screwed to the wall, they are as sturdy as they need to be.

Frameless cabinets are also called “full access cabinets” because the interior of the cabinet is wide open compared to a framed cabinet, which typically has an opening that is about 2” narrower than the cabinet interior. Doors on framed cabinets open wider than doors typically found on frameless cabinets. 

Doors for face frame cabinet are available in a variety of styles, including standard overlay, full overlay, half inset and full inset. Doors for frameless cabinets are available only in full overlay. The various overlays create different appearances for your kitchen.

Understanding the difference between framed and frameless cabinets is a good first step toward narrowing down the type of cabinetry style that is right for you. 

Q How do I choose the material for my counter tops?

A. First set your budget for counter tops. Plastic laminate is least costly. Solid surface material such as Corian is next, and stone surfaces such as granite and quartz are most costly. Other options for counter tops include solid wood butcher block, cement or glass surfaces. Using different materials on the perimeter and island can be a good way to meet budget constraints. 

Design Terminology

Design Terminology

Back Panel         A matching wood panel that is applied to the back of an island or peninsula. 
Bottom Cap  Decorative wood molding that runs around the bottom edge of the upper cabinets. 
Bump Up  When a cabinet is higher than the cabinet adjacent to it. 
Bump Out  When a cabinet protrudes beyond the front of the cabinet adjacent to it. 
Corbel  Any type of decorative support under a fireplace mantel or bar top. 
Crown  Decorative wood molding that runs along the top of upper cabinets. 
Face Frame Lip  The portion of a face frame that is wider than the side of the box it mounts to. 
Finished End  That part of an exposed end cabinet with a matching wood side. 
Furniture End  A cabinet that has a side that is flush with the face frame. It has no face frame lip. 
Island  Set of cabinets that have walking space around all four sides 
Peninsula  Set of cabinets that extend from a wall and have walking space around 3 sides 
Work Triangle  The triangle created by the location of the refrigerator, sink and range. 
Countertop Terminology

Countertop Terminology

2CM  Refers to granite thickness of 3/4″. 
3CM  Refers to granite thickness of 1-1/4″. 
Backsplash  The wall behind counter areas. 
Cultured Stone  Generic term for man-made stone-like products. 
Edge Work  The style of the front edge of a countertop. Square, bullnose, waterfall, ogee, and bevel are some types. 
Engineered Stone  Man-made stone products, such as Cambria, containing a large percentage of natural stone. 
Granite  100% natural stone product cut from the earth. 
Overhang  The area of countertop that extends past the edge of the cabinet. 
Plastic Laminate  Durable, affordable counter top products such as Formica, Wilsonart and Pionite. 
Radius Corner  Rounding of a corner to eliminate sharp edges. 
Solid Surface  Man-made surfaces such as Corian and Cultured Marble. 
Stool Overhang  Minimum of 10 inches to allow knee space under the overhang when sitting on a stool. 
Surface Mount  Any fixture or appliance that mounts to the top surface of the countertop. 
Under Mount  Any fixture or appliance that mounts to the bottom of a countertop or wall cabinet. 
Wood Terminology

Wood Terminology

Checking  Separation in wood or shallow cracking in paint, varnish, or lacquer. This usually happens to the exposed end grain of unprotected wood that is subjected to severe moisture or dryness. 
Cherry  Cherry is an elegant, multi-colored hardwood, which may contain small knots and pin holes and has a fine to medium, uniform grain. Natural or light stains accent the color variations. Cherry will darken or “mellow” with age which is a natural occurrence and a benefit of using it for your kitchen. 
Close Grain  Closely arranged fibers or a fine texture. Maple is considered to have a close grain. 
Color Variation  A natural variation of color inherent in any wood species. Soil type, mineral deposits, water levels, temperature and geographical location are all factors in the degree of variation. 
Grain  Natural pattern of growth in wood. The grain runs lengthwise in trees, making the strength greatest in that direction. 
Hardwood  Wood of broad-leaved trees such as oak, maple, ash, walnut and poplar in contrast to the soft wood of needle-leaved trees such as pine, fir, spruce and hemlock. 
Heartwood  Older, harder, non-living central portion of the tree which is more dense and durable than surrounding sapwood. 
Hickory  Hickory is a hard, open grained wood that is known for its variation in color that range from light to deep brown. These characteristics are what make each hickory kitchen unique. Darker stains can mildly tone these color variations. 
Knotholes  Voids produced where knots have dropped out of veneer or lumber. 
Maple  A strong, close grained, light colored wood. Hard maple occasionally contains light and dark mineral streaks. 
Mineral Streak  A discoloration in any species of wood caused by mineral deposits the tree extracts from the soil. Commonly seen as a blackish-blue streak within the grain. 
Oak  A durable, strong, open grained wood that is white, yellow and pink. Red oak can be streaked with green, yellow and black mineral deposits and may contain some wide grain. 
Open Grain  Large pores or course texture in the wood grain such as Oak. 
Sapwood  The younger and softer, outer portion of the tree trunk just under the bark. This living wood is paler in color and usually more susceptible to decay than the older heartwood. 
Wood Species  Different types of hard or softwoods such as maple, oak, cherry, hickory or pine. 
Hinge Terminology

Hinge Terminology

270 Degree Hinge  This refers to a hinge that allows the door a full movement of 270 degrees, which allows it to open all the way to the outside side of the cabinet wall. 
Ball Tip  An exposed tip of the pin of a butt hinge that is shaped like a ball. 
Barrel  The part of a butt hinge where the two halves come together and are joined with a pin. 
Butt Hinge  A hinge composed of two plates attached to abutting surfaces of a door and cabinet, joined by a pin. 
Clip On Hinge  A concealed hinge that allows you to attach the two parts of the hinge together by simply snapping them together making finishing the doors easy. 
Concealed/Cup/European Hinge  Hinges that are not visible when the door is closed. Concealed hinges can be used on frameless cabinets or face frame cabinets with full overlay doors, and can be European style cup hinges or knife hinges. Knife hinges do leave a visible slot on the edge of the door. 
Cup  This refers to the door portion of a concealed hinge that requires a hole to be drilled in the back of the door. The cup portion of the hinge is inserted into this hole. 
Degree of Opening  This refers to how far or to what angle a door will open. Some hinges will allow the doors to open farther allowing for better access to the contents of the cabinet. 
Demountable Hinges  Demountable hinges come in single and double varieties. The singles demount from the cabinet door only (this requires a special slot to be cut into the door for new installations) and screw directly to the edge of the face frame. Doubles demount from both the door and the frame. 
European Hinges  Concealed hinges that utilize a hole bored into the back of the door. 
Exposed Hinge  A term used to describe a cabinet hinge that is visible from the outside. Barrel hinges are one type. 
Finial Tip  An exposed tip of the pin of a butt hinge that has a fancy turned shape. 
Free Swinging  This means the hinge can move freely along its path from open to close. There is no spring feature to keep the door shut. 
Hinge  A mechanical device used to attach a cabinet door to a cabinet box. There are many styles offering different applications, degree of swing and visibility. 
Knife Hinge  A concealed hinge that require a slot or saw cut into the door to house the “knife” (some types that mount on the top or bottom of the door don’t require these cuts). The hinge mounts to the back of the door and to the edge of the face frame. 
Mounting Plate/Hinge Plate  The piece that mounts to the cabinet (either the face frame or the inside of the cabinet for frameless cabinets). Generally used with concealed hinges. 
No-Mortise Hinge  A style of hinge that can be mounted directly to the cabinet and the door without any mortises or special cuts being made into the wood surfaces. 
Pin Hinge  A hinge that pivots on a single point. Offers a very low profile as only the pivoting knuckle is visible from the outside of the cabinet. 
Reverse Bevel  A door edge that is angled backwards allowing the door edge to serve as the pull giving a clean, simple look. 
Self Closing/Snap Closing Hinge  A hinge that helps pull the door shut and keep it closed. Sometimes called a snap-closing hinge. 
Semi-Concealed Hinge  Semi-concealed hinges are partially visible when closed. The hinge pin is what is visible and on some styles as well as the screws that mount the hinge to the cabinet frame. Also called kerf or knuckle hinges. 
Slip-On Hinge  A concealed hinge where the two parts are fastened together by slipping one half onto the other and tightening a screw. 
Soss Hinge  A specialty concealed hinge used for inset doors. Requires mortises in the door and cabinet for the bodies of both hinge halves. 
Surface Mount Hinge  Exposed hinges that screw to the back of the door and to the front surface of the face frame without requiring a hole or mortise. Also available with decorative finials on the ends of the hinge pins. 
Wrap Around Hinge  A style of hinge where the plates of the hinge are formed around the back edge of the door and/or the face frame. A partial wrap around hinge will wrap around the door and have a plain flat leaf for the cabinet so it can be used on a frameless cabinet 
Zero Clearance  A hinge that allows unobstructed access for pullout shelves or drawers when the door is opened to 90 degrees or more.