Cabinets: Functional & Pretty
● By Robert Frey
What’s Trending This YearBy Patrice Doucet
Of all the components of a kitchen, cabinets are the most prominent, most expensive and carry the room’s personality the most. They are the centerpiece of the kitchen. Given that, it’s important to consider all options before deciding which kind of cabinets to buy. A few experts in cabinetmaking and design offer some of the latest trends and advice on making your new cabinets as attractive and well-suited to your taste as possible.
Byron Pellerin, owner of Byron’s Cabinets and Woodworks, has been designing and making custom cabinets since 1993. He says the most significant direction in cabinet design is to a simpler, cleaner “shaker” style, with more straight lines and almost a frameless cabinet. He also points out a construction trend that has affected cabinet design: the elevation of kitchen ceilings to 10-12 feet, making cabinets up to 9 feet tall.
In terms of space-saving design, there is a growing array of specialty cabinets and cabinet accessories: Corner lazy Susans, knife dividers and spice divider shelves and drawers, plate dividers in the drawers, pull out pot and lid organizers, and cupboards with outlets for hiding small kitchen appliances.
As for woods, Pellerin says alder is a wood he often uses, while for stained cabinets a less expensive cherry wood works just as well. For painted cabinets, he recommends a paint-grade maple.
For those on a more restricting budget, manufactured cabinets may be the route to go. Kerry Jackson, proprietor of Kitchen Concepts, says the quality and selection of this level cabinetry has come a long way in the last 30 years.
Kitchen Concepts provides semi-custom cabinets domestically manufactured that come assembled or, for more cost savings, customers can opt for cabinets shipped flat from out of state and assembled by workers at Kitchen Concepts. Jackson says a small cabinet “kit, shipped flat, including an island, molding, trim work, and frame for around the refrigerator, can cost less than $10,000, with installation.
An interior designer by degree, Jackson says an island is still popular in U-shaped kitchens. “I like to suggest a couple of big wide set of drawers on an island across from the dishwasher,” he says “to make unloading more convenient.”
Even pet stations are being considered in cabinet design. Jackson was once asked to accommodate a family’s dog in making cabinets. “A client whose dog was always underfoot in the kitchen requested that a space at the end of a run of bottom cabinets be left doorless (about the size of a dishwasher space) to house a dog bed on the floor,” he smiles.
Michelle Broussard, of Michelle Broussard Interiors, who deals in the aesthetics as well as the practicality of cabinetry, notes other trends, particularly when it comes to paint color.
“White cabinets are still in demand;” she says “they’re clean, classic and exude a happy aesthetic. Grey tones, spanning from light to charcoal, are definitely seeing wider interest, especially when married with an accent color. An example is painting wall cabinets white and an island a complementary medium grey or pairing white or grey cabinets with a stained natural wood island, for a cozy, earthy feel to the room.”
In the same way two-tone paints are being used, customers are more open to the change up of door styles in the kitchen. “The wall cabinets could be the flat panel door; the base cabinets would have the raised panel version. In a kitchen with an island, the surrounding cabinets could be all the same flat panel, and the island could feature the raised panel doors,” suggests Broussard.
Cabinet hardware has been referred to as the jewelry of the kitchen and it’s an opportunity to put your personality into the room. Broussard says finishes like warm brass, French brass, antique French, polished nickel and champagne bronze will continue to be popular through the year and beyond.
When it comes to cabinetry elsewhere in the house, Broussard says, “Whatever cabinet design is in the kitchen, I try to keep consistent in other rooms of the house, like the adjacent living room or bathrooms – with one exception, the half bath.” There, Broussard tells clients they can be daring. “You can have designs within the cabinet, do a metallic paint finish, insert mirrors, or convert a piece of furniture into a vanity,” she says.
Pellerin says when searching for a cabinetmaker, customers should look at years of experience and check references with others who’ve had cabinets made. The first thing he recommends to new clients is that they bring pictures of the style cabinetry they like, along with house plans, if building a new house. In the case of a remodel, the cabinetmaker will normally want to see the existing cabinets to get a good idea of the parameters they’re working within. Custom cabinets take 4-6 weeks to complete, so Pellerin suggests customers plan three months ahead.
The good news: Jackson says, “New Iberia is blessed with good cabinetmakers.”