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Customizing Kitchen Cabinetry Requires A Pro With a Plan


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Customizing Kitchen Cabinetry Requires A Pro With a Plan

It can become overwhelming when confronted with selecting the right kitchen cabinetry for your home. So many different door styles, types of wood, finishes and sometimes the standard sizes manufactured by the big box suppliers just doesn’t fit your specific needs. We spend quality time with clients during the initial but crucial Q&A session to understand your goals. Thirty percent of the questions we ask help us form preferences that support your cabinet selection. The high-end kitchens we design for clients often include specialty appliances and special storage solutions that require a customized solution.

Custom Kitchen Cabinet Design

Often clients have a vision of pieced together a number of ideas and they want us to make it all work. This kitchen below for example, the client had her heart set on a farmhouse kitchen sink with a trash compactor disguised to look like a cabinet. We worked with our cabinet maker using a line of raised panel cabinets he has in his catalog and then customized the sink base unit, the width for the disposal cabinet, drawer configurations that include organizers and the finish to accommodate the clients’ color scheme. 
Custom Kitchen Cabinet Design NJ
Quality cabinet makers often start with spec styles and allow designers to customize pretty much any aspect. We can customize wood types including the use of exotic woods, custom sizing, drawer specifications, door panel styles, hinge mechanics, finishes, etc. You just don’t have that kind of flexibility with standard cabinet resellers and the big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot.

Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles

Kitchen Cabinet Doors

There are six primary door panel styles to choose from, but good cabinet makers allow us to modify slightly as well as mixing in glass windows. The panel styles are
  • Shaker Style Doors: The most basic style cabinet door is a shaker style. Often a five-piece door with a recessed center panel and no additional edge detailing. There are other variations of course.
  • Raised Panel Square: A raised panel door is a cabinet door with a center panel that is a little higher than the surrounding wood. Raised panel cabinet doors are very popular because they can be used in both traditional and modern kitchen designs.
  • Raised Panel Arched: You can add a raised arch to a cabinet door for an attractive and versatile design, These cabinet doors have a traditional style.
  • Raise Panel Cathedral: This door front style has a raised panel with a curve-shaped arch in the top of the panel and in the top rail. Custom kitchen cabinets
  • Slab: A slab door is a solid, flat door with no frame or panel.  Modern kitchen cabinetry styles are usually selected for transitional and contemporary designs.
  • Mullion: A mullion is a type of cabinet door that features glass panels rather than solid wood. The glass panels have dividing bars similar to those found in window panes.
Many customers leaning towards a modern or transitional kitchen design prefer the shaker style doors with paint or a basic slab door that has a minimalistic feel. Those interested in more traditional kitchen cabinet doors are more open to raised panel designs that show off the woodwork. Often, we suggest a blend of mullion style glass doors if there is china, silver or glassware to show off within a lighted cabinet. In this example we suggested a diamond shape raised panel for this buffet area. The finish is an off-white paint with a slightly distressed look. The home in this case is along the New Jersey coast and as you can see, it has that beach house feel.

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing or A Fresh Coat of Paint?

The only time we suggest cabinet refacing older kitchen cabinets is if the original cabinets are structurally in very good shape and the door is built of strong solid wood. Often a client will be updating the look and feel of a kitchen with newer appliances, perhaps a different color scheme or sprucing up an older kitchen that just needs a refresh and they are working with a tighter budget than new cabinetry would allow. kitchen cabinet refacingIn many situations, you can dramatically change the look of your kitchen by a process known as refacing, which gives most of the benefits of cabinet replacement but at a fraction of the cost. We only suggest using high quality cabinet refacing materials and a professional cabinet refacing expert that does not cut any corners. If we will be painting the kitchen cabinets, we can use a paintable laminate veneer with a strong adhesive. If we plan on using a wood stain, then we only use a solid wood refacing material that closely matches the frame. We never recommend MDF, plywood’s or most peel and stick veneers for the refacing project. New hinges and hardware is a must.

A fresh coat of paint over other paint is never really enough. Cooking in a kitchen for the past 15+ years naturally imparts oils and particulates onto the existing wood doors. Without properly removing the buildup and preparation of the wood surfaces, even the best quality paint will have a tough time adhering. It is best to take the doors off and do the refacing tasks first before applying any paint.

Lisa and the team at Tobias Design are here for you and your family to talk about the right kitchen design options for you. Give us a call to bounce off your ideas. We can meet with you virtually using video conferencing tools like Zoom or Skype. (609) 466-1445

Posted by Tom Gilmour in Custom Cabinetry | with 1 comments
Filed under: cabinet, cabinets, doors, kitchen, refacing, tjg

Taylor Abrams
I agree that many clients who want modern or transitional kitchen designs favor painted shaker-style doors or plain slab doors with a minimalistic vibe. My mom is the same way ever since she discovered how Hollywood stars have the same custom kitchens all the time. She wanted to have her own personalized touch to a modern kitchen design.
10/28/2022 8:21:29 AM

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48 West Broad Street • Hopewell, NJ 08525 • Phone: (609) 466-1445 • email:

Specializing in custom kitchen cabinetry designs in Princeton, Somerset, Central Jersey, Monmouth County, Hunterdon County, Morris County and Bucks County, PA.

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