What is your approach to cabinetmaking? What do you do first?
DG: My approach to cabinetmaking is centered on the design concept. When I first entered the field in 1979, most people in the market for cabinetry either hired a cabinet shop or a finish carpenter to build them. Today’s market is much different. The mass-production concept has forced custom shops to conduct business differently. The bulk of installed cabinetry is now fabricated by big-box shops that crank out cookie-cutter cabinets. To distinguish himself from this mass-production mentality, the 21st-century cabinetmaker must design details that set his work apart from standard construction.
Unfortunately, most design is heavily controlled by a client’s budget. This is where every job begins: We establish a realistic budget first, then create a design that is affordable, yet achieves a unique work that both the owner appreciates and the builder enjoys making. Although these parameters can have a negative impact on the overall concept, it does provide a boundary of palette choices that can evolve into interesting and creative designs.