Get to Know Semicustom Cabinets
Consuming a breadth of the market between stock and custom, these cabinets offer variety and value.
Synopsis: Homeowners have three broad categories of kitchen cabinets to choose from: stock cabinets, which tend to be the most affordable but offer the least variety and are often made from lower-quality materials; custom cabinets, which are built to client specifications but are therefore usually the most expensive and require the longest wait for delivery; and semi-custom cabinets, which are built to order but from a more narrow set of options. In this article, designer Nena Donovan Levine explores the world of semi-custom cabinets, which constitutes the largest segment of the market. She covers the choice between face-frame and frameless construction, why it’s next to impossible to get an estimate of the cost of semi-custom cabinets, and why manufacturers have so many semi-custom lines. She discusses in detail the four elements that distinguish a quality semi-custom cabinet: box construction, drawers, doors, and finish.
If your kitchen cabinets are decades old and you’re homing in on a renovation, consider this advice: “Ya gotta know the territory.” It’s from The Music Man, a show as old as those very cabinets. Dispensed by a traveling salesman headed for River City, it’s also a great mantra to use when surveying today’s kitchen-cabinetry landscape.
In 2012, the cost of an average kitchen renovation was over $47,000, according to a National Kitchen and Bath Association member survey. Cabinetry consumes one-third or more of that amount. You can do the math, but it is safe to say this investment deserves careful consideration.
There are three broad categories of kitchen cabinets: Stock cabinets tend to be the most affordable but offer the least variety of style and finishes, are sometimes made from lower-quality materials, and may be constructed for a shorter useful life. Custom cabinets are at the other extreme in that they can be…