Custom Cabinets

March 2, 2011

One of the great standard features our homes have is our cabinets.  The cabinetry in a kitchen can make or break that space.  Many Realtors will tell you that kitchens and bathrooms are the selling points in a home and we agree!  It is so important to us that we have custom made wood cabinets for all of our homes.  What does custom mean?  Well, that means that we don’t order our cabinets from a catalogue that carries pre-fabricated cabinets in pre-set sizes.  We use a local cabinet company and they custom make each set of cabinets for each home. Really? Yes. I took a little field trip to our cabinet company this week to find out what it means to install custom cabinets in our homes.  Although we are a “production” builder not a “custom” builder, (meaning that our buyers choose from a list of plans that we have designed and provide per neighborhood, instead of drafting their own floor plans with an architect) our cabinets are fabricated for each home after the construction has reached a certain point.  The cabinet company has measured the floor plan from the blueprints and has designed the cabinets for the space.  They will not know exact measurements until the walls of the home are up.  Mr. Buzz Brown told me that each build of the same plan can vary by ¼ of an inch to 4 inches and that can affect the cabinets.  So once the walls are up, they visit the home and measure the space for the cabinets.  The drafter then makes adjustments and the order is made in the shop. Visiting the shop was cool!  It is a very organized, but dusty place.  Buzz showed me where the rough cut lumber is delivered at one end of the shop and all the way through to the loading dock where the finished cabinets are waiting to be taken to their new homes!  The rough cut has bark on it still and they have to mill it into lengths and sizes they need for making cabinets. One thing I never knew about our cabinets is that the doors are not one piece of wood.  They look like they are but they aren’t and it’s on purpose.  Because wood is a natural product that is porous, it can be affected by humidity.  We all know that Texas is HUMID!  If the door panel was made of one solid piece it would warp and bow.  So it is constructed of three or four panels that are arranged according to the grain of the wood.  They place them in next to each other with the grain running in opposing directions to create a “crown” in the panel to counteract the bowing and warping effect of humidity. These panels are then topped with the arch pieces and the straight side and bottom pieces and they are glued and nailed in only a few spots to create a “floating frame” that also allows for the changes in the wood due to humidity.  The doors are placed onto the cabinet frames that are made in another section of the shop and then they are delivered and installed in one of our homes! To sum my field trip up, I’ll quote Linda who told me “We are just regular people around here.  We work hard and play hard and enjoy ourselves while doing it.”  It was obvious by all the smiling faces that they are happy folk who take pride in their product.  No wonder we work so well together!  Thanks to everyone who opened up their shop and spent their time talking with me and allowing me to get in their way!
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