The Build Up Blog

Choosing Custom Cabinets: What to Keep in Mind & How We Help

Did you know that we have a custom cabinetry shop on site in our Rhode Island headquarters?

This offers our clients (as well as area builders) many benefits:

  • Excellent artistry. Our cabinetmaker, Dave Bouvier, is passionate about his craft. He's experienced and takes pride in every set of custom cabinets he makes.
  • Tighter control over the build schedule. Because we make them, we can guarantee timing/delivery. (And we're typically getting cabinets done in 4-6 weeks as opposed to 8-12, although this could change as we get busier.)
  • Materials you can count on lasting. We use 3/4-inch plywood boxes as opposed to what you typically find (1/2-inch boxes). In other words, our cabinets are built to last.
  • A truly custom look. If you can dream it, we can likely construct it.
  • No skimping—ever. If you want painted cabinets, no problem! We still use quality lumber underneath.

So, what should you keep in mind when choosing custom cabinets?

For the purpose of this article, we're going to focus on kitchen cabinets, since that's what most of us think of when we're talking custom cabinetry. That said, we also build cabinets for the bathroom, entertainment centers, office spaces, and so forth.

The rules below generally apply to all spaces, but to keep it simple, we're talking kitchen cabinets in this article.

After the kitchen design itself, cabinets are the next big decision you'll need to make.

When it comes to kitchen renovations, the first big thing is the design itself. Once you sign off on that, the next big decision involves cabinets.


Well, once you place the order, cabinets typically take 8-12 weeks to deliver, depending on the complexity. The whole kitchen renovation schedule is built around the delivery of your cabinets, and as you can see, you need a lot of lead-time.

The fact we build cabinets locally in-house means we're presently delivering final cabinets in 4-6 weeks (that could change as we get busier).

Below images: a kitchen renovation in progress! The main cabinets are painted with Frosty White Colourtone with a Pewter glaze. The island cabinets are painted Metropolitan Grey Colourtone with White glaze. The finish is a Catalyzed Lacquer which is as durable as it is beautiful.  

The countertop is honed Pratima Soapstone with a pencil edge.

The cabinet doors and drawer fronts are Amesbury shaker style solid maple. 

And, finally, the glass is a seeded glass.



Too many choices lead to overwhelming moments.

When choosing cabinets, you need to consider things like style (framed vs. frameless), finish (e.g., white, neutral, no finish), and features (e.g., pull-out trashcan, appliance "garages"). But too many choices can quickly lead to overwhelming feelings. At Hebert Design/Build, we help minimize this.

Based on the approved design and your aesthetics, we'll make recommendations regarding cabinetry. We'll show you actual cabinet doors with the exact style and finish we're suggesting. We always narrow down our recommendations to no more than a handful of options—usually three at max. Most people appreciate this because it's much easier to select based on three choices rather than dozens.

Material selection: the trap of looking good vs. being good.

Many materials can look good, but that doesn't mean they are good. You want something that's going to last. You're probably familiar with particleboard, something that looked good for a little while, but that didn't hold up over time.

There are many different qualities of plywood, and quality affects longevity. In our cabinet shop, we use a 3/4-inch plywood box, which is a lot heavier than nearly all other cabinets that you'll find (most are 1/2-inch). And, of course, we pay close attention to construction—think sturdy frames, drawers that barely make a sound, and so forth.

Hardware is important as well. We typically use Blum for both drawer slides and door hinges. Blum is renowned for its quality and reasonable prices—a win-win for everyone. Of course, your input matters when it comes to hardware as well: if you have specific knobs or handles that you want to use, we work with them.

If you opt for painted cabinets, you want to make sure the material underneath the paint is still good quality. We never skimp just because something is painted. We never use inexpensive lumber that may cause defects later on.

Glass doors? Even more things to consider!

There are many different types of glass: antique, clear, seeded, etched, and many more. When deciding whether to include glass, consider what you'll store in the cabinets. Keep in mind that the contents will always be visible. Most people opt to store special dishes or items they've collected. Low voltage interior lighting is a nice option for displaying the contents in the evening. 

Custom cabinets can go a long way in making your dream kitchen a reality. Learn more about our custom cabinet shop or contact us if you're ready to chat.

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Tags: custom cabinets