Heather Hungeling Design | Willow Lane Project
If you find yourself on the borderline of being able to afford the higher quality level of bench-made cabinetry, you may be tempted to hire it out to a small, independent custom cabinet shop. While a small-time operator can often provide you with a higher quality custom cabinet for less money, you need to go into it with your eyes open. Believe me, I’ve heard all of the horror stories. You’ll need to know that there is a 99% chance that your cabinetry will not be delivered on schedule. It’s also possible that he’ll run out of money halfway through the job (which means you may get your cabinetry in “pieces” and left on your doorstep in the middle of the night). Finally, you definitely need to know that the warranty will expire on those cabinets at the same time that you see the back of his pick-up truck leaving your driveway. It’s a rather risky gambit, but I’m not necessarily advising you against it if that’s where your budget takes you, just be prepared for the headaches and understand the risk vs. reward equation.
Obviously, if your budget allows for an established, reputable cabinet company, that will always be the most advisable route. They will be able to offer a solid product and back it up with a lengthy warranty. You’ll also get a higher level of design expertise from an established company. (The hole-in-the-wall company is going to have all the sophistication of a brick. You’ll need to be prepared to figure everything out yourself).
Once you’ve found the right cabinet maker, you can start to incorporate luxury details that will add character and architectural interest to your kitchen. If you haven’t read my well-received 3-part series on Making Your Cabinetry Beautiful, you’ll want to make a beeline straight to it!
4) luxury kitchens favor natural materials
I’ve kind of harped on this before, so I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. Marble and quartzite are luxurious. Soapstone is also charming and beautiful. Engineered quartz, however, is going to be left in the dust-bin of kitchen design history eventually.
If you’re concerned about the durability of marble, be sure to read my recent post about Azerocare marble. If that’s still not for you, then quartzite is your next best bet. It’s a natural stone with a lot of the same beauty as marble, but it doesn’t etch, so it’s naturally a much more durable and practical material for a kitchen (image above shows Taj Mahal quartzite). There are lots of options now, and it has become more readily available at local stone yards.
If you’re still really drawn to the virtual indestructibility of an engineered material, porcelain slabs and ultra-compact surfaces are going to give you a higher-end look than quartz.
Finally, consider introducing some wood countertops into your kitchen design. They add a wonderful bespoke element that provides desirable texture and visual warmth. They’re also very practical. Get the lowdown on using wood countertops in the kitchen.