Woodworking Woes


Here’s an email message I received:

From: Tracy

Subject: kitchen banquette

A comfortable custom kitchen banquette.

A comfortable custom kitchen banquette.

Message: My woodworker was supposed to make my kitchen banquette 17″ high and it ended up being 18.5″. Now with my 3″ cushions, the seating comes in at 21.5″. It looks attractive, but it’s higher than I would have liked. I paid a decent buck for the custom banquette and cushions. What do you advise?

Tracy, there are multiple issues in this short email. 

First, does your woodworker acknowledge that there is a mistake? It’s understandable that you did not measure it until he was done because, of course, you trust him. 

Second, I’m not sure that that 1 1/2″ will make much of a difference. I mean, with these numbers, yes, the lower the better. But, I think it will still feel high. As a comparison, I normally (depending on the cushion) set the height of my banquettes somewhere between 14 and 15″, usually around 14-14 1/2″, anticipating a 4-5″ thick cushion. For a 3″ cushion, I’d probably size it somewhere around 15 1/2-16″ high. 


Design a brightly colored fabric for your banquette.

Design a brightly colored fabric for your banquette.

Third, this matters if he is not acknowledging an error. Do you have documentation on how high the banquette was to be?

Fourth, if he does acknowledge that it was not accurately sized, and if you decided you wanted it lower than originally planned, ask him to make it lower. 

Fifth, are there any decorative panels on the face of the banquette?

Sixth, are there any other issues such as wallpaper or other moldings or the rear of the banquette if there is one, that is affected?

Those are my preliminary thoughts, knowing nothing more than what you’ve told me so far. I hope this works out for you. 

It’s a rare client who will think to take a tape measure to woodwork that has been installed, nor is it their responsibility to do so. But, in a case like this, where the piece is finished, I do think Tracy deserves to get what she originally paid for, however it has to be worked out by the woodworker. What do you think?


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About the Author: haris

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