I have 20+ years experience in Home Furnishings and Interior Design, specializing in Kitchen and Bath Design since '01. I work for Bilotta Kitchens in the A&D Building on East 58th Street in the Mid-town Manhattan. I have a passion for learning and love the opportunity to collaberate on projects of all sizes. My strengths in the field begin with my design background, use of color and texture to bring interest to a room, spatial relationships, organizational skills, innovation, decisiveness, and planning. I have had the thrilling experience of helping hundreds...?maybe thousands of people with their projects, and what I love is it never gets boring, and no two are ever the same. Thanks for reading.
Lately, the question of the hour seems to be, "should I use semi-custom or custom cabinetry, what's the difference?" I say this: To some the only difference is the company's position in the marketplace. Just because a company adds new painted and glazed finishes and many semi-custom options would the "Largest Stock Cabinet Manufacturer" in the country give up their position on top to become a smaller fish in the semi-custom market? That may seem like an overly simplistic answer, but it brings you to the truth of the matter, which is each company should be evaluated for their product, and each kitchen for it's need.
The higher end custom companies do definitely have higher quality finishing, and attention to detail as well as allowing for full creative input from the designer, Like the kitchen above designed by Sol Kassorla of Manhattan Center for Kitchen + Bath. Even if you aren't looking for the "fancier" or "better" options, how about the attention they pay to lumber grade, and the curing of the wood, the toners used to stabilize the finish, and cabinetry that can be perfectly sized to fit high end appliances like the featured Sub Zero glass door refrigerator. These are all things that matter tremendously to the overall finished look of your kitchen.
I have seen a semi-custom cherry kitchen that looked beautiful when it was new, turn into the "Tony the Tiger" kitchen after the wood began to season and stripe. Over the first year after the kitchen was installed the contrast of the white and green wood that was mixed in the doors became overpowering. And the kitchen, which was high end semi-custom lost mush of it's visual appeal.
Beautiful Custom Rope Columns
Also to keep in mind, semi-custom companies do offer many structural modifications to their cabinetry, making them easier than ever before to customize to fit, the options vary from company to company. However, keep in mind that if your layout demands many of these modifications to properly fit the space you will be driving cost up and can end up spending as much as you would for a full custom kitchen. If from the start you are looking for things like working side entries on cabinets, meticulously engineered wainscoat panels, moldings and columns look to a designer like Steve Naphtali of Kitchen Expressions of Short Hills who designed the kitchen on the right which was featured on HGTV.
If Old Navy jeans are okay at $39.00 dollars a pair, but you need to have the leg and the waist tailored for another $40.00, wouldn't it make sense to buy the Gap jeans that fit you perfectly for $69.00? Kitchens are more complicated than jeans so you need to do a little more homework.
Consult with designers for both types of cabinetry, see what products and services are offered and what fits your kitchen best. A kitchen is only as good as the installation, so do yourself a favor and stay away from online contractor referral schemes, talk to your friends and neighbors to find out the best services in your area. Remember "Service Magic" is paid for by the contractor who wants your business, this not an independent referral service!