Archive for February, 2014


Cabinets have infinite options and design possibilities and are the most expensive part of your new kitchen. Here are some definitions to help you out when talking with your cabinet builder.

Box – The actual carcass of your cabinets. It can vary in quality and finish and can be easily overlooked. Having a UV Cured finish inside is important for easy cleaning of spills.

Face Frames – Face frames attach to the front of boxes. The cabinet doors attach to these face frames. Frameless cabinets will have nothing more than edge banding (a thin veneer) on the front of your boxes.

Doors & Drawer Fronts – Covering all or most of the openings in your cabinetry, these are the main visible aspect of the cabinets.

Toe Kicks – The space under the cabinet that allows room for your toes as you stand at the cabinets. There are different styles. A toe sweep for example gives angled corners to the toe kick to allow you to easily sweep underneath them.

Hinges & Slides – The necessary hardware used to operate your doors and drawers. These can greatly affect the quality of your cabinets. Drawers that stick or eventually sag from low budget slides will cost you more in the end.

Knobs & Pulls – Door knobs and drawer pulls can be vastly important not only to the look of the cabinet but to their functionality. They may be an extra cost or included in the cabinet bid.

Finish – The coatings that protect your investment. Much like the paint on your car, finishes give style and protection. Stain, paint, and top coats should all be considered.

10 Questions to Ask Your Cabinet Maker

1. What materials will you use in making the cabinets? Solid wood core plywood for the boxes and solid hardwood for the face frames are a must for longevity. Never settle for particle board boxes.

2. How are the cabinets being assembled? Glued and pocket screwed for strength and pocket screws for face frames. Cheaply stapled cases without glue will fall apart in time. Ask if face nails will be used on your face frames creating lots of small unsightly pock marks.

3. What are the finishes and will they be finished on site or in shop? Shop-finished cabinets are preferred. Having someone in your home to spray finishes with VOCs and chemicals is not recommended at all. A shop sprayed pre-catalyzed lacquer is the best finish. Cabinets with glass doors or no doors should be stained and finished inside to match the outsides. These cabinets should have shelves stained to match as well. Ask if nail holes made in installation of crown molding will be puttied and stained? Ask if the cabinet installation included caulking also.

4. How are the drawers and slide-out shelves made? Dovetailed drawers are the standard of strength. Solid wood sides are best. Don’t accept stapled MDF. In fact, no MDF at all should be in cabinets. MDF is not a structural material.

5. What Hardware will you use? Under mount soft-close are the best.With good hardware you will find that doors and drawers open and close with ease every time. For the doors, there are soft close features that will keep them from banging. Quality hardware will last much longer. Also ask if the hardware products are cheaply made of cast pewter or if they are cold rolled steel?

6. What are my doors made of and what will the style be? Raised panel and Shaker doors? Inset or overlay frames?  As for material, solid wood will lend itself to a long life. Many cabinet manufacturers use MDF for the center panels and then veneer over for the wood grain.

7. Will you provide the design and shop drawings and in how much detail? This is a super important question. Be sure you completely understand every aspect of the drawings; ask, ask, and ask for more details if needed. Don’t leave anything to chance. Get as detailed as you want.

8. What accessories are behind the doors? This is a tricky one because when you approve drawings, many times the number of shelves, slide out drawers, trash bins, and many other items can be left out. Be sure to ask what is included (and in comparing bids, this is an essential component).

9. How long will the cabinets take to make and install? This simple question can change everything.

10. Is the installation included? Installation is a big factor, and it is by far better if the cabinet maker installs as opposed to someone who has never even seen your kitchen layout. When the cabinet builder installs, any needed adjustments can be taken care of immediately. Also, ask if the knobs and pulls will be installed as well.

11. (BONUS) Can I visit the production facilities to become familiar with the process? Look for cleanliness and tidiness. You should find evidence of their skills and expertise. You should feel welcome to come see how they work. So, on your next cabinet purchase, relax and enjoy the process.  The work will be well worth the usefulness and beauty of you new cabinets.


Living without a kitchen can be hectic, crazy and expensive. And eating out every night could end up blowing your remodeling budget. But if you plan and prepare, you can survive, thrive and even have fun while waiting for your new kitchen to be done.

Plan on setting up a temporary kitchen in some place like your garage, basement or utility room (ideally, someplace with a sink). Even if you aren’t keeping your old appliances, for now keep at least the refrigerator and microwave oven to set up in this area.

Ask for details on LWi’s Complementary Faux Kitchen when we do the removal of your old cabinets.

As you pack up your kitchen here are a few items to leave out:

  • Plate, bowl, cup, silverware for each
  • Saucepan
  • Skillet
  • Mixing bowl
  • Toaster oven
  • Coffee pot
  • Crock Pot
  • Cutting board
  • Knives
  • 2 dish towels
  • Wash basin
  • Sponges and detergent
  • Trash bags
  • Zip lock bags

Useful Ideas

  • Use a cooler to wash dishes in.
  • Keep lots of non perishable snacks on hand like PB, crackers, dried fruit, etc.
  • Make clean up easy by using paper plates and plastic cups.
  • Use the outdoor grill – try foil packed meals, remember your scouting days?
    • If you’re worried about putting your cookware on the grill, rub bar soap on the bottom and sides of your pots and the black soot from the grill will easily wash off.
    • Remember that your grill can do almost anything your oven can, cooking everything from casseroles to pizzas. Most grills also include a side burner, which is great for making pasta or steamed vegetables.
  • Use a crock pot for meals.
  • If you’re still going to have a freezer during the remodel, make some big meals ahead of time and freeze them in smaller portions. You can defrost single-meal portions and reheat them in the microwave.
  • Offer a friend a home-cooked meal in exchange for using her kitchen.
  • Set up a mini kitchen somewhere else in the house so that you can do cooking while your kitchen is out of commission. Ideally, this location should have a sink or, if not, it should have easy access to water. You could set up your mini kitchen in a laundry room or near a bathroom. Equip it with a coffee maker, a microwave, a blender, a toaster oven, a hot plate and a slow cooker.
  • Prepare your meals in tin foil pans instead of earthenware to eliminate a lot of cleanup
  • Despite the temptation, don’t ask workers a lot of questions or hang around while they work. They will actually work faster and better if the client is not standing over their shoulders.

The most important thing to always keep in mind is the finished product – how you will feel once it’s all done.


The hub of your home is the kitchen. You start your day there with coffee and end your evening there with dinner or a snack. You help with homework, sort mail, prepare meals, and entertain in the kitchen. You want your home’s center to show who you really are and you want to feel great about it.

So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and make your kitchen dream a reality. But it’s a little, okay, maybe a lot, overwhelming and you’re not even sure where to start or even what to expect in costs. The LWi Custom Cabinets website breaks down the process for you and even shows you a cost breakdown analysis with a budget calculator. It helps in understanding what to expect cost wise for cabinets, flooring, lighting, new appliances and counter tops.

Here is an example: Let’s say the value of your home is $315,000 and you want to allocate 5% to the kitchen remodel ($15,750).

Then, 35% of that budget should be for cabinets (about $5,500), 12% for countertops (about $1,890), 10% for flooring (about $1,575), 10% for appliances (about $1,575, 4% for electrical and lighting (about $630), 3% for new wall coverings ($472), 25% for labor (about $3,937) and the last percent for miscellaneous (about $157). Of course, if you are not planning on some of these features, more can be allocated to other areas. And keep in mind, this labor number is spread out over all aspects of your new kitchen.

Ok, so now you have decided on your budget. First start with appliances. Go shopping and choose what works for you and where they will be located. This is an important first step because new cabinets will be built around them, so to speak.

Next it’s time to have some fun and get cabinets started. Seems odd to start cabinets next, but remember after you’ve signed off on your new cabinet plans it takes 4-6 weeks to have them built. In that time you’ll be selecting countertops, flooring and lighting. Plus you’ll have a cabinet color sample to take with you when you shop. You’ve probably read that first sentence again and thought “fun?” Yes, planning your cabinets should be fun. Because you’re creating your new kitchen now. The cabinets are the number one feature both for functionality and beauty. You may already know what your dream kitchen looks like – fantastic – you’re over a huge hurdle. If not, time to go through magazines, lots of them. Visit Houzz.com and Pintrest too for ideas.

Don’t look for an entire kitchen you like. But instead focus on pieces of the kitchen. One photo may be the perfect color, another best style; another has legs you love on the island, or a pantry pullout system that would make your life so much easier. Gather it all up and take it to the cabinet designer at LWi Custom Cabinets. You’ll work with Joshua. That’s his job, to look at your space and make it all work for you.

Once it’s all designed, you’re on your way. Now is the time to take care of electrical and plumbing you may need done, choose new flooring, countertops, new paint, and lighting. Most of all, always keep in mind that final look of your new kitchen and how you’ll feel once you are enjoying it while you have your morning coffee.

Loading posts...