Isn’t there an old saying that goes, “What a difference a door makes”?
Well, maybe there should be. Not that cabinetry is all about doors. Far from it! And not that a kitchen remodel is just about cabinets. Even so, when the dust settles, it’s those beautiful cabinet faces that stare back at you — and the reliable and intuitive functionality you know is waiting behind each one — that makes all of the serious decision-making involved in a chef-worthy kitchen renovation worthwhile.
If you’re dreaming of new cabinets, dream big. As in, whole kitchen big. “I don’t recommend refacing,” says Kitchen, Bath & Closets (KBC) owner Benjamin Sullivan. “Cabinet boxes aren’t expensive like the exteriors, so you’ll spend a lot in man hours on trimming. And if you’re changing the countertops, you might as well put a new kitchen in.” Pros agree that swapping out the cabinets alone will alter just one piece of the puzzle without yielding the desired effect. If your kitchen could talk, it would tell you straight up:
Lighting, tile, appliances, and even flooring should all come into play.
“A kitchen is like a whole house wrapped up in one,” says Better Built Inc. owner Mike Yakovich. “Kitchen design is about function, space, and looks. It’s a process that is so much more than the cabinets. You need a pro who can pull it all together.”
The Knox residence is a prime example that new cabinets can inspire a full-house makeover. Top cabinetry resources affirm that they’re hard at work on offices, bathrooms, and great rooms as often as those ever-popular kitchens. Choose an expert who is ready to tailor what they offer to what you need with regard to both attractive product and sensible functionality. Each studio has its own specialization, as demonstrated by three Palm Springs showrooms below.
“And when you hire a professional, don’t micromanage,” Sullivan adds. “That’s when problems happen, because not all information gets to everyone and miscommunication creeps in. Have patience, and trust who you hire.”
1. Kitchen, Bath & Closets of Palm Springs
photo by kelly peak/peak photography for kbc
“A kitchen should last 20 to 30 years,” says Benjamin Sullivan of Kitchen, Bath & Closets.
Wood, glass, laminate … how to choose? “I sell reality,” says Sullivan, referring to the customized process of working with each client to ensure the right fit for their home and their lifestyle.
Sun exposure (real wood will change color from sunlight, while high-gloss finishes can be blinding with lots of light), your home’s location (dusty areas with sand in the dust can scratch finishes when you clean them), and usage (high-gloss tends to show fingerprints) are all part of the assessment and education process. Sullivan also wants to know if you cook nightly or it’s mostly for show.
He’ll ask if aging in place, a home rental program, or a plan to sell are other factors. “If you plan to resell someday, what will make your home different from five others with the same floor plan?” he poses. “We tweak to ensure the money you put in is an investment that will make the home more valuable.”
Lifetime warranties, custom-color Blue Star appliances, closet design, full-architectural drawings, and 3-D color presentations are part of their offerings. “A kitchen should last 20 to 30 years,” he says. “It should hold up, look good, and stay relevant — that’s how I design them.”
At KBC, the homeowner chooses and negotiates with his or her own licensed contractor but works with in-house designers and a draftsman.
2. Better Built Inc.
photo by better built, inc./comcrete cabinetry by leicht
Better Built Inc. opened their showroom 15 years ago to provide sought-after materials for midcentury modern remodels.
Billed as a “one-stop design-build construction experience,” Better Built Inc. opened their showroom 15 years ago to provide sought-after materials for midcentury modern remodels (such as mosaic tile and terrazzo) that were hard to source locally.
Today, the full-service kitchen and bath design studio is a hub for luxury brands, remote and handle-less cabinetry systems, and the latest in European cabinetry lines from Germany, including Poggenpohl, Goldreif, and Leicht — often accompanied by Miele’s expertly engineered German appliances. Here, quality and technology meet prestige — a winning combination for homeowners and design clientele alike.
“They know what they want and appreciate what they’re getting. It’s like having a Maserati in the garage,” says Yakovich of the cabinetry that he explains is built like furniture and about 10 years ahead of American brands in manufacturing processes. Though the boutique-style showroom’s biggest seller is white, he says that once clients see and touch the cabinets, a certain door, finish, or style starts to reach out to them. That’s when the design process begins to take shape.
That said, everyone has a budget and a different idea about how they want to spend it. Better Built employs a specialized kitchen designer who enjoys the process of discovering exactly what each client wants and needs and pairing them up with the perfect matches. “Good quality will always last much longer,” says Mike’s wife, co-owner Angel Yakovich. “We’re good at giving you what you can afford, but making it look like you’re breaking the bank.”
At Better Built, the homeowner works with an in-house general contractor and on-site design-build team.
For a semi-custom look at a friendly price point, Semihandmade reinvents your Ikea cabinets with their lines of custom doors, panels, and drawer faces. Switch out standard doors on your Akurum or Sektion kitchen, Godmorgon bathroom, Pax closet, Kallax shelving, or Besta media cabinets for doors in an array of styles, from textured Italian melamine and pops of bright color to real wood veneers and reclaimed lumber.
Do you like the DIY convenience and affordability of Ikea but prefer the more sophisticated look of teak, bamboo, walnut, oak, mahogany, wine barrel, barn door, zebrawood, or wenge wood? You’re in luck.
All Semihandmade cabinet doors are pre-drilled to exact Ikea specifications. They also offer bookcases, wine cabinets, floating shelves, and appliance panels to match.
At Semihandmade, the homeowner uses Ikea’s free, easy-to-use Kitchen Planner then orders directly or forwards the completed plans for a bid — depending on which line they select.