Adventures in kitchen design, #5

One of my frustrations with all the cabinet choices we’ve seen so far is the finish. They all feel (and some look) like plastic, but ordering them unfinished voids the warranty. I’m also frustrated by the fact that all you can get at a reasonable price is wood (paint kicks you into a different price bracket). I go back and look at the footnotes in my Kitchen Idea Book. Only one kitchen in the whole book has stock cabinets; all the others (read: all the ones I like) are custom. The custom ones are cool – some are inset instead of overlay, which I love. Many are painted. Some are stained in more than one color – lavender and maroon, blue and green. But we can’t afford custom.

At the same time, by meeting with all these different people and watching and listening as they lay out plans, I’m wondering if I might have learned enough to strike out on my own. I search online for unfinished cabinets and end up at the Cabinet Authority, which offers unfinished Conestoga wood cabinets. I print out their hundred-plus page cabinet and spend several evenings obsessively matching my plan with the available cabinets. Working with my cabinet guru Rick over several weeks via email, I design a kitchen that blends unfinished, stain grade full-inset cabinets with two Ikea stainless steel shelving units (I don’t tell Rick about the Ikea part).

The only snag we run into is that the typical delivery truck is an 18-wheeler, which will not make it up our windy, one lane road. Rick promises they can be switched to a smaller truck once they reach California. We have a deal.

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