Category Archives: Semi custom cabinets

Your Kitchen Cabinet Door Style Choice Should Take Into Account These 3 Things

When you’re planning for a new kitchen–either because you’re building a home or doing a remodel–choosing your kitchen cabinet door style is critical for the look you’ll achieve. When you’re looking at cabinet door choices, there are the obvious factors you’ll take into account such as color, stain, finish and whether you want a distressed or antiqued look or not. You might even be thinking about a glazing technique as a finishing touch.

Before you get to that point, you’ll want to choose your actual kitchen cabinet door style first. And there are three things you should keep in mind when doing so, to ensure you choose a door style you’ll be happy with for many years to come.

What look are you going for?
What kind of dream kitchen do you envision? Is it sleek and modern? Rustic? Elegant and elaborate? Refined? Casual? Formal? Your choices are endless, but your choice plays a huge role in determining which kitchen cabinet door style will work for you. Remember: This is a style you’ll be living with for years, so think about what you’ll be happy with 5 and 10 years from now. For some help in narrowing your choices, see our advice on the only five cabinet door styles you need to know.

Is maintenance a concern?
As much as we might love the look of certain kitchen cabinet door styles, they might not fit with our lifestyles. A busy family with young children and everyone busy and on the go might want door styles that are easy to wipe down and keep clean, like a flat or Shaker style. A family with older kids who probably won’t ram toys into cabinet doors or smear jelly on drawer fronts can enjoy a fancier kitchen cabinet door style. Consider your family’s lifestyle and life stage when choosing your kitchen cabinet door style.

What kind of cabinet hardware do you envision?
For some of us (present company included), the cabinet hardware, knobs, and pulls are important to the overall kitchen look we’re going for. But not all cabinet hardware works with all kitchen cabinet door styles. If the hardware is important to the look you’re trying to achieve in your dream kitchen, you might want to choose it first, and then choose your kitchen cabinet door style to complement the hardware—rather than the other way around.

As we said above, your kitchen design choices are almost endless and it can seem as if your door style choices are as well (only see our choices at Wellborn Forest for proof). Taking into account some other factors can help you narrow down your choices and choose a style you’ll be happy with for the long term.

Customizing Your Semi Custom Cabinets With Glaze

You’re choosing semi custom cabinets because they fit your budget yet still give you the look you want, but you want just a wee bit more nuance in your new kitchen design? Go for glaze.

A glaze can give your semi custom cabinets a very different look, no matter which door style you’ve fallen in love with. And if you’re the only one choosing that particular door style with that particular glaze, you have custom cabinets—for a semi custom cabinet price.

Wait! It gets even better, because a glaze is not simply a one-size-fits all approach to customizing your cabinet finish. There are several different types of glazes.

The hand-wiped glaze
With the hand-wiped glaze technique, we quite literally apply the glaze by hand, wiping it over the stain or paint of your cabinets. This gives the whole door a hint of color, with more glaze (and therefore color) in the edges and corners of the cabinet door, where the glaze is harder to wipe away.

The heirloom finish
Heirloom finishes are hand-wiped onto the cabinet doors as we just described above, but then the finish is distressed to give your semi custom cabinets the appearance of age. We sand down the cabinets doors in places that would naturally get wear and tear over time. If you want your kitchen to have a lived-in and much-loved look, consider the heirloom finish.

Pencil glazes
Pencil glazes are not applied like the glazes described above, with glaze wiped on and rubbed off. Instead, pencil glazes are applied in a very deliberate way. It’s kind of like drawing details on to the edges and corners of the kitchen cabinet doors and drawers. The look is much sharper compared to the hand-wiped glazes.

Brushed glazes
If you prefer a sharper, more symmetrical look, consider brushed glazes. As with the pencil glaze, a brushed glaze is applied in a deliberate way, brushed on to the cabinet doors in long strokes so you get consistent vertical brushwork detailing.

To learn more about glazes and finishes, you can read about the many ways we can customize your semi custom cabinets, including custom color paint matching and stains. You can also see an online version of our door style and finish guide, where you can see samples of our stains and glazes.

Love to Entertain? 5 Tips for Designing a Party-Ready Kitchen That Lightens Your Load!

OK, I know not everyone likes to entertain. A friend just canceled a baby shower because she was so intimidated by the idea of having a party in her home. But I suspect she’s in the minority. Most people I know loooove to entertain, including me. There’s just something about creating a fun atmosphere for your friends and feeding them well, plus a little bit of showing off too, if we’re honest.

Not that it’s not work! Entertaining can be a lot of work, but the smiles on friends’ faces make it all worthwhile. And when you’re designing a new kitchen, you can take steps to build one that’s set up for entertaining, so it’s less work but still just as much fun.

We combed expert kitchen designer resources for ideas on creating a party-ready kitchen, and list our five favorites below. Whether you prefer casual or formal, football games or fine wine tastings, intimate dinners or busy brunches, you’ll find tips you can put to use in your new kitchen design…

  1. Include a kitchen island in your design. With a kitchen island, you’ll get extra storage space, plus counter space and seating. An island can be just about any shape you can imagine, even when you’re using semi-custom cabinets. Although a rectangle shape works, consider an L-shaped kitchen island or even a U-shaped one.
  2. Factor in storage. If you entertain large crowds, you’ll have more dishes, more glassware, more booze and more food to store. Work with your kitchen design or kitchen cabinet manufacturer to come up with clever storage for everything entertaining.
  3. Add in appliances. Could you use a wine fridge? What about a second oven? A warming oven? Do you need two dishwashers after a big to-do? Make room for the extra appliances you’ll need when partying as you plan out your semi custom cabinets.
  4. Consider the traffic flow. People congregate in kitchens. There isn’t anything you can do about that. The kitchen is the heart of the home all the time, but seems to be even more so during a party! Make sure you’ll still be able to cook and clean even with guests around.
  5. Count on your countertops. For those who like to entertain a lot, trouble-free countertops are a must. You don’t want to be worried about red-wine stains when you’re trying to be a pleasant host or hostess. But also think about how much countertop you’ll want when it’s party time. Will you have enough prep space? Do you use countertops for seating at the kitchen island? Will you serve up buffet style? Get creative to meet your needs. You can include pull-out counter or table space in your kitchen that hides away when not needed, for example, and appliance garages that get clutter out of the way.

Above all when designing your new kitchen with entertaining top of mind and semi custom cabinets at the top of your list, make sure your choices will maximize your fun as well as your guests.

Consider Quartz Countertops, for a Stone Look but Less Maintenance

If you’re shopping for semi custom cabinets for your new kitchen, that might be due to budget. After all, not everyone can afford the high price of custom cabinets, and with semi custom cabinets, you get the custom look without the custom price.

If you’re being mindful of your kitchen remodeling budget, then you might also be considering alternatives to the granite countertops found in so many of today’s kitchens. And that brings us to quartz.

Why you should consider quartz counters
Quartz countertops are more than a natural stone look-alike that might save you money on your new kitchen remodel. Quartz has one big benefit granite doesn’t, due to the way it is made. Yes, made.

Although they look like natural stone, quartz countertops are “engineered stone,” meaning they aren’t 100% natural materials like a slab of granite. Rather, they are a combination of natural materials (the quartz) and resins. Quartz countertops are about 90% quartz, which is almost all natural as far as the ingredients. But they are manufactured in a factory rather than mined like granite.

Maintenance: Why quartz wins big over granite
That means quartz countertops are more resistant to the inevitable stains that will occur in any busy kitchen. Because granite is all natural, it is—naturally—porous. Granite countertops are sealed to protect them from stains, but you must keep resealing them to keep up with the protection. Quartz countertops, on the other hand, are impervious because they are mostly stone, but not all. The way they are manufactured makes them nonporous and resistant to stains.

That makes quartz countertops easier to maintain as well because you don’t have to reseal these countertops—ever.

But you still get the natural stone look that’s so popular in today’s kitchens remodels. You also get a countertop that’s heat and abrasion resistant, like granite. With quartz countertops, you can get the look (and durability) of stone but without the price and maintenance of granite.

So if budget is a concern when planning your new kitchen remodel and picking out your semi custom cabinets, take a look at quartz for your countertop too.

P.S. If you’re considering quartz for your new kitchen, you might enjoy these eight facts about quartz!

Are Semi Custom Cabinets “Just Right” for Your New Kitchen Design?

Semi custom cabinets are akin to Goldilocks preferring the baby bear’s chair, porridge and bed: All three fit her “just right.”

In the world of kitchen cabinets, you as a homeowner face the same kind of three choices, although the bears didn’t have any kitchen cabinets that we know of. However, you could say the three choices of stock, semi custom and custom kitchen cabinets are like the choices the storybook character faced when she had Papa Bear’s, Mama Bear’s and Baby Bear’s things to choose from. In each case, she tried out all three and found she preferred Baby Bear’s.

In a similar way, you might consider your three types of cabinet choices which we’ll explain below. First, we’ll address stock cabinets at the low end, then custom cabinets at the high end, and lastly the semi custom cabinets…that are for many homeowners “just right.”

When to consider stock kitchen cabinets
Stock kitchen cabinets have two big advantages. First, they are the most affordable of three options. Second, they are premade so you won’t have to wait for your cabinets. If your kitchen is a standard size, and you’re on a tight budget and/or in a hurry, stock cabinets are probably the right choice for you.

That said, stock kitchen cabinets also have limitations. They come in set sizes, although cabinets usually come in different widths, so that gives you a little flexibility, not much. Plus you only get a very limited choice of wood and finishes with stock cabinets.

Stock cabinets are often the right choice, however. If you’re building a low-budget vacation home, redoing the kitchen in a starter home, or putting in a mother-in-law apartment, stock cabinets might be the best way to go.

When to consider custom cabinets
If you have a generous remodeling budget, an odd-sized space, and/or a lot of customized details you want to be included in your new kitchen, custom cabinets might be for you. With custom cabinets, you can get exactly what you want.

On the downside, custom cabinets cost much more than the other two options, and it will be weeks or even months before your cabinets are built and installed.

Yet custom cabinets are often the right choice for certain kitchens. If you’re building your dream home and you can afford to have exactly the kitchen you want, custom cabinets are probably just right for you. On the other hand, if there’s a chance you’ll move someday and won’t be staying in your home forever, custom cabinets might not be a good use of your money.

When to consider semi custom cabinets
We saved the best for last in this short list of three. And we say “the best” because many kitchen designers and bloggers say the same thing about semi custom cabinets: They are the best of both worlds.

With semi custom cabinets, you can get literally hundreds of choices in styles, stains, colors, and finishes. (Only take a quick look at our huge selection of kitchen cabinets for proof.) You also get more size options compared to stock cabinets: Semi custom cabinets can be made in different depths, and cabinet width is usually available in one-inch increments.

And unlike stock cabinets, semi custom cabinets can look custom! With all of the choices you have for styles, stains, and finishes, plus extra details you can add, there’s a chance you’ll be the only one with that particular cabinet design in your stunning new kitchen. You can also choose the higher end option for better quality details and hardware. For an example of those kinds of options, see our three cabinet lines compared here.

Then there’s the price: Semi custom cabinets are much more affordable than custom!

Is there a downside to these “just right” cabinets? Possibly. You will have to wait for semi custom cabinets, as they are built when you order them, not before, but they are built much faster than custom cabinets. If you’re in a hurry, semi custom might not work. And you might have to go custom if you’re stuck with a very odd-sized space.

For most homeowners, however, semi custom cabinets are the “just right” solution for getting the look and price they want in their new kitchens.

Follow These Kitchen Remodel Budget Tips for a Budget That Won’t Bust Your Bank

A kitchen remodel is a big undertaking not only because the kitchen is a necessary room in your house and it’s a challenge to go without it for weeks, but also because it can be expensive! To make sure your kitchen remodel delivers on your dreams but doesn’t mean a deep dive into debt, make and stick to a kitchen remodel budget, using the advice below.

First, set a reasonable kitchen remodel budget
You probably don’t have a wad of cash in your pocket that will predetermine how much you have to spend on this remodel. Instead, you’ll be figuring out both what it will cost and what you can afford and finding a happy medium. Make it a reasonable medium as well by taking into account how long you’ll be in your home. If you’ll be moving in five years or less, only spend the money you can get back out of the remodel when selling. If you’re planning on staying put, see if you can spend a little more to make your dream kitchen a reality!

Know what to include in that kitchen remodel budget
Oh, but there are many parts to a complete kitchen remodel—more than you might think! When you start on your budget, try to think of as many as you can so you don’t leave anything out. Here’s just a partial list of items to consider in your kitchen remodel budget:

  • Cabinets
  • Labor
  • Appliances
  • Windows
  • Flooring
  • Fixtures
  • Design
  • Countertops
  • Lighting and electrical
  • Doors
  • Hardware
  • Faucets and plumbing
  • Ceiling
  • Backsplash
  • Paint

Know that semi custom cabinets can help the kitchen remodel budget
Depending on which source you use, you will find the breakdown of costs varies between each of the different items listed above. However, the biggest percentage of a kitchen remodel budget, regardless of the source, is always the cabinets. We’ve seen estimates from 29% of the total budget up to 35% of the total budget allocated for the kitchen cabinets alone. For that reason, you should make semi custom cabinets your first choice for your new kitchen remodel!

Also budget for the unexpected and the takeout
In addition to those items listed above and most especially the cabinets, you might have other expenses. Plus you should set aside money for the unexpected (because every remodel involves the unexpected!). Some people advise setting aside as much as 20% for surprises such as rot, asbestos, plumbing issues and other unknowns.

Also take into account that you will not have a kitchen, so you’ll probably eat out more often and eat more convenience foods that can be heated up in a microwave (and eat off of paper plates). All of those expenses will add up as well.

Stick to your kitchen remodel budget!
The most important advice we can give you is to create a kitchen remodel budget and stick to that budget no matter what. That means doing some research ahead of time too. Let’s say you’ve set your kitchen remodel budget and you’re part way through your remodel and then you find the range of your dreams…and it costs far more than the dollars you had set aside for appliances. If you splurge on the range, you’re going to blow your budget unless you make up the difference elsewhere. In the long run, you’ll be better off if you do some shopping and fall in love with that range before you even do the budget! A kitchen remodel is a big deal. Take the time to do the research and the homework. It’s worth it.

Finally, track your kitchen remodel budget
As you’re going through the remodel, pay close attention to your actual expenditures to make sure you’re staying on track. If you don’t, and you have an extra expense here and another one there, several times over, you’re going to go over budget. Tracking expenses can also help you to make adjustments when necessary. Maybe the plumbing cost more than expected but you were able to get a discount price on the countertops, for example, so the expenses evened out.

Does Color Count? When Reselling Your Home, Bathroom Color Counts a Lot!

When you’re thinking about paint colors for your new kitchen or bathroom remodel, you might want to look at Zillow’s report on colors in 2017. It delves into which paint colors helped houses to sell for more vs. which colors decreased a home’s market value.

What color cabinets? Find out first
As we’ve mentioned before in this kitchen cabinets blog, it’s likely you won’t stay put in that home where you’re doing your major kitchen or bathroom remodel, because Americans move on average 11 times in a lifetime. For that reason, you might want to remodel with resale in mind, as discussed here. And now this new information from Zillow can help to guide your color decisions, so you’re adding resale value, not detracting from it, when you choose your cabinet or wall colors.

The big bang of blue bathrooms
The 2017 Color Paint Analysis conducted by Zillow is based on a study of over 32,000 photos of homes that sold. From those photos and the sale prices of the homes, the experts at Zillow were able to quantify the effect of room color on a home’s resale value. For example, a light blue or periwinkle bathroom can increase a home’s resale value significantly (by $5,440 according to the study!), while an off-white or eggshell bathroom can decrease the value by several thousand dollars.

And what about kitchens?
The study looked at kitchens too, although that didn’t find the significant price difference like we see with the bathrooms. According to the study, yellow kitchens will lower price while light blue and soft gray blue kitchens will increase the price (by $1,809 on average). In fact, the study found that in general throughout the house distinct colors like yellow and red will decrease the price although not as much as a total lack of color.

Blue has widespread appeal
Note, however, that the upward or downward effect of the color seems to depend on the room. For example, while blue bathrooms can increase the price, blue living rooms tend to decrease the price.

Yet, with the exception of the living room, blue seems to be an appealing color throughout the house. In addition to blue kitchens and bathrooms increasing appeal and sales prices, blue seems to have a positive effect in bedrooms and dining rooms as well. Keep in mind, however, that these are very specific types of blues, such as light cerulean and slate blue and cadet blue, as well as periwinkle in the bathroom. So not just any blue will do!

Although every color choice is on a case-by-case basis and deeply personal, meaning this study shouldn’t dictate your kitchen or bathroom remodel color schemes, it does reiterate the importance of keeping resale in mind should you plan to move again in the future. Kitchen and bathroom remodels can come with a steep price tag, even when you’re saving money by choosing semi custom cabinets. Make sure you get a return on that investment by making wise color and cabinet choices from the start.

7 Tips for Finding the Best Semi Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Shopping for kitchen cabinets can be like talking to parents about their kids: Everyone thinks their child is the smartest, fastest, strongest, kindest, etc. Parents lack objectivity when it comes to their children, and kitchen cabinet manufacturers lack objectivity when it comes to their products! How do you as the consumer sift through the opinions to find the best semi custom kitchen cabinets?

You learn what to look for…

When you’re searching for the best semi custom kitchen cabinets, here are seven things to look for to help you rise above the subjectivity and make an informed decision for your new kitchen:

  1. Look for choice: This is your dream kitchen, after all, so look for a kitchen cabinet manufacturer that offers plenty of choices in door styles, stains, colors and finishes. That way you’ll find exactly the kind of cabinet you’re searching for. (Some like Wellborn Forest also offer custom color matching services, so you can literally get the exact color you want!)
  2. Look for quality: This should perhaps go without saying, but not every homeowner knows what quality looks like when comparing kitchen cabinets. All those cabinets can be lovely on the outside, but you need to know how they are put together too, because what’s on the inside will determine how well your semi custom cabinets stand the test of time in your busy kitchen.
  3. Look for extras: Even with the cost savings of semi custom (vs. custom) kitchen cabinets, you’ll still spend a large chunk of your remodeling budget on the cabinets. So look for cabinets that give you a little extra, such as soft-close hinges and drawers that fully extend.
  4. Look for durability: Semi custom cabinets are built with either framed or frameless construction. Framed cabinet construction tends to be sturdier. At Wellborn Forest, for example, we only build framed cabinets with concealed hinges. Also check for sturdier 3/4-inch shelves on the insides of the cabinets, and see if the wood used in plywood or furniture board.
  5. Look for American-made: Semi custom cabinets made in the USA tend to be of a higher quality and built of better materials, while also ensuring the workers making the cabinets do so in safe conditions and earn a decent wage. Buying cabinets made elsewhere is risky in comparison. And besides those practical reasons, buying American-made is one of the best ways for you to do your part to improve the economy and job climate.
  6. Look for longevity: When businesses last, it means they are doing something right. Wellborn Forest has a history stretching back to 1961. That kind of longevity is proof of quality construction and design!
  7. Look for warranties: You want a kitchen cabinet manufacturer that will stand behind their products, both the cabinets and the details such as hinges. Look for warranties as proof of the best semi custom kitchen cabinets.

Once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to find the best semi custom kitchen cabinet manufacturers and then start the fun part: finding the cabinets you love!

4 Extra Reasons to Choose Semi Custom Bathroom Cabinets for Your Bathroom Remodel

Bathrooms get a lot of our attention when we decide to do a remodel. Kitchens and bathrooms are the rooms most often remodeled in the U.S., with homeowners spending an average of $11,364 on bathroom remodels in 2016.

People remodel bathrooms for several reasons but usually because they want to update an old bathroom, make better use of the space, or install a bigger tub or shower. Semi custom bathroom cabinets can help with all of those reasons.

Some of the reasons for choosing semi custom cabinets for your bathroom are the same as using them in the kitchen: you get a custom cabinet look without the custom cabinet price, you can get exactly the color or finish you want for your new bathroom, you get a higher quality cabinet compared to ready-made cabinets, and you can get cabinets that fit your space.

If those reasons aren’t enough to convince you, consider these four additional reasons for using semi custom bathroom cabinets for your bathroom remodel:

  1. You can add a linen closet to the bathroom, so towels are right where you need them. A tall, narrow cabinet takes up little room and adds convenience.
  2. You can configure the bathroom to the way it’s used. Are you remodeling your master bath? The guest bedroom? The kids’ bathroom? The little half bath off the entryway? You only have one kitchen in your house, but probably more than one bathroom and each bathroom is used in a different way. Choosing semi custom bathroom cabinets gives you flexibility to design the room to function the way you want based on how it’s used.
  3. You can create a his and hers bathroom without adding on to the house. Semi custom bathroom cabinets can be designed to create separate spaces and even add a little privacy, so there’s a his side and a hers side to this one busy room.
  4. You can get exactly the look you want in each room. Perhaps your master bath is a place of refuge and relaxation and you want a luxurious design, so you feel pampered while relaxing at the end of the day. You can choose semi custom bathroom cabinets detailed to look like furniture for a rich, opulent look. On the other hand, you probably want the kids’ bathroom to be easy to clean and maintain. Sleek cabinets might work best for that room, because they’re easy to wipe down when cleaning.

No matter the reason for the bathroom remodel, the reasons for choosing semi custom bathroom cabinets are clear!

Make the Most of Your New Kitchen Design: Remodel With Resale in Mind

When you’re contemplating your kitchen remodel, keep in mind that you might not be the only homeowner to cook in that kitchen. The average American moves over 11 times in a lifetime. That means chances are high that it’s not your forever home, and that means you might want to remodel with an idea to resale.

Not that you should base your new kitchen remodel on resale value and appeal alone, but a new kitchen is a big investment, and making sure that investment will pay off in the future when you sell your home only makes financial sense. In addition, experts say your kitchen remodel should cost 6-10% of your home’s value in order for you to recoup most of that investment later, so keep that number in mind.

How much return on investment you’ll see from a kitchen remodel depends in part on where in the U.S. you live, your home’s value and your neighborhood. Obviously it will also depend on the state of the housing market and economy in the future when you are planning to move, and no one can predict either of those.

So create the kitchen you want, but keep future appeal in mind. It is possible to personalize the kitchen to reflect your style while still creating a room that will appeal to others as well. Here are three tips to help you do so…

Tip 1: Choose transitional style semi custom cabinets
At Wellborn Forest, we build semi custom cabinets for transitional style kitchens. If you’re not sure what “transitional” means, it’s essentially a way to describe kitchens that successfully combine traditional and contemporary elements.

Transitional kitchen cabinets are usually more contemporary than traditional, but not modern or streamlined looking. That means they work in a traditional kitchen or a modern one, or something in between. For example, Shaker cabinets look great in a traditional kitchen or in a contemporary one, so we consider them to be “transitional.”

And why semi custom cabinets? Because they will reduce the cost of your kitchen remodel yet still give you a beautiful, quality look. Keeping the cost of your kitchen remodel in check matters when considering resale value later. But it also matters because you will want to invest in quality appliances and stone countertops.

Tip 2: Invest in quality appliances and stone countertops
When homebuyers walk into your kitchen, the appliances will be one of the first things they notice. When you’re remodeling your kitchen, choose higher-end appliances if you can. You don’t have to invest in a top-of-the-line range and refrigerator, but don’t go for the low-end either. In addition, invest in stone countertops. Just about every expert out there will tell you to get granite countertops for better resale value, but some other kinds of stone countertops are appealing as well. And when you choose semi custom cabinets over custom, you’ll have room in your budget for these higher-end appliances and countertops!

Tip 3: Go for kitchen convenience
Homebuyers love to see convenient features in kitchens, and you’ll love cooking in a kitchen that makes your tasks easier, so this is a win-win. When choosing your cabinets, consider clever storage options such as bread drawers, pantry drawers, pull-out drawers and cabinets, and organizers. Also make sure your semi custom cabinets come with soft close drawers and doors.

Most importantly, create a kitchen you’ll love living with, but just in case this home isn’t your forever home, keep that next homeowner in mind.