Kitchen cabinets are off-the-shelf or made-to-order

INSIDE ADVICE

August 15, 1993|By Rose Bennett Gilbert | Rose Bennett Gilbert,Copley News Service

Q: We got our new house for a really good price because of the kitchen. While we are saving to remodel, I need some information.

What is the real difference between stock and custom cabinets, what are "frameless" cabinets, and how can I tell if what I buy is any good?

A: Custom cabinets are built to order to fit both your exact measurements and your exacting style requirements: type of wood, laminate color, decorative designs and such.

Stock cabinets, on the other hand, are manufactured in standard sizes from 9- to 48-inches wide (increasing in 3-inch increments). Even with stock cabinets, however, you often can find variations in depth, toe-kick height, etc., to meet particular needs.

"Frameless" cabinets are a sleek, European idea that has been around for a decade or so. There are no center mullions (vertical supports), and when the doors are opened, there's no obvious frame around the front. Frameless cabinets offer more adjustability of shelves, easier access to the contents and permit hidden hinges.

Earmarks of quality construction are much the same as for any kind of case goods: smooth, quiet operation; adjustable shelves; self-closing hinges; mitered or dovetail corner construction in drawers; finished backs and floors and (for laminates) finished edges and matched undersides on wall-hung units.

Get all the information from the people closest to this subject: Write the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association, 1899 Preston White Drive, Reston, Va. 22091-4326, and ask for its booklets.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the author of five books on interior design and a contributing writer to other publications in the field.

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