The difference can be found in every detail, from the fine millwork to the hand-rubbed finish.View The Differences
Understanding Custom Cabinetry
This section explains what true custom cabinetry is and why, if you’re planning a new kitchen, bath, library, entertainment center, or other room in which craftsmanship plays a major role, custom cabinetry is a smart investment that will add significant beauty, efficiency, and value to your home.
Any questions not addressed here can be answered by contacting us or by contacting your nearest Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry Showroom.
True Custom Cabinetry
Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry is made from scratch, for you, to your exact specifications. Working with a trained designer, you choose the type of wood, the door and millwork style, the decorative treatment, the color and finish (Plain & Fancy offers an unrivaled selection of finishes, making this step one of the most important in the process), the hardware, and the storage options; the designer measures your space, draws a plan, has a custom cabinetmaker like Plain & Fancy construct and finish the cabinetry, and supervises its installation so that it fits your room like a glove.
Working with an Experienced Designer
To create a successful custom kitchen, bath, or other room in your home, it’s essential that you work with a designer. A trained custom cabinetry designer understands how a kitchen, bathroom, or living space works in totality—from big-picture planning down to meticulous detailing. The seasoned designer brings knowledge, ideas, and inspiration to the table, helping the homeowner devise the most efficient and functional layout; select the most appropriate fixtures, appliances, and fittings; determine the correct positioning of lighting and electrical outlets; and create the best storage solutions. And when it comes to aesthetics, what the untrained eye can’t always envision, the experienced planner, familiar with the latest design trends, materials, and innovations, can not only imagine but also make happen. Hiring a design expert is the only way to ensure that your custom cabinetry fits you and your room perfectly. To find a designer in your area, click here to visit our Dealer Locator page or call us at 1-800-447-9006.
Kitchen Design Basics
Remodeling a kitchen is the most common use of custom cabinetry. What follows are tips and insights on the kitchen design process, information that will help you get the very best out of your designer and the custom cabinetry experience.
Beginning a Kitchen Remodeling Project
Start with a little research. Gather literature from cabinet, appliance, countertop, and flooring manufacturers; visit relevant web sites; browse stores and showrooms to get a feel for materials; and read home design and decorating magazines, blogs, and websites, tearing or printing out kitchens and products that appeal to you. A folder of these “tear sheets” will help you and your kitchen designer define your style. Think about how you and your family use—or would like to use—your kitchen. What appeals, what doesn’t, and what makes for a comfortable, convenient, congenial space.
The Traditional "Work Triangle"
The kitchen “work triangle” is formed by the refrigerator, cooktop, and sink; they should be within a few steps of each other for the most efficient food preparation. Keep this triangle in mind when planning your kitchen but remember, it’s just an ideal, not an unbreakable rule.
Design Compartmentally for Good Flow
Dinnerware, cutlery, and glassware don’t belong where you cook; spices and cookware do. Designate storage space for tabletop items away from the cooking area, so the chef doesn’t collide with people setting the table or preparing drinks.
Dry goods need a cool, airy place: a pantry. Remember to include lighting, adjustable shelves, and wire baskets for root vegetables.
For working in the kitchen, good, integrated task lighting is essential. Choices to discuss with your designer include conventional spot lighting; always-popular halogen; environmentally friendly fluorescent; and LED, the newest and potentially the best light source. And think about ambient and accent lighting, too.
To Learn More About Kitchen Remodeling
Call Plain & Fancy at 1-800-447-9006 or click here for our Dealer Locator to find a showroom near you.
Types of Custom Cabinetry
Plain & Fancy offers a full range of completely customizable cabinetry:
- Base Cabinets
- Wall Cabinets
- Tallers (tall cabinets)
- Freestanding furniture
Custom cabinetry door styles are classified in two ways. First, by the way they are set on the cabinet (Flush Inset, Beaded Inset, Overlay, and Lipped):
- Flush inset doors are set within, and flush with, the cabinet frame. Because they are inset, a knob or pull is needed to open these doors.
- Beaded inset doors, a variation on Flush Inset doors, include a decorative bead cut into the face frame edge.
- Overlay doors are set outside the cabinet frame, which they overlay to varying degrees: Half Overlay doors cover ½ inch of the frame; and Full Overlay doors cover 1-3/8 inches of the frame with a 1/8 inch reveal.
The second classification is by the profile of the door front (Raised Panel, Recessed Panel, Flat Slab, and Glass Window):
- Raised Panel Doors are often reproductions of period styles, feature one or more raised panels that create a dimensional look. The panels sit in grooves in the door rails (the horizontal pieces that form the top and bottom of the door frame) and the door stiles (the vertical frame pieces on either side), and are not glued but left free to expand and contract naturally.
- Recessed Panel Doors are basically Raised Panel doors in reverse, with the center panels set back from the stiles and rails, creating an appealing dimensional look.
- Flat Slab Doors are self-explanatory. Because of their simplicity, they suit many settings, from traditional to transitional to contemporary.
- Glass Mullion Doors feature authentic mullions (the framing that holds the panes of glass), adding to their appeal.
Plain & Fancy door frames are constructed in two ways:
- Mitered Doors using 45-degree miter-cut joints between the stiles and rails—a method unrivaled in the industry for precision and strength.
- Conventional Five-Piece Doors which use mortise-and-tenon construction, and are glued, pinned, and sanded to a precision fit.
Plain & Fancy drawers are classified in exactly the same way as doors. The drawers and doors can be in matching or contrasting styles.
Customizing Door and Drawer Styles
Because Plain & Fancy is true custom cabinetry, we can create any door or drawer style you wish. Discuss what you’re looking for with a Plain & Fancy dealer and they’ll work with you and your designer. To date, we have produced more than 1,000 custom styles, so you may find yours already exists. If not, we’re ready to design one just for you.
For more information about Plain & Fancy door and drawer styles, click here.
Custom Cabinet and Drawer Construction
Plain & Fancy custom cabinetry and drawers are made of the finest materials using solid and precise construction methods to ensure that they are as perfect and durable as human craftsmanship and modern technology will allow.
Our cabinets are hand built using one of two techniques:
- Framed cabinets feature mortise-and-tenon construction, a method used in furniture making, in which a projection or tab on one piece of lumber fits precisely into a hole or slot in another piece. The resulting joint is exact and sturdy.
- Frameless cabinets (also known as full access cabinets or by our brand, “Medley”) feature dowel construction in which the cabinet components are joined using hardwood dowels, round rods that fit precisely into holes in the adjoining pieces of lumber.
All Plain & Fancy drawers are constructed of Maple with dovetail joints, an age-old method of construction that is found in high-end furniture.
Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry offers a wide selection of solid woods. Which species you choose is a matter of personal taste, but remember, the finish you choose (see below) will have a crucial affect on the appearance of the wood, so selecting the species and the finish go hand in hand. Our customers’ favorite woods include Cherry, Maple, Knotty Pine, Red Oak, Walnut, Red Birch, and Mahogany. If you’re looking for something more unexpected, we offer such exotic woods as Carmelized Bamboo, Quartered Black Walnut, Quartered Figured Anigre, Medium-Heavy Birdseye Maple, Reconstituted Wenge, Reconstituted Zebrawood, Quarter Sawn Cherry, Rift Cut Oak, and Quarter Sawn Maple, to name a few. Here is information on some of the solid woods we offer:
- Cherry is a rich red-brown color that deepens with age and exposure to sunlight. Its uniform straight-grained texture takes stain very well and has a satiny, lustrous appearance though it may contain pin knots and gum pockets. Light, strong, stiff, and hard, cherry exhibits superior woodworking qualities, making it a furniture staple since Greek and Roman times.
- Maple ranges in color from cream to light reddish-brown. A favorite with American cabinetmakers since the Colonial era, maple is heavy, hard, strong, and stiff with excellent resistance to abrasion and indentation. Its fine uniform grain takes stain well.
- Red Oak grows only in North America, taking 60 years to mature. Ranging from creamy white to warm pale brown, this grainy wood is known for its “rays,” which reflect light and add to its appeal. Oak is heavy, very strong, hard, stiff, durable, and wear-resistant. It takes a wide range of finishes very well. Depending on the way the timber is sawn (rift cut, flat sliced, flat sawn, rotary cut, quarter sawn), different patterns emerge: flake and flame figures, pin stripes, fine lines, leafy grains, and watery figures.
- Quarter Sawn Red Oak has a distinctive ray-like look that’s achieved at the sawmill by cutting at a 90-degree angle to the tree’s growth rings. This method produces a tighter, straighter grain, and a slightly darker color as it takes stain. Highly recommended in natural or light stains.
- Quarter Sawn White Oak also has a distinctive ray-like look from being cut at a 90-degree angle to the growth rings, producing a tighter, straighter grain, and a slightly darker color as it takes stain. Highly recommended in natural or light stains.
- European Steamed Beech is uniform in color and texture, tight-grained with slight ticking, wear resistant, and it takes a wide range of finishes. Generally pale in color, this wood assumes its popular pink and light brown tones through steaming, and the use of natural or very light stains is highly recommended.
- Mahogany is naturally a deep reddish-brown color, with blends of heartwood and sapwood throughout. Darker stains best enhance the deep warm colors of this wood.
- Knotty Pine is light in both weight and color, containing different sized knots that give it a distinctive character. It is straight grained, usually blondish-white, and can be stained in a variety of colors or left its natural shade. Often used for country-inspired designs, Knotty Pine is a perennial favorite. However, it is soft wood that dents easily.
- Hickory is a heavyweight contender in the kitchen, famous for its extreme strength, flexibility, and shock resistance. Once used for wagon wheels, it exhibits wide variations in color, ranging from white to chocolate, and offers a viable alternative to oak for consumers wanting a less-traditional-looking open-grained wood.
- Walnut is a rare and expensive hardwood that’s strong and durable. Varying from light brown to chocolate, its characteristic burls, butts, and curls look great in a variety of finishes. Walnut is popular for reproduction and antique styles since its luster deepens over time, suffusing a kitchen with a warm glow.
- Red Birch is a strong, durable, closed-grained wood with an even texture. It looks similar to cherry but does not darken dramatically when exposed to sunlight, takes light to medium stains and finishes well, and polishes beautifully. The wood is smooth, stiff, and resists abrasion.
No matter what species of wood you would like to use for your custom cabinets, Plain & Fancy can almost certainly source it. Just contact us by click here or calling 1-800-447-9006.
Along with selecting the wood species for your custom cabinetry, you’ll need to take one of the most important steps in the custom cabinetmaking process: choosing the appropriate finish. The finish you pick will directly affect the personality of your cabinetry, so work with your designer to establish the combination of wood species and finish that perfectly expresses the look you want. Plain & Fancy is unrivalled when it comes to the quality and range of finishes it offers and to the care and skill with which it prepares and applies them.
- Hand sanding wood is the start of a great finish. Plain & Fancy uses this old school technique on every component because it achieves a consistency that cannot be replicated by machine.
- Stains are formulated for clarity and color that accentuate the characteristics of the wood. They are hand applied and then hand wiped with special towels to give the right tone for each formula, all being worked and blended to a master standard. Clear coats of sealer and topcoats provide years of protection. We offer a standard sheen as well as a low-sheen finish.
- Glazes can be applied to stain processes or to an opaque primer to give an antique styling or a blended tone. Glazing can offer a luxurious or a country look, depending on your style.
- Paints also receive special care. Maple is used because it is very hard and provides an excellent paint surface. First it is hand sanded in preparation for two coats of primer, and the paint is hand sanded between coats all the way to the final baking stage in which an IR-heat-catalyzed topcoat is applied for long-lasting protection. These finishes are state of the art, engineered for custom manufacturing as industrial coatings, and designed for supreme durability.
- Distressed finishes involve the use of hand tools and application rules to create the appearance of age wear on doors, heads, drawer fronts, and moldings. Plain & Fancy has perfected this technique over the years, hand sanding all edges and corners, rasping panels and doors if required, and making dings and dents to bring this look to life. This specially treated surface is then stained and glazed (or clear toned and glazed, if you choose) and hand rubbed through to reveal the wood beneath, and then topcoated for lasting protection. This style fits well in classic American settings, from Williamsburg to New England to a cabin in the woods.
- Brush mark is formulated to replicate the look of cabinetry that was painted in your home. Latex primers are laid down as a sealer on maple components. We then hand brush with just the right touch to give the finish a fine brush look. Clear topcoats are applied for protection.
- Brush mark crackle is a special finish developed for the furniture industry and adapted to kitchen cabinetry. This is by far Plain & Fancy’s most complicated finish, involving 11 steps overall. Hand sanding, toning, priming, sealing, hand glazing and painting, giving this finish fabulous depth and character of old world charm.
Should you want a finish we don’t offer yet, we’ll create it for you. We can create finishes for all spectrums of the rainbow. Whatever finish you choose, Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry has invested in making it the best. State-of-the-art as well as age-old techniques are blended in our world class 44,000 square foot finish room to make your dream a reality. Our expert staff of dedicated technicians and craftsmen works to deliver fine finishes on a consistent and timely basis. We continue to partner with the leading manufacturers of industrial finishes to stay at the forefront of the industry and to provide you with a finish you will enjoy for years to come.
Acrylics and Foils
Plain & Fancy custom cabinetry is also available with high quality laminate finishes. These include a wide variety of natural wood veneers; very durable thermosetting plastic; and thermofoil finishes. All these finishes are applied to medium density fiberboard (MDF), a panel product in which wood fibers and synthetic resin are bonded under heat and pressure. This board provides a stable, non-warping core for cabinetry and a superior surface for laminates. A thermofoil finish looks like a perfectly painted surface but isn’t paint at all. It’s a polymer material that is applied to MDF using extreme heat and pressure to ensure durable adhesion. The result is a flawless finish that’s extremely easy to clean and complements contemporary style.
Plain & Fancy offers a wide selection of the highest quality knobs, handles, and pulls in styles that range from the most traditional to very contemporary. As with finishes, hardware directly affects the personality of your cabinetry, so work with your designer to ensure that the accessories you choose reinforce the aesthetic you’re aiming for.
Hinges and Drawer Glides
Doors that are hung on concealed hinges will feature “soft close” technology so they close silently and effortlessly. And drawers feature Blum Tandem concealed full-extension runner systems, which allow a drawer to be pulled out fully, giving complete access to its contents. “Soft close” is standard on the runners so they close quietly and smoothly, too.
Plain & Fancy offers storage options and configurations that are as customizable as the cabinetry itself. Storage should be efficient, accessible, and convenient, with no waste of space. Here are some aspects to consider:
- Pantry options for dry goods include tall pull-outs, base cabinet pull-outs, and multi-storage swing-outs.
- Pots and pans and other large cumbersome utensils should be located where you need them on open display or concealed for a cleaner look.
- Cutlery drawers cleverly organized and divided for easy, fingertip access.
- Open dish displays are a fine way to showcase good dinnerware.
- Spice drawer inserts are a useful method of managing lots of small jars.
- Spring-out shelves and “garages” for small appliances such as mixers keep the countertop neat and tidy, yet the items are within arm’s reach.
- Islands can provide exceptional storage beneath a food preparation or dining surface.
In short, custom cabinetry is about “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Your cabinetry designer and your Plain & Fancy dealer will help you configure the storage solutions that will serve you best.
Custom cabinetry offers an enormous variety of decorative embellishments, from the elegantly simple to the impressively elaborate. Custom treatments include:
- Custom carved molding
- Classic carved cornices
- Plinth blocks
- Dentil molding
- Egg-and-dart molding
- Carved or turned columns and posts
- Carved corbels
- Carved legs and feet
- Custom turned posts and legs
Plain & Fancy craftsmen have the skills to create any other decorative embellishments that you and your designer might ask for
A room featuring custom cabinetry typically costs more than one fitted with stock or semi-custom casework. How much more can vary greatly, but custom cabinetry can be surprisingly affordable. What you pay depends on the size of the room, the wood species, door styles, finishes, and on what you want from the room aesthetically and functionally. This is where a designer will be very helpful, ensuring that “you get what you pay for” and don’t spend more than is necessary to achieve the exact room you want. Only custom cabinetry offers that degree of exactitude. With stock and semi-custom cabinetry, you’ll have to make compromises because they are pre-manufactured and offer limited design flexibility. Questions to ask yourself include:
- How much of your ideal design are you willing to sacrifice?
- How much value will custom cabinetry add to your home?
- How much pleasure and convenience will it bring you and your family?
When you’ve answered those questions, chances are you’ll start to look at custom cabinetry as an investment, and a wise one at that.
Beyond the Kitchen
Most people associate cabinetry first with the kitchen, then maybe the bathroom. But Plain & Fancy creates custom cabinetry and other fine pieces for virtually every room in the house. In addition to cabinetry for the kitchen and bath, we customize libraries, studies, offices, and bedrooms, and craft furniture such as tables, armoires, and entertainment centers. We make decorative treatments such as fireplace surrounds, hearths, and mantels, as well as wainscoting, turnings, posts, legs, corbels, and much more. In fact, Plain & Fancy can build most any custom piece you want.
Because Plain & Fancy combines expert craftsmanship, a strong Pennsylvania work ethic, and the latest cabinetry production technology, we can complete most custom cabinetry projects in as little as eight weeks.
Installing Custom Cabinetry
Work with your kitchen designer and showroom dealer to find a contractor. They have relationships with contractors qualified to install custom cabinetry, which is an art best practiced by trained professionals.
What to Expect with New Cabinetry
As you’ll discover once your new custom cabinetry is installed, wood is a natural material subject to Nature’s rules.
- Natural Variation: Wood comes with subtle variations in grain, knots, coloration, and the like. These individual distinctions are part of the charm and beauty of wood. Wood darkens or lightens as it ages and is exposed to light, both natural and manmade. Again, it’s part of wood’s attractiveness, and will endear you even more to your custom cabinetry with each passing year.
- Expansion and Contraction: Your cabinetry will need time to adjust to its new environment, your house. Some shifting of doors may occur due to wood’s tendency to expand and contract with temperature and humidity changes. This is normal. In a month or two, your cabinetry will feel and look right at home. However, on the outside chance that your cabinetry does not become fully acclimated to your home, simply contact your Plain & Fancy Showroom, and they’ll take it from there.
Care of Custom Cabinetry
Treat your cabinetry just as you would fine furniture, particularly when it comes to moisture, wood’s worst enemy. Don’t drape wet towels across cabinet doors and take special care of cabinetry near sinks, dishwashers, and other humid areas. Dust with a soft lint-free cloth, and use only non-alkaline soap to clean your cabinetry. Don’t use abrasive cleansers or scouring pads, which can damage the finish.
Find A dealer
For a finish that you need to feel to believe, contact a dealer near you to see how you can get a sample.