Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

For Designers: Does Advertising Work?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Somehow I've managed to remain extremely busy so far this year, but — as far as I can tell — I'm an exception to the general rule.

Today I had an interesting conversation with a kitchen designer and cabinet showroom owner whom I know to be a very competent fellow. Somehow the talk led to me asking him if he ever advertised.

He said that he had spent $5,000 on advertising over the last six months, and the result was … nada. Not one quality lead.

We went on to agree that 99% of quality leads come from word-of-mouth referrals. You just have to get in the game, do quality work, and let time work for you.

Rethinking the Home Office

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Have you ever had this thought: “Maybe someday we'll all do our work from a Lazy-Boy!”

The idea of doing all my work from a reclined dentist chair sounds like paradise. Over the years I've made a lot of improvements to the ergonomics of my own home office, but — due to logistical and cost constraints — I still do my work sitting upright in an office chair. While I don't have any pains resulting from this arrangement, I've always sensed that leaning back — or even laying down — would allow a more relaxed, free-flowing type of office environment.

And now, vindication has arrived in the form of a recent study by Scottish and Canadian researchers: (more…)

Built-In or Free-Standing Cabinets?

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

“Why Built-Ins?” VideoIt's always a tough call: Should you go with Free-Standing or Built-In Cabinets for that [insert needed item here: bookshelf, office, entertainment center] that you've been needing? Free-Standing will always win on cost, but it's your home and Built Ins would be so nice…

Free Standing Custom CabinetsFor a little extra, a custom cabinetmaker can make a built-in so that it can be moved like a free-standing unit. But this presents some problems:

  1. If a cabinet can be moved somewhere else and look just as good, it wasn't a “truly great” built-in. To understand what makes for a “truly great”, you'll want to take my free built-ins course. A one-sentence summary would be: (more…)

Why “Built like a tank” Makes an Easy Remodel

Friday, October 19th, 2007

I was doing research on the American Foursquare style today and came across this quote in Residential Architect from the Nov-Dec, 2004 issue in an article by Meghan Drueding:

And because it [the American Foursquare] was typically constructed around the turn of the century, when skilled labor was cheap and materials such as plaster walls and wood windows were standard, the foursquare has held up beautifully. “The more solidly a house is built, the easier it is to remodel,” says Minneapolis architect Robert Gerloff, AIA. “It stays truer and is easier to rework.”

Ranch Remodel Godsend

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

After writing my previous post, it occurred to me what a godsend this built-in cabinets series is going to be for owners of Ranch-style homes. There are bazillions of them out there and I'm one. We really struggle when it comes to making this kind of house into something really special that we want to grow old in. In the past, our options have been: (more…)

Getting To the Truth as You Shop for Cabinets or Furniture

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

A well-informed consumer is always the best defense against “word inflation”. Word inflation occurs as salespersons continually try to get away with calling their products something that they are not.

Classic example: “Solid Wood”. It comes as a surprise to many people to find out that (more…)

The Mystery of Wood

Monday, September 11th, 2006

Occasionally you overhear something truly memorable.

While earning my Physics degree, I overheard a conversation which I have never forgotten. I was in a computer lab in the science building. (more…)

House Plans Woodwork Upgrade

Monday, September 4th, 2006

The House Plans industry has taken off over the last decade as more and more Americans build custom homes. Increasingly, I've seen add-on services offered to accompany these plans. For example, get your house plans modified by a professional kitchen designer, home theater expert, etc.

Well, I think the time has come for a built-in cabinetry add-in service. (more…)

Custom Cabinet Cost Sticker-Shock

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Sticker shock is very common among those confronted with the real cost of a custom cabinet project. Most folks understand that custom work won't be priced like something available from Office Depot, et al., but they fail to anticipate the large difference in the pricing.

Custom cabinet cost, surprisingly, is driven mostly by the design and interaction time required. Think about it… (more…)

Built-In Cabinets: Why White Rules

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Update: Click here for some enlightening Built-Ins Videos.

In the first year or two of my custom cabinets business, it really grated on me that so many people wanted white cabinets for their built-in casework. Stained wood just seemed so much more rich and interesting to me, but time and again I was asked for white. I think I even had a mentality of white = generic, and resented that my portfolio was so tilted toward white woodwork.

But I've had a change of heart on this. Here's how it happened. (more…)