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Everything You Need to Know About Custom Cabinets: An Interview with Dorian DeHaan of Dorian DeHaan Rossi, Inc

By Dorian DeHaan

Please briefly describe your company's history and the services you offer.

My company has been in business for 28 years. I offer full interior design services, both residential and commercial. I specialize in whole home remodeling, particularly kitchen and bath. I help my clients with the selection of not only door style and color choices, but also the flooring, lighting, tile, furniture and accessories that make a kitchen or bath complete. My company is a design/build firm so we do all of the installation work as well. I work with a team of talented sub-contractors who help me to put all of the pieces together. Our goal is to create magazine quality spaces.

What are the main advantages of choosing custom cabinetry?

Using custom cabinetry allows me to be more creative with my designs. The finished product has more of a signature look when you are able to create cabinetry pieces that are not generic to the viewer's eye.

Can you talk about the cost of custom cabinets versus pre-made cabinets?

Cost of custom cabinets are certainly going to be more, but they are also a much better quality of construction. Pre-made or "stock" cabinets are generally made with more inferior materials and the joinery of parts tend to be poor. "Stock" cabinets do not go through the same process of hardwood and wood veneer selection so you will typically see more distressing in the grains and mismatching of door panels. You will generally see large variations in stain color on the face of one door because of the mismatch. With custom cabinetry, greater time is taken to select hardwoods with clear graining so that coloration is more controlled and stain color is more uniform.

How much flexibility would custom cabinets give homeowners who want to remodel their kitchen?

Custom cabinetry gives the homeowner, and their designer, tremendous flexibility. Clients have the ability to choose from an assortment of exotic woods, a mix of custom door profiles, and any color imaginable. Custom cabinet makers can color match just about anything; the sky is virtually the limit.

Does choosing custom-made cabinets mean a homeowner will have to wait longer for the work to be done? What's the process usually like?

The wait time for delivery of custom made cabinetry varies depending on the amount of customization. Manufacturers or boutique cabinet makers may need to wait on backorders for less than conventional materials from their suppliers before producing their orders. There may also be a period of time for sample approval from the client that would need to be factored into the time schedule. Many custom cabinet manufacturers offer a very wide variety of selections within their cabinet lines. As long as the client keeps within the actual catalog offerings, extended lead times may not necessarily be required by the factory. When a client works with a designer the process should feel effortless. I have my own line of cabinetry so when a client comes to me I offer design services along with product selection. I keep a large collection of doors, colors, and finish samples in my design studio in order to keep the selection process easy for the client. Simply put, the project is designed, selections are made and approved, and orders are placed. Lead times are based on the amount of orders coming into the factory at the time the order is placed; they can range anywhere from 3 weeks to 8 weeks depending on the complexity of the order.

Is there a particular design trend or a popular style for cabinets that you've seen in the Long Island area recently?

There are a few things trending right now. In kitchens, the mix of simple and understated painted cabinet styles with rustic flooring is one. Also popular would be the mix of chocolate stained lower base cabinets with off-white painted upper wall cabinets. All black or chocolate kitchens with white granite countertops is also trending for larger spaces. Many are mixing recycled glass with all of these scenarios. I find that rustic charm is also resurfacing, use of natural distressed woods, with clients who are conscious of using renewable materials in their spaces.

What's the best way for people to reach you and your company?

The best way to reach me would be by email at doriandehaan@gmail.com or through my studio phone at 845-469-5342. I have done projects all along the eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida as well as in Colorado so I look forward to expanding more across the entire country. In today's digital world, most of my work is done via email, fax, FedEx, and phone. I can ship cabinetry products anywhere in the continental US which gives me great flexibility.

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About The Author

Since 1986, Dorian DeHaan has created unique and balanced interiors that are not only...

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