|Modular cabinets are sort of like Lego blocks: They can|
be put together in many different ways, and
still fit together well.
All this customization was great—if you could afford it.
Today, the advent of modular cabinetry has made decent-quality cabinets much easier on the pocketbook. Unlike custom cabinets, the dimensions of modulars are standardized so they can be mass-produced. That, of course, means lower cost to the consumer: a bare-bones, modular 36” base cabinet can start as low as $120. For more elaborate styles, you can still figure on paying about half to two-thirds of what a custom cabinet would cost.
|Countless accessories are available with|
modular cabinets, many of which can
really boost your storage space.
Modular cabinets have standardized heights, too. Base cabinets for kitchens are built to yield a 36” counter height. Wall cabinets are generally available in 30”, 36”, and 42” heights (corresponding to 7’, 7’6”, and 8’ ceilings), as well as in special sizes made for installation above refrigerators, ranges, and peninsulas. A variety of bathroom vanities are also available.
As in any mass-produced product, there have been some compromises in materials and workmanship—particle board and plastic shelf brackets are common, especially in the cheaper lines. On the plus side, the finish quality of good modulars is often better than that of custom units.
|Wine racks, shadow boxes, and glass doors are|
just a few of the goodies you can experiment
with in your modular kitchen design.
Here are some easy steps to laying out a modular kitchen:
• First, choose a cabinet manufacturer that suits your budget and offers the type of accessories you want. For example, some manufacturers provide pull-out shelves as standard equipment in base cabinets; others don’t offer them at all.
|The finishing touch: An incredible|
selection of door and hardware
combinations means there's
something for everyone.
• Next, decide on the location of the range and/or oven, the sink, and the refrigerator. These placements are critical, so get help here if you need it. Once you’ve figured out the basic arrangement, you can experiment with various accessories. Most modular cabinet manufacturers offer interesting add-ons such as knickknack shelves, wine racks, and range hoods in matching finishes. Beware, however — like new-car options, these items can get very expensive.
• Determine where you’d like specialized cabinets such as drawer stacks, tray cabinets, or full-height pantry cabinets. Also, if your cabinets will turn a corner, decide between a lazy susan cabinet or a “blind” cabinet with a conventional door. Refer to the manufacturer’s literature for the available sizes and types.
• Finally, choose your favorite door style and surface finish from the manufacturer’s catalog. Oh, and when your kitchen’s done, how about baking me a nice pie?