Frequently Asked Questions
Which species of wood is most popular in the Midwest right now?
We do a lot with clear and knotty alder, maple, cherry and walnut.
For painted cabinets which colors are popular now and most likely to hold their appeal?
Whites, off-whites and warm grays are our most popular colors.
Do painted or wood cabinets go better with wood floors?
Think contrast. It is usually better if the cabinetry doesn’t match the flooring. If the floor is wood, consider a different wood species, stain color or paint for the cabinetry.
Should all cabinets be the same height?
Countertops typically are 36 inches above the finished floor, but it often is good to incorporate different height cabinets to accommodate people of different heights, built-in appliances and bar areas.
Should cabinets extend all the way to the ceiling or is it better to leave a space?
Full height cabinets hold more, but varying cabinet height can emphasize a visual focal point such as a stove or sink.
Should all cabinets in a room be made of the same material and finished the same color?
It is popular to emphasize an island or focal point cabinet with a different wood type or stain or paint color.
Are dovetail joints used in drawer boxes really stronger or are they mostly for looks?
Like other joints, dovetails in modern cabinetry are machine cut. The tapered slots provide greater gluing surface and the interlock provides a stronger box. However, our rabbeted drawer boxes are very strong as well and are a more economical alternate.
What makes a quality drawer slide better than a cheap one?
Higher quality slides are made with thicker metal, ride on ball bearings and are rated to support more weight. Many clients choose the BluMotion soft close drawer slides because they are extremely smooth and quiet.
Where are soft close drawers and door hinges most appealing?
It makes sense to have them on the doors and drawers that get the most use, i.e. in the kitchen.
What makes a quality hinge better than a cheap one?
Higher quality hinges are stronger, easier to adjust and some feature soft-close. Cheaper hinges often only use one screw and then the doors come out of adjustment easily. We use hinges with multiple screws, so that they are easier to adjust and stay in adjustment longer.
How can I choose a cabinet color and be confident of how it will look in my space?
How we perceive color is personal. However the color and intensity of ambient and artificial light and reflected color from adjacent surfaces will affect how the cabinets look. To anticipate how a color will shift at different times of the day, place a large painted poster board or wood sample where the cabinets will be installed and observe it for a few days.
Why is alder so popular in cabinetmaking?
It is a wood that accepts stain well, mills well and costs less than exotic hardwoods. It has a similar color tone to cherry.
If I choose cherry for my cabinets, will it darken over time?
Cherry gets darker over the first year as it develops a patina and then just slightly darker as it continues to age.
Are cabinets made from Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) inferior to those made of hardwood plywood and solid wood?
MDF is typically used (along with paint-grade poplar) when cabinets are painted because it is extremely dense and therefore does not shift as much as wood can.
How can I make my cabinets more accessible?
Roll out shelves, full-extension drawer slides, wide opening hinges and frameless cabinets enhance access. There also are accessories available for corners or hard to reach spaces.
How can I keep the contents of my cabinets organized?
Spice racks, tray dividers, knife holders, and pot lid organizers will help.
What type of finish do you use and why?
We use a high-end pre-catalyzed water resistant varnish. It is hard, durable and scratch and water resistant. Our finishers sand between coats to acquire a furniture-type look and feel.
Why is it better to finish cabinets in the shop rather than on site?
The spray booth provides a clean, controlled, dust-free environment. It also keeps the fumes off the jobsite and out of the atmosphere.
Are water-based finishes better?
Water-based finishes do not perform as well as solvent based finishes and they are typically not as clear, they often have a cloudy look to them.
Why should I buy custom cabinets instead of standard sized cabinets from a national brand?
Custom cabinets will make better use of your space than standard sized stock cabinets with filler strips. Cabinets shipped locally are less likely to get damaged. And problems can be resolved quickly so projects are not delayed. Custom cabinets typically are higher quality and better able to express your style with special design features.
What are the next steps? How can I get an estimate for my project?
Contact us via phone or email and we will put together a free estimate. Troy Eiden, the owner of Modern Design, does the estimates and either he or our interior designer will get the specifications/scope of your project, gather your design ideas and most likely share some design ideas of our own, as well.