Everything You Need to Know About Inset Cabinetry

Inset CabinetsInset cabinetry is a style of cabinetry where the door of the cabinet is set into the face frame instead of being laid in front of the frame. This is a very beautiful and classic looking cabinet that is now also lending itself to a transitional look to be used in many types of kitchens. From modern kitchens to traditional kitchens, inset cabinets can be used in many different types of styles. This type of cabinetry was inspired by the work of skilled craftsman of the Georgian and Victorian periods.  Inset cabinets are making a strong comeback in popularity among kitchen designers and the public alike.

Builders Cabinet is pleased to introduce a new line of cabinetry into its mix of a full assortment of frameless cabinetry. We are now making a full line of inset cabinetry that uses a 3/4 inch plywood box constructed with a 3/4” face frame. All of our stains and paint colors are available in this new inset line as well as most of the door styles that we carry.  

A few things to think about when deciding if an inset cabinet is right for you. First, it is critical that your installer installs them properly. Because the door sits in the frame, the cabinetry is manufactured with tight tolerances, usually 1/8” and there is very little room for the door or drawer front to sit in if the cabinets are not installed properly square.

Another item to be aware is that throughout the year, the doors may have to be adjusted if your house does not have the proper humidity levels. In order to maintain proper humidity levels, they should be in the range of 60%. Wood tends to swell in the high humid months of summer and also contract in winter. Another thing to consider is that if you have large dinner plates, be sure to have your cabinet manufacturer make your wall cabinets at 13” deep as most inset cabinets tend to lose some important storage space because of where the frame sits on the cabinet box front.

Some of the benefits of inset cabinetry is that they offer a very clean look instead of the full overlay cabinets.  The face frames can be designed with either a beaded or non-beaded frame giving the look even more detail. When this works in conjunction with the type of door style that you choose, this look can be very satisfying and help make your kitchen stand out from the rest.

So why doesn’t everyone do inset cabinets if they are so fantastic you may ask.  Cost for one.  Most manufacturers charge a premium when constructing inset cabinets. This can range anywhere from 15-25% over the cost of a standard full overlay kitchen cabinet. Another is lead times. While it is true that a cabinet is a cabinet, but an inset cabinet requires a higher degree of craftsmanship and usually the lead times may run a bit longer than the standard lead times that are offered. We at Builders Cabinet are proud of the new line of inset cabinets that we manufacture and encourage you to stop by and see for yourself.

Visit our showrooms if you’re looking for inset kitchen cabinets in the Chicago area. If you have any questions about our products please email us at info@buildmykitchen.com or call us at (312) 829-4300. We would love to hear from you!

Starting Your Kitchen Design Process

We all know that life is full of choices. Well, that fact is no different when it comes to designing and selecting cabinetry for your new kitchen. While this is an exciting experience, it can also be an overwhelming one. You have your choice of overall style (traditional, transitional, contemporary, industrial, rustic, eclectic, and more…), cabinet door style, wood species, cabinet finish, accessories, and, of course, the layout of the space. With so many decisions to be made, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are a few points that may be helpful in starting the process.

Custom Kitchen Cabinets Look Great in Your Kitchen

1. Peruse magazines and the internet to view pictures of completed kitchens and identify details that you like. Some popular design websites include houzz.com and apartmenttherapy.com among many other. Organize pictures and notes together in a file where you can easily view your selections. Often, people find that they end up selecting pictures that represent similar styles and details. If you previously weren’t sure what your overall style was, this activity can be a good start to help you identify one.

2. Appliances are the foundation of a kitchen, therefore it is important to consider them early in the design process. The most common appliances provide a means of food preservation, food preparation, ventilation, and clean up. However, the possible styles, sizes, and combinations can vary greatly. Consider what you like and dislike about your current kitchen appliances, as well as how you need your new kitchen to function and what appliance styles you like the look of. For example, in terms of refrigerator styles, do you like the appearance/function/cost of integrated, built-in, or free-standing? When it comes to cooking appliances, are you looking for a range, cooktop, double oven, built-in microwave, warming drawer, etc? Ventilation options vary from integrated, stainless steel professional or chimney, over-the-range microwaves, and downdrafts. It may be helpful to visit an appliance showroom to see the available options in person. Bring a list of your preferences with you when you visit a kitchen showroom. Depending on your space, certain appliance combinations may work better than others with the type of kitchen design you ultimately select. This is something that designers will help you determine during the kitchen design process.

3. Look for a design inspiration piece or material. Having a point from which to build your design selections can be very helpful. This can be any element of the design, such as the cabinet or floor finish, countertop material, backsplash tile, pendent lights, or a farm sink. It can even be something as small as a favorite woven rug that you are looking to showcase in your new space. Another benefit of an inspiration piece or material is that it will provide you with an anchor, which you will be able to go back to if ever you begin to feel overwhelmed by the many options being presented to you.

Designing a new kitchen for yourself is not something that happens very often so, most of all, try to relax and have fun with the process. This is your opportunity to make your space truly your own.

Visit one of our showrooms to get kitchen remodeling ideas, either in Chicago or Lombard. If you have any questions about our products please email us at info@buildmykitchen.com or call us at (312) 829-4300. We would love to hear from you!

Hanging Bathroom Vanities

A very common application in bathroom vanities today is the use of hanging the vanities from the wall and therefore suspending them off of the floor.  This achieves a very modern look and allows space from the bottom of the bathroom vanity to the floor.

1807-79 (4)

Typically, when a vanity is manufactured this way, we reduce the overall height from 34-5/8″ high by cutting the toe kick off and reducing the height of the bottom drawers.  The overall height is typically 24″ and this allows for 10″ clearance from the bottom of the bathroom vanity to the floor.  We typically reinforce the back of the vanity with a solid 5/8″ back to lend support as the vanity has nothing to rest on.  Your installer should be sure to reinforce the vanity into solid studs as there is an enormous amount of weight that is hanging on the wall.


There are many ways to design a bathroom and with the addition of hanging vanities, your choices can become endless in the way you can design your space that is a reflection of what your style is.


Visit one of our showrooms to get bathroom remodeling ideas, either in Chicago or Lombard. If you have any questions about our products please email us at info@buildmykitchen.com or call us at (312) 829-4300. We would love to hear from you!

Walnut Kitchen and Bath Cabinets

One of the biggest changes I have seen in the past three years is the emergence of the wood species Walnut back in kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets. And here I thought my mom’s 1974 kitchen was outdated. The walnut that we are manufacturing now is much more sleek and modern than the old dark walnut of the Brady Bunch era.

Kitchen 5

Whether you are looking to create a new updated look in your kitchen or update that old bathroom, the use of walnut can be a great option for you. Walnut is not as readily available as say, maple or cherry is, however, with its new resurgence in popularity in kitchen cabinets, it is a great species to work with. A lot of painted kitchens like to use walnut for their islands. There are about twenty species of walnut with six found in the U.S.A. Black walnuts were very common and available in old growth forests with trees heights ranging up to 150 feet with six-foot diameter trunks. Today’s trees are generally 80-100 feet tall with trunks of less than three feet. Black walnut is normally straight grained and is preferred for its beautiful grain character, producing more figure variation than any other wood. It is a great wood that is not heavy on grain and when stain is applied, it produces a very even appearance. I would caution you not to go with a natural finish, though they are offered, due to the different colors that are in each piece of lumber. By adding a stain, the brilliance of the wood comes out.

Below are a couple pictures where walnut has been used to really change the dynamics of the room.

BCS Showroom 032 (2)Herrold Chicago Kitchen Shoot 001




Also when used in bathroom cabinets, walnut lends itself not only as modern but also transitional as well.




Builders Cabinet Supply has been on the forefront of using walnut in its kitchen and bath cabinets for the past six years. As walnut continues to grow in popularity, so will its uses in various rooms in your house.


Visit one of our showrooms to get kitchen remodeling ideas, either in Chicago or Lombard. If you have any questions about our products please email us at info@buildmykitchen.com or call us at (312) 829-4300. We would love to hear from you!

Prairie Green At Dixie Crossing

Builders Cabinet is pleased to announce that it has completed it’s work with Ledcor Construction in providing cabinetry for 144 private senior living aprtments in Chicago Heights, Il.  The newly constructed development is called Prairie Green at Dixie Crossing and was constructed to meet LEED Certified Standards an International Green Building Program.

This is just another successful multi unit project that Builders Cabinet was currently engaged in providing large construction companies with quality yet affordable kitchen and bath cabinetry.  All manufacturing was done at its factory located at 401 N. Western Ave Chicago, IL.

Cabinet Heights

When designing your kitchen or bathroom, there are many different heights to consider.  So I thought we would start with what the standard cabinet heights are.  Base cabinets are standard at 34-5/8″ high off of the ground.  Whereas wall cabinets can have many different sizes depending on your ceiling height.  Most common heights are 30″, 36″ and 42″ high.  If you have a 96″ high ceiling you would most likely use one of these three heights.  However, more and more people are wanting to add crown and go right to the ceiling.  Therefore, you can also have your wall cabinets made at 39″ high and then add a 3″ crown molding for a nice clean look.  This is usually done with semi-custom cabinets.

What do you do if your ceiling is taller than the traditional 96″?  You can use the standard 42″ upper cabinet, but you can also begin to stack different size cabinets to gain the extra height.  Instead of stacking cabinets, which can be difficult to do if your walls are not perfectly straight, we build the cabinets as one whole cabinet but with the look of two.  Thus ensuring a seamless look to your upper cabinets.

In regards to vanities, there are many sizes to choose from.  Since the beginning of time bathroom cabinets have been 29-5/8″ high.  I can still remember my father, at 6’2″, bending all the way down to brush his teeth and shave.  Thankfully, cabinet manufacturers have woken up and are now making bathroom cabinets the same height as kitchen cabinets at 34-5/8″ high.  They can also be modified at 33″, 31-1/2 and 29-5/8″. We once made cabinets for a certain Chicago Bulls player and actually had the height of the cabinets at 42″ to fit his 6’8″ height.  I recommend taller cabinets in the master bathrooms and a bit lower for the children’s bathroom.  Do not forget, the kids are going to grow and will come to really appreciate the taller vanity heights.

Another new trend in bathroom vanities is hanging the cabinets off of the wall.  In order to achieve this look, you would make the cabinets either 18″ or 24″ high.

Be creative when designing your kitchen and your bathroom.  Using different heights is an affordable way to create that custom kitchen or bathroom you are looking for.

Visit one of our showrooms to see our custom cabinets, either in Chicago or Lombard. If you have any questions about our products please email us at info@buildmykitchen.com or call us at (312) 829-4300. We would love to hear from you!

Difference Between Stock Cabinets, Semi-Custom Cabinets & Custom Cabinets

You hear it all of the time. This company sells stock cabinets. They are cheap. That company makes semi-custom cabinets but they cost more. This guy only builds custom cabinets. So what is the difference? I thought I would take a moment to share my thoughts on each.

First, you have stock cabinets. These are typically found at the large big box home improvement stores. They are mass produced and allow the user no flexability in any customization. They come in many different sizes and in the past ten years, also a great many choices of colors and styles. They are affordable but as I stated before, you have to work within the framework of what is offered. No more and no less.

The second option and in my opinion, the best are semi-custom cabinets. These are cabinets that are manufactured usually in stock sizes, however, can also be altered in width, depth or height depending on the need. Typically, these are a better grade of cabinet and offers the end user a greater deal of flexibility in designing their kitchen to fit their needs. A good designer will always try and design in stock sizes and then just alter the few cabinets that need to be modified in order to save on cost.

Lastly, custom cabinets. First we have to define the word custom. It sounds expensive but most things are when built especially for you. Most manufacturer’s try and stay clear of calling themselves custom because of the conatation of being associated with being expensive. A good custom cabinet maker will make every cabinet unique to fit the required space or need of the customer. There is a definite trend here between semi custom and custom cabinets because even custom cabinet makers will still typically design in standard sizes but use a custom cabinet or piece when needed.

So what is the best cabinet for you really depends on your needs. If you are on a tight budget and your space is not unique, then a good stock cabinet will work just fine. If you want a higher quality cabinet with a lot of options and flexibility in your design, then I would encourage you to find a semi-custom cabinet that will meet all of your needs. If you cannot find what you are looking for then finding a custom cabinet maker to build your vision is the answer for you. All three will fulfill your need in building that beautiful kitchen or bath.

Visit one of our showrooms to see our custom cabinets, either in Chicago or Lombard. If you have any questions about our products please email us at info@buildmykitchen.com or call us at (312) 829-4300. We would love to hear from you!

Bathroom Vanities

Bathroom vanities have always been the runner up of kitchen cabinets. Both have their rightful place in line, however, the bathroom cabinet is seen as much more of a necessity and not thought about as a beautiful part of the home.  There are reasons for this.  Most bathrooms are messy and are hardly ever seen by guests in your home.  We tend to leave laundry on the floor as we would never do that in our kitchens.  We wash our faces in the sink and brush our teeth. Once again tasks that we would never dream of doing in other rooms of the house.

But bathroom vanities play an all important role in how we live our daily lives.  We store all of our necessary hygiene utensils.  Combs, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, extra toilet paper, lotions, nail clippers, etc…  Even though the bathroom vanity is a utility work horse, it can also be a beautiful piece in your home.

The bathroom vanity has come along way in the past decade.  We use to manufacture all of them at the same lower height of 29-5/8″ high.  No longer.  Standard sizes are now available as the same height as a kitchen cabinet which is 34-5/8″ high.  No more bending over so low to wash your face or brush your teeth.  Bathroom vanities also come in many different shapes and sizes.

We are seeing an ever increasing amount of bathroom vanities that have no toe kicks and hang on the wall.  This is commonly referred to as a hanging vanity.  A very modern and clean crisp look.  Also, having the ability to sweep under a vanity is a very handy feature when keeping your bathroom clean.  Below are two examples of hanging vanities.





Whatever your taste may be, the bathroom vanity has its rightful place in each of your bathrooms.  Feel confident in shaking things up in regards to colors and styles that most reflect your own personality.  But most importantly, make sure that your bathroom cabinets are truly functional and serve all of your storage needs.

Mud Room Lockers

If you are like me and have children in your home, you know that there is never enough storage for all of the kids’ stuff.  We have back packs, coats, sports equipment, etc. all littered around our mud room depending on what time of the year it is.  We had coat racks for the coats, garages for the sports equipment and bedrooms for the book back packs; however, they inevitably ended up on the floor in the mud room or by the front door. Instead of getting angry, I got even.

For Mother’s Day, I reconfigured our laundry room and created lockers for our children’s stuff.  I have three children and we decided to create four lockers.  One for each child and my wife and I share the fourth.  We store winter articles of clothing in the bottom drawers and switch them with summer when the seasons change.  There is a bench for the kids to sit on to put their shoes on and coat hooks for all of their jackets, sweatshirts and back packs.  The upper portion has a door for additional storage.  The room has taken on a life of its own.  I have more mothers coming to me for lockers than I ever thought was possible.  An easy solution to a very messy problem.  We even created a website www.Buildmylocker.com to sell these directly to consumers.

Cambridge Mud Room LockerProvidence Mud Room Locker

We have made many lockers over the years and all seem to have found a place in making a home that much more organized.  We recently added doors to where the openings are for the coats for one customer because her son had so much hockey gear.  We even added an exhaust fan because the smell was too overwhelming and vented it to the outside.  Another customer is having us add a special shelf so the kids can charge their phones and know where they last left them.

I love the idea of everyone having a locker for themselves.  One area in the house for when they come home, they know where to store all of their personal belongings.  Now, if only I can get my girls to not leave their back packs by the front door….


Framed vs. Frameless Cabinets

There has been a lot of changes in the cabinet industry over the years and there is no bigger confusion than a framed cabinet versus a frameless cabinet.  Traditionally, American manufacturers have built cabinets using a framed construction.  The cabinet box is constructed with a 1-1/2″ face frame that is attached to the front of the box.  This allows for the cabinets to be attached via the face frame. Below is a picture of both a framed and frameless cabinet.

Framed vs frameless cabinets

The European way of manufacturing kitchen and bathroom cabinets is called a frameless construction.  The bathroom or kitchen cabinets are made the same, however, instead of attaching the face frame to the front of the cabinet, the box itself is the face frame.

There are some advantages to this method of construction.  The first, when the kitchen is completed, all you see are the doors and drawer fronts.  This achieves a “full overlay look”  which in my opinion is a much more desirable look.  True, on a framed cabinet, you can also manufacture the doors to be full overlay but usually with an upcharge.

The second benefit of the frameless construction is that you do not have that center stile coming down in the middle of your cabinet when there are two doors on the cabinet.  Lastly, you get more space for you plates and glasses and your drawers tend to be larger because of the space you are saving by not having the face frame attached.

Below is another diagram showing the differences in a framed and frameless cabinet.

Framed vs Framless cabinetry

The central theme of a great cabinet is one that will store the most of your belongings.  Both a framed and a frameless cabinet will do that, however, by going with a frameless construction, you also achieve the added benefits of more storage, a full overlay look and no center stile.  And when you are all done, your kitchen can look like this…

Kitchen Frameless Cbainets