Planning Your Kitchen – Knowing the Basics Part 1


Our showroom is once again Open to the Public! We have been open for business throughout the COVID-19 mandates, although our showroom was temporarily closed. More than ever before, our design discussions with clients have been by telephone, email, Facetime & Zoom. We are also having in-home appointments with clients if their comfort level allows.  

Working without the aid of a showroom, several key questions repeatedly arose during our client discussions – questions that are typically addressed during a tour of showroom displays and sample materials. In a series of Blog entries, we will address these questions:

  1. What is the difference between Stock, Semi-custom & Custom cabinetry?
  2. What cabinet styles and finish colors are both current and not “a fad?”
  3. Framed cabinetry or Full Access cabinetry – which is best for my new Kitchen?
  4. What is the difference between Plywood & Furniture Board (particle board) in cabinetry?
  5. What are the differences between Granite, Marble, Quartzite & Quartz?
  6. How long will it take to remodel my kitchens?

Today we will address the first of these questions.

Q: What is the difference between Stock, Semi-custom and Custom kitchen cabinets? 


“Stock” is a bit of a misnomer in 2020 in that very few manufacturers have cabinetry already assembled & waiting on racks to be shipped.  In other words, Stock cabinetry is most often not “in stock” but is made to order upon request. Affordability and a faster delivery time are two advantages of stock cabinets. Characteristic of stock cabinetry is limited door style and finish (color) options and limited – or no – ability to build a cabinet to specific dimensions. Stock cabinetry typically offers all of the currently popular styles & finishes, and beautiful kitchens are certainly designed using Stock cabinetry.         


Semi-custom cabinetry is most noticeably different from Stock cabinetry in that it offers a much greater number of door styles, wood species choices & finish options. Also, there is an expanded number of cabinet specifications available (SKU’s) and many more sizes to facilitate design. Generally, a higher quality of materials – lumber, etc. – are used relative to Stock cabinetry and there is a higher expectation of Quality Control.  Importantly, many cabinet dimensions can be altered upon request – width, height & depth. Semi-custom manufacturers have become so capable that “Custom designs” of the past can very often be accomplished with Semi-custom without the higher Custom cost.    


The finest products are produced by the industry’s Custom brands. Better material selection, higher quality finishing and unsurpassed Quality Control are typical in Custom facilities. Also, Custom brands offer the most unique door style options and many very special finishes. And of course, Custom cabinets are built to your specifications so you can have almost anything that you want! Generally, custom cabinets are the most expensive option given the labor-intensive nature of the factories, and they usually take the longest to manufacture. Still, for very distinctive and individual design requests Custom cabinetry will be the clear choice. 

The line that you choose is not only a budget decision but is one part of the overall design and budget process – and we are here to provide guidance so that you make the best, informed selection. Most families enjoy a new kitchen for at least 15 or 20 years, so we want our clients to be sure they are very happy with their choice of cabinetry.