31 Days|Day 21 Cabinetry

by Edie Wadsworth on October 21, 2011

This post is part of series called “31 Days to Rebuild Your House and Heart” and I’m writing it to chronicle our rebuilding process after we lost everything in a house fire last December. You can start here and read the whole series. Thanks for visiting!

I may be the luckiest girl in America when it comes to cabinetry.
My builder introduced me to Gary Keith, owner/designer/artisan of Keith’s Custom cabinets.
I was leary of custom cabinets because I’m a down to earth girl who likes thrift stores and flea markets (okay, and crystal chandeliers but whatever) and I was just sure that I could get exactly what I wanted from Home Depot or Kraftmaid or whathaveyou. But because my builder was so fond of Gary, I met with him and dreamed my dreams of perfect cabinets. I also, simultaneously, went to Home Depot and got an estimate on their Martha Stewart line of cabinets, which I ADORED.
First, let me say, that Home Depot was not too excited about making a rolling cart.
Gary made this one himself.

rolling cart

Second, let me say that Home Depot charges $300 for EACH corbel. Did you catch that?!?!?!? EACH ONE.
So these, shelves would have had $1800 in corbels alone.

And working with an artisan cabinet maker is like talking to an artist about their art.   He LOVES what he does.   He seemed just as invested in my cabinets as I was.   It was a wonderful experience all around.
open shelves
He didn’t flinch when I said I wanted a nine foot tall open pantry shelf, backed with beaded board.
butler's pantry
And perhaps one of the best things about the process was that I could choose the colors and was not limited to stock color options.

I chose Fieldstone for the main kitchen cabinets and am so happy with them.  (I will give details of the marble, the pulls, etc next when in the kitchen tour post.)
kitchen cabs
I asked him to make a buffet inset slightly from the rest of the cabinets, with a walnut top, and it really looks fabulous.   Love the bun feet!
buffet
Oh wait, this isn’t a cabinet photo. But isn’t she beautiful? She’s always glimmering and glistening and stealing the show.
bridge faucet
I showed him this picture


and he made this…..

I showed him this picture…..

and he made this (minus the mirrors per my request)

I say all this to say—don’t give up on your local artisan cabinet maker.
They are going out of business like gangbusters thanks to Lowe’s and Home Depot.
And the kicker——Gary’s quote came right in between two others. He was cheaper than Home Depot!!!!!

And almost everything he made for me was custom height or depth and would have been impossible to get any other way.  I am most certainly a convert to custom cabinetry.    I would highly recommend that you at least price it in your next building project.
I think, in all honesty, Gary is  probably undercharging for what he does and one of the ways we were able to afford it was to forego some of the built ins that we originally wanted in the workroom and in the basement.   We will try to add those as we can.
The other upside to custom cabinets is that their price INCLUDES installation and they are actually the ones who will install the cabinetry.    When you go with big box stores, the price will NOT include installation and you may or may not get a good installer.  Gary and his assistant were  absolute masters at installation and were fun to watch.   They  installed my kitchen in less than two days. Amazing, I tell you.
And I’m so happy to have had the privilege of meeting someone who still makes top notch products the old fashioned way and who has the expertise to look at a picture, design a beautiful product and deliver the whole package with integrity and humility.  I worked with him personally every step of the way.
It was a pleasure that cannot be matched by the big box stores.
Who knew that there were still craftsmen like him in the world?!

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tammy Howe October 22, 2011 at 12:14 am

I went the same route as you, shopping around at big box stores, thinking I couldn’t afford custom cabinets.  I’m sooo thankful my Dad was “pushy”.  I met with our cabinet maker and was thrilled, he’s quote came in less than Lowe’s and Home Depot and I have beautiful accent/touches/features that I wouldn’t have otherwise.  Your cabinets are gorgeous, i’m looking forward to the home tour!  Have a great weekend.

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2 Heartlandfarmhouse October 22, 2011 at 12:21 am

L.O.V.E it!  LOVE!  I can’t wait for next weeks house tours!!!  SO EXCITED!!!!

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3 Terry A. October 22, 2011 at 12:24 am

Just beautiful, Edie.  I especially love that built in buffet with walnut top.  Gary Keith has done an excellent job in his vocation as craftsman.  

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4 Jillian Brown October 22, 2011 at 12:32 am

I honestly have been looking forward to logging on my computer each night with a glass of wine and the baby in bed just to see the amazing updates on your beautiful home! I am so happy for you and this cabinetry…AWESOME, truly amazing!!

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5 Gina October 22, 2011 at 12:47 am

Gorgeous! Worth every penny especially to get exactly what you want. Love the colors you selected too. Thanks for sharing your new home. I have enjoyed it. :)

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6 Tricia October 22, 2011 at 1:01 am

I have serious cabinet envy right now!!!  Truly beautiful work.  Thank you for sharing all of your home-building experiences with us.  It really helps to de-mystify the process.   

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7 robin October 22, 2011 at 1:29 am

I am in LOVE. :)

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8 Susan October 22, 2011 at 1:38 am

Edie, you are so right! Last year we renovated our home both bathrooms and a kitchen down to studs and pipes. Our amazing contractor who really is an artisan built our cabinets for us at a fraction of the cost and I couldn’t be happier.  He was always seeing things that I didn’t and I will be forever gratefu for his talent and input. 

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9 Sherry @ No Minimalist Here Ca October 22, 2011 at 1:57 am

Your kitchen looks fabulous and I love the rolling cart.   We had custom cabinets in our previous home and they were thousands less than Home Depots quote.  They were also exceptional quality.  Looking forward to seeing more of your new kitchen.
Hugs,
Sherry

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10 Chavala orlando October 22, 2011 at 2:14 am

LOVE it! I can’t wait to see the home tour!

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11 FlowerPatchFarmgirl October 22, 2011 at 2:26 am

You’ve totally won me over here. Gary Twenty-Twelve!

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12 Christy October 22, 2011 at 3:25 am

Our custom cabinets in the house we built is what I miss most since we moved. My husband’s grandfather was a master carpenter, so we were very picky about the cabinets and trim throughout the house. He was too old to do the work when we built. We were so pleased when he approved of our custom cabinetry. There is nothing like custom cabinets. Your cabinets are gorgeous! Everything is beautiful!

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13 Ruth Emond October 22, 2011 at 3:32 am

Your cabinets are absolutely amazing. Such beautiful quality work. It is wonderful that you could find an artisan like him. I definitely would go that route if ever we have that opportunity. Home Depot sent us the wrong cabinets when we redid our kitchen and it took forever to solve the problem.

Hugs,
Ruth

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14 Vicki October 22, 2011 at 4:38 am

Beautiful!!!

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15 Vicki October 22, 2011 at 4:38 am

Beautiful!!!

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16 Barbie October 22, 2011 at 7:09 am

You are a blessed woman.  Everything is so beautiful!

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17 Anonymous October 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm

If it wasn’t for the fact that you seem to be such a lovely woman, who has gone through such a horrible experience with such grace and faith…..I would seriously hate you for that fabulous kitchen!  It’s just amazing! (and I’m just kidding about the hate part~~you deserve every bit of it!)

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18 jenfrischkorn October 22, 2011 at 3:10 pm

You must walk into that magazine kitchen and think you are dreaming….well then you see the dirty dishes of course, but still.  It’s absolutely gorgeous.  Loving the buffet and open pantry,and… well basically everything :-)

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19 Hillcrest Cottage October 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm

My brother-in-law is a custom guy just like you described. Thanks for supporting people like him. We should all think more “local” in every way… supporting our friends and neighbors as much as we can, making new friends, such as you did, along the way. Added bonus: cool to be “green” like that (reduces carbon miles)… plus it is just plain “nice”.

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20 Kristin s October 22, 2011 at 10:02 pm

This post is so refreshing!  Beautiful

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21 lulu October 22, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I have been loving your home series!  The cabinets are fantastic! i’ve been waiting to hear read what you used and boy you did outstanding. Great tip about using a local artisan, I love that and will definitely look into when we ever need cabinets.
xo,
Lulu

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22 Tara October 22, 2011 at 11:36 pm

love the shade of green that you chose for the open pantry and shelves..
We did custom cabinets in the last two homes that we owned and there were no regrets.
get what you want for less and you hire LOCAL people for the work.  

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23 Alice October 23, 2011 at 1:01 am

All  I can say is…WOW…what a unique house!!! Thanks for sharing every step of the way-LOVE it!!!!  Definately “A FAVORITE BLOG” :)))
I was wondering where your fireplace mirror was purchased from? Thanks…

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24 Kristin October 23, 2011 at 3:42 am

I agree wholeheartedly with you about custom cabinetry. My house is 100 years old. We put in a kitchen where there was none and re-did the existing kitchen into a pantry. I waited a full year for my cabinet maker to be available and in the meantime planned and re-planned my kitchen and collected magazine clippings of cabinet & furniture styles I liked.  (Old school Pinterest) EWhen he finally became available, I showed my cabinet maker the collected magazine pages and together we designed upper, lower and island cabinets. The existing cabinets got new doors to tie into the new cabinets in the kitchen. He was an  amazing craftsman, meticulous about every detail and he made my magazine clippings come alive in my kitchen. My kitchen is custom and unique and not available to people across the country in chain stores. One set of hands made my cabinets. He hand chose the best pieces of wood (cherry) for the best variations and consistencies where each was needed. He was an artisan and my cabinets are works of art. Custom rocks!

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25 Jana Flinkow October 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Thank you so much for highlighting a custom cabinet business!  My dad has owned a custom cabinet business for the past 35 years in Birmingham, Al.  Sadly, it is a trade that is fading away.  It is so nice that you found one with such great talent!  Believe me, I am very picky about cabinets having grown up analyzing them my whole life, and I love yours!! Thank you for sharing!!

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26 Karen Sabrsula October 23, 2011 at 11:18 pm

what a great testament to the fact that YES!!  There are still artisans in the USA!!!  He did a wonderful job!!   I have done several jobs with custom cabinet makers and I love working with them!  It is a win for the cabinet maker, a win for me, and a win for the homeowner!! Everyone gets exactly what they want!!I hope the trend of “Made in America” can continue to regrow!!  Great Job!!!!!

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27 Anonymous October 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Yeah for the small business owner!  The foundation of our community… thanks for posting this!!  And btw, everything is GORGEOUS.  You have fabulous taste!

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28 Kellynandrews October 24, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Absolutely beautiful! Where did you get the mirror over the fireplace?

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29 Laine Chambers October 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

Your cabinets are beautiful!  And thanks for the uplifting words about the custom cabinet maker!  My husband is one, as is his father who has been doing it for over 35 years.  They are artists and it’s amazing.  My hubby has always been able to make anything you show him…the designers love him for it!  

Looking forward to seeing your kitchen tour!!

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30 Laine Chambers October 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

Your cabinets are beautiful!  And thanks for the uplifting words about the custom cabinet maker!  My husband is one, as is his father who has been doing it for over 35 years.  They are artists and it’s amazing.  My hubby has always been able to make anything you show him…the designers love him for it!  

Looking forward to seeing your kitchen tour!!

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31 Laine Chambers October 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

Your cabinets are beautiful!  And thanks for the uplifting words about the custom cabinet maker!  My husband is one, as is his father who has been doing it for over 35 years.  They are artists and it’s amazing.  My hubby has always been able to make anything you show him…the designers love him for it!  

Looking forward to seeing your kitchen tour!!

Reply

32 Laine Chambers October 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

Your cabinets are beautiful!  And thanks for the uplifting words about the custom cabinet maker!  My husband is one, as is his father who has been doing it for over 35 years.  They are artists and it’s amazing.  My hubby has always been able to make anything you show him…the designers love him for it!  

Looking forward to seeing your kitchen tour!!

Reply

33 Laine Chambers October 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

Your cabinets are beautiful!  And thanks for the uplifting words about the custom cabinet maker!  My husband is one, as is his father who has been doing it for over 35 years.  They are artists and it’s amazing.  My hubby has always been able to make anything you show him…the designers love him for it!  

Looking forward to seeing your kitchen tour!!

Reply

34 Laine Chambers October 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

Your cabinets are beautiful!  And thanks for the uplifting words about the custom cabinet maker!  My husband is one, as is his father who has been doing it for over 35 years.  They are artists and it’s amazing.  My hubby has always been able to make anything you show him…the designers love him for it!  

Looking forward to seeing your kitchen tour!!

Reply

35 Laine Chambers October 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

Your cabinets are beautiful!  And thanks for the uplifting words about the custom cabinet maker!  My husband is one, as is his father who has been doing it for over 35 years.  They are artists and it’s amazing.  My hubby has always been able to make anything you show him…the designers love him for it!  

Looking forward to seeing your kitchen tour!!

Reply

36 Laine Chambers October 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

Your cabinets are beautiful!  And thanks for the uplifting words about the custom cabinet maker!  My husband is one, as is his father who has been doing it for over 35 years.  They are artists and it’s amazing.  My hubby has always been able to make anything you show him…the designers love him for it!  

Looking forward to seeing your kitchen tour!!

Reply

37 Laine Chambers October 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

Your cabinets are beautiful!  And thanks for the uplifting words about the custom cabinet maker!  My husband is one, as is his father who has been doing it for over 35 years.  They are artists and it’s amazing.  My hubby has always been able to make anything you show him…the designers love him for it!  

Looking forward to seeing your kitchen tour!!

Reply

38 sara@augustfields October 25, 2011 at 9:56 pm

gorgeous.  simply gorgeous.  i’m really really liking the punch of green with the pantry and shelving!  

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39 sara@augustfields October 25, 2011 at 9:56 pm

gorgeous.  simply gorgeous.  i’m really really liking the punch of green with the pantry and shelving!  

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40 Clburdine October 26, 2011 at 1:20 am

Because I am never current on Facebook, I just now went through all of your new home photos – beautiful and so original. So pleased that you share the progress and agree with you about use and cost of local cabinet makers. Always the best choice if available. 

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41 Sara M. October 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Hold the phone. I KNOW Gary & his family…like I grew up with his kids and the man did cabinets in my mom’s kitchen at one point many years ago. Cold chills running down my spine as my real life and blog life collide!

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42 Susan October 31, 2011 at 12:09 am

I was caught like you Edie when we redid our kitchen. They brought in a cabinet supplier from Atlanta – the price they gave me was atrocious. I went to Home Depot and Lowes, they just didn’t have what I wanted, and then realized my next door neighbor was a custom cabinet maker. Might as well get a price from him. He made the most beautiful cabinets I could have ever wanted, installed them and then installed my tops. Now I’m afraid he’s pretty much out of business, but I hope I can find him to have him replace the tops with granite. 

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43 Katie November 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Thanks for this post.  I’m new to your blog and here’s what’s happening – I’m in love.  I’m rationing the time I spend catching up!  Love your style and your overall philosophy.  At any rate, thank you again for this post.  My husband is a cabinet maker/furniture maker/all around artisan when it comes to wood.  It’s so nice to hear the praises of that industry.  In an age where faster, cheaper, disposable is the preference, I’m happy to see someone spreading the word about this nearly extinct craft.  You can see some of his small goods at his etsy shop here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/ARTHURandISAAC 

Looking forward to following you.  And that kitchen… out of control – love. it.

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44 Dave November 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm

I love the marble top on the utensils cabinet.  Along with the muddled green coating, the contrasts are definitely spot on.  I’ve got a similar trim of paint on my replacement window sill at home.  Was thinking of changing it but I know I’ll regret it if I do.

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45 Dave November 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm

I love the marble top on the utensils cabinet.  Along with the muddled green coating, the contrasts are definitely spot on.  I’ve got a similar trim of paint on my replacement window sill at home.  Was thinking of changing it but I know I’ll regret it if I do.

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46 Barbara Kraus November 30, 2011 at 6:50 am

 This amazing site is incredibly good. How did you ensure it is !?

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47 Brian D. Stone December 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Outstanding work yet again! I am looking forward for your upcoming post!

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