Few things can have as powerful an effect on the feel and function of a space as a well designed and well crafted built-in. The ability of a painted wall unit or bookcase to transform a space is remarkable. We should know, we’ve been taking our own before and after photos for over ten years now. We’ve also been refining our use of select materials, finishes, and processes to create the finest work possible.
We’ve found that, most often, the best material for constructing our cabinet and door frames and other solid wood parts is soft maple. Despite it’s name, soft maple is considerably harder than pine or poplar. This means it is much less likely to suffer dents and dings. It is also quite resistent to warping and twisting and is remarkably smooth, providing an excellent surface upon which to apply paint. Large panels are often best made from MDF(read more about MDF and other panel materials we use here), which is immune to the cracking and splitting that can occur within large areas of solid wood as a result of seasonal changes in humidity. Using MDF allows us to construct a stronger cabinet component that will last longer and look better over time compared to solid wood.
Finishing At It’s Finest
The quality of the painted finish is a major part of a successful built-in cabinetry project. Working in our dedicated finishing area, we create a high quality and extremely durable finish by employing a labor intensive process involving multiple stages of priming and sanding, followed by several coats of Benjamin Moore’s Aura Satin Enamel. Aura is a premium water-based finish that provides a lustrous feel. It is a remarkable paint, similar to a quality oil based enamel, but eco-friendly and non yellowing.
A Note On Pricing
There is a widely held notion that painted cabinetry is a less expensive option than many natural wood finishes. While this may have been the rule at one time, it no longer holds true. There are many functional and attractive natural woods that can be used for built-in projects at a lower overall cost than a painted finish. There are also many exquisite woods that can be used for built-in projects at a cost considerably higher than a painted finish. The reason for this is simple: labor. The single largest component in the cost of a project is the labor of the skilled craftsmen we employ to construct and finish each piece. And while the cost of paint grade materials may be slightly less than some furniture grade species we’d recommend for a clear finish, the difference is more than offset by the added cost of the labor required to produce a long lasting and beautiful painted finish. We believe this is a good thing, in that allows us to offer a wide range of options to fit every budget while encouraging the selection of materials and finishes based not on cost, but on design considerations.
Making It Happen
From concept and design, to fabrication and installation, the Hat Factory team possesses the knowledge and skill that will make your painted built-in cabinetry project a success. For more information, or to discuss your project, give us a call at 914.788.6288.