Nifty storage features have long been a staple of high-end kitchen cabinets, but many manufacturers are beginning to blur the lines between custom, semi-custom, and stock. Several manufacturers have recently expanded storage options across their product lines, bringing entry-point models closer to the high-end offerings in terms of function and style.
"Features that function well are important to the consumer today, and that's been a growing trend," says Sarah Reep, director of design for KraftMaid Cabinetry.
In addition to offering more storage options throughout their product lines, manufacturers are adding decorative door styles to their moderately priced collections. These features, according to Faith Allen, product manager for Merillat, lend an overall custom look at value pricing.
To some buyers, interior accessory options for moderately priced cabinetry is a priority, says Connie Edwards, director of design for Timberlake Cabinet Co. "Some of these accessories will make a smaller kitchen more organized. Cutlery dividers and other accessories help maximize the space and functionality of a kitchen."
For those built-in interior accessories, wood is taking the place of wire in most cases. "We've identified that wire is out," Reep says. "Consumers want really nice-looking wood accessories that function and give them a custom look."
Mark Conde, product manager for Yorktowne Cabinets, says that vertical pull-out drawers, which use dead space between a cabinet and a wall or appliance, have taken off recently. "That's the type of feature that was limited to the custom cabinet manufacturers that has migrated down to semi-custom," he says.
Yorktowne, KraftMaid, Medallion, and Wellborn Cabinets all offer filler pull-outs. Merillat offers double roll-out trays, reconfigurable wood drawer dividers, and deep drawers with pegboard inserts to prevent items from shifting. KraftMaid offers a new, tiered, wood cutlery drawer divider and a base cooking center that centralizes all the tools and utensils needed for cooking. Timberlake now offers tray dividers, a drop-in bread-box drawer, and multipurpose roll-out shelves. Wellborn offers three- and five-drawer bases, a blind corner base with pull-out tray, and the asymmetrical Easy-Reach Cabinet.
By expanding storage options, stock manufacturers are providing form and function at a lower price than many custom manufacturers can offer, with shorter lead times, as well.