To reach today’s price-sensitive consumers, Stacey Dean, designer and co-owner at Grayling Construction, in Anchorage, Alaska, says that being a cabinet dealer helps. Because she adds her markup to the cabinet price but doesn’t add the cabinet dealer markup she previously included, “the homeowner isn’t paying for two markups,” she says. And, as a dealer, there is one less step from design to ordering, so there’s less likelihood for mistakes.
“We can cover just about anything with the manufacturers we have,” Dean says. She purchases directly from two manufacturers, one with two levels of quality and the other with four quality levels, so there are plenty of options. Despite the slow economy, cabinet manufacturers have kept prices stable over the past couple of years, Dean says. In addition, cabinet lead times have decreased 25%.
Dean says her clients prefer contemporary cabinets with smooth, simple door styles. Clients conscious of resale value are opting for muted colors on floors, cabinets, and counters. “If you want color,” Dean says, “you have to go to glass [tile] for the backsplash.”
Today, Dean’s budget-conscious clients are asking for a breakdown of the budget versus accepting a lump-sum estimate. And they are less likely to request built-in cabinets for other parts of the house, such as dining rooms and bedrooms, and are opting for simpler pantry storage. Clients are, however, continuing to invest in finishes and storage inserts for the main kitchen cabinets.
Dean and her interior designer use Chief Architect to create the design, then, depending on the cabinet manufacturer’s process, use custom software or 20-20 Design to submit the order.
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.