Credit: courtesy Anvil Motion

Every now and then, a new product wins points for its sheer coolness, ingenuity, and, let’s face it, audacity. The automated kitchen cabinetry system by Anvil Motion of Brigham City, Utah, fits squarely into this category.

“One day we had a wild idea,” says Randy O. Deem, president of the company. “What if we can get the doors to disappear? Normally, [doors] are in the way when [cabinets] are open, so we thought about how we could hide them.”

“Wild” is certainly one way to describe the line. Billed as “the world’s first fully automated cabinetry system,” these cabinets use motors embedded with computers that respond to user activity and needs.

What exactly does this involve? It means that homeowners can simply wave a hand, and cabinet panels and doors rise and fall vertically. Or they could use a wireless touch-screen device that accomplishes the same function. Additionally, these cabinets can also be integrated with a Lutron lighting control system and programmed to open all the doors at once or individually through preprogramming. For example, the “cutting-edge technology includes an option for biometric security to control access to prescriptions, sharp objects and valuables with fingerprint recognition software,” the company says.

Other features include the ability for homeowners to program cabinets to close when people exit the kitchen or choose drawers that respond to touch. These drawers glide in and out of the cabinet box with intelligent computer memory that knows when to close multiple drawers.

But the automated aspect is but one feature of this cabinet line, according to Anvil. Despite their high-tech doors, this product is still built with traditional high-quality features, the company says, such as dovetail joinery, hand staining, and hand-carved molding and hood panels. In addition, customers may customize their orders to any desired specification from appliance treatment and door glides to wood species and sensors and switches. Cabinets may be fronted with metal, glass, or wood, or they may hide appliances completely.

Of course, such customization options and features do not come cheap. Anvil Motion is a division of Anvil Cabinet and Mill, which offers cabinets that run the gamut from entry-level to  high-end. But the new automated line is designed “for the extremely high end” and “people with a lot of money,” Deem says. “If typical high-end kitchen cabinetry cost $50,000, this will cost from $200,000 to $250,000.”

For those who are interested in finding these unique cabinets, Anvil has national distribution for the new line, but it has no showrooms or agreements with kitchen and bath design centers. Instead, all product inquiries are made directly to the company. “I see scenarios where we might fly to New York City to meet with customers, or I see designers flying in here to discuss their project,” Deem explains.

Given these cabinets' price tag, it seems an inauspicious time for Anvil to launch such a product. But company executives say they're full of hope for the innovative new cabinet line. “I think we will be affected by the [economic climate], but I’m not sure how much,” Deem believes.

Nigel Maynard is senior editor, products, at BUILDER magazine.