Custom Wood Furniture - 5 Tips From An Expert

When The Design Is Unique.....You Have To Go With Custom

Before the economic recession, there was no "in between" on cabinets and solutions driven furniture. Designers had custom cabinets and furniture made for clients when the requirements were such that wholesale trade items could not meet them.

Custom can be pricey but it has so many pluses.  Control over the design, the materials, the usage and how it will perform.  The quality...because you make sure you have built those relationships with vetted and time-tested professionals who know what they are doing.

Jeannot  Fine Furniture is a family owned and operated business since 1925 producing the finest quality furniture and cabinetry, catering to a most distinguished and discerning clientele.  Here is their story: About Jeannot Fine Furniture

Nicole Miller - the owner's daughter was kind enough to provide some tips to help designers who may be venturing into working with custom furniture studios for the first time.  Knowledge is key and I trust the knowledge of this resource completely.

Custom Cabinets and Furniture...What You Should Know

1- Utilize your Tradespeople- They will be able to foresee any problems before you can.  And they will make you look smarter.  Bring your ideas to them, let us ask the questions that maybe you haven’t thought about.  This way the designer will be able to price your jobs correctly.


2- Be open to change with your original designs- There is a difference between Conceptualization VS Realization.  With custom work, there is always a change, and it is usually for the best.


3- Woods- There is a misconception that solid wood is always the way to go when making furniture or cabinets.  This is not the case, especially with tops.  Tops need to be made of plywood so they do not warp.  Technology and environmental upgrades have come a long way in plywood. 



4- Finishing- the most important step in the whole process of manufacturing.  Living and working in Calfornia – we are at the forefront of being environmentally stringent.  Every few months the EPA and AQMD change finishing products on the wood manufacturers and we are always scrambling to create new formulas to make our finishes work and stay strong on our cabinets and furniture.  I’m sure you know that all finish products are water based, so our end product is less to non-toxic in the home.  With most custom finishes, the process is detailed and there are layers of color to get the look you want.  So keep in mind there is very big difference between a cabinet shop who is just spraying a one color versus a furniture/cabinet shop that can create a custom color for you or copy an existing one.  If you are giving both of these people a cabinet to bid, usually the difference in costs could be for the custom finish.


5-  Be sure your client understands that custom is just that.  Custom, it takes time and it is truly one of a kind.  The pricing reflects that but again, some projects require custom.  Be certain to make them aware that great shops do their best to make sure the client is happy. Try to have fun along the way.  We try to remind our clients that in the end it is only furniture, and to enjoy the process.

Here is a link to our cabinet cost calculator which is very helpful in evaluating costs for your client: Cabinet Cost Calculator

If this was helpful...

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Elizabeth Ribons, ASID, CID - Creative Entrepreneur and Designer