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Cabinets can be a very interesting part of your work in a Hardware/Home Improvement store. A successful sale and installation is a major event in your customer’s life. It’s a change they probably have been dreaming about for years and one they will enjoy for many more years. It’s also a large sale for you and your store and one with good profit potential. If you do a good job with cabinets there will be winners all around including you, your store and your customer! Doing a good job with cabinets means extended knowledge in a number of areas: kitchen layout and design, cabinet manufacture, quality choices, measuring, countertops, installation and more.

Many times a chapter of instruction is written to take you from the small points and build to the overall picture. This chapter will be the opposite. We first want you to see kitchen design and layout principles, then take a look at the sizes and styles manufactured so the kitchens can be laid out, sold and ordered by you, to fit into the floor plan layouts wanted by your customers.


This chapter will be quite technical with information on sizes, construction, etc., but right up front, we want to remind you that when selling “cabinets” only 10% or so of the information you give the customer should be technical. And you don’t want to spend any more time than that selling “cabinets”.

Ninety percent of your time should be spent selling benefits. Benefits such as convenience, beauty, pride, value and more. Whatever the customer really wants from his or her purchase.

Not too many people just want to buy cabinets. They may want to make their kitchens (and whole house) look good for an upcoming graduation, or anniversary, or some other occasion, but they don’t want to buy cabinets (after all they cost money). The only way to achieve the fresh new look they want, however, is to replace those old unappealing cabinets now in their kitchens. So even if they don’t want to buy cabinets, in order to achieve the goal they want, that’s just exactly what they’ll have to do. PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE

In order to give you a good foundation with which to sell benefits, we’ll spend a lot of time on product knowledge. This will help you tailor your cabinets to the customer’s needs and desires. You’ll have to pick the 2 or 3 bits of product knowledge the customer is interested in, from the 200 or more you have available in your mind. Only display as much product knowledge as is appropriate for the specific customer. The objective during the sale is to help the customer buy, not to “show-off” your product knowledge. Cabinets can be used in all rooms of a house and often are. Kitchens are the most common, followed by bathrooms. But cabinets are also common for storage in dining rooms, dens, family rooms, home offices, laundry rooms, etc. This chapter is mostly about kitchen cabinets and kitchen design, since these are the most complicated cases you will probably have. But remember to direct your cabinet selling efforts to all parts of the house when appropriate.


One of the first decisions in designing a new kitchen is the shape the cabinets and appliances





will make after they are all installed. Sometimes this choice is limited by room size, location of doors, windows and adjacent rooms in the house.

Whether cabinets are put in an existing home or a new home often makes a difference. In an existing home, you may well have to work with existing plumbing, door locations and windows. Of course these can all be changed, but often it is quite expensive.

With new construction the desired cabinet layout can be designed, then window and door locations put in after. Plumbing and electrical is then designed for the specific layout.

When examples and situations are talked about in this chapter, it will be on replacing cabinets in an existing home. If you’re designing a kitchen for a new home the same principles will apply in most cases, only it will be easier.


There are 4 common basic kitchen shapes with many variations (see the “Common Kitchen Layouts” figure on the facing page). These are:

1. One wall

2. Corridor or Galley 3. “L”

4. “U”

These layouts can be complimented by a peninsula and/or an island.

In some cases you have no choice about the kitchen shape. If you do though, you’ll want to work with your customer to pick the shape that best suits their situation.

The “Common Kitchen Layouts” figure shows the work triangle. This is often used to show the efficiency of a layout. The “U” shaped layout shows recommended minimum and maximum distances between the major kitchen work centres and minimum and maximum recommended totals.

You should check your design against the standards shown. These are reasonable and have evolved from actual practice and research. If your design falls outside the limits take a good look at it.

Many times your customers bring in a design that they want. While it may not workable, offer suggestions in a helpful way, but don’t downgrade their design. Many kitchens fall outside these guidelines and people seem to adjust just fine.


There are three major kitchen centres: the food storage centre, the food preparation centre and the clean up centre. The major centres revolve around a major appliance or the sink and the cabinets on one or both sides. Minimum and suggested countertop spaces to the sides of the appliances are shown in the figure below. If you go below these minimums you will probably have a poorly designed kitchen. Having more than the recommended distances is fine, as long as the work triangle doesn’t get too large.

Good judgement would indicate that a smaller home and/or a smaller family would usually have a design closer to the minimum sizes. A larger home and/or family will need to be nearer the maximium suggested sizes or over.


All kitchens should have a “minor” centre called the mixing centre. This is nothing more than 36" to 42", or more, of uninterrupted counter space.

Some kitchens also contain these “minor” centres (and some have even more): a planning centre, a laundry centre, or an eating centre.

All the centres can have “remote” locations as well. For example, the food storage centre revolves around the refrigerator and includes cabinets near the refrigerator used to store food. But a pantry cabinet is also part of this centre yet may be located some distance away. A freezer is part of this centre, if the family has one, but can be located a good distance away from the refrigerator, or it may be a part of the refrigerator. It can also be located in the basement, garage, or other locations.

The counter space within the various centres often overlap. The same 24" next to the refrigerator, which is used to set groceries down on, may be part of the minimum 36" of uninterrupted counter space needed for the mix centre.

The point is this: this kitchen lesson information covers common situations, but there are a lot of different situations that occur. So use your imagination and good judgement as you review the illustrations and examples.


The refrigerator is the main appliance in this centre. A freezer is also a popular appliance though its location varies widely as previously noted. This centre is often located conveniently near the back or side door so groceries can be brought in and set down next to the refrigerator on a 15" to 24", or wider, countertop.

Wall and base cabinets around the refrigerator will be used to store food. A pantry cabinet or a closet used for storing canned goods is often a nice design touch. And food is also stored throughout the kitchen depending on the family’s lifestyle and preferences.

Your customer may want a flour bin and/or bread box built into a cabinet. Or any of the many other accessories offered by your favourite cabinet supplier.


Preparation of food can mean washing and cleaning vegetables, opening microwavable packages, baking, boiling, frying, etc.

This means the main appliance will be the range, but will also include the sink, a microwave and any other small appliances used in food preparation.

A list of these would include a crock pot, toaster, blender, electric fry pan, popcorn maker and more.

Some kitchens will include a cooktop and then a separate oven, or two. A grill type range is a possibility as well as a second microwave. Who knows what new appliances will be commonplace in the next 5 to 20 years. Kitchens designed in the past did not plan for microwaves.

You’ll need enough counter space on one or both sides of the major cooking appliances. You’ll want base and wall cabinet storage for pots, pans, cooking utensils, seasonings, measuring devices, the smaller appliances and more. You may want a spice rack, a bread board, a cutting board, or any of a number of “extras” that are available, in this food preparation area.

A general rule is to store items at point of first use. So pots might be kept near the sink but frying pans near the range, for example.

The food preparation area requires careful individual design considerations because of the wide range of preferences individuals have. Ask your customers lots of questions to determine their kitchen habits and how best to design their kitchen so it meets their needs.







The sink is the main item, but a dishwasher is also very popular. If the customer does not have or want a dishwasher right away, design a 24" base cabinet to the right of the sink (for right handers) so it can be taken out later and a 24" (standard size) dishwasher can be added.

A sink is used in all phases of kitchen work, so it should be located between the range and refrigerator for convenience. Some kitchens will have two sinks, so that could affect placement.

Remember that that counter space is needed on both sides of the sink. For stacking dirty dishes and then for stacking clean ones.

Some designers will say a single bowl sink is adequate if you have a dishwasher, but most people end up wishing they had a double bowl sink, so try to avoid the single bowl in your designs.

A waste disposal is fairly common and a trash compactor might also be desired. The cabinets in this area should include space, probably under the sink, for detergents and cleaning supplies. They might also include a broom closet nearby as well as drawers for dishcloths and towels. A lot of people prefer to store their “everyday” dishes and silverware in nearby cabinets also.

These are the three major kitchen centres. But there are several minor centres. MINOR KITCHEN CENTRES

Some homes have only the mixing centre, some have two or more and some have them all. MIXING CENTRE

Here is 36" or more of uninterrupted counter space for preparing breads, pies, cakes, cookies and much more. You would design storage for mixers, blenders, etc., since this is the point of first use for many items.


A desk height (30") counter with knee space where a person can sit down to do meal planning, answer the phone, take messages is a nice addition if you have the space. It is usually located outside the work triangle at a quiet end of the kitchen.

Planning centres may be expanded to include a computer for meal planning, personal finances, homework, etc.


1. When using an existing refrigerator be sure to consider the door swing in planning its location. (Some refrigerator doors can be reversed.)

2. Since the refrigerator and built-in oven are tall, place them so they do not block the flow of work from one counter to another (generally you place them at the end of a line of cabinets).

3. If reasonable, place the refrigerator nearest the entrance. 4. Avoid placing the refrigerator right next to a wall that

extends past the refrigerator. The doors will open but you may not be able to remove the shelves or vegetable crispers.

5. Keep a range or surface unit at least 9" or more away from a window curtain to avoid possible fire hazard. 6. Plan your layout so that as foods are prepared they move

toward the dining area.

7. Locate the range to the right of the sink for right handers, to the left for lefties.

8. A sink under a window is preferred by many.

9. Plan a 24" cabinet next to the sink if no dishwasher is included at this time. Then one can be added later with a minimum of redesign. (But don’t plan a drawer base in this space. You won’t want to remove that).

10. A medium sized house should have a minimum of 10' of wall cabinets and 10' of base cabinets.

11. Plan at least one base drawer cabinet.

12. Understand and avoid the “corner” problem of drawer clashing. (More on that later in this chapter).

13. Keep cabinets at least 2" away from door and window trim so you have “someplace to go” if measurements are off a little. Also when the trim is not “plumb” it is not so evident with a wider gap such as 2 or 3 inches. 14. Bread boards and/or chopping blocks are popular. 15. To make a room seem larger use light colors on all


16. A kitchen floor is often lighter than other floors in the house.


A planning centre also may be the control point of your audio, video and security systems. So you see, what starts out as an “extra” centre in kitchen planning can turn out to be a critical part of a lifestyle. If you are well informed in these areas, give your customers good ideas and help them make decisions they will be happy with today and tomorrow, you’ll have a good chance to get their repeat business.


Many people prefer to eat most meals in the kitchen area rather than a formal dining room. This eating centre can be as a part of the regular countertop, often as part of a peninsula.

It may mean keeping the regular countertop width of 25" to 26" and just putting stools by the counter. Often though, the countertop is made an extra 8" to 18" wider so there is knee space under the extra countertop overhang. Often the overhang is lowered to chair height, as many people prefer sitting on chairs instead of stools. Some kitchens provide space for a regular table and chairs. The “L” shape works well for this preference, though just off the end of a corridor kitchen works also, as can any kitchen shape if there is enough room.

Another choice is to provide a built-in table and bench seats in what is commonly called a breakfast or dining nook.

Allow 36" space in all directions for each person, when designing these areas.


A clothes washer and dryer are the common appliances in this area. Depending on location and preferences, it may also include a laundry sink, storage cabinets, hamper, a clothes folding table. Possibly a built-in ironing board or space for a free standing one and maybe even a sewing area.


Sometimes you have little to say about this but it pays to bring it to your customers’ attention. They may have not given it much thought, concerning themselves mostly with the layout of the new kitchen and the desired cabinet style and colour.

Remodelling time, however, is the time to consider changing or adding windows and/or adding lighting and electrical outlets.

Many older homes do not have adequate ventilation to exhaust cooking odours as well as excess moisture. Now would be the time to consider fixing that situation.

Natural lighting is preferred by many people. This could mean more and/or bigger windows. Also general lighting, usually a ceiling fixture, is common. Then each work centre and appliance, as appropriate, should have its own direct light. Nobody ever complains about his or her kitchen having too much light, but a lot of kitchens are grossly underlit.

If a home has an adequately sized electrical entrance there is usually room to add several electrical circuits. If the kitchen needs them it is usually affordable to simply add a circuit or two. If the home needs a new entrance (fuse or circuit breaker box) it’s a sizable, but usually worthwhile investment.

Lack of proper ventilation can have the short term effect of undesired cooking odours floating all through the house. And the long term effect of creating serious moisture problems that will cost a lot of money in a few years.

The most common location for an exhaust fan is over the range. Some kitchens have a wall mounted fan that draws general air out of the kitchen.

The most effective ventilation exhausts the stale air and moisture to the outside. A compromise is the filtered vents that return the air to the room. These are not a good choice because they do nothing about the moisture problem. But they may help the odour problem.


Do your best to help the customer see the value of “doing things right”. It may cost them a little more but they will reap the benefits for years and years and they’ll be happier.


Most wall cabinets top off at 7' above floor level. In the average kitchen with an 8' ceiling, then, this leaves one foot between the top of the wall cabinet and the ceiling.

There are a number of choices for this area. One is to build a framework of wood 2x2 material that extends anywhere from 1" to several inches out into the room past the wall cabinets. Since wall cabinets are 12" deep, this means the soffits are from 13" to whatever overhang is wanted. (Sometimes lighting is put in this overhang so it may be 8" to 12" wider than the wall cabinets. Otherwise a 1" overhang is common).

This framework could then be covered by drywall and painted, or papered like the rest of the walls.

A few people will want to build sliding doors into this area for “off season” storage. Others may want cabinets tall enough to reach to the ceiling (typically 42" tall wall cabinets) or they will want a row of 12" high cabinets so they can make use of this storage area.

Quite a few kitchens simply leave this area open. It’s quite a dustcatcher but who climbs up there to look anyway. A “plate rail” may be installed on top of the wall cabinets at the front edge so plates (or other items) can be displayed. Ask questions to determine your customers’ preference.


No discussion of kitchens would be complete without a mention of the “great room” (it goes by other names, too).

Basically this is where the kitchen, dining and a living area are all combined into one large room. It probably stems from a couple situations. One would be the desire for the whole family to be together at least for parts of the day. This way when a meal is being prepared and someone is watching television and someone else is reading the paper and everyone is all in the same room enjoying each other’s company.

Another origin was the energy crisis. All other rooms, except the great room, could be kept very cool during the heating season. A fireplace, wood stove, or supplemental heat would keep this one room warm where all daytime activities would take place.

With a great room design all kitchen design principles still apply, but some take on added importance. Ventilation of cooking odours is definitely a priority.

Controlled lighting such as “dimmer” switches might be wanted. However, a more open design would be appropriate. Yet most cooks would appreciate a place to “hide” dirty dishes, etc., so maybe a set of folding shutters between the base and wall cabinets would be a nice touch. RECAP OF KITCHEN DESIGN

Knowledge of kitchen centres and kitchen theory will enable you to design a better kitchen.

Basically you put the refrigerator on or near one end of the cabinets, the sink in the middle and the range on the other side of the sink. Then you put in the maximum reasonable amount of base and wall cabinets using the kitchen layout shape that best fits the situation. To be a little more sophisticated make sure you have at least the minimum countertop space on each side of the appliances. Then check the distances between appliances and the overall work triangle length. To be really successful in kitchen sales you need to be an expert. Your customers can tell whether you have just minimal knowledge or whether you are well informed. If you are an “expert” in kitchen design and layout, your customers will have the confidence in you to spend the large amount of money at your store, which goes along with a kitchen sale.

You get to be an expert by studying the information in this chapter, for starters, asking questions, reading other kitchen design information, attending schools put on by the manufacturers, installing some cabinets, learning how to sketch kitchens, learning more about the benefits of your brands of cabinets, learning to estimate and price cabinets accurately and, of course, learning and using good selling tools.



There are many cabinet types and accessories. Since there are a great many manufacturers and individuals who build cabinets it is impossible to be 100% accurate in every description of sizes, styles, types of hardware, etc., that are available.

You can learn a lot from this information but nothing will beat using information specific to the cabinets you sell. You should have your main suppliers’ catalogue with you right now. When this text shows base cabinets, for example, study it. Then refer to your suppliers catalogue to see what cabinet sizes they have. Look also for the accessories available with your brand. Some cabinet types include base cabinets, wall cabinets, tall cabinets and more.

Some “sub” types of these include corner cabinets, sink bases, sink fronts, range bases, range fronts, drawer bases, vertical partition bases, lazy susans, peninsula and island cabinets, microwave cabinets, oven cabinets, utility cabinets, pantry cabinets and more.

Some common accessories include cutlery dividers, bread and flower boxes, valances, spice and wine racks, knick-knack and other open shelves, bread and cutting boards, pull out shelves, baskets, pan and lid racks, end panels both finished and unfinished, dishwasher front panels, plate railing, cove, prefinished panelling to match and more.

For bathroom cabinets there are vanity bases, vanity sink bases, vanity sink fronts, vanities with drawers, medicine cabinets and more. You get the idea!


There are three main ways cabinets are handled after a sale is made. The first is of minor importance in this chapter. That is where cabinetmakers custom build the cabinets on the job or in their local shops. They take the actual dimensions, buy sheets of plywood and construct the exact sizes needed for a specific kitchen.

The second is where a manufacturer builds cabinets in a factory, all to set sizes and specifications. This is quite common with low and medium priced cabinets.

They just manufacture their set sizes on standard production runs. A wholesaler or stocking retailer “stocks” a variety of sizes before a sale is made just like many other products in your store. The advantage is they are available immediately (if you have the right sizes and styles in stock).

It puts a burden on the designer to pick out and “put together” the pieces needed to exactly fit the kitchen, from the limited choices.

Usually the standard base and wall cabinets are made in 3" increments from 9" to 48", but not every 3" increment size is made by all manufacturers. The most common 3" increment not manufactured is probably the 45" wall and 45" base cabinet. Next size omitted from a line up is probably the 39" cabinet.

Any cabinet other than the standard base cabinet and the 30" tall wall cabinet is even more restricted in sizes available. Check your manufacturer catalogue.

Even with the size restrictions these factory made cabinets can fit almost every situation. There are fillers, corner bases that have a large centre panel and therefore can be slid up to 3" or more, to take up the “slack”, face frames that can be “shaved” if necessary, etc. It may take some planning on your part, but these cabinets should be able to work in 99% of the kitchens you have.

The third choice, usually with medium and upper priced cabinets, is where the manufacturer has set sizes, but does not make them until an order is received. Of course this means a two to ten week, or more delay before receiving the cabinets.

An advantage is that the manufacturer will alter the set cabinet size, for an additional charge, so that no filler pieces are needed and the cabinets can fit exactly. They can also stain the exposed cabinet ends that need it and possibly use a more economical wood for the ends that are covered.


When you deal with a certain kitchen manufacturer you don’t get a choice of methods. Each manufacturer works with its method.


Now for an in depth look at common kitchen cabinets.

The figure below shows an overall view of a simple kitchen cabinet layout. Then common cabinet types and sizes follow.



Base cabinets are approximately the dimensions shown to the left. They may have a full shelf, a half shelf, or pull out shelves or trays, depending on the manufacturer.

They usually just have their width as part of the name, because the height is constant at 341/

2" (when a 11/2" thick counter top is put on top

the cabinet working height is 36"). For example, a B24 means a Base unit 24" wide.

Another letter or two can be added to indicate some base cabinet other than a “plain” base cabinet. For example, a DB24 (or BD24) means a Drawer Base (or base drawer) unit 24" wide. An SF36 means a Sink Front 36" wide.

Some cabinets may do “double duty”. For example, the same base cabinet may be used for a sink base, or a range base.

It could be named RSB30 meaning Range/Sink Base 30" wide.

Manufacturers vary in the way they name cabinets. Some put the letters first, others the numbers. Some reverse the letter order, but with the basic knowledge covered in this course you can soon figure out what the names mean.

Standard base cabinets come in multiples from 9" to 48". Some manufacturers make longer “starter” assemblies that might contain a sink base, a drawer base and a regular base. Common lengths for these are from 5' to 8' in full foot sizes, but, as always, sizes vary with manufacturer.


Not all manufacturers have this size, but if they do it usually has no drawer or shelves. It probably has vertical partitions and might be called a “tray storage” cabinet.

BASE CABINET 12" to 24 wide

These sizes have a single door and drawer, though some 12" cabinets do not have a drawer. Some manufacturers have a fixed door so you have to specify whether the door is “hinged right” or “hinged left”. But many can be made to open either way (reversible).

BASE CABINET 27" to 48" wide

These sizes are double drawer and door, though some 27" cabinets may have a single drawer and the double door may not have a “style piece” between the doors. Sometimes the 45" and/or 39" and/or 27" is not available.



SINK BASE CABINET 27" to 48" wide

A cabinet with no drawers (but with false drawer fronts) to receive a sink which would be set through a hole cut in the counter top. It usually has no shelves. The 36" size is the most popular by far, then 30" and 33". Not all increments are always available.

BASE DRAWER CABINET 12" to 24" wide

Most drawer stacks have 4 drawers though some have 3. Bread boards are optional on most base cabinets but it is common to put one in a base drawer unit. The 15", 18" 21" and 24" are most popular though the 21" is not always available, nor is the 12".


This is a single door cabinet for a single sink. Often used as a cooktop cabinet and for a range base with some cutting. Some manufacturers have reversible doors, others have to be specified right or left hinging. No drawers and usually no shelf. Differs from a sink front, which is described later.

DIAGONAL SINK FRONT 36" to 42" wide

Similar to 24" sink front but with “wings” on each side, at 45° to cut diagonally across a corner. Can use a standard sink. A diagonal sink sounds “cute” but any sink in a corner makes that area quite congested. Think twice about using a corner sink.

SINK FRONT 24" to 30"

This is just the front, no sides back or bottom. It is cheaper than a base unit, but by the time other pieces are bought and attached it may be just as expensive (normally a sink base is preferred). You may find it noted SF27-24. Since it’s just a front, the edges can be cut down to alter the size. In this case it comes 27" but can be cut down to a 24" if needed. Many times a 30" is a double door, but not always.

SINK FRONT 30" to 48" wide

Same notes as the 24" except a double door with false drawer fronts. 36" is most common and not all sizes are available. Some are made so 6" total can be cut off (3" per side).


Another way to have a corner sink. Needs “L” shaped sink.



A peninsula is a “leg” of cabinets you can reach from both sides. A common situation is where one side of the peninsula opens into the kitchen and the other is in the dining area. There is a toe space on both sides.

It's common for doors on both sides to open, but the drawers can only pull open in one direction.

PENINSULA BASE 30" to 48" wide

Double door and drawer cabinet. Restricted sizes with 33" and 45" rare.

PENINSULA BASE 18 and 24 wide

A single door and drawer base cabinet with doors opening from both sides. Limited sizes.


When you see a cabinet designated 24/27, for example, it means it can be adjusted to take from 24" to 27" of wall space. This is important especially with the kind of cabinets that are factory made to pre-set sizes. A good designer takes advantage of this to eliminate filler strips and make the cabinet fit the required space.

This starter would go in the corner where the peninsula meets the standard cabinets. It only opens from the dining room side. A standard B24, turned so the door faces the dining area would also work, but then there is no adjustment for length and the toe space area in the kitchen side has to be reworked.



A concern of anybody who plans kitchen cabinet layouts is to get the corners correct. The problem is shown in the adjacent figure. Drawers may be restricted from opening by the next drawer at right angles, or if it clears the drawer, it may clash with the drawer pull or knob.

Many cabinets have no knobs or pulls, so the drawer may clear fine for now. But people may want to “redo” the kitchen later including installing pulls on the drawers. Make sure, then, that you avoid the “corner problem”.

There are several ways to successfully turn the corner. The lazy susan is a popular choice. Cabinet manufacturers make a “base corner” sometimes called a blind corner base, or similar (BC, or BCB).

This includes a 1" filler that “pushes” one cabinet away so drawer hardware will clear. The corner base has a large “style” (panel) that enables the installer to “slide” the cabinet forward or back so that its hardware also clears. It also allows the designer to adjust a “run” of cabinets for uneven dimensions.

You can put a filler piece on one side of two regular base cabinets, to turn the corner, leaving the corner unusable. Of course this is not usually a good idea, but if you are bidding against a competitor who did this, your bid would naturally be higher, all other things being equal.

The corner can also be turned by using a square sink corner, or a diagonal sink corner.


Two corner cabinets that cut down on problems in turning corners are the “lazy susan” base and the “blind corner” base.


Always takes up 36" of wall space. Makes good use of corner space but does not allow any adjusting for odd dimensions in a run of base cabinets.

BLIND CORNER BASE 36" to 51"wide

Manufacturers make enough sizes to cover every distance from 36" of wall space to 51". They do this by making the style (panel) between the door and the opening wide enough so the cabinet can be slid forward (called “pulled”) up to 3" and for some models up to 7". Notice on the illustration that the cabinet box is usually made short so it doesn't go back to the wall. Often it is up to 12" away from the back wall. This cuts down on storage space a little. This cabinet gives a lot of flexibility when a run of cabinets has to fit exactly between two fixed points. When designing be sure to put it into the correct run of cabinets, if you have a choice (the run that has the fixed points).

Corner Problem



Sometimes called utility cabinets, they are usually 84" (7') tall, but some are 66". 7' is considered the normal height that the top of wall cabinets are installed. There are three main tall cabinets: oven, pantry and utility or broom.


The fixed size cabinets usually have all the cabinet ends stained to match. Some of these ends will be exposed while others will be hidden, but since they are all pre-stained it’s not a concern.

The cabinets that are factory made, but not until an order is placed, usually stain only the ends requested. This means the kitchen estimator has to inspect the design and “list” either “REF” (right end finished), or “LEF” (left) or “BEF” (both) and add the required cost.

Some manufacturers have a fir end you can get prefinished at a lower cost than the main cabinet wood. This could be a good choice next to a refrigerator, for example, where you may see the end, but not plainly.


There are many other base cabinets and accessories available. Appliance garages, custom shelves, prefinished matching V-groove, or no V-groove panelling sheets so the back of regular cabinets used in a peninsula can be finished, cutting boards, bread boards, wire basket liners, bread box liners, cutlery trays, half-round open shelves for end of base cabinets, microwave trim kits and more.

OVEN CABINET 27" or 33" wide

These cabinets are used to house an oven separate from a range. Often used when a cooktop is used in place of a range, or for a second oven. The first image shows an oven cabinet that could hold two ovens, or an oven and microwave. Check manufacturers information for how much you can cut out of the openings.

UTILITY (BROOM) 18" or 24" wide, 12" deep

A variety of uses for both depths. Shelf kits and other accessories usually available.

PANTRY CABINET 18" or 24" wide

Sometimes a regular utility cabinet is used and a kit is installed that contains shelves, brackets, etc. Kits are available for door storage. Some manufacturers have a special pantry unit with storage in doors, shelves and other features.



Wall cabinets are 12" deep, but unlike base cabinets, they vary in height. The most common height is 30", but 24", 18", 15" and 12" heights are available (some manufacturers may have a 21" height and no 18" or 24").

They range from 9" wide to 48" wide in 3" increments. The 30" height cabinet usually has all 3" increments available. If any are missing from the “lineup” it’s likely to be the 45" and/or 39". The other heights have fewer width choices.

Wall cabinets through 24" wide are single door. Though some 24" cabinets are available in double door. Some manufacturers have reversible doors while with others you have to specify “hinged right”, or “left”. Though certain styles of any door may not be reversible, such as a cathedral style (reversing the doors often means just turning the wall cabinet upside down).

Wall cabinets usually have four numbers plus one or more letters in their name. The numbers list the width first, then the height, in inches. Some common letter names include: “W” for wall, “DW” for diagonal wall, “WC” for wall corner and more. Some manufacturers add a letter or change them around as there is no standard. For example, “WDC” might mean wall diagonal corner. Some put the letter first and the number second, others reverse the order. Become familiar with your suppliers “code”.

WALL CABINET 18" high, 27" to 48" wide

Not too common, but could be in a peninsula instead of the 24" height. Both this height and the 15" are common over ranges and cook-tops. Could be over a refrigerator but 12" or 15" is much more common. 33" and 45" may be missing.


18" high, 24" deep and 18" or 24" wide

One of the few 24" deep wall cabinets available. This is for a “top” over utility and/or oven cabinets of the same width. Some "tall" cabinets are 66" (5'-6") tall, with this 18" height cabinet on top they equal 84" total height.


18" high, 24" deep and 27" or 33" wide

Same as above, but double door.

WALL CABINET 18" high, 18" and 24" wide

Not too common. Could be used over a 12" deep utility cabinet, or as part of a peninsula.



Wall cabinets that go over a peninsula or island usually have doors that open from both sides. The dining room side may have decorative glass in the doors.

These cabinets are often shorter so a better view into the other room is possible. The 24" height is common, with 30" also available.

In some peninsula layouts doors opening from both sides may not be wanted. Regular wall cabinets can be used with prefinished 1/


plywood used as a back. This is available stained to match, usually with or without V-grooves.

WALL CABINET 30" high, 9" to 24" wide

This is the single door standard height wall cabinet. All 3" increments available. 2 shelves usually adjustable, but may be “fixed”.

WALL CABINET 24" high, 27" to 48" wide

Same as previous but double door. 45" and 33" may not be available.

WALL CABINET 24" high, 18" and 24" wide

One shelf, fixed or adjustable. Not too common, but could be used in a peninsula situation, though the cabinet with doors opening from both sides would be more common.

WALL CABINET 30" high, 27" to 48" wide

Standard double door cabinet. 45" width may be missing.


15" high, 30", 33" and 36" wide

No shelf, used where shorter cabinets are wanted. Usually over a refrigerator or range.


12" high, 30", 33" and 36" wide

Same as previous. Also could be used in place of a soffit, to fill in the foot between the top of regular wall cabinets and an 8' ceiling, for extra storage.

PENINSULA WALL CABINET 30" high, 24 wide

Single door each side, often reversible by turning upside down (if door style allows). 2 shelves, adjustable or fixed. One width only.



Turning corners in wall cabinets is not as difficult as with base units. The drawer clashing problem is not present. Still, if you get two doors in a corner with their hinges back to back, it’s possible they will clash and the doors will only open part way. It depends on door thickness, etc. But be aware of lt.

Many of the same type cabinets help turn wall corners as did the base units. Since peninsula cabinets were just discussed, that is what starts off this section.

PENINSULA WALL CABINET 30" high, 30" to 48" wide

2 doors each side, usually 30", 36" and often 48". 30" height not too common.

PENINSULA WALL CABINET 24" high, 24" wide

The usual height for a peninsula wall cabinet, 1 shelf, often reversible by rotating or specify right or left hinging.

PENINSULA BLIND CORNER 24" high, 24" wide

Same as following but more common. 1 shelf.

PENINSULA BLIND CORNER WALL 30" high, 24" or 36" wide

As with base cabinets, blind wall corner cabinets can be pulled a certain distance, usually 3", to take up the slack of uneven dimensions. They usually come with a 1" filler so the door clashing problem can be avoided. As with any blind corner cabinet, the run you choose to put it in can make it easier or harder to adjust your cabinet dimensions. Usually put it in the run with fixed end points.

2 shelves, fixed or adjustable.


Another way to turn a corner and get the peninsula started. One size, it always takes 24" of wall space. 2 shelves. Specify right or left back door.




Many other accessories and some other cabinets may be available from different manufacturers. A common one is the microwave cabinet.

More accessories include: wall fillers, end panels, plate rails, various mouldings, what-not shelves, valances, wine racks, spice racks and more.

LAZY SUSAN WALL 30" high, 24" wide

Just like the previous except not for a peninsula. It always takes 24" of wall space. Makes good use of a corner, but takes away the flexibility of making adjustments in a run of wall cabinets.

DIAGONAL WALL CABINET 30" high, 24" wide

Same as previous except 2 shelves instead of lazy susan.

BLIND CORNER WALL CABINET 30" high, 24" to 39" wide

As with blind corner base units, these units are usually manufactured with a large style so they can be pulled up to 3". Sizes are made to cover every measurement from 24" to 39". 2 shelves and usually a 1" filler piece is included.

A good choice for flexibility in design and installation.

BLIND CORNER WALL CABINET 30" high, 42" to 51" wide

Same as previous but wider and with double doors.

BLIND CORNER WALL CABINET 24" high, 24" wide

Not available from some manufacturers, this starts a run of 24" cabinets. 1 shelf, 1 size.

MICROWAVE CABINET BOX 30" wide (varies)

This can be installed below a 24", 18", or 15" wall cabinet, or whenever good design suggests. The face frame is wide enough to be trimmed to fit many sizes.



Some manufacturers of “made-to-order” cabinets allow you to order an “extended style” (meaning vertical millwork piece) for an extra charge. This allows flexibility to cut to size on the job for that final fit.

This is especially good with remodelling when walls are not plumb and/or the finish wall is not in place when you have to measure and order cabinets.

The extra amount can be scribed or trimmed for exact fit.


Bathroom cabinets normally mean vanities. Vanities are similar to the base cabinets described earlier. Only they are generally 21" deep rather than 24" deep. Some even narrower ones are available in limited sizes for areas where it’s crowded. Of course the centre of most vanities, at least the smaller ones, cannot have a drawer as room is left for the sink bowl.

One unit is used for a small vanity, but it is common to add vanity drawer bases or vanity door and drawer bases to either or both sides of the “bowl” unit as space permits.

Numbering is similar to base units with the vanity height assumed to be approximately 30" and the depth 21". The letter “V” is used as in 24V, meaning a 24" Vanity. Or VB24, meaning a Vanity Base 24" wide, etc.

Following are some common sizes. Not all manufacturers make all sizes and some make more.

VANITY SINK BASE 24", 30" and 36" wide

This is the smallest standard sink base usually available. No drawers or shelves. For longer vanities add vanity drawer bases and/or vanity bases, or another sink base.

VANITY DRAWER SINK BASE 24", 30" and 36" wide

The bowl is put on the left side, so that is a false drawer front. There are drawers on the right.

VANITY BASE 12", 15" and 18" wide

This is a unit that may be added to a vanity sink base to make the vanity longer. As with many single door cabinets you have to specify right or left hinging (as you look at the front), though some may be reversible. Has a drawer and 1 shelf.

VANITY DRAWER BASE 12", 15" and 18" wide

15" is almost always available, the others may not be. Simply a 3 drawer unit that is added to the sink base unit if more drawers are desired. Sometimes available in four drawers, rather than three.



Some manufacturers have vanity sink fronts also. Since it is just a front panel it can be trimmed as much as 3" per side. Sizes often are 30" (can be trimmed to 24") and 36" (trimmed to 30").

Desk drawers are often available. These are installed under a counter top and are used in making a desk in the kitchen as well as for a vanity desk.

Matching medicine cabinets may be available, 30" high and 12", 15" and 18" wide (widths vary). Vanity base fillers and matching mouldings are sometimes available.

Vanity tops are an important part of the overall vanity. They are available in many plastic laminate patterns. Here a hole is cut and the sink of choice is set through the hole. But many all-in-one top and sink bowl units are used. These can be very nice at a reasonable price, or they can be spectacular at a high price. Made from marble, imitation marble, plastics and more, they are included in just about every vanity sale.

Find out what vanity tops are available to your customers and learn their benefits such as ease of cleaning, resistance to stains, etc. This knowledge may help you sell the vanity.


Cabinets are made of similar parts but how they are constructed, the kinds of woods used, the thicknesses and qualities of products, workmanship, quality control and more enter into “cabinet quality”.

A real technical study of cabinets would get into wood species, thickness of face frames, dovetail joints, mortise joints, etc.

This chapter is more basic trying to help you with information that is pretty much “generic”. If you want more detail on cabinet construction refer to your manufacturers information.

It’s a good idea to be familiar with the technical aspects of the cabinets you sell, because that may justify a higher price, or enough of a reason to choose your cabinets instead of your competitors.

For example, a 5/

8" face frame may look the

same to the customer, but would cost less than a 3/

4" face frame. If you have the 3/4" face frame

you’ll have to show the customer the benefits of the thicker face frame, or the customer will never know the difference. And unless you know the specifications of your specific cabinets you won’t know these kinds of benefits.

Most cabinets will be sold on their looks and price, not on face frame thickness, etc., but when a customer is choosing between two or three equally appealing cabinets, the store with the look and the quality they like, has a better chance of making the sale.


Door styles mean at least three things in this chapter. It is a vertical piece in a cabinet. It’s the decor of the door, such as French provincial, rustic, early American, etc.

We won’t be studying door decor. It’s easy for you to refer to your store displays, supplier’s information, etc., to see what is available. Not much learning, is required, it is more a case of being aware of what is available.

VANITY BASE ASSEMBLY 36", 42" and 48" wide

Different combinations of drawers possible. Some manufacturers may have a small drawer on each side of a larger false drawer front centred. Centre is for sink bowl. It is more economical to buy one larger unit than two smaller ones, so this assembly is a god choice if it has the benefits the customer wants.




The third use of styles is the door/drawer edge treatment. These choices can make a difference in the kind of hardware used and the overall “look” of the kitchen. Here’s a look at three popular door edge treatments.

Lipped Door Usually a 3/


lip, all around. This style edge treatment is better when

cabinets are installed on walls that are out of square, not plumb, etc. The lip conceals any unevenness that might be seen in a flush door installation. Of course it’s a popular style for well constructed walls, too.

The semi-concealed hinge shown here is often used with the lipped door. The hinge may be equipped with a concealed spring, in which case it is self-closing, or a “catch” may be needed to hold the door shut.

Flush Style These doors fit into the face frame so t h e o u t s i d e surfaces are even. They make for a v e r y s m o o t h

looking kitchen. If any shifting occurs the distance between the door edge and face frame opens up and becomes noticeable and doors may become difficult to open or close. Not too common. A hinge similar to the one shown here is often used. Overlay Style

This is a popular door style because it can be used without door or drawer pulls or

knobs. The edge above is shown square cut, but many times it is bevelled and the door is grabbed under the bevel to open it. Combined with self-closing hinges, no catches are required either. Hardware can be added later for looks. This style door/drawer will cause the most problems in turning corners with base and wall cabinets. Semi-concealed pivot hinges shown at the right are often used. Then no hardware is visible on the cabinet face.


We’ll won’t get very deep into hardware. There is a separate chapter in this course that includes detailled information on cabinet hardware. You’ll want to have matching finishes and styles of catches, hinges, knobs, pulls and backplates, of course.

Cabinet Catches

Several catch styles are available, though on new cabinets you may not get a choice as the manufacturer puts on the one they want. They are not too expensive to replace, if a customer wants something different.

Pulls and Knobs

Many cabinet doors and drawers are designed not to have knobs (round) or pulls (handles). Instead they are routed out under the door or drawer for a finger pull, or the bevelled overlay style doors are used. If knobs or pulls are included the style selection from the cabinet manufacturer is quite limited.

If the cabinets are custom made the customer can choose from a wide selection of pulls and knobs. The main thing for you to be aware of is which styles and which finishes are available and popular. Check your stock and the manufacturer catalogue for current styles and finishes.


Backplates are round, for behind knobs, or rectangular, for behind pulls, protection for the cabinet surface area that is frequently scratched when grabbing the pull. These are not often included in new cabinets, but might be a good add-on sale for which the customer will thank you later.



Hinges are available in many styles, finishes and shapes. One nice feature is the self-closing hinge. If your cabinet manufacturer includes them (most do) it’s a good selling point.

Drawer Guides

Drawer guides are installed at the factory for factory cabinets. For custom made cabinets a choice has to be made. There are two main choices: a mono or single drawer rail under the drawer down the middle of the cabinet, or a double track drawer guide. Here a guide is attached to each drawer side. Usually the double guide is the better choice, though it is more expensive.

Again, if your factory cabinet has double guides instead of a single one, it is a selling point.


You may stock preformed countertops in only one style and several patterns, for immediate sale. People buying new cabinets, however, may want to choose from a wider selection. In this case you’ll probably have a bunch of plastic laminate samples to show them. They pick out what they want, but you’ll probably have to accurately price it out.

Normally the cost is a price per foot, or a set price for certain standard lengths. Then there is additional cost for end caps, which may be applied at the factory, or may be shipped unattached for application on the job.

An additional charge is also made for mitres. Mitres are the angle created in “L” shaped, or similar, corners. There is extra bracing under the countertop at this point and certain hardware is required that is put on when the top is installed and holds the mitre together. In addition the length of the countertop is usually figured to the longest point, so a mitred corner can be expensive (you have to have it if the countertop turns a corner).

If you have a peninsula or island then a countertop with two edges and no backsplash is needed.

Some arrangements require a backsplash on the side of the cabinet, (if it butts into a wall). Again the prices will be different than the straight run countertop.

When competing for a counter-top be aware that some retailers may advertise a very low price on straight run countertops. Since very few countertops are that simple, a retailer could charge enough extra for the add-ons (end caps, mitres, etc., so the total price is equal to or more than a store that charges a fair price for all items. The point here is, if you are asked to give your price per foot or piece, try to get the customer to give you the whole layout so you can quote the whole job. Inform the customer to check the whole price, not just the per foot or per piece price.


There are several edge styles available. It’s likely a single supplier will just have one choice available, usually the one that is popular in your area.



The previous pages had a product knowledge theme along with cabinet layout information. Now we’ll look at information needed to carry through a kitchen cabinet sale. This will take us through the following steps.

• Ask questions

• Measure for cabinets and/or countertop • Layout kitchen • Check layout • Estimate cost • Sell • Install ASK QUESTIONS

To find out what your customer really wants obviously means you need to ask some questions. It should be organized and start with easy to answer questions and proceed to more opinion type questions. All the while giving you information that will help you help your customer to make a decision he or she can live with for a long time.

The wrong decision many people make is they want a really nice cabinet style, but settle for something less. They save some money during the initial purchase, but live with less than they want for many years. If they had someone (you) who would help them clearly see what they wanted and show them how to get it, they would more likely make a good decision.

This all starts with asking questions. Questions give you information, but they do more things. They help customers clarify things in their own minds. The clearer they see their situation the more likely it is they will go ahead with the project.

Another important condition is occurring and it may be the most important thing happening. You are establishing a positive relationship with the customer, by simply asking questions. The customer feels you are sincerely interested in their specific situation. Many large sales are made because the customer is “sold” on the salesperson, especially on larger complicated projects like a new kitchen.

The “Kitchen Survey Form” (following the glossary) may be helpful in learning what your customers want in their kitchens.


After asking questions and meeting with customers, they may want a price quote. They may have their own dimensions, but sometimes you will go out and measure.

The important thing here is A C C U R A C Y . Measure twice, add up all sub-dimensions to see if they equal the overall dimension and then recheck your work.

When measuring remodelling work especially, but new work also, check walls to see if they are square and plumb.

Here’s one way to check for squareness. Measure along one wall for 3' (or a multiple, the bigger the better) and mark. Measure along the other wall from the same corner, 4' (or the same multiple) and mark. Measure diagonally. If the diagonal is 5' (or the same multiple) the corner is square. If not, it’s out of square. This is often called the 3-4-5 method.

If it’s close, cabinets and counter-top can adjust. If it’s off a bit, make sure to give the countertop people a sketch with the amount it’s off. They can adjust the mitre so the top is correct. When measuring for the countertop, measure distances at countertop height, not at the floor line. The cabinets can usually be adjusted with a little trimming.

To check for plumb (to see if it leans in or out at the top) use a plumb bob, level, or measure at the floor line, again at mid-point and at the ceiling line.

It’s important to measure the wall at the installed cabinet height. Wall cabinets should be measured at about 54" above the floor.


Start in one corner and measure to window and doors, up to their trim, then across the trim, then to the next point. Measure in inches and note it on a sketch. Then measure the overall distance in feet and inches. Next add up the total inch dimensions across the wall. Convert to feet and inches and compare with your overall dimension. Then note height of window from floor to bottom of trim, then height from trim to trim. Note floor to ceiling height and any other information on openings that is important.


Also note location of existing plumbing, electrical, heating and any other item that matters.

If there are not many doors or windows a “Floor Plan Sketch” alone might be okay. If the kitchen is more complex then an additional “Elevation Sketch” of each wall, may be better.

It’s best to do this while at the job site so you can recheck any errors.

MEASURING “BY THE NUMBERS” 1. Start in a corner, measure

to outside of trim in inches (above the baseboard). 2. Measure across trim from

outside to outside. 3. Finish one wall.

4. Measure that overall wall distance in feet and inches. 5. Add up inch dimensions,

convert to feet and inches. 6. Check against overall


7. If different, correct. 8. Note floor to bottom of

window trim, in inches. 9. Note trim to trim height. 10. Note top of trim to ceiling. 11. Measure overall floor to

ceiling height and check smaller dimensions against it, as before.

12. Note location of electrical outlets on this wall. 13. Note location of heating

vents or radiators.

14. Note location of plumbing. 15. Note location of any other

fixed item. 16. Show door swing 17. Repeat for each wall.




After the customer has given you the necessary measurements, or you have visited the job site and got them yourself, you should “layout” the kitchen.

You could probably estimate the kitchen without making a layout, but you increase your chances of doing an accurate estimate if you have a good, clear, layout such as that shown on the previous page.

A layout will help you make sure the cabinets you think you need will work. It will help you get all the “extra’s” such as end panels, filler strips, etc.

But more than that, it will help your customers better see what they are getting for their money. The clearer something is to your customers, the more likely they will go ahead with the project. There are various degrees of sophistication in making up a layout. The more professional looking and complete, the better your chances of making the sale. The choices range from having an architect draw the layout and include coloured presentation perspectives, to having a draftsperson do it on a drawing board, to sketching it yourself on a piece of graph paper. Practically speaking, the sketch on a piece of graph paper is quite common, though drawing it to scale on a drawing paper is reasonable too. A floor plan is recommended as the minimum layout. (“Cabinet Layout Floor Plan” page 31) Show each base and wall cabinet by number. Make sure the sizes will fit into the space you have by checking and rechecking your numbers. The layout plan shown is a simple layout. You might have to note filler pieces, finished ends, valances, etc.

The figure “Cabinet Layout Elevation Example” (page 31) shows elevation views of the same kitchen. These are recommended because they give customers what they want to see.

A perspective drawing, one that uses vanishing points (not shown), is even better as a sales tool. If you have the ability, draw a perspective. It will increase your chances of making a sale. To start your sketch, normally start in a corner and work your way out. First pencil in items with

known dimensions and do a little math work at the same time to see what space is left.

If you have a fixed point to work around, such as wanting to centre a sink under an existing window, use the “T” method. This is demonstrated in the “Cabinet Layout Floor Plan” figure. This same technique works when laying out a regular cabinet run, too.

Review the kitchen planning shown at the be-ginning of this chapter and read over the kitchen planning suggestions shown in the “Cabinet Layout Floor Plan” figure.


This means making a list of the cabinet quantities required, including all the add-ons that need to be charged.

Listing the countertop and all its options and listing any item that you will furnish and charge to the customer.

On some projects this means lumber, paint, drywall and all the other building materials needed to complete the job.

This chapter is concerned with cabinets. If you have made sketches like the layout figures, then you simply list all the cabinets you’ve planned, in an orderly fashion. Complete each item with finished ends, if needed, breadboards and any other pieces needed. Actually when you planned the layout, you estimated it. All that remains is writing it down and pricing it out.

If you haven’t made a sketch yet, then make up something so you can plan out what you need. List the necessary items on your company form, price them out, double check your work and your estimating should be done.


If you know how to install cabinets you can give customers who are doing their own work some helpful hints. Doing this will help them gain confidence in you and increase your chances of making the sale.

The best way to learn how to install cabinets is to do it (assuming you do it correctly). The next best way (and it’s not nearly as good) is to study and understand the manufacturers instructions completely.


Following are a few basic steps for installing cabinets. This is not to take the place of the much more complete instructions from the cabinet manufacturer. There is usually more than one correct way to install cabinets, but if there is a conflict in information, of course you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Wall cabinets are often installed first. If the doors are removed the cabinets are easier to work with.

Locate the wall studs with a stud finder, or tapping on the wall for a solid sound, then drive a nail in to confirm that it is a stud. Once you find one, the rest should be 16" apart, but of course, it doesn’t always work out that way! Mark all stud locations from floor to ceiling.

The bottom of wall cabinets are generally 54" above the floor. Measure up from the highest point of the floor (if the floor is level any point will do) then use a level to mark points on the wall and a chalkline to mark level lines.

It’s extremely important that cabinets are installed level and plumb. Use a level, straight edge and shims to see that this is done. If it isn’t, doors will not line up, or stay closed.

A 2x4 or 1x2 “cleat” can be nailed to the wall. Make the top of the cleat even with the chalkline. This will give a place to rest the back of the cabinet while installing it as well as keeping it level.

Factory built cabinets have a hanging strip at top and bottom of the cabinet. Use screws (no nails) to fasten the cabinet to a stud. If there is only one stud for a cabinet, then use two screws. Sometimes a smaller cabinet will fall right in between any studs (bad luck)! All the cabinets should be fastened to each other with a screw through the face frames. Sometimes this is enough to carry the smaller wall cabinet (use judgement).

Base cabinets should have their face frames fastened together, also. Installing base cabinets is a matter of levelling and shimming as you go along. Make sure to leave adequate space for appliances, a 1/

4" gap on each side of appliance

is usual. The gaps can be pretty much hidden by

running the countertop up to the appliance (providing the countertop is a little long and does not have end caps applied and you install it after the appliances are in).

The front of the cabinets should be kept straight, so if there are gaps between the back of the cabinet and the wall, they should be shimmed at the point the base cabinet is fastened to the wall.

There are many special situations such as hanging wall cabinets from the ceiling, peninsulas, islands, etc. Study manufacturers’ literature for more knowledge.


Much of the kitchen cabinet information pertains to any cabinet installation. It is becoming more common to install cabinets in all rooms of the house.

Cabinets can easily be made into a hutch for the dining room, general storage in a family or recreation room. An audio-visual centre can be fashioned from wall and base cabinets.

A laundry room is a natural for wall cabinets and sometimes base cabinets. Same with a sewing room.

Many homes have offices where combinations of cabinets work out really well. Offices in workplaces, may be a good market for cabinets. The point is, with knowledge of cabinets and design, you can enthusiastically suggest cabinets for many situations.


Most chapters have a “selling section”. With cabinets, you’ve probably noticed, selling is discussed throughout. The title “selling cabinets” is wrong! If that occurred to you, you’re on your way to good selling. You don’t usually sell cabinets, you sell what those cabinets will do for your customers. You sell convenience, pride, beauty, change, or whatever your customers said they wanted when you asked them: “If you were to go ahead and install a new kitchen, what would be the main reason?”



Appliance garage - A small cabinet that fits between the base and wall cabinet, in a corner, into which small appliances such as blenders, toasters, etc. can be stored. The name comes from the miniature overhead garage door at the entrance.

B a c k p l a t e - A decorative and protective hardware piece that fits behind a knob (both are round), or behind a pull on a cabinet drawer or door. Used to cover up existing scratches caused by grabbing the knob or pull, or prevent them from occurring.

Backsplash - The countertop part at the back, that goes up the wall. Often approximately 4" high.

Blind corner base - A base cabinet installed in a corner, with a drawer and door on the part visible after all cabinets are installed, but just an opening on the part covered by the cabinet at right angles to it. It often has a wide style so its length can be adjusted within the cabinet run. Chalkline - A handheld tool with string wound on a reel that is surrounded in a bed of chalk. The line is pulled out, covered with chalk. It is stretched tight between two points, pulled out at the middle and released, snapping back to position leaving a line of chalk on the surface. Cleat - A piece of wood fastened to the wall to give support or prevent slippage.

Cutlery divider - A drawer accessory with divisions for cutlery (spoons, knives, forks, etc.). Diagonal - Cutting across at an angle, usually 45°.

Elevation - A drawing view looking straight at the finished item.

End cap - The piece that finishes off the counter-top end. Sometimes installed at the factory, sometimes sent loose for job application.

End splash - At right angles to a back splash, the countertop piece that goes up the wall at the end of a countertop, usually 2' long.

Estimate - To list and price the cost of the pieces required to do a project, as close as can be figured.

Extended style - See style. A wide style, extending past the cabinet box an extra amount. This is intended to be trimmed as necessary to fit an irregular wall, or an inconvenient length of cabinet run.

Face frame - The visible part of a cabinet box made up of styles and rails.

Filler - A cabinet piece shaped like the cabinet front profile, that can be placed between cabinets to fill up a space caused by wall lengths not matching up with available cabinet sizes. Finished end panels - The cabinet ends that are exposed need to be finished to match the cabinets. In cabinets built for stock all end panels are stained. In factory cabinets built to order, the ends needing to be finished may have to be specified and charged extra for.

Floor plan - A view from the top showing layout. Graph paper - Paper printed with a series of light lines making up squares. Used to help “freehand” draw kitchen layouts to scale.

Ground Fault Interrupter - Called GFI, this device breaks the electrical circuit when it senses a “short”, before the electrical shock would occur to a person. It is installed at the circuit breaker box, or at the outlet. Usually required for outdoor outlets, bathroom and kitchen outlets and more.

Hanging strip - A strip of wood at the top and bottom of wall cabinets, about 1x2, through which the cabinet is screwed to the wall.

I s l a n d - A cabinet(s) freestanding, not connected to any wall or cabinet.

Layout - A view of the cabinets positioned in place. Usually a pencil drawing to scale.

Level - To be parallel with the horizon. Or the device used to check for that position.

Mitre (or miter) - To fit angles together.

P a n t r y - A tall cabinet with shelves and compartments for storing canned goods.

Peninsula - A cabinet run extending from a wall or other cabinets, but connected only at that point. Accessible on both sides and one end. Perspective - A view similar to an elevation, but with vanishing points. Most true-to-life.




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