Carpentry and Cabinets

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Carpentry and Cabinets

Good carpentry is an integral part of any house's design. Whether you're a do-it-yourselfer who likes to take on complicated carpentry projects or you prefer to leave it to the professionals, there is no limit to what quality woodwork can add to your home.

Inside and outside, carpentry can provide enjoyment, utility or, ideally, both. Outdoor carpentry projects range from decks to doghouses and sheds to swing sets. Any time outdoor carpentry is taken on, treated and/or sealed woods should be used in construction, to protect your project from the ravages of the elements. Rust-proof fasteners should also be employed whenever possible to insure the long-term integrity of whatever you choose to build.

The most common and vital indoor carpentry project is cabinetry, especially in the kitchen. Cabinets are the defining feature of a kitchen, and whenever kitchen remodeling is considered, cabinets are the primary candidates for a makeover.

There are as many styles and finishes as there are types of kitchens. Custom cabinets, while expensive, can give your kitchen the exact feel you're looking for. Factory made cabinets are usually more inexpensive, but your choices are more limited. Luckily, there is a happy medium in custom factory-made cabinets. Rather than being made by a local carpenter, they are assembled at a factory according to your specifications.

Solid hardwood cabinets are very attractive, but the same look can be achieved through wooden veneers or plastic laminates placed over plywood or particleboard. Laminates also offer a vast array of other colors and patterns to match any kitchen d�cor. Unfinished wood can offer big savings, if you're willing to do the staining yourself or pay to have a contractor do it on-site.

When planning cabinetry, it's important not only to have enough storage space but also to have it conveniently and intuitively placed. Ample room for pots and pans should be placed near the range, unless you plan to hang your cookware from a metal rack. Spice racks and holders for common cooking supplies should also be within easy reach of the cook top. Glassware is best located near the refrigerator, and pull-out trash cans and recycling bins should be convenient to the food preparation area.

Instead of having to dig through the dark recess of a cabinet in search of an item, consider customizing your cabinetry for easy access. Lazy Susan's, slide-out shelves and two-sided cabinets can make navigating your storage space a much simpler task.

Outside the kitchen, cabinets can serve as more than simple storage spaces. Lavatory cabinets cover unsightly plumbing beneath bathroom sinks. A cabinet to house a fold-down ironing board can save space and hassle in the laundry room. Storage bins on decks can double as seating areas. Cabinets can also be customized to hold bar ware, tools, collectibles, or just about anything else that needs a specific home.