Replacing Kitchen Cabinets Rather than Refacing

When it comes to kitchen cabinets, you have a couple options at your disposal if you’re looking for upgrades. Generally speaking, the two primary choices here are either refacing your cabinets or replacing them entirely.

At Swirl Woodcraft, we have a huge variety of kitchen cabinets, from traditional options to modern choices and many more. What are some of the situations where our new cabinet services are preferable to refacing your cabinets? Let’s go over some of the basics here.
replacing kitchen cabinets refacing

Purposes of Refacing

For those who have not taken part in it before, cabinet resurfacing is a relatively simple process that involves leaving the existing framework in place. However, some kind of surface replacement material is used to change the look and feel of the exterior cabinet areas, such as doors and drawer fronts.

And for some projects, refacing is great and all you need. It can be done quickly, usually in just a day or two, and usually isn’t the kind of project that uproots the entire kitchen. For those who enjoy the structure and charm of their original cabinets but want a bit of an aesthetic upgrade, refacing is the way to go.

However, refacing does not cover several structural or layout issues that cabinets might be part of. Our next few sections will go over these and some situations where replacing cabinets is the proper route.

Cabinet Condition

In many cases, the existing cabinets in the kitchen are experiencing one of several issues. These may include:

  • Wear or damage: Like other materials, cabinets can wear down over time. This might happen faster if you purchased cheap cabinet materials originally, or if water damage has taken place in your home and affected cabinets. Cabinets that have been damaged too much simply don’t make sense to reface or repair.
  • Age: Any cabinets painted before 1978 may be covered in unsafe lead, and not all refacing contractors are licensed to safely remove this before resurfacing. In addition, this process can be costly and take up lots of time.

Structural Issues

In other situations, cabinets may be contributing to structural issues in the kitchen of some kind. One common concern here is floors settling, which leads to walls shifting and cabinets that either hang or sit crooked. In other cases of settling, cabinet doors won’t open or close properly.

Once again, refacing will do nothing for these issues. However, full cabinet replacement can involve professional contractors who can repair your structural issues while installing new cabinets.

Kitchen Layout

Finally, replacing the cabinets is a great way to address kitchen layout issues in an intelligent way. Removing cabinets allows you to make a new layout based on updated needs and desires, and you can then fill in your space as you wish.

For more on why replacing cabinets is often preferable to refacing, or for information on any of our custom cabinetry, speak to the pros at Swirl Woodcraft today.

Why to Choose Custom Cabinets Over Semi-Custom

From both a design and practical standpoint, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the entire home. It’s generally the center of activity in most homes, and plays a huge role in the value of a given home as well.

At Swirl Woodcraft, we have a huge selection of traditional and modern kitchen cabinets that are perfect for any design or aesthetic you’re looking for. We offer fully customized cabinet options that can be molded to your every desire. How do these custom cabinet products compare to another popular product on the market – semi-custom cabinets – in terms of basics, pros and cons? Let’s look at the important difference points between these two products.
custom cabinets semi-custom

Semi-Custom Cabinets

Most people generally think of cabinets as coming in either stock or custom formats, but semi-custom options are a bit of both worlds. They mimic stock cabinets in the way they’re largely pre-made pieces in terms of the basics – most of the primary cabinet components will already be built and in place. However, there will be several elements of the semi-custom cabinet that will not be decided; things like wood type, finish options, dimensions and various drawer or door sizes can all be chosen individually by the client.

In some cases, semi-custom cabinets are a great choice for those who purchase them. They allow for some mixing and matching of options for design, fit and style, but also stick to a rote format. At the same time, though, it’s important to note that the benefits of semi-custom cabinets break down as you add more options – the price can get so high that it even exceeds the cost of fully custom cabinets in some cases. In addition, semi-custom cabinets don’t have quite the selection of wood and finish options that you might think.

Custom Cabinets

Custom cabinets, on the other hand, are fully personalized from the ground up. They allow you to choose everything from your wood and finish type to every element of design and dimension – the only limitations here are what you can conceive of in your mind.

There are several areas where this benefits you, including maximizing storage space within your kitchen. Custom cabinets are generally considered higher-quality materials, but can be made from recycled wood that allows for more environmentally conscious construction. They offer the homeowner unlimited flexibility in terms of basic aesthetics, storage and construction quality. They do tend to cost more than semi-custom options, but this is made up for and then some in their long-lasting durability – they’ll often last twice as long as semi-custom options due to superior craftsmanship.

For more on why custom cabinets are generally the way to go, or to learn about any of our kitchen cabinet and remodel solutions, speak to the pros at Swirl Woodcraft today.

Factors in Kitchen Cabinet Door Choice

When it comes to any kitchen remodel that involves cabinets, one of the primary drivers of the aesthetic side of things will be the cabinet door style you choose. As some of the most obvious and front-facing elements of any kitchen, cabinet doors set the tone for much of the space’s design theme.

At Swirl Woodcraft, we have a huge variety of door choices and options for our modern and traditional kitchen cabinets. We can help you select the perfect door style based on your desired kitchen design, including several distinct factors that will help define the rest of the space. With this in mind, here are three of the primary areas we recommend prioritizing as you select cabinet door style.
factors kitchen cabinet door

Overall Look

You have a virtually unlimited number of options available to you, and as we noted above, these often help set the tone for the entire remodel. Are you looking for a more modern, sleek and updated feel? What about a rustic format? Do you prefer a more casual theme in general, or something a bit more formal?

As you consider things here, look at the big picture. Remember that you’ll be living in this space for years, so consider long-term comfort over any passing fads. And if you’re unsure how this area will impact the aesthetic of several other remodeling choices, our pros are happy to guide you.

Hardware Matching

Before you go too far down any particular path, be sure to give proper consideration to the kinds of hardware you want to use on your cabinets as well. This is true for a number of reasons, but the primary one is this: Not all cabinet hardware works with every cabinet door style you might be considering.

In reality, your choice here comes down to how much importance you place on hardware to begin with. If things like knobs, pulls and other pieces are very important to the look you’re going for, we might recommend choosing them first and then using the door choice as a complement instead of the other way around. There’s really no bad choice here, just whichever area you put the higher level of priority into.

Maintenance Considerations

Depending on your lifestyle and time demands, there might be certain door styles we recommend or don’t recommend. If you’re the busy type who has a full family and lots of responsibilities, you might prefer the traditional flat or Shaker door style that requires very little maintenance – just basic wipe-downs and cleaning. On the other hand, if you live a simpler life and want to enjoy the elements of your home’s interior more intimately, fancier styles that require a bit more upkeep might be just your speed.

For more on any of our cabinet door styles, or to learn about any of our kitchen cabinets, speak to the staff at Swirl Woodcraft today.

Budget and Design Tips for Wine Cellars

In many cases, homeowners taking part in a kitchen remodel don’t even consider an amenity like a wine cellar as one of their options. Some of us intuitively assume these are only for uber-rich people, and definitely not the sort of thing us normal folk can afford.

At Swirl Woodcraft, we’re here to tell you that this isn’t the case. We can provide beautiful, high-quality wine cellars as part of our custom woodworking services, and we can do so at a cost that doesn’t break the bank or force you to sacrifice other important parts of your remodel. Let’s go over why your budget concerns might not be anywhere near as great as you had imagined, plus some various options for integrating a wine cellar with the rest of your kitchen design.

budget design wine cellars

Budget Concerns and Questions to Ask

It’s true – if you want to, you can spend a virtually limitless amount on a wine cellar depending on your desires for it. At the same time, though, it’s easily possible to design a cellar that doesn’t require you spending an outrageous sum.

The first big step here involves deciding exactly what you want the cellar to be there for. You may simply assume “to hold wine,” but while this is indeed one factor to consider, it doesn’t come close to telling the whole story. A few others that will get you closer to a final budget number include:

  • What kinds of storage do I want? There are several options, including displays, cases, splits or wine magnums.
  • How many bottles do I want to store? A cellar housing a couple dozen bottles will be far less expensive than one that stores several hundred, for obvious reasons.
  • Will the cellar be refrigerated?
  • Should the cellar be large enough for guests? If so, how many should it comfortably hold?

Wine Cellar Integration Options

If you’ve decided a wine cellar is within your budget, your next big task is figuring out how to integrate it into your space. A few basic ideas here, ranging from simple up to highly complex:

  • Cabinetry: A small wine area can begin with nothing but base cabinetry topped or complemented by granite or another storage material. This allows you to display a few bottles prominently, but also store both other bottles and glassware properly as well. Add a small wine fridge to this room and you’re in business.
  • Pantry style: Some choose to go further, creating an all new “butler’s pantry” design for their wine cellar that flows with the kitchen and open living space. These are perfect places to set out drinks or appetizers during a hosted party.
  • Cabinetry wall: You might consider a wall rather than an entire cellar – stacking or tiering bottles is a great format. Some people blend the pantry and cabinetry look, with a pantry foundation topped by cabinetry and granite or engineered stone.
  • Basement: For the truly involved wine lover, a full wine cellar in the basement could be in your future. You have several options here, from smaller rooms to larger areas filled with redwood slats and stone walls. You can also infuse these with lower floor entertainment areas, and some homeowners have gone so far as to dedicate refrigeration to an entire wine cellar itself.

For more on budgeting and integrating a wine cellar as part of your kitchen remodel, or to learn about our custom cabinetry or any of our other kitchen design services, speak to the pros at Swirl Woodcraft today.

Cost Breakdown for Remodeled Kitchens

At Swirl Woodcraft, we’re your go-to experts for numerous areas of a kitchen remodel. From kitchen cabinets to wine cellars and numerous other custom woodworking projects, we’ll ensure your home looks beautiful and inviting in one of the most important functional spaces it has.

One of the single most common questions we get from our clients: How much will my remodeling project cost? And while you have to understand that we can’t always give you a concrete answer here – costs depend on a huge variety of factors, most notably your budget – we can at least point you in the right direction when it comes to the percentages of your budget you should use on various remodeling areas. We’re using a full remodel process here as our template – you can obviously adjust this based on your partial remodel needs.

cost breakdown remodeled kitchens


For a full kitchen remodel, you should be planning to devote roughly 30 percent of your total budget to your kitchen cabinets. Keep in mind as you consider this figure, however, that it doesn’t only include the raw cost of materials – it also includes design fees and any other expenses that go toward your cabinets, including installation. But as some of the bulkiest and most practically useful elements of your kitchen, the cabinets should naturally take up one of the largest percentages of your overall costs.

Various Appliances

Moving down the list a little bit, your various kitchen appliances should be next and take up roughly 15 percent of your overall renovation budget. Appliances include things like sinks, faucets, handles, and many free-standing items like toasters or coffee-makers.

If you’re running up against a budgetary limit, appliances are often a great area to save. You can simply live without that high-quality blender for a little while if it means you get the cabinets, countertops and other essential items you need first and foremost.


We mentioned countertops just now, and they’re another significant budgetary factor. All else equal, we recommend devoting roughly 10 percent of your overall budget to the cabinets – this is even factoring in the generally high expenses of certain countertop materials like marble or granite. If you go with a cheaper material, you might be able to get away for a bit less than 10 percent of the total budget.

Other Areas

So if you’ve been doing some napkin math while reading along here, you’ll see that we’re at 55 percent of the budget taken up for cabinetry, appliances and countertops – so where should the rest go? Well, to several areas:

  • Demolition, disposal and various construction expenses form the contractor on your project
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Paint and color considerations
  • Tile choice and style

For more on budgeting for your next kitchen remodel, or to learn about any of our custom cabinetry options, speak to the pros at Swirl Woodcraft today.

Why Kitchen Cabinets Should Come First

For any kitchen remodel process involving them, kitchen cabinets are one of the most important considerations. They’ll make up one of the largest percentages of your overall budget, and will be some of the central visual and practical elements of the kitchen.

At Swirl Woodcraft, we have a wide selection of traditional, rustic and modern kitchen cabinets. And we’re here to tell you that not only are cabinets an important part of the kitchen remodel, they should probably be the very first element of the remodel you even consider. Here’s why this is the case.

kitchen cabinets come first

Room Foundation

For starters the cabinetry of your kitchen will serve as the foundation for the entire room. Cabinets are some of the bulkiest and most space-consuming parts of the kitchen, meaning they set the baseline for the full room’s layout.

Not only do cabinets help dictate space utilization, they often determine what kinds of appliances should be purchased and where these should be placed for the best practicality and aesthetic combination. If you go about purchasing expensive appliances before determining your cabinet choices, you could easily run into a situation where some of those appliances simply won’t work for your cabinet format – and you’ll be out that money.

They Last Longer

Another reason for considering cabinets first? Simple: They last longer than virtually any other part of your kitchen. Our high-quality cabinets will last literally decades – you might swap out styles or hardware choices somewhere along the line, sure, but the base materials will often remain in your home for a lifetime.

This is in stark contrast to other kitchen materials, none of which will generally last this long. Appliances and kitchen finishes need to be replaced or re-done every few years at least. It make sense, then, to consider cabinets first when remodeling your kitchen; they’ll be the longest-lasting foundational elements, meaning the rest of the kitchen should adjust to them, not vice versa.

Tougher to Replace

Down similar lines, various other parts of the kitchen are easier and cheaper to replace than cabinets. If anything goes wrong with an appliance, for instance, replacing this is far easier than a full remodel to replace your cabinets. The same is true for faucets, countertops, tile and other areas. The cabinets are not going anywhere once they’re installed – at least unless you want a major hassle and expense so soon after a remodeling project.

If you’re on a limited budget, countertop choice becomes even more of an early priority. Setting a baseline for your costs with some of your most expensive items will make it easier to budget later on as well.

For more on why cabinets are so important to consider early in a remodel, or to learn about any of our custom cabinetry or bathroom vanities, speak to the staff at Swirl Woodcraft today.

Budget Percentages for Kitchen Remodels

At Swirl Woodcraft, we’re here to help you with every part of your kitchen remodel. With custom kitchen cabinets including traditional, modern and rustic styles, plus custom woodworking options, we’ll help you achieve the perfect look and function for one of the most important rooms in any home.

Perhaps the single most common question we get from our clients: How much will my kitchen remodel cost me? The answer obviously depends on your overall budget and available funds, so instead of answering with pure dollar amounts, we prefer to answer in percentages of your total budget. Let’s look at what portion of your budget should be taken up by certain important elements of a kitchen remodel, plus how you can save here or there if you’re tight up against your budget.

budget percentages kitchen remodels


According to a 2014 survey from Money Magazine, the cabinets are the single element of a kitchen remodel that takes up the largest portion of your budget. They should account for roughly 30 percent of your total funds spent during the remodel – this includes not only the cost of the actual materials themselves, but also the design fees for custom cabinetry.

This figure may drop if you’re looking to retain or repurpose old cabinets while re-designing certain other areas of the kitchen. Most kitchen remodels, though, include new or upgraded cabinets.


While not as burdensome as cabinets, various appliances in the kitchen will usually cost around 14-15 percent of your budget. We’re talking about things like microwaves, refrigerators, stovetops, toasters, and any other similar items you might desire in the kitchen.

This area naturally comes with some of the most variability and flexibility. If you’re a relatively busy person who doesn’t actually spend much time cooking or eating in the kitchen, for instance, you might be able to save significant funds during your remodel by going fairly light on cooking appliances. If you cook every day, on the other hand, you’ll probably want to spend a bit more on appliances and should perhaps dedicate a larger portion of your budget to them.


Countertops will usually account for about 10 percent of the total budget. This does account for granite and other modern materials that are a bit on the more expensive side – if you opt for slightly less expensive materials, you might be able to shave some costs here.

Other Areas

The other areas that make up the remaining 45 percent of a standard kitchen remodel budget:

  • Lighting: Roughly 5 percent, depending on how many lights you desire and the lighting products you choose.
  • Plumbing: About 4 percent, depending on whether you’re installing a new dishwasher.
  • Paint: Between 2 and 3 percent depending on how much re-painting you’re doing.
  • Tiles: 1 to 2 percent, generally fluctuating based on tile material chosen.

For more on budgeting for a kitchen remodel, or to learn about any of our kitchen cabinets or design options, speak to the pros at Swirl Woodcraft today.

Making Use of Corner Kitchen Space

Sometimes called the “Bermuda Triangle” of the kitchen, the corner cabinet area has gotten something of a bad rap within the kitchen over the years. It’s tougher to reach all the way to the back of most corner cabinets than other types, and angles make it difficult to see into them in some cases as well.

At Swirl Woodcraft, we’re here to help give the corner cabinet a better reputation. Whether you’re looking at traditional, modern or rustic cabinet styles, we have great corner options for you – and excellent theme ideas to help ensure you make good use of their space. Here are a few such ideas.

corner kitchen space

Lazy Susan

One of the easiest solutions if you have a corner cabinet area that’s become a black hole of sorts is to bust out the Lazy Susan. For those who don’t know, this is a rotating pole attached to several trays, which are then able to be spun around so that whatever you need sits right in front of you at easy reaching range.

Lazy Susans are extremely inexpensive to buy – most people already have at least some variation of one in their homes. They can be found anywhere. Make sure you check into their weight bearing qualities before buying, however, as they might not be able to hold your heaviest items and could break if you overdo things here.

Super Susan

The Super Susan is similar to the Lazy Susan, but with some additional designs that make it even better for the corner cabinet space. For one, the Super Susan comes with a round tray with a pie-shaped corner cutout – this means you’re using absolutely every inch of space in the corner cabinet, rather than missing out on some using a round Lazy Susan.

In addition, the Super Susan comes with the support of a fixed shelf, meaning it can handle more weight. It also rotates on a ball-bearing turntable, which makes it more durable than most Lazy Susan options. It’s slightly more expensive than the Lazy Susan, and requires its own kind of door, but the Super Susan is a great idea for many corner cabinets.

Chevron Drawers

Chevron drawers, initially popular decades ago, are pull-out drawers that can be built into your corner cabinet space. They’re extremely stylish for the right kind of kitchen, allowing for excellent creativity. They’re also best for heavy items, as they provide a full drawer support. They do leave some dead space in the corner, though.

Swing-Out Cabinets

These are somewhat similar to a Lazy Susan, with pole-mounted shelves that fit in a corner space. But the pole is actually mounted within the cabinets themselves, allowing for more stability. The swing-out cabinet can often work with a standard door, making it a great use of the corner space. They’re on the more expensive end, but swing-outs can also be installed as an aftermarket option.

For more on options to make great use of your corner cabinet space, or to learn about any of our custom cabinetry or kitchen design services, speak to the pros at Swirl Woodcraft today.

Tips on Achieving Open Kitchen Layout

For many homeowners, the “open” floor plan concept is all the rage these days. People want more space in their most commonly-used rooms, including the kitchen, which many are recognizing as the hub of the home rather than just a cooking space.

At Swirl Woodcraft, our custom kitchen cabinets come in traditional, modern and rustic styles, each of which can be used to help with storage and space concerns if you’re looking to keep an open kitchen concept. But what if you’re looking to create this open format to begin with? Here are a few options for opening up the kitchen and creating a more spacious feel.

open kitchen layout

Pass-Through Wall

A design theme that’s been growing in popularity over recent years is the pass-through wall, which can help “open” up a given area without the kind of hassle and time you might expect. Pass-throughs refer to interior windows or glass spaces that allow you to see into and interact with the adjacent room – they’re perfect for kitchens that connect to dining rooms, for instance.

The pass-through is great because it only requires renovation on the upper parts of the wall. Things like base cabinetry and sinks can usually be left completely alone during this renovation, which decreases your expenses significantly. In addition, even some of the biggest pass-throughs are simple to install, even if they’re on load-bearing walls.

Widening a Doorway

Another simple and relatively inexpensive way to open up a given room is to widen the doorway leading to and from it. This is perfect for a kitchen that may feel a bit too isolated or closed off from the rest of the home.

As long as you have space on both sides of the door, widening a doorway is no problem at all. It involves removing the previous frame and widening it, which takes any good contractor very little time and won’t be too expensive at all. You may have to move an electrical switch or outlet, but this is easily done. Many handy homeowners are even able to do this project completely on their own, saving plenty of money while helping open up the kitchen.

Removing a Wall

On the more involved end of things, removing an entire wall or two from the kitchen is one of the largest opening projects you could consider. This is a job you can’t do yourself – it will require professional contractors and planning. You should work with a designer to help you create a plan for how the kitchen and adjoining rooms will look, plus an engineer who can make sure everything is in order from the mechanical end of things.

For more on great ideas to achieve an open kitchen design, or to learn about any of our custom cabinetry and kitchen remodel options, speak to the pros at Swirl Woodcraft today.

5 Questions to Ask Before Building a Wine Cellar

Building a wine cellar is the most fun way to change your status from intermediate wine-lover to aficionado.

For people who love wine and want to collect it and let it age, a wine cellar is a must. A cellar isn’t just for looks or prestige — environment determines a wine’s maturity, character, body and more.

building a wine cellar

Below are five questions to ask yourself before you build a wine cellar.

1. Why Do I Need A Wine Cellar?

Like all things of quality, good wines need appropriate storage and care. The average home temperature is around 70 degrees, but when it starts fluctuating up to ten degrees as seasons change, that temperature alteration could impact the quality of the bottle with oxidation and more.
If you plan to keep a bottle of quality wine for longer than six months, a long-term, climate-controlled wine cellar would alleviate temperature concerns.

2. What Kind of Style Do I Want?

As you plan your wine cellar, ask yourself what kind of style you dream about. What atmosphere do you want to create? Cozy, charming, quaint and rustic? Or do you prefer a modern, chic, minimalistic wine cellar?

Think about the customized wood you prefer, too. For a traditional cellar style, woods like maple, cherry and clear alder are sophisticated options. For a modern approach, consider rift white oak or quartered walnut, while knotty alder and sand-blasted pine would be ideal for a rustic cellar.

3. Do I Want Customizations?

Wine cellars can be further personalized with different stains, finishes or acrylic urethane paints.

Once you’ve selected the wood to match your style, you’re free to switch up themes with new finishes as your tastes change over the years.

4. What’s the Purpose of My Wine Cellar?

Your wine cellar will be a fun go-to space for you. The question is, what kind of room do you want to create? Do you want it to be a solitary place for you to go to think (…and sip)? Do you want a quiet, conversational spot for you and a close friend or partner? Likewise, your cellar could be a gathering place for wine parties, buzzing with laughter and conversation.

5. What’s My Space Situation?

Wine cellars can be as large or small, simple or elaborate as you want. Do you want a 20-bottle cellar, or a 600-bottle cellar? The size of your space doesn’t matter, as long as temperatures are regulated and fluctuations are kept at a minimum.

So, where is the best space for a wine cellar? Basements are typically great locations. Because basement temperatures are determined by the ground surrounding basement walls, consistently cool, ideal temperatures are created naturally.

Now that you have an idea of what to consider, it’s time for you to build your wine cellar! The team at Swirl Woodcraft is here to help you with your needs. Call us today to learn more.