Minneapolis cabinet builder talks about custom kitchens
Who we talked to
Ken Geisen, owner
North Branch, Minn.
What woods make the best kitchen cabinets?
Several things need to be taken into consideration when choosing the material. Some woods like maple, oak and ash are denser and thus more resistant to denting and abrasion. Certain open-grain species such as oak, hickory and ash take stain much more evenly than tight-grain woods. Sometimes, my clients want to maintain the historical integrity of an older home by choosing a wood species used in the period the home was built. Knowing my clients' tastes and priorities leads directly to the best wood choice for them.
How do you charge for your services?
I charge for my cabinetry on a quote or bid basis rather than time and materials. My customers need to be able to plan their finances in advance. Most of the cabinets I create range from $15,000 to $30,000, averaging around $20,000. This includes design, materials, fabrication, finishing, delivery and installation.
What's the favorite part of your job?
Working closely with my clients and getting to know their lifestyle and tastes, so I can design and create the cabinets they really want. I love seeing their delight when they walk into their new kitchen for the first time.
Are there any style or design trends you've noticed lately?
"Figure refers to the grain pattern of the wood," Geisen says. "This varies greatly by species."
The majority of my clients choose a Shaker-style cabinet. It has an authentic, old-world look yet a simple, contemporary quality. Most of my clients favor cherry. It's also my personal favorite, because it has a dynamic figure. I love the warm, earthy tones of cherry that become deep and rich over time.
How long does it take to make cabinets for a kitchen?
Most kitchen cabinets take four to six weeks to complete. I usually install the base cabinetry within the first couple of weeks to allow countertop measurements to be taken early and to minimize the downtime for the client's kitchen.
What's one thing about your profession that might surprise people?
Designing kitchen cabinetry can be very complicated. It requires the precise coordination of many elements: electrical outlets, appliance openings, plumbing fixtures, lighting, tile work, etc. Having a clear plan that addresses each of these concerns takes time, but ultimately makes the project go more smoothly.