Making Wood Work
May, 2011 - Issue #79
There's simply nothing better than a custom-built piece, whether it be a desk or a kitchen cabinet. In a world that mandates near-constant compromise, a custom addition is many a homeowner's way of declaring, "Yes! I, too, deserve something in my life that is the exact size, shape and color I desire!" Of course, we all have to "make it work" some of the time. But here are four examples, courtesy of Dave West - owner of David Bryan Woodworks - that show how "custom" is the only way to go.

New TV, same Entertainment Center
"We're often asked whether or not a new entertainment center is a necessity when a new television is purchased," says West. "The short answer is, 'maybe.' There are times when clever changes can be made to the existing piece that will allow for it to accommodate the new TV. But, sometimes what seems like it would be a simple change won't look good at all when the work is done." The best answer, in the end, is to request an in-home consultation with a professional cabinet maker who can help you make an informed decision.

Plaster isn't Perfect
Many home builders opt for cheap plaster fireplace mantels. On a good day, they just look generic. On a bad day, they're downright unattractive. "It's incredibly easy to take these plaster mantels out and replace them with a custom-made wood mantel. It adds a definite element of visual interest to the fireplace area and can entirely change the look of a room. In most cases, the fireplace is the focal point of the space. Change the fireplace, change the room - for the better," explains West.

Color Me Happy
Once you decide to invest in new quality cabinetry, built-ins or custom furniture, you want to know that your choices will stand the test of "fashion" time, too. "I remind my clients that white never goes out of style. It goes with baseboards, crown moulding, even shutters. It's timeless. However, for a more dramatic look, stain-grade cabinets deserve consideration. They're usually more expensive than white, but the fluidity of a home that coordinates stain - and even furniture - throughout," informs West.

The Vanity Card
It's tempting to keep the existing vanity when you're knee-deep in a bathroom remodel. There are, of course, design downsides. "By changing out the piece entirely, you can select new colors, new shapes, new sizes and new designs - like pedestal or freestanding cabinets," says West. If you're on the fence about your existing vanity, chances are that you'll love the final remodel result more if you start fresh.
Dave West is the owner of David Bryan Woodworks; 312-1964
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