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The Ins and Outs of Custom Cabinets: An Interview with Daniel Rosa of Rosa Carpentry

By Daniel Rosa

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Frank Rosa founded Rosa Carpentry in 1969 after he decided to branch off and work for himself after working for other carpentry businesses for years. Frank had a vision to build a carpentry business that focused on quality craftsmanship, with a customer-first approach. Since his retirement, Frank's son Steve has continued that tradition. Our family tradition of craftsmen began well before 1969. Frank's father made his living as a carpenter in Casasola, Italy, a small mountain village. The handmade steeples and balconies he crafted at the village's church still stands to this day.

Now in its third generation of business, Steve's son Daniel has joined the business in order to keep the family tradition alive. He currently works closely with his father, learning the craft. The Rosa family also takes pride in hiring a well-trained, knowledgeable staff of carpenters. Together, the staff at Rosa Carpentry has hundreds of years worth of experience.

Services offered:

General Contracting: Contracting Licenses CT HIC-0533910 & WC-15088-H04.
We do much more than kitchens and bathrooms. Rosa Carpentry is a licensed contractor in both the State of Connecticut and Westchester County, NY. No need to worry about coordinating the project, we can handle that for you. We have worked closely with our sub-contractors for decades and can assure you that the quality will remain top-notch. We can take on projects large and small, from roofing to electrical work. General Contracting can include: Electrical work, masonry, roofing, plumbing, framing, painting, tile work, general carpentry, additions and renovations

Kitchen Remodels: The experienced craftsmen at Rosa Carpentry will design a layout to suit your needs. Choose your favorite cabinet style from the many custom cabinets in the showroom. You'll find classic cabinets in solid woods and painted cabinets with a beautiful glazed finish. We can also supply you with a variety of kitchen countertops. Rest assured, in the hands of our professionals, your project will receive the attention and loving care it deserves. Stop in and visit our showroom. You will find many different displays to choose from.

Bathroom Remodels: Bathrooms remodels can be just as complex as a kitchen remodel. Not only will we design your bathroom remodel free of charge while working closely with you, but we will coordinate all of the subcontractors as well. Your bathroom project will require tile men, electricians, plumbers, and of course, carpenters. Don't waste your time and money trying to coordinate everything yourself. Our professionals will be there with you from start to finish to ensure quality craftsmanship.

Renovations: We remodel much more than just kitchens and bathrooms. We can take on renovation projects in any room of your home. Thinking about a new family room with an entertainment center? No problem. How about expanding your bedroom or adding a dormer to increase your living space? Is it finally time to finish your basement? Also, we often build porches to help our customers better utilize their back yards. Whatever the project, Rosa Carpentry can handle it.

What should be the first step involved with getting custom cabinets made for your home?

The first step in the process is to schedule a time to meet in our showroom. We have over 10 separate kitchen, bathroom and entertainment center displays to look through. We also have over 100 cabinet door variations to browse through, knob and handle displays, and a ton of different countertop options. During this initial meeting, the homeowner will have a chance to compare prices of products and will leave with a firm grasp on color, style and layout of their new project.

Next, a drawing is created based on the information gathered during the initial meeting. Once a drawing is created, a second meeting is requested to go over the floor plan. This is a back and forth process, the goal is to design the customer's dream kitchen while keeping budget in mind. Lastly, once the drawing is finalized and contracts are signed, the cabinets will be ordered and a start date will be selected.

Is there anything that homeowners should know about custom cabinets versus stock cabinets?

The main difference is the fact that custom cabinets are designed specifically for your home. Because of this fact, oftentimes people think custom cabinets are much more expensive than stock cabinets. However, custom cabinets generally require much less time installing because they are specifically made to fit your kitchen/bathroom/entertainment center. Therefore, custom cabinets from purchase to installation can be less expensive than stock cabinets when all is said and done. For example, each stock cabinet must be cut, and adjusted to fit your room.

On the other hand, custom cabinets only require a few cuts because they were made specifically for that room. Custom cabinets are made with what's called "extended style," which is extra material used to scribe plumb and level to a wall. Stock cabinets require fillers in order to make the cabinet plumb and level. Fillers often look out of place and require more work than the custom cabinets. In conclusion, custom cabinets may look more expensive at face value, but when you take into consideration the extra time required for installation, you may end up spending more money with the stock cabinets.

Lastly, there is usually a big difference in quality between custom and stock cabinets. Typically, stock cabinets are made of partial board instead of plywood, meaning the stock cabinets are much weaker than the custom cabinets. We prefer to use solid plywood because the cabinets have more strength and integrity, and often last longer than their cheaper counterparts. Custom cabinets will last for years to come, extending the life of your newly renovated room.

What are the basic options available for types of wood and colors? Do you have any suggestions for when or where specifically to use any of those?

We are dealers for three main cabinet companies: Candlelight Cabinetry, Plato Woodwork and Kountry Kraft. Between the three companies, there are hundreds of wood species and colors to choose from. The most popular wood species today are cherry and maple but there are many more options. Additionally, there are a wide variety of paint colors and stain finishes. As far as what color and/or species to use, it really is all up to the customer and what he or she likes. We explain to the customer the differences and help answer any questions as far as style is concerned. However, the main goal is to design the customer's dream project, the possibilities are almost endless!

You cannot mention cabinets, without mentioning countertops. We work with a variety of materials. The most popular today is granite countertops that come in a variety of colors. Granite is real stone and comes from quarries around the world. The colors of Granite are specific to the quarries they come from. Also, as time goes on and the Granite is continually dug out, the colors change. We have a wide variety of samples in our showroom and also can set up a meeting with our dealer so you can hand select the stone you want for your new project. We also work with marble, Corian, Avonite, Ceasarstone, Chroma, Silestone and Zodiaq.

What is one of the biggest trends for cabinet finishes right now?

Overwhelmingly, the most popular finish for cabinets right now is paint. Specifically, white paint seems to be most popular. To match these white cabinets, people are often selecting a darker Granite countertop, which pairs nicely. Granite countertops are by far the most popular countertop right now.

People also really like white countertops and often want marble installed in their kitchens (granite does not come in white). The problem with marble in a kitchen is that it is very soft and will get damaged with just normal kitchen use. Therefore, if clients want white countertops, we suggest using a synthetic material that is much more durable like Corian or Ceasarstone.

Do you have any tips for homeowners who want cabinets that are durable and look great?

Our favorite brands to work with are Candlelight, Plato and Kountry Kraft. We have dealt with other cabinet companies over the years and have found that these three companies tend to be the most consistent and fair as far as quality and price are concerned. Candlelight is our most cost conscience brand but still offers high quality, and lots of wood and color options. Kountry Kraft is our most high-end cabinet company. Their claim to fame is their attention to fine detail. Lastly, Plato is a mid-range brand that offers very high quality, but is also affordable.

Our main tip is to get informed about the cabinet company and who will be installing the cabinets. To most people's surprise, stock cabinets may cost you more money due to extra installation time.

Also, make sure you do your research on the company that will be installing your cabinets. What is their history? Have you spoken to past customers? Are they licensed and insured? The last thing you want to do is hire a company that does not know what they are doing, installs the cabinets poorly, and disappears after they get their money. Rosa Carpentry has been in business for 45 years and isn't going anywhere. We also stand by our work.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

You can call our office between 9am and 5pm Monday - Friday. We are also in the office Saturday mornings from 9am - noon. You can always schedule an appointment outside of those times if need be.

You can email either Steve Rosa, or Dan Rosa and we will get back to you within 24 hours. or

Lastly, feel free to stop in our showroom during regular business hours or schedule an appointment that fits your schedule. This will give you a chance to meet the staff, and to check out our beautiful displays!

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