The Ins and Outs of Custom Cabinets: An Interview with Victor Rossi of Rossi Brothers Cabinet Makers, Inc.
Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.
Rossi Brothers has been a family-operated business, producing custom cabinetwork and furniture in Philadelphia for two generations since 1956. Rossi Brothers incorporates handed-down traditional Old World methods in our cabinet making. Our services include design, reproduction, wood carving, veneer work, and finishing.
What should be the first step involved with getting custom cabinets made for your home?
A good way to start is to have an idea of what you would like. Look through some of the design magazines to get a concept of what you might like in your home. Many a designer has come to my shop with pictures of rooms or furniture that they cut out of a design magazine.
Is there anything that homeowners should know about custom cabinets versus stock cabinets?
Putting aside comparison in reference to quality, custom cabinets are made to order for the homeowner. The word custom has been overstated especially in the kitchen cabinet industry, where a kitchen is called “custom” because you are given a choice where you would like the mass-produced standard-size box cabinets arranged. Custom should mean you are having made what you cannot buy. If you can buy it then why have it made, unless you are looking for a better quality than what you can buy on the market. This is where quality comes into play. Custom cabinets should also be of a better quality than can be bought on the mass produced market.
What are the basic options available for types of wood and colors? Do you have any suggestions for when specifically to use any of those?
In custom cabinetry, the type of wood used should only be limited by availability. Color, as in stain, can be limited by the species of wood chosen; for example, a dark wood like walnut you wouldn’t be able to stain lighter. You can always go darker but lighter can be more labor intense than necessary. I order to go lighter you would need to bleach the wood. That process could be avoided if you let the cabinet maker know the general color you would like, then he could suggest the proper wood for your project. Some woods may only be available in veneers. Then the shop chosen would need to specialize in veneer work.
What is one of the biggest trends for cabinet finishes right now?
The custom shop that offers in house finishing could usually satisfy the homeowners needs or likings. It’s been my experience that trends are temporary. We have gone through all the styles and trends over the years from dark hues to light, from high gloss to dull sheen; but if I were to say at this point in time what I find to be the trend in finishing, I would say muted stains like gray with lighter overglazes in an almost-dull sheen. That is just today. In custom work you follow the trend or whatever the designer/ homeowner wants , you do your best to produce.