PUTTING THE CRAFT IN CABINETS

BY BARRY WALDMAN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

When you meet Patti Allen of Cabinet Savie, the first thing you notice is that there’s something wrong with her. After all, she wants to make buying cabinets easy and fun. Easy and fun? Doesn’t she know that replacing cabinets, or putting in new ones, is stressful, fraught with peril and, really, just a big sinkhole for your money?

“We make the process comfortable,” she says. “I like to educate people.”

Cabinet Savie insists on determining your style, your budget and your vision for the room before selling you cabinets. Then you’re asked questions you hadn’t considered, particularly about their function. Allen says most people consider the color, door style and wood, but forget about the reasons they need cabinets in the first place.For example, you need to have sufficient drawer space, high shelves for tall appliances, like mixers, and strong supports if you’re filling them with weighty items.

Because the cabinets at Cabinet Savie are semi-custom, they can be fitted to your space. Allen uses computer aided design to show customers a visual of how the cabinets will fit and how they will change the room. “New cabinets can update a room, increase functionality and add resale value,” Allen says. “New cabinets make it look like a totally different space.”

The second thing you notice about Allen is that she can’t spell. Her store’s name is pronounced Cabinet Savvy, but she spelled it “Savie.” She was about to open the store in downtown Grapevine, Texas, when a man at a kitchen and bath show in Orlando handed her a business card for his store, Cabinet Savvy. So, she altered the spelling of her store.

“Most women know what it means. But men pronounce it say-vee,” she says, laughing.

The third thing you notice about Allen is that you’re a lot better off talking cabinets with her than with a big-box retailer or almost anyone else. Not only does she provide personal service you can’t get at the behemoths, she can actually beat their prices.

Besides that, she will help you avoid the big mistakes of the cabinet world, in which she is an expert but you rarely reside. Allen says most customers are ready to commit one of the five big cabinet no-no’s and live with regret and recrimination thereafter.

The first is not knowing where to start. People often operate under the misconception that if they just hand over measurements and the bulk of their 401(k) they can have their cabinets. Allen says cabinet installation is more like a puzzle that she helps you piece together.

Next, people forget that the cabinets have to match the theme of the room. Allen will gently guide you to a more harmonious design.

Third, it is important to note that if you move appliances, you have to move the supporting infrastructure. Clients will suggest relocating a sink or oven, but that requires water or gas hookup in the new location. Allen can fashion alternative solutions.

Fourth, don’t get stuck on plumbing and electrical considerations. Allen knows who to call and how to make it work.

Finally, many clients follow a trend that will be dated in just a few years. This is the biggest mistake, according to Allen. Cabinets can last as long as 25 years. You don’t want some flash-in-the-pan style. HGTV says gray is the new white in 2017. But next year, it’ll be some other color and you’ll be stuck with … gray.

No matter what cabinet configuration or style you desire and no matter what room— kitchen, bathroom, media room, bar, etc.—visit the spacious Cabinet Savie showroom in downtown Grapevine to learn about cabinets and enjoy the trifecta of great customer service, shared expertise and low prices.

Barry Waldman is principal of Big Fly Communications, a PR/marketing firm for nonprofits and small businesses.