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Flatpack Cabinetry

Most of us think of flatpack cabinetry as something you get from chain stores like Ikea or Bunnings. Size-wise, get your standard offerings and not much else. You certainly can’t customise. Until now.

A beautiful modern Scandinavian kitchen with minimal classic wood kitchen cabinet, white tiles wall
New stylish white kitchen with green furniture

Designer Interviews

In Perth, Character with Cabinets allows you to have flatpack cabinetry made to measure. It can be collected, delivered as a flatpack, or even pre-assembled. The major benefit is that, like all customised cabinetry, the finish is superior. You also get the economy of flatpack production with a higher level of quality components and finishes.

We talked with two Perth interior designers to find out more about flatpack cabinetry and how they use it.

Annie Benson

Annie Benson

Cheaper Using Flatpack

What are the primary advantages of choosing flat-pack cabinetry?

It’s much cheaper and has a faster turnaround as long as you’ve got the skill set for a quality installation. It is much more cost-effective. Percentage-wise, it may be 30% cheaper. That will vary depending on your chosen options and the actual project’s size.

Custom Quality Flat-Pack Cabinetry

What is the difference between an off-the-shelf flat-pack offering and the custom flat-pack cabinetry Character offers?

Image: Adobe Stock

Well, you can’t customise an off-the-shelf product. You can’t customise to the space. If you have standard flat-pack off-the-shelf options, you also don’t have a high level of quality control in terms of components and quality installation.

Character Cabinets comes in after everything’s installed, and they tweak every door to make sure it’s millimetre perfect, and they all open and close perfectly. Their quality control is above and beyond any other that I know of. They’re amazing.

Design Process

What is your design process for flat-pack cabinetry? How do you collaborate with clients to bring their vision to life in that space?

I listen to what they’re after. It’s about designing something appropriate for them for the available space. We go through the same selection. It’s the same as when we’re doing a big custom job, except there’s a budget in mind. So we often talk about colours, achieving the wow factor, and what they want to get from that space, as far as storage goes. It is all about listening to what the client wants. It’s about them.

Space & Functionality

What are your strategies for designing flat-pack cabinets regarding space and functionality?

Drawers, drawers, drawers, drawers. They’re just much more user-friendly. They provide a lot better storage. Using Character custom cabinetry means getting a much stronger and better option than rickety off-the-shelf cabinets. The drawers are particularly smooth.

Installation

Regarding the look and feel of custom cabinetry after installation, what do you notice about the feeling of a custom cabinetry fit-out?

I’ve had good experiences with Character because their people install. It’s about having good installers. As long as we get the design right, it’s about getting a good installer and delivering that product to the client without disappointment.

Jess O'Shea

Jess O’Shea

Design Benefits of Flatpack Cabinetry

What are the primary advantages of choosing flatpack cabinetry?

I guess for someone indecisive, there’s generally a smaller range of selections to be made, which can be handy for their design process. The turnaround times will be much faster than what it would be for a standard custom product.

There’s not as much design time involved in those kinds of spaces, so time-saving, and this can be helpful for budgets. There’s a lot more savings to be made in custom flatpack cabinetry.

Cost of Flatpack Cabinetry

People might think cabinetry is expensive. Do you think flatpack cabinet production and delivery have changed that?

It’s got a quicker turnaround, so the whole thing is more aimed at efficiency, and when you’ve got a really limited budget, it’s possibly the way to go.

Maximising Space

What are your strategies for designing flatpack cabinets to maximise space and functionality, especially in smaller or uniquely shaped areas?

You can still be creative with it. This is where interior design experience can help. You can look at a limited range of choices and still get a great result. There is no reason you can’t achieve a wow factor using custom flatpack cabinetry. There are highly functional options, and you can work with those.

Image: Adobe Stock

” It’s all the small stuff that makes the biggest difference. Looking at a custom kitchen that’s been completed, you can see that it’s just so much more refined.”

Achieving The Finish

In terms of the look and feel of cabinetry after installation, what do you notice about the finish of custom cabinetry?

The biggest difference is in the small details. Again, our drawings will specify the width of a scribe that goes to the wall. We’ll specify whether or not this door finishes flush with the top of the cabinet or if it’s below. When it’s pre-made, you’re dealing with what that cabinetry construction has been done. Same thing with bench top overhangs. It’s all the small stuff that makes the biggest difference. Looking at a custom kitchen that’s been completed, you can see that it’s just so much more refined.

Custom cabinetry is good for a client. It’s a relationship, so people are coming to us for advice. It’s good for clients to clearly understand what they ideally like, want or strongly dislike. If someone says, “I don’t know what I like, but I can tell you what I don’t like,” that’s great because it helps that design process. When you’re going custom, the world’s your oyster, so for a designer, if you say, “Do whatever you like”- that’s not a brief because it’s too open. We want to create space for them, so we need more information about their preferences.

Can you describe the feeling when you’ve specified a custom space and see it all installed?

Oh, I love it. I look like Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. I just get the biggest grin on my face, walking into a space that has been finished exactly how we want it to be. It’s also wonderful to get feedback from clients about what they love. You integrate all these little tricks into custom cabinetry. This is especially relevant with families when they have mornings and evenings of mayhem. I love integrating these little storage things or zones that work for the family. They use useful spaces every day, multiple times a day. So, when those spaces work, they have an amazing impact on those clients. I love to hear that what we’ve done has an amazing effect on their lives. That’s why we do it.

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