50 Shades of Precision Cabinets

Let’s face it, choosing the right Cabinets for your home can be a bit daunting. And with so many options to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed before you even begin. Join us to learn from Ed Bertlow from Precision Cabinets who will be sharing key f


Ed Bertlow


Rob: Hey Ed, how are you?

Ed: Good. How's it going?

Rob: I'm doing well. Thank you. Thanks for joining us.

Ed: Good. I'm glad I was able to get in.

Rob: Awesome. Well, I'm going to give people just a few more minutes here and then yeah, then we'll jump in and get started. Everybody's grabbing their lunch and getting ready to go. All right. Well, it looks like most people have trickled in here. I'm going to go ahead Ed and let's get started. Are you still with me? Hey Ed? I might have lost him here. Hopefully he's able to rejoin here in a second. Give everybody just a few more minutes. All right, well, Ed, hopefully figures out some technical issues. I'll jump in and get started. We're really lucky to have Precision Cabinets here with us today. They serve pretty much all the Bay Area. We've done a number of projects with them. And yeah, all in all they're an awesome partner, a great design studio and we're really lucky to have them here.

This format will actually be a little bit unique from maybe some of the other webinar series that we've done in the past. Primarily because Precision has a really neat, for those of you who are familiar with matterport, for on the real estate side of things, they actually have a walkthrough of their showroom in, I think it's in Brentwood. And Ed, if you can hear me correct me if I'm wrong. But I think it's in Brentwood and it gives you the ability to really walk around the entire site and take a look at everything that there is to see in their studio and it's really, really impressive. The majority of that time is actually just going to be spent in just doing a tour of their facility and kind of talking through a lot of the options that they have. And then we'll try to leave like a few minutes here at the end to answer any questions that might come up.

With that said, Livio, for those of you who don't know us, we're a general contractor here in the Bay Area. Pretty much everywhere along the peninsula and outside. Ultimately, our objective is to partner with some great folks like Precision to build beautiful custom single-family homes for everybody who we are lucky enough to work with. We're really thankful that we've got some awesome partners. Ed, it sounds like you've joined us.

Ed: Yeah, I'm back in. Sorry about that.

Rob: No worries, no worries at all. And ultimately, we work all throughout the Bay Area. We're a vertically integrated team, meaning we can take projects all the way from very inception to completion and manage all the different aspects that there is to have when building custom single-family home. And really the objective of these webinars series is to inform clients who are either already engaged under contract with us and also maybe potential clients in some of the decision-making processes that need to happen and cabinets being a really important one that we're going to talk about today.

We're a unique, as I mentioned, vertically integrated team. We have offices in Los Altos where, of course, all of our work takes place in the peninsula. But we also have a team in India that enables us to have a really, you now, everywhere from engineering to procurement team, and have a lot of advantages over your traditional general contractor in that sense. Yeah, we're ultimately lucky to have a great team surrounding us that makes it all happen. With that said, Ed, I think you missed most of my accolades about Precision.

Ed: I did.

Rob: Why don't you kick off and if you don't mind telling everybody a little bit about yourself and then on the next slide, I'll let you talk a little bit about Precision.

Ed: No worries. Thank you, Rob. I really appreciate it. Good afternoon. My name is Ed Bertlow. I am the custom design consultant, custom sales department for Precision Cabinets. I am the sales teams team leader. We have 10 sales people all together. Our company is a pretty good-sized company overall. But personally, myself, I've got almost about 40 years of experience in the kitchen and bath and remodeling industry. I personally started as a cabinet maker very young at the age of 16, believe it or not and continued on in the kitchen and bath remodeling field all the way up to where I'm at now. I manage my own design build firms or company. I've worked in full design build for a number of years. And since 1997, I've pretty much put it all into design at that point.

I'm a journeyman finished carpenter, electrician and plumber, and carpenter. So, I know how all the houses are built and how they're all put together. Those tools allow me to be able to intertwine that with cabinetry and design and being able to understand the puzzle from the first piece to the last piece and being able to integrate that into the cabinetry and the design aspects of the project. A little bit about me, I've been with Precision for nine years now. I've been fortunate to be very successful here and put myself in a position where I am the team lead, even though there are employees or sales people here that have been here up to 25 years, believe it or not. I've done a very good job in understanding the business and being able to work with all different types of contractors, architects, and designers.

Rob: That's great. That's great. Well, certainly we're thankful to have you and really excited that you're able to join us today. If you don't mind, can you give everybody kind of a brief rundown of Precision and what's your secret sauce to getting all these awards on house?

Ed: Well, I mean, doing a lot. Just to give you the idea of Precision's scope overall, we are a company that services two different parts of the industry. The industry I manage is custom sales, where we manage all the independent contractors, architects, and designers and homeowners and some projects that come in. We also have another side of our business which is pretty much the high-end production or track sales. And that is a different part that manages a whole different way of doing things compared to the custom side. Precision has been around a little over 25 years. We've been in Brentwood all that time. We service probably somewhere in the neighborhood of about 900 to 1,000 contractors on a yearly basis. We serve the seven Bay Area counties and we stretch out a little bit farther than that as well. But for the most part, the main seven Bay Area counties is where we do all of our work.

One of the beautiful things about us is controlling everything that goes on with your project in regards to cabinetry. We are integrated. We have 250 employees, all of them work for us everywhere from design, to measure, to build, to deliver, to installation and to the very final end of things is touch up and detail. That's the cabinet side of things. You know, cabinetry wise, we build pretty much any type of cabinetry that's out there, frameless or framed cabinetry and we have a wide array of standard offerings along with pretty much a lot of custom things we can do. One of the other things that Rob will be showing maybe a little bit later is we've also opened up a 9,000 square foot design center in Pleasanton that you'll get to see here shortly, that allows us to have the tools to be able to showcase our product and allow our clients to have a very comfortable environment to go through in making all of their selections for the particular rooms that they're going to be working on in their particular project.

On top of that, we also are a full Wolf, SubZero dealer. So, we do carry, deliver, and install Wolf and SubZero appliances along with their Cove line. We also are a countertop fabricator and a tile and flooring company as well. So, we offer design services in all those areas for your clients that are needing those types of services and or for designers that are looking to use our location to be able to help their clients as well.

Rob: Awesome. That sounds great. Well, I'm glad we didn't try to fit all of your experience on a single slide. That would have been tough.

Ed: It wouldn't.

Rob: I'm going to jump into sharing your guy’s impressive showroom here. And we'll just do a full walkthrough starting at the beginning and kind of making our way through.

Ed: Fantastic.

Rob: So just like we were there in person, we have the ability to--

Ed: Technology is fantastic.

Rob: a full show room. All right. So, first things first, can you see my screen?

Ed: Yeah, absolutely.

Rob: Awesome. All right. So, I guess this is the Pleasanton location, is that correct?

Ed: That is correct. That is the Pleasanton Design Centre. Our cabinet division is Precision Cabinets, and of course, the design center or we've named Precision Design Source mainly because it's pretty much design in there. Our Brentwood location is where we build it, this is where we design it.

Rob: Great, great, great. Well, yeah, it's a beautiful showroom. I'm glad we're going to be able to virtually walk through it. Down at the bottom, I think we spoke it about yesterday. Let's start over here at the chef's kitchen and we can just talk about... maybe we can start picking your brain on just the kitchen side of things first. Talking about some of the different cabinet options, some of the different finish options that are out there. Some of the different ways to build a cabinet would be great. Talking about some of maybe the minute details of glass in cabinets, hardware. We'll try to touch on as much as we can here but why don't we start by just talking a little bit about I guess the kitchen that we're looking at now and giving me a rundown of at a high level if I was walking through your shop and you were showing me these cabinets, what are the things that a client could look for in these in order to make a design decision about their own home?

Ed: Well really, the design center was set up to showcase obviously our product but also some different styles and designs. Our business has evolved over time where Precision Cabinets really for longest time only made framed cabinetry. That's all we ever made was framed cabinetry and whether it was an overlay or an inset construction, it was framed. Nowadays, the majority of our business--

Rob: Ed, can you describe real quick no overlay versus inset and the difference between the two options that are out there?

Ed: Well, it's going to be tough other than verbally discussing it to some extent because we don't show framed full overlay in our design center. We show frameless and we show inset. Those are the only two items that we show. So, if we get to the wine area, I can show you inset framed cabinetry. Currently, the photo that you're seeing or what you're seeing right now is our main 22-foot kitchen that is showcasing frameless cabinetry and a stained Maple material and that. There are many different ways frameless cabinetry is put together as far as the design goes to dictate how it's going to look. This one's obviously done in a very transitional design. And you can see some of the custom features in regards to lighted interiors. Of course, you can also see the curved glass doors, floating shelves in the backsplash there. Of course, in this display we're showcasing a 60-inch Wolf range and their 48-inch pro refrigerator. Our island is actually a textured melamine material and with quartz countertops abode. And if you visit this space, you will find that that countertop is actually heated.

Rob: Oh, really?

Ed: Where you sit and you put your elbows you would have a heated countertop in that area.

Rob: Wow, is that that little switch that I see right there?

Ed: No, that's actually a logo calling out that particular--

Rob: Okay, got it. Okay.

Ed: So, the controls are on the other side and it's very similar to a heating product that will go into a bathroom floor or underneath tile in a particular house if you're to afford doing radiant electric everywhere.

Rob: Got it. So, these doors that we're looking at here and drawers are Maple, what about the construction of the actual boxes? What are the options that are out there and what options do you guys offer your clients?

Ed: The main option in our frameless product line is that box is going to be a three-quarter inch prefinished Maple plywood or it'll be a three-quarter inch white melamine particle board construction. We do both of those and then of course any open or finished interior cabinetry, the interiors the material be the same that matches the exterior.

Rob: Got it. So, essentially options for the boxes themselves or plywood or particle board.

Ed: Or particle board. That applies also to the framed cabinetry as well. The box construction is a part of a three-quarter inch plywood or three-quarter inch particle board. The difference is a frameless cabinet does not have a frame attached to the front of it. It is just the front of the box and that's it with a back. A framed cabinet is a frameless box but with a frame attached to the front of it. It's the easiest way I can explain it. Frameless cabinetry is a modular cabinet. So, the cabinet we're looking there with the glass doors believe it or not is actually, you know, there are six cabinets sitting right there you just can't tell. But it's one cabinet for each door in that particular section.

Rob: Got it. Got it.

Ed: So frameless cabinetry is a modular component that is built and installed in the field together to where our frame cabinetry which you'll see a little bit later is built in sections as long as it needs to be to get it into the house up to nine and a half feet.

Rob: When choosing between a particle board versus a plywood box, any considerations? How do you steer clients and what are some of the pros and cons if there are any?

Ed: You know, really what it comes down to Rob is personal preference nowadays. Particle board has always had a bad rap. Trust me, I was a cabinet maker by trade. When I build cabinets, I don't want to build them on a particle board. That's a personal preference. It really is about a personal preference now more than anything else. You know, three quarter inch plywood, three quarter inch particle board built and constructed properly, both are going to be very durable and both are going to hold up quite well over the long haul. The particle board is coated with a plastic material. Back in the day, they built cabinetry without any coatings. That particle board became very brittle and wasn't a very good product over the long haul.

Nowadays, with the coating on them, they can last as long as you take care of them. The plastic interior that's on them does allow for cleanup and wiping down quite easily. Prefinished Maple is still a very, very durable product but it is a wood. So, you have to be a little bit more careful with it. With that said, most of our clients or a lot of our clients on the custom side tend to side with the plywood construction because of the look and feel of it when you open the doors. And that's really what it comes down to is how the client feels about it and how they look at it. And 85% of custom sales that we do is plywood construction, 99% of track sales is particle board.

Rob: Got it. Okay, so there's definitely a price delta there that a client would have to kind of weigh as well then?

Ed: That is correct. And in all honesty in a single room, the price delta in custom is not a very big difference. It's relatively small. It can be as low as 3% or as high as 3%. So, it's not really a big price difference. But in in track, it would be probably about 25%.

Rob: Makes sense. Makes sense. You mentioned the door material and the drawer material that I'm looking at here, in this case, the entire thing is stained grade Maple. But can you tell me a little bit about the doors? What style of door I'm looking at here versus maybe there to start?

Ed: Okay. Yeah, very simple. It's hard to see in the photo, but this particular door is a shaker door with a quarter round bead on the inside frame. In photo, it looks like a shaker door but it is a shaker door with a bead added on the inside of the frame. We might be able to see it a little bit better down the road because it is in other areas of the showroom. But a stain grade door like this that is a Maple, it is going to be a solid wood door, meaning that the frame is going to be solid Maple three quarters of an inch by whatever thickness of the frame you want. Standard would be two and a quarter, but we have variations we can work with. The inset panel, very important that anytime you do a stained wood, that the inset panel or the flat part of that door on the inside, or the middle, be a solid wood material, not a veneer.

A lot of amateur and or rookie designers or cabinet salesmen will just sell it as a quarter inch panel to try to save the client money. The issue you will have is that hardwood and veneer stain differently. And so, as time goes on, you will see what's called a picture frame effect because that middle panel will be a different color than the hardwood. And that is not really a look that at a whole lot of people like, especially if they're not aware of it upfront. So, once we do a solid wood door like this in Maple, that middle panel will be half inch solid wood as well to match the perimeter wood. So that way, once it takes stain and or mellows or ages as a lot of natural woods will do that, it'll all do it consistently and look the same.

Rob: And what about when it comes to staining, are you guys staining in your shop or is it typically done by the contractor later on? In a natural product like wood, how consistent could a client expect the stain that they choose to actually appear when they go to install?

Ed: Good question, Rob. I'll answer the first one very easily. We do all of our own finishing. We have a $3 million finishing facility attached to our 80,000 square foot plant. All of our finishes are baked on conversion finish. So, when our product is delivered to the house or to the home it is already done. It is already finished. It is already complete at that point in time. The baking process allows the catalyst or the conversion to one, dry faster and two, harden better, so it makes for a very durable finish. Here in California, especially where you have difficulty spraying those high-quality out-of-state finishes, here we have the ability to spray a finish that's very close to their finishes, mainly because of our finishing facility that does not allow anything to off gas.

As far as the second part of that, it really has to do with your wood. The wood that’s selected it is going to take stain differently. Some take it very, very well. Walnut and cherry are going to take stain very consistently and very clean and have a very nice look too. Whereas Maples and alders will tend to, because of checking and softness within the woods, and that will tend to have a little bit more of a muddled or inconsistent look when it comes to staining, depending on colors. The colors are really what dictates it the most. Some will have more of a muddled look, some will not. But usually, I am one that's going to point that out to your clients quite well to make sure they're clearly understanding how their finished product is going to look because they can't always see it as a whole, depending on what color they select other than on a door style that I have.

Rob: Right. That makes total sense. You talked about some of the different materials that were there, whether it's walnut, Maple, alder. Are there any other materials that I'm missing that you guys provide?

Ed: So, our standard offering of materials in the wood aspect of things is of course going to be pink grade, which is a mix of solid Maple and a special core MDF material that gets painted. And then we offer beach, we offer a regular red oak. Don't sell it much, but we offer it. We offer alder, knotty alder, clear Maple. We offer cherry and we offer walnut. Those are our standard woods. We also have an offering of engineered woods that we do, which are veneer and flat panel only that are eco-friendly. We also have standard Egger product, which is actually a textured melamine material that's really starting to hit the market and really starting to take off at this point in regards to durability and look.

So, we also carry some high-end acrylic products for the clients that want high gloss. Here in California, very difficult to do a high gloss lacquer so we substitute that with a standard product that we call reflect and AGT. Both of those are in acrylic product, one being an extremely high-end acrylic that comes gloss and matte and in another one, that's a step down that comes gloss and matte as well. Those are pretty much all of our standard products that are listed on the website. And that is a…

Rob: I’m going to jump over to this one, since it seems like you were just discussing it.

Ed: Perfect.

Rob: Why don't you walk us through... It seems like more and I don't know if you've seen the same trend, but a lot of our clients are leaning towards kind of this, no hardware, sleek lines, 90 degree. In this case, hard to even see a frame of a cabinet, let alone anything else, but it's definitely a trend we've seen. Can you walk us through this kitchen and the different, I guess, components that go into to making this design happen?

Ed: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's funny you say that because before I came to Brentwood, I worked at Peninsula and before I left the Peninsula, it was a lot of this type of product that we're starting to do a lot of in that. So, what you're looking at here is high-gloss reflect, which is a high quality high-end acrylic material. And the doors look like they might be a walnut or a wood, believe it or not, that is actually an Egger textured melamine product that looks like wood. And when you see it in person, the layman will have a hard time telling, to be honest with you. This particular kitchen is set up and equipped with complete touch or soft opening product. And so, we have the Blum metal door boxes that you push the front of the door and the door will automatically open. And of course, everything is soft closed. And then our hidden light rails and our doors are extended down that allow you to open the door from below. So that way you can have access to the cabinetry without having to use hardware on the upper doors.

Rob: I would just be worried about making marks all over my nice white high-gloss cabinets.

Ed: That's the beauty of the reflect material believe it or not. For some reason it really just does not show that a whole lot. Now with that said, for Precision, because we're not a true European company, we're not Padini or Poggenpohl, or any of those types of companies that have a lot of really cool forming materials and things like that. We do have a challenge and I will be really honest. We do have a challenge when it comes to no hardware on cabinetry. So, the way we can pull it off is touch latches and touch drawers. But you see the look nowadays of the finger pool, European flat panels and things like that. That's a challenge and that's something that Precision can't really go towards a whole lot. So for us, you're going to do either touch to open or you're going to do hardware, one of the two for our product at this point in time. But that particular material you're looking at is extremely durable, pretty scratch resistant. You can actually take a steel wool pad and rub across it, and it will not scratch.

Rob: Am I looking at, it looks like an electric or maybe an induction cooktop?

Ed: That is a Wolf induction cooktop there and you can't see it, but there's also an M-series, a Wolf contemporary oven with the touch to open doors as well on the oven.

Rob: Got it.

Ed: Of course, we have an integrated column refrigerator there. That's a 24-inch integrated refrigerator. And then to the right of that would be a Cove dishwasher that is integrated with a panel as well, but does require pulls to open those products.

Rob: Got it. Okay. So I'm looking at, it looks like maybe a finger pull here at the top, and then maybe on the side here?

Ed: Yeah, it's what's called a tab pull that we do route into the tops of our doors and into our drawers. That is an option that we offer quite a bit for our contemporary clients. And you'll see that same hardware in the warm, modern kitchen that's literally to the right of this kitchen, from a design standpoint.

Rob: Got it. And the question I have, can a client just go ahead and purchase any old appliance and how do you guys make these integrated panels like this? Or what does it take somebody who says, "Hey, I really want this look." What do you suggest?

Ed: Work with the designer or work with myself and really get a clear understanding of what you're trying to achieve with this particular look. Typically, when you're going to do this look the best way to go is with integrated appliances. And usually, most salespeople or most designers are going to know exactly what you're going for and direct you down the path. Appliances are key to any kitchen design, usually they're needed, or at least idea before we even start your kitchen design more times than not. But a designer like myself, I'm going to help guide you in the direction you need to go, whether it's with Wolf or SubZero, or whether it's Mila or Thermador or Bosch, or any of the other product lines that are out there and understanding how your finished look is going to be, depending on the appliance you want to go with and you want to select.

Rob: What about from what I'm looking at? It looks like an end panel here, right?

Ed: Mm-hmm.

Rob: And it's a finished end panel, but on the countertop here, it looks like you have a waterfall here. Is this a decision that a client would have to make up front that, "Hey, I really want this waterfall island?" And when is that required as far as the decision to be made by the client?

Ed: Well, it's usually a design decision that's usually started up front in most cases. I mean, every now and then you'll do a design and then a client decides they want to put a waterfall in, very rare. Most of the time that design is starting usually a lot of times upfront. For us though, in all honesty, I just need to know prior to final sign off on designs because I can alter the design to accommodate a waterfall by just removing that applied in that you see to the left of the refrigerator. One of those would be on that island and instead of that, we would take that off and we would set the island up to be prepped for a waterfall to come down the side.

Rob: Great. I'm going to jump over to another modern kitchen that you guys have and then we can just talk maybe about the differences between the cool modern kitchen that we saw just now with the high gloss versus what I'm looking at here. A lot of similarities, but I guess maybe also some minor differences as well.

Ed: Yeah. Glad you brought this one up because there's a couple of things I want to discuss in regards to this particular product that you're looking at. But as far as the kitchen goes, exact same design, exact same cabinetry. Construction, as you saw on the gloss white and the front brake kitchen that you saw, that was a transitional design. The construction is exactly the same on all three of those. The difference is that you get a different outlook and a different feel by changing the face of that particular cabinet box. And in this case, what we're using in this particular kitchen is what we call echo wood. Echo wood is an engineer product. It is eco-friendly. It's basically a beachy wood that is pulled stranded and turned into a veneer. The tree grows to a full growth in 12 years. So, it allows for sustainability and, and be a green product for clients. The beauty of the echo wood is that it is real wood. The difference is that it is a dyed wood as opposed to a stain. So, when I get this material from the supplier, all I have to do is apply a clear conversion finish to it, and it's done. There is no stain, there is no colors. You're going to select your color based on what particular echo wood selection you make.

In this case, this is an echo would that is a riff cut white oak or an imitation of a riff cut white oak. And this particular one is showing the tab pulls, obviously on all the base cabinetry and all the tall cabinets, which is something we do quite a bit of. The beauty of echo wood is for the contemporary design where you do not want to have a lot of inconsistencies and variations in your wood, because wood is a natural product. The fact that this is a dyed material you get a very consistent color palette with it throughout the kitchen. If I was to use a real riff cut white oak in this particular kitchen, this kitchen would probably look a little like a checkerboard to some extent because different door panels could be out of different trees and have different levels of color to them based on once we apply the color or the finished tool. So, for clients that are looking for a wood veneer but want a very consistent look, echo wood is an excellent choice to go with as opposed to a natural wood. And there are other veneers out there that we have sourced in the past that we can work with, like Shinnoki and stuff like that too that achieve the same concept as far as the consistency goes. And this design, it was done horizontal, none of it was done the match, but if you saw this kitchen in person, you'd have no idea because of how tight the grain is with this particular product.

Rob: Why would someone choose maybe a dyed material like this versus like a textured melamine? Do you get that same consistency in a textured melamine that you would in a dyed material like this?

Ed: The biggest difference is, there's clients out there that really want a wood instead of a plastic. That's really what it comes down to nowadays because I'll be honest with you, there's some textured melamine materials that I can show you next to a piece of wood and won't look much different nowadays. But most of it is really about the feel and having the look of wood as opposed to it being plastic. It’s more of a mindset than it is anything else nowadays.

Rob: Got it. That makes sense. That some of those composite materials these days are pretty wild.

Ed: It's crazy.

Rob: All right. I'm jumping over to the transitional kitchen here. White kitchen, you see these a lot. Can you tell me a little bit about what I'm looking at in this particular cabinets?

Ed: Yeah, and I don't want to go too far away from what you just said, but this is probably about as traditional as we're going to get. This is a true beaded inset framed constructed cabinet. And when you hear the word inset or overlay, this is probably the best way I can explain it. That particular door is surrounded by a frame and that door is set flat to the face of the frame of the cabinet, which in here calls it an inset construction or inset look. If I was to do an overlay, that same door would be built bigger and it would actually lay or go over the top of that frame and hide most of that frame, depending on what construction you select. So, it’s about the best way I can describe it out of this showroom only because we don't have a regular overlay here, we only have frameless, but this is an inset construction with a with a raised panel door and you can see it a little bit there, but there is a bead that goes around the opening, right where the door is. And this is once again, classic beaded inset construction.

And it's a furniture style. It's definitely a look. It was a turn of last century look that really started to take place and give the furniture look. Of course, cabinetry really started mimicking furniture I think in the early ‘90s really, when it really took off and started taking off and started designing kitchens over the arts and crafts or the different periods of furniture that are out there. Really took off in the kitchen cabinetry. And of course, this is where this falls in. It is more of the furniture styling of the cabinetry itself. Right now, this is a classic white dove and an ultimate black kitchen. Very popular right now and really taken off quite well. To the left, you see that big black box. That is actually a refrigerator and a freezer and it's a SubZero column refrigerator, a 24-inch SubZero column freezer. Integrated to look or blend into the cabinetry as if it wasn't even a cabinet or a refrigerator, shall I say? If there was any drawbacks or big difference between inset cabinetry and frameless, is that there are rails between all of your drawers and all of those rails that are between your drawers is space that is consumed compared to frameless, where there are no rails between your drawers on frameless cabinetry. So, you do pick up a lot more height in your drawers in frameless compared to a framed product.

Rob: That makes sense. One question I have for you. I don't think we discussed it before, but these upper cabinets, what's the height of those cabinets?

Ed: These cabinets actually, that refrigerator cabinet is actually at nine and a half feet tall.

Rob: Okay. So, when it comes to the option of having them open to above versus maybe framing down a portion of the ceiling, what we'd call a soffit, centered along the top, I guess if a client's debating between, "Hey, I'm not sure whether I want it open above or I want it floating." Do you have any opinion on that? Maybe it's architectural style design but what are the options that are out there and how could a client make up their mind on that?

Ed: Yeah, it's really all over the board at this point in time. We go all over the place with it. I'll do jobs that have soffits, jobs that don't. Of course, I have jobs we'll go to 10 feet ceiling height. Almost exclusively anytime I have nine feet, I'm almost taking the cabinetry to nine feet almost every time nowadays. 10 feet is a little bit of a difference depending on the style and the look that the client is going for in their space and how that space is going to dictate the height of those cabinets going all the way up. So, it really is a discussion as far as an overall look and how you want that to feel from a design standpoint, more than anything else.

Back in the day, soffits were added to save money. Nowadays, they're added to create a design look more than anything else. And in a contemporary, believe it or not, we don't do a lot of designing to 10 feet in contemporary and when we do usually it's bridge construction or some certain designs that are done to create a really cool contemporary look with it. But typically, contemporary is more minimalistic, a little bit less volume of cabinetry and that compared to traditional cabinetry where it's going to go all the way up to 10 feet, the front—

Rob: It also depends upon how tall you are a little bit too, I guess. Right?

Ed: It depends on how tall you are. Most times like you see here are the top parts decorative. It's really all about a look and of course, budget. Budget's going to drive a lot of that as well, because the more cabinetry and the taller it goes, the more expensive it becomes. And it's a decision that we all work together on to make the right choice for the client.

Rob: Awesome. I'm going to jump over, where do you think I should go next? Should I go to the wine bar, the vanities or the closets?

Ed: Well, let's go to the wine bar real quick. I wanted to show you a traditional inset if we can get a closeup, although it's tough there. I guess the wine bar really shows off really custom cabinetry as a whole, but it shows off true inset construction, true flush inset, meaning there is no beat around that door. The styles and rails are all inch and a half except for the top rail that takes the crown. And it’s once again, a furniture and a very clean look when it's done and done right. This one here has decorative in panels applied to the side of it, which we have to get a different angle, but you can kind of see it they're left of the refrigerator.

Rob: And it's pretty slick.

Ed: Yeah. To be honest with you, different strokes for different designer folks. Some of us will want that decorative end to be a false door to line up and match with the cabinetry, which is also a very slick look as well and that. But once again, with our cabinetry, we have a lot of options to choose from. That upper section that's housing the wine, that is all custom. That is a custom wine unit that we built with a back lit onyx that's on the backsplash that runs up behind all the cabinetry and it is very impressive, especially when you see it in person.

Rob: I got a question. When it comes to a wine cellars, any consideration need to be made for the considering the fact that it could potentially be cooled, and does that make a decision when choosing materials?

Ed: As far as just storing wine itself or?

Rob: If the room were to be temperature controlled, I guess Ed, let's say a temperature that might not be consistent with maybe if you were to have it outside of a temperature-controlled room, does that limit your options when it comes to material or really, if it's at 60 degrees, you're fine?

Ed: Yeah, not really. I mean it, the humidity level and everything has to get down into the low 50s for it to really be an issue. Most of the time, you can see a little bit of the vertical storage to the right of the wine unit there, that is true winery style ladder storage. You'll see that more than anything else in a lot of wine cellars. And whether it's, in this case, this is done in cherry, you'll see a lot of wine cellars as well where they'll do it in a, believe it or not, a lot of them are in Doug-fir or some will be in teak, but the temperature and humidity, the humidity's in there, but it usually doesn't get low enough to really affect the wood a whole lot.

Rob: Awesome. I'm going to jump over to the vanities quickly so we can jump in. I think we've got some questions piling up, so I want to make sure we get all of those. But bathroom vanities and I think construction methodology probably pretty similar to a lot of the items that we already talked about and on the kitchen side of things. What's unique when selecting bathroom vanities versus kitchen and what are some of the considerations that you tell clients coming into your showroom?

Ed: Well, really the consideration is a lot of times about how that particular bathroom is going to function and what kind of storage needs are needed to be met in that particular environment. And it depends on the bathroom. A guest bath, outer bath, master bath, there's all different requirements, believe it or not for all those bathrooms. So, each space becomes personalized quite a bit. We're seeing a trend nowadays in master bathrooms, especially where we're doing a lot of the pullout blow dryer and curling irons that are built into drawers and, or pull-out units. Of course, drawer storage is still probably some of the best storage for bathrooms. Although, we tend to do a lot of small, medium and large in bathrooms because of the varied sizes of items that need to be stored in bathrooms and not trying to give away too much space. In this bathroom, it was done very, very straight up. One small drawer, two large doors, not really functional, as far as I'm concerned, but that's who designed this particular bathroom and it's up to them.

But it's really more of just a personal choice. You can see really three different vanities here. One on the back wall, that's contemporary and floating. And then the two; the one on the left that's traditional and one on the right is transitional and done a little bit more furniture style. As to the beauty of custom cabinetry is that we have flexibility to design your space to function the way you need it to. But nowadays it's not just a bathroom vanity, it's really discussing the needs and the storage needs for that particular space and how it's going to be used and who it's being used for. Heights vary quite a bit. Nowadays, you're seeing a trend of the vanities being full height or kitchen height, which is 36 inches. With that said, each bathroom still needs to be discussed based on who's using it. So, a lot of flexibility, but it's not just a vanity cabinet anymore. There's a lot of discussion about just a kitchen and where you're going to put your vertical sheet storage and your eating utensils and all of that, same needs to be said for the bathroom vanities as well.

Rob: Got it. Makes sense. What I'm looking at here, it looks like on the right, this is a painted material, on left, that's also painted, is that right?

Ed: Correct. Left is urban bronze by Benjamin Moore, and on the right is Cape May Cobblestone by Benjamin Moore as well.

Rob: Got it. And if a client were to come to you with, let's say I don't know instead of a Benjamin Moore paint, I don't know, a Kelly Moore paint and said, "Hey, can you guys paint this my cabinet this color instead." Do you guys find the closest match in the Benjamin Moore color or how do you guys go about that?

Ed: So, what we do with that, it's called a fan deck match. Essentially, we take the fan deck and we send it out to our paint company and or finish company, and they will create an 8 by 10 sample that matches that swatch that is off of the fan deck.

Rob: Got it. Makes sense.

Ed: The biggest key is to understand that there are different sheen levels. That fan deck is on paper. My cabinetry is going to have a certain sheen, so it won't match exactly as far as sheen goes, but the color is usually pretty darn close to being right on.

Rob: I'm looking at some grains in the drawers here, three separate drawers, but it looks like the grains are consistent and it looks like it's coming from one piece of wood. What kind of wood is this where you guys are…? What kind of product is this I should say, where you guys are actually able to do that?

Ed: Okay. Good question, Rob. I mean, what you're seeing there, and unfortunately, it shows really red in this sticker picture. It's actually very brown in the actual real life. This is actually just clear walnut. And anytime we do any of our clear woods or any, not any of our woods, not clear, it doesn't matter if it's stained or regular, but any of our standard woods or any of the veneered woods that we do in flat panel, we automatically vertically match the grain, or in some cases and in certain links can horizontally match as well. But vertical match is essentially where the same piece of material or we cut the three drawers out of the same piece of plywood. And of course, then we install it to where that grain runs through those drawers all the way up.

Rob: It looks phenomenal.

Ed: And in most cases, we can accommodate that up to a nine-foot overall height or a nine-foot overall horizontal place.

Rob: Can you replicate that in a melamine product?

Ed: Actually, whenever you do any of our textured melamines, Rob, they're automatically vertically matched as well.

Rob: Very cool.

Ed: It's a standard feature automatic with our pricing. So, it's something that happens automatically.

Rob: Awesome. All right.

Ed: And if you don't do it that way, it looks terrible.

Rob: Yeah, no doubt. No doubt. I'm going to throw a few questions at you here. Maybe some of which I've already touched on, but I'm going to go to one question, which is about the cabinet construction. It sounded like you said to avoid a veneer product. Somebody had mentioned that because of the… it looked like you were saying, oh, it was in relation to the first kitchen we were looking at due to the age, as it ages it doesn't age consistently. Can you explain that a little bit more to everybody?

Ed: Oh, okay. So, what I was talking about was more about the construction of the door itself and the inside panel of that door. What happens is your outside frame of that door is a solid three-quarter inch solid Maple. In this particular case, it was cherry B, cherry, so on and so forth. The inside panel or the inset, this particular door has an inset panel. Typically, in a paint grade product that would be just a quarter inch panel that's on that inset part. But when we do a stain grade or a stained solid wood, that middle panel is actually what's called, we call it a reverse raised panel, but it's actually a half inch thick piece of solid wood that is the same solid wood that's on the perimeter of that, which is a solid maple. So that way, when we apply the stain to that product, the stain is being applied to solid wood, both on the inside panel and on the outside frame of the door.

So, one, the stain will stain more consistently. If that was a veneer and I stained it, veneers typically will stain darker. So, you would see a dark panel in the middle, but your frame would be lighter. The other thing that happens is mostly on clear products, like clear cherry, clear walnut, clear alders, that inside panel, being solid wood as that wood mellows, typically, cherries and walnuts especially will actually darken and that solid wood on the inside will darken with the frame around it. If that inside panel was a veneer, that inside panel will not change color the same way as the hardwood and so you'll have a picture frame effect.

Rob: Got it. [Crosstalk 00:54:37] for that comment, I guess, was more, don't mix a veneer and a solid wood if you're going with the stain grade. That's a huge, no-no

Ed: Correct. We can get away with it on your finished ends, which typically are veneers because the finished ends at 90-degree plane, so you don't notice that change on the finished ends. But on the face of this kitchen, you'd be able to see it quite easily if I wasn't to keep that middle panel solid wood.

Rob: Got it. One other question I have here is one that we touched on briefly, but what are some of the complications of having cabinets stretch all the way to nine feet? This particular client doesn't want there to be a dust trap. But he was also told it gets more expensive to leave no gaps to the ceiling. I think we talked about this a little bit, but if you don't mind touching on some of the factors. You mentioned going to eight feet and maybe building a soffit down, saving that extra foot might be more cost-effective versus extending the cabinets all the way to nine. I think you also probably lose some functionality there when you go all the way to nine for most folks.

Ed: Yeah. So let me answer. It's pretty simple. I mean, a couple of things, all right. One, a lot of it has to do with materials and the length of materials that are being selected. There are certain materials that only come in 4x8 sheets. There are certain materials that come all the way up to almost 10 feet, depending on what material we're going. So, your materials are going to dictate some of those decisions. There are tricks to all these things. The kitchen you're looking at on screen right now is a 10-foot-high kitchen. And in this particular case, we decided to split the uppers and we also put a belly band or a band around this kitchen to allow the panels to split and then restart off and go up to the ceiling in this particular case. Once again, there are some products that I can go all the way to the ceiling without having any issues.

On the custom side, I'll be honest with you, I don't see a lot. When there's a nine-foot ceiling, Rob, we're usually going to nine feet, 9 out of 10 times only because most of the materials are available to go to that dimension. And at nine feet, you can build your crown down a little bit taller and you don't have to have a split door look that we have in this design or in this case, this designs at eight feet three inches, I think it is. And we have a whole bunch of splits. If you go to the traditional kitchen, that kitchen is up at 10 feet as well. The split uppers typically is seasonal storage. It's either decorative stores on the right and left of that hood and above the ovens and the refrigerator, a lot of times those are doors and it's seasonal storage that gets put in those areas.

This particular kitchen, believe it or not, could have been designed was continuous panels all the way to the ceiling. Designer decided not to, decided to put a belly band in it as well. But really it comes down to what your materials are and what you can do with those materials. And of course, budget. Building a soffit and having your contractor build a soffit sheet rock down and do the [inaudible 00:58:10] work and all that, I'm not sure it's that big a savings to take the cabinetry that extra foot at that point in time in all honesty.

Rob: Right. That makes sense. I guess, anything above 10, that's where it gets a little bit questionable, whether you really take it all the way up or if you drop a soffit or anything else.

Ed: Yeah. 10 foot is always the question dimension automatically. It's whether we go to nine and soffit it down, whether we go all the way up to 10. Very seldom, will we ever go above 10? It's rare. You don't run across that a whole lot because your cabinetry then becomes a little bit too dominant and overpowering of the space when it's that high up. And even at 10 foot, it can be that as well. So, it's about really taking into account the design and the feel of the space. A galley kitchen with 10-foot cabinets on each side, you're going to feel like you're walking through one of those rock formations in Arizona or something. Once again, this is a contemporary design where we dropped it down because contemporary is more minimalistic. It doesn't always go up all the time.

Rob: One question that we had was in regards to thickness of countertops, it looks kind of there's a trend going towards kind of these thin countertops in some instances. And there's actually a few different questions related to the countertops so I'll ask you a few different ones, but first material. If you could talk about what material countertops you guys offer, and then also talk about some of the thickness options that are out there and how a client goes out making those decisions.

Ed: Yeah. And this is whether it's with us or somebody else. As far as Precision goes, the materials that we carry are going to be pretty much most of the quartz products that are out there. Any of the quartzite and granite materials that are out there, they typically you can go to design yard or a yard and select those products with the designer. So we carry pretty much most of the countertop materials that are out there that can be selected. Of course, we can't show it all because there's way too many to choose from. So, we do carry certain brands like Silestone, Cambria, Caesarstone and those are our main lines. And then we have access to a whole bunch of off-lines as well, which there's more and more coming out every day.

The left side of this display is quartz, the far right side is granite and the middle right is quartzite and we have some various things around. As far as thicknesses go, the majority of the thicknesses you're going to find most of this material in is what's called a 2-cm material or a three-quarter inch thickness. That one top that you showed earlier, which you don't need to go back to but we looked at, that was a 2-cm or a three-quarter inch thick countertop, very minimalistic, very thin. And believe it or not, don't actually do as much as it's trending right now, at least through Precision cabinets. Like I say, we do about 800,000 to a million dollars of cabinetry a week. So, we see a lot that goes on and if you were to look through our websites portfolio, you probably wouldn't see a ton, but it is something that is done more on the contemporary side.

After that typically it's your buildups on your edges at that point. And we can go anywhere from an inch and a quarter edge all the way up to a 12-inch edge, depending on what you want to do with the look of your countertops. We actually have a bunch of varying sizes in our showroom. Right there, you're looking at inch and a half mitered. There are some other materials out there that are in quartz and our natural stone that are what's considered or called 3-cm. That is a stone that is actually an inch and a quarter thick. And you can use that material in some cases to have a smaller edge detail, and also save a little bit on fabrication costs because we do not have to miter or decorate the edge of it. You just Polish it. So, it can be a little bit more money and material, but less cost and labor to fabricate that particular inch and a quarter material, which is called 3-cm.

Rob: Does a client need to choose a countertop before finalizing cabinets?

Ed: They need to choose a countertop thickness for sure. 99% of the clients at least have their material selected. And before we can order countertops, we need to know the thickness in order to modify the cabinetry to accept that and keep the height that they want from the finished floor. The trend, the clients will want a three-inch countertop edge on their Island but want 36 inches of height to the top of the counter off of finished floor. Issue you're going to run into is if you have a dishwasher or an under counter refrigerator on that island, it's not going to fit. You're going to have to sacrifice a higher island or higher a countertop finish, or you're going to have to find other appliances to go in that area, which are few and far between would fit underneath that at the standard 36-inch counter height. So, as a designer or as a salesperson we have to take that into account when we're discussing it with our clients and give them what options are available to them if they want to go that route. More times than not, it's raising it to 37 and being able to squeeze the appliances underneath at that point in time. But no, it is very important for us because we custom build our cabinetry and we want to make sure that we maintain the heights for our clients so their countertops aren't getting too high or too low. And so, if thickness of countertop is really important and edge detail is what's really more important.

Rob: Got it. Yeah. We encourage and I think maybe some of our clients will sometimes ask us, "Hey, why do I need to make all these decisions up front so early on?" Especially when it comes to the cabinets. I mean, we really don't even like to frame until we have those finalized items like you mentioned, which are, if we need to drop ceilings, if we need to build any sort of pony walls or anything else. So again, I encourage everybody who's listening on this call to jump on your cabinet making decisions quickly so your builder, us, can hopefully stay productive and there's no rework that has to happen as a result. So, visit Ed in I guess in Brentwood and Pleasanton, right?

Ed: Yeah, and one real thing, Rob, one quick thing if you don't mind. I mean, doing a project can be really overwhelming because there are so many decisions, so many components that have to be applied to it. Best thing to do is to try to get into the design aspect as soon as you can, to allow as much time as possible to process that design. It's always best to try to bite off little pieces at a time to be able to get through it without it being too overwhelming. And so, just a little bit of advice is to get started as early as you possibly can. And this day and age definitely think about your appliances because they are a mile out in most cases and usually, they're going to be the thing you'd be waiting for in that. So yes, our main plant is in Brentwood. That's where we build all the cabinetry and we do have a showroom in Brentwood as well that is fully functional and can create or do everything we need it to do. It's been doing it for over 24 years now. But we also of course have our design center in Pleasanton on Hopyard Road and it's a 9,000 square design center that I think will help any client make just about all the decisions they need to make.

Rob: Awesome. Well, Ed, thank you for again, taking the time. I know you're a busy guy and it definitely, hopefully it saves you some time in the education process as we have our clients come in and meet you and ultimately hopefully, we continue to work together here and thanks again for being such a great partner in doing this us.

Ed: Absolutely. Feel free. Any clients have any questions whatsoever, feel free to send me an email. I'd be more than happy to answer them for you.

Rob: That sounds great. Well, thank you again, Ed. Take care, stay safe.

Ed: All right, guys. Appreciate it.

Rob: Thanks.