Spaces for Life

The ReTouch Home Improvement blog



Spaces for Life: How custom cabinetry can make a home feel authentic

By Lance McCarthy

My house was just remodeled a little more than a year ago, but people that walk through it often don’t realize that unless they know the story.  I think there are three reasons for that.  1. My wife has a really cool throwback style (if you know her, please let her know I’m complimenting her… that puts money in the love bank!)  2. We have four kids and they would make any space look old within 24 hours.  Kidding.  Sort of.  and 3. We made sure to include lots of cool built-ins in the new space.  

That’s the one I wanted to talk about today–the built-ins.  If you would rather hear about the kids, just get on Facebook.  You can’t miss them.  

The reason I want to talk about built-ins is that it can be tempting to cut these guys from the budget when the going gets tough.  It seems like you can just replace a $2000 cabinet with a $200 box of cardboard wood from IKEA and it will work just the same.  Unfortunately, that isn’t true.  (I’m sorry IKEA, I still love you).

The beauty of built-ins (if they are designed and built well) is that they feel as if they are part of the house.  Like the floor and the trim.  It is something that quality homes always included back in the good ol’ days, but something that is rare in the nowadays McMansions.   Built-ins create a double whammy:  they add architectural detail, and are usually hyper-practical. 

Here are a few of my favorites, with some pics from some of our projects:

The Banquette

Built-in seating for a table can save a lot of space and feel great.  (unless you happen to be the one in the middle)


The Window Seat

This is the banquette’s little sister.  Turn a window into a sexy reading-a-book-with-a-cup-of-coffee-while-it-rains-outside type of place.  (insert cat’s purr)


The Bookcase

Compare this to something you can buy from a store.  I dare you.  And the doors below leave space for Sorry and Chutes and Ladders and all those other games that are missing pieces.  


Coat Locker

Coat hooks are so plain.  But lockers…just look how happy this mother and son are!  (Honestly, these two would be happy regardless of where they are)


Coffee Bar

I’m pretty sure these didn’t exist back in the day, but they are still pretty cool.  I love refilling the coffee maker with water every morning!  Said no one. ever.  


And I’ve got plenty more where these came from.  Custom closet shelving, media cabinets, open shelves, and even a killer wardrobe like in C.S. Lewis’ book.  More to come…


So, the moral of the story: don’t just focus on more space.  Focus on better space.  Make the space beautiful and functional for generations to come.  It will be worth it.  

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