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Lumber Mart Custom Cabinetry

At Lumber Mart we take pride in our one-on-one customer service, our Cabinetry Designers being a large part of that. Designing a kitchen, bathroom, or even shelving unit can be a daunting process, but at Lumber Mart our cabinetry designers will be with you every step of the way! Find out a little bit more about our designers, Dan and Kelly, as well as the process of designing a kitchen or bathroom!

Our Designers + Their Experience:

Dan started off in the restaurant business where he worked his way up from bussing to being a manager. He then moved to Chicago to work in an electronics factory, before working at Menard's for numerous years and in multiple locations. It was at Menard’s that Dan started designing kitchens and selling doors and windows. In 1999 Dan started at Lumber Mart and has been designing kitchens with us ever since. Dan has almost 25 years of kitchen design experience.

Kelly Graduated from University Wisconsin Stout with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts and concentration in Interior Design. She worked at Floor to Ceiling in Grand Rapids, MN for seven years, where she worked with customers not only with kitchen design, but also with bringing all of their finishes together, such as flooring, plumbing, hardware, wall covering, and window treatments.

What They Love About Their Job:

Dan loves taking what is in the customer’s head and making it reality. He knows that it is not as easy as it seems, but try’s to find out how the customer plans to use their kitchen or bathroom on a day-to-day basis. He also loves picking up on each customers individual design ideas so that once the project is done they can look at it and say, “that’s my kitchen.” Dan also loves seeing how the finished project turns out, and feels like he did his job if the customer loves the finished kitchen or bathroom.

Kelly loves watching the project come together, and likes to see how each design is so unique to each customer’s vision.

Steps of a Design Project:

The steps that Dan goes though when working with customers ranges from several meetings to get to know each other, several times out to the job site to measure and visualize, and several more meetings to present ideas and make changes. He mentions that being able to visualize is very important, some people are better at this than others but they can always take 3-D photos to help visualize as well.

The steps Kelly describes is that the customer will bring in plans and will work with her to discuss what they would like in their kitchen or bathroom. After that they will draw up plans with approximate estimates for cabinets and countertops. Lastly, they will finalize door styles and countertops and do a final onsite measure.

Recommendations and Advice for Someone Starting a Design Project:

Dan’s advice is to have fun with it as well as having patience. If you start to loose patience then you need to take a break because you don’t want to not absolutely love your kitchen in the long run. Another great piece of advice is to remember that it is your kitchen; do not just like an idea because the designer likes it, but because you truly like it. Dan’s biggest recommendation of all is knowing your budget and how much you want to spend! He recommends setting aside a little extra as a “bumper” for things that can pop up.

Kelly’s advice is to come in with measurements or a floor plan. She also recommends having an ideas for the kinds and sizes of appliances you will be using, as well as what activities will occur in your kitchen such as baking, entertaining, a home office, kids homework, etc. Her last recommendation is to pull pictures of styles or ideas that reflect you.

Brands They Love Using:

Dan’s go to brand is Kraftmaid. He used it when he first started designing at Menard’s and still uses it today. He likes Kraftmaid because of how customizable it is. He also likes using Merillat cabinets when there is a smaller budget; even though Merillat is not as easily customizable he thinks they can still accomplish a great design as well as getting the cabinets a couple weeks quicker. For countertops Dan likes Cambria countertops for the unique patterns and high quality fit and finishes.

Kelly likes to use Kraftmaid best as well. She loves the quality of the product and the great options it provides. She likes their new wood grain options and paint stains that were recently released. Kelly uses Merillat cabinets as well for a more affordable price. When it comes to laminates she likes Wilsonart Laminates, for their fun stone and wood looks that are very durable and affordable. Kelly just toured the Cambria countertop plant and absolutely loved their beautiful and very “green” product.

Most Unique Element of Design They have Used:

Dan has done many unique designs throughout his years of designing but he likes an ADA wheelchair accessible kitchen that he did, as well as a kosher kitchen (different zones to do different food handlings), and rolling ladders for a basketball player and is 4’9” wife, making everything at two different heights. Dan enjoys using different textures in a single kitchen, wood cabinets, stone countertops, accent of wood countertop, glass doors, or even metal door inserts. Dan also likes to be challenged into finding things that he doesn’t always work with like unique sinks, rails, tops, etc.

Kelly’s favorite design she has done was when she was working for an architect in Grand Rapids and helped design a kitchen design for the architect’s family cabin. The end result was red accented cabinets with beautiful gray marble countertops. She thought it was a very fun and “happy” kitchen!

Favorite Colors and Tones:

Dan likes to use neutrals, but admits that he sometimes plays it a little safe. When he plays around a bit more he likes to follow the client’s lead. He thinks that there is no right and wrong when it comes to colors and tones, the only wrong is following what the designer thinks just because the customer thinks the designer always knows best. It should always be what the customer wants and feels.

Kelly likes mixing creams, whites, and natural woods, blacks and grays together. She also loves fun splashes of color.

Typically the Most Expensive Part of a Kitchen or Bathroom Project:

Dan says that it surprises most people to find out that the cabinets are not always the most expensive part. In many projects the appliances can cost more than the cabinets and in some cases the countertop can cost the most of all. It all varies depending on what products are used.

Kelly mentions that it varies from project to project, however she say’s that cabinets normally are one of the most expensive parts. However, depending on the type of appliances or countertops you choose, those can be very expensive as well. Stone countertops tend to be higher than laminates.

Why You Should Shop at Lumber Mart Instead of a Big Box Store:

Dan thinks that the one-on-one attention is the best thing about shopping at Lumber Mart over a big box store. He expresses the fact that when you start a project with him you will finish it with him; he will be there for all of the project development making it is easier to address anything that comes up during the process. Another reason is that he will take the responsibility of measuring and making sure everything works and fits, in comparison to having to do all of our measurements by yourself and hoping that it works out at a big box store.

Kelly thinks that the main reason to shop at Lumber Mart over a big box store is the one on one attention you get as well as the very knowledgeable staff. Also, that the free measurements and estimates are another great reason to shop local over a big box store.

Helpful Websites and Tools:

*All photos are from

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