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Crown Point Cabinetry . . . Where do I start?

Crown Point Prairie Vertical Linea System image via Daily5Remodel

Hmmmm . . . maybe this?  Thirty years in business — a 2nd-generation, family-owned custom cabinet maker out of southern New Hampshire . . . Claremont.  Maybe this?   Direct to architects, designers, remodelers, builders – no middle . . . persons.  Hmmm . . . ? Or maybe their beautifully appointed cabinetry, their easy going and cool CEO Brian Stowell, or maybe their 18 in-house designers . . . like Bob Davis and Vanessa Perry — the “dynamic duo” holding down the booth at the Remodeling Show earlier this month.  Maybe I start this story telling you about their Remodeler Appreciation Program.  Or . . . ?

How about I start with this . . .

“Fine Quality Custom Cabinetry Handcrafted for Your Entire Home.” That’s exactly how it reads in Crown Point Cabinetry’s own tagline.  “Kitchens, Baths, Laundries, Offices, Home Bars” . . . *breath* . . . “Islands, Pantries, Breakfast Nooks, Closets, Built-Ins.”  They build every cabinet to the exact specifications you provide for your project, and really anything you could imagine . . . in terms of cabinetry.  True Custom.

Now a Site Visit & a Story:

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to join the team of Stacey Nachajski, PR ambassador for CP, and the company’s resident tech guru and photographer – Jeff Stowell (Brian’s brother, yep — who also doubles as the company’s Creative Director).  They were on location just up the road from me in Hunt Valley, MD for a Crown Point photo shoot.

After getting some background on the shoot, and some of the niceties associated with a first meeting out of the way, I had the opportunity to then tour, with the homeowner, the still newishly-completed house.   A gorgeous and expansive structure impeccably detailed from the stone work and multiple weather vanes in the front, to the equally impressive ipe decking and large patio in the back.

Antique Hutch HeartPine from Crown Point

Cabinets of Any Kind in Any Room

But it was just about when we made it to the second-floor sitting room when I began to understand.  And as we moved across the 20×20 room at the top of stairs, from an eight-person window seat (bookended with bookshelves and wrapped in cherry trim . . . beautiful), he points to the bookshelf in a large nook . . . . He says, “This is what I mean – construction was underway when I called up my designer . . . .”

Let me point out that this homeowner had already pretty much had his entire house on order.  From Crown Point — a bank of cherry kitchen cabinets (including a bar), multiple closets, a laundry, and by my count at least eight bathroom vanities.  Continuing in his words, “…I said – ‘Hey, I’ve got some blank space here.  What can we do with it . . . ?  And like a day later — they had some ideas . . . .’”

The homeowner from the Hunt Valley had rooms featuring cabinets in tiger maple, cherry, knotty pine (actually worked really well in his clubbed basement bath), and bird’s eye maple — a wood which Brian told me later prices out at about $100 a foot (it is hand-selected).  These were just the species I could identify in the time between wowing over the true 4/4 (that’s one inch) drawer faces, and hearing the high notes of client satisfaction, which . . . were almost off the meter.

For him, it was the little things and being able to work closely with a single designer throughout the process.  Now, here . . . he had a custom-designed, darkly-stained and wholly unique bookcase that ended up filling a space which would have otherwise been nothing more than a void in his floor plan.  Impressive.

Now for Some of the Whys with Crown Point

This homeowner focused on and carried a Shaker style throughout.  Shaker — a classic, with simplified lines, is one of the company’s bread and butter(s)… they also offer Arts & Crafts, Early American, Victorian and Transition styles . . . or at least these are the baselines as listed on their website.  The company’s catalog boasts a total of 58 door styles.  (And just try ripping through them here. Go ahead; it’s fun!)

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Wood Species

Wood Species? you ask.  Well  — twelve option in what they call a “Standard Line”, eight in “Vintage” – antique options coming from, as the website puts it, “. . . structures having been cataloged for demolition. Expert eyes scour the buildings, and those structures deemed acceptable are carefully taken apart and brought to the lumber mill. The wood is cut into wide planks, which are then kiln-dried, sized, and carefully graded.“  (To hear more about Crown Point‘s connection with wide plank salvaged products, here >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_rrkB3gfzU.)  They even have sexy “exotics” to choose from.  Zebrawood, as I learned from Shannon at McIlvain, is likely the most rare, read: expensive, wood on the planet.  And CP can get it.

Finishes

Early on though, Stacey highlighted the finishing process for me.  Finishes feature Farrow & Ball and/or milk paint (the original and “eco” paint) and really, again, almost any configuration of stain, distressing, or glazing . . . etc. is possible.

Hardware

And as I type, ‘every order can completed with coordinating hardware’ — it occurs to me that maybe these are less like cabinets and more like furniture.  In fact, when asked about shipping and availability, CEO Brian says, “Shipments are blanket-wrapped, like furniture, and delivered direct to the job site.  While we have a former Crown Point employee handling all of regional shipping, over a larger footprint we use a national carrier.”

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What the Pros Say

OK, OK . . . maybe I am biased in my new found appreciation of Crown Point, because they generously helped sponsor Barry and I with our trip to the Remodeling Show.  For this, of course, I am thankful, grateful and willing to write.   And maybe my words here aren’t good enough, so let’s try this instead . . . the words from a few others:

Cabinet Mock-up Crown Point via Building Blox

Speaking on Leah Thayer’s Daily5Remodel, award-winning remodeler Chris Wright says:

“They’ve put together a business model that hits me right where I live. Their quality is outstanding, but that’s the starting point. They sell direct to me, outside of normal channels of distribution (showrooms, distributors, etc.). …”

“Before fabrication, they also construct and send me a complete mini-cabinet with door and drawer in the wood and finish selected so that the end client can see what their cabinets will look like, including hardware.”

“As competitive as this environment is, for vendors and contractors, I think you have to be excellent across the board to succeed. Excellent product. Excellent service (way beyond the basics). Most of all, excellent at communicating and connecting with your ideal market.”

A Crown Point Factory Tour

BMoxie poster, Todd Vendituoli had the opportunity to tour CP’s facility recently –  http://thebuildingblox.blogspot.com/2011/08/visit-with-crown-point-cabinetry.html.  Todd says:

Crown Point Cabinetry factory via Building Blox

“(The factory) is cleaner than some people’s homes that I have seen. The facility is really state of the art from the initial design work that they do with their clients to the finished product.”

. . . “Cabinet design, woods, colors and hardware have been decided and measurements have been taken, the design is worked up on a computer. From here the dimensions can and do go to all of the people and machines in the factory that will be making the individual parts and assembling them!”

“Then once the style has been picked out and there are so many choices, a mock-up is made for your approval.  This enables you to see the wood, colors/stains and hardware that you have chosen in your potential project before all of the cabinets have been made! I am assuming that this service is available for various projects and it would be best to check with Crown Point for the pricing and availability. They would love to help you.”

Now back to me:  While the company has been known traditionally both for quality and their unique selling model, they are quite nimble and innovative.  Again with Leah Thayer, she recently featured the company’s Linea SystemTM.   Leah characterizes it as a “kitchen assistant.”  And I was able to see it firsthand, included in the display at the Remodeling Show.  Coolness.

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Crown Point is Social

Their approach to marketing too, and most specifically social media, is forward thinking.  New friend, Stacey has the makings of a social media superstar. The company’s YouTube channel is a valuable source of information, and a powerful selling tool, but fun too.  Stacey is proud of the updates she is doing with Edson Project.  This series is currently tracking a couple in nearby Cornish, NH as they renovate the kitchen in 1870s Cape using, of course, Crown Point cabinets.  Innovative.

Stacey holds down the company’s blog too. Named Wood Shavings, one series she recently started toying with is called Crown Point Critters, and it seems super fun.

Is it Love or Custom Cabinetry? I say check out CP for yourself to find out

Brian Stowell discusses the benefits of Crown Point Remodeling Show

For me – I’d say the 2011 Remodeling Show simply would have not been the same without them.  And in my time, I spied a fun and friendly corporate culture; a glimpse at 88 folks working at a company in southern New Hampshire . . . doing what they love.  And if love translates to cabinets, I’d say it’s probably right here.  Almost everyone that I spoke with at the Show, and as I told of our connection, I heard — “I know them.”  The admiration for Crown Point seemed pretty pre-existent; something that made our job of spreading the good word … just that much easier.

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Thanks for reading and Thank You CP!  We are out with a brief audio clip, a picture of a tee shirt and back again soon with more stuff from the Remodeling Show.  Cheers. ~jb

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Audio Interview with Brian Stowell from Crown Point

A visit with Brian Stowell of Crown Point Cabinetry at the 2011 Remodeling Show — 2 minutes 28 seconds

*Note on the Audio:  The interview here with Brian Stowell occurred just minutes before we left the Remodeling Show behind for 2011.  It features Brian’s thoughts on the Show.  It was recorded, edited and intro-ed by Barry Morgan.

For more from us on Cabinetry, please see our category called, well, Cabinetry. ~jb