A Conversation with Rick and Ellen
Why do you refer to your cabinets as “true custom”?
Ellen: I met someone the other day and when I told her about our shop, she responded, “Wow. It’s hard to find people who still do true custom cabinets.” It made me realize many cabinet shops now offer “customizable” stock cabinets as their new business model. We have produced custom cabinets since 1994 and take a lot of pride in the workmanship and materials that we use.
What is the difference between “custom” and “customizable”?
Ellen: Customizable cabinets allow you to take stock sizes, door styles and colors that can be mass-produced to save money. Fillers close the gaps when the room dimensions do not fit the cabinet size. Particleboard often is the most common material, with upcharges if you want true plywood.
Custom cabinets allow unlimited styles, sizes and colors and are built to maximize your space.
"We use the best materials that we can find"
Rick: Custom also allows you to work around architectural issues you’ll find, especially in remodels.
At Bloomfield Originals, we use the best materials that we can find. Why use cheaper materials and have problems after only a few years?
For instance, we use ¾” CanAm plywood, not 5/8” plywood from China or particleboard. And, we use the strongest drawer guides. We build cabinets to last and back up our product.
You have been building cabinets for a long time. What changes have you seen?
"One thing everyone wants is modern functionality"
Ellen: When we first started, everything in Nashville was traditional with a lot of ornamentation and a finish process called “glazing.” Then, we saw more transitional, classic styles with Shaker doors and the full overlay European look. Now, anything goes. We still have clients who want that traditional Nashville look, but more and more, we install contemporary cabinets with sleek slab doors and a glossy finish.
Rick: One thing everyone wants is modern functionality. We’re putting more inside the cabinets now than ever. Rev-a-Shelf and Hafele offer many creative ways to organize the space.
What new trends are you seeing?
Rick: The newest thing I’ve been working on is LED lighting.
Ellen: In finishes, a gray pallette is still popular, but designers are getting more creative with custom finishes such as a fumed oak that we just used in a master closet, along with the LED lighting. It looks amazing. No photos though. The high-profile client prefers to remain unnamed.
What’s the craziest request you have ever had?
Rick: We have had a lot of fun with secret compartments. We made a gun safe look like a regular kitchen cabinet. And once, we created a secret room behind a mirrored door with its own remote control lock.
Ellen: Other than kitchens and baths, we build cabinets for laundry rooms, mudrooms, libraries and offices.
What are people looking for from a custom cabinet company?
Rick: From the perspective of contractors, it’s dependability. They have a job to do and a schedule to keep so they need to know they can count on you. They wear multiple hats and greatly appreciate our suggestions and solutions to the problems they face.
Ellen: Homeowners want to know that you can provide the look and function they envision. And everyone wants to know that you will still be there for them years down the road.
Where can we see your work?
Ellen: Most of our cabinets are installed in the Nashville area in neighborhoods like Oak Hill, Belle Meade and 12 South. Our work is featured each year on the Belmont Tour of Homes.
"Seeing them happy is the greatest compliment"
What's the greatest compliment you've received?
Rick: Nothing feels better than when the homeowner sees your work and gives you a hug. Seeing them happy is the greatest compliment.
Ellen: Ninety-five percent of the time we can meet a contractor’s schedule. On those occasions when we are booked and someone decides to wait, I love it when the client smiles and says, “It was definitely worth the wait.”