When he's not designing kitchens, Larry Chase answers his fair share of questions about cabinet re-facing and resurfacing.
"That's a majority of our business, but a lot of people don't really understand what we do, even though it's been around 40 years. They think it's still people going around and gluing Formica to cabinets," said Chase, vice president and co-owner of Kitchen Saver Inc., which he runs with his brother Richard Chase.
So, what is cabinet re-facing and resurfacing?
Cabinet resurfacing can take old painted cabinets and turn them back into real wooden ones by covering the cabinet doors, drawer fronts and moldings with wood.
With cabinet re-facing, new, solid wood doors are built and stained to match existing cabinetry. It's most commonly done in older homes, maybe 1950s or 1960s, with solid custom cabinets that need updating.
"Instead of resurfacing the cabinet box, we reface and replace the door and drawer fronts," Chase said.
It's a language Chase, who studied mechanical engineering, never expected to speak so fluently. But, growing up with a grandfather and uncle who were builders, Chase said he always had an interest in wood-working. And when a recession squeezed the job market in the early 1980s, he decided to make a career change.
Chase joined a former co-worker at a business that did kitchen and bathroom remodeling. That company wasn't the right fit, but Chase said he enjoyed the work enough to start his own business.
Today, he and his brother have 14 employees. And, while their name says they save kitchens, the Chase brothers actually transform bathrooms, too.
The biggest challenge, he said, is "trying to tailor the right remodeling recipe for people's desires and budgets. It's definitely a cost-conscious economy."
But, he said, "We have opportunities to do things that are much thriftier and cost-effective with cabinet re-facing and resurfacing and the mini-makeovers in the bathroom with acrylic wall systems and liners."
Add a new countertop, flooring or a backsplash, and Chase said you could have a new kitchen within a week, sometimes within a couple of days.
JUST THE FACTS
BUSINESS: Kitchen Saver Inc., 6531 W. North Ave.
PHONE: (414) 453-4220
OWNERS: Larry and Richard Chase
TYPE OF BUSINESS: kitchen and bathroom remodeler
PEARLS OF WISDOM: "We have opportunities to do things that are much thriftier and cost-effective."
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Pet project in Wauwatosa pays off for owners and animals alike
- Finding new life for old buildings
- Wauwatosa business coach helps small companies
- Therapist suggests making massage priority
- Family's sausage business a hit at farmers markets
- Tosa attorneys come from entrepreneurial families
- Soaps & Scents sniffs out a new opportunity
- Even technophobs can have a better tech experience, owner says
- Platinum Salon relies on intimate, family atmosphere
- Tosa Wine & Spirits staff enjoys its new home
- Move to massage therapy good for the soul, Parlour owner says
- Designing durable landscapes a way of life for Tosa man
- Mobility store says it puts client needs before profit
- Birth center offers health services for whole family
- Standing the test of time
- Duo helps families choose assisted-living care right for them
- Filament shines light on home furnishing needs
- Optometrist's daughter sells children's glasses in Wauwatosa
- Tasting room appeals to wine afficianados, corporate planners
- Hot dog! Business venture helps teen learn value of a dollar