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."
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