lt is fairly rare now to find custom-made units in a new kitchen. The standard ranges, as I have described, are so varied, the permutations of finishes so large and the quality so good (if you choose carefully) that most people are not prepared to go to the extra trouble of having furniture specially built; that is, unless a first-rate architect or designer is in charge who will produce something unique and beautiful for which the client is prepared to foot the bill, or unless the kitchen owner/planner is a DIY addict and fancies he can do a good cheap job himself. In any case, all the attributes I have listed as being important for proprietary ranges will apply.
Custom-made kitchen and bathroom furniture works out better for an awkwardly shaped kitchen where standard sizes do not fit in easily, and they might be better where the main user of the kitchen is either very tall or very short, so that a special height can be contrived for the work surfaces. And it will certainly mean that esoteric finishes and colours, or unusual combinations, not catered for by the manufacturers, can be used. There is also, certainly for some people, much satisfaction in having an interior which is quite unique, so that no one can walk in and say, Oh, I see you’ve got so-and-sos units. And there is absolutely no danger that such a kitchen will have the familiar look of a colour advertisement from a Sunday supplement.
I shall describe the non-kitchen furniture style under Decoration. lt is based on furniture originally intended for other purposes – washstands, wardrobes, chests of drawers, etc. For sensible conversion into kitchen units, it should be of solid construction (even if shabby and currently in need of repair), and pieces which are going to range alongside one another should be of similar depth if any coherence is to be achieved. This does not necessarily apply to pieces that will be used in different areas or on different walls of the room. Similarly, any item which is going to be used to support the work surface should be of an appropriate height (roughly 900 mm (3 ft) but variable according to the height of the main kitchen user).
Width is the only dimension which is not of major importance with kitchen furniture, though obviously, it should make sense in relation to the size of kitchen and to the other pieces of furniture you are going to use. Internal shelves should be of strong construction, and if they are flimsy or rickety, should be replaced. They will probably be made of wood which should be thoroughly cleaned and then treated with matt or glossy polyurethane lacquer so that they are easy to keep clean in the future. Besides cleaning, inspect all old furniture carefully for rot and beetle, and treat it with the appropriate curatives if necessary.