6 Custom Features for Distinctive Cabinetry

When it comes to cabinetry, a little imagination can go a long way toward earning your renovation a real talking point. Aside from the profiles we all know and love — elevated, recessed and flat panel — there are a few other tricks up your cabinetmaker’s sleeve that can give your home a truly special appearance.

Tobi Fairley Interior Design

Tracery, initially curved and spanned lines made of stone, was used in church windows throughout Gothic times. These days it is cut more from timber or metal. Traditional tracery always had glass inserts.

When you’ve got a room that needs a focal point, personalize your cabinetry with tracery. Based on the degree of difficulty, the price tag is often similar to a solid timber, raised-profile cabinet door.

Within this setting, the glass supporting the lovely circular timber pattern has two purposes: It hides all of the bits and bobs the homeowner doesn’t want the entire world to see, and it makes the tracery visually pop.

Pinto Designs and Associates

Fretwork on cabinetry can sometimes be confused with tracery. Fretwork is an interlaced decorative design, carved to a solid foundation or cut away. Contrary to tracery, fretwork doesn’t generally have glass inserts.

Originally fretwork was in a grid and lattice design. These days we see many different layouts, from designs which replicate the rectangular Greek fret to more intricately intertwined designs. The cost is dependent upon the design — with MDF and painting the unit yourself can lower the cost.

Like tracery, fretwork is cut with a fretsaw, coping saw, jigsaw or scroll saw. Machines are used by some bigger cabinet businesses.

T.A.S Construction

Traditional muntins are timber or metal strips that hold and split panes of glass in a door or window. Diagonal muntins are known as diamond muntins.

Decorative muntins are used more as an overlay. 1 piece of glass illuminates the solid door face, and the muntins sit on top of the glass. This tends to be much cheaper approach to the conventional muntin style.

Muntins work nicely in the event that you need more light or wish to show off valuable objects. Adding cupboard lights will enhance the muntins.

Branca, Inc..

Embellishments on cabinetry can make a lovely room feel even more unique. Leather, metal and even glass can be used to step a look a notch.

This dressing room has timber drawers with a recessed profile. The easy rail and stile design looks amazing alone, but with all the leather strapping, you immediately know a gentleman uses this room.

The glass fronts on the large doors and cabinets have leather wrapped in the muntin style. This is a smart way to connect them together with the drawers, giving the cabinetry balance.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Decorative mesh on cupboard doors turns out an old-fashioned custom into a totally modern look. In the 1800s, mesh or gauze was used to maintain meat and other perishables cool and free of flies. These days a huge collection of decorative mesh is available. Woven mesh has wires woven alternately over and under one another. Welded mesh is a grid made up of wires which are fused together where they join.

Mesh comes in mild steel, galvanized steel, brass and stainless steel. Various thicknesses can be supplied, but most companies specify minimal amounts, so be cautious about expensive waste. Get your cabinetmaker to order samples so you can observe the pattern up close.


Profiles are cut out with a router piece — a shaped or straight rotary cutting tool used to cut or form substances. There are quite a few types of router bits, and not all cabinetmakers use exactly the very same ones. If you’d like a custom profile not provided, the piece can be manufactured to precise specifications — but take note that habit bits can cost hundreds of dollars. However, this may be money well spent if you are performing an entire kitchen.

See related