Leah Dean | Dean Cabinetry
Author: Leah Dean

This blog will help you better understand what will happen during your “First Meeting at Dean Cabinetry”, and how you can make the most of it. 

One of my favorite parts about being a designer is the initial meeting with a client in our showroom. This is our opportunity to show you Dean Cabinetry in person. Our goal for this meeting is to leave you informed about your cabinet options. It will leave you confident with who Dean Cabinetry is as a cabinet provider, and one step closer to knowing if Dean Cabinetry is the best fit for you and your kitchen project.

The Dean Family – Including Oakley!

Who will I meet? 

Dean Cabinetry is a family business. There are six Deans, seven if you count Oakley, a jack russell terrier mix. All of the Deans work in the business, in some capacity, either full-time or part-time. Oakley is the official greeter. He works tirelessly to make sure you are warmly welcomed when you walk through the door. When you arrive for this meeting, you will meet with your designer, and if the owners, Leah and John Dean are on-site, they will stop in to say hello.  

What will I see in your showroom?

First of all, our new showroom is beautiful and we are so proud of our team, and the work that has been done!  We are currently putting the finishing touches on our event room and conference room; both are great spaces for meeting with multiple guests you may bring with you such as an interior designer or architect. You’ll see sample displays of stock, semi-custom, and our own John Dean Custom Cabinetry. You’ll see examples of framed full overlay cabinets, frameless full-access cabinets, and framed inset cabinets. There are many samples available of various cabinet finishes and door styles

At Dean Cabinetry, we strive to be the experts on everything cabinetry. We are “Your Kitchen Cabinet Partners from Start to Finish”. When you visit our showroom you will see that we have a few cabinet hardware racks and a few countertop displays. These are only to give you a feel for the many options that are available in the marketplace. We encourage you to visit companies that specialize in these two areas. We have a few top-rated companies that we have worked with over the years that we are happy to recommend. 

Another item that we have recently added to our showroom is two Vibe Boards. Vibe is a collaborative screen that combines an interactive digital whiteboard and smart software. It is a wonderful new tool that will help us to better answer your questions. It will show you what is possible in your new kitchen, and provide you with a better client/designer experience.

Can I borrow samples?

If you are interested in taking a sample(s) home, we have many that we are happy to let you sign out. As we continue the design process, we can order a sample of your preferred door style and finish, if that is helpful to you.

Dean Cabinetry Design Meeting

What will we discuss?

Your designer will work with you through the “five major aspects of your project” (see more about these below) to more fully understand your kitchen goals. They will also review the next steps in our process that follow this initial Dean Cabinetry meeting. 

1. Project Timeline

It is critical to the success of your project that your designer understands your timeline. Are you looking to complete your project in two months, six months, or within a year? If you want it completed in two months, and the cabinet line you choose has a 6 week lead time, then we need to get busy and spend a considerable amount of time on your project this coming week. If you are planning on completing your project in 6 months, then we have more time. 

Once your kitchen layout and design is complete, it will be time to sign your final plans, your cabinet contract, and provide your deposit. Your designer will ask you for your initial deposit prior to ordering your cabinets. In some cases a partial deposit may be required prior to finalizing.

Lead times for cabinets vary, but a good rule of thumb is: stock cabinets (4 to 8 weeks), semi-custom (10-14 weeks), and custom cabinets (12 weeks plus). It can be confusing to understand. Lead time is the length of time between signing off on the final plans and when the cabinets can be installed.

It’s also essential to discuss with your designer your contractor’s availability and their projected timeline for your project. They (or you, if you are doing any of the work yourself) will need time to complete the necessary items in order to prepare the space for the installation of your cabinetry. 

If you need a contractor referral, we are happy to provide one, once your designer better understands the scope of work that needs to be completed. These contractors are trusted partners; although they do not work for Dean Cabinetry, their clients have given glowing reviews on their work.

2. Budget 

Prior to this meeting at Dean Cabinetry, our budgeting team will have provided you with budgets for stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinetry for your kitchen. Your designer will ask you for feedback on your budgets, and your kitchen design goals, which will help the designer guide you to the best cabinet option for your project.

3. Layout and Appliances 

Depending on your project, the designer may have created an initial set of plans for review at this meeting. If so, the designer will review this layout with you, ask for your feedback, and discuss any design changes. If an initial design has not yet been created, this is the perfect time to review the discovery info you provided. Together, you will review your existing kitchen photos, measurements, inspiration photos, and any potential changes to the space, and discuss possible layouts and design elements. 

Understanding what appliances you would like in your new kitchen can affect the layout of the space, and the cabinets you will need. The sooner you choose your appliances, the better your designer can create an accurate layout for your kitchen. 

4) Cabinet Style

If you are in a time crunch, then the available cabinet options may be limited. If your project allows for an extended lead time, then any of our cabinet options are a possibility. In general, each cabinet line is associated with a particular cabinet style: Framed vs. Frameless vs. Overlay

5) Door Style

The final large detail to consider in this initial design meeting is your door style. Generally, the more detailed a door, the more expensive it is. Your designer can show you images of kitchens using different door styles, and will be able to inform you of current cabinet design trends.  

Dean Cabinetry Cabinet Measurements

What are the Next Steps following this Initial Design Meeting? 

Toward the end of your first meeting at Dean Cabinetry, your designer will review with you the remaining steps of our process.  We will then offer you a tour of our lean facility, introduce you to our team and show you where all the magic happens! At Dean Cabinetry, every kitchen collaboration is important, whether you have a small kitchen or a large one. We pride ourselves on the standards of our products, as well as the quality of our service. When you read our reviews, you will begin to understand that we successfully and consistently deliver on both of these fundamental elements of our company. Our goal is to deliver the kitchen of your dreams!

At some point in the budget stage, your designer will be asking if you’d like to partner with Dean Cabinetry for your kitchen project. One way to help you to decide is to become a well-informed consumer. We encourage you to peruse our website and read as much of the content we’ve created as possible. Our goal is to answer every question you might have about the kitchen process. You will find topics ranging from Problems: Choosing your hardware to How to Choose Finishes for My Kitchen. There, we try to answer any questions our customers might have about the kitchen process.

When you are ready to choose Dean Cabinetry as your Kitchen Cabinet Partner, we only ask for a verbal, non-monetary, commitment from you,  as we do not charge a design fee. This seems simple, but it is an essential part of our business model. We are able to achieve our clients’ goals by focusing our energy and resources on projects that have committed to moving forward with us. 

The location of subsequent meetings will be determined as needed. Additional details that will be discussed are cabinetry finishes, moldings, decorative panels, and inserts. 

How can I be best prepared for my initial meeting? 

Now that you know the general breakdown of your initial meeting with Dean Cabinetry, we have a few recommendations so you can make the most of this step in our process.

As part of the Discovery email, you received a link to an article called Is Dean Cabinetry Right for Me?  We feel that reading this article will help you understand who we are as a company, what we do, and guide you through your partnership with Dean Cabinetry. In addition to this article, we have much more on our  Dean Cabinetry Website and our Learning Center that we feel will help you as you navigate your kitchen project.  

Thank you for taking this next step; we look forward to meeting you!