13 Cabinets & Countertops


This list of selections serves as a supplement to the Construction Documents (CD’s). Some of the selections below may be difficult to find or omitted on the CD’s. Check the CD’s for consistency with this list. Clarify with your contractor which document takes precedence for any inconsistencies.

Cabinets and countertops have a wide degree of variation in style, quality, size and price. As a result, you will need to do your research and make several selections. You can benefit from visiting kitchen cabinet retailers/showrooms, which is where bathroom cabinets can also be found. Once you make your selections, your cabinet sizes and specifications should be given to your Architect for design conformance. For instance, a window opening may need to align with a sink base cabinet or allow for proper clearance to wall cabinets. Your contractor should eventually be given a detailed description of all cabinets materials for proper pricing and installation.

Cabinet Style & Finish

Traditional cabinets have wide frames and decorative doors with elaborate, raised or recessed moldings. Modern cabinets have no frames (just a narrow gap between doors) and flat doors with no ornament. Transitional cabinets have narrow frames and doors with minimal ornamentation. Transitional aesthetics are becoming more popular since they blend both traditional and modern features.

If you have a space that requires a narrow cabinet, which commonly occurs in bathrooms, traditional doors with wide frames can be a nuisance. The wide frames will cut down the width of the opening, thereby making towels or other items difficult to place through the opening.

Select style of cabinet:

__ Traditional __ Transitional __ Modern

Select finish of cabinet:

__ wood __ Painted __ Glazed __ Antiqued __ Metal

Base Cabinets

There are three basic options for base cabinet operation: (1) doors (least expensive); (2) drawers; (3) doors with rollout shelves. Since drawers and rollout shelves are more expensive, doors are still very common. However, drawers and rollout shelves offer easier access to items stored in the base cabinet. (see image). One, two or all three of these options may be used throughout your kitchen. The drawing you receive from your cabinet supplier should indicate where each variation is used.

Most kitchen base cabinets are approximately 36” tall. Bathroom cabinets were traditionally 30” tall. At least in the Master Bathroom, 36” tall base cabinets are now popular.

Select height of base cabinets

__ 36” at following rooms: _____________________________

__ 30” at following rooms: _____________________________

Wall Cabinets

Open shelving is increasingly popular as a compliment to upper wall cabinets with opaque doors. Open shelving can provide visual interest and break up a long row of solid doors. If you have tall ceilings, you can vary the height of the wall cabinets, making them more visually interesting. Crown molding at the top of wall cabinets are aesthetically pleasing and can aid in hiding an unlevel transition at the ceiling. Moldings at the bottom of wall cabinets can hid under cabinet lights.

Select linear feet of wall cabinets: ____

Select linear feet of open shelving: ____

Select height of wall cabinets: _______

Select locations to receive moldings at wall cabinets:

__ Crown molding at top of wall cabinets, indicate height: __________

__ Molding at bottom of wall cabinets, indicate height: __________


Knobs and pulls allow for easy operation of your cabinets and help protect your cabinet finish. Pulls are generally considered easier for opening a drawer. You may use a combination of both.

Select number and finish of cabinet knobs____________________

Select number and finish of cabinet pulls_____________________

There are different types of cabinet hinges, including the following: concealed, semi-concealed, wrap-around, and non mortise. The cabinets you select may provide only one or two of these options.


Select countertop material

__ laminate __ solid surface __ soapstone

__ wood __ granite __ quartz

__ marble __ concrete __ tile

Ask what the maximum length of your countertop material is. Many types of granite and quartz are limited to about 10’ long. Depending on your layout, your countertop may require a seam. Seams, if required, are often located at sinks so that the seam is only a few inches long.

Edge Profile

Most countertop fabricators offer several edge profiles, though some may be more expensive than others. When you visit showrooms or actual kitchens, take notice of which profile you prefer.

Select countertop edge profile:

__ Eased edge __ 45 degree beveled edge

__ Double bevel __ ¼” Roundover

__ 3/8” Roundover __ Crescent

__ ½” Bullnose __ Bullnose

__ Step bullnose __ Cove

__ Ogee __ Other


Select whether you want a countertop with a knee space under it in the Master Bathroom, often used for sitting while putting on makeup.

__ Yes __ No

Since the majority of new kitchens include an island or peninsula with a knee space for people to sit at, you will need to determine the depth of the overhang beyond the base cabinet below. A horizontal knee space depth of 14” – 15” is ideal. You will also need to select a type of bracket, although if your knee space is less than 12”, you may not need any brackets. Ornamental wooden brackets are available in many different profiles. If you need the structural support of a bracket but don’t want to see it, you can select a 90 degree hidden steel bracket.

Select horizontal depth of knee space: _________

Select type of bracket:

__ 90 degree hidden steel bracket __ Ornamental wooden bracket

The backsplash is the vertical wall surface directly above the countertop. It is common to install a durable material in here instead of just painted drywall.

Select material for your backsplash

__ countertop material (usually about 4” tall)

__ Stone __ Tile

__ Glass tile __ Wood

__ Other, specify: ___________________________



Once the drywall is completed and satisfactory, the cabinets can be installed. Cabinets are notorious for taking a long time to be delivered to the project site, so you should consider asking the cabinet vendor to measure and order the cabinets immediately after completion of rough framing. These measurements are necessary because actual field conditions may vary from the original floor plans. Cabinets are typically installed by a finish carpenter (as opposed to a rough carpenter). The finish carpenter will expect all cabinets, moldings and accessories to be at the job site prior to starting work. Make sure all cabinet selections are complete and don’t forget to order hardware including handles, knobs etc. You should schedule the countertop vendor to take measurements once the cabinets are installed and drywall is complete.


Review Scope of Work with your Finish Carpenter

  1. Determine who will deliver the cabinets.
  2. Review specifications and exact size of appliances to confirm they fit between cabinets as necessary.
  3. Verify who will install cabinet hinges and handles/knobs.


Organization of Materials & Delivery Dates

  1. Determine where cabinets will be delivered and installed. You may need a large space for dozens of cabinets.
  2. Determine who will confirm if all cabinets are present and in good condition.
  3. Verify enough crown mold and scribing has been delivered.


Inspect completed cabinets:

  1. Verify all surfaces exposed to view are finished cabinet surfaces.
  2. Check that cabinets, including doors, shelves and drawers are level.
  3. Check that all cabinets open fully and close completely.
  4. Check for uniformity of appearance: gaps between doors should be consistent,


Review Scope of Work with your Countertop Installer

  1. Verify all your countertop selections are complete, including both kitchen and bathrooms.
  2. Verify whether your kitchen and bathroom backsplash will be the same material as your countertop.
    1. Once cabinets are installed and securely fastened, schedule a date for your countertop vendor to measure.
    2. Provide all faucets and sinks for countertop vendor to cut holes in countertop.
    3. When your vendor arrives at the site to measure, verify where any seams will be.
    4. Determine who will install brackets/supports for deep countertop overhangs.


    Inspect installed countertops:

    1. Check for surface/edge pits or imperfections.