Cabinets in Old Houses

May 26, 2020 Published by Leave your thoughts

If your cabinets haven’t been replaced since you bought your home, you might be dealing with decades-old designs. That’s not automatically a bad thing, but it can throw a wrench into things when you want to update the cabinets in an old home in Midland, MI. Luckily, older cabinets are often beautiful and far more well-built than standard stock cabinets on the market today. Depending on when your home was built and your cabinets installed, they could be inadequate for your storage needs, or simply need a new look.


Older cabinets were often made of solid wood—the older your home is, the more likely that you’ll be dealing with high-quality hardwood rather than plywood or pressed wood, like what you can find at IKEA. For that reason, you might consider refurbishing and restoring your cabinets, rather than gutting your kitchen and starting anew. There are plenty of options for working with the cabinets you already have, including refacing them with new doors—ask your local cabinet contractor for advice on what to do.

Designs and styles

Cabinets have gone through a lot of changes over the years, but the early 20th century was when they started to become more popular in everyday kitchens. Older cabinets are typically face-framed, meaning they’re constructed with stiles and rails joined together, often using butt or half-lap joints. Cabinet doors tended to be inset, meaning that they were flush with the frame when closed. These types of cabinets form what many designers consider the 20th century “restoration” style, and there is a demand for creating replicas with higher-end construction details, like dovetail joints. If you already have this type of cabinet, congratulations—you’re ahead of the design curve.

Refurbishing and restoration

There are a few options if you’re tired of your old cabinets. First, decide whether you want a completely new look, or simply want to refresh and restore your existing cabinets. If you’re just restoring your old cabinets, you can patch scratches and holes, resurface the exterior and re-stain the wood for a refreshed look. Many clients also choose to update their hardware, like handles and drawer pulls, at the same time—it’s an inexpensive way to add a modern touch without completely changing up the look of your cabinetry.

If your cabinet doors are beyond repair, or you’re simply sick of them, and the cabinets themselves are still in great shape, you can simply replace the doors with a new set. Many times, customers also choose to add extra hardware to their cabinets, like updated drawer glides and hinge replacement—the industry has come up with some new innovations over the last century, so we always advise that you take advantage of this new hardware whenever you’re refurbishing or refacing your cabinets. It might seem like a minor detail, but they make the difference between cabinets that open and shut seamlessly and some that remain “off” no matter what you do.

Ready to explore your options for cabinet design for your period house in Midland, MI? Nowak Cabinets of Midland can help you achieve the look you desire. Call us today to get started.

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