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Van Arbour Design The Process

The Process

for the best results
Van Arbour Design The Process Space


it all starts with planning

Before thinking about the colours, door styles or fascia hardware you would like for your new project, it is critical to focus on how you want to use your new space.

Space planning is an essential part of what we do in the design process. We collaborate with you to design the most functional space possible, working through how the space will be used and how to best build the cabinetry and millwork at the same time.

We know what questions to ask to achieve a functional space plan that will be the foundation for all of your design decisions.


we make sure they fit perfectly

The cabinet case is the framework of the entire cabinet structure, just like the frame of a car that is designed and built for support and structure.

The cabinet casework is constructed with ¾” thick, premium plywood core material rather than composite particle board. The ¾” plywood extends to the back of the casework ensuring that every part of your case is rock solid and can support a lot of weight.

Without a good case (framework), the attractiveness of your custom millwork design becomes irrelevant. The plywood case doesn’t just hold up the countertops – it also supports the faces and the cabinet’s inner workings, such as drawers, row cut shelves and specialty hardware.

If in time you wish to change your aesthetic, we can do so easily just by removing the faces and replacing them with new ones, transforming your space with an entirely new look; best of all, the original cases will be just as strong as they were when they were first built.

Van Arbour Design The Process Hardware


it's time to pick your hardware

When most people think of hardware they think of the pulls and knobs on the fronts of cabinetry – when we think of hardware we think of drawer slides and hinges.

We use Blum’s soft close, full extension hardware on all of our drawers and cabinet doors. Blum’s hardware is made in Austria and its practical and diverse product range gives us reliable options for different types of spaces. We also use a wide range of specialty hardware, specifically curated to ensure reliability for different spaces.


We are proud to use Blum hardware for all of our millwork.

  • Blum hardware has a limited warranty that is guaranteed as long as you, the original purchaser, own the products
  • Engineered and manufactured in Austria
  • Large variety of options in hardware for opening/closing cabinet doors and drawers etc. that can be personalized to maximize the function of your space


finally, the fun part

It’s time to decide what style you would like for your cabinetry faces. Our design team will work with you to determine what aesthetic works best, reflecting your vision and lifestyle.

You can start by asking yourself questions like:

  • Do I like a flat/slab front, a classic shaker recessed panel or a more traditional raised-centre panel door?
  • Do I want a painted finish or a stained wood material?
  • Do I want a wood grain?

Quick Tip: We recommend that before you pick the materials for your cabinetry faces you choose your flooring as the colour and tone of your floor will significantly impact your cabinetry choices.


At Van Arbour, we use Axalta Ultraguard specialty cabinet finished that are cured and hardened in our SunSpot drying room for a more wear resistant finish than any over-the-counter cabinetry finish can offer. We can match any colour you pick from various retail paint brands (Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams, General Paint etc.). We will provide you with a 16″ x 12″ sample of each of your finish choices so that you can look at them in your space and lighting and decide whether you need to sample another colour or not.


The pre-finished product market is continually changing with regular additions of new product options. These include Laminates, Ultra-Matte and High-Gloss choices. There are countless brands, and our design team will advise and assist you through the selection process if you choose to explore the pre-finished route.


If you want an even wood grain or wood tone, an engineered wood veneer is your best choice as it has endless options and consistent results. You should choose an engineered wood veneer if you have precise specifications such as no knots or no major colour variations, etc. There are an almost unlimited variety of looks available as veneers and are happy to show you plenty of samples to help you narrow down your choice.

Please be aware that we have to order in all veneer and pre-finished options as we cannot stock them all, so there will be a minimum two week, maximum six week material lead time that we factor into your production timeline at sign off.

Van Arbour Design The Process Face


production checklist


Appliance List (including purchase invoice or list)
  • Final specifics are confirmed and the list is signed
  • All revisions have been made, checked and approved and each page is initialled
  • All millwork materials are confirmed and signed (note: any special mouldings to be integrated into millwork will also require approval)
Door Profiles
  • All profiles are confirmed, approved, and signed
Colour Samples/Finishes
  • Samples are confirmed and signed
Financial Package
  • Millwork cost has been accepted and Sales Contract, Budget Quote, Invoice, and Invoice Summary are all approved and signed
Deposit Payment
  • Payment is due upon acceptance of financial package; please make all payments to Van Arbour Design


  • Selection made
  • Provide countertop thickness and overhang details
  • If these are to be integrated (i.e. machined into the faces of millwork), they must be ordered and delivered to Van Arbour Millwork & Design before the pre-production approval so that they can be included in the final sign-off drawings.
  • If not integrated, handles can be chosen anytime before final installation dates.


1. Production is Approved!
  • All required checkboxes have been completed and additional documents signed.
2. Production (approx. 6-8 weeks from production approval)
  • Materials, hardware, specialty components ordered
  • Detailing of plans
  • Production of cabinets begin
  • Finishing (primarily painted parts)
  • Final assembly
3. Installation
  • Hard surface flooring must be installed where cabinetry is to go before we can install your cabinets.


Production is Delayed:

SHOULD PRODUCTION BE DELAYED FOR ANY REASON, THIS WILL AFFECT YOUR TIMELINE and delay your production, as well as the installation of your cabinetry.

Also, should pre-production approval be completed before the production approval date, the installation date will not change.

Changes and Additions:

We are happy to make any changes you wish during the design stages of your project – it’s just the click of a button – however, once pre-production approval has been completed ANY additions and/or changes AFTER that point will be defined and dealt with separately from the rest of your project. These changes, be it regarding materials, timeline, or scope of the project, will be assessed based on product availability and thus may affect the timeline for the manufacturing and installation of your cabinetry.  These changes will also require re-pricing.


The design process has to be completely signed off on by the time the building process begins. This means that the project’s design phase is over and the time to make changes has passed.

At this time you must have chosen every detail, from space layout, to which drawer goes where, to finishes, paint colours, and materials.

If you want to make any changes after the design sign off has occurred, be prepared to have your scheduled production and install dates pushed forward and the cost possibly adjusted.