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Local Company Unique to Cabinet Refinishing

By: Beth Rich, Beth Rich Creative


The kitchen. Whether yours is big or small, chances are it’s your home’s ‘command center,’ where guests ultimately tend to gather, no matter how warm and inviting adjacent rooms are. It’s also the space that prospective home buyers most closely scrutinize, so realtors advise that the condition of the kitchen can easily make or break a sale.

But remodeling a kitchen is a pricey proposition, easily costing tens of thousands of dollars for just replacement of cabinets alone at a time when many homeowners are budget conscious. Another drawback is today’s still-recovering depressed housing market in which homeowners are recouping much less for their investment in home remodeling projects. Unlike a decade ago when homeowners might expect to recoup 80-100% of their investment in redoing kitchens, bathrooms, basements and other improvement projects, the national average cost-value ratio was a mere 60.6% last year, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual “Cost vs. Value Report” for 2013. Although that ratio represents nearly a three-point improvement over 2011-12, ending a six-year decline, educated homeowners must set realistic expectations about what they can expect to get back when they sell.

That’s why more and more savvy homeowners are embracing an economical and environmentally friendly way to give their kitchen a whole new look: refinishing kitchen cabinets with “faux” effects. While unusually crafty and ambitious homeowners with ample spare time can attempt such a project themselves, working with a professional in the highly specialized area of faux finishes won’t break the bank and guarantees outstanding, durable results that will stand the test of time.

In the Philadelphia area, one company specializing in this boutique business is Grande Finale, a non-franchise, family owned and operated business based in Perkiomenville, Montgomery County since 2005. Husband and wife owners John and Lisa Barrett say business is booming. In addition to word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied residential and corporate clients and interest generated through exhibits of their work at home shows, Grande Finale welcomes new customers via the subscription “Angie’s List,” a US-based Website containing crowd-sourced reviews of local businesses with access sold on a subscription basis. Grande Finale is listed as an “A-rated Home Improvement Contractor” on Angie’s List and, in 2013, was the recipient of the prestigious Angie’s List “Super Service Award,” which honors excellence among service and health providers who maintain superior service ratings and reviews on Angie’s List and represent the top 5% of qualifying businesses per category in each market.

“Our typical customers for kitchen cabinet refinishing have already done their homework. They have looked at the high cost of replacing their cabinets and/or doing the laminate ‘facelift’ thing with a big box store. Some have even researched the do-it-yourself option, which is a tremendously ambitious and time-consuming proposition. They are blown away when that realize that Grande Finale will give them a 100% custom look and design for perhaps one-tenth of the cost of replacing their cabinets and for about one-third of the cost of the box store facelift option,” explains John. “They also love our turnaround time; from the start of the job to completion is just 7-10 days with the majority of work done off-site, in our studio.”

A typical kitchen cabinet transformation project performed by Grande Finale can cost anywhere from $3,000-$7,000, depending on the size of the project and desired type of finish. Bead board, molding, and kick-plates can also be incorporated into the project, depending on customer needs. Uniquely, the company uses only custom colors that are hand-tinted by Lisa and applied by hand (never sprayed). The layering process is complicated and extensive with the final step being a clear professional grade sealant that is used on commercial bars.

Grande Finale is a family team of three that takes pride in the fact that they use “no subcontractors.”  John and his son, Ethan, handle the removal of the customer’s cabinet doors, drawers and hardware and transportation to the company’s extensive studio space in Perkiomenville, as well as rehanging of the finished work. Father and son also assist in other steps, like hand-sanding cabinetry between each of the faux effect layers applied by Lisa. The 6-7 step process, achieved over several days, produces a factory-like finish.

“Lisa is a true faux pro who works magic on cabinets and other furniture, walls and ceilings,” brags John. “She’s certified in over 60 of the latest faux finishes, including foils, stamping, embossing, woodgraining, glazing, plasters, frottage, Venetian plaster and luster stone. Our customers love the passion and vision Lisa brings to projects. She is a perfectionist who exceeds homeowners’ expectations time after time.”

Whether a homeowner’s design taste for their kitchen is Old World, traditional, contemporary or shabby chic, the cabinets of their dreams is possible with faux. “Lisa has a gift for design and color. Her expertise comforts our customers and helps them to choose perfect color, texture and design,” says John.

Adds Lisa, “the products that I use to achieve these faux finishes are commercial grade and are not available in any retail store. You must be trained and certified to utilize these products.”

Seeing Lisa’s work is truly believing. Imagine cabinets with no wood qualities taking on the appearance of real wood or transformed to look distressed, antiqued or crackled. Or standard builder grade oak cabinets reinvented to look like brand new mahogany. As far as outdated countertops, Lisa can perform magic on those, too, giving Formica countertops the popular look of granite and other stone finishes. Even kitchen tile backslashes are fair game in Lisa’s art of faux.

“The bottom line is that if your cabinets are in fairly good shape and you are happy with the layout, there’s no reason to tear them out, toss them in the trash and spend tons of money,” advises Lisa. “Faux refinishing is an incredible and economical option for cabinetry, as well as walls, ceilings countertops and other elements of your kitchen.”