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Jan02

Blog – January 2017

Posted In Blog

Chris is a former customer turned employee. He has been with Deslaurier for over 13 years. He is the current Purchasing Manager and is active in countless facets of the business, from purchasing and sourcing, to information technologies, to implementations, to R&D, and beyond. Chris is a wealth of knowledge and is a great asset to the Deslaurier team. Chris is also a Maple Leafs fan, but please don't let that preclude you from reading his piece.

 

Behind The Scenes – Where Products Come To Life

 

At Deslaurier, we have seen our product catalogue grow immensely over the years. At this point we are over 50,000 SKUs and that product offering is constantly growing. What one does not see, are the efforts behind the scenes to ensure that we continue to provide exceptional quality products and design solutions tailored to the individual needs of our customers. The strength of our product offering comes from our connection to our supply base; we do not look at the supply base as ‘suppliers’, but rather as strategic business partners.

I have been at Deslaurier for over 13 years and have worked in both small and large businesses previously. In the field of purchasing, the concept of being ‘sole sourced’ was a concept that was not foreign to me, but was a practice that my education would tell me was very risky. When I first started at Deslaurier, this was a great concern to me; but in a very short time I found that our strategic business partners were aligned with our needs and that not only were they working for us, but with us as well. By embracing our supply base, we have been able to move our relationships forward to the point where we collaborate with them on product development and to the point where they come to us for input and feedback prior to bringing their new products to market. 

One of the biggest concerns when we look at a new product is: how do we add it to our product offering without limiting its use and application. Given the complexity of our offerings, we have to make sure that any new functional hardware accessory that we are considering will work in both our traditional and modern product lines. The latter is typically not the issue, as 99% of our accessories come from high quality European suppliers; the issue is in our traditional line. In Europe, they tend to use only slab doors so they don’t think about the reality of the North American market, which is, for the most part, a five piece stile and rail construction (which can cause limitations or issues with applications).

One of the keys to our success are well planned, fully embedded, accessories in cabinets which are designed around the accessory product to create highly functional cabinet solutions. These come as a result of collaboration with strategic business partners and investigation of all technical elements. That said, we may not always be the first to market with a solution, but when we do come to market with a product, we have typically put it through a battery of considerations to ensure that it is the right product for Deslaurier and something that is needed to create well planned spaces – be it the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry rooms or closets. Regardless of the room or solution, the same approach is taken.

When it comes to the selection of materials for the finished product or the finish we apply, we have created Deslaurier specific veneer grades and chemicals to ensure that we are creating exceptional quality products at the end of the day.  We will not settle for anything but the best and our relationship with our supply base allows us to ensure that this happens.

So know that in the background, there is a team of people that work on a daily basis to ensure that we are arming our design community with the tools to help bring your dreams to life with well-planned product selections that meet the needs of today’s consumer.

Dec01

Blog – December 2016

Posted In Blog

Holly is one of Deslaurier's retail designers and has been with the company for almost two years. She has over 8 years of experience working for award winning firms in the interior design, advertising, and architecture industry. Holly is a registered Interior Designer with ARIDO (Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario) and offers a variety of knowledge to create complete design solutions.

 

The Powder Room: A Small Space To Make A Big Statement

 

A mentor once said: design every space like it’s a jewel box. This philosophy applies most to the small spaces often overlooked in favour of the more dominant rooms of the house. The kitchen, dining room, and living room are often focused upon not only for your family to enjoy, but are also the rooms that your company will see. The powder room is a public space too! If you have a closer look, you may find it’s lacking the attention it deserves.

At Deslaurier, we pride ourselves as having one of the most beautiful showrooms in the area.  As such, we update our displays regularly to show new products, ideas, and layouts to help spur the imagination of our customers. One of the many projects we have underway, is renovating our showroom’s powder room.

First, we examine every aspect of the space to determine how it can be made more functional and aesthetically pleasing. There are so many elements that need to come together in order to create a gorgeous powder room; it can be overwhelming!

Here is a list of design considerations for our new powder room, hopefully they will inspire your diamond in the rough:

  • Floating cabinetry to keep the space feeling light and contemporary.
  • All drawers, even under the sink where it will be u-shaped around the plumbing.
  • Horizontal handles, utilize handle below sink as an informal hand towel bar.
  • Quartz countertop with an unusual edge profile. Thin? Angled?
  • No backsplash or side splash, bring the mirror to the countertop.
  • Create a feature wall behind the vanity which will be visible when the door is open. Wood paneling? Wallpaper? Tile?
  • Wall sconces on either side of the mirror for more even lighting across the face for makeup touch-ups.
  • Update flooring to tile with a unique pattern or texture.
  • Locate the toilet out of sight-lines when door is left open. Add a panel or half wall if seeing the toilet is unavoidable in your floor plan.
  • Wall-mounted toilet for more open floor space.
  • Recessed accessories, toilet paper holders into walls, and garbage/soap dispensers into the countertop.
  • Warm wood tones to add a natural element to a sometimes cold palette.


Don't forget to check out our bathroom gallery for more inspiration images!

Nov02

Blog – November 2016

Posted In Blog

Victoria has worked at Deslaurier for about two years and was recently promoted to a full-time Design Support role this past spring. She mainly works alongside Myra Flipsen, a well-established Designer for Deslaurier, to assist with drawing, estimating, administration, and small projects for others when needed. Victoria loves the diversity of her work and the design industry.

 

Designing To Increase Functionality & Maximize Storage Capacity

 

Have you ever struggled to get out that extra large pan you keep hidden at the back of your corner cabinet?

Have you ever had a plastic lid avalanche while you’re trying to find that lid to fit that one round container?

 Do you ever find yourself frantically running around your kitchen, grabbing spices and utensils, while you cook up your favorite meal?

These are all classic kitchen problems that can be easily avoided with a functional and well-organized kitchen that is designed to store everything just where you need it.

Often you fall in love with “the look” of your dream kitchen, but it is also so important to consider “the guts” of your kitchen and its layout. You need to use your kitchen and it needs to work for you in addition to being beautiful. Though drawer tracks, hinges, and organizational systems don’t always get a lot of attention, and may not always be the most glamorous component of your kitchen or bathroom, they play a huge role in how your room functions.

Blum is the primary manufacturer/supplier of Deslaurier’s interior hardware – the inner components and mechanics of our cabinetry. I was able to join a small group of Deslaurier employees on a trip to the Blum headquarters in Mississauga in October for extra training. Over the two days there, I was reminded of the importance of designing for functionality and not just for aesthetics. Blum focuses a lot of attention on functionality and motion of cabinetry, and develops hardware and accessories that we use at Deslaurier to improve the quality and functionality of our cabinetry.

What do you need to use and store in your kitchen? If you took an inventory of all of the items in your kitchen what would there be?

Through extensive research, Blum has found that there are really 5 categories of items in every kitchen: consumables (food items), non-consumables (plates, cutlery, storage containers), prep-ware (cutting boards, knives, graters, etc), cook-ware (pots, pans, cooking utensils, etc), and cleaning supplies (soap, sponges, garbage bags, etc). Using this knowledge and considering each of the items that need to be stored, we can plan and organize your space appropriately.

We strive to increase functionality wherever possible. In general, designing kitchens with drawers and pull-outs in your lower cabinets will maximize storage capacity and accessibility, while inserts and other accessories will help to organize and create different working zones. You can have inserts such as cutlery or utensil trays to organize otherwise messy drawers. Plate racks and drawer dividers from our Ambialine or Orgaline organizational systems can also be installed in your deep drawers to separate storage containers and lids, pots and pans, or even food boxes from cans and jars.

Roll-out shelving in your lower cabinets or in a tall pantry can also significantly increase your ability to see and reach everything inside your cabinet. Instead of straining your neck to see to the back of your lower cabinet, you can easily extend your pull-out to see the entire shelf at once. We also carry a variety of corner solutions, recycle centers, and utensil pull-outs to pack extra function into every cabinet if you so choose.

The designers at Deslaurier have the ability to build organization right into your cabinetry so that the space is ready to store anything you might have, while ensuring that each area of your room has function. In your beautiful dream kitchen you will not struggle to find what you need or have any trouble navigating while you prepare meals. Your designer will combine products and accessories to tailor the space to your needs while designing a kitchen that not only has “the look” you want, but also “the guts” you need.

Visit our showroom to get ideas of the different accessories we carry and speak to one of our knowledgeable designers about how to best plan and organize your dream kitchen!

Oct03

Blog – October 2016

Posted In Blog

Mary has been with Deslaurier for 16 years. She began after having completed the two year Furniture Technician program at Algonquin College. She has worked in almost every department within the plant (on the manufacturing side of things) and is currently the Supervisor of the Assembly & Quality Control department.

 

Shipping Cabinetry 'Complete' Is A Team Effort

 

Let me start by saying that the success of shipping a customers’ cabinetry as ‘complete’ is the direct result of every department within Deslaurier Custom Cabinets working together. I oversee the Assembly department which consists of over twenty people. Their jobs entail prepping the cabinets for hardware, building the prepped boxes, drilling doors and installing custom accessories within the cabinets. Once this is complete, the cabinets are then inspected to ensure correctness before they move forward to be wrapped and taken off the packaging line. They are then packaged onto a skid and shipped to the warehouse. Before any of these steps can take place, there are many steps and procedures that are done to allow the kitchens to be built.

First, the orders are released from the office to the plant floor. From here the work orders are distributed to the designated departments within DCC. Receiving personnel are the first to handle a work order. They check the doors, mouldings, sheet material and hardware for quality and make sure that the parts received match what was requested by Purchasing. Next, Panel Processing and the Custom Fabrication department cutout the work order on the CNC machines and the sliding saws. Custom pieces such as range hoods and décor panels are assembled prior to the orders going into finishing. The parts that come off the CNC machines need to be labeled and put into carts to be transferred to the dowelling machines. Once the parts are dowelled, they are transported to the edge bander where the parts are taped and inspected for quality. After this has been completed, the unfinished parts are sent to the prepping area where they are sanded and loaded onto carts to be finished by the Finishing department. The unfinished melamine parts are cut at a later date, closer to the assembly date, to ensure that the parts don’t sit too long; this is done to prevent damage. Once the parts are with the Finishing department, they are then distributed to either the stain line, paint line or the spray booths. Our colour specialists mix the paint or stain prior to the operators running the parts down the line, to ensure accuracy and consistency of colour. All pieces that include doors, gables and custom pieces that are flat, are run down these lines. All other parts are sprayed offline in the booth, including range hoods and mantels. All solvent based orders are sprayed in the booths due to the fact that our stain and paint lines are for water based products only. There are many different stages within the finishing department to ensure that a product is finished to the best of our abilities. This includes many stages of scuffing by hand or running the parts through the scuffing machine. Once the final coat of paint or topcoat is applied, the parts are then offloaded and separated for two destinations: the first sees the doors and gables go to assembly to be built, and the second sees the custom pieces go to the custom wrapping and tagging department. Here, the parts are checked for quality, ensuring that the parts are correct. They are then tagged with the proper work order number and subsequently wrapped. The parts that are now wrapped are shipped to the warehouse where they will meet up with the boxes. The warehouse then packs and ships the work orders complete to the customer. 

This is by far a very brief overview of the many steps that are taken to ship an order complete.  There are many different hands and talented individuals that create the beautiful kitchens that are manufactured by Deslaurier Custom Cabinets. Don’t forget to check out our FROM PLAN TO PRODUCT video documentary for a visual representation of most of the processes I’ve outlined herein.

Sep01

Blog – September 2016

Posted In Blog

Marc is approaching his ten year anniversary with Deslaurier Custom Cabinets and carries with him, a wealth of past and current experience in the industry. Marc has recently made the transition from Retail Kitchen Designer to Installations Inspector and is enjoying every minute of his new venture. Marc has been and continues to be an integral part of the Deslaurier Team, striving for satisfaction in every inspection he completes.

 

Did You Know That We Inspect Every Kitchen?

 

I had one of the coolest experiences of my career in the kitchen cabinet industry the other day while I was inspecting a new kitchen installation… The homeowner was not home when I arrived, as she was staying at the cottage with her two children during an extensive renovation to her home. I had my head down, typing my report on my notebook, when a scream startled me. Turning quickly, I saw the home owner clutching her children’s hands, her eyes wide open, as she exclaimed: “THIS IS MY NEW KTICHEN!” Yes, you guessed it, she was totally ecstatic with the beauty of her new kitchen cabinets and the new life the space was beginning to take on. The funny part is, it was not even complete yet! With new quartz countertops on the way and both tile/lighting work to come, I knew this was going to be one beautiful kitchen with a very happy owner, for many years to come.

After she caught her breath, I introduced myself as one of the inspectors with Deslaurier Custom Cabinets and informed her that I was there to perform the very important task of inspecting the kitchen cabinets after their installation. The inspection is an integral part of every job and is performed swiftly after each and every installation. We do this for a number of different reasons, the first of which is to be proactive. We know that as a major manufacturer of quality cabinetry, from the point of production to the point of installation, that there may be a few bumps and bruises along the way or perhaps a glitch or two. We also appreciate that our clients have trusted us with such an important purchase and, as such, we do not want the onus to be on them to identify the issues; nor should they subsequently have to chase us down for service issues that may have arisen.

That being said, you are welcome to make notes of issues you may have noticed or even leave sticky notes on the cabinetry to identify a required touch-up.  Nonetheless, rest assured that the inspector will still be doing an extensive inspection, checking to make sure that the kitchen was installed in accordance with the plans you signed off on, checking the quality of the installation, checking for blemishes or defects in the materials, ensuring that all hinges and drawer slides are functioning properly, and checking openings and clearances for the appliances you provided specifications for. Upon the completion of the inspection, a comprehensive report will be left with you for your reference. A copy of this report along with a parts order (if required) will be sent into our Service Department where one of our service coordinators will take over. They will order the parts, assign a service technician and schedule a date for the completion of the work. If there were any urgent items on the list, ie. something that will impede the installation of stone countertops, appliances, or affect the work of another trade, then the inspector would tag that as an HPI (High Priority Item) and that particular issue will be addressed and completed (typically) within a week.

Starting this year, we have expanded the role of the installations inspector. If you are preparing to embark on a major renovation to your home, or perhaps you are building a large custom home, we will now schedule the inspector to meet with you and/or your builder/renovator two weeks prior to the installation. This helps us to ensure that the site is ready for the arrival of the cabinetry. A double check of the measurements, a review of the plumbing/electrical rough-in’s, and a review of the timelines (in case it is necessary to reschedule the installation) will all take place within this visit. The inspector will have reviewed the design with the designer and will also be on site at the start date of the installation to address any questions or concerns that the installer may have. The inspector will continue to liaise between the designer, installer, and contractor until the job is satisfactorily completed. The final inspection will then of course follow.

No two kitchens are the same and it is always very exciting to step into the next kitchen and be amazed. I am looking forward to seeing your kitchen!…

Aug02

Blog – August 2016

Posted In Blog

Jeff was hired by Deslaurier Custom Cabinets as a Design Support person in 2003 after graduating from the Civil Engineering program at Canadore College.  Jeff has now been a Customer Service Representative in the Distribution Sales department for the last 10 years and has had the pleasure of managing distribution sales leads as well as several larger high rise towers in both Ottawa and Boston.

 

Expanding Your Marketplace – How A Dealer Network Can Work For You!

 

So you want to buy a kitchen. Where do you start? Well, if you’re like everyone else, the first thing you do is “Google” it. Who is in your area? What do they offer? Do they have a website? Can I see pictures and testimonials of some of the jobs they have done? Do they have a physical showroom so I can look at product? Do they have a designer on staff? 

There are a lot of questions that race through your head as you start looking for a new kitchen. How, as a manufacturer, can you tap into the vast marketplace that the internet has allowed a business access to? It’s one thing to get them looking, but it’s another to be able to actually deliver them your product!

Kitchen cabinets aren’t like everything else you see for sale on the internet. You can’t just make a few clicks, type in your credit card number and voila, there is your new kitchen. You need to find a good designer and a good renovator for starters. You can offer a great product, but if the end client can’t find anyone who can put the “package” together, then what good is the end product? While we have the ability to sell to the Ottawa valley, we ask ourselves how, as a Manufacturer, can we take that great product and make it available to a larger demographic? The answer, as they call it in the kitchen industry, is a ‘Dealer Network’. 

What is a “dealer” you say?

The dealer is, in essence, an extension of Deslaurier Custom Cabinets. Another business or designer that is located in a different area that can work as an extension of your own business. They may already be an established company or a new start up. They have their own designers, installers, renovators and connections to their local market. We make a point to ensure that we select dealers and designers that hold the same standards and values as we hold ourselves. Throughout the years we have become a part of some 40+ dealers throughout Ontario and the US, and take pride in the relationships we have developed with them. We take the extra time and effort to ensure that the end customer, even if not buying directly from Deslaurier, ends up with the same quality kitchen that our own direct clients have come to know and expect. We go to great lengths to ensure that we help the dealer be as successful as possible in everything they do.

How has the dealer network helped make Deslaurier better?

Not only does the dealer sell our product, but they also help us to grow and evolve. Not all marketplaces have the same trends and tastes as the next. A popular shaker door in one market may be a flat high gloss door in the next. We welcome the diversity each marketplace brings and welcome suggestions to expand our product offerings to suit their needs. It could be a new door style, a new color, or accessories that a client may have seen while browsing the internet.  It is this openness that allows us to be in front of the trends and allows us to bring new ideas to life. The kitchen design world is an ever evolving place and as we grow and develop our dealers, the better equipped we (and they) will be going forward. 

So while our dealers may not carry our name, you can rest assured that they will deliver your dream kitchen, just as so many of our local/direct clients have come to know and love.