Written by Crystal Ward Kent
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and nothing sets a kitchen’s tone like quality cabinets. Crown Point Cabinetry in Claremont, New Hampshire has been helping homeowners, interior designers and builders create gorgeous custom kitchen cabinets and more for 40 years. Owner Brian Stowell is proud to carry on his family’s business, which was started by his father. “At one point, all seven of his children worked here as adults, but I was the only one who wanted to run the business one day,” he says. “Today, a number of us are still involved, and we are pleased to offer some of the finest quality all-wood cabinetry for the kitchen, dining room, bath or other rooms—all available directly from us.”
Crown Point is unique in the cabinetry world because customers can buy direct (there are no dealers), and because of the exceptional product. “We build custom cabinets and that allows us to offer a lot of things that you cannot get with pre-built options,” explains Stowell. “We use only the finest materials and workmanship, offer period designs, and create cabinets and furnishings that not only look great, they suit your lifestyle. When people walk into a kitchen and see our cabinets, they literally go ‘Wow.’ That’s the difference that quality workmanship and design makes.”
Stowell notes that Crown Point’s cabinets are built like cabinets were a century or more ago. “Our cabinets echo the Shaker style. They aren’t clunky. They have a smooth look that works with anything. We also offer a wide range of woods, from cherry, maple and oak to reclaimed woods like antique oak and chestnut, and even old growth heart pine. In addition, you can choose from a wide variety of styles, from Traditional to Arts & Crafts, Victorian, and Early American.
According to Stowell, the number one trend in cabinets is what he calls “Transitional,” a hybrid blend of Traditional and a more modern look. “People are wanting a more classic look and less ornate styles. They want something timeless–not just a slab door.”
Even though Crown Point Cabinetry offer an incredible range of woods, Stowell says that 80 to 85 percent of the cabinets they sell are painted, and of those, 80 percent are some shade of white—and they offer 25 standard whites. “People love a painted white kitchen because it looks so clean and airy,” he says. “They bring in color with accessories, or by doing the upper cabinets in white but the lower in blue, for example. Or, we often see them doing the island in a color. The island is a great vehicle for bringing in something different or special. We’ll often see customers have the island done in a unique wood, like a reclaimed chestnut or the heart pine. It’s a way to indulge in an option that you might not pursue for the cabinets.”
Recently, Crown Point began offering a new line called Crown Select, which has proven very popular. The Crown Select line offers all of the custom quality of Crown Point, but at a lower price point. “With Crown Select, customers can choose from four woods and 20 colors, rather than unlimited colors and a broader range of woods, but they still get that amazing quality,” says Stowell. “They can also still choose a Crown Point island or range hood, if they wish.” Crown Select has clearly struck a chord with consumers—Stowell hoped for two million dollars in business from Crown Select the first year it was offered, and that goal was met; he aimed for four million for the second year and Crown Select is already on track for over six million with the year not yet up.
Amazing craftsmanship is clearly the big draw for Crown Point, but customer service is right up there. Visitors to the showroom quickly learn that Crown Point staff really listen to their ideas for a dream kitchen, and are able to assist them in planning a space that works for them. “We had one couple who both liked to cook and complained that they were always bumping into each other,” recalls Stowell. “We said, how about two islands? We measured and their kitchen could comfortably accommodate two, so problem solved. They had his and her cooking islands. Sometimes it just takes talking to an expert in the business to find an easy solution.”
Stowell is excited about the future of both Crown Select and Crown Point, and promises to continue to deliver on customer’s desires. “We just started offering walnut drawers and interiors after customers responded enthusiastically to an initial promotion. We try to stay on top of what people want. We also just invested in new equipment so we can stay ahead of our delivery goals. We are grateful for all of our success, and pleased that people still appreciate quality workmanship. This was something previous generations valued, and it’s good to see that hasn’t changed.”