Author Topic: Who are the customers for built-ins?  (Read 3897 times)

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Offline Reiska

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Who are the customers for built-ins?
« on: May 12, 2012, 05:22 PM »
We see a lot of built-in projects from the NA-team on FOG and I'm sort of wondering what sort of people buy such bookshelves?

Is it normal to have custom carpenters come to working class homes to built such pieces in NA or do you all work for the really well-off percentage of folk over there?

Why I'm asking is because I find it interesting that it seems to still be deemed somewhat normal to put money down on artisan work in decorating one's home over at your end of the world.

Here in Finland for example it is literally unheard of that middle class homes would have custom furniture designed and implemented for them (barring the compulsory kitchen cupboards that come from a factory in modules but are custom fitted) - only companies & rich peeps do that. Everyone else buys either Ikea particleboard crud or the better-off peeps get some fancy Italian factory manufactured furniture (out of particle board most of the time) because it must be better than Ikea since it has a designer name on it & the price tag is ten fold. Right?  [wink]

My cousin was 'stupid enough' to study to be a furniture carpenter here and has never seen a single day of paid work in the field - the whole profession just does not exist here any more. (Or then you need to have your own gallery and do artsy stuff to sell to the rich if you somehow manage to make a name for yourself...)

Also we really don't do many built-ins here - almost everything stands on it's own feet and is movable - the main exceptions being the wardrobes/closets shelving and kitchen cupboards since they don't move with you here. 
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Who are the customers for built-ins?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2012, 07:14 PM »
I think that part of the difference is that our homes tend to be larger is size.  With the increased size comes the ability to do custom items which are often seen as enhancing the value of the home - thus putting them into a different thought category - versus the purchase of items.

I could go further with my philosophies about the differences, but normally when I do I put a curse on the thread and nobody posts in it anymore  [ban].

Peter

Offline nydesign

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Re: Who are the customers for built-ins?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2012, 08:44 PM »
The built-ins I've made have been for people with a good amount of disposable income.
The majority of my customers work in finance, after 2009 the number of built-ins I made dropped to 0.
Before the economy tanked I had maybe one a month. It's just now getting back to what it used to be.
I've seen a lot more interest, and people with money seem to be spending it again.

I forgot to mention this is in the new york city area.

Offline Jon Hilgenberg

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Re: Who are the customers for built-ins?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2012, 08:41 AM »
I do quite a few built-ins a year and the clients range from middle class to people with quite a bit of disposable income.  Sometimes the larger ones end up being the jobs I do for the middle class households.  I'm pricing one for a designer
(for one of his clients) and it looks to be a whopper for an upper class neighborhood.


I agree, the houses are larger, and the clients see it as an investment as well.
Jon
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Offline mastercabman

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Re: Who are the customers for built-ins?
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2012, 09:26 AM »
I do a few.Most are what Jon describe.
But in Europe,thing are different when it comes to "furnish an apartment or a house"I do remember that when someone moves to a different place,they take everything.I mean everything.Cabinets,flooring,appliances,etc...   So most think they get has to be somewhat mobile.
When i grew up in France,we lived in an apartment. In most places you did not get much when you move in.In the kitchen,at best,you get a sink with a sink base and that's it.You want storage?  You go buy cabinets and install it yourself.
It's been a long time since,so i don't know if it's still the same these days.
Here in NA it's a little different.Every place you go to(buy or rent)It's all furnished. Cabinets in kitchen/bath, flooring,appliances,and so on.
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline Reiska

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Re: Who are the customers for built-ins?
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2012, 05:12 PM »
It varies between countries here in Europe. France is still notorious about seriously stripping the whole house when you move pretty much including the kitchen sink and at the opposite end you have the nordic countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden & Finland) where anything permanently screwed or glued in place stays there when you move out (kitchen cupboards, wardrobe shelving, permanent closets in bedrooms, bathroom sink cupboards, etc.) You only take the non-permanent furniture with you. Don't know for sure how it goes in Germany or the Netherlands, but I would presume it'll be something in between the two extremes. The UK is know for bedroom fraud i.e. houses are sold by the bedroom count rather than square metres so any closet that the real estate agent can fit a 45cm wide 'bed' in will be counted as a bedroom...  [eek] I'm so happy that we are anal about the exact official usable sq.metres up north and couldn't care less about the amount of "bedrooms" [big grin]

So theoretically one could see building fine custom made pieces as an investment here too, but few view it that way - maybe a high-end kitchen or a fancy shower-area with a jacuzzi and the works could be seen as a somewhat of an investment, but typically when one purchases a house you budget to replace the existing one with your own looking kitchen and at least re-tile the bathrooms/shower areas unless they are really tasty and new.

For example I gutted my whole house and proceeded to replace everything from water and sewage pipes to electric cabling and rebuilt everything from scratch (Original condition from 1973... in 2005 - It was like a bomb had hit it...  [blink]). This included moving or changing almost every non-structural wall and rebuilding all closets, kitchen, toilets and sauna/shower areas from scratch. Normally one doesn't need to go to this kind of extreme makeover, but in this case it was required. In my case I did have a professional do all the wet spaces and tiling, an electrician to do the cabling and a kitchen company to install the kitchen cupboards, but built everything else myself (boxing in pipes, wardrobe shelves, wall levelling & paint, ceiling paint, lighting, roof panelling, doors, laying down parquet floors, building decks outside, etc.). Luckily the price reflected this when I bought the place  [wink]   
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

Offline andvari

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Re: Who are the customers for built-ins?
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2012, 06:01 PM »
Bedroom fraud... that's hilarious, I hadn't heard that term before.

Conventions in the US sound similar to Scandinavia- what is bolted down stays. Things that aren't become subject to negotiations.

One thing I think about Americans is that when they buy a house they are generally looking for something that is finished and ready to use, rather than doing DIY or buying furniture etc.

That's not me; but I'm more of a DIY person than most.

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Offline Wooden Lungs

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Re: Who are the customers for built-ins?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2012, 06:28 PM »
Thanks for sharing info on finland and their furniture buying habits! I find most of my clients who want built in furniture have more money than most.

 A lot of people would opt for factory made furniture. The majority of my stuff is for weird spaces where people can't buy off the shelf furniture to fit.

I always tell potenital clients to look at all the options first, including factory made stuff so they dont have a heart attack when I give them a quote.

I would love to do more free standing stuff but I never really get asked for it. Also I could just make it and send it out the door without going to fit it. Fitting is labour intensive. The last job I did was two full height built in wardrobes and we had to carry them up around fourty steps to get them into the house. The client basically lived on a ruddy cliff face [tongue] Had'nt really anticipated such effort to get all the gear in the house and it cost me on labour....

I wish there were more small independent joiners around making stuff for clients but its so hard to compete price wise with the big manufacturers.

Sometimes if the clients are not filthy rich they ask could they finish (Paint, Varnish etc but mostly paint work) the units/ furniture themselves to reduce the cost. This has worked well on several smaller jobs i have done.

I heard somewhere maybe on BBC radio 4 that in India the local joiners use Ikea catalogues to show clients who in turn order stuff which the joiners copy from it.

 Seems there is no Ikea in India so it gives the local joiners plenty of work making it up themselves. Was really happy to hear that! Have worked in london years ago with some really talented Indian Carpenters and Joiners.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 06:37 PM by Wooden Lungs »
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Offline DevonC

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Re: Who are the customers for built-ins?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2012, 08:48 PM »
Bedroom fraud... that's hilarious, I hadn't heard that term before.

Conventions in the US sound similar to Scandinavia- what is bolted down stays. Things that aren't become subject to negotiations.

One thing I think about Americans is that when they buy a house they are generally looking for something that is finished and ready to use, rather than doing DIY or buying furniture etc.

That's not me; but I'm more of a DIY person than most.



I don't know about that whole bolted down thing in the US, most of the time I think they stay, but with foreclosures becoming more of the normal trend unfortunately, some of those people get pretty creative when they abandon the houses, not just pulling the cabinets but sometimes doors and trim too.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 08:52 PM by DevonC »
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