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The description "built in" gets used a lot. Saying that may mean different things, or understood differently than intended.

Cabinets and shelving, or just about anything that all of a sudden when done just appears on a wall can be done differently with giving similar looks.

The finished look can happen a few different ways. Take for instance an alcove that has three walls. Two protruding side walls and a back wall. Parts and pieces can be added to the walls to create a cabinet. Or, a cabinet can be built and then installed in the opening. When done, the finished look could be very similar. The first method could be considered a "built in", and the second could be the "built in look", and called a "built in", but really is a "built and installed".

With this alcove example, what are the differences? Adding pieces to the wall to create a cabinet may entail some inordinate fastening, and bracing. Finishing could be more problematic. Fabricating self contained units to fit the opening and just scribing to fit or adding trim, would have its benefits.

Some situations may require adding parts to make a cabinet. Any thoughts on the use of the description..."built in"?






 

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Funny you should ask. I just picked up a load of maple yesterday to start a "built-in" for a customer. It will span a far wall of the dining room, between two walls. This will be a breakfront design.
My definition of built-in is something that isn't going anywhere because it is designed and secured to stay put. If the house sells...the built-in goes with it.
Dunno...just my opinion.
 

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built-ins are my main business actually..That's how my business makes its money for the most part.

I agree with Rob.

I don't know about anywhere else, but in Virginia cabinets, and built-ins (anything attached to the structure of the house) can't be repossessed because they're exactly that, a part of the structure of the house. Somebody doesn't pay you for a built-in? too bad...Somebody doesn't pay you for furniture? Take it back...legally of course.

another way to think about it is that cabinets are rarely built on site and they're built-ins.
 

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What is it??

This past Fall I built an entertainment center from kitchen cabinets (hickory, all wood). I used 6 cabinets of varing depths and widths, finished off with some pretty nice coloniel molding on top and matching moldings across the bottom and center to tie the unit together. Also, because of its' size (7' wide by 7' 6" high), I used the same techniques you would follow to install kitchen cabinets, leveling the floor and wall units, clamping and attaching them to one another thru the stiles. It's also well secured to the wall with cabinet screws. I honestly do not believe it could be moved as a single unit, but since I built it, I'm quite sure I could dismantle it IF we were to move (NOT!) and would want to take it with us. It stands alone and there are no side walls. In other words, it looks like a piece of furniture. Is it or is it not a built in?

Concerning the real v. personal property issue, in PA and NJ, the representations that you make when listing and marketing a home pretty much determine whether a "built-in" or a piece of furniture that's so big (and anchored to the structure) it would give the appearance as "staying with the real estate," actually STAYS (or goes). If you want to take it with you when you sell, you must ID it when you list the property. Obviously, if a structure is framed on to a wall and finished in place as opposed to being built someplace else and slipped into position, I would think you would want to leave it with the property, especially if it is a structure that is within the period of the home and one that would take away from the value were it removed (i.e. corner china closets in a dining room of a colonial style home).

Great topic..real fun stuff. Brrrrrrrrrrr - 5 degrees outside here in the Pocono Mt. of PA :)eek: this is what I look like when I walk the dog!)- Ken
 

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Early on I was doing only simple painted "built-ins" as you described usually between three walls. I would cleat the entire wall for vertical and lateral panels and fasten accordingly. Building square off a not so square inside corner tested my patience a time or two, but always managed to get the job done. This type of installation was always easiest with simple floor to ceiling book cases with standard furniture toe kick and crown at the top. Once I got into more cabinetry, off-site assembly was the norm.

I did however build a big one on-site a few years ago that fought me tooth and nail. The glass doors on this unit in the pic below were recovered from a 100 year old Victorian that the customer grew up in. I figured it would be easier for me to build off the walls to assure my success of getting these doors in right.

Amazingly the doors were perfectly flat and square and hung effortlessly even though they were each as tall as me which is almost six foot. The ease of their installation was a welcome relief compared to working with the shoddy framing job done on the pocket in this brand new house.

 

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In my little world "built in" means part of the "structure". I wanted a bay window with seat and flanking book cases. I THOUGHT I'd just open the wall and "insert". Well, opened it up and there WAS no structure. The wall hung from the rafter / header. While I DID make the flanking bookcases seperate and hung them, the wall is built around them. The "bay" structure IS load bearing. I would call this whole mess "built in". On the opposite wall I'm building wall-to-wall, floor to ceiling book cases. While I am tieing into the structure of the wall, I've not removed wall board or opened the wall to make it part of the wall. While it will APEAR to be a wall it might be called "free-standing". I would call this other mess "built-in-look".
 

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Funny you should ask. I just picked up a load of maple yesterday to start a "built-in" for a customer. It will span a far wall of the dining room, between two walls. This will be a breakfront design.
My definition of built-in is something that isn't going anywhere because it is designed and secured to stay put. If the house sells...the built-in goes with it.
Dunno...just my opinion.
I agree. It does bit matter how it got there, small pieces of wood are an already finished unit. As long as it is securely fastened it is a built in.

G
 
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