Kitchen Design For the Beginner

The AVERAGE TIME for building the Face Frame Kitchen in this manual for the first time is approximately 30 minutes.

WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND BUILDING IT at least one time in order to demonstrate some (not all) of the capabilities and Features of this Cabinet Solutions Software.

Your Cabinet Solutions Software will do all of the following:

E-Z First Timers Manual For Cabinet Solutions

This E-Z Manual will walk you through the basic steps of building a kitchen from drawing the walls to custom designing a cabinet. This manual does not go into every detail of the Cabinet Solutions program (You can find the complete manual in Help at the top of your screen, or, click on the Green Help buttons where ever you are, it will be quicker for you to get information about the area you are in.)

A few things before we start:

  1. This manual assumes that you have already installed the Cabinet Solutions program and the Cabinet Solutions Menu Icon and are ready to proceed.
  2. We are building a face frame kitchen as an example for this manual. Cabinet Solutions also designs frame-less cabinets just as easily.
  3. The cabinets within this example were built using a set of parameters (standards) that are included with the program.
  4. Before using Cabinet Solutions to design and build a set of cabinets that you want to produce in your shop, you will need to set up Standards to your specifications and test those standards to be sure you are producing accurate cut lists.


Technical support is available but can be avoided by using this above process. As of this date, we have not found any calculation errors in Cabinet Solutions. Errors are generally a result of Cabinet Solutions customers entering incorrect job standards information.


Left double click on your Cabinet Solutions screen Icon and open the Cabinet Solutions Program. You should see a START UP window as the first screen.


Enter your shop name, address and phone number in the appropriate spaces. The other entry fields regarding the customer's name and job site information maybe left blank for the purposes of this illustration. Note: Cabinet Solutions has provided a set of standards for this illustration so you can go directly into building cabinets.


To the right of the window you will see 3 buttons. Left click on "OK" once the Shop Information section has been filled in.

Note: The functions of the other two buttons are dealt with in detail in the Help menu.


Place your cursor anywhere on the grid area of the screen. Holding the left mouse button down, drag a line of any length horizontally across the screen from left to right. Release the left mouse bottom. A new box will appear showing the length of wall you have drawn and has several sizes that you may change at this point.

Notice in the window there are 3 items you can change; the wall name, its height, and its length. For the purpose of this illustration we will leave the wall name and height as they are (the wall has been named (WALL 1) automatically since it is the first wall you have drawn. The wall height is a default height of 96".) The entry field is highlighted so can just enter the wall length. Enter the value of 100 and click on the OK button. This wall is now 100" and has scaled automatically.


Draw a second wall by placing your cursor at the left side of the 100" wall you just drew. Holding the left mouse button down, drag your mouse down any distance and release the button. Adjust the wall length to 100 as we did in step 4, leaving the wall name and height at their default values. Click on OK. Note: As long as you get your mouse cursor is reasonably close to the left end of wall 1, the two walls will automatically connect forming the corner of a room.


Now we will add a window to wall #1. Notice in the gray shaded toolbox to the left of the screen, below the two green buttons, there are 3 radio buttons. Currently the one-labeled SNAP TO ANGLE has a dot inside the button denoting that it is activated. With your left mouse button, click and release on the dot labeled EDIT WALL. You can now edit either of the 2 walls. Move the mouse cursor onto the drawing area near WALL #1. You will notice that the wall changes color to blue. Keeping WALL #1 highlighted in blue, left click once.


Place your cursor on the PLACE WINDOW button and left click once. This screen allows you to set the size of the window you want placed in the wall and also to locate that window within that wall. To change any information in the white boxes of height, width or height from floor, left click your mouse and swipe over the existing sizes to highlight it, and then type in the corrected sizes. Once you've set your window's size and the height it sits off the floor, you'll need to position it left to right between the 2 ends of this wall. Depending on what information you have from the measured floor plan or preferably your own field measurements, you will place the window by entering the distance from the SQUARE to the windows edge, or the Star to the windows edge. For the purpose of this demonstration, enter 45" in the "distance from square" entry field. Click the OK button and a window should be placed in wall 1, 45" from the left side of the wall. You can add windows and doors to any or all the walls in a room by using this process. HINT: (for Islands and peninsulas, click the "Make Wall an Island" button to set the wall height to 0 inches. This will give your computer a place to put your cabinets without showing the wall in The Tour.) Your Technical Support Representative will be happy to help you with this.


Once you've completed the wall layout for Room #1, it is time to place the cabinets on the walls. Left click once on the green button labeled PLACE CABINETS to move to the next screen. This next screen is referred to as the Place Cabinets Screen. On the left hand side of this screen (in the ToolBox) you'll find 4 rows of icons (buttons with little pictures in them.) Each of these icons represents a type of cabinet that you can use in Cabinet Solutions. These are standard templates that you will learn to customize to make virtually any cabinet you want. Left click on the button furthest to the left in the top row. The window that appears has 4 entry fields, one for Height, one for Width, one for Depth, and one for Floor to Bottom. Height and Depth get their sizes from the information that you'll put into your Job Standards before you do a job of your own. For this example, leave the height and depth alone and let's make the cabinet width 20". You can also change the number of shelves per cabinet at the time when the cabinet is placed or later in the custom option. The check box for "Smart Placer" should be left as is for now. Left click on PLACE. The cabinet will show as a box on the floor plan. With your mouse, move the cabinet over the lower edge of Wall #2 and left click when the box is at the lower edge.

One of the functions of "Smart Placer" is to make placing cabinets easier. With "Smart Placer" you can place corner cabinets over the intersecting walls and Cabinet Solutions will place the corner cabinet exactly in the corner. With "Smart Placer" "ON" you can overlap 2 cabinets and Cabinet Solutions will move them so they are just touching each other. In our example, if you drag a cabinet out beyond the end of a wall, "Smart Placer" will move the cabinet back to the end of the wall leaving a 4" space from the walls end as we have set that in our standards under "Initial Values" and the "Windows and Doors" section.


Now let's add a sink cabinet under the window. Left click the 3rd cabinet in the 3rd row. The sizing window for a sink cabinet pops up. As with the standard base type cabinet, you can set any of the dimensions for this cabinet at this time, but for our illustration, let's just make this a 30" sink base. This window also contains 2 boxes with check marks in them. The first is SMART PLACER. The second is CENTER SINK IN WINDOW. For this example, we will place the sink centered under the window so leave both of these checked. Left click on PLACE and then move your arrow onto the screen moving the cabinet onto the Wall #1. Left click again, anywhere near the window. The cabinet will jump to the window and center itself.

If you make a mistake, you have the option to edit the size or the placement of a cabinet. Try placing a cabinet on the wall and after you have placed it, left click on it and click on the button that says EDIT CABINET. You can now make changes to the cabinet's size, or move the cabinet to a new location or even delete that cabinet entirely.


Build the rest of this kitchen by placing cabinets in the order written below. NOTE: Cabinets will resize automatically as they are placed if there is not enough room for them.


Editing and customizing a few cabinets.

Left click on the green button labeled EDIT ELEVATIONS. The Edit Elevation Screen is used to customize or change the inside configuration of your cabinets. You can add internal face frame parts, move those parts around to be any size opening's you like. Edit the # of shelves in each opening, change the doors on a cabinet, add a "plant on" to a finished end, change the standards of a single or individual cabinet, look at a cut list for a specific cabinet and save a cabinet you've customized for use in future projects. The Edit Elevations Screen gives you a lot of flexibility to make these basic cabinet templates into extremely customized cabinets with a few clicks of your mouse. Let's give it a try!


In your tool box locate the words "SELECT ROOM AND WALL" Click on the (up down) (arrow head) to the right of where you see wall #1 listed. A drop down list will appear. Click on wall #2. Your screen should now show the elevation for Room 1 and Wall 2.


Move your mouse onto the big upper cabinet #9. Left click on cabinet #9. This action selects cabinet #9 to be edited (customized). To the left of the screen the Tool Box now has an assortment of icons, which you will learn to use to edit your cabinets. The first 5 icons add different parts to the cabinet. The middle icon takes you into a screen that allows you to see each part in the cabinet so you can check part sizes or delete unwanted parts.

The last 6 icons under the heading of "Cabinet Adjustments" allows you to change the sizes of openings, and / or delete roll out shelves, change the number of shelves in a given cabinet, change the end type on a cabinet by adding specialized finished panels on your exposed ends, make custom adjustments to the standards of an individual cabinet, view the assembly sheet for any given cabinet, and save a cabinet to your custom library.


As a first step in editing any cabinet, it is recommended that you first put in any face frame parts that you might need. In the case of cabinet #9, we put in a very large cabinet with the intent of dividing it up into smaller sections. Cabinet Solutions has 3 different types of vertical face frame pieces that you can use to divide the space, mullions, mullion stiles and center stiles. Mullions never split rails; they will extend between whichever 2 rails you place them between. Mullion stiles split all the rails in a cabinet except for the top rail. Center stiles split all the rails in a cabinet, even the top rail. For our example we are going to place 2 mullion stiles. Click on the icon labeled mullion stile.

Look over the options this window gives you. When placing this face frame piece, you'll need to decide if you want a partition behind the mullion stile. If you want a partition, you'll need to choose where, in relation to the mullion, you want the partition placed. For the purpose of this illustration, please select "centered". Before leaving this screen, click on the button that is labeled "Properties".


This window determines how the partition will connect to all the other parts it touches within the cabinet. In Cabinet Solutions, each partition can have its own unique set of properties if you want or if you always attach the partition in the same manner you can set this once and you never have to come back into this screen. This is also where you select the Material for your Partition.

For the sake of this illustration, CLICK ON SPLITS BOTTOM, PARTITION PLACEMENTAT BOTTOM SHOULD BE FLUSH WITH BOTTOM OF STILE. CLICK ON SPLITS NAILER, SPLITS BACK. When you've set the radio buttons and checked the boxes to match, click the OK button. You will now pop back into the "Options for Partitions" window.


Click the CONTINUE button. A new window will open that has a silhouette of the cabinet showing a single opening, labeled 1. Using your mouse, move your cursor into opening 1 and click anywhere. A mullion stile with a partition behind it will be placed into the center of the opening. Move your cursor into opening #2 and click again. A second mullion stile with a partition will be placed and the 3 openings will automatically be evenly spaced horizontally. Click the OK button.


You should find yourself back in the customize screen for cabinet #9. Click on the "Add Board" button labeled Center Rail. Double check the width of rail to make sure it is what you want. For this demonstration, we will leave it at the default size. Click on the Continue button. A window similar to the one you just added your 2 mullions to should open. Move your cursor to opening #3 and click inside it. A center rail should be added to that opening. Click the OK button.


You should find yourself back in the customize screen for cabinet #9. Click on the "Cabinet Adjustment" button labeled Openings/Roll outs. Again, a window similar to the one you just added your center rail too should open. Move your cursor to opening #4 and click inside it. You should see a new window that gives you 2 options for editing opening #4. Click on the button labeled "Edit Selected Opening."

A new window will open filled with options for this particular opening. Spend a little time reading over the different options. They don't all apply to every opening, but familiarize yourself with where things are so you can find them quickly later.


To the right of this window find the section labeled "Type". By clicking on any of these radio buttons you can change what type of opening this is. For our illustration, click on the "Appliance-Opening" radio button. A drop-down list will appear, click the down-arrow to the right of the list. Select the word "Microwave". Notice that many of the functions in this window have been disabled by your choice of microwave. What is left enabled is the sizing section because it is the only option left that applies to a microwave opening. Before leaving this screen, let's change the size of this opening to fit some imaginary microwave that needs an opening size of 16" wide and 14" height. Something that should be pointed out at this time is this editing of an openings size only changes the position of internal face frame pieces. This is important to remember. Editing an opening can't be used to change the size of a cabinet. The outside boundaries of a cabinet can only be change when you are sizing a cabinet in the Place Cabinet Screen. You may have noticed when you changed the height and width of this opening, radio buttons appeared that ask you which side of the opening you want to move. In our case you don't need to set these buttons because only the top and left sides can be moved. However, there will be times when you must tell the program which side to move. Click the OK button. You will be returned to "Edit Opening" window.


Click on opening #2. In the "Options" window that opens, choose the first option this time.

A new window opens labeled "Move Top / Bottom Rail". This window allows you to move split top or bottom rails to create cabinet with sections of varying heights, like a hood upper or a desk. In our illustration, the top rail option is disabled because we used the mullion stiles that don't split the top rail. Had we used the center stile and split the top of this cabinet we could then move the top rail down. It is obvious when you think about it, but we must point out that if you split the top or bottom rail and don't split the top or bottom, you won't be able to move the top or bottom rail. For our purposes, enter 12" in the edit field for the distance you want to move the bottom rail up. Then click OK. In the "Edit Openings" window, click OK. We are again back to the "Customize cabinet #9" window.


Click on the "Cabinet Adjustment" button labeled Shelves. The "Edit Shelf Opening" window will open. It will look similar to the "Edit Opening" window. If you move your cursor around so as to touch each of the different openings, the number of shelves in each will appear to the right of the window. Click in the opening #1. In the new window that opens, change the number of shelves from 2 fixed to 4 adjustable. You can type in 0 and 4 in the appropriate boxes, or use the up / down arrows in front of the numbers to change them.

Click OK when you have finished and then click OK to return to the "Customize cabinet #9" window. One of the goals in designing a program like Cabinet Solutions is to make custom designing cabinets easy! One of the ways we've tried to do this is by giving you several places to make changes where changes often occur in designing.

As an example, the number of shelves in an upper cabinet can be set (1) in your Job Standards, so you can set up your system to always put 2 shelves in each upper. (2) When you select an upper cabinet template to be placed, the sizing window also allows you to change the number of shelves at the time the cabinet is placed on the wall. (3) Finally, if the number of shelves still needs to be changed, you can edit the cabinet and set the number and type of shelves to the number you like.

Throughout Cabinet Solutions you will find many instances of this type of flexibility. There will be times when you may want to manually override this or make a specific change to an end such as putting a door panel on the end or send the end and stile to the floor to make a refrigerator cabinet that covers the entire appliance. Click on "Ends" in the tool box. This is the window you want to do that in.

Click on the Left End "plant-on" check box. When a check is in the box you can Click on the Plant-On Properties button. This button takes you to a new window that allows you to define how you want to connect the plant-on and what you want the plant-on to be. It can be a skin or a door that replaces the existing panel or a door that replaces the existing panel. In our case, leave the check boxes and radio buttons the way they are, but do click on the "Define Plant-On" button.

Another window will appear. It is similar to the window in Job Standards for setting up your doors. As you can see, this window lets you pick a doorframe type, then select the type of panel you want in that frame. You can also add "French Lites" to a glass door. The buttons at the bottom of this box lets you change other aspects of this plant-on door such as the material type it's made of or the other standards that affect the parts cut list for this door. For our purposes, click OK to close out of this window and OK to close the Plant-On Properties window. Finally, click OK to close the Modify Ends window to return to the Customize cabinet #9 window.

We are nearing the end of this illustration. At this point you can see there are 3 other buttons in this window we haven't talked about:

  1. The "Cabinet Standards" button allows you to change the way this individual cabinet is built from the way the rest of the cabinets in the job are being built. For example, if this was a sink cabinet and you wanted to remove the back out of this cabinet but not the rest of the job, you could use this button to make that change.
  2. The "View Assembly Sheet" button allows you to view the cut list for this specific cabinet to verify you've set the Standards correctly and made the correct changes in this Customize window.
  3. Finally, "Save to Library" lets you build a library of custom cabinets that you can use in other rooms of this job or other jobs you'll design in the future.

Click DONE to leave the Customize window for cabinet #9. You can now customize any other cabinet within your design. For our illustration, we are done with the design. We can now print our Floor Plan, Wall Elevations, Assembly Sheets or Master Cutlist through the "Print" section of the "File" menu in the menu bar. If you want a 3-D View of this room, click the "Take a 3D Tour!" button in the toolbox.

The Tour presentation is designed to help with the selling of the job to your customer. It offers your customers an idea of what a job will look like. You may have to do some give the customer a full explanation of the job. i.e.: explain that you will put crown molding at the top of the cabinets. The Tour is much better than the hand drawings you are used to and if your customer makes a change, there is no need for erasing and starting over.

It is difficult for us to determine what you really need or expect to get for your money. You must be the judge of that. Naturally more expensive software has more bells and whistles, but do you really need those items and is the pay off or complicated trade off worth the extra expense?

This Tour view can be rotated, left or right, up or down; zoomed in or out to give you the view you want to look at.

TIP: We advise showing these to your customer during the bidding process but not leaving them with the customer until the job is secured. Also caution should be taken that the contract clearly depicts the items included in the kitchen bid as often times, customers mistake what they see in a picture as what they will be getting in the bid. For example, your design may show all the appliances but that doesn't mean that you are providing them for the price of the cabinets. Hint: The cabinets, counter tops and floors can be changed to different material looks that are supplied with the Tour software.

Of course, this is not a kitchen design you would be likely to build in a home, nor is this all that you can do with this program. Our goal is simply to show you the basics of Cabinet Solutions. For more information, check out the help manual in the help section of your program.

Help contains the entire manual along with "How-To" tips. In particular, please read the section on Standards. Understanding Standards is critical to your success in using Cabinet Solutions. Job Costing and Estimating is also explained in the full manual.

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