Flexible and Fixed: Built-ins, Benches, and Bunks.

Need storage space? Display space? Can’t find a piece of furniture that’s the right size? Let’s talk built-ins.

What is a built-in? We’ve found a variety of pieces answer this question. Their unifying characteristic is a permanent fastening to the structure they live in. They are specifically sized to fit an existing space and are optimized for efficiency. Ranging from large to small, from simplistic to complicated, from cabinetry to bunks and benches, built-ins are varied and specific.

This built-in combines open shelving scribed around a corner post with cabinets and a live-edge top.

Our fine woodworking team, NEWwoodworks, and our design team deep dive into these pieces, aiming for designs that will suit current and future needs of the homeowners. Creating flexible pieces in a fixed or permanent space is a challenge solved with collaboration—internally and especially with the family that will live with, and interact daily with, the resulting fixture.

The built-ins in our projects are crafted with the same detail as custom furniture as they are, to us, simply unmovable furniture. Due to their permanence, the design focuses more heavily on function than aesthetics. Here a sliding door moves to reveals the television in the Olsen’s great room.

Perhaps the most common built-in opportunity is in the great room. As our main living spaces are starting to have fewer and fewer walls with open floor plans being so popular, and one wall typically dominated by the views afforded by large expanses of glass, there is often little wall space available for a typical entertainment/TV situation. Beyond housing the television, there is integrated space for shelves to show off books, art, family photos.

Or sliding doors to hide the electronics and reveal the more personal items.Or enclosed cabinets to reduce the feeling of clutter.Another trend is the ‘command center’ which can be a small niche in a mudroom or a desk type of space in the kitchen or hallway.

Located against a narrow wall that helps define the kitchen from the dining room, this is a desk style command center.

It works as a place to drop keys, mail, handbags, phones, and all the other earthly possessions one may shed when arriving at home.

The command center as designed for a commercial space takes form as a cashier and wait staff station within Kindred Fare, a favorite eatery in Geneva, NY.

Dining rooms commonly feature a buffet, or other such storage built-in on the available wall space, to hold formal dishes and flatware, to display special items, to act as a counter or bar for serving dishes and drinks and more.

Built-ins are also a great way to capture small morsels of space, that can ultimately enhance the function of a room. Those awkward slivers of triangular space below a stairway—adding cubbies or cabinets can create some very useful storage. Or an empty corner in a bathroom can be a great place for a custom linen closet.

A guest room or common room can accommodate several, and have a greater fun factor, with the addition of built-in bunk beds.

An entryway becomes comfortable with built-in benches and cubbies where one can sit and remove shoes and store gear.

Modest wall space in a child’s room can be ideal for a desk.

Our team has produced a few wine closets and wine cellar built-ins along the way too.

Of course, we could also talk offices/shelves, breakfast nooks, bars, and fireplace surrounds too.

We love the variety that comes with built-ins. Are you dreaming of a built-in, bench, bar, bunks, or another fixed but flexible piece? Let us know. And if you’re interested in seeing more furniture and cabinetry from our skilled craftsmen and designers, you’ll find it here.