From the Shop Floor #2

Blue Island End

Shop photos aren't sexy. There is no special lighting or clean counters. A photo from the shop floor is, however, a quick example of what we build every day for our customers. Generally, they strike me when I'm walking through the shop, and I take a quick picture for myself. Sometimes I will choose to share it.

Beautiful end cabinet with dovetail drawers on a custom kitchen island in Westlake, CA.


How is a Production Cabinet Shop Run

Running a cabinet business is more than collecting the right equipment and building boxes. It's more than ordering wood and designing layouts on a computer. There are shops that generate high quality cabinets efficiently that consist of a table saw and hand tools, and there are mega shops that have the latest state of the art equipment, and churn out junk.

So what is the secret sauce?

A production cabinet company must know what it has, what it needs, how much it needs, and when it needs it. A production cabinet company must know how to maximize its use of material to facilitate the design at hand. But a custom cabinet company knows that the details drive the design.

Cutting corners and taking design shortcuts are not options.

When Keith and I purchased Closet Crafters and created Native Oak, I was confident. This isn't to say that I am vain or feel like I know everything about running a cabinet company, but based on my experience I had the ability to look at the product, the crew, and the facility, and envision what it can do.

Ideal Location


I could see that from its location in the heart of Ventura, CA, Native Oak would be able to reach a broad workforce and find the right employees with the right skills. And it could reach the customers that need the precision level of cabinetry a modern custom shop can offer.

Equipped to Build

I could see from its equipment that with a few strategic purchases, it could produce a quality cabinet that is on a par with anything else produced in Southern California. And I could see in the crew, from the designers, to the craftsman, to the installers, that Native Oak would compete on quality, timeliness, and price against any company out there.

What does this have to do with 'Heritage'?

The answer: everything, and nothing. My heritage is in cabinetry. It's what my grandfather, father, uncles, cousin, and I have done. We make - but mostly we enable others to make. It is something that can be learned, I know because I learned later in life how to do it. But I also know that I learned it on the backs of those in my family that came before me. So when I walked into Closet Crafters for the first time, I knew it could become Native Oak, Inc -- the place to go in Southern California for the cabinets in your home - custom cabinetry for living.


Farmhouse Sinks

Farmhouse Sinks a Simple Beauty

What is it about the farmhouse sink? I think it reminds us that the preparation of food and eating together is essential to who we are. The simplicity of the farmhouse sink is both functional and beautiful. It is, simply, a sink. There is no double basin. There is no division. Just a sink and a faucet, and you are left to deal with it.

Simple Structure, Complex Design

Preparing a cabinet for a farmhouse sink, however, isn't so simple. Because of their weight and the complexity of fitting it, we at Native Oak always ask our customer to bring the sink in to our shop. We will carefully unbox it, create a template of it, and custom cut out the front face of the cabinet to get a precise fit of the sink. Additionally, we will build the cabinet to support the weight of the sink (plus the dishes, and the water!) To get technical, we use 3/4" plywood for the sink cabinet, we dado a double shelf into the sides of the cabinet and reinforce that shelf with additional bracing to ensure it is well supported.

Oak Cabinetry in Carpinteria

From W.L. Rubottom Co., one of my favorite installations in Carpinteria, CA. The striking white oak cabinetry in the slate blue, burgundy, and honey colors create a warm and beautiful environment. The solid oak Revere doors are a perfect choice for this kitchen; their simple straight lines allow the beauty of the colors, the lighting, and the avocado trees just outside the window to be the stars. In particular, the farm house style sink is well used here. The contrasting cabinet color and the legs on the sink emphasize the strength of the farm house sink, helping it to hold its own against the range.

This is a kitchen that is designed for living.

How are we different? We design, build, and install.

Your kitchen is where you build your memories. It's the first place you go when you come home from work. It's the last place you go before you go to bed. It's where your sustenance comes from. Your kitchen is where your family gathers before school, after school. It's where you are when your neighbor calls.

Native Oak understands that the room that forms the heart of the home has to function, but it also has to have an inherent beauty. Much of what we focus on as a business is how to achieve efficiency in our cabinetry design without sacrificing beauty. Or, put another way, how do we make your kitchen functional, environmentally safe, and beautiful in a way that brings you pleasure when you walk in the room and pride of ownership when you are entertaining.

The answer to that question is in the design. We will walk you through the design stages. If you have a question about where to put your appliances, ask us! Just don't be put off if we have REALLY strong opinions, because we have done what most people simply have not had the opportunity to do: we have remodeled and built from new thousands of kitchens, bathrooms, and closets.

The soul of a good kitchen is in its design. What makes us different, is that we build what we design. And we build it in Ventura, CA, where we live.

Native Oak Coming Soon

Flush fit cabinets, swiss coffee paint

Flush fit cabinets, swiss coffee paint

Native Oak will be opening its doors soon in Ventura. Coming in the spring of 2016, Native Oak specializes in custom kitchens and bathrooms. Using the latest technologies combined with old-world craftsmanship, Native Oak will bring a legacy of cabinet production to individual home owners, home builders, and kitchen design professionals.

Check back here,, for updates on our progress as we ready the business for launch.