Leyla Rodriguez of Costa Rican Custom Arts in Atlanta refinishes cabinet doors with artful images that stand out, literally.

This door features multiple layers of tulips that give the door a unique look and feel.

The cabinets in one’s home or office can say a lot about the individual and have an impact on the atmosphere of that environment. Many people feel that their home or workspace is a reflection of themselves, and they want the cabinets to be unique and stand out.

Leyla Rodriguez, owner of Atlanta-based Costa Rican Custom Arts, does just that, resurfacing cabinet doors so that they are completely unique and stand out, literally.

Using the cabinet door as her “palette,” Rodriguez uses various techniques and a variety of materials to create colorful 3-D images on the door front. These artful images can be custom designed to flow with the rest of the decor, or they can be made to differ from everything around it.

“I work on any type of cabinet doors: metal, wood, MDF,” she says. “I work the surface with acrylics, plaster, sheet rock and drywall powder, and I do different types of mixes depending on the type of surface effect I want."

“I’ll work with any material I have handy,” she adds. “If I think nail polish is going to get the job done, I’ll use nail polish.”

According to Rodriguez, the most unique door she has created depicts the Costa Rican beach. “The beach takes a lot of art to get the effect of the waves, the sky, the sand.”

Rodriguez pays attention to current design trends, reading magazines to remain abreast of popular styles. She will play with the ideas she sees there to find new styles that work with the medium.

The door at left depicts the Costa Rican beach, featuring surf, sky and sand, and is detailed with sea shells.

She also finds inspiration in nature and takes pictures of animals and landscapes, incorporating these images into her work.

When designing a cabinet door for a customer’s home or office, Rodriguez “analyzes” the location and creates a design that is appropriate to the house and its ambiance. She takes down the customer’s existing door and uses that for the design or she provides the customer with a whole new door.

Rodriguez says she has to put on each layer individually, letting the materials dry between coats, so that the image does not crack. The typical door will take about a week to complete, and Rodriguez adds that she will work on several doors at once.

It all started when she decided to decorate some kitchen cabinet doors she had lying around and give them out as Christmas presents. After creating the presents, Rodriguez conducted research to see if there were any similar products on the market. She says she found nothing like her kitchen cabinet doors anywhere else.

“I realized that it didn’t exist in the market,” she explains. “I speak four languages, so I did some research on the Internet in Italian, French, Spanish and English. There’s nothing."

“I think this is a great idea for realtors to renovate and just clean the face of a kitchen with little details like this,” she explains. “You have to bring something different to the table, and this is an inexpensive way to boost your property that will make you more attractive to a buyer.”

For more information on Costa Rican Custom Arts and to see more door images, visit www.customizedartcabinets.com.

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