A Boffi Italian kitchen suite clocked in at $150,000 for a remodeling job in San Francisco.

Jeanette Lam, who specified beveled-edge counters atop shiny white polyester coated cabinetry with no hardware showing, is a sophisticate in wood products. She owns Struxture Inc., a hand-scraped hardwood flooring firm. 

A Boffi kitchen design similar to the one profiled. 

Lam's kitchen was among several featured in a Wall St. Journal article profiling kitchen remodels that use extremely expensive imported Italian kitchen cabinetry. Lam's cabinet doors touch to slide open, while bottom drawers push to open. Italian cabinetry firm Boffi describes the units as made in particleboard, 19mm thick (about 3/4-inch), compliant with European standards (Class 1, low formaldehyde content), treated with high basic weight melamine-resin in silk white. The Boffi cabinets can also be specified in an open-pore graphite-grey oak finish.  

Another kitchen detailed is the Scavolini Collection LiberaMente design with a marble-topped glossy-white island. This one was part of a $215,000 kitchen remodeling project in an industrial loft in the Tribeca district of New York City. Scavolini was designed by Vuesse, the Research & Development Dept. of Scavolini, which is based in Montelabbate, Italy.

Vuesse says the LiberaMente line features "essential lines, clean geometries, designs integrated with the living room and the rest of the house," and providing "a synthesis ideal in the practical kitchen... and it features quality design and minimalist looks, with no handles or openings with grooves, and open modules for various configurations."

Other providers of high-end Italian cabinetry include Pedini and Arcilinea. A pricey Pedini was used as an upgrade to help ready a $16.5 million mansion in Los Angeles for sale. 

A Pedini kitchen design

The practicality of these gleaming, expensive kitchens is uncertain. Lam told a reporter that a delicate see-through exhaust fan vent that was part of the design has trouble keeping up with high-intensity cooking. "It's a lot of smoke and oil, and sometimes it can be a challenge for the delicate Italian design." But on the whole, "I would rather take a good design than a good function."

Her firm, Struxtur Inc., which operates under the trade name Bella Cera Floors, is a U.S.-based manufacturer of fine artisan hardwood flooring sold across the country under brand names like Bella Cera Floors, California Classics Floors, and Palmetto Road Floors, unleashing homeowners' design creativity to "create stunning, high-quality hardwood flooring products. At Struxtur, design has purpose." 

The volume of kitchens coming from the high-end Italian firms may not be high in numbers, but the dollars are significant, as well as the indication there is a market that is not price sensitive - only quality and design sensitive. The wait time on orders is three to four months, the Wall St. Journal reports, and kitchens are adapted from the European designs to fit U.S. preferences for larger appliances. A single New York location of Scavolini sells two to four containers per month, each container carrying seven kitchens. 


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