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My name is Tom Lopatosky. I’m the President of LOPCO Contracting (www.LopcoContracting.com) and I’m honored to have the opportunity to talk to you about home improvement on a monthly basis. I love answering your questions! Please send them to tom@LopcoContracting.com or call 401-270-2664. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this column!
The Beauty of a Built-In
A ‘built-in’ is a term used in construction that is right up there with the best of them, in terms of those that can be confusing for whomever may be hearing it for the first time.
When someone thinks of something being ‘built-in,’ their mind may automatically gravitate toward something as simple as the cupholder in their car.
“I have a built-in cupholder in my car,” you may hear from an excited friend.
“Oooooooo…fancy…” you may think in your head, (or perhaps not).
The concept is very similar in home construction.
But whereas a built-in cupholder (to keep with this example) may be something that is fairly standard in the way that it is a fixture in a variety of lines of cars, a ‘built-in’ in someone’s home tends to be a bit more custom.
Though there certainly are instances in home building where a ‘built-in’ feature may be one selected by the homeowner, and which the builder typically provides to their clients, upon request; the built-ins that I happen to more consistently run into align with something which is truly designed and constructed for the specific home where I have seen them.
While built-ins certainly may have elaborate designs behind them and take hours upon hours to create, built-ins are much more often (at least in my world), designed by master craftspeople and cabinet folks who may have a set of basic drawings that they are following, but as they are constructing the built-in, they may not have a set plan at all, and simply rely on their intrinsic vision & talent for craftsmanship that is beyond what the average person may own.
The built-in units I typically see are those that are more so on the cabinetry side, which often boast some type of shelving system, sometimes even a window seat.
The imagination is the limit in terms of what the concept of the built-in is limited by.
I have seen built-in beds that drop down from a wall, built-in aquariums, built-in tables, etc.
The possibilities are endless for intertwining a variety of possible tracts for this cool feature in peoples’ homes.
Not as common as a built-in bookshelf or dining room cabinet, built-ins, such as the aquarium idea, are usually SUPER AWESOME (the aquarium is my personal favorite!)!!
Built-ins can be worked into the design of one’s home (as we have pointed out earlier), or they can be built along the way as someone is simply trying to more efficiently use a space that for a period of time, they have had no idea what to do with.
Built-ins can be painted or finished with some type of stain & polyurethane system.
Whatever the finish coat system happens to be, it should be quite durable (think along the lines of something that will provide an enamel-type finish), similar to what you would find associated with a solid kitchen cabinetry system.
Sometimes built-ins blend so well with the natural state of a room that one may never even realize that what they’re seeing is a built-in.
Other times, built-ins are meant to be the focal point of a given room (back to the aquarium example).
Whether a built-in is something you are simply looking to for extra storage in the kitchen, or if it is for a huge room with high ceilings whose walls (floor-to-ceiling) themselves consist of bookshelves to form a library, the two-fold purpose of usefulness and cosmetic appeal of built-ins are an age-old phenomenon, which add unique character to whatever home they happen to grace.
About Tom Lopatosky
Tom Lopatosky has run his own RI-based painting and repair business since 1995; LOPCO Contracting – the “Personable, Particular Professionals” – specializes in exterior & interior painting and carpentry. Recently LOPCO Contracting was named ‘RI’s Finest Painting Contracting Company’ by ShopInRI Magazine. In 2013, Tom was named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) and a “40 Under 40” award winner by Providence Business News. He is a member of both PCA (Painting Contractors Association) and RIBA (Rhode Island Builders Association). Tom has often had weekly ‘Home Improvement Tips’ that have aired on the radio on 630 WPRO AM and on television on WPRI 12. You can catch Tom LIVE on the radio EVERY Saturday, 2pm-3pm, on 630 WPRO AM (99.7 FM) during his weekly ProTalk Home Improvement Radio Show!