Design Update: Joinery

We love joinery design, and now that we have brought this aspect to our business in house (with our Head Joinery Designer, Isabelle Danielis), we have learnt so much about the industry and developed amazing relationships with our supply partners and cabinet manufacturers.

We have worked with Albedor for some time now, and their story is an interesting one.  A wholly Australian owned family company, they started out as a small cabinet making business before changing direction away from day-to-day manufacturing to specialising instead in component manufacturing to the trade. This was nearly 40 years ago, around the time that thermo-forming technology was introduced to the marketplace (also known as vinyl wrap).  This technology quickly became the core of the business.


Mal Stafford joined the Albedor group ten years ago, focusing on business development for the architectural and interior design specifications and bespoke joinery designers. Says Mal, “Albedor works solely with the trade. We manufacture doors and panels as well as the routing for the paint industry. We also manage a carcass program. We work directly with designers regarding specifications of colour and design, and then the joinery manufacturer will supply us with componentry lists that we manufacture to order.”

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It’s interesting the way designs have evolved and almost come full circle, explains Mal.  “When this industry first began the whole idea was to use thermo-forming on quite intricate routed designs. Recessed panel, shield designs and bolection moulds were used for intricate styles that are fairly old school now. It was all about the routing styles and then decorating them and having lots of different tools to create angles and depths.  The biggest selling kitchen colour was Antique White.  Today we see much more colour, and a widespread use of flat panel doors with no routing and no detail – be it vinyl wrap, hand painted or melamine – or we are asked to manufacture Hamptons-style / Shaker style recessed panel doors. It’s either clean crisp flat doors or ones with recessed panels.”


Albedor has 40 or so colours for designers to choose from with their vinyl décor collection for thermo-form work. If the specification calls for a 2pac finish or hand painted, then the colour is specified by the designer.


Says Mal, “In the trend cycle going back ten years, it was all about gloss. Whether it was a bespoke kitchen in vinyl wrap or 2pac or it was a commodity kitchen from a retailer, gloss was always the first choice. Now it’s all about matt and satin finishes. It has been a significant change in kitchen and bathroom design psyche – gloss simply isn’t specified at all by leading designers.”


All of Albedor’s kitchen door are made from an MDF substrate that is environmentally friendly and moisture resistant. They are committed to using the industry standard in Australia (E0MRMDF), which has a very low formaldehyde content compared to some imported products.

Kitchen, Modern, Country, White

“I can’t see the industry going back to the older more intricate and ornate designs,” says Mal.  “French Provincial style was such a popular style five years ago, with bolection moulds and wire handles. This how now been simplified to a clean sharp style, with recessed panels and tight radius corners matched with flat panel doors and lines.  Another emerging trend at the moment sees cabinetry with simple lines, mostly vertical, either closely aligned or 40mm to 50mm apart.”

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“Solid timber kitchens are basically non existent in Australia now, and the trend is unlikely to return.  That’s largely based on practicality and cost. However we are seeing hints of timber design trends appearing in other ways – especially in the trend forecasting from ‘EuroCucina’. Timber is being seen on benchtops in rough cut and organic forms.”

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Explains KWD’s Isabelle Danielis, “Albedor has a beautifully finished product. Their quality is superb and they are always up-to-date with the latest trends, like super matts and matts which is what the market wants. Sometimes with vinyl wraps you end up with an ‘orange peel’ finish, but we know we can always rely on Albedor to supply first class finishes. They offer personalised service, and I love working with Mal. He gets just as excited about our joinery designs as we do, and he and his design team work closely with KWD to create new product developments and bespoke designs so we get the best possible result for our clients.”

“There are a few key joinery design trends at the moment,” says Isabelle. “And I love blending them together where possible, and where it suits the client.  The Hamptons-style aesthetic which is very popular can have a coastal feel. And we are also seeing super contemporary kitchens that feature a range of modern materials. I like to look at a design as a whole, and create joinery that works with where a client lives as well as how they live.  The interesting part of the current design climate is that you can use a Shaker-style door in a contemporary space by changing up the colour, the bench tops and the door hardware.  I love creating a juxtaposition between a few different styles.  The form can be based on one aesthetic and the colour palette can be from another style and it can work beautifully.  I love an eclectic blend of styles, and if you’re clever with the materials and spatial planning, you really can achieve a bespoke look.”


Give Isabelle a call to have a chat about creating the perfect joinery for your new home or renovation.

EuroCucina is on at the Milan Fairgrounds from April 17 to 22.

Images:  Albedor, Brent Lukey, Houzz

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