General Woodcraft Blog

Chris Nolan

Recent Posts

Construction Safety Tips

Posted by Chris Nolan on Wed, Aug 07, 2019 @ 06:26 AM

I saw this construction safety tips and thought it would be a great reminder for construction professionals, tradespeople and do-it-yourself'ers alike. Work safely and have a great day.


Courtesy of  

Designing a New Kitchen to Meet Your Budget

Posted by Chris Nolan on Wed, Feb 20, 2019 @ 01:02 PM

Long white kitchen pixabayThere are kitchen designs to meet nearly every budget need. Somewhere between, “Hey, I think I’ll nail a shelf over there for my plate and cup” and, “Did you see the article in Architectural Digest about my new kitchen?” covers just about the full budget range for new kitchen designs. Knowing what your kitchen design budget range is, can be a very important decision.

If you trust your kitchen designer, let them know everything you are looking for in your new kitchen, including your budget range. This will help a savvy designer include all your ‘must have items’ into your kitchen design. A trustworthy, experienced designer knows how to stretch your kitchen design budget. They know how, and where, they can save you money.

Over the years, we have designed new kitchens for many wonderful clients throughout southeastern CT and Rhode Island. We have specialized in semi-custom and custom kitchen design for decades. Many of our clients’ children have grown and become clients, too. Kitchen design trends continue to change and so, too, do our client’s needs.

But over the past ten or so years, we have seen new kitchen designs shift away from traditional kitchens towards more transitional and modern styles. These newer kitchen design styles are often as much in keeping with changing lifestyles as they are with design preferences. Work stations in a kitchen? Who knew? Laptops and notepads for homework at the kitchen counter during snack time? No way! Your children have grown up and left home? Our kitchen designs can reflect your changing lifestyle and your design tastes. We can help.

We have also seen kitchen design budgets change from $100,000 and higher to a more modest budget range recently. In many cases, $30-$40,ooo is the new $100,000 kitchen. Much of this trend is a result of property values. Many of our clients want to re-invest in their homes appropriately, without going upside down on their mortgage and home value.

Smaller kitchens can present a whole different array of design challenges. Often there's a whole lot of functionality that needs be built into a smaller space or a more modest kitchen budget.  Regardless of the size and scope of your new kitchen, 

Designing a beautiful kitchen with the appropriate functions to make your kitchen the best that it can be takes an experienced kitchen design professional. We have the experience and sophistication to help you design a new kitchen to meet your taste, lifestyle and budget needs.

Are you ready for a new kitchen design?


Tags: kitchen budget, kitchen design

Amazing Custom Fireplace You’ll Want in Your Home

Posted by Chris Nolan on Wed, Feb 20, 2019 @ 12:21 PM

Do you have an old or dated fireplace or mantel? Nothing says welcome home like a hearth. Especially in the winter. And definitely in New England. If you live within a one-hour drive of New London, CT, we can help.

Master craftsman Art Sylvia has been carefully creating new fireplace surrounds and mantels for decades. And he loves it. He is meticulous and does careful, quality work that many of our clients absolutely love. You can too.

Old fireplace - before picture Before- older fireplace with a dated, rustic look

This renovation project started with an older brick fireplace. When it was originally built, it probably looked great. Not anymore.  It looks dated and out of style. It doesn’t fit the homeowner’s design scheme of the 21st century.

custom fireplace surround framework with legs, breastboard and returns

Art patiently met with the clients to learn exactly what they were looking for.  He offered options that met their needs.  And then he went to work.  Carefully selecting the wood. Meticulously planning his process. Game on. Measuring. Re-measuring. Jointing. Cutting. Carefully fitting. Clamping. Gluing.

custom fireplace surround in Shaker style ready for pre-finishing

First the basic frame components. Then the precise detailing. Then assembly. Need your project painted or stained? We can do that, too. This client wanted their custom fireplace surround painted.

Custom fieplace surround, painted and installed After - Custom Shaker style fireplace surround, painted and installed

Custom Shaker style fireplace surround painted and installed Here's another angle of the custom fireplace installation in coastal Connecticut

We hope you enjoyed this article. Please CONTACT US if we can help you with a custom fireplace surround.

Tags: custom fireplace surround, Custom Mantel, Fireplace surround

Taking the Pain Out of Designing Your New Kitchen

Posted by Chris Nolan on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 @ 06:00 AM

We get it. You’ve been planning on remodeling or updating your kitchen for years and you’re finally ready, only to find out:

  • The new kitchen of your dreams is out of your budget range

  • You found the right price for a kitchen but it doesn’t meet your needs

  •  The kitchen designer doesn’t understand your needs

We feel your pain. We hear similar stories every day. We understand that updating your kitchen can be a painful process – but it doesn’t have to be. Planning and designing your new kitchen can be fun! We have the experience and sophistication to meet your dream kitchen goals while helping you stay within, and manage, your budget.  Here’s how:

Traditional cabinetry in coastal connecticut

Our Kitchen Design Process is simple and user friendly:

Start by scheduling an appointment that will work for you, so you don’t have to hurry or worry

 Bring in all your goodies, because we want to know what you are looking for. Magazine clippings, sketches, any ideas or ‘must haves” are great. The more you know about what you want, the easier it is to help you get there.

 If you like us, and think we may want to work together, please invite us over to your place. We will schedule an appointment to come visit your home. Please don’t worry about any clutter or mess – that actually helps us get an idea of your possible need for additional storage. We’ll take some measurements and learn more about your hopes and dreams for a new kitchen.

 As soon as we have a set of preliminary drawings ready for you, come on over to our place and we’ll review them with you. What works best for you, what doesn’t work and more will be discussed. We promise to be patient and very good listeners. This is a great meeting, because you get to see what your new kitchen can become. (I’m starting to get excited.)

 Approve your final drawings. We will make the necessary changes and invite you back over to review your final design. (Oh my gosh, I’m so excited now!)

 Relax and let our team do what we do best – deliver the kitchen of your dreams. (This new kitchen is so beautiful, I can’t wait to invite our friends over!)

 And they lived happily after.



Tags: kitchen design

Kitchen and Deck Remodels Top Best Investment List

Posted by Chris Nolan on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 @ 07:00 AM

Of all the places we can spend our renovation budget, once again kitchen remodels and deck projects are at the very top of the list of cost versus value. Kitchen remodels and deck projects provide the best return on investment of all remodeling projects. When you invest your remodeling dollars in these two spaces, the paybacks are the greatest.  Not only do these two projects top the list of best remodeling investments, they are definitely the most fun! 

Ipe_and_Garapa_deck-_Brookhill_BuildersThink about it. If you are entertaining guests during beautiful weather, where does the party usually end up? If you have one, outdoors on the deck is typically the “go to” gathering spot. Cookouts, delicious food, cold beverages, great music and fun for all.  Being outside and at one with nature and the great outdoors is only a few steps away. Some of the best memories can be created right outside the door of your home. With today’s fast paced lifestyles, peace and relaxation can be yours without having to travel at all.


Kitchens are often called the ‘heart of the home’ and for good reason. Kitchens are where families gather together and spend the most time with one another.  Kitchens are intimate and personal. When you have friends and family over for dining or entertaining, where does the core group often end up? In the kitchen of course! Even if the gathering doesn’t start in the kitchen, it will often end up there because kitchens are a fantastic place to gather. Kitchens evoke a feeling of warmth and hominess like no other place on earth.  It’s no wonder kitchen remodels top the list of best renovation values.

Please visit our website to learn more about General Woodcraft's capabilities and find out more about decking projects: