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(Credit: Rachel Young)
(Credit: Rachel Young)

Fifteen years ago, when Gary Trapanotto launched Designer Kitchens East in Westhampton Beach, customer preferences were very different.

“Back in 2000, everybody was looking for maple or medium-earth tone kitchens,” said Trapanotto, who left the South Fork six years ago and moved his custom cabinetry business to a Mattituck showroom. “Now, the market has switched heavily toward painted cabinet finishes. People are really taking advantage of the color palettes available to them.”

We recently sat down with Trapanotto to find out what inspired him to break into the kitchen renovation business, what he likes most about his job and the number one piece of advice he gives customers.

Q: How did you get your start in custom cabinetry? 

A: I actually went to school for architecture at New York Institute of Technology and found design to be very interesting because every job was different. I worked for a kitchen manufacturer in the design department so I got to actually experience all aspects of the field.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge of your job? 

A: Probably coming up with a unique design that meets each client’s needs. You don’t want every kitchen to look like every other kitchen so you want them to feel and appreciate the fact that they have a unique design. At the same time, it needs to have the function that the customer requires.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your line of work? 

A: Meeting people and the fact that every job is so different. It gives me an opportunity to handle things differently with each customer so it’s not boring for me — and hopefully it’s not boring for them.

Q: What’s the most important thing people renovating their kitchens should keep in mind?

A: Do the research. With the Internet, there are so many websites available to just look at options. I love when a customer comes in and they have a list for me of where they’ve seen what and what they want to incorporate in their kitchen. Because it does make my job easier, but it also helps direct me as to where they want to go. It helps the whole process.

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This story was originally published in the 2015 edition of Northforker Business

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