DUST COVERS ALMOST EVERY inch of the 10,000-square-foot workshop in Hyde Park. It covers bulky cutting and sanding equipment imported from Italy and Germany. It covers thin veneer samples. It even covers a foosball table tucked away in a corner. What’s not dusty? The crew of cabinetmakers, who were sent home early after pulling an all-nighter. When you’re working for Moda Cucina, a one-stop shop for designing, fabricating, and installing European-style custom kitchens, occasional late nights come with the territory.
“When I tell people I manufacture kitchens in Massachusetts, the first thing I get asked is, ‘People still do that?'” says Paul Hatziiliades, the company’s founder. Five years ago, Hatziiliades was working as the showroom manager for a large European cabinetry company. He was the area’s go-to guy for contemporary kitchens, but to get those gorgeous lines into local homes, he had to negotiate serious obstacles: Dimensions were metric and shipments were delayed, which caused customers to grow impatient.
One day while flipping through a trade publication, he saw an ad for an Italian-made Biesse machine, which precisely cuts cabinetry from a computer drawing. Before he knew it, he was writing a check for $205,000. “It was the stupidest idea I’ve ever had,” Hatziiliades says now, half joking. His clients, who include New England billionaires, regular homeowners, and even one WWF wrestler turned actor, don’t agree. Because Moda Cucina is local and its work is completely custom, it produces top-quality kitchens made to order, with 21st-century precision and finishing.
The company’s bread and butter is a contemporary style, but there’s something for everyone. The Estate Inset Classical kitchen has New England appeal, yet is outfitted with all the modern conveniences (LED-illuminated storage spaces, touch-sensitive and motor-powered drawers). Hatziiliades’s favorite is a high-gloss minimalist design with clever touches like a hidden step stool built into a wall of pop-up cabinets. To get that flawless lacquer finish, Moda Cucina’s workshop also houses a spray room designed for painting cars.
While the company occasionally builds with exotic woods — what the client wants, the client gets — most materials come from managed forests or are reclaimed. And by using handpressed veneers, it can produce 100 kitchens from a single tree. The machinery yields about 10 percent wood waste, which is then used as animal bedding material by a local farmer. Forest Stewardship Council-certified hardwoods, 100 percent recycled and formaldehyde-free MDF, and low-VOC finishes are also available.
Budget designs can be had for as little as $20,000, and big-ticket remodels with all the bells and whistles can go for $550,000 and up. Moda Cucina gets its share of special requests, too. Tiny urban condos call for corner storage units that swivel and pull out. And Hatziiliades once designed a kitchen for a customer with multiple chemical sensitivity, using materials that worked for her. “If we can draw it, we can build it,” he says.