A Manufacturing Master

Keith Markus, owner of Markus Cabinet, explains trends in cabinetry and the experience of being a manufacturer.

Edited by Moe Godat

Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton


SLHL: Tell us a bit about your background in the cabinetry business.

Keith: I started as a young man as a second-generation kitchen cabinet manufacturer. My first assignment was in sales working with prominent kitchen and bath dealers, builders and designers. My experience with a broad range of experts in the field helped hone my design knowledge. Throughout my career at Markus, I have attended many national and international trade shows in the United States and Europe, some for knowledge and some for machinery purchases.


SLHL: How is kitchen cabinetry different from the other cabinetry that you design?

Keith: Kitchens involve the use of appliances, which must be fitted in as well as a functional work triangle to facilitate efficiency.


SLHL: What is a must-have feature in kitchen cabinetry?

Keith: The top of the list goes to soft close for hinges and drawer guides.


SLHL: What are the most popular woods being used in cabinetry today? What’s your favorite to work with?

Keith: The most popular wood is maple due to the close grain that paints very well for solid colors. My favorite wood for a stain finish is walnut, especially stained in a light brown with a matte sheen topcoat. The brown stain complements the native color of the walnut wood.


SLHL: How do you see cabinets trending in 2020 that may be different from years past?

Keith: Door styles will trend back to traditional with more solid colors and bolder choices.


SLHL: Give us an example of one of your favorite projects.

Keith: We were commissioned to do a custom wine cellar for an existing client. The grid for bottle storage was done with clear-finished cherry wood blocks and stainless steel rods. Each tall cabinet had vertical LED lighting to highlight the labels and colors of the wine. The center island was a clear glass top supported by a three-pronged stainless steel spider and had underlighting. Curved walls with lighted alcoves gave an interesting effect.


SLHL: Are you seeing any cabinet styles trending today that may differ from kitchens?

Keith: Master closets have become an important focus for storage needs in the home. The woman is the primary homemaker, and she is interested in a well-planned and efficient space. We are offering custom closets with the same attention to detail and matching style as the other rooms of the home.


SLHL: What are the biggest challenges in your field?

Keith: The challenging and most rewarding is transfering another person’s idea of a dream kitchen or bath and designing a space to meet the functional and aesthetic details of a modern room.


SLHL: What makes your company stand out from the crowd?

Keith: Markus Cabinet has many longtime employees that have a passion for their work. As a local manufacturer, we have reduced shipping costs and give shorter lead times.


SLHL: What excites you most about your new showroom in Maryland Heights?

Keith: The showroom is in a new location with other businesses with synergy to ours, such as tile shops, countertop stores and appliances dealers. The ambience of high ceilings and very good lighting give a pleasurable experience.