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Quality Isnt Expensive Its Priceless

Local resources abound in the Monterey Peninsula for homeowners looking to create lasting quality and beauty. Custom ironwork, masonry and woodwork created by local craftsmen help make Monterey homes some of the most distinctive residences in the country. While mass-produced cabinetry, doors and windows may cost less, the effect of custom pieces, created with mastery and enjoyed over time, is priceless.

Steve Neff is a master of woodworking, having dedicated his entire professional life to the art of fine cabinetry and millwork. In 1995, he opened up a small shop in Sand City, California with a credit card and a lot of long hours. Five years ago, he moved up the coast to Marina and built his current shop: a 6,000 square foot, solar-powered workshop and office showroom. He stocked Neff Mill and Cabinet with brand new state-of-the-art machinery and settled into creating custom doors, windows, cabinetry, furniture, trim, entry gates, garage doors and custom wall paneling for residential and commercial clients in the Monterey area.

Neff attributes his success to the growing number of affluent second homeowners seeking the prestige and aesthetic qualities of owning a mountain home with an ocean view. “Custom work isn’t just a status symbol,” he said. “This is a nice area, a nice place to live. People now are building these homes for themselves. They’re going to live in these homes and they want to create a nice nest. They’ve already seen the world. Now they’d rather just stay at home.”

There are many reasons to go custom when building or remodeling. Flexibility is number one. Discerning homeowners wish to make a unique statement of style; to reflect their own tastes and experiences. Today’s architects and designers seek to create interiors and exteriors that accomplish this, often incorporating odd angles and curves, mixing textures and colors, styles and elements that can’t be found at the neighborhood cabinet shop. That’s why architects, designers and homeowners turn to Neff Mill and Cabinet.

“We’re able to accommodate anyone’s taste and style. All you need to do is bring in a picture of the look you want and we can pretty much take it from there. We have no ‘product line.’ Everything is one-of-a-kind. You can get whatever you want here,” Neff said.

The customers’ taste dictates the finished look of Neff ’s custom work. However, his experience and expertise dictates how it fits together. Contractors come to Neff because he can save them time and headaches when it comes time to install. “We make it easy to install. Everything is pre-assembled in the shop. I’ve already measured and figured out how all the pieces and parts will go together. All the contractor needs to do is screw it to the wall. We can save up to 80% of the time on install, because it’s already been figured out,” he explained.

The end results - knotty alder, turned-leg kitchen peninsulas, arched glass entryway doors, African mahogany sashed windows, redwood estate gates and barn doors, walnut reproduction armoires, cherry retail display cabinets and contemporary oak millwork - all begin as rough-sawn slabs of wood. “You have to know what you’re doing. You have to select the wood. It’s kind of an art. You have to use your eye and your judgment to know what’s going to work the best,” Neff said. Neff Mill and Cabinet buys quality hardwoods and softwoods directly from the mill. They fabricate it, join it, straighten it, flatten it, cut, glue and bend it into beautiful (not to mention functional) works of art.

To see the work is to appreciate it. Neff Mill has outfitted various retail stores in Carmel, the Monterey Jet Center and Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds, not to mention many majestic properties in the Monterey Peninsula and surrounding area. Definitive homes make up half of Neff Mill’s portfolio. From the exterior to the interior, right down to cabinetry and trim, Neff ’s staff of seven professional woodworkers gives substance and grandeur to Monterey’s finest.

Neff ’s philosophy is to be the best he can be; and that notion carries over from to? the method with which it’s created. Neff Mill is a grid-tied, solar building, so that all the machines are powered by solar-generated electricity. Neff also encourages the use of sustainable hardwoods. “People are going to use these natural resources. It’s our intention to honor them by turning them into something special. It’s not expensive. It’s priceless,” he said.

The sun powers Neff’s technology. His art comes from within.

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