“I think the Cape in the winter and Cape in the summer are completely different. The Cape is so quiet this time of the year and it’s perfect. There are beautiful days out where it is 55 degrees and everyone who comes just in the summer misses this part of the Cape.”
Gail runs a kitchen design and install business on Cape Cod called White Wood Kitchens. We arrived at one of her showrooms, and surprisingly the Cape Cod Hand Project was the last on her welcoming white-board. She has this do it yourself attitude and persistence on achievement that many of us strive to have in our daily lives. The attention to detail is immediately seen as you wander around the building. Everything has a place and it is all placed with reason. When she talks about Cape Cod, her eyes light up and the room glows with positivity. She has nothing but praise and hope for the future of Cape Cod.
“All my clients are happy all the time. They’re always talking about retiring or are retired. The conversations revolve all around ‘When my grandkids come’ or ‘When my kids come with my grandkids’, so it’s the baby boomer population that is my biggest client. They are excited to move to the house their parents owned forever or fix the cottage they owned forever and they want to move to so it’s always about positive futures. Everyone is talking about entertaining and being with people.”
Another sweet spot for Gail is the communities on the Cape and what the villages have to offer. She has even had the opportunities to be behind the gated walls of some of the private neighborhoods. Like many people that live here, Gail shares a fondness for the emptiness of the Cape landscape during the winter months
“What I love about the Cape is the communities. I’ve gotten to all the communities on the Cape where as if you have your summer house, you’re only going to Dennis (etc.). I have the opportunity to really kind of go to all of villages and all the beaches and see houses on beaches you can’t get to in gated communities. I think the Cape in the winter and Cape in the summer are completely different. The Cape is so quiet this time of the year and it’s perfect. There are beautiful days out where it is 55 degrees and everyone who comes just in the summer misses this part of the Cape.”
Gail’s journey to the White Wood Kitchen, was not a straight line and may not have been on her radar. The journey to the business followed her need and desire to use her hands coinciding with her mind to make a living. Outside of starting a family with her husband, she yearned for more. She was introduced to woodworking and cabinet making.
“I wanted a Pottery Barn wine cabinet and said I’m not paying 600.00 so I am going to make it. And so I actually made it and it came out horrible, but then I painted it with black paint and it came out beautiful. I still have it in my dining room. I got the bug. I come from a handy family so my two brothers gave me some coaching and I found my medium. When I found wood I knew I was in love and that was it.”
Gail took work with a local cabinet maker and started to learn the art of woodworking. With her background in math, she had the ability to figure out the formula for kitchen design and the cabinets, giving her the ability to utilize every ounce of space. Soon she was building complete kitchens directly from architectural plans. After what she called her “paid apprenticeship” and balancing life with young children with that of a woodworker, she decided to venture on her own. That is when Hometown Woodworking was born.
“I opened my own business. Hometown Woodworking. For 8 years I built anything but kitchens. I did a lot of wine cellars, islands, add-on cabinets, built-ins beside the fireplace, boot benches, all the things you do that are built in now. Fast forward to 2009, the economy crashed and I decided to look outside the house for more work and in. My husband deployed and I needed a job where my time is more flexible because a cabinet shop you are working 7-5 so I went to a kitchen dealer. I don’t make my own anymore. I miss it. I miss it a lot. The earlier years, I did build more and now I am just too busy to build.”
She might not miss it for much longer. Gail had the ability to purchase the wood-shop she originally learned to craft cabinets. Today she has a cabinet maker there building her designs. Perhaps at some point she will see herself back in the shop, mastering and creating again. But life owning a business moves fast. Gail left us with a good piece of advice.
“My only advice is that to anyone on a journey, you be open to opportunity and be flexible to ideas but stay true to the original plan. Follow the straight line but don’t worry about taking some turns on the way. If my husband had never deployed I would have never ended up here so it’s the blessing that comes with thinking outside of the box. “