About The Cabinet Tree & Jim Nordberg
“As a kid, I thought I was going to be a child psychologist, or Perry Mason. But when I was 16, I got a job cleaning up a cabinet shop. I was the best cleaner-upper they ever had. I started learning cabinetry, and I started thinking I was pretty good at it.”
Creative Problem Solving
“My father grew up poor, and he could come up with a solution for anything. One time he cut away our attached garage, put it on pipes, and rolled it 50 yards away. I watched him do things with simple tools that even today, boggle my mind how he pulled them off. Maybe it’s the stuff I saw in my youth that taught me how to think outside the box.”
Training & Expertise
“I’ve been doing it since 1970; I’ve never done anything else, actually. I’ve been mentored by some very creative, talented people. I met a guy, a master finisher, Dennis Olsson, who taught me what I could expect out of the right kinds of finishes: what falls apart when you use it near water, what will fail over time. I was also mentored by Craig Mohammad, the most talented woodworker I’ve ever met, and Joe Robinson, finest cabinet maker I’ve ever met.”
Constant Learning & Dedication
“I hire talented people, and we share technique and create new ones. We tend to go overboard; we’ll brainstorm how to do something, and there’s a hard way and an easier way, and we’ll debate, well, do we spend that extra time to get that grain to match even though no one might ever notice? And the answer is usually yes. We might not make as much money, but we’ll love the product.
“I learn something new every day, and I learn from as much from mistakes as I do from success. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know much, when it comes to wood.”
"Our goal is to deliver a product that is beyond our clients expectations in every realm; function, aesthetics, and longevity.
“The complicated ones? They get built in my dreams. I’ll have a mental block about how to do something, and then wake up at 3:00 am with the answer.”
“I began in 1970, and by 1982 I had a pretty good feel for what I wanted to do. Since then, every effort has been to refine the product: more aesthetic, more functional, more long-lasting. Since 1982, almost all my business has been word of mouth. I’m proud of the reputation our work has. We treat every project as unique; we hand-select every piece of wood. You can feel the quality of our work.
"I’ve had clients who six months later call me out of the blue, to say, ‘Jim, I need to tell you that in the morning I have my cup of coffee, and I suddenly see things you did that I never noticed before that makes your work absolutely beautiful.’
“Compliments are part of my pay. For me, to have a happy client is a part of my reward. Even if they can’t see it right away, they feel it, because it’s so well done. That attention to detail is part of the true value of what we produce.
“I just had a client call me… she said there was piece of hardware that wasn’t functioning anymore. We did it 22 years ago, and it’s still gorgeous. So we came up with alternative and corrected the situation at no charge.”
Jim's work has been published in Kitchen & Bath Business - Designers' Kitchens & Baths, and in a small book by Diane Dorrans Sacks by California Design Library titled Kitchens.
Read more about Jim's Process here.