COURTENAY – Bragging rights go to homeowners in the Comox Valley as new kitchens are being installed weekly by Harbour Kitchens and Millwork. Established in 1996, the company has expanded to a new showroom to handle the surging demand for high-end custom kitchens, built-ins, vanities, and more.

Lead Designer Chelsy Venoit said the move to a new location a year ago increased the display space six-fold, from a cramped 500 square feet to a 3000 square foot showroom at 2930 Kilpatrick Avenue in Courtney.

The showroom boasts what the company can do, featuring five full size kitchens. “Just walking into the space feels grand, allowing clients to envision their new kitchen.” Each 10’ by 10’ kitchen showcases unique design and style, featuring modern products and accessories.

The company’s designers, Chelsy Venoit and Cathleen Leduc, have each completed a two-year interior architectural design program.  They have the knowledge and experience to help their clients achieve the look and style they want.

Company owner Shaun Nelson is also the operations manager for the eight-member production team. Aware of the increasing demand for quality cabinets, he initiated the expansion of the showroom and the production facility. “It was a substantial investment.  We have more than doubled our sales and maintained our high standard of quality,” says Nelson.

The production facility has also been revamped. It has been completely transformed into a modern 10,000 square foot shop. State of the art machines manufacture custom cabinets and millwork in-house with a decreased wait time for the customer.

Their shop uses only top quality, North American made products from Hardwoods and Richelieu. Choosing these products ensures compliance with California’s CARB Phase 2 Composite Wood Products Regulations. Starting in 2009, these regulations reduced formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products, hardwood plywood, particleboard and high-density fiberboard (HDF). This standard, in combination with new dust collection and air filtration system, means a safer work environment for the employees and greener products in the home.

HK Millwork prides themselves on their in-house installation team and the quality control at the shop and throughout the production line and into installation. From the first point of contact with the CNC machine, to the sanding department, then off to the finishing booth.

Finishing is where the magic happens. Some of the newer products on the market are engineered sheet goods. These come in a wide range of veneered wood or laminated patterns and textures, which are durable and very economical. Venoit notes that many people are opting for the veneered finishes, which are easy to clean and require less maintenance.

There is no repainting required and these kitchens will still look good in 15 to 20 years. From the manufacturing side, these newer materials are easy to work with and allow a quicker turn-around time.

Business in the Comox Valley is booming. Retirees from across Canada, including the lower mainland of B.C., Alberta, and Ontario, are selling their properties and moving to the island. “We install our cabinets in stunning high-end homes, individual family homes as well as multi-family projects.” Whether clients are building new or renovating old, both keep Harbour Kitchens & Millwork busy.

Around 80 per cent of the business is referrals from casual conversations in the community. The company has developed great relationships with local builders, interior designers, and real estate agents from up and down the Comox Valley.

Venoit notes current top trends are the modern farmhouse design, which incorporates traditional charm with a fresh twist, and ultra-modern, which is minimalist and sleek. A few years ago, two-tone kitchens, many white and dark grey, were popular.

Now many people are opting for warmer tones in paint or a warmer off-white finish. “It is what is on trend right now.” Customers regularly bring in samples of their color inspiration.  Harbour Kitchen’s paint supplier easily matches the sample in the required product, be it stain, paint, or lacquer.

Among the most exciting projects for the company are the whole home packages, which can include the kitchen, bathrooms, walk-in closets, bars, and fireplace built-ins

Visitors to the showroom will be greeted by the knowledgeable design team of Venoit and Leduc, Showroom Coordinator Jayneen Pannell, and Project Coordinator Jonathan Toms.

Harbour Kitchens and Millwork is the Premier Dealer on the north end of Vancouver Island for Cambria Surfaces through Floform Countertops. This gives them the opportunity to have over 160 designs available for clients to choose from.

In addition to the five full-size kitchens, the showroom offers countertops, Kohler sinks, faucets, and more.  Thanks to a partnership with Courtenay Appliances, they also showcase high end Bertazzoni appliances in their showroom.

The term custom millwork means the display kitchens are just the starting point. Unlike the one-size-fits-all-or-else model of pre-cut, pre-boxed cabinets, Harbour Kitchens and Millwork makes individually designed elements, where custom is their standard.

Quality products also ensure your kitchen will age well. “Your kitchen should last the lifetime of your home”, Venoit says. “We’ve designed any style asked of us”.

Among the suppliers used by the company, Marathon and Richelieu are at the top of the market, continuously expanding in style and trends when it comes to hardware and accessories.

Images of the company’s products, customer testimonials, and contact details are on their website at