Two companies join forces to bring top-notch creations


In today’s world, it’s all about speed. fast fashion, overnight shipping, instant gratification—trends that are in today and out tomorrow. At Berkeley Architectural Interior Woodworking, they get that. Their large facility is outfitted with the most up-to-date machinery and computer programs, but that will never outpace customer service and the skills honed by generations of cabinetmakers.

Berkeley, an institution in the Atlanta area, was founded in 1978 by Richard and Carmen Webb. The company expanded in 2022 under the leadership of owner Vitaliy Brover, allowing customers to go to one place for all their residential and custom architectural needs. Here, clients deal with just a single company for their complete custom projects—a place where there are experts trained in everything from design and architecture to the art of woodworking. The main floorman has been with the company for three decades. When a customer walks through Berkeley’s front doors, Brover wants them to feel like they’re visiting family.

“My grandfather was a carpenter,” says Brover. “I watched him, and I always played with wood. That was my childhood. That’s something I remember since I remember myself.”

Brover knows about patience and the hard work it takes to get the right result. He immigrated to the United States from Ukraine when he was 15 years old. The grandson of a carpenter, he spent his teen years in Massachusetts, taking woodworking classes in high school and under the tutelage of several Mennonite and Amish communities, which are renowned for their carpentry skills.

“When we came to the United States, the Mennonites were the people that were supporting us,” Brover says, adding that they provided jobs and guidance to the newcomers. “We were close with them.” He studied under them in a workshop for five years, not only learning the intricacies of the craft but also that customer satisfaction was the most important part of the business.

Brover’s next job took him to a high-end commercial and residential architectural woodworking shop. When he joined the new company, he was in charge of an exclusive project in upscale Berkshire County, where just the millwork for the house was worth $2 million. “I learned how to work with architectural projects where we were actually designing and we were trying to accomplish what the architect says, and nothing was impossible for us with that experience,” he says.

A decade later, Bover’s family grew, and he and his wife decided to move to a place where they would have more space. The South was the perfect fit, and they moved to Atlanta in 2015, where spacious homes with large yards were more affordable, the winters weren’t so brutal, and Brover could continue to grow his career. During a visit to the city, he came across Berkeley Woodworking. He knew that he wanted to work for a custom cabinetry company, so he visited the store to meet the Webbs and was offered a job that day. A few months later, the Brovers moved to their new home.

Then, another business opportunity came Brover’s way. The owner of Commercial Cabinetry of Georgia, a 65,000-square-foot production plant, was looking to relocate to Savannah and the company was offered to Brover to take over. When he decided to take this opportunity, the Webbs were about to retire and were willing to sell Berkeley to him. Berkeley was the perfect facility to accomplish a merger of both companies into a place that served both residential and commercial customers. Next came a series of consistent upgrades, including new machinery, as well as designers working digitally to collaborate on projects.

For the Webbs, customer service was always paramount, and it’s a tenet that Brover has kept in the business since he took over. It has also kept people coming back. It’s not uncommon for a client to call Berkeley 25 years after an initial project and ask to have it upgraded to a more modern design. Whether it’s an upgrade to a previous project or the start of a new one, clients are treated to an attentive process. Meeting in the Berkeley showroom, Brover and staff discuss the details of the project, whether it’s kitchen cabinetry, bathroom vanities in the primary suite or custom bookcases. The team can also handle total interior design services, so rather than just handling individual parts of the project, they’ll take on an entire home addition.

At brainstorm meetings, customers often bring photographs, magazine clippings or inspiration from social media to help the designers get a feel for not just the style they want but also wood finishings, hardware and other custom features. Popular design features now include modern farmhouse and classical modern with natural finishes—a pivot after years of all-white kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms. Now, customers want the wood grain to be the star and are opting for stained wood, white oak or even black walnut.

After the initial meeting and design approval, the cabinetmakers work their magic, and then the finished pieces are installed by Berkeley. The installation team takes great care to cover the floors and protect furniture from any dust that may accumulate during the installation process. Then comes the best part: the big reveal, where drawings and mood boards turn into reality.

Rather than using inexpensive poplar or pine, Berkeley opts for hard maple for painted cabinets, and for unpainted options, it uses walnut, mahogany, sapele and other hardwoods that are as beautiful as they are durable. The custom details don’t just stop there; even the colors and stains are custom. Berkeley also created a proprietary finish to ensure durability, making the surfaces low-maintenance in terms of care.

Striving for the best has made the company stand out, and clients as far-flung as the Bahamas have called on Berkeley to take on custom cabinet projects. Berkeley considers both style and durability for all of its projects and takes into account location and climate to create long-lasting pieces.

At Berkeley, everything is made from scratch, and each piece is completely custom. Whatever it takes to keep the customer satisfied is what they’ll do. Even with the modern workflow, the craft of woodworking will never go by the wayside. “That’s what we’re working for—that’s what keeps our business rolling,” Brover says. “Our power is happy customers.” *

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