Vol. LXII, No. 20
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
CUSTOM WORK: I love to work in Princeton. the majority of my work is here, and I feel very committed to Princeton. I’ve been working in the Princeton community since 1980.” Doug Raynor, owner of Raynor Woodworking, is shown at the home of a prospective client.
A customer’s house is their little oasis from the world. I take this very seriously. Helping them to complete their plan and realize their dream is very important to me.”
Doug Raynor, owner of Raynor Woodworking in Robbinsville, has been committed to serving customers in Princeton and central New Jersey since he opened his business in 1980.
Even before that, as a boy, he was always interested in working with his hands and with wood. “I really started very young, as a teen,” he says. “I even remodeled my family’s kitchen. I did carpentry, hung shutters, and I loved the work. It’s what I always wanted to do.”
Doug worked for different tradespeople and cabinet-makers, and apprenticed with Steve Anderson in Allentown. He also attended Mercer County Community College, taking architectural and photography courses, which have been beneficial to him over the years.
“With Steve Anderson, we had a small cabinet shop, and we built cabinets and furniture, and also did renovations,” recalls Mr. Raynor. “Later, I worked with builders in the area. I wanted to expand my experience and build houses.”
Having his own business was always a goal, he adds, and that dream came true in 1980.
“In the beginning, I was more focused on cabinetry work, in kitchens and libraries. Then, I began to expand into renovation. It was a natural progression, and we have had nice steady growth.”
“Today, we go beyond woodworking. I am really a general contractor. We can do everything from the framing of the house to the interior of a jewelry cabinet. We have a long-standing relationship with electricians and plumbers, so we can do it all, whether it’s completing a renovation or building a new home.”
Mr. Raynor has witnessed many changes since his early days in the business. “Back in the ‘80s, everyone wanted laminate cabinets. Today, it’s the finer quality and fine-grained woods, such as cherry, maple, and quarter-sawn oak. We also work with bamboo for flooring and cabinetry.
“Also, people today want to brighten their rooms with natural light. It’s very important to them. They want to bring the outdoors indoors. In kitchens, you see a lot of mixing of painted and stained woods. It can be very eclectic.
“Another big change is that now, there is so much information on the internet. People have access to many more products, and the consumer is more knowledgeable and more discriminating. They are also interested in home automation.
“In addition,” continues Mr. Raynor, “there has been the growth of the financial markets and that type of customer. Clients emphasize quality. They want quality more than quantity.”
Another change, of course, is the focus on environmentally-friendly products. “People are more aware of environmental issues now, and we try to be knowledgeable about them too. We try to use environmentally-friendly paints and stains. We also weigh the cost, so it can fit into the customer’s budget. We always make an effort to work within the greener environment and still be aware of the customer’s budget.
“As a company, we are trying to do our part, using green products in our shop. We try to bring in engineered lumber (recycled lumber and smaller pieces that can be glued together) to save natural resources.”
Mr. Raynor’s work is primarily residential, but the company also occasionally handles commercial projects, such as the recent remodeling of Mrs. G TV & Appliances and also Holsome Tea and Herbs on Witherspoon Street.
Mr. Raynor is busy overseeing the company today, and he misses the hands-on pleasure of building. He is careful to oversee a project through from beginning to end, however. “Communication with customers is major. You have to be very clear about the customer’s expectations. When we do a project, we put a foreman on the job from day one to the last day. We have constant communication.
“In addition, I have a weekly meeting with the home-owner, architect, and foreman. I am personally involved, whether it’s a full-scale renovation or the installation of a new front door.”
His commitment to quality work and customer service is evident in the comments of clients. Says a customer of many years: “We have been thrilled with every project that we have worked on with Raynor Woodworking from transforming the laundry room into an office space, to the playroom for the kids. Each and every addition/renovation has been a collaborative effort that has made the house a home that we truly enjoy whether we are putting away the sports equipment in the new entry way or entertaining in the dining room.”
Adds another client: “Raynor Woodworking created amazing solutions, while respecting the feel that my architect and I were after. For my project, Doug designed a unique structure to accommodate unusual lighting, recommended cutouts to better utilize my space and display my art collection, and fabricated steel molding to complement the design motif. No detail was unimportant when it came to creating the special look I wanted.”
Precise attention to detail, whether it’s custom cabinets and kitchen renovation, a unique fireplace surround that houses a flat-screen TV, or a gracious addition to farmhouse, is the hallmark of Raynor Woodworking. And, then there are all those special touches to complete the statement: coffered ceilings, curved railings, and chandeliers that move up and down for easy cleaning. Use of the latest technology with old-world craftsmanship makes each project unique.
Also, because Raynor Woodworking has its own millwork/cabinet shop, “it is possible to create custom molding to match existing trim, duplicate intricate detailing, and customize design elements to preserve the historic integrity of a space seamlessly and without delay,” points out Mr. Raynor.
“We have three cabinet-makers and four carpenters,” he adds. “One thing that sets us apart is our ability to do cabinet work and premium woodwork. When we do a renovation, we are always thinking of the cabinetry and how it fits in properly. Right now, we are doing a renovation in Yardley, and as we are renovating the house, we are customizing the woodwork and molding, so we can create a seamless project.”
Many of Raynor Woodworking’s customers are loyal regulars, and Princeton remains a focus, he says. “People in Princeton are committed to keeping up their homes. I feel very proud and happy to be working in the Princeton community, and I want to thank the people and the community for their continued trust in us. I also like to help with charities in the area. I want to be involved and give back.”
Mr. Raynor’s commitment to his customers will continue to be his first priority in the future, he notes. “I want my customers to think of me as they would think of their lawyer or doctor. I want to be ‘their builder’. I want to offer on-going service for them. What my goal is in this business is to have return customers, and we have been pretty successful. We have some from our beginning in 1980. That is my personal measure of success.”
References are available on request. For further information, call (609) 259-7285. Website: raynorwoodworking.com.
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