Written by Laura Joseph Mogil
Whether you are looking for a custom kitchen boasting the highest standard of European-style cabinetry or a bespoke library highlighted by exotic wood veneers imported from Italy, Fishkill resident Marco Zuccaretti, co-owner of Tech Woodcrafting in Peekskill, is the master craftsman to turn to.
Zuccaretti, who’s been creating upscale cabinetry and furnishings for more than 40 years, is in high demand these days by designers, architects, general contractors and individual homeowners alike, and even did the custom mahogany woodworking for Robert Kennedy Jr.’s library and office in the environmentalist’s former Bedford home.
A native of Rome, Zuccaretti embarked on his career when he was just 16, apprenticing under his uncle in a local shop that built sailboats. “I spent a dozen years creating all the wooden furnishings and accents for boat interiors — from kitchens and beds to paneling and partitions — learning all the secrets of European cabinetry making,” Zuccaretti says. “When you work on a boat you have to build in odd and tight spaces and maximize the use of every square inch, so that really helped me hone my craft.”
In 1989, at the age of 28, Zuccaretti decided to try his luck in America. He first worked at a cabinetry shop in the Bronx, where he met his current partner, Romanian-born craftsman Sorin Handrea. The two started their current business out of a small garage in Fishkill back in 1997.
With a burgeoning base of customers in Westchester, Greenwich and Manhattan, the business grew to the point that they were able to move five years ago to Tech Woodcrafting’s current location at The Hat Factory (an original hat factory built in 1895 that now leases commercial space and artist studios) on North Division Street. They currently have a 4,000-square-foot workshop and an additional three full-time employees to help them with more than 100 jobs a year.
As wood dust flies in the wind and workers saw planks and sand down joints, Zuccaretti proudly walks around his shop and explains what distinguishes his European style of cabinet making. “American cabinets have wood frames but ours are frameless. All the doors are expertly overlaid atop the cabinets so that there’s no face frame showing,” he says. He points out how the cabinet doors attach directly to the sides of the cabinet box and not to the frame. After installation, all you see are the flat doors and drawer fronts.
“The end result is a more sophisticated style with very simple and clean lines that can work with a variety of design themes throughout the home,” he says.
What also makes his Zuccaretti’s company stand out is that all the furnishings are built bottom-up from scratch on site. “Basically, everything is custom-made here, from the cabinet boxes and doors to the drawers and crown moldings,” he says. The little he does import into his shop includes the high-quality hinges and hardware that hold together the solid cabinetry as well as a wide variety of exotic wood veneers, most of which come from Italy.
“We build and set up the kitchens we are working on in the shop exactly how they’re going to look in the house, making sure all the doors match and the cabinets fit together correctly,” Zuccaretti says. “When it’s 100 percent perfect, we take it apart to be painted or stained before we install it in the house.”
As far as what’s in style when it comes to kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, Zuccaretti says, “Maple wood, Shaker-style doors, which feature a border frame with a flat inset panel, are very popular right now.” When asked about what color customers want them painted, he says it’s “white, white, white” and insists that goes for 90 percent of the kitchens he’s worked on over the past 10 years. (For bathroom cabinetry, there’s a slightly larger range in hue, with recent demand surging for gray, beige and, surprisingly, light blue.)
However, one of the more en vogue kitchens Zuccaretti recently completed was a New York City apartment on Central Park South. His shop created bamboo cabinetry and shelving for the entire home, plus bamboo panels that slide over the refrigerator, dishwasher and ovens so that the appliances are virtually invisible when you walk into the kitchen and the room seamlessly blends in with the rest of the apartment.
Another fashionable standout is an 800-square-foot kitchen in White Plains, where Zuccaretti installed European cabinetry finished in vintage gray oak, a man-made veneer with a beautifully textured grain imported from Italy. The project, which included more than 40 cabinets, featured wooden doors hand-embellished with aluminum banding alongside aluminum-framed glass doors. This distressed wood style was carried throughout the kitchen, including all the drawers, a large central island, a wine rack and detailed crown molding.
“Our goal was to combine our traditional craft with a modern style to create a truly unique kitchen,” he says.
In terms of libraries and dens, Zuccaretti says there’s been a growing demand for cabinetry and shelving made from American walnut as well as exotic, grained wood veneers imported from Italy. For example, his shop just completed the woodworking for a library, personal office and paneling on a large Greenwich estate using a popular veneer called Sapele, which he says is “a reddish-brown African wood similar to mahogany that’s known for it’s light and dark ribbon-like striping.”
Keeping up with today’s technology, Zuccaretti’s projects include the latest advances in LED lighting systems, which he expertly builds into his jobs. “We make floating shelves with light strips lined inside the wood, cabinets that only light up when you open them, illuminated toe kicks and RGB (red, green, and blue) lighting, where you can choose the color you want your space to be lit,” he says. “We’re even doing clothes closets with lighting incorporated into the hanging rods.”
Mixing his traditional craft with the ever-changing innovations in his field is an exciting challenge for Zuccaretti. Even though he’s been working for more than four decades, he still loves what he does every day. “When you start a kitchen, work very hard on putting it all together and then see the finished product, it’s extremely satisfying,” he says. “What gives me the most pride and joy in what I do is to see the smile on the customer’s face and how happy they are when the job is completed beyond their expectations.”
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