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Arendal Kitchen Design in Sugar House is one year old, and co-owners Helge Seljaas and Ingrid Becker are celebrating. They're excited to be the local dealers for Wood-Mode, a cabinetry manufacturer located in the woodlands of central Pennsylvania.

Although Arendal Kitchen Design hasn't been around very long, Wood-Mode has. For almost 50 years now, it has been building fine custom cabinetry for homes across America.Becker and Seljaas explained that Wood-Mode cabinetry is made to fit the specific needs of every customer. No request is too challenging. The manufacturer can build cabinets to any height, width or depth. It can build angled cabinets, turned posts, cut-outs, special interior features - and much, much more.

Arendal's attractive showroom, located at 1941 S. 1100 East, is filled with a variety of Wood-Mode cabinetry. Drop by and examine it for yourself. Open a door and close it. Slide a drawer out and in. Rub your hand across the finish. Then you'll begin to understand why Wood-Mode cabinetry is so popular.

But these impressive qualities are only the beginning. Each cabinet component is machined to interlock with other components, resulting in a cabinet that will withstand many years of use. Drawers feature exclusive bottom-mounted slide systems, thus providing wider storage space. Vinyl laminate interiors are so highly resistant to stains that shelf paper may never be needed again.

Hiding inside the cupboards and drawers are many exciting storage features. Large capacity rotating shelves make access to hard-to-get-at corners a breeze. Some of these carousels have an additional feature: They pull out, giving you complete access to pots and pans. A mixer is always handy when placed inside the mixer cabinet with lift-up shelf. A compact ironing board pulls out like a drawer and unfolds.

There are pull-out wastebaskets, tilt-down sink fronts, and inserts for spice drawers, wall swing-out spice cabinets, slotted knife blocks, ventilated drawers and bread box drawers. All these storage options are designed for convenience and space-saving storage.

The customer decides on another aspect: style. Styles range from traditional to modern; cabinets are made in four kinds of wood - cherry, maple, oak and pine; and finishes come in an extensive array of stains and colors. Wood-Mode offers one of the best warranties in the cabinet industry.

Becker said, "Wood-Mode is really quite flexible. It implements the latest trends, depending on the wishes of the client."

Both Becker and Seljaas are trained in all aspects of kitchen planning. They go out and measure kitchens. Then they draw up designs, keeping in mind work-space requirements, personal tastes and budget.

After each comprehensive drawing is completed, it is reviewed with the client. When everything is in order, it is sent to Wood-Mode manufacturers in Pennsylvania. There, expert craftsman build the cabinetry.

"Shipping costs are not all that prohibitive," Becker said. "They only amount to around four percent of the cabinet cost."

Wood-Mode dealers have several sub-contractors who will help with installation. Or, if you prefer, you can use your own contractor. In both cases, both Becker and Seljaas are available to answer any questions that come up during the installation process.

Becker said that Wood-Mode cabinetry is a "touch more expensive" than local cabinetry. "But it's so well-made it will last a lifetime."

Arendal Kitchen Design will not only help with your cabinetry needs in the kitchen, but in any room that requires custom-built cabinetry. They also have expertise in interior decorating, in case the client doesn't have an decorator or lacks the talent and know-how to tackle it himself.

"We're flexible," Becker says. "We give as much or as little attention to the project as the client wants."

They make a special effort to remain current on style and color trends.

"Most popular right now is the light kitchen - with cabinets either in painted or stained wood or formica."

She cautions people to beware of bright colors. "They're great as accents, because you can change them easily. But if you use bright colors for the back splash and/or countertop, you're stuck with it."

Becker was born in East Berlin. She came to the United States when she was 18 years old. Seljaas was born in Arendal, Norway. He and his family immigrated to America when he was 6 years old. Both Becker and Seljaas are American citizens - and proud of it.

They met 12 years ago while working for the same established kitchen design company. Fortified with a combined 22 years of on-the-job experience, they decided to pool their resources and talents and strike out on their own.

Arendal Kitchen Design's office and showroom are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. But if you plan to stop by, it is wise to call first and make an appointment. Call 485-2333 and ask for Helge or Ingrid.