For the ecologically minded, a new cabinet line from Finnish manufacturer Puustelli is a truly innovative choice. Called Miinus (pronounced MEE-noos) to reflect the “principle of subtracting,” the kitchen system and whole-home cabinetry solution is the product of a total redesign process, dubbed “eco-logic,” that includes sustainable nontoxic materials and a reduced carbon footprint in both manufacturing and transport.
The unique cabinet carcases consist of modular side frames injection-molded from a completely recyclable polypropylene and natural fiber bio-composite that is free of formaldehyde. Assembled into “boxes” on site, back and side panels are optional, so designers can highlight the finished wall surface through glass doors or open shelving. Premade holes (see photo, far right) accept hardware for attaching cabinets to the wall or to each other (side by side or stacked), to fasten side or back panels where needed or desired, and to accept door hardware and a full line of drawers and accessories.
Miinus makes concepts such as “drawer base” irrelevant because the steel “Legrabox” drawers (which come from Blum, as do the glides and hinges) can be swapped into any base cabinet without moving or adjusting the frame. Cabinet doors are constructed with a wood frame and a honeycomb body wrapped in birch, oak, or pine wood veneer.
Overall, the mass of the cabinets has been reduced by about half. “For anybody who has hauled around MDF doors and components, these cabinets are refreshingly light,” says Michael Anschel, a Minneapolis remodeler who recently installed Miinus in several rooms in a whole-house remodel. “That makes them easy to move around the site and easy to hold while making adjustments. The honeycomb doors feel light when you first pick them up, but after they’re installed you’re never aware of the weight again.”
The metric counter height works out to about 36 inches, whether you install Miinus “worktops” in wood or scratch-and heat-resistant ceramic, or third-party stone tops. But cabinet depth is about 22 ½ inches (570 mm), so to match U.S. appliance dimensions, the company offers a spacer adjustable from about 1 ⅛ to 3 ⅛ inches (30 mm to 80 mm). Other features also require some special attention, Anschel notes. For example, where the wall surface shows through upper cabinets, a clean installation requires a perfectly flat and plumb wall.
While the Miinus system takes some getting used to, Anschel sees a net benefit. “There’s a lot about these cabinets that really leads to less work, so the install is fast. Plus, the look is beautiful, the quality is super-high, and the price point is competitive.”
Manufactured in Finland, the Miinus cabinetry line is available nationwide; lead time includes five weeks of production time, plus shipping. Puustelli USA assists with design and specification and currently handles installation. The company plans to develop a corps of certified installers.