Sam Switzenbaum has a pretty good idea about who makes the decisions when it comes to choosing an apartment or condo, so he keeps gender in mind when picking the style of cabinets that go into his buildings. "First of all, women make a significant percentage of the decisions when it comes to housing, which is not to say that men don't have good taste," says Switzenbaum, CEO of Philadelphia's Switzenbaum & Associates, who has been involved in all phases of commercial and residential development and property management for more than 40 years. "The most important rooms for women are kitchens and baths–it's just that simple. So cabinets are one of the most important elements in the whole condominium or rental unit."

Cabinetry goes a long way toward setting the tone for an apartment. "There needs to be a real consistency with the kitchen and the vanities," Switzenbaum adds. "You want to carry the theme of the whole building through the design of the unit. I tend to use a more neutral approach, which gives the buyer or renter the greatest flexibility when decorating around the cabinets we give them." For Joel Cantor, CEO of Cantor Development, a division of Tampa, Fla.-based Gulf Atlantic Real Estate, setting the right, sophisticated tone was essential when it came to designing the kitchens and baths at Signature Place, a 35-story, high-end building going up in St. Petersburg, Fla. "Generally, developers have never matched the cabinets with their exterior design, but we try to take a comprehensive approach with the interiors and exteriors. Our buyers are worldly and sophisticated, so they know quality and the latest in design." Cantor turned to the design expertise of Vancouver-based Inform Interiors for help in getting the kitchen and bath cabinetry just right. "Joel understood that the finishing and the details had to be perfect, just like the exterior of the building," says Harvey Reehal, Inform Interiors' contract division manager. "The kitchens are designed in such a way that, when they're not in full use, they're really pieces of art." Kathleen Stanley is a freelance writer in Washington.

SLEEK AND SOPHISTICATED: A standout choice among Merillat's vast Masterpiece collection–30 door styles, seven wood and laminate choices, 46 finishes, 56 glazes–is the just-released Peppercorn, a dark brown semi-transparent finish with black overtones. Both oak and cherry door styles are available.

For more information, call 517-263-0117 or visit www.merillat.com.GLAZE WORTHY: Omega Cabinetry's newest door, made from medium-density fiberboard (known as MDF), transforms a popular raised-panel design into an updated variation that's designed to accept and enhance glazed applications. Glaze colors include portobello (shown here), coffee, pewter, caramel, cappuccino, hazelnut, and arctic. GLAZE WORTHY: Omega Cabinetry's newest door, made from medium-density fiberboard (known as MDF), transforms a popular raised-panel design into an updated variation that's designed to accept and enhance glazed applications. Glaze colors include portobello (shown here), coffee, pewter, caramel, cappuccino, hazelnut, and arctic. For more information, call 319-235-5700 or visit www.omegacab.com. KID-FRIENDLY: The CushionClose glide drawer is an automatic, self-closing system that uses air-damper technology to prevent door slams. It's available on all premium drawers that come standard on Shenandoah Cabinetry. For more information, visit www.shenandoahcabinetry.com.

BOLD COLOR: It's the vintage midnight finish that really gives the Monterey from Wellborn Cabinet its pop. The Monterey, available in 22 different finishes, is a maple, full-overlay, contemporary miter door style with a solid raised center panel and matching five-piece drawer front.For more information, call 800-336-8040 or visit www.wellborn.com.

COTTAGE LOOK: It's all in the detailing with Yorktowne Cabinetry's new maple door called Charlton. Vertical, V-grooved beads cut into a recessed solid maple square center panel give these doors their distinctive look. It's available in all of Yorktowne's standard and premium finishes and is an excellent candidate for glazing. For more information, call 800-777-0065 or visit www.yorktownecabinetry.com.

EUROPEAN CHARM: Venicia, a new European-style cabinetry line from KraftMaid, is a high-style frameless line that offers a sleek look at a domestic price. It features four door styles (including glass options), more than 40 pieces of decorative hardware, and interior storage solutions in wood or chrome and metal. For more information, call 440-632-5333 or visit www.kraftmaid.com.