Every now and then, a product comes along that wins points for its sheer coolness, ingenuity, and, let's face it, audacity. The Anvil Motion automated kitchen cabinetry system from Brigham City, Utah-based Anvil Cabinet & Mill fits squarely into this category.

"One day we had a wild idea," says company president Randy O. Deem. "What if we can get the doors to disappear? Normally they're in the way when they're open, so we [started thinking] about how we could hide them."

"Wild" is one way to describe the innovation. Billed as "the world's first fully automated cabinetry system," the cabinets feature computer-embedded motors that respond to user activity and needs. The result is that homeowners need only wave a hand to command their cabinet panels and doors to open or close. (Or they can use a wireless touchscreen device to accomplish the same task.) The cabinets also can be integrated with a Lutron Electronics lighting control system and programmed to open all at once or individually.

According to Anvil, the cabinetry's "cutting-edge technology" includes an option for biometric security that controls access to prescriptions, sharp objects, and valuables using fingerprint recognition software. Another feature enables a homeowner to program the cabinets to close when he or she exits the kitchen. The touch-activated drawers' intelligent memory even senses when multiple drawers need to be closed and reverses opening order.

The cabinets' flashy automation doesn't trump their craftsmanship, however. Anvil says the dovetail joinery, hand staining, and hand-carved molding and hood panels that distinguish its other cabinetry lines also are components of Anvil Motion. Everything from appliance treatment and door glides to wood species and sensors can be custom-specified with Anvil Motion. Cabinets can be crafted to hide appliances completely, for instance, or fronted with metal, glass, or wood.

Of course, such full-featured functionality doesn't come cheap. Anvil Cabinet & Mill's cabinets run the gamut, from entry-level to high-end, but the new automated line is designed, Deem says, "for the extremely high end—for people with a lot of money." He adds, "If typical high-end kitchen cabinetry costs $50,000, this will cost from $200,000 to $250,000."

The company has national distribution but no showrooms or agreements with kitchen and bath design centers. As a result, all product inquiries must go directly through Anvil representatives. "I see scenarios where we might fly to New York City to meet with customers or [where] designers fly here to discuss their project," Deem explains.

Launching a product at Anvil Motion's price point may seem undesirable, given current market conditions, but Deem remains hopeful that the ultra-luxurious cabinetry will find a niche. "I think we will be affected" by the economic climate, he says, "but I'm not sure how much."

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