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Mod Box “loves making sawdust” while touting modern-only custom cabinetry
Fridays on the Homefront
The Eichler Network welcomes Mod Box and its owner, Craig Smollen, a new addition to our roster of preferred service companies. Mod Box specializes in custom cabinetry and design, serving the Eichlers of Marin County and San Francisco. Pictured above: Craig Smollen (center) with design director Curt Cline (left) and cabinetmaker Andrew Benson (right).
Fridays on the Homefront
Just published: Eichler Network’s ‘Home Maintenance Directory 2018’—where you’ll meet more companies you can trust with your next home improvement project. For the 2018 edition, click here.

With its snappy, apropos company name, Mod Box has emerged in the Bay Area as a new vendor for custom modern-style cabinetry. But, upon closer examination, these cabinetmakers may not be so new after all.

"Craig's had a cabinet shop for as long as I've known him," says Mod Box design director Curt Cline of Craig Smollen, the owner and namesake of Marin-based Smollen the Builder. As the two men worked on projects together, they recognized a need to form Mod Box and give it its own identity.

"Mod Box, as a separate company, is really just getting started, but we've been doing cabinets for years," says Smollen.

Because Smollen's general contracting firm has been so busy, his vision to expand his cabinetmaking took a back seat even though cabinets have been an important part of so many of his company's remodeling projects.

"The reason that the whole thing came up was in remodeling a lot of mid-century modern homes, we were seeing a lot of cabinets," recalls Cline, an architect by trade. "Although these cabinets were okay with regard to design, a lot of them were done with Masonite and plywood, and it just didn't hold up."

"Also, we were becoming dependent on a lot of European, pre-manufactured kitchen systems," Cline says, noting that shipping times always seemed to delay projects. "We were thinking, ‘How can we get a decent product with good materials?'" And on time.

Well, as the old adage goes, if you want a job done right, do it yourself. So the right time for Mod Box became 2017—uniting Smollen and Cline and their shared admiration for mid-century modern design. "It's honest, it's not pretending to be anything else—and it's distinctly American," summarizes Cline of the company's modern thrust.

"I think our strength is going to be, we're not going to try to do anything else but modern," he adds.

"So don't call us for any Colonial cabinets," Smollen quips while eyeing his Mod Box products. "What I really want to get people hot for is design—and get them up to speed on the modern possibilities.

Even though Cline and Smollen continue to carry on their separate businesses, Mod Box represents an opportunity for each of them to pursue their passion for cabinetmaking.

"I like building houses," Smollen says, "but I also love making sawdust."


Mod Box
Custom Cabinetry & Design
Serving Marin & San Francisco