Main Line Kitchen Design
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Posts that have been popular lately.

All good kitchen designers have one quality in common. Patience.

It takes a very patient person to gently convince homeowners that they need design and selection assistance, because the majority of them believe that they don’t need it.

Customers with a little bit of knowledge can be frustrating. For example, having a customer tell you that since this is their THIRD kitchen renovation that they don’t need your help can make you want to pull out your hair. Kitchen designers know that it takes years for us to get good at our job. A full time kitchen designer could sell and help supervise 50 kitchens a year. And each one is completely different requiring it’s own unique problem solving skills and construction and budgetary considerations. We simply couldn’t be competent at our jobs if the designs and budgetary trade offs we recommended as experienced professionals weren’t superior to what a novice might propose.

Below are a couple of funny examples of kitchen designers and our battle with patience:

Doug Mottershead is a well known Kitchen Design Professional featured in some of our YouTube videos. Patience should be Doug’s middle name. 20 years ago, when Doug and I worked together showroom walk-in customers would often have the following experience:

“Hello, how can I help you?” I would greet them.

The customer would tell me that they had all their measurements and wanted to sit down that moment and have me do a design.

“I’m sorry” I would explain, “but I work by appointment and to make sure that the design work I do is professional I need to come out to your home, see the space, and measure it. Can I make an appointment for you or answer questions?”

At this point the customer would be both annoyed and frustrated and seeing Doug at his desk, quickly by-pass me and ask Doug the same question?

Doug’s response was always the same if he didn’t have a customer presently in front of him. “Oh I would love to help, please sit down! what’s your name?”

“I see from the measurements of the two kitchen walls drawn here that one wall is 10 feet and the other is 12 feet. I need to enter the measurements into my computer in inches so should I put in 120 and 144 inches?” might be Doug’s first measurement question. “Yes” the customer would reply confidently.

“You don’t have a window on either of these walls, is there one we should put in?” might be Doug’s next question.

“Oh, there IS a window in the middle of the ten foot wall”.

“How big do you think it is?” Doug would innocently ask.

With hands stretched about three feet apart the customer would reply uncertainly “About this big”

“That looks about 36 inches” Doug would enthusiastically reply. “Is that including the window trim? and should I put it right in the middle of the wall?” Doug might sheepishly ask next as uncertainly quickly grew on the customers face.

At some point during this interaction the customer would finally ask the magic question “Could you come out and measure?”

“Mrs Jones I would love to visit your home and measure?” Doug would reply, then Doug’s appointment book would come out and the first two appointments would be scheduled.

Flashing forward to about three months latter I might see Doug and Mrs Jones finalizing her cabinet order. “Mrs Jones YOU have designed a beautiful kitchen!” Doug would exclaim. At this point I would lean over to see Mrs Jones’s design on Doug’s computer screen. And of course I’d see another signature Doug Mottershead kitchen design and simply smile approvingly.

Doug’s amazing patience has propelled him to record setting sales at every company he has worked for.

The Pickleman

Another person that appears in one of our YouTube videos is Mark “The Pickleman” Mitten. Mark plays “The Engineer” in our video below. As a former stand up comic Mark is very funny and as a good friend of mine he has heard stories about kitchen designers having their patience tried. About 15 years ago Mark used his sense of humor and the information from my stories to torture Ed Sossich a kitchen designer friend of mine that Mark had heard me talk about. Ed is now Main Line Kitchen Design’s Operation Manager.

Fifteen years ago Ed was working as a kitchen designer in a Lowes store when Mark approached him posing as a potential client.

Mark greeted Ed sitting at his desk with the following:

“Hello, since it looks like you aren’t doing anything, I’d like to get you to put my kitchen design on your computer. I have all the measurements in my head and because I have designed a kitchen before and I’m a Real Estate Professional I don’t need any design help from a designer. When you finish putting my design on your computer I would also like to speak to whoever’s in charge to get discount.”

Mark watched Ed’s expression slowly change and the color in his face turn red as he finished his prepared speech. He waited patiently for Ed to absorb everything and just before Ed could respond Mark blurted out. “Sorry man, I’m a friend of Paul McAlary’s and I could’t resist busting your stones. I know you’re a friend of his too.

Mark’s joke is actually not uncommon. Kitchen designers will sometimes leave voice messages for other designers that they haven’t spoken to recently starting out in a disguised voice and leaving a frustrating message before revealing who they are. As designers we get patience testing calls and voicemails frequently so it never ceases to be funny trying another designers patience. Much like getting a guard at Buckingham palace to smile.

Below is Main Like Kitchen Design’s variation of this inside joke:

Main Line Kitchen Design does not showcase more than just tiny sample of the kitchens we have done on our Website’s Gallery page. This helps speed up our site and helps customers focus on not just kitchen pictures but on the important design elements and decisions that go into any kitchen renovation.

However our HOUZZ.COM page does show photos of more than 80 kitchen renovations we have completed during recent years. Below are a few of my favorite kitchen designs that don’t appear on our website’s Kitchen Gallery Page.

Click on any photo below and see all of our kitchens.

Beautiful kitchen photo
links to more photos
Bishop Danbury Maple Kitchen
Open kitchen and barn renovation with link to photos
Fabuwood Galaxy Frost Kitchen
Link to kitchen photos on Houzz.com
Fabuwood Hallmark Frost Kitchen

See the kitchens that would have been featured on the tour and hear from the designers and contractors about their kitchens and about the kitchen renovation process:

Below is a link to Main Line Kitchen Design’s Library Tour kitchen and all the photos of that particular kitchen:

https://www.houzz.com/hznb/projects/tray-ceiling-kitchen-pj-vj~5920612

The kitchen won the 2020 NARI DelCY Award for best kitchen in Delaware and Chester county between 60 and 100K.

What do Kitchen Renovations and Pandemic Haircuts have in common? Both turn out much better when done by professionals!

As a kitchen designer it I know how difficult doing a good job at my profession is. Unfortunately many homeowners do not.

People know enough to seek out professional help when they need their car repaired, a complex tax return filed, legal advice, or getting their hair cut. But when it comes to designing and renovating a kitchen, many believe they can do that themselves. Why is it that spending more than $30,000 on a project without professional direction can make sense to some homeowners?

During the pandemic we are all getting to see the results of amateurs cutting hair.

As kitchen designers we see amateur kitchen remodels on a regular basis. I’m sure that to a hair stylist the results of our attempts at cutting hair during the pandemic look much like the amateur kitchen designs we see as as kitchen design professionals.

Crazy Kitchen

Unfortunately as Doug Mottershead says in the video below. At least poor haircuts grow back while bad kitchen design choices stay with us for a LONG time.

Kitchen Designers
Kitchen Designers Paul McAlary and Doug Mottershead


During this stressful time don’t compound the stress by not getting the professional help you need considering a complex and expensive kitchen renovation.

And as Paul says in the video above . . .

“We are here if you need us.”

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Paul, Julie, Ed, Chris, Lauren, Tom and Stacia

Main Line Kitchen Design

Since the economic downturn due to Covid-19 we have noticed a sharp rise in the number of customers price comparing cabinetry and asking for discounts. We noticed this same behavior during the 2008 recession. During those years, kitchen designers and cabinet dealers might have found the increased bargaining annoying. And while it generally didn’t get a customer a discount for cabinets, it also didn’t hurt a customer by looking for one.

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Fabuwood Galaxy Frost Kitchen

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During the last recession many contractors and builders went bankrupt and while the customers working with those contractors sometimes lost deposits, most often their jobs just needed to be completed by another construction company. Often the the contractors struggling to stay afloat were the companies giving discounts. However, cabinet manufacturers and cabinet dealers did not go bankrupt in large numbers. So for a home owner during the last recession, losing your contractor was generally the worst case scenario.

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2020 has different financial dynamics. Prior to the pandemic many cabinet brands were struggling to stay in business and several like Wood-Mode, 6Square, Clique Studios, and Solid wood Cabinets went bankrupt in the 4 months prior to the pandemic. Many dealers also closed when these lines closed and many other dealers have been struggling to stay solvent almost since 2010. The Corona Virus may prove to be the straw that broke the camels back for more than a few cabinet brands and cabinet dealers.

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U shaped Kitchen

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One sign that a cabinet brand or dealer is in trouble can be suddenly offering discounts, or guaranteeing to beat competitors pricing. For example just days before Solid Wood closed they were offering customers discounts and even giving extra discounts to pay for cabinetry in full when ordering. One customer I know ordered and paid in full a day before the dealership and cabinet line both locked their doors.

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Recently we have seen a large uptick in customers price shopping their designs and looking for “special deals.” Unfortunately these customers looking for a bargain may get one, from a dealer or cabinet brand on the brink of insolvency. And when that cabinet dealer and cabinet brand goes bankrupt the customers will almost certainly lose their 50% or 100% deposit. Far worse than the inconvenience of losing a contractor.

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For example, a recent customer of ours just informed us another dealer gave him a price for the same brand we were quoting him of $900 above cost from the manufacturer for an entire kitchen. There is no way any company could pay their employees, rent, insurance and other overhead making $900 per kitchen. So I know that this dealer just needs cash to survive. They will soon be closed and all the customers having paid them deposits will lose their money.

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Main Line Kitchen Design has a more cost effective business model than a typical dealer. We do not have a full and expensive to maintain showroom. Instead our offices simply display the cabinet brands we sell along with thousands of samples. We also are dealers for many more cabinet brands than typical dealers. Were one of our brands to go out of business we could, and have, simply switched a customer to the next most expensive brand we sell at no additional cost to the customer.

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Due to favorable refinance rates we are entering a time when remodeling a kitchen could be a particularly smart investment. Since a good kitchen designer is the most important investment when renovating a home, customers should stay focused on that and on working with a stable and reputable cabinet dealer. Because of the tough economy for dealers and manufacturers, now is not the time to be looking for bargains. And if you ask for one and get one – that would now be a very dangerous sign.

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Hoping to help you design a kitchen that will transform your home and make you smile every time you enter the room.

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Be safe, stay well . . . and of course . . .

Bon Appetit!

Main Line Kitchen Design

Here is another blog about price comparing

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How much will your kitchen remodeling project cost? Pricing includes all cabinets, countertops, appliances, flooring, fixtures, and installation.

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Calculating how much a kitchen project will cost is not as difficult as most non professionals might believe. And contrary to what most people might expect it is not the quality of the materials or added construction that makes kitchens significantly more expensive. Quality cabinetry can be inexpensive and removing walls or moving doorways and plumbing adds only a small fraction to the overall cost of a kitchen.

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Table against Peninsula

It is selecting professional appliances, unusual cabinet colors or styles, particularly expensive counter tops, or luxury windows, doors or fixtures that can make a budget spiral out of control.

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Below is a breakdown on what a small, medium and large kitchen would cost using quality materials such as solid wood cabinetry with soft close doors and drawers, granite, quartz or other types of solid surface counter tops, and stainless steel named brand appliances, professional or luxury appliances. Construction costs will vary greatly by location so we have included a link below to help you adjust you cost to your location. These prices are based on our location in the Philadelphia Suburbs.

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Blue Island
  • Semi Custom cabinets starting cost $7,000 for a small kitchen. Large kitchen $14,000. Custom cabinetry or high end semi-custom cabinetry in a large kitchen $22,000. Stack wall cabinets to the ceiling in that large kitchen with 9 foot or 10 foot ceilings and glass doors above with beaded inset style cabinetry $35,000. Distressing cabinetry, unusual finishes and wood species, or hand drawn cabinet customization adds significantly to the higher priced cabinetry.

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  • Countertops Granite level 1 to 3 or quartz small to medium kitchen $2,000 to $4000. Medium to large kitchen and level 5 or 6 granite, Quartz, or other stone $4,000 to $8,000. Large kitchens with exotic stone countertops, Dexton, glass, or other unusual tops. $10,000 to $15,000.

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  • Stainless steel appliance packages. Small kitchen with name brands $3000. Large kitchen with counter depth refrigerators, slide in ranges, or cooktops and wall ovens $7,000 to $12,000. Professions appliances Subzero refrigeration Wolf, Viking or other professional cooking units expensive hoods and panels for appliances $25,000 including added cabinetry panels. Ultra luxury appliances $50,000 and up.

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  • Flooring, backsplash tile, sinks, faucets, handles, lighting fixtures small kitchen $2,000. Large kitchen more expensive tile and fixtures $4,000. Large kitchens with heated flooring, handmade tiles, stone back-splashes, etc $8,000. Luxury and exotic surfaces, fixures, and lighting. $12,000.

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  • Construction costs for small kitchen including demolition, framing, drywall, electric, plumbing, lighting, tilework, flooring, finish carpentry and cabinetry installation, door and window replacement and painting $15,000. Large kitchen with wall and soffit removal and added construction changes $25,000. Ultra expensive selections for doors and windows and all other materials add an additional $5,000 plus the cost of the expensive doors and windows. Some contractors will be far above these numbers but typically they do no better a job and simply market to more expensive clientele. Home Additions or major home renovations such as moving staircases are significantly more.

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Adding all the numbers above you will find that typical small kitchens can cost under $30,000 using ALL quality materials.

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Of course if you do work yourself or have existing appliances or don’t need some of the items listed you can spend even less. However it is rare that a complete kitchen ever costs much less that $25,000 without the customer doing some tile work and painting.

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Print 1331 Medford 14
Print 1331 Medford 14

If you were to take the expensive numbers listed here a large custom kitchen with professional appliances and some luxury features could easily cost $80,000 to $100,000. We have had customers spend $80,000 just on appliances, so there is almost no limit to how much you can spend when you actively spurge on a large kitchen.

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Here is a link on Houzz.com that will give you a good guess as to what you will spend on your project for your location. Simply enter your zip code into the calculator and use the middle price number as the small kitchen price in your area. The high end price will be close to the high end costs we describe above.

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Hoping you let Main Line Kitchen Design help you spend your kitchen budget wisely.

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And particularly when we are all living and eating at home during social distancing we wish you good health and of course . . . BON APPETIT!

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Paul, Julie, Ed, Chris, Lauren, John, Tom, and Stacia

Main Line Kitchen Design

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Main Line Kitchen Design moves to measuring, designing, estimating, and shipping samples – all remotely.

Main Line Kitchen Design is changing to accommodate as much of our design process as is possible during times of social distancing. Among the things we can now effectively do remotely are:

1 Measuring customers kitchens and checking load bearing and non load bearing walls for plumbing and duct-work. Surprisingly, this can easily be accomplished using face-time with our customers. You will be our eyes and hands as we direct you though the process we know so well, having done it for decades.

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  • By measuring each part of the room in pieces around all the walls and openings in our customer’s home, we have a foolproof way to confirm all the measurements taken. Once all the measurements have been transferred to our computers, walls will not meet and connect if any one section was miss measured. The most a design could ever be off is usually less than an inch. Good kitchen designers know we need to leave at least an inch or more of play in any design for contractors to level cabinetry and make cabinets align.

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Brighton Beaded Inset Custom Kitchen

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2. Going over 3D designs and making changes while screen sharing via Zoom. We were surprised at how easy using Zoom is, and appointments have actually been shorter and more effective using it. Making design changes in our offices where there are more distractions can make appointments slightly less focused.

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Bishop Shaker Full Overlay Kitchen

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3. Picking a cabinet line, door style, and finish remotely can be challenging but, even here, we have been surprised. Because many customers find viewing the 8 cabinet lines we carry and the infinite number of door style and finish combinations overwhelming, not having all the samples to view tends to keep people from straying into choices that they would never select.

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  • First, we discuss in detail with customers the price point and advantages of each cabinet line to determine the line they will probably want. Then, we go over door styles and finishes available in that line. If customers are satisfied with the photos of the door style and some of the finishes that come in that cabinet brand, we can have samples shipped directly to them from the factory.

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  • Cabinet construction is easy to view on line and for customers feeling the need to feel, touch and see a complete cabinet in the line they want, we can accomplish everything except this last step and then meet with clients in our offices once they have narrowed down the cabinet brands, door styles, and finishes they are considering.

  • Under current Pennsylvania restrictions office meetings can only be to review sample selections. All design appointments must be conducted through Zoom. Office meetings will require social distancing, masks and gloves supplied by Main Line Kitchen Design and face shields for designers.

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Fabuwood Fusion Blanc Kitchen

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Hoping our customers stay safe and well during these difficult times. And for new customers wanting to work on their kitchen renovation or new home plans, we are here to help. Simply call and we will explain the entire design process and our deposit system.

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Looking forward to hearing from you . . . and of course . . .

Bon Appetite!

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Paul McAlary

President Main Line Kitchen Design

This is not the time for most to be considering remodeling their kitchen. However, while many of our lives are stalled and we are looking forward to better times, here are some things to think about.

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Financial uncertainty lowers the number of homeowners looking to renovate their kitchens. But these are the best times to be borrowing the money needed to do major renovations such as kitchen remodels.

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Bishop Kitchen

Just as reacting quickly to health directives can flatten the outbreak curve and allow our healthcare system to deal with the pandemic, reacting quickly once the health crisis has subsided can make expensive kitchen renovations inexpensive or free.

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Interest rates have plummeted due to the havoc created by the Coronavirus COVID-19 and falling oil prices. Refinancing a home at lower interest rates will allow many homeowners to reduce their monthly mortgage payment while also being able to withdraw enough money to pay for a kitchen renovation.

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It is the uncertain times that create the opportunity to get such great financing. Sitting on the sidelines too long when you have a kitchen renovation you are contemplating would miss the opportunity.

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Hoping our customers can stay safe during this stressful time, and once it IS safe, that they don’t miss an opportunity that happens only once every ten or so years.

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Here is a our blog on financing a kitchen renovation

And here is a video by Third Generation Contractors on the same topic

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Paul, Julie, Ed, Chris, Lauren, John, Tom and Stacia

Main Line Kitchen Design

Below is our comprehensive list of the top selling cabinet manufacturers in the United States and how they rank for construction quality and  for value considering the price point of each cabinet line. Price point is rated from 1 to 6 with 6 being the most expensive custom cabinetry on the market.

Warning

If you are price comparing cabinet lines please click here and read this first. Price comparing your design at different dealers often leads you down a bad road.

Fabuwood Kitchen

We rate cabinetry assuming each line is upgraded to the top level of construction available, usually all plywood construction. A grade of A for construction quality will not be equal across different price levels, as the more expensive price point cabinets will have far nicer finishes and construction options.

Note: The highest grade for Quality in any frameless European style cabinet line is a B. While frameless cabinetry is easier to access and is sleeker looking, it is also less durable than the best made framed cabinetry.

The value grade we give is not a rating about the quality of the cabinetry but a rating of how good an investment a cabinet line is considering it’s cost. For example, many of the most expensive well made cabinet lines receive lower marks on value even though as designers we think the cabinetry is the best in it’s class. These lines receive lower grades on value simply because there are competitors offering the same quality at slightly lower prices.

Brighton Beaded Inset Cabinet

Main Line kitchen design acknowledges that we are dealers for the following cabinet lines: Wellsford, Bishop, Brighton, Fabuwood, Legacy Presidential, Stylecraft and CNC.  We could be prejudiced towards ranking these lines more favorably, but we have tried to be impartial. However, since the cabinet lines we carry were chosen specifically for their construction quality and value, our ranking them well should not be a surprise. 

CABINET RATINGS

Cabinet linePrice level 1-6    QualityValue
21st Century1AA-
6 Square / CliqStudiosClosedClosedClosed
Adelphia Kitchens3BB
Adornus (frameless)3BB
Alusso by Adornus (frameless)3BB
All Wood – framed2AA
All Wood – frameless1CC
American Woodmark3BB
Aristocraft2CC
Belmont 1900 Series Frameless4BB+
Bertch4AA-
Bishop4AB+
Bishop Frameless5BB+
B.J. Tidwell Cabinetry3BC+
Bremtown6A+B
Brighton5A-A+
Brookhaven5AB
Brubaker5AA
Cabico4BB
Candlelight4AA
Canyon Creek3BB
CliqStudios ClosedClosedClosedClosed
CNC1A-A-
Collier5AB-
Craft-Made Cabinetry framed5AA
Crestwood Framed5AA
Crestwood Frameless5BA-
CrownPoint Cabinetry (framed)5.5A+A
CrownPoint (frameless)5.5BA
Crystal custom5AA
Crystal semi-custom4B+ B+
Cubitac Prestige and Imperial1.5A-A-
Cuisine Ideale (frameless)4BA-
Decora4.5AB
Desginers Choice4AA
Design-Craft4BB-
Diamond4B+ / A-B+/A-
Diamond Now Stock1BB
Durasupreme5B+B-
Durasupreme frameless3CC
Dynasty by Omega (frameless)4BB+
Dynasty by Omega (framed)4AA-/B+
Dynasty Pinnacle (framed)5AB
Echelon Cabinetry2B-C
Eurocraft Frameless3.5CC+
Executive (frameless)4BB
Fabuwood2AA
Fabuwood (frameless)DiscDiscDisc
Fieldstone4.5A-B+
Grabill6A+B
Great Northern Classic5AA
Green Forest2AA-
Haas3BB
Hampton Bay (frameless stock)1DC+
Hanssem framed1B+B+
Holiday (frameless)3CC
Holiday Kitchens4AA
Homecrest3B+B+
Homestead Custom4AA-
Ideal Cabinetry2BA-
IKEA (frameless)1DC
Innovation2CC
JSI Cabinetry1B+B+
J&K Cabinets Possibly closed 2 Possibly closed A+A-
Kabinart3C+D
Kemper3BC
Kitchen Compact2B-C-
Kitchencraft (frameless)3CB
Kith3B+C+
Koch Classic4A-A-
Kountry Kraft (framed)6AB
Kountry Kraft (frameless)6BB
Kountry Wood2CC
Kraftmaid4A-A-
Kraftmaid Vantage4A-A
Legacy2.5B+B
Legacy Presidential3AB+
LifeArt1C+A
Luxor Collection Frameless4BB
Marsh2BB
Marsh (frameless)2B-B
Medallion5A-B+
Merillat2CD
Merit Kitchens4B+B
Mid Continent2CC
Mouser5AA-
Mouser (frameless)5BA
NatureKast Waterproof Cabinets5AA
Norcraft (every upgrade used)3BD
Ovation4BC
Plain and Fancy6AB+
Plato Woodwork4AA
Poggenpohl (frameless)6BC
ProCraft1AA-
QuakerMaid (frameless)4BB
RiverRun Cabinetry3.75BB-
R.D. Henry4AA
Rutt6A+A
Schrock3BB
Schuler5A-B+
Shenandoah3BB
Shiloh4CC
Showplace4AB++
ShowplaceEVO (frameless)3.5BB+
Siematic5.5BC
Signature Custom5A+A+
Siteline Cabinetry3.5B-C
Solid Wood CabinetsClosedBankrupt 
St. Martin (frameless)4BB
Starmark standard5CC
Starmark inset or 3/4″ back panel5A+A
Stylecraft6AA
Tedd Wood5AA
Thomasville*4B+/A-B+/A-
Thomasville Nouvell3DD
Timberlake3BB
Tru Cabinetry3BB+/ A-
Ultracraft (frameless)2CC
Ultracraft 3/4 ply upgrade3BB+/A-
Urban Effects (frameless)3.75c-D
Village5AA
Waypoint2BB
Wellborn4 and 5AA
Wellborn Forrest3.5B+B+
Wellsford5A+A+
Wellsford (frameless)5BA-
Wolf2AB+
Wolf Signature Series3.5A-C+
Woodharbor4B+C
Woodmode6AA-
Yorktowne Now an Elkay CO4A-B+

Outside our service area?

FOR PEOPLE OUTSIDE OUR SERVICE AREA OF WITHIN A TWO HOUR DRIVE OF OUR BALA CYNWYD PENNSYLVANIA OFFICE, HERE IS A LINK TO RECOMMENDED DEALERS IN OTHER AREAS. GOOD DEALERS CLOSE TO YOU CAN BETTER ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT’S AVAILABLE IN YOUR AREA.

All the designers that gave us input on the cabinet lines below have greater than 20 years experience in our industry. When possible all construction specifics were double checked on the web sites for each cabinet line.

Why does pricing a kitchen plan at a bunch of different places almost assure that a consumer gets taken advantage of?

Cabinet pricing is dependent on dozens of factors that customers are not knowledgeable enough to price compare accurately. Accordingly customers who shop too much and don’t trust a good kitchen designer usually fall prey to the first unscrupulous designer they meet.

Bishop Framed Ultimate Box
Framed Cabinet Box

For example, a designer making any of the changes listed below could significantly lower a cabinet price quote while also lowering cabinet quality. These subtle changes would often go undetected by the customers:

  1. Not upgrading to plywood sides. Up to 15% less but substantially less durable.
  2. Not flushing out the sides of the end cabinets. 5% less but less custom looking.
  3. Not upgrading track Hardware. 5% less but drawers would be less sturdy and probably not soft close.
  4. Not adding Decorative doors. 10% less but less attractive.
  5. Quoting a veneer raised center panel door instead of a solid wood raised center panel door. 15% less and undetectable to almost any homeowner. Note: Some customers might prefer the less expensive look but if they were quoted for the more expensive look they aren’t comparing “apples to apples”.
  6. Quoting a plywood center panel door instead of a solid wood one 15% less. Again difficult to detect and again possibly preferable to some customers.
  7. Quoting a standard overlay or partial overlay door instead of a full overlay door. Up to 25% less. A huge difference in price and looks that could not be appreciated by non cabinet professionals.
  8. Different box upgrade for example 1/2″ instead of 3/4″ box. Or melamine interior instead of a plywood veneer interior. 5-10% less. Again a significant price difference while most customers could never detect the difference.
  9. 5/8″ thick shelves instead of 3/4″. 5-10% less – quality reductions again.
  10. Soft maple, beech, or birch drawer box instead of a solid maple or walnut drawer box. 5-10% less – easily overlooked except for walnut.
  11. Keeping the same stain or paint color but changing the species of wood from Cherry to Maple or Cherry to Alder or Maple to Birch. 8% less – lower quality color and appearance to some peoples eye.
  12. Not including sales tax or shipping in the price to tack it on later. 6-10% less. What does this say about the designers integrity?
  13. Not including the same amount or type of moldings in the cabinet order. Up to 10% less – starting the see the many ways to work the price?
Roll out trays inside a cabinet
Roll out trays inside a cabinet

14. Changing drawer bases or base cabinets with roll outs to regular base cabinets. $200 to $400 for every cabinet changed.
15. Quoting a more expensive cabinet brand but downgrading, like the list above, to give you a worse product at a worse price. A customer would often believe they got “a deal” on a more expensive brand.
16. Special sale prices. Lets just say be VERY suspicious of cabinet sales.

All these examples make finding a talented, ethical, and experienced kitchen designer FAR more important than shopping cabinet pricing. Using cabinet pricing as a criteria to purchase usually makes it more likely a customer will get a bad design and a lower quality product at an inflated price.

Main Line Kitchen Design actually sells cabinets for less than home centers and most other dealers. However, we never quote pricing on another dealer’s design because there is no winning the price battle without deceiving customers who get on this pricing train.

The designer is THE most important part of the kitchen renovation process. Customers who prioritize price over design end up working with less transparent designers and end up either spending more or losing value in the end.

Looking for the best deal on a kitchen?? STOP researching cabinet prices and brands! INSTEAD research to find the best designer and cabinet dealer. Click here for an account of a buyer who followed this advice and one who didn’t . . .


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