Main Line Kitchen Design
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Famous Bala Cynwyd Kitchen

Main Line Kitchen Design compares Kitchen Cabinetry Brands Circa 2015 

Note: Several of the brands mentioned here have as of 2019 upgraded their cabinet construction. For example Yorktowne now offers excellent construction. 

7 Rolling Road Proof

 

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There are two basic ways cabinetry is made. Cabinets can be Framed Construction or Frameless Construction also called European or Easy Access Construction.

Bishop-Frameless-Plywood-Cabinet

Frameless Construction

 

Bishop-Framed-Ultimate-Box

Framed Cabinet Construction

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Frameless cabinetry is made with either a 5/8″ or 3/4″ thick plywood or particleboard box.  Of course thicker is better and a plywood box is superior construction wise but will not work with some of the high gloss laminate and foil finishes that are popular in the European style cabinetry. With these finishes only particleboard sides are possible.

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Knowledgeable cabinet professionals usually agree on a few things. First, that the more streamline frameless cabinetry looks better with modern door styles because of how close the drawers and doors are. This is due to how the European style hinges operate. Second that Traditional and Shaker style doors look equally well in both framed and frameless cabinet lines. And thirdly, that a well made framed cabinet is a much more durable cabinet.

steam punk

Example of a Frameless Kitchen

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Example of Framed Kitchen

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In a framed cabinet the frame holds the cabinet box square and each solid wood cabinet front is screwed to the ones next to them adding considerable strength.  Also the hinges and drawers are attached to solid wood in framed cabinetry as opposed to the particle board in most frameless lines.  A well made framed cabinet will last almost forever and simply become scratched and possibly out of fashion with the passing years.  Frameless lines require designers to consider the frameless cabinetry’s construction limitations  and to keep door widths and drawer widths to a minimum to avoid undue stress on the cabinetry. Even designing this way, the average lifespan of a well made frameless line is probably 20 years, especially if you are hard on things in general.

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With frameless cabinetry lines since the construction is nearly identical from line to line the construction quality difference between each European line is negligible.  Expensive lines will have better drawer options but if the drawers are upgraded to at least a solid wood box and blumotion tracks the longevity of each cabinet line will be very similar whether you are buying inexpensive IKEA or very expensive Poggenpohl cabinetry.

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Popular frameless cabinetry lines are:

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IKEA, KitchenCraft,  Poggenpohl, Merit Kitchens, Pedini, UltraCraft Cabinetry. Design-Craft and most Merillat and Omega styles. The majority of the cabinetry coming from Europe and Canada is frameless.

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All Main Line Kitchen Design’s frameless cabinetry is upgraded to the best construction possible. Frameless construction is available in our Bishop, Wellsford and Fabuwood cabinetry lines.

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With framed cabinetry there are many variations in construction. To make framed cabinetry durably you need several construction minimums or the construction advantages of a framed cabinet are lost. Cabinet fronts are always 3/4″ solid wood. All plywood box construction is far better than having any particle board. Cabinet sides, tops and bottoms must be at least 1/2″ thick. Base cabinets can have plywood tops or I beam construction.  Drawer tracks should always be upgraded to either Blum’s Blumotion tracks or the equivalent and drawer boxes should be solid wood dovetail drawers with a captured plywood bottom. Soft close doors are a nice feature as well as full depth shelves.

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Main Line Kitchen Design only sells cabinetry with all these features. Our framed cabinetry brands include Fabuwood, 6 Square, Bishop, Brighton and Wellsford.

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Berwyn PA Kitchen after

Berwyn PA Kitchen after

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Even some more expensive framed cabinet lines will need to be upgraded to this minimum level of construction quality. Examples of more expensive lines that need to have their construction upgraded to meet these minimums are DuraSupreme and Medallion. Often if you can’t find out on a cabinet company’s web site how the cabinets are constructed it is because they don’t meet these minimums. A company’s web site might highlight their cabinetry being green, carb compliant, or American made but if they are avoiding showing you how the cabinetry is constructed watch out!

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One of the largest cabinet distributors in the United States is MasterBrand Cabinets. Up until a couple of years ago all of the popular lines that they carried with the exception of their Decora and Homecrest lines fell short on construction quality. They have since upgraded about half of their lines.

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The popular framed cabinet lines below CAN NOT be upgraded to this level and DO NOT meet these minimums:

Yorketown, Aristocraft, Armstrong Cabinets, Showplace Cabinetry, Marsh, and Mid Continent Cabinetry.

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Many builders use these lower quality lines as the standard cabinetry in their homes. Even though the added cost for better made cabinetry is usually no more than 10%. When a builder uses these inferior lines I wonder where else they are cutting corners.

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One important fact that consumers should be aware of is that both Consumer Reports and JD Power publish inaccurate cabinetry ratings based on customer satisfaction. IKEA and other lesser made cabinet lines always do very well in these reports because customer satisfaction is rated immediately after the cabinets are purchased. Consumers buying less expensive cabinetry have lower expectations which are easily met and the cabinetry hasn’t had time to develop the problems caused by poor construction.

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Kraftmaid, the best made cabinet offered at both Lowes and The Home Depot, consistently does poorly in these reports despite being easily upgraded to the best framed construction. This I believe is due to the much higher expectations of the consumers buying a home centers “top” brand and to the fact that home center designers are usually less knowledgeable and are have less time to explain the properties of the cabinets that they sell.

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Both Consumer Reports and JD Power also rate the same cabinetry being sold under different names at different places completely differently. Cabinet professionals know that these reports are misleading and consumers should be advised not to consider them when evaluating the quality of cabinetry. 

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Call in to our recorded Podcast 2-4 pm Fridays Eastern Standard Time to ask cabinetry and design questions. Have designs ready to email for layout advice. Call 610-500-4071

Here are some of the other relevant blogs we have on this topic:

2020 Ratings for most popular cabinet lines in the United States

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Cabinetry Let the Buyer Beware

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What cabinet line is the best?

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Paul

Main Line Kitchen Design

97 Comments

  1. pmcalary, August 11, 2016 at 5:24 pm:

    Hi Nick,
    Masterbrands makes these lines and as far as I know Ultrcraft is a frameless line only. Decora is the only truly well made cabinet by Masterbrands.

  2. Nick Tanzi, August 11, 2016 at 5:12 pm:

    Hi Jim, struggling a little with my cabinet decision. I am working with a good designer and I have narrowed my decision down to a framed cabinet from either Ultracraft or Decora. I know they are both owned by Mastercraft but it seems from my research that Decora has a slightly better reputation for quality. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  3. pmcalary, August 11, 2016 at 7:30 am:

    Hi Jim,
    It looks like Innermost is a better constructed frameless line. However I would never use a frameless line unless I had to have an ultra contemporary kitchen which would only come in frameless cabinetry. Other wise, why purchase a less durably constructed product? There are framed lines less expensive and better made. Working with a Home Depot designer is not the best idea when the product has issues that the designer probably won’t understand and compensate for. Sometimes I get an inkling that a design is likely to have more serious problems then the cabinetry line and you are setting off my kitchen design warning bells. Feel free to send me your design to look at and see if you have any serious red flags. My email is paul@mainlinekitchendesign.com

  4. Jim, August 11, 2016 at 12:32 am:

    We are looking at InnerMost cabinets, which are sold by home depot. We wish we were closer to Philly to use you guys, but we’re not. It looks like Inner Most is made by Elkay same company as Schuler, Yorktowne, etc. however, we have found some pretty bad reviews. Any thoughts? Thanks! We were planning to go with frameless and all plywood boxes.

  5. pmcalary, July 31, 2016 at 9:38 am:

    The Library page of our web site has a reference library listed on the right side of the page that has answers to many cabinet and design questions. The Library page on our web site is also the location of all of our blogs. Most of these blogs answer important questions about cabinets, design, and construction.

    How to design a great kitchen takes many years to learn, assuming you have a natural ability in the profession. Otherwise it is impossible since every kitchen is different and finding the solution to the puzzle of a particular space will elude most designers. Howerver, all the good designers will gravitate to the same layout. Because every kitchen is so complicated giving simplistic advice on what will work best in anyone’s kitchen isn’t useful. But we can quite easily tell you what are common mistakes designers make. Below are some serious and some funny examples of what not to do. Our YouTube page has videos on some of the same topics.

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/category/9-kitchen-design-mistakes/

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/famous-tv-kitchens-with-problems/

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/crazy-construction-mistakes/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJgxCeeNTo

    Here is our YouTube page address:
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC66UOd1uKrI7RtQYoAYsNBw

  6. S Rayc, July 30, 2016 at 9:33 pm:

    Thank you once again for your response on Green Forest. You have emphasized many times the importance of a kitchen designer and kitchen design. This may not be easy to discern for me. Would you be able to point me out to any article that you may have written or someone else may have written on kit eg design that can help me. I am currently waiting for the design from my kitchen designer.

  7. pmcalary, July 30, 2016 at 1:22 pm:

    I looked up Green Forest and they are a RTA cabinet line. I always would have the cabinet company assemble the cabinetry. Green Forrest cabinetry doesn’t look badly constructed it looks well constructed, but many of the door styles are standard overlay which most people don’t like. When a cabinet line is that out of touch with the market they could be a bad company to work with. Also in the cabinet industry “green” often means “no greener than anybody else and a rip off”. But those are just opinions based on nothing more than a feeling. I have never seen a Green Forest cabinet.

  8. pmcalary, July 30, 2016 at 9:04 am:

    I only know that Green Forest is an import and not the quality.

  9. S Rayc, July 29, 2016 at 5:51 pm:

    I have got in touch with a local Fabuwood dealer and their kitchen designer. Let’s see what we get. In the meantime, someone else has suggested a cabinet line called Green Forest. Would you know about this line ?

  10. pmcalary, July 27, 2016 at 3:08 pm:

    All the lines should be upgraded to all plywood construction. Kraftmaid is the best constructed, Schuler has the nicest finishes and DuraSupreme we would not recommend as a company. We used to carry their cabinetry and they did not stand behind their products.

  11. PSHIN, July 27, 2016 at 12:14 pm:

    I would like to know which cabinetry is a better brand between Schuler, Dura supreme, or Kraft maid vantage. Also if its better to upgrade to all wood ?

  12. pmcalary, July 25, 2016 at 8:16 am:

    Hi,
    Any Fabuwood dealer can order the cabinets assembled. I will say that one of the issues with Fabuwood is that they are not picky about who there dealers are so I would buy the cabinets from a reputable showroom and not a contractor or small lumber yard. You might pay a little bit more depending on the dealer but no dealer could be too much more than another and still successfully sell the cabinetry. We have sold cabinetry in DC but it is not an ideal situation to be designing a kitchen remotely. If you can find a reputable Fabuwood dealer locally that has an experienced kitchen designer I would try their first. If you aren’t happy with a dealer you could call us and we could ask you some questions and determine if selling you a kitchen could make sense long distance.

  13. S Rayc, July 25, 2016 at 12:18 am:

    Thank you very much for your response and advice. Will my dealer able to get cabinetry assembled by Fabuwood and deliver to me ? Would you be able to suggest any good Fabuwood dealers in the Washington DC metro area ?

  14. pmcalary, July 24, 2016 at 4:59 pm:

    This one’s not even close. Fabuwood hands down is the better product of the three. Just don’t get the value line cabinetry and make sure you buy the cabinetry assembled by Fabuwood.

  15. S Rayc, July 24, 2016 at 4:50 pm:

    I am planning to remodel my kitchen and would like white color cabinets. I am trying to choose between Merillat Masterpiece or Fabuwood or Woodharbor. Can you please share your thoughts.

  16. pmcalary, July 22, 2016 at 6:12 pm:

    Hi Jennifer,
    Those Masterbrand lines are all made the same and not very well unless you upgrade to all plywood construction with at least 1/2 inch thick plywood back. Brighton is a better line than the Masterbrand lines. You don’t say how tall your door is but wall cabinet doors taller then 42″ are not attractive, will warp over time and make no storage sense ADHD or not. You can email me a plan to review. I no longer have the time to redesign plans but I can alert you tp potential problems.
    paul@MainLineKitchenDesign.com

  17. Jennifer, July 22, 2016 at 5:42 pm:

    Hello, like most others, I am overwhelmed by cabinets and kitchen lay out. I need advice! Here are some of my questions/concerns:
    1) I was told by a Master Brand dealer that Diamond and Thomasville and Kemper are all the exact same thing. Really?

    2) I am seriously considering Brighton Cabinetry from Cabinet Discounters. Is this a well made, good value line? Or should I consider one of the Master Brand lines, or Kraft Maid (a splurge for us). ?

    3. I’ve hired and worked with 4 designers over 3 years. In the end, none of them seem to have good solutions for my problem areas. Can you review the plans that I have from them?

    4. What do you think of designers who harp and harp that the one large upper cabinet you desire is a mistake and visually you need to have two smaller cabinets? I want one cabinet because, as someone with ADHD, the logistics of putting away dishes makes more sense.

    Thank you for your feedback. I have stopped and started this project so many times due to its overwhelming that I want to cry.

  18. Lisa Mack, July 22, 2016 at 4:53 pm:

    Thanks for the note! I’m about 6 hours from Philly and none of your brands have dealers around here. I just went to Lowes to get a price on Kraftmaid with the plywood upgrade and it wasn’t much cheaper for the same kitchen than the medallion/schuler. They also won’t do an MDF center panel on the door apparently which I was looking for since we are going with white painted cabinets. I appreciate your time. Thank you.

  19. pmcalary, July 21, 2016 at 8:59 am:

    Hi Lisa,
    We can travel as far as 3 hours from Philadelphia to measure if you are somewhat close to us. But your designs would need to be done via email which isn’t ideal. Upgraded to the best construction available all those lines are well made with the possible exception of Showplace that I am less familiar with. Actually Schuler and Medallion are the same brand. Lowes just renames the line. Shenandoah also sold at Lowes is actually the same line as Timberlake and American Woodmark. All of the cabinet lines you are looking at are relatively expensive Kraftmaid also sold at Lowes is less expensive than Schuler and actually better made. Of course getting a good design and designer is the advice we stress above the cabinet line.

  20. Lisa Mack, July 20, 2016 at 10:40 pm:

    schuler, omega dynasty, starmark, medallion, showcase, or start over? Looking for painted white cabinets, full overlay. Not in your service area or would make an appt! Thanks for your advice.

  21. pmcalary, July 20, 2016 at 8:18 am:

    MAKitchen You must upgrade Fieldstone to a 3/4″ back panel otherwise it is 1/4″ and will fall apart quickly. With that done and all the lines upgraded to 1/2″ plywood sides they are all great choices. Pick the style and color you like best or feel the finishes – the ones that are smoothest will wear better.

  22. pmcalary, July 20, 2016 at 7:47 am:

    Terry- This is not a good idea. You can call a refacing company to reface your cabinets but that is not usually a good investment. It is also a very difficult do it yourself project.

  23. MAkitchen, July 19, 2016 at 11:57 pm:

    Thanks! Any idea how plain and fancy might compare to candlelight and fieldstone? All 3 pricing about the same from 3 different designers in our area. Thank tou!

  24. terry, July 19, 2016 at 10:10 pm:

    We have all granite counters that I do not want to chance being ruined. So I would like to order cabinets and use the outsides and cut them to fit on what I have on the bottom and replace drawer fronts etc. and replace the top cabinets completely. Have you ever heard of anyone doing that? I hate to demolish the kitchen.

  25. pmcalary, July 17, 2016 at 11:37 am:

    If you upgrade just to all plywood construction Candlelight is a better made cabinet since the back panel is 1/2″ plywood vs Fieldstone’s very poor 1/4″ back panel. However Fieldstone has the option to upgrade to a 3/4″ back panel. You MUST do this if you decide on Fieldstone. I think a 1/2″ panel is sufficient and both cabinet lines have nice finishes so I would get the cabinet that the kitchen designer recommends since he or she will have experience working with both companies. I have sold Fieldstone and they were fine to work with but nothing special. I know less about Candlelight although the company has a good reputation in the industry.

  26. MAkitchen, July 17, 2016 at 10:11 am:

    Trying to compare candlelight vs fieldstone cabinets – inset, white painted finish, shaker style for large new construction kitchen- thoughts please?

  27. pmcalary, July 16, 2016 at 8:39 am:

    Hi Kathryn,
    Of these lines Shenandoah is the best constructed if you upgrade to all plywood construction. But more importantly, today there are many cabinet lines that are less inexpensive and better made than any of these lines. Fabuwood is one that we carry but there are many others. It is sad though that we get asked about cabinet quality almost daily, but our main message that the most important thing customers should be focusing on is finding the best kitchen designer to work with, is dismissed by nearly everyone asking questions.

    Almost every design we see from people focusing on cabinet construction is terrible when we get an opportunity to review it. The designs are usually not very functional, are unattractive, and often dangerous.

    As someone once in the kitchen world I would try to help your family find a knowledgeable extremely experienced Kitchen Design professional to work with. If you send me a floor plan of their kitchen I could tell you what’s bad about their design but I have stopped making recommendations about how to fix mistakes because it seems to just encourage people to take my suggestions and ignore my more important advice which is to get the best professional help possible when planning the largest home improvement project most people will undertake in their lifetime. Here is a funny video on this topic:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJgxCeeNTo
    Cheers,
    Paul

  28. Kathryn, July 15, 2016 at 9:14 pm:

    Hello,

    My sister and her husband are looking at remodeling their kitchen. My brother-in-law found an inexpensive cabinet line by Heritage Cabinets at a local Surplus Warehouse. I worked as a kitchen designer for a few years at a Lowes, so I have some knowledge, but by no means am I an expert. Looking at the size of the kitchen, the features they want, and the budget they have I have shown them Diamond Prelude and Shenandoah (the main line) at Lowes. We have also looked at Kemper Echo at ProSource. On top of all of this they met with a custom cabinet maker without me, so I have not info on them. The Kemper Echo, Diamond Prelude, and Shenandoah kitchens all come in within $800 of each, but they are all $3000 over Heritage. My brother-in-law keeps asking if the quality is worth $3000 more, but I don’t know anything about Heritage Cabinets and without seeing an actually cabinet that is not installed I hate to make a judgement. Do you know anything about Heritage Cabinets?

  29. pmcalary, July 15, 2016 at 7:27 pm:

    There are many well made lines less expensive then those lines. We carry Bishop and Brighton but Kraftmaid and the only Masterbrands line that I like, Decora, are both very popular less expensive and far better made.

  30. Feinerman, July 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm:

    Thank you pmcalary for your response regarding Starmark and omega dynasty cabinets.
    What brands do you suggest that a good solid construction at reasonable price.

  31. pmcalary, July 15, 2016 at 11:04 am:

    Both of these expensive lines could be better made. Starmark uses a 1/4″ back panel as shown on their web site. I would not use any cabinet with less than a 3/8″ plywood back or a solid wood hanging rail. Better made cabinet lines use a 1/2″ plywood back or the solid wood hanging rail.
    Omega Dynasty is a Masterbrands cabinet. Masterbrands makes a point out of not advertising how their cabinets are made which I find creepy, especially since they have a terrible reputation when it comes to construction quality. I can only go by memory that Dynasty uses a 3/8″ back. Both of these lines are over priced in my opinion and neither has the minimal construction I would require is an expensive cabinet line.

  32. pmcalary, July 15, 2016 at 10:50 am:

    Hi MJ,
    I think you will be fine. Diamond has dramatically improved their cabinet construction the last few years. They still must be upgraded to plywood construction to be a well made cabinet. The backs of their cabinets are still 3/8″ plywood as opposed to the solid wood 3/4″ hanging rails on Krafmaid or Shenandoah also sold at Lowes. Better construction would be 1/2″ plywood backs. For example the least expensive line that we carry Fabuwood makes their cabinet with a 1/2″ plywood back and it is about 40% less than Diamond. Still Diamond has some nice finishes.

    I wish designers at the Home Centers would inform their customers about the better made products that they each carry but often the designers are very inexperienced. More concerning is that the drawings we see from home centers are usually full of serious design mistakes so not explaining the merits of one type of construction over another might be the least of the worries for customers buying cabinetry at Lowes and the Home Depot.

    There are some very good designers at home centers but the are rare and the exception to the rule. Most kitchen designers aren’t very good as it is, which is another problem. But the better kitchen designers working at home centers usually move on to dealers and showrooms as soon as they get enough experience.

  33. MJ, July 15, 2016 at 10:02 am:

    Wow! We wished that we came across your website prior to making our semi-final decision to go with Diamond Cabinets sold by Lowes. Nonetheless, we specified an all plywood construction. Should we do more to ensure an all plywood build. We came across the product specification guide on the Diamond website (http://www.diamondcabinets.com/~/media/Diamond/Documents/Diamond_Spec_Guide_2016.pdf). Is this what you were talking about? Please help because we are worried that our $20K plus investment may not be worth $10K. What is the general standard for the bottom of the drawer. According to Diamond, they offer 5.2 mm laminated plywood whereas Kraftmaid offers 3/16 inches of plywood. Is this sufficient for supporting large cast iron pots in large drawers. We were told that it was fine. Thanks.

  34. Feinerman, July 14, 2016 at 7:14 pm:

    I’m looking at both Starmark and Omega Dynasty cabinets for my kitchen. Which is the better construction and value and why.

  35. pmcalary, July 7, 2016 at 11:28 am:

    Fabuwood is an inexpensive line that specializes in well constructed cabinetry. The prices are affordable because the styles and finishes are limited and because the cabinet fronts are made in China while the cabinets are assembled in New Jersey. Fabuwood uses the best track and hinges that are also used in all the custom cabinet lines. The cabinetry is all plywood construction and Carb compliant.

  36. Bob bernet, July 7, 2016 at 9:57 am:

    Fabuwood cabinets where do they stand quality wise and price range ? Are they in mid range or higher end cabinets ? Thanks

  37. Bob bernet, July 7, 2016 at 9:53 am:

    Thanks for your help

  38. PAUL MCALARY, July 7, 2016 at 8:45 am:

    We carry and like Fabuwood. I’ve never heard of A 1 cabinets. For the price you can’t really go wrong with Fabuwood.

  39. Bob Bernet, July 7, 2016 at 7:59 am:

    Hello, we looked at fabuwood and A 1 cabinets . What do suggest ? We like off white cabintes . Its a big kitchen remodling project . Thanks for the previous response . It helped

  40. pmcalary, June 30, 2016 at 8:46 am:

    Kraftmaid or StarMark

  41. John, June 29, 2016 at 8:31 pm:

    Hi, we are in the process of bidding out our kitchen remodel. We have narrowed it down to Star Mark, Homecrest, Kraftmaid and J & K cabinets. Any suggestions/insight

  42. pmcalary, June 26, 2016 at 8:23 am:

    I am approving Al’s comment and allowing it to be posted even though it is a little over the top. It is very common opinion that kitchen designers face every day. While Al believes I am arrogant, most kitchen designers believe it is very arrogant to think, like Al, that you can do our jobs better than we can after we work at it exclusively for decades. After being a general contractor for ten years I also thought I would know most of what I needed to be a kitchen designer. I quickly learned that kitchen design is a complicated and creative profession. I now believe that it takes at least ten years of working as a kitchen designer to even become competent. I have been a kitchen designer for 20 years and the designs I create today are far better than the designs I did even just a few years ago. Learning hopefully never stops.

  43. Al, June 25, 2016 at 11:30 pm:

    Omg… Your a moron. Who do you think your talking to. Your not a professional. There’s no school or digree for what you do. And I have 20 years in… That’s called EXPERIENCE. Your like a bad car salesman. It takes 0 background to do your job. Your not even in my part of the country nor do you have a clue as to what is even being done. I ask you a simple question and this is your response?
    Are you a bot? Is this some automated response. You just proved you are a total car salesman.
    There is NOTHING that makes you the person with the answers. Oh I’m sorry, it’s impossible for anyone but you to lay out a kitchen… So basically everyone who comes on this site with an idea on how they want their kitchen is a moron and your gods gift to layouts?
    Have you ever in your life even installed a cabinet, or been involved with tearing out and old ugly kitchen or bath and did all the necessary alterations to bring it up to code? And then completely change the structure of the home to make that open layout concept and make a new beautiful room even possible? No you haven’t. You sell cabinets over the Internet. And you had the chance to answer a legit professionals question about cabinet quality… and instead skipped the answer and went straight to sell sell sell. I almost made a mistake and gave this site respect. And by the way… I got the message the first 20 responses to people here “get upgraded to solid 1/2″plywood frame and 3/4” dovetail draws with soft close… You only said the exact same thing to every person on her as if you were saying it for the first time you pompous salesman.
    Do yourself a favor – shhhhhh

  44. pmcalary, June 25, 2016 at 7:33 pm:

    Al,
    From what you say I can guarantee that I can find 5 things I would change that professionals all consider mistakes in your floor plan. Be brave and send me your floor plan and I will try to be gentile with the errors that happen when someone with a tiny portion of the experience a true professional has, creates what they always believe is an inspired “kitchen”.
    Sorry but we have a video about people that think like this. Link below:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJgxCeeNTo

  45. Allen, June 25, 2016 at 6:52 pm:

    I can appreciate your ability to lay out a floor plan… But I laid out my own floor plan. I’ve been in the plumbing business for over 20 years and I’m only 37. I’m second generation and have remodeled so many kitchens and bathrooms I can’t put a number on it. I’ve worked with every kind of contractor, interior designer, cabinet show room dealers, do it yourselfers, and just been flat out asked to lay out kitchens and baths for people including everyone I stated above. I’ve seen it all from things that work beautifully to total hack and nightmare jobs. People who are open to suggestions, are not open, and don’t need them because their layout was beautiful. I’ve stepped in and flat out stopped people form making colossal mistakes even when the GC wouldn’t step up and tell them himself.
    There’s no real schooling for designing the PERFECT layout for a space. It’s an art. Not everyone can draw, not everyone can paint, and most people do NOT posses the ability to see something in their mind.
    My father forced me into this trade cause he’s oldschool. But I write screenplays and draw as a passion… And in the trades- the design is the only part that requires an artistic ability.
    If you saw all my layouts from the last 5 years you’d hire me in a second. And I could line up references as long as the day. You have to feel the flow of the room, it must all work together.
    I would love to share any photos I have to show you and all my software designs…. Ya I’m not really suppose to be a plumber.
    You can always offer choices to the customer… But realistically there is only one right layout for a space and it will crate itself… you just have to see it.
    Sorry if that came off cocky and defensive… I know you ment nothing negative buy you concerns.
    But I definitely want and appreciate your thoughts on the cabinet deals I could have (and yes I will do EVERY upgrade, it’s been my ability to listen if you can believe it, that’s made me who I am) I just don’t want to make a mistake thinking its a deal worth buying and buy crap.

    Making the design work for the space: nice…
    Knocking down walls, bringing in the natural light and creating the space first: PRICELESS.
    GET ME MY PAINT BRUSH SHAPED LIKE A SLEDGE HAMMER!!!!

    Let me know if you want pics I’d love to hear from you on that, all the people I work with can’t stand next to me.
    Thanks, Al.

  46. pmcalary, June 25, 2016 at 12:11 pm:

    Tough call. Showplace is the better cabinet. I’ll bet if we saw your design though you would have bigger issues. If you want to email it to us we can tell you what cabinets should cost and also the biggest issues with the design are. People ask our advice constantly about cabinet quality, but we almost never see even a competent design when we see their floor plans. All your cabinet choices are fine upgraded to plywood and 1/2 inch sides. You floor plan will most likely have serious issues only because 90% of the ones we see do.

  47. Allen, June 25, 2016 at 11:52 am:

    I’m in a position to get all my cabinets Homecrest and all the upgrades and all the bells and whistles… But I am paying cost. NO up charge from the dealer. He’s a friend and I’m in the trades and I traded work for getting them at cost. I could get Schrock at about a 10% markup because that dealer is also a personal friend.
    Also I have 8 year old Showplace cabinets: framed, dovetail draws, no slow close, and not plywood box… and I have 3 kids 6, 4, 2 and the cabinets in my opinion have held up pretty good. I’d say most of the wear and tear that’s noticeable is from us, not from poor quality. I mean if you plan on using your cabinets people- and not just going to stare at them for the next 10’years then you and if you have kids especially are going to bang them up… I could get showplace again with upgrades but I would only get about 10% off… Because that dealer is family not a friend ?
    Anyways just thought I’d let anyone know about my showplace cabs and what you thought about my option deals with Homecrest and possibly Schrock.
    Buying SOON so let me know soon if you can, thanks!

  48. pmcalary, June 22, 2016 at 3:41 pm:

    I don’t know Ovation well so I don’t know how the back of their framed cabinet is made. A solid wood hanging rail or 1/2 in Plywood for the entire back is the preferred method of construction. When cabinet lines don’t show their construction on their web site it makes me suspicious. Wood-mode and Brookhaven a great cabinets, upgrade to all plywood.

  49. Ellen Venturino, June 22, 2016 at 12:30 pm:

    Hello, what do you think of the ovation, wood-mode and Brookhaven brands?

  50. pmcalary, June 13, 2016 at 3:41 pm:

    Here’s the problem with Schrock and most Masterbrands lines of cabinetry.

    Masterbrands is a huge cabinet conglomerate consisting of many different cabinet lines and Schrock is one of them. In the past Masterbrands specialized in poorly constructed cabinet lines with 1/3″ sides and sometimes 1/4″ backs with the exception of their Dacora line. Cabinets came with this flimsy construction and even particle board sides and backs unless upgraded. Builders often used these lines because they didn’t care about construction quality. The web sites of these lines told little about cabinet construction because up until recently there was nothing positive to tell. Today many of these lines now offer upgrades to a well constructed cabinet with 1/2″ plywood sides but the web sites are still not transparent as far as how the cabinets are constructed.
    So it is difficult to know what can be upgraded and what needs to be upgraded in many Masterbrands cabinet lines unless you are a dealer. This is why I am not a fan of Masterbrands as a company in general. They creep me out a little.
    Schrock was a cabinet line that only came in 1/3″ sides in the past. I do like their finishes and I have been told that they can now be upgraded to a well constructed cabinet. But since I can’t see exactly how and their web site isn’t transparent about their construction I still wouldn’t buy them personally. And I don’t like dealing with companies that operate this way. Being honest and transparent is the sign of a good company. Generalizations and talks of high quality without specifics is what bad companies specialize in.

  51. Debra Rodriguez, June 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm:

    I’m looking at Schrock cabinetry and I didn’t see any comments about that line in your blog. Can you provide your thought about Schrock?

  52. pmcalary, June 12, 2016 at 5:08 pm:

    Kraftmaid is the best cabinet you are considering.It is the same cabinetry at a home center and an independent dealer. The doorstyle names are changed and a few are exclusive to each location. However, you usually find more knowledgeable designers at dealers and that can be more important than the cabinets you buy. Waypoint is less expensive but made well. Don’t buy Thomasville they are overpriced and are a Home Depot gimmick. Thomasville are repackaged Yorktowne cabinets – an inferior line given a misleading name by an unscrupulous home center.

  53. MB Meyer, June 12, 2016 at 3:36 pm:

    I am looking at waypoint, kraftmaid at a local cabinet maker vs using Home Depot Kraftmaid or Thomasville I am trying to stay on a tight budget and am gong for natural maple wood cabinets. Which brand would you recommend?

  54. Director of Marketing, June 9, 2016 at 3:38 pm:

    Showplace cabinetry has always been all plywood construction and an upgrade to 1/2″ end panels has been available for quite some time. The 1/2″ end panel was recently improved to become standard if a natural birch interior is chosen. 5/8″ flush ends are also possible.

  55. pmcalary, June 7, 2016 at 6:50 pm:

    Mauser is a well made cabinet line. I’m not sure where they fall price wise. Since they do inset cabinetry they will be at the higher end of the cabinet spectrum. I would prefer their framed line to their frameless line.

  56. pmcalary, June 7, 2016 at 6:46 pm:

    I don’t know that most customers could tell the difference in quality from any high end semi-custom cabinet line to a full custom line. So Kraftmaid or Brookhaven or our Brighton or Bishop lines would serve most customers as well as a custom line.

  57. pmcalary, June 5, 2016 at 1:37 pm:

    Procraft has 5/8″ shelves the mark of a poorly made cabinet and Shepard I have never heard of and there is no Shepard web site so that’s not a good sign. Detailed questions you can call if you like.

  58. Bob bernet, June 4, 2016 at 4:49 pm:

    Hello, we are remodling our kichen , what do your thoughts of aspect,current , merillat, shilo, cabinets . Then we went to anothershow room called cabinetry and granite depot . They carry procraft ( i loved the plain design smooth front look to ) and they also have shepard ( very reasonable priced ) . What are your thoughts on procraft and shepard cabinetry ? Thanks

  59. Ken Eastwood, May 31, 2016 at 8:46 pm:

    Have you heard of Mauser cabinets? There seems to be very little out there about this brand.

  60. Rich, May 28, 2016 at 10:00 am:

    You mentioned that Bremtown cabinets are good quality but comparatively expensive. What cabinets would you recommend that are comparable in quality and finish but less expensive?

  61. pmcalary, May 24, 2016 at 8:44 am:

    Sounds like you are at Lowes. Kraftmaid is the best value and the best made. Schuller has nicer finishes and is more expensive but not constructed quite as well. Make sure if you order Schuler to upgrade to their top construction.

  62. pmcalary, May 24, 2016 at 8:42 am:

    Kraftmaid is far better

  63. Vidya, May 22, 2016 at 7:51 am:

    Hello
    I wanted to know what the quality difference is between Kraftmaid all wood and Mid-continent all wood vanity. We are redoing our bathroom. Thank you

  64. Traci, May 21, 2016 at 11:37 pm:

    We are remodeling our kitchen. Which is the best cabinet choices (Schuller, KraftMaid, Shenandoah, Diamond, or Eurostyle by Fabric. Thanks.

  65. pmcalary, May 19, 2016 at 3:59 pm:

    Medallion has nicer finishes and is usually more expensive but Kraftmaid is a sturdier constructed line. Make sure you upgrade Medallion to their best construction and Kraftmaid to at least plywood sides. I’d get what I liked best in a toss up or all things being equal Kraftmaid if the price is less.

  66. Mildred, May 18, 2016 at 12:33 pm:

    We are comparing Medallion cabinets at Menards to the top of the line KraftMaid at a Kitchen & Bath business. what are your thoughts?

  67. pmcalary, May 18, 2016 at 11:12 am:

    We carry Mid Continent. The cabinetry is well constructed if upgraded but the finishes are a little rougher. For a painted finish I would worry that in a kitchen they would get dirty faster over a long period. For this reason we usually use other lines for a painted finish needing to last decades. However a bathroom has much less grease and dirt so Mid continent would be a good value.

  68. Vivi, May 18, 2016 at 11:05 am:

    Hello
    Can you tell me if Mid Continent cabinets are a good line of cabinets?
    We are looking to redoing our bathroom and need a vanity and linen tower. It is going to be painted. We are looking for all wood construction.

  69. pmcalary, May 16, 2016 at 5:57 pm:

    Hi Heather,
    I would stop shopping for cabinets and instead shop for a kitchen designer working at a reputable showroom. Getting good professional help will make it easy to select a cabinet line because someone knowledgeable and reputable should have your best interest at heart and can help you spend your money wisely. Houzz.com is a great resource. Just look up kitchen designers in your area or if you tell me where you’re located I can take a look for you. Designers with many 5 star reviews selling multiple cabinet lines is what you should be looking for. Or even calling all the home centers in your area to find the most experienced kitchen designer in the Lowes or Home Depot near you and getting Kraftmaid cabinetry from them isn’t a bad idea.

  70. HeatherC, May 16, 2016 at 5:31 pm:

    We had a brand new custom kitchen made for us and have to take it all out as it was all made cheaply and incorrectly. We are now faced with buying new cabinets and I am really confused and nervous about what cabinets to buy. Our limit is in the $15-20K range (we already partially paid for the other kitchen). The brands we are looking at are Timberlake, Waypoint, and Kitchen Kraft, but only because those are what the cabinet companies recommended. We are still in the process of bidding it out but I have read many negative reviews about all of these brands. Since this kitchen remodel has already been a bad experience I want to make sure and put in the correct cabinets. Planning on white shaker cabinets and possibly a stained wood island. Our kitchen is also heavily used! Help!!

  71. pmcalary, May 13, 2016 at 9:01 am:

    I like all those lines except Columbia. Crystal is a very nice custom cabinetry line that isn’t too expensive.

  72. JoanC, May 13, 2016 at 3:21 am:

    My KD’s showroom carries Hallmark, Ovation, Crystal and Columbia cabinets. What do you think of these brands in terms of quality and value? I am doing a full kitchen and master bathroom remodel and I want good quality cabinets with good value. My style is transitional leaning towards contemporary, most likely I will go with shaker style doors/drawer fronts.

  73. pmcalary, May 9, 2016 at 9:36 am:

    Yorktowne un-upgraded is terrible but they are much better when they are upgraded to the plywood box and soft close drawers. However, Since we don’t carry the brand and they don’t let you see exactly how their cabinets are constructed on their web site (a very bad sign) I don’t know how the backs of the cabinets are made. If they are 1/4″ plywood then that’s terrible. 1/3″ plywood is OK. As an example the least expensive cabinet line we carry, Fabuwood, has a 1/2″ plywood back. In general, the Masterbrands cabinet lines with the exception of Decora aren’t my favorites. The company has over the years been shamed into offering better construction in their cabinet lines but they still don’t let you see how their cabinets are made on most of their websites for the many lines that they own. This lack of transparency gives me the creeps and I will always be skeptical of Masterbrands.

  74. David S, May 6, 2016 at 7:45 pm:

    We have been looking at cabinets for our kitchen and at first loved the appearance and extra storage space found in Design Craft cabinets. However, after reading your comments on “frameless cabinets,” we were discouraged from going in that direction. We spoke with our builder about our hesitation and he said that the parent company for Design Craft (Elkay) made fully framed cabinets that had the same finish and appearance as Design Craft. It sounded good until we read your reviews on this brand, Yorktowne. Yorktowne reviews online are completely polarized with only highest and lowest ratings and nothing in between. Is this because shills are writing to counter the genuine reviews? Does it depend on the factory that makes the shelving? One reviewer reported that anyone selling Yorktowne cabinets gets a kickback on the purchase price. This is all very confusing.
    We went to the Yorktowne website and could not find any info on the construction characteristics of the cabinets, which we saw on your website is a red flag. We understand that Yorktowne was once a private company that was bought by Elkay. We were also told that they recently improved their construction and that the new cabinets have better design qualities than used to be the case. Our builder cited the following:
    • 1/2″ thick plywood sides, (Finished sides, Add 1/4″)
    • Fully adjustable, 3/4″ thick plywood* shelving
    • 3/4″ nominal thick solid wood drawer and roll tray sides, backs, and fronts
    • Dovetail construction standard on drawers and roll trays
    • Full extension drawer/roll tray guides with Quiet Close feature
    • Fully concealed 6-way adjustable hinge
    The builder also offers Diamond brand cabinets, which have all the features we want, but the wood on the doors is less appealing.
    Can you offer any guidance in making this decision?

  75. GaryR, May 2, 2016 at 8:08 am:

    Thanks for the feedback. We’ll definitely go for the drawers. Need to stop by our local dealer and try out the doors again.

  76. pmcalary, May 1, 2016 at 6:50 pm:

    The soft close doors are nice but not as important as the soft close drawers. I’d splurge and get them. They should cost a couple or at most a few hundred dollars more and are not needed but years from now you will be happy you splurged. Most cabinet lines use Blums soft close hinges which can be turned off if you want to reduce the soft close feature by turning off one hinge on each door.

  77. GaryR, May 1, 2016 at 5:11 pm:

    We are building a new home (nothing terribly fancy), and our builder offers Homecrest cabinets. We’ve upgraded to the SofTouch drawers, which includes an upgrade to solid wood drawers with dovetail joints. We’re thinking about the SofTouch door option too. Does anybody here have experience with that? Is it worthwhile?

  78. pmcalary, April 26, 2016 at 2:26 pm:

    I looked and Haas now has several levels of construction and quality. So upgrading to all plywood construction and solid wood dovetail soft close drawers is something I think always makes sense. The problems you had are still very unusual in any cabinet line. Possibly the factory was having problems. My next pick would be the Bertch.

  79. Racheal, April 26, 2016 at 1:55 pm:

    There were nicks and gouges in the plywood and it was peeling in two different places, the paint was chipping and the paint coverage was terrible, especially on the corners of the doors and drawers. I have decided on a Shaker cabinet with white painted wall cabinets and gray painted island. I would welcome any suggestions you may have. Thanks!

  80. pmcalary, April 26, 2016 at 10:32 am:

    Actually all three of those lines have good reputations. I’m surprised about the Haas cabinets. What was wrong with them? and what kind of style, color, surface are the cabinets you are looking for?

  81. Racheal, April 25, 2016 at 11:48 pm:

    We are currently renovating our kitchen and had decided on Haas cabinets. When our cabinet shipment arrived half of our cabinets (all of which were upgraded) had defects from the factory, so we refused to accept the shipment. Haas has agreed to fix/redo our cabinets, but that is not something I am comfortable with, so we are now faced with reordering cabinets, The other two choices at the local retailer we are using are Bertch and Shiloh. Do you have a recommendation between the two, or should we find a new retailer that carries another cabinet line?

  82. pmcalary, April 18, 2016 at 9:36 am:

    We used to carry Bremtown. They are very beautiful but a very expensive cabinet line. Local cabinet makers could never replicate the beauty and durability of a very high end custom cabinet line like Bremtown. That being said the reason we no longer carry Bremtown is that we found other less expensive full custom cabinet lines that have the same construction and almost as impressive finishes for much less. While I can tell the difference between the custom line we now exclusively carry and Bremtown, our customers could not, so we never sold any Bremtown.

    I would never have a small private company make my cabinets. Here is a blog on the topic:

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/custom-cabinets-handmade-or-homemade/

  83. Colhan, April 17, 2016 at 9:37 pm:

    Can you give me your opinion on Bremtown Cabinets? We are renovating our kitchen and their name came up. Also, can you compare a cabinet like Bremtown to a local cabinet maker who finishes the painting onsite (in our kitchen)? I feel like everyone tells me what they want me to hear, and I’m so confused! Thank you!

  84. pmcalary, April 14, 2016 at 8:42 am:

    Schrock cabinets and many of the other Masterbrand cabinet lines have upgraded their construction recently. Partly because the internet is making consumers more aware. Just make sure you upgrade a cabinet to 1/2 inch plywood sides and no less than a 3/8″ thick plywood back with soft close solid wood dovetail drawers. There are less expensive lines that will be better made than Schrock but if you upgrade them, they should be fine. The Decora cabinet line is also a Masterbrands cabinet line that if upgraded to all plywood construction is a VERY well made cabinet.

  85. Nervous cabinet buyer, April 13, 2016 at 11:52 pm:

    Thank you very much for this blog. In searching the internet I have come across a great deal of information, but yours is a simple and clear. My kitchen designer at a local lumber store has suggested using Shock cabinets. Can you provide any insight on this brand. For what I’ve read definition quality is not great. I would be interested in your assessment. Thanks in advance for your help and keep up the great work

  86. pmcalary, February 4, 2016 at 9:20 am:

    These are American made lower price point cabinet companies. Upgraded to plywood I think they are good. But lower price point US made cabinetry can no longer compete with the quality and pricing of some of the lines manufactured in Asia and assembled in the US. We carry Fabuwood but there are several similar lines that will blow the American made cabinetry out of the water in pricing and construction quality. For higher end cabinetry the US rules but at the lower price points I would go Asian.

    But again the most important thing you need to invest wisely in a kitchen and get a great design is a great kitchen designer. And builders are usually the worst kitchen designers followed by architects and interior designers. As with most professions you most do the job full time to get good at it. So find a great kitchen designer and listen to their advice.

  87. Haniya, February 4, 2016 at 8:56 am:

    Our builder has directed us to Homecrest and Waypoint for our kitchen/bathroom cabinets. Thoughts on these?

  88. pmcalary, February 3, 2016 at 2:23 pm:

    Ultracraft is a frameless cabinet. As our article states, frameless cabinetry is less durable then framed cabinetry. So unless you want a very modern door style which would look better in a frameless line I would never buy a Custom frameless cabinet. The kitchen should also be designed by someone that understands that the cabinetry can’t handle as much stress – so no Pantry pull outs or wide doors that put the hinges (which are just in the sides of the cabinets and not attached to solid wood) under stress. Also no drawers wider than 30″ since the tracks are also just attached to a plywood box at best.

    Kraftmaid sold at Lowes is a much better constructed cabinet. Schuler is also better and sold at Lowes and will have as nice finishes as Ultracraft. Make sure to upgrade to all plywood construction.

  89. dave N Sally, February 3, 2016 at 2:02 pm:

    Looking for awhile at new kitchen cabinets and there’s alot out there. Looking at ultra craft and don’t know if that’s a good cabinet to have put in. Will have contractor do work but was wondering if there’s a good cabinet from menards or lowes that can stand with ultra craft and American made?

  90. pmcalary, January 21, 2016 at 8:41 pm:

    Homecrest and Decora were always the exception to the rule with Masterbrands and well made. Although Asian cabinet lines are a better buy for the quality and pricing of Homecrest. I am still a big fan of Decora though. But when you make as many lines as Masterbrands and Decora and Homecrest are the best you have to offer and as a company you only upgrade to better construction when forced I don’t respect you as a company. To be fair we used to carry DuraSupreme and after working with them I respect Masterbrands far more then DuraSupreme a company whose products we mistakenly sold.

  91. Jim Williams, January 21, 2016 at 6:04 pm:

    Your comments about masterbrand are somewhat not true….Homecrest offers a 100% all wood box with I bean construction and 1/2 inch sides. You also can flush out and end for 3/4 sides. Your comment of not showing every piece of information I feel is your way of deluting the facts. Cabinet lines offer many platforms of construction and over loading a customer with too much information is in todays world insane….buying cabinets online in my opinion is also crazy….go to a repuatable dealer that can give you personal testimonials of the products they sell on why they use them. Also most interent reviews are negative and that why talking to a factory is also useless. Please do your homework in seeing, touching, and talking to people that have bought the cabinets

  92. pmcalary, December 30, 2015 at 8:13 am:

    All those brands I like except the Omega. I don’t feel comfortable when a Masterbrands line of cabinets does’t show anywhere on the Omega web site how the cabinets are constructed. Woodmode has a good reputation but doesn’t have anyway for a homeowner to contact the company directly which I don’t like. Crystal and Starmark I have sold and like. Just make sure the sides of the cabinets are at least 1/2″ thick plywood and that the drawers are Blumotion.

  93. Richard Kaufman, December 28, 2015 at 2:22 pm:

    Thanks for th einformation. We are remodeling and looking for new cabinets and there is so much information available it is hard to determine what is truly correct. We live in Northern California and I have been looking at StarMark, Crystal, wood-mode and Omega (Master Brand) cabinets. We are going for a high end custom kitchen. Are you familiar with the brands I mentioned? If so, do you think they make good product and how would you compare/contrast them?

    Thanks!

    Rich

  94. pmcalary, November 5, 2015 at 9:12 am:

    Daniel- I notice from your email that your address is from the company you mention and are promoting. Not a great testament to transparency. Although I have never heard of the company I am not getting the warm fuzzys.

  95. DanielBruce, November 5, 2015 at 8:52 am:

    Good comparison between different kinds of cabinetry. As users of kitchen Cabinets these explanations will help us to order a good cabinetry from for our kitchen. I am going to make some changes in my kitchen and in those replacing old cabinets with new one also a part. My brother wants to order cabinets from an online store as Builderoutletusa and these info will may help him for order a best cabinets.

  96. pmcalary, June 17, 2015 at 9:46 pm:

    I wasn’t aware that Showplace cabinetry could be upgraded to 1/2″ plywood sides and all plywood construction. If that is now true it wasn’t in the past and still doesn’t say so on the Showplace website. Please contact us or send us something documenting this and we would be happy to update our blog.

  97. Director of Marketing, June 17, 2015 at 4:14 pm:

    This post identifies Showplace cabinets as a brand that can not be upgraded to the specifications used to describe a great cabinet. Unfortunately, that statement is inaccurate. There is not a product attribute mentioned that is not possible, if not standard, on all Showplace cabinetry.

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