Main Line Kitchen Design
Call us at 610-510-2024

IMG 1638

Recalling a time when the cabinet industry was less transparent.

Note:  Since posting this blog in 2011 many of the Masterbrands cabinet lines have switched from 3/8″ sides to half inch sides. Possibly due to better consumer awareness. Instead of removing or editing the blog I am keeping it posted as it was to mark the time and place our industry was at in early 2011. We also have three more recent bogs below that discus similar topics:


Here is the original blog

Kitchen cabinet buyers need reputable, professional assistance for many reasons including safety (see link: ), good design, and . . . there’s probably no less blunt way to say this. . . to avoid being ripped off.


For example, many cabinet companies sell the same product for different prices by having multiple cabinet line names.  Even in the same cabinet line, exact same door styles and finishes will have different names at different locations. In 2004 Consumer Reports was completely duped — publishing cabinet reviews in which they compared cabinets that were actually the same product and reviewed them differently.  Ikea duped them as well – – garnering top ratings despite durability and construction flaws that take only a few years to become problems.

Jim Bishop off white

Here are some examples of advice Main Line Kitchen Design professionals share with our customers:


Frameless cabinets are much less durable than framed cabinets. Frameless or European Cabinetry can definitely look sleeker and are better suited to the most modern door styles because of of this, but even the most expensive frameless lines such as Poggenpohl are nowhere near as durable as any well made framed cabinetry.


The worst way to make a framed cabinet is with 3/8″ sides and backs. Quality framed cabinetry has 1/2 or 3/4″ sides and backs with solid wood hanging rails.  Watch out for Masterbrands — They are the largest cabinet conglomerate in the US and produce most of their cabinetry with the less durable 3/8″ sides and backs. Many home builders including Toll Brothers use these type lines because more money goes into the door styles and finishes and very little into the cabinets construction.  These lines include:  Aristocraft, Schrock, Diamond, Yorktowne, and Kemper.


A cabinet by any other name…. Thomasville, a fine furniture company, sold the right to use their name to Home Depot to sell kitchen cabinetry.  Home Depot’s “Thomasville” cabinets are actually 3/8″  constructed cabinetry with the Thomasville name.  At one point Home Depot actually had Mills Pride their least expensive cabinet line making half of the Thomasville line.


Thicker plywood sides, solid wood hanging rail, Ibeam or plywood tops, along with dovetail drawers and Blumotion tracks can be had for less. Higher end framed custom cabinets differ in finer finishes and in the availability of custom pieces  —  not construction and durability.  Kraftmaid, Woodmode Brookhaven and Main Line Kitchen Design’s Jim Bishop cabinet lines for example can all provide the same quality construction as higher priced custom alternatives.


Selecting a Kitchen Designer is just as important as the cabinetry you select. Unfortunately accreditation in the kitchen industry is fairly nebulous.  Going to the most expensive showrooms doesn’t assure you of getting a good designer or one that has your interest at heart.  Architects are also generally less capable designers because they spend so much less time designing kitchens and therefore have so much less experience doing so.


The best Kitchen Designers explain as much about cabinetry and design to their customers as time allows. When you know what you are buying, and why and what the negative and positive aspects of your design are, you can make an informed decision about what matters to you most, and where you want to spend more and or less.  Kitchen Designers also add NO COST as the design costs are included almost everywhere in the cost of the cabinetry.


Getting a great kitchen requires one big investment that many customers have a hard time making.  The investment of their own time.  It always surprises my customers when I tell them that we would prefer them to take more rather than less of our time making their decisions.  It is only the customers that invest too little of their own time that are ever unhappy with their selections.


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


Watch our very funny video below to see why you need a kitchen designer.

The Main Line Kitchen Design team wishes everyone a wonderful new year and the best kitchens possible  …… and of course Bon Appetit!

Paul, Ray, Tom, Carol, and Julie


  1. Judy, January 29, 2017 at 11:08 pm:

    Love the blog. Currently remodeling fl condo. Contractor recommended Aristokraft with a $7500 estimate. We looked at the showroom and like the PureStyle white shaker. From reading it seems you’re not a fan of Aristokraft. What do you recommend at the same price point. Or has your opinion ofAristokraft altered.

  2. Zev67, January 29, 2017 at 6:56 pm:

    Actually, I took all of your advices to heart. The only exception was frameless cabinets. And I intend to follow through with my designer on all the points you made. (Have a list copied out of your posts). I don’t understand why you would think that my preference implies that I would not listen to anything else.
    Would you please post what you think of Hanssem and if there is a better alternative in frameless?
    I will go with 3/4 inch plywood cabinets if Hanssem makes them and with something else if they don’t..
    Thank you

  3. pmcalary, January 29, 2017 at 8:42 am:

    The sides of the cabinets need to be 3/4″ thick as well as the tops bottoms and shelves. Once the cabinets meet these requirements in frameless cabinetry they usually meet the best construction for a frameless cabinet. I would say that asking for our advice knowing you are not taking some already sets off bells for us as designers. We occasionally work with customers who make all their design choices asking our opinions but not listening to most of them. These kitchens are usually some of the worst that we sell.

  4. Zev67, January 29, 2017 at 12:09 am:

    We are building a new house and are looking at frameless cabinets. I see that you don’t recommend them, but I am set on them. I was looking at Hanssem but see that reviews are mixed and they have only a 5 year warranty. Provided that we get all 1/2 inch plywood with solid wood doors, full overlay, full extension, self closing, etc, what brand of cabinets would you recommend? We got a $24k estimate on Hanssem and about the same or a little higher on Kraftmade. It is going to be a white shaker style kitchen. This is a larger kitchen. I need to make a decision but would like to make sure that the quality is good.
    Thank you so much for your input.

  5. pmcalary, January 28, 2017 at 9:07 am:

    Lowes is always having a deal that’s how they pressure people into buying cabinetry. 13 cabinets in Kraftmaid upgraded to all plywood construction could not be less than $6000 so there must be a mistake in the math at Lowes. And the Fabuwood also sounds high. Sounds like you have two problems.

  6. Bill, January 28, 2017 at 9:00 am:

    It is a small kitchen with only 6 cabinets on the top and 7 on the bottom and 2 of them are very small – a tray cabinet and a spice cabinet. Lowes had a special deal going on now so I am unsure of what to think. Thank you.

  7. pmcalary, January 28, 2017 at 8:40 am:

    Sounds like either you are being robbed by the Fabuwood dealer or more likely the Lowes designer made a huge pricing error. $5,700 in Kraftmaid cabinetry would be a tiny kitchen. Home center designers are prone to mistakes due to inexperience and the home center environment full of interruptions and distractions.

  8. Bill, January 27, 2017 at 11:48 pm:

    This site is wonderful for information. We have been working with a kitchen designer that our contractor provided. She gave us a price of 9800.00 for Fabuwood cabinets. I checked with Lowes .and their price for the Kraftmaid cabinets upgraded to the all plywood was $5747.00. From what I read on this site the Fabuwood cabinets should be less than the kraftmaid? Are we being overcharged for the Fabuwood cabinets from the dealer ?

  9. Bill, January 27, 2017 at 11:38 pm:

    This site is wonderful for information. We have been working with a kitchen designer that our contractor provided. She gave us a price of 9800.00 for Fabuwood cabinets. I checked with Lowes .and their price for the Kraftmaid cabinets upgraded to the all plywood was $5747.00. From what I read on this site the Fabuwood cabinets should be less than the kraftmaid? Are we being overcharged for the Fabuwood cabinets from the dealer ? There is such a difference in price.

  10. Marti Selle, January 27, 2017 at 7:46 pm:

    Hi, Paul. We need new kitchen cabinets due to a water leak from an upstairs bathroom. I certainly want cabinets that look good and will last but my main criteria is what’s on the inside as far as storage. Currently my pantry is in three places one of which is on an enclosed back porch. Merillat has exactly the tall pantry I would like plus several other cabinets with storage features I like as well. I have read your recommended construction guidelines. We have a limited insurance budget of about 10K. What do you think of the Merillat brand? I notice they are way down at the bottom of most lists.we have shopped the box stores just getting ideas but didn’t like any of their brands. I can’t seem to see the inside of cabinets on brand websites I have checked just style, color and wood. I want a painted off white exterior and pull out shelving and drawers. A designer is coming after the weekend and his company doesn’t carry Marilatt. I’m frustrated because I can’t seem to get the storage I want without going lower end. I’d appreciate your thoughts.

  11. pmcalary, January 27, 2017 at 3:43 pm:

    We carry and love Brighten cabinetry but upgraded Kraftmaid will be similar and most customers wouldn’t appreciate the custom color, inset and beaded inset and other advantages including 13″ standard depths on the inset wall cabinetry. Fabuwood should be at least 40% less than upgraded Kraftmaid. Fabuwood can be customized to do most designs but it a completely different level of cabinetry and all birch. Builtin refrigerators have significantly less space than counter depth refrigerators for a 36″ wide space. If you want a full depth refrigerator you could possibly recess the refrigerator into the wall. It doesn’t make sense to make kitchen cabinets deeper than 24″. You just pull 24″deep cabinetry off the wall and close in the sides with panels.

  12. Jim, January 27, 2017 at 2:47 pm:

    Forgot to mention that all have 1/2 inch all plywood construction, the Blum glides, etc. Oh, and one other question. CD gave me the following reasons Brighton cabinets might be better than KM: KM is mass produced, but Brighton is hand made and totally customizable, allowing for fewer fillers. Finish is hand applied and an all over glaze, not just door profiles. Not sure if the final finish would be superior to KM, but maybe. Curious on your opinion. Not sure if I’d notice if that’s a difference. Finally I was told that the Brighton glide system is extremely smooth and substantial – mostly metal (versus some other brands with more plastic parts). Are they using something other than Blum and is it really better?

  13. Jim, January 27, 2017 at 2:36 pm:

    Great information here! It has really “framed” my perspective on what to consider. You may have answered much of this in previous discussions, but I’m looking for a direct head-on comparison of 4 cabinet companies: KraftMaid, Brighton, Shiloh, and Fabuwood. I currently have 3 cabinet offers: 1) KitchenMaid from Lowes ($27.2K, on special discount from the holidays), 2)Shiloh from an independent designer ($27.5K – not sure if includes freight), and Brighton from Cabinet Discounters ($30K – $33K). The independent designer said he could get a lower cost with Fabuwood (not cost figure quoted yet)but that it wasn’t customizable. While there may be some value with the independent designer, I like the Lowes designer as well (one of the good/experienced ones). Independent guy might have some additional value (lighting ideas, etc.). Suspect that you’ll say KM has the better product and with quotes, it’s the best deal. Just want to confirm that and that Brighton isn’t worth the extra $5K – $7K in cost.

    One final question. Designers seem to MUCH prefer clean lines in their design. Most don’t like incorporating a full sized refrigerator. However, I’m doubling my kitchen size (incorporating the formal dining room), adding cooking capability (additional oven and possibly second microwave) but losing refrigerator space. However, I don’t see the benefit of spending the extra $6K + to get one or more built-in refrigerators. Maybe I could live with a counter depth (and more expensive) refrigerator. However, from an initial or future replacement cabinet cost perspective, is there any reason not to have a designer order a non-standard, larger than counter depth cabinet wall (approx. 9 ft or less). That would require finding an independent KM designer to get part of my cabinetry (or all of it). I know that Lowes can use additional faux sides to make it look somewhat custom but then it still wouldn’t all be in line apparently. This might be more of a designer question, in general, but would like your general opinion.


  14. pmcalary, January 27, 2017 at 11:09 am:

    Hi Tracy,
    I prefer Framed cabinetry to Frameless cabinetry in a shaker door style since the style doesn’t suffer from the slightly larger distance between doors and drawers and framed cabinetry is a better constructed produst.

    That being said Kountry Kraft makes a great frameless cabinet with very nice finishes. My only complaint about Kountry Kraft which they may have changed since I designed with them is that they don’t package their cabinets. So they are more likely to get damaged during shipping and installation.

  15. pmcalary, January 27, 2017 at 11:03 am:

    Hi Jacki,
    I don’t know Greenfield. They seem to be a high end line from their web site. But they don’t say on their site how they make their cabinets. I don’t like when cabinet companies do this it makes me uncomfortable.

  16. Jacki, January 27, 2017 at 10:19 am:

    Paul, do you have any thoughts or information on Greenfield Cabinetry? I’m ready to commit Brookhaven but our designer mentioned Greenfield as an “at least as good” option.

  17. Jackie, January 27, 2017 at 9:24 am:

    Thank you. I was little leary about Dura Supreme when I found little to no information on the line and I kept coming across bad reviews. So with Fabuwood you have little or no ability to customize and I guess they use birch instead of maple. We are considering a painted white cabinet, so I am not sure that makes a difference. My grandmothers house has brich canients and they have lasted a long long time. We are trying to decide between purchasing an American Made Cabinet vs. a Chinese import. After reading through all of the comments her I am going to seriously consider Fabuwood. This blog is great and provided good insight into the different cabinet brands, their differences and price. Thank you so much!

  18. Tracie, January 27, 2017 at 8:31 am:

    Hi Paul thank you so much for this extremely informative and interesting blog. I’m wondering if you have any information about Kountry Kraft cabinetry. I know they are in Pennsylvania and so are you so I’m wondering if you have ever used them and what your thoughts are. My designer has recommended frameless cabinetry and I can upgrade to all plywood for a 3% fee. I am concerned about a frameless cabinet after reading your blog so I’m wondering if I should upgrade to a framed cabinet. I’m going to be doing a shaker door that is painted White which is obviously another concern. I have thermofoil now that has held up for 20 years and still looks brand-new. Do you know anything about the finishes on Kountry Kraft? Thank you so much for any input.

  19. pmcalary, January 26, 2017 at 5:42 pm:

    Hi Jackie,
    DuraSupreme and Medallion should be similarly priced. Fabuwood is a much less expensive line that is far less custom than these lines. However in both DuraSupreme and Medallion you must upgrade the cabinet construction to be as well made as the Fabuwood. So always upgrade those lines to all plywood construction.

    We had serious problems with DuraSupreme when we sold their cabinetry. I would not recommend buying cabinetry from them. In fact they are one of the few cabinet lines that I have ever heard of that gets complaints from their own dealers and their own independent reps.

  20. Jackie, January 26, 2017 at 3:25 pm:

    This is a great blog. We did a kitchen renovation in our first house. We used American Woodmark (not upgraded to plywood) from Home Depot. I was very happy with that line in terms of price and quality and believe or not we had a pretty good designer. However, we only lived in the house for five years after the rennovation. We are in house number 2 and are again redoing the kitchen. We went to a kitchen showroom at the recomendation of our contractor. He quoted Dura Supreme which I do not see discussed here at all. There is very little to no information on this brand other than their website. In your opinion what is a comparable brand to Dura Supreme. You talk a lot about Fabuwood? What would be the difference between these two brands. Do you have any other suggestions. I know that you like Kraftmaid? Would that be comparable? How about Medallion?

  21. pmcalary, January 25, 2017 at 6:43 am:

    Youktowne is such an inexpensive cabinet company and the oak door are usually on their lowest level of cabinetry. The plan to invest so much money on such a cheap product isn’t a good idea. I’d live with my kitchen until I could replace it correctly. Also without even seeing the kitchen I can only guess how poor a layout you have is. Toll Brother homes have some of the worst designs with Yorketowne cabinetry. Big badly designed kitchens that fall apart in 10 to 15 years. Investing in those kitchens is throwing money away.

  22. Tania, January 24, 2017 at 11:46 pm:

    Hello! I just purchased home and the kitchen has Yorktowne cabinetry in oak. We just received a price to paint the cabinets white and fillin the grain of 11k. We decided to just paint the bases white and get new doors instead for an updated look. The question I have is can I get the doors from a different company or do I need to stick with Yorktowne. On a side note, we need 69 door and drawers so it would be too expensive to get a whole new kitchen.

  23. pmcalary, January 21, 2017 at 2:01 pm:

    Sorry Brian my reply never got posted. Yes spend the extra $600.

  24. pmcalary, January 21, 2017 at 1:57 pm:

    Hi Mila,
    I think there are bigger problems here if you are correct and your contractor is marking up your cabinets 90%. Most kitchen showrooms mark up cabinetry 50% to 80% and we get the cabinetry wholesale far less than a contractor can get cabinetry for. Your contractor is cheating you and is not qualified to design a kitchen. Selecting a cabinet line is less important than somehow getting away from working with this person. Continuing to work with this person if you are right could be truly calamitous.

  25. pmcalary, January 19, 2017 at 11:58 am:

    The Forevermark is a much less expensive cabinet line. They are RTA cabinets that can come assembled but they are inexpensive even for an RTA cabinet. Homecrest is a much better cabinet and should cost at least 20% more and Kraftmaid is an even more expensive better line and should cost an additional 20%. These lines you can’t compare apples to apples. The warrantee doesn’t worry me as much as the inexpensive look and construction of Forevermark.

  26. Jackie, January 19, 2017 at 11:34 am:

    We are currently considering Forevermark Diamond Level, Homecrest upgraded to all plywood, and Kraftmaid upgraded cabinets for our kitchen remodel. Which of these has the best quality in your opinion? Should we be concerned that Forevermark is made of birch rather than maple and only carries a 2 year warranty on painted finishes? Thanks so much!

  27. Mila, January 18, 2017 at 5:36 pm:

    Please, please help me. My remodeling guy quoted a 90% markup (he didn’t know I got a look at his cost sheet). I’m sick, crying and completely without a kitchen.
    I have Lowe’s and Home Depot in the area. I’ve read your comments on their brands.
    The other option I have is a store in town that sells Shiloh, Aspect or Eclipse. I know nothing about these brands.
    I seriously need help as to which brand, from either this store or the big box stores, to pick. I’m looking at 9 upper cabinet doors that have glass and the rest with a recessed panel door.
    I like drawers for the lower cabinets plus two regular boxes with shelves.
    I do not have a contract for cabinets with my remodeling guy, so. I do not have to use him.
    Your help would be so greatly appreciated!

  28. pmcalary, January 17, 2017 at 8:36 am:

    Not a fan of those lines or of getting a kitchen designed by a builder. Find a kitchen cabinet dealer that specializes in design and let them help you navigate designs and cabinet lines. Unfortunately Lowes and Home Depot have some good lines but not many qualified designers. Any designer that is any good leaves a home center after a short time to make more money in a better environment.

  29. Kimberly, January 16, 2017 at 8:58 pm:

    I am beginning the planning stages for our kitchen update. We visited Allied Building today and they carry the following lines: Woodland, JSI, and Ultracraft. Any thoughts between the three? Are we better off going to a Lowes or HD?

  30. pmcalary, January 15, 2017 at 6:55 pm:

    Thanks. Both good choices. Remember the other mantra “Get good design help”

  31. Mark, January 15, 2017 at 6:43 pm:

    Really informative thread. Thank You. Feel confident now in either Kraftmaid or Cliqstudios.

  32. Wendy, January 12, 2017 at 8:34 pm:

    Thank you for that and I can look into ways that it might be changed. As far as the 3 brands, do you have any experience with them and what are your thoughts: Cliq Studios, Koch Cabinets and Haas. Which ones are a superior product and value?

  33. pmcalary, January 12, 2017 at 4:17 pm:

    Hi Wendty,
    Essentially this is what we mistakenly hear from nearly all customers. In general the more you think you don’t need design help the more likely you actually are to need it. The very premise of your plan, a long wall of cabinets and an island could be ill-advised considering the space that you have and it wouldn’t be brought to your attention because the places you are working with just want to sell you cabinets. You can send us a floor plan or even post one on and a professional can tell you what’s wrong with it. You would need to make a commitment to purchase cabinetry from a dealer to have a good professional kitchen designer work with you to create a better design. However telling you what’s wrong with a design is much easier. There are a 1000 bad designs for any space and only a couple of good ones. It is unlikely that an inexperienced designer will come up with one of the good ones. Here is a link to our funny video on this topic:

  34. Wendy, January 12, 2017 at 3:36 pm:

    We are in the beginning planning stages and based on our floorplan (open living, dining and kitchen) there is very little room for “design” of the kitchen. it is basically one long wall and an island. So i’m wondering if the Kitchen Design expert you keep recommending will really be worth it for our project. As far as cabinets, we are considering Cliq Studios, Koch Cabinets (imperial line) and Haas cabinets. Painted white shaker style, full overlay, framed etc. What are your thoughts between these 3 companies?

  35. pmcalary, January 12, 2017 at 11:02 am:

    Cabico is a more expensive cabinet line that doesn’t show how their cabinets are constructed online. So I can’t advise you on how they are made.

  36. David, January 12, 2017 at 9:40 am:

    Any thoughts on the Cabico brand cabinets. Working with a local designer and she mentioned that MAY be the brand that she recommends because the may be more flexible than 6 square as far as cabinet sizes

  37. lkeaney, January 10, 2017 at 7:51 pm:

    Hello! I’ve found this post helpful so I thought I would see if I could get some insight on my cabinet purchase. I’m on a budget and I’ve been to see a few kitchen designers. One at Home Depot with a quote from American Woodmark, another with a quote on Aristokraft, and one with a quote for Wolf Classic. Prices are pretty comparable. I liked working with the designer that did the Wolf design the best, however I haven’t seen the greatest feedback on the Wolf line. This is a starter home for us and we plan on being there for about 5 years. I would like them to hold up well though and not be falling apart in that time frame. I have just been so overwhelmed with all the different brands and quality of cabinets that I’m at a loss as to which to choose (or if I should go in a completely different direction). We are wanting a classic white shaker door style. Do you (or anyone else) have any experience with Wolf cabinets? Which of these three is the best quality? Or any other recommendations?

    Thanks in advance!

  38. pmcalary, January 9, 2017 at 9:53 am:

    Hi Diane,
    I haven’t heard of Cabinet Corp, but they appear to be a US company selling Asian made RTA cabinetry to contractors. There are many of these companies sprouting up. The good news is that the cabinetry is usually pretty well made for the bottom of the cabinet price points. Always better made then IKEA for example. The bad news is that there aren’t any good or experienced designers that work for companies like this. Many customers fail to appreciate how important working with a good designer is. Home owners not knowledgeable about kitchen design often mistakenly believe that their design is good and that there weren’t any other options that were very different and within their price range. As one of our videos points out: when you don’t know much about something like kitchen design and cabinetry, you don’t know what it is that you don’t know. That’s why working with a knowledgeable professional kitchen designer is so important.

    Who’s best to install the cabinets is tricky. If your contractor isn’t good enough to install the cabinets he or she isn’t good enough to prepare your kitchen for the cabinet installation. Too many cooks spoil the broth – so hiring one person to do part of the job and another to install cabinetry is usually calamitous.

  39. Diane, January 8, 2017 at 1:09 pm:

    Thank you for all the great information. We are working with an small kitchen cabinet business/designer in our area and have the design pretty much solidified. They have given us a quote for Cabinet Corp. cabinetry as their most budget-friendly line. The quote says “all plywood construction,” but I need to check on the thickness. They are framed cabinets with soft-close dovetail drawers with full-extension glides, and soft-cose doors. Have you heard of Cabinet Corp? I am thinking, after reading this, that we should ask for quotes for some of their other lines, since you haven’t mention the company. However, if this cabinet line meets your minimum construction standards, what else should we be looking for? We are getting white shaker style cabinetry. Also, should we insist on the Blum hardware? Lastly, we have found a contractor do do the structural modifications we need in the house and he says he can also install the cabinets. My gut says that the kitchen design company should install the cabinets and be in charge of the countertops so that we have follow through with them start to finish. What do you think?

  40. Marc, January 2, 2017 at 12:19 pm:

    Thanks, pmc. I guess maybe getting a few estimates might shed light on the range of cabinet costs. Of course, then the cost of labor needs to be added in on top of that. I sometimes wonder if the labor costs can even exceed the cost of materials, supplies, etc..?

  41. pmcalary, January 2, 2017 at 10:44 am:

    Oven cabinets are expensive and so I’d think closer to 10K. But keeping your design as it is now is not a good idea. Just eliminating the oven cabinet could save you $3,500 on cabinetry and appliances and make the room seem larger. I’g worry about the design first and then get the cabinetry, countertops, and appliances within your budget.

  42. Marc, January 2, 2017 at 9:33 am:

    Thanks, pmcalary. We are trying to get an idea of about what Fabuwood cabinets would cost for the kitchen. We have a basic kitchen. One wall has built in oven and refrigerator, another wall has the stove, and the 3rd has the sink. About 10′ x 10′. I think it is shaped in the “G’ formation. Any idea if such cabinets would cost closer to $ 5k or $ 10k ? Thanks. Happy holidays.

  43. pmcalary, January 2, 2017 at 8:33 am:

    Alure and Classic at built the same. The value line can be upgraded to Soft close full extension Blumotion drawers. It will be slightly less well made but still be a fine cabinet for the money.

  44. Marc, January 1, 2017 at 8:19 pm:

    I notice that Fabuwood has a few different levels of cabinets. Which would be the best grade of Fabuwood for the money : Allure,Classic, or the Value ?

  45. pmcalary, December 24, 2016 at 10:28 am:

    Hi Judy,
    The cost of a vanity will vary more than 100% depending on the width of the vanity, how many drawers it has, and if there are any customizations, so I would need more information to answer the question.

  46. Judy, December 23, 2016 at 9:06 pm:

    i am replacing three bathroom vanities and I went to a jim bishop dealer in my local area. he quoted me a price of approx. $1900 for 3 vanities deluxe cabinet box – just the vanities no tops or sinks. birch wood York door style and stained. does this sound like a reasonable quote to you? is there anything else I should be asking about or need to know

  47. Bryan, December 22, 2016 at 2:13 pm:

    I am looking at doing a small kitchen remodel on a budget. I have already gone to many different kitchen designers and the big box stores, but the one I am pretty close to pulling the trigger on has two lines that are in my budget with our design. They are the 6Square and US Cabinet Depot (about $600 Cheaper)? Are the 6Square worth the extra money?

  48. pmcalary, December 21, 2016 at 5:34 pm:

    Medallion has beautiful finishes but particle board sides on expensive cabinetry seems like a huge waste unless the home is being sold shortly after the renovation. If you are in for the long hall either upgrade to plywood or select a less expensive line that will cost you less than Medallion but be better constructed. Kraftmaid, Decora, Bishop, or Brighton are just 4 of many lines you could get a plywood cabinet in and still get very similar customization options and finish options.

  49. Mark, December 21, 2016 at 1:45 pm:

    What a Great Place to get some real insight.Not just the salesmans. I was wondering what your thoughts were on Medallion Silverline Just getting started in is whole process Thanks

  50. pmcalary, December 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm:

    That depends on your expectations and who the dealer is. Fabuwood is a great product for the cost. In the inexpensive lines there is no better bargain in my opinion. This is why they are the fastest growing cabinet line in the US. However they do have some poor dealers, and you need to know what to expect. And as always the designer is the most important component of all and most customers don’t understand the difference between a good kitchen designer and a poor one. Add to that that most kitchen designers aren’t very good and you get a lot of poor designs and outright mistakes.

  51. FS, December 19, 2016 at 4:43 pm:

    should I be concerned with purchasing FABUWOOD??

  52. pmcalary, December 18, 2016 at 7:48 pm:

    Hi Linda,
    Please don’t buy DuraSupreme. We used to carry their line and they cheated both us and our customers. They are a not an honorable company. Stick with the Kraftmaid to be safe.
    Happy Holidays,

  53. Linda, December 18, 2016 at 7:28 pm:

    Thanks so much for continuing to answer questions on this very confusing subject! We live in Western PA and have spoken with one designer that we hired and another who provided the service for free. We were able to meld the two designs and then took them to two different places for cabinet estimates. We are looking for white painted cabinets – shaker or simple raised panel. We can get 1/2″ plywood frames and real wood doors on both brands. We are between Kraftmaid through Home Depot (their designer plugged cabinets into our design) and Dura Supreme Crestwood through an independent, locally owned store. The local salesman has a good reputation for addressing any concerns from the homeowner and seems to take pride in his product. He did tell us that we could spend less by using pressed board on the interior cabinets, but after reading this blog, we will not take that short cut to save money. The Kraftmaid estimate (before any sale pricing) is about 50% higher cost. Do you have a recommendation and any thoughts about specific things we should consider?

  54. pmcalary, December 13, 2016 at 9:20 am:

    Kraftmaid from Lowes or Home Depot is the best choice of those

  55. Mike, December 12, 2016 at 9:26 pm:

    I am looking at redoing our kitchen cabinets in white painted shaker cabinets. I have looked at Lowes and Home Depot. I am also looking at Haas cabinets. Which of the cabinets would not only have the best finish but also be of the best quality.

  56. pmcalary, December 6, 2016 at 7:02 pm:

    Hi Jennifer,
    No cabinets at Lowes certainly don’t come with installation included. You are either confused of your designer is. Independent dealers will on average be slightly more expensive than a Lowes but there are exceptions to the rule like our company. Incentives by Lowes and cabinet manufacturers are sort of gimmicks and essentially prices are inflated so that there can be a sale going on most of the time. In general encouraging people to rush to buy cabinets is not in their interest and so I believe is somewhat unscrupulous. When a designer at Lowes designs your kitchen on the computer using the 20-20 design program the computer is pricing the cabinetry at the same time. So the designer should be able to tell you how much the cabinetry costs at any given moment. If he or she can’t then they haven’t been designing kitchens for very long on the computer which all home centers have used for pricing for 25 years.

  57. Jennifer, December 6, 2016 at 5:31 pm:

    Hi Paul. Your blog is filled with incredibly invaluable information. I live in Richmond Virginia and am in the process of planning a kitchen renovation. We happen to have an excellent kitchen and bath designer at a local Lowes (rare, I know) who has been designing kitchens and baths for 25 years. We are still working on the design so I have not begun pricing the cabinets. I’m trying to decide on the cabinet brand and always assumed I’d go with Kraftmaid. I’m looking to do a whitish color painted cabinet with a glazed finish, probably raised panel, but I also like a recessed panel with some type of beading if that’s the right term. Is one more expensive? Also, in a previous post you mentioned that Lowes marks up installation by 30% so get a contractor to install and save the money. My designer said Lowes cabinet prices include installation. The price does not change for just the cabinets. Does this sound correct? Finally, you mentioned that one could possibly find better prices on cabinetry through a local or independent dealer. What is the difference? Our kitchen designer said pricing comes down to the incentives offered by Lowes as well as the manufacturer. I do plan on upgrading to the minimum requirements you suggest. Keeping in mind the style/color of cabinet, can you recommend a brand that might save me money over Kraftmaid without sacrificing beauty? Thanks!

  58. pmcalary, December 3, 2016 at 11:09 am:

    Hi Sarah,
    I’m not too familiar with the Cabico lines. I know they make custom cabinets but they probably now make a semi-custom line to stay competitive in today’s price driven market. Their custom line is a nice cabinet although about 20% more than many well made semi-custom lines. How their semi custom line might stack up I don’t know. If it has all the requirements we give on our blog to be considered “well made” then they will be a good choice.

  59. Sarah, December 3, 2016 at 10:42 am:

    Hi, I have been looking at Cabico Espresso line. Are you familiar with this line and it’s quality for the price?

  60. pmcalary, November 29, 2016 at 10:58 pm:

    They aren’t that bad. They are just the least expensive of the OK cabinets. The finishes aren’t quite as nice and since the rest of the kitchen is built around the cabinets not the absolulte best choice. Kraftmaid should be at least 40% more than these cabinets. I would have picked a cabinet line in between.

  61. Birdman, November 29, 2016 at 10:20 pm:

    Appreciate the reply. Well that’s discouraging as I just committed to buying them for our kitchen which we do plan on living in for a long time. We had a smallish budget but these still weren’t cheap. Less than KM though. We were drawn to them because we though the finish looked nice in the showroom. They seem to meet all your criteria for quality cabinets – 1/2″ plywood boxes, solid face frames, not sure about the hardware though..don’t think it’s Blumotion. Can you elaborate on where they come up short?

  62. pmcalary, November 29, 2016 at 9:53 pm:

    GEC is the bottom of the barrel in RTA cabinetry. This might not be a bad thing if you are immediately selling a property. But if this is for your own home and you plan on being there more than a few years spend about 15% more on cabinetry to get the higher end US assembled Chinese cabinetry. It has better finishes and is better made. I would actually go IKEA before GEC, because IKEA has nicer finishes.

  63. Birdman, November 29, 2016 at 9:18 pm:

    Hi there. Thanks for all the info here. What do you think of GEC cabinet depot in Minneapolis? Any experience with them?

  64. pmcalary, November 28, 2016 at 1:51 pm:

    Plywood is probably not as important in an office but Diamond not upgraded is relatively expensive but not well made. There are many cabinet lines that wouldn’t need to be upgraded and are cheaper. What the office design was would determine if a less expensive line could do the design. We sell Bishop for example that upgraded would still be less than Diamond and is better made and even has more options.

  65. Jason k, November 28, 2016 at 12:13 am:

    Hello. We are looking to do a home office. Got a design and quote for diamond from a retailer, not lowes. Most discussion here is about kitchens. Should I be looking for some thing different for an office? Is diamond a good choice? Are options like plywood construction just as important for offices as kitchens? Thank u.

  66. pmcalary, November 27, 2016 at 7:32 am:

    Hi Robin,
    The answer is it almost never would it make sense. The only time it could would be if you were selling your home and you had a time constraint on doing a renovation. Frequently people refacing will splurge on appliances or countertops and spend more money than they could have done a complete renovation using better made cabinets had they only selected cabinets, tops, and appliances wisely. The most valuable thing about remodeling a kitchen is redesigning the space with a great kitchen designer. The materials that you splurge on selecting will have very little impact on the resale value of your home while fixing the design flaws that nearly every older kitchen has, and that customers are unaware, of can have dramatic effects on the resale value of your home and how fast it sells.

  67. Robin Smith, November 26, 2016 at 4:36 pm:

    Great blog! I have a question for you. Are there any circumstances where it would make sense to just reface existing kitchen cabinets instead of replacing? I’m had a few friends do this. The end product is nice however the pricing can be almost as much as replacement.

  68. pmcalary, November 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm:

    Hi Lisa,
    Ted Wood is a semi custom and custom cabinet line. The Landmark semi-custom line is very well made but probably a little more expensive than Kraftmaid. American woodmark is a nice line but at least 20% less expensive than Kraftmaid. Make sure to upgrade Kraftmaid to at least Plywood sides and Woodmark to to all plywood construction. The Ted Wood cabinet line is the nicest and the designer is probably more knowledgeable in the showroom than at the Home Depot, but I assume it will be more expensive that the Kraftmaid and certianly significantly more than American Woodmark.

  69. Lisa, November 26, 2016 at 3:44 pm:

    Very useful info. We are currently looking at Tedd Wood’s Landmark cabinets through a local kitchen designer but also like the KraftMaid and American Woodmark lines at Home Depot. This is for a seasonal home so we don’t want to spend a fortune, but we want something well made and durable, in a painted (shaker) finish. Do you have thoughts on the Tedd Wood cabinets?

  70. pmcalary, November 23, 2016 at 9:46 am:

    Hi Jan,
    Sorry but unfortunately all Thermafoil eventually delaminates as the glue breaks down. Once more than one door is delaminating the others will most likely begin to follow suit. I wouldn’t invest any money refacing or replacing all the doors. I would replace a few doors as needed and save my money to replace all the cabinetry in the future.

    Investing any money in this kitchen such as getting new granite countertops would be spending money you could have put towards a new kitchen. New granite tops, backsplash tile, new flooring are all usually not able to be saved when you redo a kitchen so the sensible thing to do is to spend as little as possible on an old kitchen until you can afford to do a new kitchen right.

  71. pmcalary, November 23, 2016 at 9:35 am:

    Hi Brian,
    Fabuwood is nicer but more expensive then Forevermark. I think all these line should be purchased assembled by the factory. It would depend on the value of the home you are selling but for any home more than a couple of hundred thousand dollars the added expense of the Fabuwood I think would be worth it. Fabuwood Galaxy frost would be the most popular style and color. Hallmark frost would be the most reasonable popular style and finish.

  72. Jan, November 23, 2016 at 9:34 am:

    We bought a 4-yr old home w timberlake Thermofoil cabinets. We cannot replace the whole kitchen but 2-3 of the cabinets have delaminated w one totally loose on a 42″ door. Original owner had 5-yr warranty, not us. What do you know about this? Door wasn’t next to oven or heat source. Could have been. Over a toaster or coffee pot.

  73. pmcalary, November 21, 2016 at 3:28 pm:

    Hi Roni,
    Fieldstone is a nice high end semi custom cabinet line. Upgrade to plywood 1/2 inch sides at least. Omega Dynasty I don’t like because it’s frameless but Omega Pinnacle is a nice framed line. Knight Kitchens is a small custom shop that appears to make a very nice product. Depends on the pricing, and I have never seen a Knight cabinet but I get a very good vibe from their web site so they might be the best pick here but you should look at the door style and finishes to see which you like best. You can’t go wrong with any of those three I mentioned.

  74. Roni, November 21, 2016 at 1:43 pm:


    Thank you so much for such a wonderful resource and for your time and thoughts. How would you rank Fieldstone, vs Omega vs Knight Kitchens( out of VT)?

  75. Brian, November 15, 2016 at 9:18 pm:

    Have a kitchen Reno on a house I’m getting ready to sell. What are your thoughts on Fabuwood vs Forevermark. Since I will not be using the cabinets price point is slightlybmore important then quality

  76. pmcalary, November 14, 2016 at 5:44 pm:

    They don’t appear to be an independent cabinet manufacturer and are the “house brand” of a contractor/builder. There is no information about their construction on their web site.

  77. Sally, November 14, 2016 at 5:32 pm:

    What is your opinion on CabCraft?

  78. pmcalary, November 12, 2016 at 10:45 am:

    Hi Craig,
    Any kind of wood should be fine and yes a painted finish would develop hairline cracks showing more of the joints in the wood due to the extreme temperature variations. Hichory is a rustic looking wood and hard but it has so much variation in color and grain that if the walls in the cabin, the ceiling, beams, and the floors are all wood the hickory might be a bit much for my taste. Birch, maple, alder or cherry would be common woods with less extreme color and grain variations.

  79. Craig, November 11, 2016 at 5:42 pm:

    We are looking at putting in new kitchen cabinets in our summer cottage in Canada. This place is not heated in the winter. Is there a particular type of wood that is better/worse to use for this situation? We have been told to stay away from painted doors and are currently looking at hickory. The cottage is log construction, so we are also looking for a rustic appearance. Thank you.

  80. pmcalary, November 11, 2016 at 9:13 am:

    Hi Lucy,

    Yes Solid Wood Cabinets are a very good choice “for the price”. They will cost you about the same or less than IKEA and they are much more durable. If you are renovating a property to sell they would be particularly appropriate.

    They wouldn’t be my choice as a homeowner though for two reasons. The first reason consumers often won’t appreciate and that’s the fact that like IKEA Solid Wood Cabinets doesn’t hire experienced designers. They are really just sales people and are usually less knowledgeable than even home center designers. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule but getting knowledgeable help with designing and planning your kitchen usually makes a dramatic difference. It always amazes me how many people would never think of having a non professional style their hair or work on their car but when they are embarking on what will probably be the most expensive renovation in their lifetime they don’t think they need experienced help.

    The second reason I wouldn’t chose Solid wood cabinets is tied to the first in a way. The next step up in cabinetry like the Fabuwood or 6 Square lines we carry have noticeably nicer finishes and more stylish door styles. While this might not be a big enough reason on it’s own to pay about 20% more, when you add the fact that if you find a good designer you will be getting a nicer cabinet AND someone that knows what they are doing helping you, it is worth the added expense.

    For example,
    For a medium size kitchen in our area:
    A cabinet order in Solid Wood Cabinets might be $6,000.
    Granite countertops $2000
    Appliances $3,000
    Flooring $1,000
    sinks, faucets and handles, $1000
    Backsplash tile, Light fixtures, and other Misc Materials $2,000
    And construction costs $8000
    This all totals $23,000

    Saving $1,200 on a slightly less expensive less attractive cabinet line isn’t so important when you will be giving up the advice you could get spending over $20,000.00. So when you are looking for bargains I don’t skimp on the skill of the person helping me. With their assistance you would probably save on other materials and avoid pitfalls and mistakes. Not to mention that it is the creativity and attractiveness of the design itself that adds the most to the value of your home.

  81. Lucy, November 11, 2016 at 8:06 am:

    Hello…have you ever heard of A company called Solid Wood Cabinets. They are a factory direct company out of NJ/PA. The face frame and shelves are 3/4″ plywood and the box construction is 1/2″. It seems like a good cabinet for the price I received. What do you think?

  82. pmcalary, November 5, 2016 at 5:34 pm:

    Hi Kendall,
    On a recessed center panel MDF is fine with the outside frame of the door solid wood. If the whole door is MDF then you would need to be very gentile with the cabinets as MDF is very soft and easily damages. Many custom cabinet lines use MDF doors because they look better painted. But often customers that are hard on things would be better off with a solid wood door at least for the outside frame.

  83. Kendall, November 5, 2016 at 3:25 pm:

    Wonderful blog! We are looking for white cabinets but framed. Many are pushing the MDF rather than painted wood due to seams opening up with wood swelling. Earlier you had suggested Square 6 for white cabinets. Would you only use wood or would you consider MDF?

  84. pmcalary, October 31, 2016 at 2:52 pm:

    I would use MDF for the recessed panel only. Both the Luxur and Kountry Kraft lines that you are considering are probably in frameless construction. So I’d worry about making sure the kitchen was designed accounting for frameless cabinetry first over the finish. Both finishes will be fine.

  85. Tracie, October 31, 2016 at 2:43 pm:

    Hello! thank you so much for all the information, it is truly helpful. I have a question for you about painted white shaker doors. Would you choose MDF over wood and which brand in your experience has the most durable painted cabinet? My KD uses Luxor, and Kountry Kraft Thank you so much!

  86. pmcalary, October 31, 2016 at 9:47 am:

    Hi Cindy,
    I’d never heard of them but they look like a smaller custom manufacturer that makes the standard top of the line framed cabinet construction. I have no idea where they fall price wise. Some of these smaller manufacturers are only a little more that the larger Semi-Custom lines and so a good deal. One issue is that sometimes these smaller custom shops have trouble getting dealers. So some of the dealers are small part time designers that can be all over the map as far as experience, pricing, and ethics are concerned. If the dealer you are buying the cabinets from has a good reputation that is a good sign.
    Sometimes these smaller custom companies sell directly to the public. This can mean that you get an especialy good price but these companies almost never have a good designer working for them. They are cabinet builders and not kitchen designers and that can mean that you have no experienced person designing your kitchen and helping you organize your project. That is almost never a good thing no matter what the savings.

  87. cindy, October 30, 2016 at 6:46 pm:

    What do you think of DeWils cabinets?

  88. Paul, October 30, 2016 at 8:22 am:

    Kraftmaid if costs are close

  89. Tbarb, October 29, 2016 at 10:52 pm:

    Thanks for your quick response. Went to lowe’s today and got a quote for Kraftmaid cabinets. Waiting on my official quote from the Waypoint dealer, but the unofficial quote is similar to Kraftmaid (upgraded with all plywood). Would you recommend I go with Kraftmaid from Lowe’s or Waypoint for the best quality?

  90. pmcalary, October 29, 2016 at 9:00 am:

    I don’t know Waypoint pricing and their web site doesn’t say how the back of the cabinet is made but it looks well constructed with a solid wood hanging rail. I would say that they are a good cabinet choice but not knowing exactly how much they cost compared to your other choices locally I can’t say if they are the best buy for the money.

  91. Tbarb, October 28, 2016 at 9:59 pm:

    Home flooded in Baton Rouge. Looking at getting waypoint cabinets. Are these good quality and worth the money?

  92. D. Lieberman, October 27, 2016 at 5:34 pm:

    Thanks for your response!

    My contractor determined that my existing cabinets are probably American woodmark because they have the same door sizes that are in my kitchen. Kraftmaid doesn’t have those sizes so they would have to make custom doors. So I suppose we’ll go with American woodmark. Also–I assume we’re better off to buy the wood and not the new duraform line they have? The wood is full overlay and the duraform is partial overlay. I assume the wood is better for resale purposes?

  93. pmcalary, October 27, 2016 at 5:10 pm:

    American Woodmark is much better than Aristocraft. However it is unlikely that you can order doors from one cabinet manufacturer and have them work on another. There are companies that make replacement doors for that but ordering the doors is still very tricky.

  94. D. Lieberman, October 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm:

    Hi, thanks in advance for your help!

    Which cabinet is the better quality–American Woodmark (in wood, not thermofoil) or Aristokraft? We’re looking for full overlay, white shaker. We are adding a peninsula and then planning to just replace the doors and drawer fronts on the perimeter (boxes are currently maple, doors are peeling thermofoil).

    I have nearly the same price for the AW and the AK with installation. I was considering doing black or a very dark stain on the peninsula cabinets and leaving the perimeter white, or else doing them all in white. I have read good and bad reviews on both brands…

    I would be willing to consider Kraftmaid if that’s better, but how much more expensive would it be? We will probably sell the place in 5-10 years so we want to do something that will work well for resale.

    Thanks again!

  95. Paul, October 26, 2016 at 8:22 am:

    Fabuwood is an American company that assembles their cabinetry in New Jersey. The majority of the wooden parts are made in China. They are all plywood construction and use the best hinges and blumotion drawer tracks on the market. They have some questionable dealers so it is important to buy Fabuwood cabinetry from a respected showroom or dealer.

  96. RY, October 25, 2016 at 5:15 pm:

    After reading all the reviews on Thomasville through the home depot, it made me look elsewhere. I find the negative reviews with Fabuwood are associated with it being a Chinese co and not American?? I am being told I can get the Fabuwood with all an plywood box and it would still be far more inexpensive than Thomasville

  97. pmcalary, October 25, 2016 at 5:09 pm:

    Now that is an interesting question. If you upgrade the Thomasville to all plywood construction and Bulmotion tracks there won’t be much difference. The Fabuwood will be slightly better constructed but the Thomasville will have more kinds of wood and more door style and finish choices. The Thomasville should be much more expensive though since they aren’t a usually a good value for the money. So if that’s the case I pick Fabuwood. If they are the same price I pick the door style and finish I like best or better yet the designer I respect more.

  98. Ry, October 25, 2016 at 4:46 pm:

    Which brand has better quality, Thomasville from Home Depot or Fabuwood from an independent shop. I love the site

  99. pmcalary, October 20, 2016 at 1:49 pm:

    When a companies website is so unsophisticated and offers no information about cabinet construction other than they are made “really well”. I start to get a election day headache. I need more information than someone telling me something will be “fabulous”. In the kitchen industry these type companies pop up regularly. I want any company I buy my cabinets from to be transparent, time tested, and able at least to afford a better web site.

  100. kim, October 20, 2016 at 11:59 am:

    Can you please give me your opinion on Truwood cabinets out of Alabama?

Leave a comment


  Reviews for Main Line Kitchen Design

69 customer reviews

Average rating:5

  Beyond Thrilled!
My husband and I finally decided to invest the time and...
by Alicia S on 10/11/2021
  Fabulous kitchen...
Paul, the owner of Main Line Kitchen Design, did a...
by Mimi M on 10/05/2021
  We were very happy...
Main Line Kitchen Design did a complete kitchen remodeling...
by Aaron & Andrea O on 09/28/2021
More Verified Reviews

Wordpress Development and PA SEO by IntuitSolutions