Main Line Kitchen Design Helps People from Outside Our Service Area

Main Line Kitchen Design will now assist people outside our service area free of charge on most Fridays between 2 pm and 4 pm Eastern Standard Time. We can answer general kitchen design or cabinetry questions and assist in finding competent kitchen designers for a particular location too far away for us design and sell cabinetry.
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Here is an example of an email we received and the advice we gave a homeowner who sent us his kitchen design to examine.
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Hi,
I’ve been enjoying your blog a lot.
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I stopped into a shop near me today and gave them a design from Cliq Studios that my installer measured out. The plan attached below is something he sent us for Decora with some tweaks to the Cliq design.
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I think there are a couple things that could be done to this design, for example going to 30” for the sink from 33” and giving those 3” to the 9” base cabinet to create another 12” cabinet.
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Anyway, I would be very interested in your thoughts regarding any big flaws and potential areas of improvement.
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Thanks so much,
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John
Kitchen designed in Fabuwood Galaxy by Main Line Kitchen Design.

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Hi John,
Thanks for appreciating our blog. Here are a couple of comments on your design:
First- Not showing all the walls around a kitchen (yes, even when there are no cabinets on them) screams incompetence in a kitchen designer. This is because there is no way to understand how the traffic flows in the room and what the clearance distances are. The computer cannot catch any measurement errors made by the person who measured. At our company a designer would be given a severe warning for such incompetence. 
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Second- The ceiling appears to be at most 4 inches higher than the tops of the wall cabinets which are 33 inches high. So, the height of the room is around 91 inches. Again, only a kitchen designer who is inexperienced would use 33-inch-high wall cabinets and crown molding in this situation unless the entire ceiling was being leveled using a laser level.
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When crown molding is reaching the ceiling, no ceiling is usually level enough to hang cabinets without a two-piece crown molding with enough play to disguise how out of level a ceiling is. Cabinetry must be installed level and the molding the way you have it will accent exactly how off of level your ceiling is.
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Using 30″ high wall cabinets with a two-piece crown molding not only will look better in your kitchen but cost you thousands of dollars less. Here is a link to a Houzz.com post of a customer whose designer didn’t account for her ceiling being out of level.
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Her ceiling had many inches of play which you do not, and she still had a problem. Good designers do not put 10 lbs. of sausage in an 8 lb. wrapper.
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Your design is also poor, although how to make a better design is impossible to know since only two walls are shown. Here is a link describing a kitchen with issues similar to your design:
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Good kitchen designers do not price out kitchens or attempt to help customers without first measuring their home. Please try to find a local designer that is both competent and responsible. Buying cabinetry online assures that the people helping you don’t know what they are doing and that there is no kitchen designer in your area able to help you should any problems arise. Here is a link to cabinet dealers and designers we recommend around the United States.
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Hopefully one of these places is close to you. If not, we help people outside our service area locate competent designers near them free of charge on Fridays between 2 pm and 4 pm EST. Just call our main phone number.
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Be a “Smart” and not a “Knowbetta”. We describe both types of customers in the funny blog below and also make this humorous point in our Youtube video:
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Cheers,
Paul
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Please use the free time Main Line Kitchen Design gives you to assist in getting the local professional kitchen design help everyone needs.
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Hoping you get the kitchen design help you need . . .
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And of course …
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Bon Appetite!
Paul, Julie, Ed, John, Stacia, and Tom
Main Line Kitchen Design

21 Replies to “Main Line Kitchen Design Helps People from Outside Our Service Area”

  1. Mac

    I am being quoted J&K cabinets from a contrator as part of a major home remodel. I’ve read some very mixed reviews of J&K on Houzz. Seems like most complaints are that the hardware is not very long-lasting. You mention in your cabinet discussion video with McHales kitchen that you carry Fabuwood as a similar option to J&K which McHale carries. Is J&K a reliable company with well-made cabinets in your experience? Is Fabuwood better? Should I push for my contractor to go with a Fabuwood supplier if I can get him to do so?

    1. ITSAdmin

      I Like Fabuwood better than J&K but I doubt that the cabinet hinges and drawer hardware is an issue as most lines use the same hardware. My guess would be that cabinet inserts like trash can pull outs or other gadgets would be the issue. Customers often blame the inexpensive lines for issues they might have had with any line. They just assume that since the cabinets were inexpensive that the issue is with the cabinet line and not their installer, kitchen designer, or simply a property of what they selected.

  2. DD

    Thank you. I hired him independently through a general contractor referral. He does work for MasterBrand Cabinets full time as well but worked for me as an independent. I didn’t think then the design would dictate using those MasterBrand cabinets. New to this! I see a kitchen cabinet dealer recommendation for NVA in your list. I will contact them. Do you have any others?
    Can I share the design here for your Friday free help sessions as well, please?

  3. DD

    Thank you for your blog. I am still confused though as what the process should be. I live in N.VA. Should I get an independent designer, work with him or her, then go and seek a Kitchen Design place which stocks cabinets? The independent designer I worked with has designed it with Thomasville. He is a rep.

    You advice in a previous post
    “What concerns me though is that the contractors are selling the cabinets and I guess designing your kitchen. That is doing a kitchen renovation backwards. Design the kitchen first then have contractors bid on the design. Don’t buy cabinets from a contractor they will not be neither competent nor price competitive.”

    But you also say that you will not work with someone else’s design.

    How should I go about doing this now that I have a nearly complete design that I paid for. But only nearly.

    1. ITSAdmin

      Hi DD,
      Generally independent designers are not good kitchen designers. If they were they would have a full time job working for a showroom and cabinet dealer. Shop for a kitchen cabinet dealer that sells several brands of cabinets. We recommend several in Virginia. They can give you pricing on cabinetry and also critique the design you presently have. Charging people to design a kitchen in a Home Depot cabinet line sounds shady. The home depot designer would do that for free and might very well be a better designer than a freelance one.

  4. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

    Hi Dan,
    When three different designers come up with similar designs that is a good sign and should be comforting. Knowing which cabinet line is the best fit for your particular design is very dependent on the design, door style and color.

  5. Dan

    Thank you for your insight regarding pricing and cabinet quality. I wish we were in your service area, but we live in Connecticut. We did go to three separate KDs (representing the three different cabinets brands) with our floor plan only, and surprise surprise they each came up with a very similar design! It may not be entirely apples to apples, but it was pretty darn close. Prices ranged from $21,000 to $34,000…quite a difference…so that was my reason for seeking your advice. It was certainly worth our time comparing the three brands before making such a substantial investment in our kitchen, and we appreciate your advice!

  6. Dan

    Thanks for your informative blog. I have received quotes from Candlelight, Fieldstone and Medallion Platinum for a painted white maple inset shaker door kitchen. While all three quotes initially were similar (including one from a high end local lumberyard), another KD affiliated with a well regarded lumberyard an hour away is quoting Medallion Platinum at more than 33 percent less for the same design. Is this sort of variation in price possible? Also, what do you think of the quality of Medallion Platinum versus Candlelight or Fieldstone?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Dan,
      All good cabinet choices. Yes pricing can vary a great deal for several reasons. First there is no minimum mark up a dealer must adhere to. Pricing mistakes are also commonly made and getting designs apples to apples is almost impossible. Many times the original designer that created the design will include finishing touches like wainscotting side panels and combining cabinets that cost a lot more but in their opinion make the design that much better.
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      When customers “shop till they drop” the places that they bring someone else’s designs to know that the customer is price driven and lacks loyalty to any designer and so some designers will strip a design of the expensive finishing touches to get the sale. This is why most kitchen designers don’t really respect customers that bring us finished designs to price. If the designs were created by contractors, customers, or architects they are usually poor designs and simplistic. That is also why they can be easily priced different places.

      Main Line Kitchen Design almost never receives a design done somewhere else that a customer asks us to price that is any good. This is because creating a good kitchen design especially in an inset cabinet line like you are considering takes several, if not many, two hour design appointments. Once customers have the number of appointments needed to create a great design they are also usually loyal to the designer they worked with.
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      Because of our business model Main Line Kitchen Design is very competitive for cabinetry and would nearly always beat the price of a competitor for more expensive cabinetry. That being said we would never price out a kitchen plan without a customer paying us a deposit because they are coming to us with someone else’s work product and to price out a great kitchen we still would need to have appointments with the customer to explain options and possibilities. The customers that bring us their designs to price don’t want to pay any deposits and so they don’t work with us and purchase a worse design for more money often from a designer that has stripped their design of the extras they aren’t sophisticated enough to understand.

  7. Tammy Stoner

    Hi. Any thoughts on Koch kitchen cabinets? Recommended for painted cabinets.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      There are better values and better constructed inexpensive lines than Koch. I’d look to the less expensive lines we rate well.

  8. Karen Brown

    Hi Paul. I am interested in frameless cabinets. One vendor I found, from 2 suppliers near me, is Tedd Wood. I did not see this vendor on your 2018 ratings list. Do you know anything about these cabinets and if so, can you comment? Thanks!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Ted Wood is a custom cabinet maker in Pennsylvania. They make well constructed framed and frameless cabinetry. We recommend only using frameless cabinetry for slab style doors since frameless construction is less durable. Slab doors look better in frameless so the lack of durability at least has a purpose.
      I did hear from another dealer that Tedd Wood was having some quality control issues of late with cabinetry shipping with the sizes off by small amounts. That’s just from one dealer though and it was only on three kitchens.

  9. Jackie

    I was looking at Omega cabinets and learned that the central panel is MDF. When I raised a concern, they said that all manufacturers now make the center panel MDF for painted cabinetry? Is that true? I hope not!

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      On a shaker style door for a painted cabinet MDF is a better choice. More expensive cabinet lines might make it both ways but we would recommend getting the middle panel MDF if it is offered that way.

  10. Lauren Dianos

    Hi Paul, My Husband and i are between two contractors. They are both very reputable and are well known in the area. The key difference is the cabinets they sell. One contractor is selling Fabuwood and the other is selling Candlelight. I see a lot of harsh reviews on the Fabuwood but we i saw them in the store they seem pretty nice. The price difference between the two contractors is approx. $8K. Is there a big difference between the two cabinets?

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Lauren,
      There is a significant price difference between Candlelight and Fabuwood but both are well made. What concerns me though is that the contractors are selling the cabinets and I guess designing your kitchen. That is doing a kitchen renovation backwards. Design the kitchen first then have contractors bid on the design. Don’t buy cabinets from a contractor they will not be neither competent nor price competitive.

  11. Joan Rogers

    Hi Paul and thank you for your blog. I am buying Kraftmaid cabinets for 3 bathrooms. The cost difference between particle board baseline and all plywood is about 12% cost difference or about $550. The middle option is doing plywood ends only which is about 6% above the lowest price or $270. The bathrooms include our master, downstairs powder, and the “kids” bath which is only used rarely as she is grown. Which upgrade would you suggest, if any. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Plywood sides should be fine for a bath. Or you could even do plywood sides only on all the exposed sides if that’s cheaper. You just want everything exposed plywood.

  12. Anna

    Thank you for this post and for your offer of help outside the area. We live in NYC and used one of the companies from your list of recommended designers to start our kitchen project. Surprisingly, they contradicted some of the important points you make on your blog. Examples: Frameless cabinets are no worse than most framed cabinets. Only custom framed cabinets are better than frameless. Frameless cabinets give you 30% more storage. Fabuwood cabinetry is of poor quality with a lot of complaints from customers after installation within the first few years. We received this information from an experienced designer there. We wanted to go with Fabuwood for our project. This dealer/designer carries Fabuwood but does not recommend it. Instead, they recommend brands that are poorly rated on your blog. Not sure what to do….This is the only place on your list that will service NYC. Any other recommendations? I find that every kitchen designer will give you different sometimes conflicting information.

    1. pmcalary[ Post Author ]

      Hi Anna,
      Unfortunately many kitchen designers don’t know what they are talking about. This designer sounds more interested in making money than in learning about the products he or she sells. We chose the company from the projects that they displayed on Houzz, from their good reviews, and from the cabinet lines they carried. We should obviously delete them as at least this designer does not agree with much of what we believe and know to be true. Could you email me the name of the company so that I do not delete the wrong company. We can also take a look and see if we can find another dealer close to you that meets the same criteria and with some luck is better informed about the products that they sell. My email address is Paul@MainLineKitchenDesign.com. I’ll email you back another place to try assuming I find a good candidate.

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