Main Line Kitchen Design
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Posted October 27, 2018 by pmcalary

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 alot.
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I stopped in to 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. 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. And the computer can not 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 you in getting the local professional kitchen design help everyone needs.  Our help is not meant to replace the in depth  detailed kitchen design help that many people using Houzz.com or The Garden Web often try to avoid.
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Hopping 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

16 Comments

  1. Anna, October 27, 2018 at 10:36 pm:

    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.

  2. pmcalary, October 28, 2018 at 12:43 am:

    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.

  3. Joan Rogers, November 19, 2018 at 4:52 pm:

    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.

  4. pmcalary, November 20, 2018 at 2:08 am:

    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.

  5. Lauren Dianos, February 5, 2019 at 7:45 pm:

    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?

  6. pmcalary, February 5, 2019 at 9:08 pm:

    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.

  7. Jackie, March 5, 2019 at 1:20 pm:

    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!

  8. pmcalary, March 5, 2019 at 4:25 pm:

    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.

  9. Karen Brown, March 6, 2019 at 10:08 am:

    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!

  10. pmcalary, March 6, 2019 at 10:18 am:

    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.

  11. Tammy Stoner, March 6, 2019 at 8:03 pm:

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

  12. pmcalary, March 7, 2019 at 7:53 am:

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

  13. Dan, May 19, 2019 at 9:56 am:

    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?

  14. pmcalary, May 19, 2019 at 11:22 am:

    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.

  15. Dan, May 19, 2019 at 8:28 pm:

    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!

  16. pmcalary, May 19, 2019 at 9:52 pm:

    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.

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