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

Kitchen designer

With more than 30,000 visitors a month to the Main Line Kitchen Design website we get asked nearly everyday to design and sell cabinetry outside our service area. Normally we don’t design and sell kitchens further than a 2 hour drive from our offices outside of Philadelphia. We believe that to design great kitchens and provide good customer service a dealer needs to measure a project, meet with customers face to face, and be readily available to assist if problems arise.

kitchen picture

As a service to people not close enough to work with us we have begun to compile a list of recommended dealers. These are kitchen designers and cabinet dealers outside our service area that appear to meet our criteria for being good designers and seem to offer quality cabinet lines at competitive prices.


Here is how we selected the companies we are recommending. First our designers looked over the projects of potential dealers to make sure that their projects didn’t have major mistakes in them. This is actually harder than one might think. For example it took Paul and Stacia 45 minutes to find just one dealer in Los Angeles without blatant design errors on their Houzz page.


Once we found that a company met our minimum design standards and received good on line reviews on Houzz, Google, and Angie’s List we then examined their websites. The cabinet lines the companies carried needed to be quality lines and good values and their web site needed to meet our standards for transparency and professionalism.


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


While we do not know these companies first hand we believe our research provides a good starting point for finding a good designer in the areas we list. See the map and listings below:

map of dealers


New England


Hingham Lumber Cohasset, MA Sarah Bullock (781) 741-1249  www.hinghamlumbe,com

Kitchen & Bath Gallery Locations in MA, CT, & RI: 508-457-9720
Yarmouth, Martha’s Vineyard, Falmouth, North Attleboro, Uxbridge, Guilford, & Warwick 

Kitchen Living Marlborough CT   860-819-5847

Bender Bridgeport and New Haven CT   203-847-3865

Kitchen Solutions Portland ME 207-520-2311

The Design Center at Ricci Lumber Portsmouth, NH Billie Senzek 603.436.9193

Mid Atlantic

CopperLeaf Design Pittsburg PA 724-471-4890

Majestic Kitchens Mamaroneck N.Y. 914-381-1302

Merri Interiors Commack NY 917-660-7658

Builders General Supply Little Silver NJ 1-800-570-7227

Oakenshield Kitchens Poughkeepsie, NY 845-554-3777

Innovations by VP Supply Corp Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Erie, and more 585-272-1560 Rochester location


South Atlantic

Best Kitchen and Bath Baltimore MD 410-290-7137

KBR Kitchen and Bath Bethesda MD 301-718-2800

Virginia Kitchen and Bath Herndon VA 703 793-1993

MidSouth Building Suppy Alexandria, Fairfax and Richmond VA 800-284-7940

B&T Kitchens and Baths Virginia Beach, Norfolk VA 757-502-8625

Creative Kitchens Charleston WV 304-529-2537

West End Cabinetry Winston-Salem NC 336-722-6565

The Kitchen Studio Greensboro NC 336-855-0903

The Cabinet Design Studio at Forest Millwork

Ashville, NC 828-251-5264

Forest Kitchen Design Studio Greenville,

SC  864-326-0036

Beautiful Spaces LLC Charleston SC 843-693-1293

Insidesign Augusta GA 770-673-0721

Coastal Bath & Kitchen Savannah GA 912-238-3400

Capital Kitchen & Bath Columbia SC 803-345-5888

IAS Kitchen & Bath Orlando FL 407-438-9080

Kabco Kitchens Miami FL 844-695-2226 info@kabcokitchens

S & W Kitchen & Bath Tampa FL 6 Florida Locations 877-400-0237


East North Central

The Jae Company Columbus OH 614-392-4466

Kinsella Kitchens & Bath Cincinnati OH 513-561-5285

J & B Kitchen Designs Chicago IL 847-693-1149

Mince Kitchen & Bath Design LLC Indianapolis IN 317-306-5005

Woodmaster Kitchens Detroit MI 586-778-4430

Geneva Cabinet Gallery Aurora IL 630-232-9500

Penny Craig Lowes  Store 2545 Milwaukee WI    (262) 740-2728


West North Central

Kitchens By Design Minneapolis MN 651-636-5266

Lampert Lumber – Pella Des Moines IA 641-628-9663

Kitchen Design Gallery Inc. Topeka KS 913-492-8887

Bartel Kitchen & Bath Wichita KS 620-543-6767

A1 Kitchen & Bath Omaha NE 402-513-3241

Knecht Home Center Rapid City SD 605-342-4840

Luxury Designs Fargo ND 701-478-2776

East South Central

Cabinets & Designs Inc. Lexington KY 859-253-9002

Kitchen Sales Nashville TN 865-524-5529

Pro Stone Kitchen & Bath Gallery Montgomery Al 334-281-0048

Inside Outside Inc. Jackson MS 228-864-3093


West South Central

Gulf Breeze Cabinets & Countertops Inc. New Orleans LA 504-218-5435

USA Cabinet Store Houston TX 713-322-5544

FBS Factory Builder Stores Austin Texas 201-709-6389

Midtown Cabinetry & Designs Houston TX  281-947-2120

Kitchen Design Concepts Dallas/Ft. Worth TX 214-827-9881

Kitchen & Bath Ideas Little Rock AR 501-812-0200

Kitchen Concepts Tulsa OK  918-779-4480



Interior Innovations Phoenix AZ 602-866-188

AAAH! The Kitchen Place Cheyenne WY 970-225-9456

Crazy Mountain Cabinetry Billings MT 406-222-5635



Grand Canyon Home Supply  Phoenix AZ  602-3710600

Kitchenland Inc.  Las Vegas NV  702-896-0265

Osborne & Dermody, Inc.  Reno NV  775-359-5000

Tony Ellis – Kitchen & Bath Design Boise, ID  208-375-7881

Chris and Dick’s  Salt Lake City UT  801-972-8815

Luna Kitchen and Bath  Seattle WA  206-338-3763

Ovation Design Build  Portland OR  503-635-3456

JB Kitchens Baths & Design, Inc. Los Angelos, CA  909-394-9545

City Cabinet Center  San Diego CA  619-521-2875

Cabinets and Beyond Design Studio  San Francisco CA  415-863-5550

Precision Cabinetry and Design  Sacramento CA  916-854-7300

Marc Coan Designs  Santa Fe NM   505-837-8888


  1. pmcalary, February 1, 2020 at 8:33 am:

    Hello California,
    Yes we offer assistance and answer questions free of charge Fridays EST between 2 and 4 pm. Leave a message if we don’t pick up we will call you back as soon as a designer gets free.

  2. california-kitchen, January 31, 2020 at 3:36 pm:

    Hello, I would love to get your advice on my kitchen designs. My KD is competent, but has limited experience. I feel I should get a second opinion. Are you still offering assistance to customers outside of your service area on Fridays from 2-4 EST?

    We are in CA; if we were in your area we would absolutely go with you. Your knowledge, expertise and care is obvious and appreciated.


  3. pmcalary, December 22, 2019 at 6:52 pm:

    Both Wolf and J&K offer inexpensive well constructed cabinets. However I am not a fan of almost all design and build companies. Generally they are only competent building and not designing and they do not offer great pricing for cabinetry nor do they understand the issues involved in ordering cabinetry.
    I would hire them to install and buy my cabinets from a true cabinet dealership with full time experienced kitchen designers.

  4. Bela Bansal, December 22, 2019 at 6:14 pm:

    We are talking to a design/build kitchen company that utilizes Wolf and Kitchen craft. Another brand on offer is J & K Cabinetry. Which brand would you recommend?

  5. Paul McAlary, December 4, 2019 at 12:57 pm:

    Hi Issac,
    Adding a flower box to fill in under the window on the outside of the house is an easy way to raise a window. Other questions we answer Fridays 2-4 pm. Call and one of us can see if we can find a place closer to you.

  6. Isaac, December 4, 2019 at 12:46 pm:

    I’m remodeling a kitchen in Bergen County, NJ and am looking for a cabinet dealer and kitchen designer to work with. I’m looking for a place within a 30 minute drive and your recommendations are all further away. Just from doing some research online I’ve found Alba Kitchen and Bath, Golden Source Kitchen and Bath, and Wholesale Kitchen Center. Do you have any insight into any of these places?

    Also, one of the windows on my kitchen wall currently extends below counter height. I’m toying with the idea of making the window smaller so that counter can be extended underneath it. The exterior of the house is brick. Do you know if this is something that is too complex/pricey to consider?

    Thank you!

  7. ITSAdmin, October 3, 2019 at 1:26 pm:

    Hi Chantal,
    No but if you called on a Friday one of us could take a look.

  8. Chantal, October 2, 2019 at 12:13 pm:

    Your website is so helpful.Do you recommend anyone in Orange County, California?

  9. KevinStever, October 2, 2019 at 2:43 am:

    Thank you so very much for the thorough and truly helpful response.

  10. pmcalary, June 11, 2019 at 4:43 pm:

    Frameless cabinet construction with particle board and thin sides.

  11. LTimko, June 11, 2019 at 4:40 pm:

    Hi there,

    Working with a company that works with Ultracraft cabinets. They’re not highly reviewed here. Is there a reason they came in low?

  12. pmcalary, May 26, 2019 at 8:44 am:

    We help people outside our service area free of charge on Fridays between 2-4 EST. This friday is crazy due to tariff price increases so only one of us will be manning the phones and it may be hard to get through.

  13. Becky, May 26, 2019 at 3:40 am:

    Are there any good designers in Spokane, Washington? The ones you have listed are too far away for us

  14. pmcalary, May 23, 2019 at 9:31 am:

    Hi Judith,
    The cabinet companies we recommend on our site we do sight unseen based on their designs we see, their online reputation and the lines they carry. Individual designers can be good or bad at a particular showroom and what the showroom looks like has very little to do with how good a designer or a cabinet line might be. If you call 2-4 pm EST on a Friday one of us can see if we can find another place to recommend in your area. This Friday is fine next Friday will be too hectic as there are price increases in a couple of the lines we carry that are are making that particular day crazy for us trying to process orders before the increase takes effect.

  15. Judith Shill, May 23, 2019 at 8:28 am:

    Thank you so much for your invaluable information. I am getting so educated by reading all your comments . We had planned to get a Woodmode kitchen at the cost of 70K for the cabinetry only! Woodmode no longer exists and I loved their quality but agree with you that the value is an A- . This has given me time to re think our project and want to find a company equal to Woodmode quality. I liked the kitchen designer that I worked with but found them very expensive at 160K for the entire project. In the Dallas , Fort Worth area you recommended The Kitchen Design Concepts and I consulted with them and there is no way we were going to spend that kind of money with that company. They were actually pathetic and their showroom and designer was not up to standard. Could you please recommend another company for me to work with and in your opinion what is the best cabinetry on the market? I know you said a designer was more important than the cabinetry but I at this stage don’t have either. Where should I start?

  16. pmcalary, April 9, 2019 at 9:46 am:

    Hi JKFred,
    We tried to find dealers that met our criteria for good design, a stellar reputation on line, and quality cabinets across price points in every state and most metropolitan areas. However it just wasn’t possible in many cases. In fact we just had an embarrassing turn of events when the location we recommended in Denver went out of business.
    Just because we can’t find a place to recommend in your area does not mean that there aren’t great designers and dealers there. It just means that from afar there just wasn’t enough information about any company to meet our criteria.

    If you have a great experience with a particular company let us know and we can check them out and if we are comfortable recommending them it can be a boost to their business. It would be a favor to them just like a 5 star review on Google, Yelp, or Houzz. If you find our blog helpful and would like to leave us a good review that helps us equally well!

  17. JKFred, April 9, 2019 at 9:35 am:

    First, I found your website via a google search and have spent hours learning from the comments section. It is now my only “go to” site for kitchen advice/expertise. We have gutted a 1920’s ranch style farmhouse on my family’s farm in Northern Colorado and I have a kitchen/dining shell that is 23 x 14 feet. Based on your advice, I need to start with a great kitchen designer. I didn’t see any Colorado (specifically Northern Colorado, Fort Collins/Greeley area) designers in the Mountain Area region. Am I missing that list? Do you have any recommendations?

  18. Venkat, March 8, 2019 at 9:07 am:


    Is there one in or around the San Jose, CA area that you recommend. San Francisco, CA is a long distance for many of us.

    Thank you!


  19. pmcalary, March 7, 2019 at 7:33 am:

    Hi Larry,
    Green Forest upgraded is the better construction. Schrock has the nicer finishes. There are better choices out there if you have Schrock amounts of money to spend.

  20. pmcalary, March 5, 2019 at 8:52 am:

    Hi Susie,
    Unfortunately none of the kitchen design and cabinet dealers in Santa Fe meet our criteria to recommend. And of course there are always ways to modify and improve every design – you just don’t realize what is possible because you are not a kitchen designer. As Doug Mottershead CKD says in our funny video about this point, “people just don’t know what they don’t know” Video link below;

  21. Susie, March 4, 2019 at 5:39 pm:

    Hello, this is wonderful! I’m moving to a townhouse in Santa Fe NM. The kitchen is very small.- one wall and an island. There is no ability to reconfigure the space so I’m pretty much stuck with it. Can you recommend anyone to help with this? Also, I’m looking for good quality mid-range cabinetry without a huge price tag. I currently have Woodcase cabinets, a local company in the Phoenix area, and love them. Unfortunately, they only sell locally. I’d appreciate any help you can give me!

  22. LARRY MCALLISTER, February 19, 2019 at 8:02 am:

    I really learned a lot from your blog. I building a new home in eastern NC and the two cabinet shops I’m working with offer the following in my price range: Shrock Kitchen and KCD baths or Green Forest throughout. All seem to have 1/2 in plywood construction. KCD showed staples and plastic braces. Any thoughts on these?

  23. pmcalary, February 12, 2019 at 4:07 pm:

    Yes we rate Mid Continent pretty poorly in our most recent cabinet rankings. Link below:

  24. Karen Legreid, February 12, 2019 at 2:19 pm:

    Thank you so so much!!! I deeply appreciate your help! Any strong feelings about Mid-Continent? Thx again! You’re providing a wonderful service!!!

  25. paul mcalary, February 12, 2019 at 7:37 am:

    Hi Karen,
    Some truth in what hes says but not all truths.
    MDF is Medium Density Fiberboard. It is denser than particle board and has some properties that are good but some that are terrible. On base cabinets that sit on the floor it is fine for the sides of cabinets as long as the sides that are exposed are plywood. On wall cabinets that carry weight that hangs on the wall sides of cabinets are much better all plywood. And the backs of cabinets or hanging rails should NEVER be MDF. Because of this it is simpler to just make the cabinet all plywood if you want to make a good cabinet. The companies that sell MDF cabinets where you pay extra to get plywood often over charge for the option.
    Yes all painted cabinets scratch more easily than stained cabinets and are ruined by water more quickly. This is true for expensive and inexpensive cabinet lines. It is why some cabinet companies get bad reviews on line from consumers. Because the home owners blame the cabinet company when the paint they chose doesn’t hold up to abuse. You must be careful with painted cabinets. They can be touched up easily by refinishers though for a few hundred dollars.

  26. Karen Legreid, February 11, 2019 at 11:01 pm:

    One more thing😊- the guy said that w the paint (cream/beiges) you have to constantly wipe dry by the sink or the paint will start to chip/come off. Is that true? It seems hard to believe if whites/beiges are so extremely popular. Again thanks so much.

  27. Karen Legreid, February 11, 2019 at 9:32 pm:

    So the two popular brands in our area are Haas Cabinets and Mid-Continent.
    The guy who is pushing for MC mentioned MTD or something like that. He said it’s so much different than the particleboard of old. He also mentioned about using plywood only for the outside services which sounds suspect to me. I have read what you have said about particleboard. Can you give me your opinion on those two brands? Thank you so much.

  28. Karen Legreid, February 11, 2019 at 1:31 pm:

    Thanks so much!!

  29. pmcalary, February 10, 2019 at 9:34 pm:

    Around here off white shaker and recessed panel style cabinets are at least 60 % of all our sales. So while wood stains are finally coming back they still account for less than 20% of the kitchens customers buy.

  30. Karen Legreid, February 10, 2019 at 6:38 pm:

    First thank you so much for such wonderful information. It helps so much. My question has to do with color of cabinets. My heart would really like a vintage cream but aren’t the woods better for resale? Our kitchen isn’t that big But has some nice light coming in. Thank you so much in advance for your help.

  31. pmcalary, January 31, 2019 at 8:24 am:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    The web site doesn’t say how the back of the cabinet is made but if it is 1/2″ plywood like the sides we would give the line an A for construction.

  32. Elizabeth Billings, January 30, 2019 at 2:04 pm:

    Hi. I am the woman above who advised she was looking at Wellborn forest Americana Capital series. You gave WF good rating but this cabinet is actually made by Capital a division of WF.
    I’m looking to get a painted shaker. Does this change your
    number and letter grade?


  33. pmcalary, January 16, 2019 at 2:20 pm:

    Hi Stephen,
    We tried and couldn’t find any dealers that met our criteria in several locations. We plan on doing updates on dealers and cabinet lines this summer. You could call on a Friday between 2pm and 4pm and one of us could look for you.

  34. Stephen Joslyn, January 16, 2019 at 11:32 am:

    You have no listings for Vermont, do we not have any Kitchen Designers?

  35. pmcalary, December 20, 2018 at 11:50 pm:

    We couldn’t find any company that met our criteria in Chicago. If you are not close to Chicago and you call between 2-4 pm on a Friday I or another designer can see if we can find one close to your zip code.

  36. Catherine Liston, December 20, 2018 at 8:36 pm:

    I don’t see any designers listed for Illinois. Any recommendations?

  37. pmcalary, December 19, 2018 at 9:22 am:

    Hi Kelly,
    Everything Kitchen and Bath looks good. They don’t list their cabinet lines on their web site but we Like Wellborne Forest and Mouser. Durasupreme can be a nice line however the company is a problem. Since EK&B gets such good reviews they probably have a better experience with DuraSupreme than we did. Their designs on are professional and without mistakes. I think that it is a particularly good sign that the one bad review that they got was from someone they obviously didn’t want as a customer. This is the case with the few bad reviews we have received. Customers were so problematic that we passed on their projects and this made them angry.

  38. kelley, December 18, 2018 at 5:55 pm:

    The above area is North Florida, sorry.

  39. kelley, December 18, 2018 at 5:55 pm:

    Can you recommend a designer in the Jacksonville/Fernandina Beach area? One place in Fernandina called Everything KItchen and Bath has excellent reviews. They sell Wellborn Forest, Dura supreme (I think), and Mouser.

  40. pmcalary, December 7, 2018 at 4:26 pm:

    Hi Diana,
    We recommend Majestic Kitchens in Mamaroneck N.Y. 914-381-1302 for your area.

    Golden Source doesn’t list themselves as kitchen designers on and their web site screams that they are not good at designing kitchens. You don’t order a kitchen like Chinese food IE one from column A and 2 from Column B. I’d steer clear of a company that markets kitchens in preset packages. Even Lowes and Home Depot would be too smart to do this. I’d go to one of those home centers before Golden Source.

  41. Diana, December 7, 2018 at 3:58 pm:

    Wow! I’m so impressed by all the replies and feedback you give to everyone! you’re website is so helpful!
    Would you be able to provide insight on golden source kitchen, located in NJ? i’m currently in the process of renovating my home and was considering going to them for my kitchen cabinets. I referred to your list of companies and they weren’t on there. I appreciate your help!

  42. pmcalary, September 12, 2018 at 12:09 pm:

    Hi Danny,
    Nice speaking with you. Feel free to send me a design when it is near complete. I’ll send you a direct email address.
    I can give you some input free of charge.

    Noe of these choices will make our recommended dealer list but they all look OK

    For Independent Dealers I would recommend:

    Marc Coan Designs LLC
    3301 Menaul Boulevard Northeast; Suite 28
    Albuquerque, New Mexico 87107
    (505) 837-8888

    Their less expensive cabinet line is Waypoint which I don’t love but a good designer is more important than a B cabinet rating. Their more expensive cabinet lines are good.

    At Lowes I would use either:

    Eugene Dunaway
    2001 12th St. NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87104
    Phone 505-349-2462


    Gary Harvey
    3500 NM 528 NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87114

    At Lowes, From most expensive down. Upgraded Schuler, Kraftmaid, or Shenandoah are all good choices.

  43. Danny, September 12, 2018 at 11:25 am:

    I live in 87109 in Albuquerque. Do you have any recommendations for competent designers in the area? Santa Fe is 45 minutes away and it might be possible to use a designer from there. Thanks.

  44. pmcalary, September 8, 2018 at 9:34 am:

    Our 2018 cabinet review blog rates most of these lines. There are big price differences.

  45. pmcalary, September 8, 2018 at 9:31 am:

    Call us on a Friday between 2pm and 4pm and a designer can look it up for you. leave a message if we are all buzy and we will call you back.

  46. Matt Brown, September 7, 2018 at 11:51 pm:

    Thank you for this extremely informative blog post. If you happen to get a chance, I would be very grateful for a kitchen designer recommendation in Orange County (SoCal). I visited JB Kitchens & Baths in LA (and was impressed), but unfortunately my home was outside their service area. Thank you again–this site is an excellent resource.

  47. Margot, August 31, 2018 at 11:09 pm:

    Thanks for a very helpful ratings system. Kitchen designers in our area in Springfield, Illinois, aren’t listed. We’ve met with five different designers. We’re getting a bit overwhelmed with the construction process, quality and wide pricing ranges. Kraftmaid, Monarch, Schrock and Wolf are the manufacturers they’re “pushing” the most. There are advantages and disadvantages for all these designers. It comes down to product and the way their ideas mesh with ours. I know you can’t help with the concept but can you recommend any of these manufacturers over the others?

  48. Ula, August 19, 2018 at 8:03 pm:

    I am so greatful for your time ! I did contact Blue Hot Design and scheduled an appointment but had the same thought/worry … it adds a middle man. Have not thought of a home Center designer ! Thank you so much for looking into the actual contact for me! Warmest regards,

  49. pmcalary, August 19, 2018 at 11:10 am:

    Hi Ula,
    Unfortunately it looks like that company has gone out of business. I looked in your area and surprisingly there doesn’t seem to be a full service independent cabinet dealer with a good portfolio. There are a lot of bad ones. There are some more expensive independent designers that look good like Blue Hot Design but that adds a middleman to the cabinet buying process and so it would be a last resort in our opinion.

    The following recommendation is a first for us – recommending a home center designer. I looked at the portfolio of a Penny Craig a Lowes designer in your area and it looks good. She must be some go-getter to have her own Houzz page. I’d try her first. Here is her contact information:
    Penny Craig Lowes 2545
    (262) 740-2728

  50. Ula, August 19, 2018 at 8:03 am:

    Your site is a wonderful resource. I am looking for a good designer in Milwaukee area. The link for Berg kitchen design seems to lead to an error and when researching the name I don’t seemto find them. Is there any help/guidance you can offer?

  51. pmcalary, August 6, 2018 at 4:09 pm:

    We use a companies project photos on Houzz to determine if we will recommend them. However it is not to see if they have pretty designs and styles that we like it is to see if they show design mistakes. Most companies do show serious design errors so it is easy to weed many out. If you show design errors in the photos you are posting on either you are an incompetent or don’t care. Listed below are two blogs on the most serious dangerous design errors to check and see if the company you are considering shows these errors.

    Don’t even consider using style or a look you like as a test for designers as any competent kitchen designer can design in any style. Fist check a companies Houzz page for errors and also to make sure they rate 5 or 4.5 stars in their Houzz reviews. Then check their reputation by Googling them and seeing the reviews they get on Google, The BBB, Yelp, etc.

    Finally check their web site to see if they carry brands we recommend. That’s what we do. Below are links to the mistakes and our newest blog on reviewing cabinet lines:

  52. Nicole, August 6, 2018 at 2:30 pm:

    Thanks for your guidance to us homeowners to first identify the best possible kitchen designers to use, instead of first trying selecting the cabinet brand. Beyond liking the look of their designs on Houzz or their website, what criteria /questions do you recommend we use to find the most talented designers?

  53. pmcalary, July 28, 2018 at 11:05 am:

    There are some good things about home centers and some bad things. For example:

    Both Lowes and The Home Depot have some good brands such as.
    Both carry Kraftmaid
    Home Depot carries Decora, and Lowes carries Schuler (Medallion in the private dealer world)
    As a less expensive alternative Both carry Timberlake called American Woodmark at Home Depot and Shenandoah at Lowes.
    Upgraded all these lines make can sense depending on what you are looking for.

    Note: Martha Stewart, Thomasville, and some other Home Depot brands are re-branded cabinets and you are paying more for these pseudo lines than makes sense.

    The other up side to home centers is that you know that you are dealing with a reputable company.

    The big down side to home centers is that their designers are usually less qualified than at private dealers. There are some great designers that do work in home centers but they are the exception to the rule.

    Good kitchen designers must consider moving walls, doorways, soffits, and even windows to create great kitchens, and home center designers are not supposed to be doing this. Splurging on more expensive door styles, cabinet lines, countertops and appliances make no sense if you aren’t first changing the room to create the best kitchen design. The few good designers that work for Home Depot and Lowes are all breaking their companies rules to create better kitchens. But working in an environment that tries to defeat good kitchen design is hard for them and they have my sympathies and respect for often putting their jobs on the line to give their customers better kitchens. Home centers don’t pay commission so home center designers are also not paid to be great designers.

    Neither home center is different enough to rate one over the other. The most important thing if you are shopping for a kitchen at Lowes or The Home Depot is to find the best designer in your area that works at either store and arrange to work with them.

  54. Suzi, July 27, 2018 at 10:05 pm:

    Do you recommend Lowe’s or Hone Depot for cabinets

  55. RENEE KAUFMAN, July 10, 2018 at 10:15 pm:

    Thank you so very much for the thorough and truly helpful response.

  56. pmcalary, July 10, 2018 at 9:24 am:

    Hi Renee,
    Choosing places to recommend is difficult for us. Primarily because even though customers like yourself are primarily looking for cabinet ratings, as designers we know that good kitchen designers are much more important than the difference between designing with an A or B cabinet line. Not being professional kitchen designers customers don’t realize just how much they really don’t know about our profession. Because of this non professionals focus on cabinet brand, appliance brands, and subtle color choices. All things that while important have far less impact on a successful kitchen project and money spent wisely than finding a good designer to work with.

    Before we even look at brands a dealer carries when we are researching for places to recommend, we look at the projects the company displays. These should be jobs that they are proud of. Showing glaring design mistakes in the projects you choose to display on Houzz shows that either they are incompetent or just don’t care. Unfortunately most dealers display major mistakes. An extreme example was Los Angeles where it took two designers an hour to find one place without blatant design errors shown on their Houzz page. We narrow the places we recommend first by design ability and then we look at the lines that they carry.

    Cabinets & Beyond while not having as dramatic kitchens in their portfolio as some other dealers, did not make us crazy by showcasing bad or dangerous designs. And the cabinet lines they carry were across all price points so they can service all customers. While they do carry more frameless lines than framed and so these lines can only get at most a B in construction on our rating system that is true for most of non rural California dealers. The market in your area demands frameless lines and so is less concerned about durability and more concerned with looks. So we can’t fault them as dealers.

    Schrock upgraded is a fine mid priced line to design in with their newest upgrades. In fact we may upgrade their construction to a B+ shortly. Crystal is a great line and if you want frameless cabinetry Omega Dynasty or Belmont is a good value “for frameless”

    The drum we beat is for customers to spend at least as much time researching designers and dealers as they do researching cabinet brands. If they did our industry would be more professional, have greater transparency, and people would get better less dangerous and more functional kitchens.

  57. RENEE KAUFMAN, July 10, 2018 at 1:47 am:

    Help, I’m losing my mind. I can’t figure out how your cabinet ratings correspond to your designer and dealer recommendations. Here in San Francisco, you recommend Cabinets & Beyond.
    They sell the following makers:

    DYNASTY/OMEGA: for which you give the following ratings: (Omega)Dynasty Frameless, B for Quality, C for value, (Omega) Dynasty Pinnacle Framed A for Quality, B for Value
    BELLMONT: which you don’t rate, but have only negative things to say about (had to search for Belmont in the thread since most people misspelled the brand)
    CRYSTAL: A+ for quality, A for value
    ECLIPSE: no rating and no mention
    PLATO: no rating and little mention
    MERILLAT: C for quality, D for value
    Schrock: B for quality, B for value

    So based on the above, I just can’t figure out which of those makers you’d recommend for someone like me who cares only about function, ergonomics (drawers, pull out pantries, etc.), and durability. I’ll find a cabinet front I like enough in any line. So why recommend Cabinets & Beyond? It seems you only approve of the most expensive, custom makers they carry. I hope I’m missing something!
    As a comparison, Gilman’s Kitchen & Bath sells Wood-Mode, Brookhaven, DuraSupreme, DeWils, KitchenCraft, and Bellmont.
    I can’t help but wonder why they both sell Bellmont if it’s so poorly constructed.
    I’m able to spend about $30,000 on the cabinetry, which will run 25 linear feet of drawers and 10 feet of floor to ceiling cabinets. I should be able to get something robust, no?
    I’m very much looking forward to your thoughts because I’m going coocoobananas trying to figure out where to get my new kitchen!

  58. pmcalary, June 13, 2018 at 6:53 pm:

    The color you are choosing is forcing you into higher priced lines. Black cabinetry will be expensive unless you use IKEA. This is where most people end up wanting this color but also wanting to save money. It is a road I don’t recommend but if you truly want an all black kitchen then why worry about durability? You will probably grow tired with this choice short of the 15 or twenty years the cabinets will last or sell your home before then. And since it is such a specific color choice it is unlikely the new buyers will keep the kitchen black. IKEA would be fine in this particular scenario. I know I’m being a wet blanket but I am conservative in color and style choices because the project is so expensive. Getting back what you put into an expensive kitchen renovation when you sell is usually something people are concerned with.

  59. pmcalary, June 13, 2018 at 6:38 pm:

    You will find many less expensive lines do shaker espresso cabinetry but black will always put you into higher end cabinetry. I would also be careful selecting a black finish for an entire kitchen. While espresso would be a more popular choice black is not. And a home with an entire black kitchen could be hard to sell. The lest expensive well made black cabinet (more of a charcoal color) might be from Clique Studios on line. But I don’t recommend buying cabinets on line.

    I would also warn you that customers that focus on saving money as a priority but want unusual finishes are often missing what’s most important in a kitchen – namely the design itself and making the best trade offs within your budget. And while they get what the want in the end they often neglect good design and other intangibles. They will still love their kitchen because they picked everything out and it is a reflection of them. But the IKEA effect blinds them to how others perceive their kitchen.

  60. Amy A, June 13, 2018 at 5:31 pm:

    I just received a quote from the recommended dealer in SF and it was 15-17k for a 12×12′ kitchen with a small peninsula. I know our area is quite pricey in comparison to other areas but this price point is really steep for us. Any other recommended dealers in SF that might carry lower priced cabinet lines? The issue might be because we want black shaker cabinets and I’m finding a lot of lower priced cabinets found online don’t offer this color selection. Any recommendation?

  61. Amy, June 11, 2018 at 4:49 pm:

    I’m learning sooooo much from your blog posts!! Thank you taking the time I provide so much great information and reviews! My husband and I are doing our first kitchen remodel but we’re still in the initial phase of finding a designer. We’re located in SF and I have already reached out to the recommended dealer in our area, Cabinets and Beyond. After speaking with them to set up an appointment I have concerns that the cabinet lines they carry are on a higher cost scale. What would you recommend in this situation where you’re working with a designer that is limited to using three cabinet lines? Can you recommend any other SF Bay Area cabinet dealers with good designers and more affordable cabinet lines?

  62. Susan J, June 10, 2018 at 5:15 pm:

    What are the pros and cons of using an independent kitchen designer who is not affiliated with any brand of cabinetry? Thank you for your response.

  63. pmcalary, June 7, 2018 at 2:41 pm:

    Don’t know Boss

  64. Phil, May 29, 2018 at 2:17 pm:

    Have you heard of BOSS Cabintery in New Hyde Park, Ny. WE are considering buying thier Boss Cabinetry Timeless cabinets which I believe are custom made.Its all plywood, Drawers are Dovetail with Blumotion, construction is framless. finish is VP White and door style is Q10- Quincy FlatVP Maple. They deigned our kitcken but we would to paid extra for installition. Compared to a Kraftmaid cabinets? Thank you for your help.

  65. paul mcalary, May 2, 2018 at 10:14 pm:

    These type choices are personal taste. And impossible for me to know what you will like. The answer is still quite likely though. And shopping at a dealer that only caries 1 or 2 brands is a bad ides if you are looking for value.

  66. Julie, May 2, 2018 at 7:50 pm:

    Thank you so much for the quick reply! We went to another designer who had cabinets at what seemed like a much lower price point and were disappointed with the color and style choices (I believe they were Fabuwood). So, now we are back talking to the Mouser-only company. I suppose my question is whether there are lines with Mouser-like choices but cost 25% less? Thanks again for this amazing blog!!

  67. pmcalary, May 2, 2018 at 4:36 pm:

    Hi Julie,
    There are well made cabinet lines that are price levels 1’s and 2’s. The won’t offer the variations in wood species, or as many color choices and door styles. However customers often aren’t buying the styles and finishes that are only available in the more expensive lines and so they are wasting their money. It is a misconception by customers that expensive means better constructed or more durable. Helping you understand what you are paying for is what good designers should be doing.

  68. Julie, May 2, 2018 at 4:27 pm:

    We are talking to a design/build kitchen company that only utilizes two lines. One of them is Mouser. I see that line gets high ratings from you (A/A-), which is reassuring, but we are concerned that Mouser is at price level 5. We want a high quality product, but want to know how much we would save if we went with a firm that would use a price level 4 cabinet. We want quality (plan to live in the house forever), but don’t want to spend ALL of our money! Thanks!

  69. pmcalary, May 2, 2018 at 8:49 am:

    No never heard of Sole Design

  70. Susan Johnson, May 1, 2018 at 10:17 pm:

    Do you know anything about Sole Design Cabinetry out of Tennessee, and how would you rate them? Thank you.

  71. pmcalary, April 22, 2018 at 11:17 am:

    Hi Susan,

    Here is how we selected the companies we are recommending. First our designers looked over the projects of potential dealers to make sure that their projects didn’t have major mistakes in them. This is actually harder than one might think. For example it took Paul and Stacia 45 minutes to find just one dealer in Los Angeles without blatant design errors on their Houzz page.

    Once we found that a company met our minimum design standards and received good on line reviews on Houzz, Google, and Angie’s List we then examined their websites. The cabinet lines the companies carried needed to be quality lines and good values and their web site needed to meet our standards for transparency and professionalism. Below is our cabinet ratings to help find dealers that carry well made lines:

    On Fridays between 2 pm and 4 pm we answer questions from people outside our service area so if you strike out on your own you could call us between those hours for a designer to try to find a dealer for you.

  72. Susan Johnson, April 21, 2018 at 9:07 pm:

    Can you recommend a designer with a well-rated cabinet line, in the Asheville, NC area? The two cities listed on the map of NC are quite far from us. Thanks.

  73. pmcalary, April 19, 2018 at 5:23 pm:

    I think you want to buy your cabinets from the place that designs your kitchen. We will try and find another location to recommend in the Chicago Area. I know their web site was being worked on but I didn’t understand that they no longer were cabinet dealers.

  74. Chris Kent, April 19, 2018 at 11:49 am:

    I have contacted J&B Kitchen designers from your list. Live in Illinois. They don’t sell any cabinets anymore. They do designs only. They said I can use their design to get a quote from any cabinet company. I am finding out that may not be how things work in my area. Most places want to their own designs to buy their cabinets. Trying to get a quote on Bishop they have no one in my area. What can I do?

  75. pmcalary, April 6, 2018 at 2:34 pm:

    No we have spent a lot of time checking and we can’t find a dealer that meets our criteria for recomending.

  76. Gary, April 6, 2018 at 11:12 am:

    Do you have any recommendations for the Atlanta area?

  77. pmcalary, March 13, 2018 at 9:29 am:

    In St Louis I might start with this company. Their designs look good and they carry a full range of cabinetry.

    Henry Kitchen and Bath

  78. Cathy, March 12, 2018 at 10:01 pm:

    After reading your article on mistakes a good designer would avoid or mistakes to avoid, I realized that I am making the mistake of not having a good design before I start to demolish.
    So what I need to know is where I can find a good designer in ST louis MO. that is not just wanting to sell me their expensive cabinets. How do you know or go about finding a good designer first, before looking for a cabinet. I am tired of living in a demolished kitchen and now realize I need help.

  79. pmcalary, March 5, 2018 at 10:29 pm:

    These lines are similar and I don’t know either line well enough to know there price point and some of the details that would give one the nod over the other. For both upgraded to a plywood veneered box. Showplace is the more custom line and does inset cabinetry. I think you need to see the lines first hand and get the specs from the dealer to decide. On line they both leave some construction details off their spec sheet.

  80. cathy, March 5, 2018 at 4:50 pm:

    what do you know or how would you rate Wellborn Forest kitchen cabinetry to Showplace

  81. Shubunkin, February 15, 2018 at 3:29 pm:

    That is so interesting! We just asked for slab cherry as we thought it would inarguably be simple and the same for comparison. I’m wondering why the kitchen designer for Fieldstone didn’t mention this. I sure wish you were here in NC! But thanks so much for educating us!

  82. pmcalary, February 15, 2018 at 9:08 am:

    The explanation in pricing is probably that the slab door in Diamond is a veneer and the slab in Fieldstone is solid wood. Most people actually prefer a veneer because the grain goes across the whole door instead of there being stripes on the door where each piece of solid wood is glued to the one next to it. We would always recommend a veneer on a slab door so you are saving money AND getting a style that you will probably prefer. Customers will often complain when they buy the solid wood slab doors about the stripes even though they actually paid about 25% more to get the solid wood. When any designer sells a slab door that is solid wood they need to warn their customer about the stripes. Designers that don’t do this are usually greedy and foolish.

  83. Shubunkin, February 14, 2018 at 10:28 pm:

    Thanks so much! We did as equal an apples to apples comparison as we could; slab doors in natural cherry. We want to modify the design and didn’t want to impose on the designer if we weren’t going to use their cabinets. I feel so much better that we won’t be making an awful mistake with the Diamond line. We will actually go with shaker style that are even a bit less expensive.

  84. pmcalary, February 14, 2018 at 9:34 am:

    Yes Diamond is sold at Lowes and upgraded to 1/2″ plywood sides it will be equal in construction to Fieldstone also upgraded.The pricing is odd though. In general Fieldstone is about 20% more than Diamond so either you are getting a high price for Fieldstone or you are not comparing the same type door styles and finishes. Or Lowes forgot to include moldings etc. If the prices are correct and the design the same I would have to pick Diamond here even though I like Fiedstone finishes a little better. If you were pricing Fieldstone in inset or beaded inset cabinetry that is much more expensive and would explain the price difference.

  85. Shubunkin, February 13, 2018 at 9:51 pm:

    I so appreciate the cabinet ratings; however, the Fieldstone cabinet quote was $27K and the Diamond cabinet quote was $18K. Is the Diamond line at Lowe’s the same as what you rated? We intend to do the all plywood upgrade, and the quality otherwise seems pretty good.

  86. pmcalary, February 3, 2018 at 3:54 pm:

    Bad reviews by consumers are nearly always driven not buy the quality of the cabinets but by the level of experience of the designer and installer. The cabinets just get the blame for the misconceptions of the buyer. This is why IKEA gets the best reviews of all while being a terribly made cabinet. The cabinets won’t fall apart for years so who would give them a bad review the day after installation and the installer is usually the homeowner. So who would find fault with themselves? Kraftmaid is far far better than Ovation although there are also less expensive good choices.

  87. Jan Mintz, February 3, 2018 at 3:12 pm:

    Thank you for your helpful website! We are remodeling our Santa Cruz home, build in 1908 and remodeled in 2011. I thought I wanted a KraftMaid kitchen but have read some really scary reviews. Our kitchen designer suggested Ovation. They didn’t get very high marks from your survey so now I am worried.

    Any thoughts?

  88. pmcalary, January 26, 2018 at 4:38 pm:

    Sorry I hadn’t realized we overlooked MO. I’ll put it on our list to review.

  89. Kathy, January 26, 2018 at 2:12 pm:

    Thank you for updating this list, however, Missouri is not on it at all, so I guess we don’t have good designers (sarcasm). Waypoint gets Bs in both quality and value on your list. I don’t consider that too shabby. Our design makes none of those mistakes. I guess I will decide whether drawer hardware is a big deal.

  90. pmcalary, January 26, 2018 at 1:12 pm:

    The cabinet lines you are considering are not great nor a good value. Expensive cabinet places often don’t have good designers so don’t be too sure about your design. This is why we compiled our list of dealers outside our area. I would start with one of our recommended dealers if you are close enough. Especially if you find any of the common mistakes in your design listed in this link.

    There are NO excuses for these errors. Good designers find a way to solve these issues.

  91. Kathy, January 26, 2018 at 1:02 pm:

    Thanks again. However, we do have a good design because we had a good designer with a cabinet line out of our league. I have read every blog on your site. I was really just wanting to know if drawer hardware is a really big deal in the whole scheme of things.

  92. pmcalary, January 26, 2018 at 12:55 pm:

    Both those lines are rated in our 2017 list below:

    As always we would stress that nearly everyone that is asking these questions has a terrible design and needs to find a good designer first and a brand second.

  93. Kathy, January 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm:

    Okay thanks. What are your thoughts then on Shiloh vs Waypoint? Waypoint definitely has crappier drawer pull-out hardware. Is that a problem if otherwise we are okay with Waypoint? I’m going crazy trying to make this decision! It is such a large amount of $$$ to spend! Thanks again for your thoughts.

  94. pmcalary, January 26, 2018 at 12:13 pm:

    No I don’t know the line

  95. Kathy, January 26, 2018 at 12:07 pm:

    Do you know where All Wood Cabinetry falls in the 1-6 price point scale? Looking at their website, it seems like they are quality and I found a dealer/designer in St. Louis. Our current options/quotes are Shiloh or Waypoint. Thanks if you can help.

  96. pmcalary, January 12, 2018 at 7:04 am:

    Updates for the rest of the US will be added in the next 7 days. The national Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, KBIS, just ended in Orlando and we are now back working on the project.

  97. Kathy, January 12, 2018 at 12:08 am:

    I sure wish you had recommendations for Missouri finished! Our original designer, while good, was way out of our price range and only offered Brookhaven and Wood-Mode. Now we are scrambling to find someone else and don’t know where to begin!

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