Main Line Kitchen Design
Call us at 610-500-4071

Posted August 28, 2016 by pmcalary

811 Neshit Rd Swathmore PA 19081 1

Let Us Help You Decide Which Kitchen Cabinet Brand Is Best For You

Bishop Richmond Medium Stain

Bishop Richmond Door Style in a Medium Stain. Designed by Paul.  Installed by A.D. Panaccio. Photographed by Linda McManus

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“What kitchen cabinet line is best?” and “What kitchen cabinet line do you recommend?” are the most common questions we receive. The answer depends on several factors including budget, how fast cabinetry is needed, and how long you want the cabinetry to last.

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Every cabinet line is trying to fill a certain niche in the cabinet market. About half  of them are trying to compete for contractor and builder business.  These cabinet manufacturers and the builders they primarily sell to tend to rank construction quality below finish, style, and availability. So, if cabinet durability is a priority for you, these lines should be avoided.

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The reason for this is that builders and people renovating to sell homes have less incentive to pay even small upgrades for well made cabinetry as their responsibility to the seller only lasts 12 months.  A good example of how little home builders value cabinet construction is that an expensive home builder like Toll Brothers uses the lowest construction quality Yorktown cabinetry in their new homes.

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Cabinet manufacturers that are trying to sell to home owners usually make cabinetry that either comes well constructed or can be upgraded to acceptable standards. The following is Main Line Kitchen Design’s criteria for quality construction:

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  • A face frame made of 1 1/2″ x 3/4″ thick solid hardwood.
  • 1/2″ plywood sides, bottoms ,and tops with 3/4″ plywood shelves.
  •  A solid wood 3/4″ hanging rail or a 1/2″ plywood back. A 3/8″ back is OK but not preferred.
  • Ibeam construction and  wooded corner blocks are preferable to plastic corner blocks.
  • Solid wood dovetail drawers and Blumotion tracks and soft close doors are mandatory.

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Example of well constructed cabinet

Example of well constructed cabinet

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It is surprising how many higher cost cabinets do not meet these construction minimums. On the other hand, after meeting these construction minimums cabinetry should last a lifetime so there is very little advantage in paying for cabinetry that exceeds the criteria. Generally, the best choice for most consumers is the least expensive cabinet line with the desired wood species, finish and custom features.

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Home owners and kitchen designers must balance the cost to be in different cabinet lines with how well those lines meet design and finish preferences. It is not uncommon for small compromises to save a significant amount of money. For example, the most expensive cabinet lines are high priced because of their ability to customize or to do unusual finishes. This means if you don’t need cabinetry customization or you are getting a solid painted finish, you could be paying for the availability of features you won’t be selecting. Beaded inset doors, furniture grade stained finishes, distressed finishes, and glazes and paints with visible brushstrokes are features only available in higher priced cabinetry. These expensive and distinctive finishes usually aren’t perceived as superior or more expensive by the general public and aren’t chosen when ordering cabinetry. A home owner not opting for these features does just as well in a less expensive cabinet line as long as the cabinetry being ordered meets the recommended minimum requirements.

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Beaded Inset Cabinetry

Beaded Inset Cabinetry – Doors and drawers are recessed into the cabinet face frame.

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Main Line Kitchen design sells 7 cabinet lines and all 7 meet our requirements to be considered well made. The 5 major cabinet brands Main Line Kitchen Design carries are Fabuwood, 6 Square, Bishop, Brighten, and our custom line Wellsford. We selected these lines because all are well constructed and all also do more customization than comparable lines at their price point. This also makes each of them a great value for designing more complex kitchens.

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Which line is best? Well of course, the most expensive full custom one Wellsford. Can our customers recognize the difference between Wellsford and even the least expensive line we carry Fabuwood? Surprisingly, most can not. So extra money spent upgrading to higher cost cabinet lines often goes unappreciated.

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On the other hand, almost all our customers prefer and can recognize a well designed kitchen when we show them one. And, most of the designs we see done by designers from home centers and other dealers are poor. Accordingly, home owners should focus on finding a good kitchen designer over spending time determining “which cabinet line is best”.

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It should be noted that European frameless cabinetry is in a class of it’s own and no frameless cabinets meet our minimum construction requirements for a well made cabinet. Because contemporary and modern door styles look so much better with the ultra tight gaps between doors and drawer fronts only possible with frameless construction, they are only available that way. So, The ONLY reason to purchase the lower quality frameless construction is if you are getting extremely modern and contemporary door styles. Main Line Kitchen Design’s Bishop line has the greatest door style and finish selection in European frameless construction. And Bishop, Fabuwood, and Wellsford all make their frameless cabinetry with 3/4″ plywood sides – the best possible way to make a European cabinet.

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Frameless Construction

Frameless Construction Bishop European Cabinetry

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Since Main Line Kitchen Design’s customers are 90% home owners, we put kitchen design and cabinet construction quality first. We only offer cabinet lines that provide our customers the highest quality at the best price.

Here are two other blogs concerning what constitutes a well made cabinet:

https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/2015-popular-kitchen-cabinetry-brand-comparison/

https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/let-the-cabinet-buyer-beware/

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Have a wonderful rest of the summer … and of course …

Bon Appetit!

Paul, Ray, Ed, Tom, and Julie

Main Line Kitchen Design

50 Comments

  1. paralyzedinNC, August 28, 2016 at 10:59 pm:

    We are pulling out 20 year old Decora cabinets and replacing with a whole new kitchen – we have talked to 2 kitchen designers and are looking at Omega, Eudora and Brighton cabinets. Do you have thoughts about the quality of those? I saw on the respective websites that Eudora has a one year warranty, but the others have limited lifetime warranties, which obviously sounds better to me. I am interested in the soft close drawers (which I think they all have) and a variety of finishes – although I know I’m going for a white maple with a brown brush glaze. I’m also considering a built in fridge with a panel for the doors. Reviews on line are mixed – lots of bad stories, some good on all. Any advice is appreciated.

  2. pmcalary, August 29, 2016 at 7:53 am:

    Brighton is the only line I like of the three lines. Frameless cabinetry like Endora or available in Omega I would never use. The Pinnacle line in Omega is well made but I dislike Masterbrands as a company. On line stories about bad cabinet experiences are often misleading. It is the reputation of the dealer you are buying from that is the best indicator of what to expect.

  3. ParalyzedinNC, August 29, 2016 at 8:00 am:

    Thank you so much! Do you have any experience with Holiday Kitchens or 6 Square? It sounds like you don’t like frameless cabinets in general – they seem to have a little greater access (larger space in the drawers for instance) is it a construction issue or a durability issue? Thanks again for your input!

  4. pmcalary, August 29, 2016 at 8:25 am:

    We like and sell 6 square but Brighten is a better cabinet. Both are better than Holiday. Frameless cabinetry is less durable and I would never use frameless cabinetry unless the door style is very modern in which case that is the only way the cabinets will be made. If you have children or are rough on things stay away from frameless construction. Here are two blogs on those topics:

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/what-cabinet-line-is-the-best/

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/category/kitchen-cabinets/

  5. sara, December 4, 2016 at 3:08 am:

    i’m a wheel chair user, bump into things a lot, i need something won’t chip and easy to clean

  6. pmcalary, December 4, 2016 at 9:51 am:

    Hi Sara,

    Independent of personal style considerations the best cabinet function wise for your needs would be a frameless easy access cabinet with a laminate slab door. Designed keeping stress on the cabinetry to a minimum these type cabinets will hands down be nearly impossible to scratch or chip will be the easiest to access and can be cleaned just like a countertop with no crevasses to catch dirt.
    Here’s a link to one of our kitchens done in this cabinet style and type:

    http://www.houzz.com/projects/1973010/contemporary-kitchen-with-white-laminate-doors

  7. Eva, December 30, 2016 at 6:13 pm:

    What are your thoughts on the Bridgewood Cabinetry Advantage line(framed)?

  8. Paul McAlary, January 1, 2017 at 10:02 am:

    Hi Eva,
    I’d never heard of Bridgewater but they look well made. Since they don’t even make very contemporary doorstyles there would be no reason I would even consider a frameless cabinet. A framed full overlay doorstyle would be the most popular.

  9. Kelly, January 3, 2017 at 11:32 pm:

    First, i’d like to thank you for all the information about kitchens & cabinets. I’ve read it several times & have taken notes! I really appreciate the time you spend educating us regarding this topic. our kitchen remodel has been complicated since we are removing a wall & expanding the kitchen into our dining room. I’ve been to multiple kitchen cabinet designers, all with different floor plans & after a year, we have decided on a plan. I say this because you mention how important design is to the plan. The space is rectangular in shape with a large dining room window that many have said is challenging & complicated.
    Our cabinet options are R.D. Henry, the furniture board of their line or Kabinart. I thought you’d mentioned kabinart in your information but I’ve had trouble finding it again. We’ve also considered kraft maid or schular. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

  10. pmcalary, January 4, 2017 at 4:32 pm:

    Hi Kelly,
    There are lots of alternatives that will be better made cabinets then the ones you are considering but not be near the price of Kraftmaid or Schuler at Lowes. Shenandoah at Lowes would be one or we carry several others lines like 6 Square or Fabuwood that would also be better made and even a little less than Shenendoah.

  11. Kelly, January 5, 2017 at 10:05 am:

    Wish we could use you but live in the Midwest. I’m not sure of the availability of fabuwood or 6square in our area. I hadn’t heard of them until I’d read your blog. I have a neighbor who can get Kabinart for a great price & in my notes from your blog I’d put them in the yes column. I’ve tried to go back to your blog & see where I got that information but I haven’t been able to find it. On their website, they meet all the basic requirements except for 3/8 inch sides which is not good according to the information in your blog & in consumer reports. The designer I’ve been working with uses the rd Henry cabinet line. I assume she’s using this line because of our budget, which is tight & it is a somewhat large space. We’ve considered doing the some of the work ourselves since we know people in the business, hence, cabinets from lowes or Home Depot. We appreciate your suggestions! Thank you!

  12. Terry, January 7, 2017 at 12:19 pm:

    What are your thoughts on Bertch Cabinets or the Kemper line with plywood construction ? thanks

  13. pmcalary, January 7, 2017 at 12:52 pm:

    I’m a big fan of Bertch and not so much of Masterbrand’s Kemper. Although you can probably upgrade Kemper to a decent cabinet nowadays I can’t quickly tell because Masterbrands doesn’t make it simple determining how their cabinets are made.

  14. ANNETTE D., January 8, 2017 at 11:43 am:

    WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WOODMODE CABINETRY ?

  15. pmcalary, January 8, 2017 at 12:41 pm:

    Hi Annette,
    I think Woodmode is a fine cabinet line and we actually investigated carrying the line. Unfortunately one of Woodemodes issues is that neither a customer nor a potential dealer can contact them directly which is a little creepy (as an aside). There is no phone number for the company, customer service #, email address, etc. Everyone is simply referred to the Woodmode representative for your area. The representative for our area was so unresponsive and difficult to work with that both Woodmode and Main Line Kitchen Design were not satisfied working together. If you find a dealer in with a great reputation you will be fine though.

    One thing to consider is that finding the cabinet line is much less important than finding a good kitchen designer. How well your home is designed by the designer will determine how functional and attractive the finished project is and not the cabinet line. Most dealers will carry cabinet lines similar and as well made as Woodmode. For example we carry 4 lines some less and some more expensive than Woodmode but all offering the same options. And we carry 4 other much less expensive cabinet lines that are as well made but without the ability to customize to the extent Woodmode can. Most customers can’t tell the difference between any of these lines by looking at them, but they all can appreciate a better designed kitchen when they see it.

    Cheers,

    Paul

  16. Kara, January 12, 2017 at 11:21 am:

    That’s interesting that you said that the quality of cabinet doesn’t really matter as much as having a great kitchen design. We have visited quite a few kitchen places that feature designers, but weren’t ever truly satisfied with the result. We finally paid for a design and what a difference it makes! I actually feel like we took a step forward; however, when we saw the price quote for what that kitchen would cost us, our hearts skipped a beat. The designers offer 3 levels of choices for cabinets and we chose Dura Supreme. Just wondering if we would be making a mistake by taking the design and to our local Home Depot and ordering Kraft Made cabinets?

  17. pmcalary, January 12, 2017 at 11:55 am:

    You could interview many home center designers to find the best and closest one. Many showrooms will only be 5% more than home centers and will have better designers. I don’t know where you are located and the style that you are selecting but occasionally it makes sense for customers to buy cabinetry from us long distance. If you know the door style and finish you want and have a design we could price it out. We don’t recommend Durasupreme as a company. We used to carry their line and the company didn’t honor their commitments to our customers.

  18. Lloyd, January 12, 2017 at 9:22 pm:

    This is great information and I think all of us are extremely grateful. I just had to leave stock building supply, now owned by BMC, because the designer and salesrep were on two different pages. I wen to a recommended dull service design center and its been a great decision. Im look at the modern and contemporary lines, but hesitant due to the comments above. Ive read your other blogs for the past few months. All the design center has is duraspupreme, belmont 1600 & 1900, and medallion. I do like the duraspreme style and customization, because I have a medium/smaller odd shaped kitchen. Im not sold on durasupremes “lifetime” guarantee. Belmont is pretty spend. My question is your thoughts on the above cabinetry and companies for modern euro styling? If I were to switch and choose a more contemporary modern flare,whats your thoughts as well. Thanks again and your blogs should win an award!

  19. pmcalary, January 13, 2017 at 10:03 am:

    We don’t recommend Durasupreme. We used to carry their line and they didn’t honor their commitments to our customers. Medallion is a much better choice. Both cabinet lines are pretty expensive though.

  20. Dawn, January 15, 2017 at 10:47 pm:

    Are you familiar with Shiloh cabinetry or their cheaper Aspect line? Do you have an opinion on the quality of their finishes? We initially thought we were going to go with Bridgewood’s Advantage line, but we weren’t impressed with the quality of the sample door we received recently. Thank you for any insights!

  21. pmcalary, January 16, 2017 at 9:25 am:

    Shiloh Cabinetry has some nice door styles and finishes but aren’t a particularly good buy or particularly well made for the money. Their aspect Line I don’t know.

  22. Susan Elgin, January 27, 2017 at 2:16 pm:

    Exceptionally helpful information on cabinets and designs. Sad that I live too far away to use your company!

  23. Pam, February 9, 2017 at 11:23 pm:

    Found this site while surfing for reviews on kitchen cabinets. We are planning to remodel our small kitchen (8 x 11 x 11 with new cabinets and countertop. I have books from Lowes on Kraftmaid,Shenandoah, Schuler and Diamond. Also picked up one from Home Depot for American Woodmark. We are an older retired couple on a fixed income so trying to match quality with the best price. A simple raised panel option would be fine. In what order would you rate these companies. Also, is it possible that Kraftmaid at Lowes might be priced differently than at competitor? Thanks.

  24. pmcalary, February 10, 2017 at 6:23 am:

    Hi Pam,

    Hope this helps:

    Schuler from Lowes (labeled Medallion at private dealers) is the most expensive cabinet and also needs to be upgraded the most since you can order the cabinet with 3/8 particle board sides. Once upgraded to 1/2″ plywood sides it is a great cabinet but expensive and no bargain.

    Kraftmaid sold at both Lowes Home Depot and Private dealer is the same at all three if upgraded to plywood sides or all plywood construction. Each of the three types of dealers will have different names for the same doors and a few doors that the each don’t carry. Kraftmaid is the best cabinet for the money but still more money than you might want to spend if you are on a budget.

    Diamond at Lowes is my least favorite of the bunch for the money. You need to upgrade Diamond to 1/2″ plywood sides and while the finishes are nice if you are on a budget it is probably not the best pick.

    American Woodmark at Home Depot, Shenendoah at Lowes and also called Timberlake at private dealers is probably the best choice if you are on a budget. Upgraded to all plywood construction they will be made the same as the other lines. The finishes won’t be quite as nice and quality control could be less from a less expensive line but damages can happen in any cabinet line. Doors and finishes will have different names at the different locations and each location will have a few of their own styles exclusive to them. The cabinets will probably cost 20 to 40% less than the other choices and upgraded they are well made so I’d save my money to splurge on something else unless you love a finish in one of the other lines.

    Finally I’ll mention my mantra that spending more on a design that can be better is the most senseless choice of all and the one most often made. Find the best designer that has your interest at heart and buy your cabinets from him or her. Saving 5% on cabinets but working with a poor designer will cost the most in the end because of the advice you will never get. Your kitchen only looks as good as the ability and experience of the person that creates it. This is why designing it yourself or having your contractor or an inexperienced designer create it guarantees that it wastes of money.

    You can email us a design and while we can’t take the time to redesign it we can give you a few tips and catch major mistakes if they exist.

    All the best and as Julia said …

    Bon Appetit!

    Paul

  25. Kelly, February 10, 2017 at 10:40 am:

    We are about to start a new build and are looking at shaker styles for our kitchen. Our designer suggested looking at the Eudora like for these. What is your opinion of this line for this application?

  26. pmcalary, February 11, 2017 at 7:37 am:

    Hi Kelly,
    Endora is a frameless line. And not only do I prefer Framed lines for their durability but Endora makes a lesser quality frameless line construction wise. They have lots of nice features and upgrades but as far as I know they always use a 1/4″ back panel which is just crazy IMO. I’d steer clear. And your designer worries me too. Often the designers that focus on flash over substance are also challenged when it comes to creating good designs. The spacial relation skills and construction knowledge needed to be a good designer means that if you don’t get what makes a good cabinet you probably don’t get a lot more. I don’t know the gender of your designer but I have my suspicions. And while many of the very best designers are women some of the worst designers are also women that focus too much on style and bring little else to the table. If she mentions shabby chic head for the hills!

  27. Kula, March 1, 2017 at 5:27 am:

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of cabinetry. I am very confused on choosing my cabinets. So far I looked at Innermost, Bellmont, Dewils, and Kraftmaid. Can you give me feed back on all of these cabinets. Do you recommend any of these brands? I am planning on doing a white shaker style door or plain flat panel in white. If I go with flat panel does it have to be the MDF material? Any feedback is appreciated.

  28. pmcalary, March 1, 2017 at 8:20 am:

    Hi Kula,
    For a white shaker door style we would recommend a well made framed cabinet. Both Innermost and Bellmont are frameless. Dewils is a lower grade framed line and so Kraftmaid is the cabinet that is far better than the others you list. Upgrade to at least plywood sides. If you are shopping at The Home Depot as asking about both Kraftmaid and Innermost suggests then American Woodmark would be the best inexpensive line Home Depot carries as far as I know and Kraftmaid the best line over all. Avoid Home Depot’s Thomasville line at all costs.

  29. Sue, March 20, 2017 at 12:14 pm:

    Do you have any experience or knowledge regarding Siteline cabinetry–part of the Corsi group? My designer likes them and says that upgrading them will be more cost efficient for standard cabinetry than going with the higher end Greenfield line. What specific upgrades should I make sure we get?

  30. pmcalary, March 20, 2017 at 12:25 pm:

    I don’t know anything about Siteline but it looks like an inexpensive frameless line from their web site. When cabinet companies don’t tell you how their cabinetry is made that is usually not a good sign.

  31. Debbie L, March 23, 2017 at 12:05 am:

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of kitchen cabinets. You have offered the most comprehensive information I’ve been able to find on-line. We have pretty much decided on KraftMaid; however we have had a very difficult deciding on a color. It has been so frustrating…so frustrating that we’re ready to change cabinet companies in order to find the color we want. The kitchens I like best seem to always have been painted with custom colors or cabinets that have been painted with Sherwin William paints. My question is this…is it best to purchase cabinets that have been factory painted? Are they more durable? If so, why is it that most high end kitchens seem to be custom painted? We want the surface of our cabinets to be durable and to last a good many years, but I cannot find the color we need at KraftMaid. Should we be considering another company? We want a company with a good warranty and good customer service in the years ahead. This is such a big purchase and we would be just sick if we made a mistake in our decision. Thanks so much for any advice you can give.

  32. Debbie L, March 23, 2017 at 12:10 am:

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of kitchen cabinets. You have offered the most comprehensive information I’ve been able to find on-line. We have pretty much decided on KraftMaid; however we have had a very difficult time deciding on a color. It has been so frustrating…so much so that we’re considering changing cabinet companies in an effort to find the color we want. The kitchens I am drawn to always seem to have been painted with custom colors or cabinets that have been painted with Sherwin William paints. My question is this…is it best to purchase cabinets that have been factory painted? Are they more durable? If so, why is it that most high end kitchens seem to be custom painted? We want the surface of our cabinets to be durable and to last a good many years, but I cannot find the color we need at KraftMaid. Should we be considering another company? We want a company with a good warranty and good customer service in the years ahead. This is such a big purchase and we would be just sick if we made a mistake in our decision. Thanks so much for any advice you can give.

  33. pmcalary, March 23, 2017 at 7:45 am:

    Hi Debbie,
    What a great question! I have never been asked it before and I probably should write a blog about it. Here’s the answer.
    Many high end semi custom companies like Kraftmaid do not offer custom colors. And painting over cabinets is never a good idea unless you have no other choice with an old kitchen and then repainting should be done by a furniture refinishing company like Guardsman.
    However custom cabinet lines and some high end semi custom cabinet lines offer the options of custom colors. These custom paints are often supplied by Sherwin Williams but they need not be Sherwin Williams colors. The paints are not the same paints bought at the paint store they are powders formulated by Sherwin Williams to match any color and sprayed in powders onto cabinets and then melted in ovens onto cabinets. This is the same process most large cabinet manufactures use and the custom paints are just as durable in these custom colors as standard colors. Be careful because even if you select Sherwin Williams colors Sherwin Williams or the cabinet company itself (if they have the Sherwin Williams equipment) must color match even Sherwin Williams colors. So color matches while exceedingly close are never quite exact because the paint is a completely different animal than the liquid paint formulas being matched. Most companies that color match will match pieces of wood or swatches and all Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams colors.

    If you really want a custom color then you need to be designing your kitchen in a more custom cabinet line than Kraftmaid. This is why we carry both the Bishop and Brighton cabinet lines. Both do custom colors and both will do them for about the same price as a Kraftmaid standard color.

    On last note is that often the people fussing the most over exact colors are splitting hairs over off-white finishes. Whites and light off-white colors take on the colors around them and so are dramatically effected by the type of lighting you select. These colors will look completely different when LED lighting is changed from white, to yellow, to blue, or by natural light. Painting the kitchen walls light blue or yellow can make an off-white take on those colors. So even if Kraftmaid doesn’t have the color you are looking for changing your lighting or wall color could shift what the cabinet color looks like past the color you were trying to reach. Bring door sample to lighting stores and carry them around to compare what they look like under different conditions if you want no color surprises when you kitchen is done.

  34. Debbie L, March 23, 2017 at 11:17 am:

    You have answered the million dollar question for us…THANK YOU!

  35. pmcalary, March 23, 2017 at 11:55 am:

    Thanks Debbie,
    The one exception to this is with tiny custom shops. Here is a blog on that topic:

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

  36. Jan, March 23, 2017 at 3:03 pm:

    Is there a quality difference between Schular and Karaftmaid? And do you know anything about the Martha Stewart Cabinets?

  37. pmcalary, March 23, 2017 at 4:01 pm:

    Hi Jan,
    Schuler sold at Lowes is actually Medallion from regular cabinet dealers. It is more expensive and more custom than Kraftmaid but also needs to be upgraded to approach the quality of construction in Kraftmaid. The Schuler finishes are particularly nice but make sure you upgrade to their most expensive box otherwise they are poorly made.

    Martha Stewart is a re-branded cabinet from Home Depot and doesn’t actually exist. Home Depot can have anyone they feel like make it. Based on the Thomasville line Home Depot has been stealing from customers with over the last ten years I would steer clear of re-branded cabinetry from Home Depot. Lowes sells brands under different names but they aren’t trying to mislead their customers.

    The sales Home Centers have are also usually fabricated unless they come from the manufacturers, like offering free glazes. Selling kitchens with fake names and fake sales is so dishonest it really makes me a little crazy.

  38. Andre, April 4, 2017 at 6:22 pm:

    Hi and thanks for a fabulous blog. I appreciate the candid assessments and common sense. My wife and I are looking at putting in a new kitchen and have had some good experiences with Home Depot and the Decora line, and hiring a separate installer (not from Home Depot). However, the contractor we are working with is recommending that we consider using his preferred subcontractor who would source the cabinets from Wood Mode. He thinks that Wood Mode will be a better choice overall and possibly less expensive than “buying boxes from Home Depot”, as he puts it. Aside from the installation costs, how do Decora and Wood Mode compare in your view? Thanks.

  39. pmcalary, April 5, 2017 at 7:08 am:

    Hi Andre,
    Woodmode is a custom cabinet line and more expensive than Decora. However Woodmode’s Brookhaven line and Decora are quite similar. I would make a few educated guesses in this situation:

    First that were you to price Woodmode’s Brookhaven at a private dealer vs Decora at Home Depot that the Brookhaven would be more expensive if both lines were upgraded to the same level. And there is little difference in quality of the product although the designer at the private dealer should be better and that can make a big difference.

    Second that your contractor is getting a kick back from the Woodmode Dealer. When Contractors direct customer to “their” supplier most often this is the reason. If the contractor was to say that you needed a better designer and that was why you should be using their place that could just be their professionalism. But when the cabinets themselves are the reason and the design is going to be the same then this suggests a kick back to me. The “boxes” comment also suggests that your contractor doesn’t know too much about cabinetry.

    Contractors getting kickbacks is not necessarily a terrible thing. We give a 10% referral fee to the contractors that refer us business if we aren’t referring business back to them. The money we pay those contractors is less than we pay for the advertising and other marketing we do to attract “regular” customers. Our customers ALWAYS pay the same price for cabinetry though. This is often not true at other dealer and Woodmode has a reputation for not being transparent. Heck, Woodmode doesn’t even have a listed phone number where a customer can call.

    All this would just put your contractor on my radar. I don’t like businesses that aren’t transparent. And wouldn’t it have been nice if instead he passed his commission on to you or split it with you? It is possible that he just likes that dealer and is getting nothing in return, but it is unlikely.

  40. Andre, April 5, 2017 at 2:32 pm:

    Paul:
    Many thanks for your thoughtful explanation. Very helpful! If we ever decide to move to PA you’ve got our business!

  41. pmcalary, April 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm:

    Thanks Andre

  42. Deanne, April 9, 2017 at 3:37 pm:

    Thank you for your insight in all things cabinets! We are replacing kitchen cabinets and have been told (by several realtors) for our neighborhood, painted white is the best choice. We are talking to a Waypoint dealer and have looked at KraftMaid at Lowes. We are looking for a shaker type style with full overlay. We plan to be in this house for 2-6 more years. What are your thoughts? The third contractor quote we got was for mid-continent cabinetry. We are most concerned about quality of finish at seams and wear over these next few years. Thank you!

  43. pmcalary, April 9, 2017 at 4:13 pm:

    Hi Deanne,
    First here is our 2017 review of the top selling 70 cabinet lines:

    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/kitchen-cabinet-ratings-2017-reviews-top-selling-cabinet-lines/

    You we see that we rank Kraftmaid the highest in quality and value from the lines you are considering. That being said any cabinet will last the 6 years you are asking for and any nicks and scratches to the white paint can be touched up before you sell by Guardsman Furniture Re-finishers for a few hundred dollars. I would get a less expensive line like Fabuwood for what you are looking for.

    The most important thing about your project is getting a great design. It makes no sense to redo a kitchen for resale value and get anything less than the best design possible. So DO NOT replace your cabinetry as is. There will be a better design than the one you have now and spending more money on expensive cabinetry and expensive countertops and appliances will have little impact compared to changing your kitchens layout. Here is a blog that really begs customers to make better decisions in your situation:
    https://www.mainlinekitchendesign.com/general/whats-the-best-investment-on-a-new-kitchen/

  44. Jill, April 23, 2017 at 6:47 pm:

    We are building a new home and we have the option of fabuwood or wolf classic cabinets. We are doing white shaker doors for the majority of the kitchen and then a gray island. We prefer the gray stain offered by wolf but want to make sure we are choosing cabinets that will last. Which do you suggest or is there another line in that price point we should look at.

  45. Louise Chelluck, May 2, 2017 at 7:56 am:

    Do you know anything about the quality of the Sanibel line from Willow Lane? Do you do kitchen design work in Westchester, NY?

  46. pmcalary, May 2, 2017 at 8:42 am:

    Hi Louise,
    We know nothing about this line but based on their web site they are all about low cost cabinetry first and quality second. There is no information on cabinet construction on their site which is a sure sign that there is nothing to brag about. This is a product marketing to amateurs and contractors looking for nice looking cabinetry on the cheap. For flipping houses in low cost home markets there could be some value here but construction quality and real kitchen designers are available for only 20% more so why go here?

  47. pmcalary, May 2, 2017 at 9:01 am:

    To answer your other question:
    Yes we will do design work for projects outside our area but customers are usually better served finding good designers near them so that they can meet with them and have face to face discussions, see colors, door styles, and cabinet lines first hand.

    We charge $150 / hour to do 3D designs and we require a deposit of $500 to start the design process. This covers at least the first set of designs and pricing. Sometimes in remote areas or for particularly tough spaces it can be worth it having someone very good at design at least create the preliminary designs to give less sophisticated cabinetry people a place to start in face to face meetings with customers. Occasionally long distance customers will buy their cabinetry from us as the cabinet lines we carry ship to 48 states. Then our design time is credited towards the cost of cabinetry. And because of our business model we are usually no more expensive then local cabinet dealers. But giving up face to face meetings is a significant compromise and only makes sense when the alternative is worse.

  48. Tom, May 4, 2017 at 2:39 pm:

    Thank you for the invaluable information you have provided on this blog. We have a project with a plan to use RD Henry cabinetry. I have seen it mentioned a few times in this discussion, but I have not seen you comment on its quality. Do you have any thoughts? I honestly paid more attention to the design than the brand of cabinet (as you recommend!) to this point. We have Woodmode now and I worry about putting in cabinetry that may look good or hold up for the first year or two and then show its age very quickly thereafter. I appreciate your thoughts. Thank you!

  49. pmcalary, May 4, 2017 at 3:47 pm:

    I don’t know RD Henry well but the construction looks good as long as it can be all plywood. If it can be an all plywood box it would get an A rating using our criteria.

  50. pmcalary, May 9, 2017 at 8:56 am:

    We feel Fabuwood is a better cabinet but Wolf has come a long way and the new grey stain is really nice. I would still get Fabuwood but if you love the grey stain you would probably have to spend 40% more to get anything similar in another line.

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