Choosing our kitchen cabinets.
if you missed: the antique grand piano into our kitchen island!
Like everything else in life, choosing your kitchen cabinets is a process where you are forced to define yourself.
Who am I?
Am I someone who has custom cabinets?
(spoiler alert— I am not.)
We started at custom cabinets; because Self said— you are special! Your cabinets should be special too!
Also, I had read a lot of this: you’ll be surprised! how affordable! custom cabinets are!
So I guess my surprise-meter is broken… because they cost exactly as much as I expected they would cost: a stupid amount.
After getting the quotes, Self was like– lol.no. make them out of cardboard… that way when they get dirty, you can just throw them away.
WAY BETTER PLAN.
Then we went old school— we live near-ish to the Amish; who make beautiful cabinets.
Amish people do not have internet.
That’s super awesome for them, that they have not wasted any part of their life on Pinterest or scrolling through fashion blogs, which are actually just platforms for mindless consumerism; of which I am jealous, because they get free clothing, play dress-up, and do not have to write text.
But I am someone who needs to conduct ALL communication through email.
—>THE PHONE IS SATAN <—
The Amish people know this and have sensibly barred him from their homes.
Then we took the obligatory trip to IKEA… so that we could lose our will to live and also acquire a whole bunch of low-priced crap we were mysteriously able to live without prior to the field trip; but now realize our lives were horribly mismanaged and unorganized.
Fortunately, the clothes-drying rack I purchased should fix all of that.
FYI, it looks like this and the design is AWESOME.
So I guess we ended up back where we should’ve started: in the middle-ish… we are going to use KraftMaid which is at Home Depot/Loews… we used them at our old/old house and were happy with them.
What we priced out came in at just under $5,000 (zero bells/whistles).
These layouts show drawer-over-door cabinets, but lots of you reminded me (THANK YOU!) that I’m supposed to choose DRAWERS! (or doors with slide out shelves.)
I’ve read this advice EVERYWHERE, (and promptly forgot) so for what it’s worth to anyone considering, it really does seem to be the UTTER CONSENSUS OF THE INTERNET… possibly the first and only such occurrence?
So that $5k price is just ballpark; we have changes to make.
Shockingly, I still have more to say.
We are no longer doing upper cabinets, but prior to this new evolution, way back when… we were planning glass-front cabinets.
I had 3 considerations (which I will tell you about because I spent way too long thinking about it to do nothing with the information):
1. NOT EVERYONE OFFERS BEVELED GLASS.
This was INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT to me because I am unwell as a human.
2. NO stacked uppers.
We have 9-foot ceilings, and I wanted uninterrupted height– one extra-tall cabinet, not two stacked on top of each other… (I think stacked is lovely in a different kitchen; but our space is not large, and I wanted my elements as SIMPLE as possible.)
3. GIANT FANCY molding that MATCHES the cabinets.
Theoretically, you can DIY any molding you want; but no matter how good my DIY paint match, it would drive me insane. INSANE. that it was not 100% identical.
Or, I would have already arrived at insane: having needed to research paint sprayers and application techniques and then spend months trying to re-create the pre-existing cabinet finish… no.
Finally… last thought: I would have liked inset cabinets; it’s why I pursued custom all the way to the Amish (who were still $$$)… and in the end, the price difference wasn’t worth it to me.
To me, really nice boxes… are still boxes; and whatever adjustments and compromises we’d avoid with custom cabinets… they aren’t important enough to me because my brain is made out of magpies.
First rule of Magpie Brain: never-spend-money-on-boxes-instead-of-a-fancy-soul-trophy.
April 30, 2018 @ 11:50 am
Your timing is spectacular. We just made the walk through Stuffville (IKEA) yesterday. We were looking forward to this activity for some reason, but all I got out of it was a headache. On to the big box stores, where our last set of cabinets came from. Thank you for helping to keep this fun/miserable exercise lighthearted.
April 30, 2018 @ 11:51 am
The choices are mind-boggling. I want to be you and not. I really wouldn’t want to try and choose between them all! Good luck. I know it will be FANTABULOUS the end.
April 30, 2018 @ 11:56 am
I think my brain is made out of magpies too – I’ve been told that by friends while we peruse consignment stores. Shiny > better.
Do you know what color you are doing? That dove gray is lovely.
Have a nice Monday!
April 30, 2018 @ 11:59 am
Oh, now. Love my Amish carpenter. But working with him did involve three trips, two hour each. Still, he is an artist. Full inset solid cherry cabs for less than $5k. (!) But if you can’t even. . .
Just a thought: I studied the Rev-a-Shelf website till my eyes bled, assembled specs for inserts, then shopped the web & bought them at significant discount. Your Paul could install these things w/KitchenMaid cabinet fronts in a heartbeat, thereby saving $$$. I was told all the manufacturers use Rev-a-Shelf and I can attest, they are super solid and wonderful (pull out pantry shelves, narrow steel pegboard insert, trash).
Pull-outs and drawers: efficiency heaven!
PS: contractor installing Giant Fancy China Cabinet (lions rampant!) tomorrow. She is called Victoria. And she will be magnificent. Thanks for Permission!!
April 30, 2018 @ 12:01 pm
I LOVE that your kitchen renovatoin feels like it is taking as long as mine. It makes me feel like I’m normal that I’m into the “years” of kitchen renovation category. I’m currently stuck on a back spash. The glass one that I fell in love with has varying tones and after seeing some rooms online, some of the tones are too different. I want every single piece to be the same tone. Apparenlty, that’s too much to ask.
Then, I fell in love with a basket weave glass tile. The tiles are actually beveled up and down in pretty little rows. I realized that I will hate how this high/low effect will end at the outlets, corners, and window.
This, this is why – three years later – I still don’t have a backsplash installed.
I can’t help but also feel you on the crown!
I’m fairly certain that I could have eaten out for 10 years with the money we’ve invested into our kitchen so far. I’d be okay not having one.
April 30, 2018 @ 12:11 pm
A designer suggested beveled subway tile for my kitchen, where I have two walls of tile, and all I could think about was dust/grease collecting on all those edges. I chose plain subway tile and have never regretted it.
April 30, 2018 @ 12:04 pm
I panicked because I thought you were not going house the piano turned into the most beautiful island in the world. But I’m hoping it’s just not in the drawings because you already have it. please please say that’s true.
April 30, 2018 @ 12:05 pm
Completely sensible decision. I too would have preferred inset doors but didn’t want to spend the money. If we wanted cabinets that properly fit our kitchen, we had no choice but to go custom—you have a lot more flexibility in your layout than we did. We don’t have a pantry, and I hate the way most refrigerators look in a kitchen, so we got pull-out pantry cabinets to install on either side of the counter depth fridge, with cabinets above, so there is a symmetrical section of cabs surrounding the refrigerator and it’s not an eyesore. We do have a lot of cabinets, but I have a lot of stuff, especially for entertaining and baking. A minimalist kitchen, however attractive, would not have worked. And in 2012, when I was planning the remodel, the fashion for no uppers at all was in the future.
The really important thing is to plan a kitchen in such a way that five years down the road you will have no regrets. The way you think things through, you’ll probably still love your kitchen in 20 years.
April 30, 2018 @ 12:08 pm
Did you remember to include a sliding unit/door beside the sink for a hidden garbage can/recycle bin? I didn’t and I have regretted it for 12 years.
April 30, 2018 @ 12:17 pm
I live in a relatively old house (1926) with relatively high ceilings (~9′). I was able to do long vertical upper cabinets with glass-front horizontals at the top through Home Depot; it’s terrific. Good luck!
April 30, 2018 @ 12:22 pm
Everyone may freak out further at this idea, but: I just bought an ENTIRE KITCHEN of just-the-right-granite and cabinets for $1,000 on–where else in the world??–craigslist, and am re-installing some of it in a little Cape Cod flip house kitchen. What amazed me was the quantity of luxury cabinets some people are discarding as part of their re-do… some even including high-end appliances like a Wolf range. It meant some refitting for my Paul-avatar, but it has worked out great so far…. & turned out my seller had other kitchen items that I needed–one-stop shopping, yay! I just assume the craigslist Queen Herself probably reviewed the craigslist options FIRST before turning to IKEA, big box, etc. BUT your plan will turn out to be utterly gorgeous, and I bow to all of the creativity that’s going into it!! THANKS for all of your wonderful and good-hearted posts… love them all.
April 30, 2018 @ 12:33 pm
Lol! I tell people all the time to remember that cabinets are just boxes, with nice fronts. (They remind me of the “false front” stores in towns in the 1800’s from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books!).
If you have space left for a little crazy, you can take your Kraftmaid quote to Menards and get an apples to apples quote for Medallion cabinets. I have them, my clients have them (one had a Kraftmaid quote for $23,000 and Medallion came in at $13,000!). They really make a beautiful cabinet (dovetail and all) for a better price point. You can check them out online too. (Kraftmaid is great, a solid choice, sometimes they have great sales, I only suggest Medallion as cost saver).
Did you know that cabinet manufacturers have online specification pdf’s of every cabinet, size, option, etc? I don’t trust that the cabinet sales people aren’t holding out on me 😂. Here is Kraftmaid’s for Lowe’s if anyone is interested. https://s3.amazonaws.com/KMInfo/ProductInformation/2017/2017_KraftMaid_Lowes_Spec_WEB_9-18.pdf
*spec catalogs are for late night neurotic behavior whilst the husband is asleep.
Oh! And you can buy LOWE’S COUPONS on eBay for a few dollars if you can’t find one. I have done it, they work.
Marianne in Mo.
April 30, 2018 @ 2:27 pm
YES to the Lowes coupons! My husband buys them all the time!!!! And Menards did a layout for us when we were getting ready to build our house. Our builder insisted we use their cabinet contacts ( which were about the same price) so we took our Menards layout with us and had them use it for their cabinet line. I would have preferred buying from Menards after the salesman went through the layour and spent over an hour with us, but we ended up with nice cabinets in the exact color I wanted. We too went through all options on cabinets as far as custom, etc., ours are considered “semi-custom” as I would assume Victorias’ are. Bravo on remembering the drawers – they are life changing!!! As are self-closing hinges, which most companies now do as standard, and not add-ons!
April 30, 2018 @ 12:36 pm
I too dreamed of inset cabinets after years of drooling at pictures of Christopher Peacock cabinetry in home magazines. When the time came for the big remodel my talented kitchen designer let me know that unless my house maintained the perfect humidity level (and to be honest I never found our what that was) the doors in inset cabinets could expand and contract leaving me with sticking doors or uneven gaps. Living in New England with the possibility of hourly climate changes I opted for regular doors and have been quite happy.
April 30, 2018 @ 12:40 pm
I understand hating trim that almost-but-doesnt-match. And that the upper cabinets have been nixed. But PURPOSEFULLY contrasting molding (i.e. white against some darker color) is my solution to the cant-match-it struggles.
April 30, 2018 @ 12:47 pm
I’m not sure if you’ve committed- commited, but have you looked into Barker cabinets? You can order any size and design you want, you install and assemble, and if you want to save more money you can paint/or stain them yourself. They’re well made, extremely customizable, and affordable. We’ve been really happy with their products.
April 30, 2018 @ 8:40 pm
Agree with the Barker cabinets! My daughter ordered them and I helped her assemble and put the finish on them. They are well made and for the most part a great fit. She did her whole kitchen as well as an adjoining pantry and baking center. They look fabulous and she is very pleased.
April 30, 2018 @ 1:04 pm
Your posts make my day. You are such a talented writer/blogger/comedienne/designer/collector/animal lover/everything-I-Like-er…. So happy for you that the kitchen is coming along, so thoughtfully, carefully, beautifully. Love your posts. Thank you. and… Thanks again!
April 30, 2018 @ 1:42 pm
We went with Kitchen Maid. We love them. I think they worked out so well because we drew out several plans on paper before going to the store. Guy on computer at Lowe’s translated this into a real floor plan. The only problem with their computer program was, it could not comprehend our large, 1885 kitchen window!
April 30, 2018 @ 1:43 pm
Did you check out cabinetjoint.com? They are a customized RTA, based near Lancaster? I was looking at their products to create an island to coordinate with my antique French furniture cabinets. They have many styles to mix and match for doors, drawers, trim etc. Tall base cabinets didn’t have an up charge, I imagine wall cabinets would be the same. You can customize the depth too. They are worth looking into, even if it’s just for the uppers. Various finishes, or unfinished for a discount.
April 30, 2018 @ 1:58 pm
The pullout shelves behind doors in my parents’ kitchen are smaller than the drawers in the same cabinets.
And their contractor told them that if they went with regular mass market cabinets, the upgrades that are worth it are all plywood construction and full extension drawers. (But they didn’t. Because my mom had already bought wallpaper and the only cabinets that looked good with it were custom.)
April 30, 2018 @ 2:17 pm
Be careful of getting your countertops from Home Depot. We nearly pulled the trigger on that, which would have left us with a 2 foot seam right in the middle of our workspace. A friend had just had the Home Depot experience and was very unhappy with the seams.
I ended up talking to a few custom counter folks, and the price was very similar to home depot, I think the quartz grade was one lower than Depot (MSS vs Silestone). One of the guys said that the fabricators Home Depot uses can only do rectangles, which is why the giant seam in the middle of the workspace. He, by contrast, hand cuts the stone and put the seam in the middle of the apron front sink where I had hoped it would be. Total visible seam in the kitchen: about an inch.
For cabinets we ended up going with CliqStudio, and we’re relatively happy. There are paint problems largely due to them using a light primer under a darker paint, so any scratches or misses in panels really shows. I think we paid $9k, and I will say they used first rate accessories in it (Susan, blind Susan, slides). I’m custom building our pantry (the deal I made with my wife was to buy most, but let me build the pantry), and I’m going to spend almost a grand just on drawer slides, the same that are in the Cliq cabinets.
April 30, 2018 @ 2:22 pm
Is this your new GFT?