Custom cabinetry cost - Too Good to be true??

dbmyMarch 6, 2012

We need a bunch of cabinetry for a remodel (5 bathrooms, mudroom, pantry, and 2 sets of window seats) and have been overwhelmed with the cabinet options. As we are reaching the finish stage and before we pull the trigger, hoped to get some feedback.

A mennonite custom cabinet maker in Sarasota Florida provided examples of his work (see pictures below). When compared to Medallion (speciality cabinet shop) and Kraftmaid (Lowes) and Brookhaven.. the custom cabinet provider is much less -- particularly on things like mudroom, window seats, etc. The cabinets are all wood (maple or cherry boxes and fronts; 3/4" plywood sides), full extension, soft close etc. However, they are so much less on things like the mudroom cabinetry that I'm getting a bit nervous.

MUDROOM (14 linear feet with 4 x 3-foot "cubbies" (each w/ a shelf above and a pull out drawer for shoes), bench and an 18" bank of drawers & shelves. Back is bead board.

1. Kraftmaid: Provence style, Maple, w/ 3/4" plywood upgrade and Ginger Sable Glazed finish: $13,434 (Lowes prior to discounts)

2. Medallion: Provence Silverline (lower end), 3/4" plywood upgrade. Wheat Glazed finish: $30,000

3. Brookhaven: Standard door style (level I), Maple, Standard finish $14,387

4. Custom Cabinet Maker (example of his work below): Cabinet style like below, stained only (no glaze). $6500

Even allowing for the glazed finish upgrade (which adds about 15% for Medallion or Kraftmaid) ..the cost is substantially less. Furthermore, the door styles on the Brookhaven, Medallion and Kraftmaid are all mid-tier ..where as the custom cabinet maker is assuming full wood raised center panel doors as shown below.

We're inclined to go with the custom cabinet maker. Before we do so though .... can anyone share their thoughts on whether his work "looks" like quality work?

I know its hard to tell by pictures alone but I'd really appreciate any feedback on whether they look high quality.

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DBMY, would it help if I sent you a Cabinetry Comparison guide, which helps you know which questions to ask of a custom cabinetry shop? The pictures you have posted are of beautiful installations, and now go a bit further and ask about the finish process and the internal construction. The Cabinetry Comparison is a worksheet that lists the questions you should ask about finish and construction.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Jen....If you don't mind, I'd love to see that Cabinetry Comparison Guide, too. In a couple days we are meeting with a cabinet maker we just hired. I know it would make me feel better if we knew some of the questions we should ask before he arrives! He said he does dovetailed drawers and uses 3/4" plywood, but I've never seen his work (except pictures) Maybe I should ask him to bring samples? His shop is over an hour away, so I've never seen it, but his references were very good... It still is a leap of faith, though, isn't it?!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 8:35PM
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Just perusing the forum when your headline caught my eye. As a rule, if something seems to good to be true, it usually is. Did you ever go ahead with this project? For the cabinetry you need, I'm guessing the $6,500 would barely cover the cost of the materials much less the labor.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Hi Bosdiyer -- we did indeed go with a custom cabinet maker (Lee's Dutchhaus in Sarasota Fl) and they did a truly wonderful job on our Pantry (approximately 11 linear feet), our mudroom (14 feet) and a custom window seat for a large aquarium window. I'll try to get some photos and post them but they are beautifully done although took a few weeks longer than had been originally estimated.

For our 6 bathroom vanities we ended up buying Conestoga cabinets from The Cabinet Joint (solid wood; 3/4" plywood back, dovetail drawers, blum slides, etc). We had also spoken to a couple other Conestoga dealers but the gentleman at The Cabinet Joint spent a great deal of time with us and was a real pleasure to deal with.

Last but not least, we have approximately 18 linear feet of cabinetry needed for our laundry room -- given we waited so long to figure out what we want there - we decided to go Conestoga on that as well. We've just ordered them though so we don't expect them to be in until Aug 6.

Overall -- anything "custom" ...e.g. our window seat which has 3 turns to it and our mudroom, the custom cabinet makers (in this case a Menonite cabinet maker) definitely win hands-down. If you are going with a bathroom or area of high humidity and you can customize size to 1/8th of an inch, then Conestoga cabinetry (which is likely the supplier of the doors for medallion, brookhaven, etc), is a winner. We also found the range of 'finishes' (stains & glazes) a bit broader with COnestoga.

We're 2 weeks away from completing a 7 month renovation on a 6500 square foot home -- its been exhausting and i hope to post some pictures -- we've definitely made some mistakes (e.g. the house painter who took a 10k deposit and walked out the door never to be seen again) but I think we nailed the cabinetry.

sorry for the long post.... i've lived and breathed this renovation and i guess need an outlet for sharing some of our experience;->

regards - dbmy

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 8:58PM
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We went with custom cabinets from the Amish. Sometimes the prices seem too good to be true...but they are true! We are extremely pleased with the great quality and unbelievable price! All this pictured plus an 8' full-height pantry (20" deep) for $4500. We had to go direct to the source--you cannot get this price through any of the Amish resellers. And of course we had to rent a truck to pickup the cabinets because they couldn't make our schedule with horse-n-buggy delivery!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 10:53AM
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Deja_Q - what state are you located in?

sarapamela - I am very interested in the Cabinetry comparison guide. Could you send it my way or post it here please?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 10:55AM
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I'm in Rochester NY but the Amish guy is near Ogdensburg NY. I posted a separate thread on here called Amish cabs with more info.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 1:27PM
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Thanks, I am in Ohio but am willing to travel and rent a uhaul to get me some good cabinets at a fair price. I will have to seek out the Amish cabs thread!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 2:14PM
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