Banquette sticker shock!

azmeltJanuary 13, 2010

Just got the estimate from our cabinet maker for a 90 degree corner built-in banquette seat--just the bench, no backs--48 inches on each side. It was over $2,000! Gasp!

I guess with a standard cabinet maker, anything that doesn't come pretty much according to their "normal" specs is spectacularly expensive.

I'd really like to have this banquette to make our eating nook much more usable.

Anyone have any ideas on alternatives? It seems as if I read somewhere on this site about someone using a stock bench from somewhere--Ikea??

Thanks for any ideas. (White shaker-style cabinets, so nothing unusual as far as design.)

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Thread: Banquette anyone? Look for Bmarshall's "Tue, Jan 8, 08 at 9:24" post (unfortunately, the picture is no longer visible)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 9:21PM
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An alternative, if your budget is crying, is a commercially available unit, some of which are very inexpensive. A little paint and a few cushions and even the bare wood ones aren't bad.

Someone else (can't remember who) used something that might have been an over the fridge cabinet. It had "fridge" in there somewhere.

Standard seat height is 18"-20", and seat depth can be anything from 18" to 25", not including the backrest.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 9:29PM
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I can't remember who's kitchen that was - it was a small space remodel that came out very nice!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 10:13PM
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Using upper cabinets works, but you still end up with custom when it comes to the bench with trim out (so no hard edges to splinter with use). But using the cabinets does give you a more functional space. Kitchenkelly has a wonderful one with a huge drawer she keeps her ex husband in (do a search for morgue drawers). They really are worth the money if you can swing it.

Mine would cause you heart I won't share LOL But let's just say I thought your price looked lovely heh heh Mine is much more complicated because it's on odd angles in a 5 window bay which, as you've found, requires non stock thinking...and when craftsmen think, it costs you!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 10:34PM
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Yes, they are not cheap! At one point in the planning process, I was considering a banquette seat also, and got a quote from Crown Point - it was upwards of $5,000.

I know people have used cabinetry to make their own...if you are handy and a DIYer, it could be a possibility.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 10:35PM
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Not surprising. I had a carpenter build us two custom cabs, one of them a rough-hewn outdoor unit, one a floor to ceiling pantry-type cab; and an open trellis garden gate....$4200 later, I had nice, sturdy custom units that I couldn't find stock items on. Solved some real problem areas, but the price was definitely rather breathtaking.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 10:59PM
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We're planning to make our own - we didn't think it was going to be too difficult. Haven't thought of it much - still reglazing 30 6 over 6 windows and stripping paint.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 11:09PM
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I have a three sided bay with an angled back 3 drawers, and two doors a fanstatic deal at about $2,600...but I think my guy realized it was more complicated than he had planned thus he should have charged us more...but it turned out great and we got a great deal.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 12:36AM
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Ballard Designs has upholstered banquette seating with lift up storage and a large choice of fabrics or send your own fabric too. It is my favorite catalog and I order from them frequently. Pricewise, it could be cheaper if you use a plainer fabric.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ballard Coventry Seating

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 8:44AM
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Our banquette sits under two corner windows at 90 degree angle, and there is also no back. It was about $2,500.00 added to the cost, which we felt seemed pretty high, but it was really the best solution for the space. They are Omega Dynasty, and the finish matches the perimeters exactly, even though the banquette was decided on and ordered a month after the others. Of course, this is to be expected, but I have heard of inconsistencies in finish, so we were very happy.

It has three huge drawers that we have not even tapped for storage yet (I keep forgetting that they are there!). I'm sorry I can't help with alternatives, but I CAN say that the price you were quoted does not seem out of line with what others have discovered for a banquette. Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 8:59AM
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Thanks to everyone for sending suggestions for alternatives. The ready-made options certainly are more reasonably priced--the only problem I see is that most have backs. The seats be up against a window, so I really just need the bench. I'm going to have to do some more research.
Also, it was interesting to see that my price quote wasn't too out of line.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 9:08AM
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We built ours ourselves, but had thought of using custom wall cabinets which could be topped with a refrigerator panel. Don't know how that works out financially for you though. Do you have a GC that could do that for you, or have him customize one of the ones with a back somehow?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 9:27AM
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I am having a banquette bench made. It's not a corner angle but it is $400 for a bench that is 48X20. Mine is going against windows too. There will be a lift up top. I wanted the morgue drawers but the 36" glides were $200+. The sides and front will look the same as my door panels (shaker style). I'm having the top overhang the base some so there is room for feet to go under a few inches.

The bench will be painted the same as my cabinets so there is some mdf board involved...not solid stainable wood so I know that makes a difference on the pricing too.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 10:49AM
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the first thing that raises a flag for me is, you got a quote from your CABINET MAKER. i have learned cabinet makers are really great at making cabinets. they can certainly make other things but without a doubt, the more you add to the order, the higher the price. i have no idea why this is. our cabinet maker gave us a really good (and i mean REALLY good) price on our custom kitchen. but once we started asking for other things like mud room cubbies and bookshelves, the price sky rocketed. i swear sometimes he's on crack!
we're building so we have a GC and plenty of guys around with great woodworking skills. we asked him to give us a quote on the other things and the price went down substantially. i talked to him about the cabinet makers outrageous prices on other items and he confirmed that they always seem to up the prices. no explanation, just sort of a general "rule". do you have a trim carpenter? GL.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 11:27AM
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kateskouros, I'm finding that you are absolutely right about the initial quote from the cabinet company guy being reasonable. We committed to this company after seeing the quote. Then, as I've fine-tuned the plan and added items (true, they were more detailed, such as beadboard end panels, spice pull-out's), the prices were significantly higher.
I'm pursuing other options on the banquette bench. DH says, "Halt--we are going way beyond our initial plans and vision," but I feel this banquette opens up the entire breakfast nook and makes the space more useable.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 12:21PM
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Maybe I just got really lucky, but I'm in the process of having the same basic thing you just described built for me (in fact, it's done, we're just waiting on the install). I designed it and he built it to my specs, with sliding doors on the front panel and a "morgue drawer" on the end, with a little shelf/cubby area on the other end. It will be painted, so undoubtedly that kept the materials cost down (it's paint-grade maple for everything but the seat, which is MDF).
He's charging me $450 installed, but I'm doing the finishing.

What's shocking me is the cost for the cushions! Anyway, maybe it's worth a bit more looking.

I'm attaching a photo of it in his shop.

Here is a link that might be useful: Banquette

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 12:29PM
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Sorry, I meant to link the photo in the text. Here it is so you don't have to follow the link:

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 12:39PM
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we are planning to have our carpenter fabricate a couple of built in benches and banquette for our eating nook -- much cheaper than the cabinet maker. We also decided to go with MDO/painted to cut costs.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 2:49PM
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Sailor-girl, your banquette (in progress) is just what I wanted--and I love the little shelf/cubby area you added! Your price is GREAT! I'd think in this economy, there would be a cabinet maker who could come up with the same kind of thing for me.
BYW, I sew well enough to have done a lot of home-decor finishing, so I'm planning on making my own cushions. Wish we could trade skills somehow--I'll sew in exchange for someone dealing with the DIY cabinets LOL :-)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 3:42PM
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Azmelt .. actually it was built by a cabinet maker who was working for a large manufacturer and was just laid off. I don't know how you go about finding someone like that, but they have to be out there!

And speaking of cushions ... I've gotten quotes for the cushions (just the seat part, not the throw pillows I'll add in) that range from $1,000 to $350. I think you're right about trying to find someone to swap with!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 5:21PM
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Sewing cushions isn't really that hard. You might try someone who does alterations out of their house. Foam is rather pricey so shop around. If you get your own foam and fabric (ordering online for these can help) you can probably find someone to sew it for you for not a ton of money. It depends on detailed you want the cushions. If you're talking fancy trims that of course ups the cost.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 7:37PM
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sailorgirl - you have obviously found a retiree who works in his garage and does not charge overhead let alone minimum wage for the time he spent on constructing that unit. While that is a fantastic price for you , it is not realistic for people to think they can get that in the marketplace with any sort of regularity.

The materials alone easily cost half your total. At $20/hr that leaves him 11 hours to build an install that unit. Raised panel inset work commands way more than that in competitive markets. I guarantee he has more time in it than that, before it even show up at your doorstep.

While certainly not cheap, 2 grand for a large custom made piece of furniture is certainly not out of line.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 8:23PM
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Like I said, maybe I got lucky. Sounds like I did. This was the first and only quote I got on making the banquette and it happened to correspond with this really nice guy getting laid off from his regular job as a cabinet maker.

I'm sure there's plenty of home projects I haven't been so lucky on, so I guess it all evens out in the end.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 9:54PM
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azmelt and wi-sailorgirl,

I will post my picture this weekend, but we had a banguette built for $300. We paid for the materials. The back and bottom is paint grade wood and beadboard. The seat is cherry butcher block countertop from Lumber Liquidators and my carpenter cut a v into it, since the bench is L shaped. We are going to paint the seat the same color as the trim and then stain the cherry. I ADORE my carpenter. Ethical, honest, and talented. It took him less than 5 hrs to build it and he built it from a picture, no plans.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 10:35PM
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Wow! I'm encouraged to hear that my banquette may be an affordable addition to our remodel. I just got the name of a local retired cabinet maker in order to get an estimate. I will do the painting; I really don't HAVE to have additional storage. I'm keeping it simple. I'll let you know what the bottom line is when I get details.
Thanks for the info, everyone!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 11:44AM
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Here is our banquette.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 12:04AM
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I just bought 2 solid maple framed, over the fridge cabinets (24 inches deep and 18 inches tall), (made by Thomasville) placed them on bases and put a plywood top on that I will add some upholstery to. I too have mine under a window, so not too much trim to add. I bought the cabinets at an outlet near my house for $45 each- great clearance sale! So, for about $150-175 I have a beautiful and well made banquette, and lots of storage to boot. Of course, the guys at the cabinet outlet store are getting tired of seeing me there searching for great deals on matching cabinets...... If you're not in any hurry and have some skills, it's a great way to go.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 2:22AM
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Great ideas; thanks for all your generous responses. We're in no hurry, so I have some time to do some exploring.

yesapool, your picture didn't come through on your response. I'm anxious to see it.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 10:00AM
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    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 1:42PM
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Thank you!! This looks great! Just what I want except I don't need a back since we are up against windows.
I'm thinking the beadboard will coordinate with kitchen trim we will be using with the cabinets. Did you do any storage in the seats? I can't tell by the pictures.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 3:07PM
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You might want to check out the clearance aisle for outdoor furniture cushions. Not an ideal time of the year right now but for future planning, it could pay.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 4:05PM
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I just quoted one for a client. She wants hers wrapped in doors that match her kitchen. I quoted the lumber, and piano hinges from Lowes and it came out to about $350....the materials from the cabinet company cabinet to about $500 for 6 doors and some moldings. The labor I don't know 100% yet but am guesstimating somewhere between $900 and $1250....depending on which crew I use. Altogether with some markup on the lumber for me and we're at $1925 to $2275. That price isn't unreasonable unless you want to DIY or find cheaper labor....or just go with a painted finish. It's be about $500 cheaper without the matching cabinet doors.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 2:25PM
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You think the banquette is expensive? Wait 'til you get the quote for the cushions! :\

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 4:05PM
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