Live_Wire_Oak - Question about Kemper

new_2_njMarch 13, 2013


I saw in a couple of your posts that you work with Kemper. How do you like them for painted cabinets? Our architect works with them frequently and highly recommends them, but the rep they work with doesn't have a showroom. I went to another place to see them and I didn't think they were all that great for the price we were quoted. I have since discovered that the ones that we saw we Echo, which is not the line that we would be getting. We're going to try to see a couple of kitchens with them installed, but in the meantime, I would love to hear you thoughts on them.


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If you have a Lowes near you, go look at the Diamond brand there. (The full line, not the Vibe, that's Echo). Or look at the Thomasville at Home Depot. They are the exact same product, just with different names. I personally love their painted finishes, especially the colors, and the new Cloud (gray) finish, but it is a sprayed finish and some people find that "too plastic" and prefer a hand brushed look.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Thank you! That's very helpful. I'm one of those people that have issues with the plastic looking paint finishes, so I really want to see them up close and personal.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:33PM
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New 2 NJ- Great advice from Live wire Oak! For me the painted finish is really the most important criteria. I think it is great that you are going to see real kitchens- it will help you to see the cabinets in the sort of light you might have at home and will help you see how they've aged. (whether gracefully or not...) I asked the KDs we met if they would connect me with real owners and real kitchens where I could see the cabinets installed.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:26PM
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Hey New2NJ,

Just thought I'd share a pic of a Lowe's Diamond display.
The uppers are the Diamond Duval Maple doorstyle in Tidal Mist.
The lowers are the Diamond Gresham Alder doorstyle in in Havana stain.

HTH, Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:28PM
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I stumbled on a kitchen design store that had Kemper and pushed it as semi-custom, I had no idea it's the same as what the big box stores sell. It seemed nice, adequate and I'm sure it would be fine, not sure it's worth so much more than some of the (say) custom ready-to-assemble places or IKEA - now, it's worth more than IKEA of course but, 4x more? I'm not sure... it's confusing. I've got my eye on Kitchenmaid in passing, Conestoga for custom RTA, Medallion at one kitchen design store and I guess Kemper at another, but the KD people seemed a bit arrogant - nice but I'm not sure how much I want to partner with them, they also pushed custom which is another 2/3 higher than the Kemper, definitely nice but sheesh talk about breaking the budget. We don't even have a large kitchen...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 12:11PM
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Most lines these days are "semi-custom". Even many budget lines are semi custom. What that means is the ability to change some of the sizes to suit you. If you want a wall cabinet with an increased or decreased depth, a mid range semi custom line like Kemper can do that for you. If you want a wall cabinet 14 1/2" wide, that's not a modification available on the typical mid range semi custom line. It IS an option on an upper semi custom line, like my Dynasty. Now if you want that cabinet 14 3/8, you have to move to the fully customizable line like Omega.

As for box stores, they offer some perfectly nice lines. It's the design end that you can have issues with. It's hit or miss on the experience and skill level of the designer there. The person could have been mixing paint last week, or the person could have been doing the job for 15 years. You simply don't have any way of knowing their competency until you interact with them for a good while. (AFTER you educate yourself.) At least with a dealer, you know that they (mostly) don't hire complete idiots. And if you have someone new, they're working under a mentor who can help out if you're uncomfortable with some of the responses that you get.

As for what it's "worth" to you. That's a personal decision. Some people spend a lot of money on the latest electronic gagetia. Some spend it on nice cars. Some, on their houses, and the components that go into their homes. Just beware of under spending or over spending for your home's value and locale. Average kitchen remodels in the US are around 48K now, for a simple replacement remodel. (About one third to one half goes towards cabinets) More people are staying in place and putting their money into making their homes a nicer place to be rather than doing the "property ladder" bit.

Ikea is a good value but it is in NO way comparable to Kemper or any other good quality semi custom line. If Ikea had a spec book, it wouldn't even be 1/4" of an inch deep. There just aren't many choices, either in styles, colors, or sizes. My Kemper spec book is around an inch and a half thick. There are literally thousands of choices. With Dynasty, you're talking 4" thick, an tens of thousands of choices. With Omega, hundreds of thousands of possible combinations. It opens up the possibilities instead of limiting you. (That is what a fully custom line can do for you.)

The more choices in a line, and the more possible customizations, the better off you are in a small kitchen. Small kitchens can have lots of wasted precious space when you use stock cabinet sizes. There just isn't any way around it. You'll have to use fillers, and you'll have to use only the sizes that they make. If those certain door styles and certain sizes work, they usually work best in a larger kitchen where isn't so crucial to wring every inch of usefulness out of.

Not trying to convince anyone one way or the other, but merely suggesting that you do a whole lot more research and throw out your prejudices.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 12:39PM
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We are also considering Kemper. Thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 11:56AM
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