$500 extra for new base cabinets ... a no-brainer?

wi-sailorgirlJanuary 18, 2013

So our plan for our kitchen was to do a mini remodel to the kitchen by replacing the upper cabinets in order to get them up to the ceiling and refacing the lower cabinets. We've made gradual improvements to the space during the 11 years we've had the house: floors, new appliances, new lighting, redid the eating area, etc., so all that's really left is to spruce up the cabinets and the counters (and install an overhead vent hood, but that's not really a factor in this discussion). We had our custom cabinet guy (he did a built-in in our bedroom and the banquette in our kitchen for us and we've been thrilled with his work) come out last weekend to take a closer look at stuff and he called me today with a final quote based on what we discussed. It turns out that when all is said and done it would only be $500 more to completely replace the lower cabinets rather than just replace them (part of the good parts of living in a small house!)

Other than another $500, which isn't to be dismissed, the main downfall I see is that this will complicate our project a little more and extend the timeline probably another three weeks or so. We'll need to have the new base cabinets installed before the countertop people can measure and it's three to four weeks from measuring to installation for counters.

So I'm thinking this is a no brainer, right? The cabinets we are replacing are nothing special and I'm certain we'll be improving them quality wise. Or am I missing something?

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$500 seems low to replace all the base cabinets.Have you seen his/her cabinets installed in a kitchen with the countertop you are considering ?
I recommend all drawer base cabinets if you are replacing them. It wouldn't bother me to extend the project at all since the outcome will be worth it for a more comfortable working kitchen. I could only fit 2 drawer bases in my small space and I would do them again in a minute :)
I could have put in 3 drawer bases but I needed an under cabinet fridge.
It seems that all 32" fridges never have enough room for apples/oranges/grapefruits and produce but I couldn't fit a 36" fridge.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 11:04AM
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Thank you for weighing in, ERF. I know that price seems sort of crazy low, doesn't it? My plan was to modify the base cabinets to install drawers where we could and he said that by the time he gets done fiddling around with all that he has so much time invested that it would be about the same amount of labor (or less) to just build new cabinets. So the $500 is basically materials costs plus a little bit of extra labor to install new cabinets.

I have seen his kitchens, although not with a solid surface countertop. I've been thrilled with his work in the past. I think he probably doesn't charge enough, to be honest. He works for a cabinet manufacturer but also does his own side jobs, which is what this is.

Thank you for confirming my thought that drawers are the way to go when possible. Since the kitchen is pretty small there is only really room for two cabinets with drawers (the other spot is the evil corner cabinet), but I'll take what I can get. I am so sick of sitting down on the floor to root through a cabinet whenever I need something.

I will say, stuff like this makes me love my small house even more. With smaller space, projects like this are far more affordable than they are in very large kitchens. It's tight and I'm not saying I wouldn't take a slightly larger kitchen if I could, but the space we have functions just fine for me.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 11:46AM
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"projects like this are far more affordable than they are in very large kitchens" I agree !!! I would NEVER want 20' + counter like one of the posters has in the kitchen forum--I believe the kitchen was so big that it would be unworkable so they were redoing the layout-fortunately it is a new build.
I do feel that we paid too much for the cabinets but we couldn't buy anything to assemble so we were stuck. It is so difficult to compare cabinet lines and everyone was just throwing random prices out there. I probably didn't overpay by much since you have to factor in regional differences also--I'm not in Tennessee. or Arkansas.
I went with the best quality I could afford since the counter is so heavy. I really did not want to worry about putting a stone on an inferior cabinet box. Also custom cabinet makers are hard to find here. Driving to another state(no car) and making sure my measurements were exact--another worry if brought them the measurements ! Some of the places that are recommended like Dutchwood I would have used if I could have figured out how to do it without many trips.
What solid surface are you using ? Corian ? I love the sea salt color that M Stewart has in her catalog. Those cabs look so nice but I read on GW the quality is horrible. I really like the look though.
The space you have for the kitchen/eating area is really nice and looks like you get good light also. All the best with the remainder of your project. You'll get there. I still have a few bits to do :(

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:55PM
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If you were going to alter your lower cabinets anyway, it would be well worth $500 just to have someone else do that for you, plus having lowers that matched your uppers. And like you said, if they are better quality.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 11:35AM
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Go for new, especially if those new cabinets are drawer bases! My Chippewa house had refaced cabinets when I bought it. The sink base and another base had the laminate refacing on the base cabinet boxes come loose long before the new doors had any appreciable wear on them. I went to all the trouble of putting in wire pull-outs when I moved in, then less than ten years later we replaced the entire kitchen. That loose laminate was a factor.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 7:19PM
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Thanks, gang. I sent the cabinet maker a deposit today (along with a huge packet of notes and pictures. Poor man. I've worked with two cabinetmakers in the past on various projects. One of them didn't understand a thing I wanted even when I drew it out on Google Sketchup and this one seems to know what I'm talking about even when I talk in circles (which is almost all the time).

ERF, I'm 99% sure we're going to do quartz, but I'm going to look at Corian too. I understand it has changed quite a bit since my last experience with it (I worked on a boat with charcoal Corian everywhere, including the bathroom floors, and it scratched like crazy, but apparently it's not like that anymore.

We put quartz on our vanity in our bathroom and couldn't be happier with it but if Corian is equally durable (which it sounds like it is) I'm good with whatever looks best for the money.

I never really thought about how putting heavy stone on our existing bases would work. Good thing we're replacing them! :)

I can't really thank you all enough for taking the time to reply. My kitchen does not meet the requirements a lot of people on the Kitchen forum like to see (for instance ... I just realized today that there is only 30 inches between our island and the counters on either side when apparently you're supposed to have at least 36--oh well works for us!) and sometimes the real question gets bogged down in some of the details. That's not to say it's not a very helpful forum--it definitely is-- it just sometimes takes a little longer to describe the challenges of a small kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 12:34AM
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Hey I know nothing about Corian. I do know there are plenty of threads on the subject though...Go with what you know :) I barely was about to get my countertop done (I was waiting to find a piece to fit since they stopped the quarry for the variety I have) let alone talk to anyone else about their counter.

"My kitchen does not meet the requirements a lot of people..." I hear you !
I like the hutch even if it spans 2 rooms. The previous owner picked function over form--quite the taboo on the KF.

You must be so excited :)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 6:28AM
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that kitchen forum is kinda scary to me..
if you don't have a 'KD' you are wasting their time!

you say this is the same person who did your
wonderful bedroom built ins..so you know his
work, he understands your needs..sounds like
a go to me!

on a side note..I did read in remodel forum
about someone's island in the kitchen making
it difficult to open the fridge.
so make sure that your appliances
will work in the spaces, including the
counter tops.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 5:09PM
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