Details to look for before placing cabinet order

vdinliMay 16, 2014

I am getting ready to order our Ultracraft cabinets in the next few days and am a nervous wreck already. What are the details I should watch out for? I heard the KD talking to a customer about some details he didn't catch in their order! Hoping that is not the baseline for this guy but I want to be prepared.
Is there something you wish you had been aware of/not missed before placing the cabinet order.

Our proposed layout-am still wondering what to do about the above sink cabinet. Might just make it shorter without a shelf as I am not happy how a shelf looks at the end!

Also if you spot any glaring errors in the layout, I would love to hear them. I am looking for the most efficiency.

Last question, I have read many threads from KDs here who say furniture board is as good if not better than plywood for frameless cabinets. Ultracraft is offering a free upgrade to plywood. Is there something I should be mindful of before saying yes to the offer?

Thank you in advance!

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Hi - I'm in your same shoes... getting ready to order our cabinets next week.

Looking at your layout, the only thing I wondered about is the tall cabinet to the right of the dishwasher. Is that a pantry? Does it have any type of pull out shelves? If so, make sure there's enough clearance when the door is open to pull them out (since it's next to a wall).

Re furniture board vs plywood... I've heard that good furniture board is less prone to warping than plywood... but I'm not sure that matters in most kitchens!

good luck - hope it all turns out as you hoped.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 8:02PM
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Sophie Wheeler

What size fillers are against the walls? You do realize that you won't be able to fully open your fridge, right? The pantry would bemuch better between the fridge and wall so that you could upen the fridge all the way. If the pantry has roll out trays, and it should, you will need at least 3'' of filler between it and the wall, plus a hinge restrictor to keep the hardware from banging into the wall.

The sink would be much mre functional located under the passthrough, and the MW cabinet between the fridge and range.

Measure your ceiling height in several places. It's probably not straight. And if it's significantly not straight, llike 1/2 over tun, you should have the cabinets be 3'' shorter than the ceilng. Then use a simple 2 part molding of a 3'' filler and maybe a counter edge trim that will float over the length of the filler to hide the out of level condition. With straight simple cabinets, nothing looks worse than having a widening gap at the top.

Furniture boad over plywood, every single time, and twice on Sundays. It gives the wood snobs fits, but it's much more stable.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 9:49PM
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Thanks Sophie, and hollysprings, yes, that is a pantry. It will be 21" with a 2" filler on the window side. I am hoping that will be enough to clear the trim and be able to open the door. I will see if we can lose an inch from one of the Drawer bases and make it 3". Good point about the hinge restrictor-adding that yo the list.

Hollysprings, It is not clear in the fuzzy picture but there is no wall on the right side of the fridge and only the fridge body will be recessed. I should be able to open the door fully, I think. I prefer the mw on the other side of the aisle from the range as it will keep the breakfast and snack crowd out of my way at the sink and range. I am going back and forth on the one level vs a bi level peninsula. I don't want the sink to be visible from the front door which is behind the present sink location. If I do the bi-level then I can move the sink over.

Thank you very much for your thoughts. It helps me think through each element in the design.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 10:42PM
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We're also getting a 2" filler to the right of our pantry, so maybe that's the common width? (We're getting frameless cabinets, though, if that makes a difference)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 11:37PM
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I have only 1" of filler between my frameless pantry with pull-out trays and the wall, and it works just fine.

My only concern if the MW placement; I always think below the counter looks so awkward. But if you have young children that you want to be able to reach it, that makes sense. You could consider putting it in the pantry at a somewhat higher lever and put a large drawer in the MW spot. Mine is in the pantry, again, working fine although I do leave the door open to let condensation evaporate for a bit after use.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 9:34AM
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If the measurements work, I'd move the microwave to the end and do the raised bar so that you can move the sink and DW down. I'd eliminate one drawer base and give it to the pantry. I remember you were worried about having enough pantry storage. You'd still have one drawer base for silverware, microwave containers, wraps, etc., which I think is all you need on that side. That would give you one roomy upper for your dish storage instead of two ~ 24" uppers. I have a 26" upper for dish storage, and I can only fit dinner plates and bowls on one shelf, so I need three shelves instead of two for my dinnerware.

You could look into whether 4-drawer bases flanking the range would be deep enough for you. I have all my cookware and bakeware stored in 4-drawer bases. It gives me more flexibility to separate items and less stacking of heavy items. I just have to reach in and pick up a pot. My top drawers are 6 3/4" deep and the bottom is 9 1/2" though. Some of the cabinet companies have very shallow smaller drawers. My stock pot is in the cabinet over the fridge.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 11:06AM
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Layout issues aside, shorten the uppers and add some sort of molding. Frameless uppers to the ceiling are asking for trouble- I refuse to do them and let someone else sell those jobs.

Does the window have a sill? IF not you're likely ok. I'm with holly on this and would use a 2" filler minimum- hardware project between 1.125 and 1.375- you get back a little for the reveal it can often just clear but I hate having dents in sheet rock from hardware. Even then use a door limiter.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 3:13PM
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Suspend your cabs from the ceiling all the way across your sink side, up to the tall cab on the right. Make them glass, seeded or opaque and store less often used items up there like vases and glass pitchers. Light it up from the inside and it could be an art object instead of a barrier, while still providing about thr same amount of storage.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 3:22PM
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Thanks Sophie, raee, May_flowers, jakuvall and musicgal.
Sophie, these are frameless cabinets too. What line are you using?
Raee, I worry about the awkwardness of the undercounter location too. But it just doesn't work in the other upper locations if I want to keep some sort of 'snack' zone on the peninsula.
May_flowers, I bumped up the pantry from a 18 to a 21 and it was $$ difference. I am not sure we can afford to bump it up to a 24" but will check with KD. I am planning to store my dishes in a sideboard next to the Dining table. Works for us now as the kids set the table(most of the time with much nagging!) good point about 4 drawers vs 3 in terms of weight distribution. Will look into it.
Jakuvall, I asked KD about uneven ceiling height being an issue but he said Ultracraft specs 42" ceilings as 41 1/2" and that plus a simple trim molding should be enough to take care of waviness of the ceiling. I was initially thinking of 39" plus crown but am not happy with the crown profiles that Ultracraft has. Their simple shaker profile is too angular and the other small ones are too fussy for my style. What would you reccomend?
Musicgal, I am not sure what you mean by suspend from the ceiling? The upper cabinets on the sink side are on a wall. I would love to do glass uppers with lights but we are at max budget already and I have a bunch of utilitarian things to store in there.
Thank you all for all your tips and hand holding!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 11:23PM
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If your ceiling is close to level that is fine but check it. Would not be uncommon to be out by that much though and if out by a 1/4 it becomes apparent.

I thought ultracraft did NC size reduction? Then shorten by 1-1/2 (or go to 39 of out much) and use flat stock, filler or the like.
Can add a narrow strip of scribe at the top if you want some dimension. Usually a lot of things available to stack that are not crown but work with simpler looks.
Pantry: for single door I prefer 21 to 24, not crazy about double door next to wall.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 6:52AM
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If your ceiling is close to level that is fine but check it. Would not be uncommon to be out by that much though and if out by a 1/4 it becomes apparent.

I thought ultracraft did NC size reduction? Then shorten by 1-1/2 (or go to 39 of out much) and use flat stock, filler or the like.
Can add a narrow strip of scribe at the top if you want some dimension. Usually a lot of things available to stack that are not crown but work with simpler looks.
Pantry: for single door I prefer 21 to 24, not crazy about double door next to wall.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 6:53AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Tall fillers can work as ''crown'' and be scribed to the out of level ceiling. Then an additional piece of trim floats on top to disguise that. I prefer a pull out pantry in your situation rather than a door that opens against a wall, but that choice is more expensive. You need less filler when the whole pantry pulls out than with a door that opens against the wall and still needs a restrictor to avoid the hardware hitting the wall (or smashing the window!)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 7:58AM
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This is a suspended cab vinudev-

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 11:50AM
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I haven't read the other replies so forgive me if I'm repeating here. If there will be traffic in the aisle, there is a safety hazard in having to cross an aisle between a sink and range. The typical example is needing to carry a boiling pot of pasta from the range to the sink. Some would consider that a "must avoid" situation in kitchen design.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:22PM
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A suggestion I often make concerns the upper cab storage space.
1. Be certain the shelves are adjustable.
2. Order AT LEAST one extra shelf per cabinet.

This will allow you to space the shelves so as to minimalize wasted vertical space. You will be astounded how much more you can store within reach.

Also, I have a single pull-out shelf over the fridge in a space similar to yours. It is wonderful for large, light, and seldom used pots and pans. Much easier to reach into from the front and sides than a regular cabinet would be.You can also devote part of it to tray storage if you want. I have trays elsewhere and use every bit of the over-fridge space for pots.

I wish I had known to have it made with full-extension glides!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:49PM
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It's hard to know where to begin.

First, as someone has already noted, the sink is too far to the right. If should be moved to the left so that when standing at the sink you can see through the pass through -- assuming that it is a pass-through, it's hard to tell. It should be located about where the m/w is now. Then you can add to the pantry, making it wider for more storage. Taking 6" from the countertop to increase the width of the pantry, adds about 42" of pantry storage.

I presume there are pullout trays in the pantry, otherwise it is too deep. Maximum depth for fixed shelves if 16", 14" is better.

Second, microwave, unless it is a drawer, should be at or near chest high.

Third, and this has already been noted also: The fridge is too close to the wall and will not open completely. You need at least a 6" space between the fridge and the wall -- or actually measure your door opening space requirement for the fridge you have. That being said, if there is no room for the filler, don't worry bout it, the fridge will still work, just not as well.

Fourth, configure one of the drawer units on the side of the range with an extra-deep drawer for pan storage. Otherwise, where are pans stored?

Fifth, it looks to me that the upper cabinet doors are within 1/2" of the ceiling. If the ceiling is level, this is ok, but if not, and usually they are not,, then a little room to make sure all the doors can open is a good idea. Make the top rail of the upper cabinets wider or lower the cabinets a bit and fill in with flat crown molding.

Good luck

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 2:07PM
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jakuvall and hollysprings, I had no idea that you could use flat, scribe molding or fillers to make up the difference. Thanks, will look into it.
I was thinking of doing a pullout door but with only the bottom drawer attached. I can then pullout the particular drawer I need. At 21" wide, pullout with all drawers attached will be cumbersome to look through. Thanks for the tip.
musicgal, thanks for the pic-that is lovely.
feisty, yeah I am going to have the boiling pan of water problem but the range and the sink are almost in front of each other and only 44" away. So am hoping to be able to pivot from one to the other. Hopefully won't have traffic in the way. I have a set up currently where the sink and range are in the same wall and there is only 2' of counterspace on that wall. hoping to get some more usable space this time.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 2:37PM
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My first concern with cabinetry is the hardware and the second would be the finish. Those are the two places where kitchen cabinets seem to break down the fastest.

Be sure to request good quality hardware. It should only add a few hundred dollars to the price but it really makes the cabinets more pleasurable to use.

Get the full-extension, ball bearing glides. If you don't like the look then get the under-mount type that Blum and similar companies offer.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 2:43PM
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About using filler pieces for trim: I was looking closely at the original 70+ yr old woodwork around the doors because I was needing to find matching for repair work -- and couldn't find anything like it in the lumberyard -- realized that what they were made of was a piece of simple colonial stop stacked and fastened with a square piece and another piece of flat to make the decorative edge. Not a fancy and expensive routed all-one-piece!

I think that someone posted here in the past year showing how they made their own crown molding out of simple pieces -- maybe it was a flat filler and cove molding?

You can also buy any crown molding that you like from a lumberyard, you don't have to use that supplied by the cabinet company. You will have the extra step of matching the paint and getting it painted though, but at least there is no need to worry about doing a hard finish like on the cabinets themselves.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 7:24PM
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