Apples to Oranges: KD's, framed/frameless, Shiloh/Diamond?

autumn.4August 31, 2013

Hi all. I am back. We are moving forward with our build, in the quoting process now. 11x15 kitchen - lshaped.

edit: 9 x 15 kitchen, wishful thinking I suppose!

I quoted 2 different cabinets, hoping for an apples to apples comparison. The KD's overall are quite different (there went the apples to apples theory) and the cabinets are not really comparable either (much to my dismay). I am now confused at what I should be looking at in terms of what is most important and what doesn't really matter at all.

I gave dimensions/pdf of house plans and the layouts they presented are basically the same. They came in within $100 of each other.

Shiloh: Frameless, full overlay, plywood drawers, mdf boxes, full extension, soft close. White perimeters stained island. They have the 13" uppers which I think would be a nice perk. KD was responsive and offered suggestions/solutions but also listened to my concerns and desires and overall it felt more collaborative. $400 cabinet delivery fee (is this normal)? Island any stain we like - no upcharge. KD designed the island with shaker style corbels for support. Cost was not itemized for that so I am unsure of the impact it had on our quote.

Diamond: Framed, full overlay, plywood drawers, mdf boxes, full extension, soft close. This KD also is a custom cabinet builder (I think cabinet maker FIRST, KD second). First quote came back with nothing that I asked for (all drawers, no susan, he quoted 2 sets of drawers and all the rest not, spec'd a lazy susan), ugh. I was irritated to say the least as this quote came in much lower but obviously as it wasn't near the same comparison. But ya know dh saw the bottom line and was excited. No mention of a delivery fee but I suspect it's rolled into the price? Island color we preferred was actually a glaze and an upcharge. Island was designed with posts and ends at a whopping $965.

So - Shiloh KD I felt much better about but he is not local to where I am at - about a 45 minute drive to his office. Diamond KD is close and if I needed something I know he'd handle it quickly. He has a good reputation from others that have used him but seems to lack attention to detail (or could it be I am overly anal, are my expectations to high?). He took notes from our first conversation I assumed he referred to them? I had to email him and then call him to get a quote. After I stopped in he did quickly update the quote with all drawers and no susan. But if I hadn't have stopped in I don't know.

The local KD has a more economical line that we will be using for our bathrooms and the laundry room. That is a given at this point with our budget. I have no idea if it's wise to split up the kitchen from the other cabs and go through the other place or not.

Am I getting more in the frameless kitchen?

Does anyone know if you can mix drawer fronts with Shiloh without incurring added cost of buying another drawer front and swapping out? I know with Diamond I cannot. I'd have to buy all 5 piece and then the extra slab and switch the top drawer.

I know many people say the KD is most important but I feel like even though the first pass the local KD was way off mark I *think* he could get there.

How do you weigh it all out? This is not a high end kitchen (but to me it will be). It's about a $12k for cabinets alone in an 11x15 space. I am at the point where I will need to make some concessions to hit the $12k - I am trying to do that by making some changes in our master bath but not sure I can get there with that alone.

DH would like plywood boxes. From what I've read mdf should be okay. Shiloh KD says 99% of the frameless they sell are mdf.

Is plywood important enough that I should opt for that and then lose something else in my layout to compensate for the increased cost?

I have read decent reviews for both Diamond and Shiloh - anyone want to weigh in there?

Head spinning (hence the bit of rambling - sorry for that). Losing sight of what really matters in terms of quality and durability / best bang for my buck. I want to make this sourcing decision and move more decision. Ha!

Thanks for listening and I will take any input I can get!

This post was edited by Autumn.4 on Sun, Sep 1, 13 at 13:44

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Framed vs frameless is most important in small kitchens where every cubic inch counts, but at 11 x 15 you are not small enough for this to be critical. In other words, you could go either way and be happy. Generally speaking, frameless will cost you a bit more. Personally, I love frameless, but I didn't have a hard and fast budget.

MDF vs plywood boxes: you can read all kinds of commentary on this in older threads. Some people feel strongly that plywood boxes are the way to go. Most professionals are of the opinion that MDF boxes are more than just fine. If you go frameless, MDF (AKA "furniture board") is what there is. If you go with face frames you can pay more for plywood if you want to, but you don't need to.

Shipping charge: we bought our cabinets from Home Depot two years ago. There was a $250 shipping charge. If your vendor isn't specifically charging for it, chances are that that cost is padded in somewhere else.

Peninsula options: corbels as supports are pretty much knee whackers. Unless your design esthetic demands them, I'd give them a pass. Same for posts - unless the design is vastly improved by having them, skip it. Flat bars are tucked up where no knees will be damaged and no floor space will be involved, and you won't see them except when you're crawling around the floor.

If you decide to go with the local KD, it is going to be very important that you double and triple check every single measurement and every single cabinet option before you sign on the line. Think about every cabinet and its use - is this what you want there? If the KD isn't going to be OCD, you need to be. Also, think carefully about your inside corner options, both upper and lower. Your choices are pretty much blind corners, diagonals, super susans, and lazy susans. Some people have gone with ending a cabinet run at the corner rather than go around, or even go around with just open shelving there. Each option has pluses and minuses, so it's worth spending the time investigating that issue so you choose what suits you.

And last, be sure to check out what deals are currently being offered in your prospective lines. It seems like there's always a deal, and they can be very interesting. It might even help you make up your mind.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 5:54AM
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IME, you don't get more responsive communication, more detail orientation, or better service in any way after you give a contractor your money. Can you check references? Can you have a serious sit down conversation with the local KD about your concerns and see if he can alleviate them? I really hoped that once I was a customer, rather than a shopper, my GC's communication would improve. I thought that once he was less busy with other clients and my kitchen was in progress it would get more of his attention. It hasn't worked out that way for me, and while I still hope I made a good choice I can see in retrospect that I ignored some yellow flags early on.

This should be printed and put on your bathroom mirror:
"If you decide to go with the local KD, it is going to be very important that you double and triple check every single measurement and every single cabinet option before you sign on the line. Think about every cabinet and its use - is this what you want there? If the KD isn't going to be OCD, you need to be"

"Shiloh KD I felt much better about"
" I feel like even though the first pass the local KD was way off mark I *think* he could get there. "

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 9:33AM
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In my experience, frameless cabinets cost less, not more as Suzannesl said. In fact, if your quote for framed cabinets had cost less than frameless (for a similar kitchen design), I would be worried about the quality. It is more crucial with framed cabinets that everything be very precise and well-made so that drawers and doors fit properly in their frames.

I agree with Suzanne that in a 11 x 15 kitchen, the increase in storage space that you get with frameless cabinets is not critical. Having said that, I think everyone always wants as much storage space as possible in a kitchen, even if you have a large one. I would always choose frameless, just for that alone. That's cause I have really a lot of dishes, platters, glasses and bakeware!

Another way to decide between framed and frameless is the aesthetic of your home and your kitchen. You say your home is a new build. Framed cabinetry is considered a more "traditional" look. If your home was a Victorian--just as an example--framed cabinetry would be appropriate, though we certainly see frameless cabinets in older homes as well. We see framed in more contemporary homes too, but I am trying to give you ways to make up your mind between the two types of cabinetry.

Also be aware that if you choose framed cabinets, make sure to go semi-custom for the upper cabinets and order them at 15" deep instead of the standard 12". That is because framed cabinets have some of the interior room taken up by the frame, and if your dishes are more 10.5" or more (which is common), you will not be able to fit them in a standard 12" deep framed upper. You also won't be able to fit wide-diameter glasses in more than two rows deep. I think getting 15" deep uppers is the most crucial decision when choosing framed cabinetry.

This post was edited by Mrs_Nyefnyef on Sun, Sep 1, 13 at 9:38

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 9:35AM
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Great advice above. I just finished with a medium galley two room kitchen remodel, so here are a few thoughts:

a) Have your kitchen space professionally measured by the person ordering the cabinets or his/her designee. Nothing is worse than a measurement problem post facto, or a KD who orders up the wrong size.

b) Driving extra miles to a KD may be worth it in this often once in a life time kitchen event, especially if the local KD is not a good listener.

c) Even though our galley kitchen is medium, I choose frameless cabinets and am very glad I did. The uppers are 13" deep: this allows my daily china to fit in with extra space, pretty deep rows for glasses right near the DW; and plenty of storage and display for function and aesthetics. I used almost all drawers on the bases, some wide and deep for heavy cooking pans. I ordered extra heavy weight bearing hinges (150 pound load) for the later 2 drawers.

d) If you go frameless, try to use Blum hinges. One of the best, they also sell as hinge "restrictor" which limit the door opening to just below 90 degrees so as not to fling and hit what's next to it. Nowadays, with light rails to hide under cabinet lights and deeper vent hoods (24" for example), such restrictors can be very beneficial. My GC didn't even know about them before I gave him a pack of them with instructions how to install.

e) If you go frameless, study up on what light rail height is available to you. Too low a height may cost extra if doing direct wire, as most UCL's low profile direct wire are expensive. 3/4" height in the light rail is doable but pushing it.

f) Consider plywood bases in areas where water is present, even if others are mdf.

g) Think a lot about your refrigerator space. Modern refrigerators seem to be getting taller, and with needed space for air circulation, 72 1/4 to 1/2" is less frustrating than 72". Same for sides and back-go over install specs with your KD, especially when considering a cab over the fridge.

h) Research the specifics of your cabinet finish details as much as you can after you decide what finish you want. Finish is as important imho as quality build.

Exciting times ahead. Good luck to you!

This post was edited by SparklingWater on Sun, Sep 1, 13 at 11:58

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 11:50AM
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Now that's an interesting question on the relative cost of framed vs. frameless cabinets. I said frameless were generally a little more because ours were at the high end of options at HD. An exception to my generalization would be Ikea frameless, but Ikea's a special category - and one worth looking at BTW. Maybe some of our folks who sell cabinets could weigh in here on general relative cost.

In re-thinking what I said about "deals," I have to add don't be rushed into an order because of a deal. It is more than worth your time to plan, plan, plan and get it right than save $100. Deals are nice, but are secondary to getting the whole plan right.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 11:53AM
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Hi Susanne-I have read many threads about the mdf vs. plywood. I guess it didn't really solidify anything in my mind one way or another. If we choose to upgrade then I'd have to concede something else in the kitchen and I'm trying to gauge whether it matters enough to do it. The local cabinet maker says 'their fine but I'd put plywood in my house'. Great.

We will have seating - and a 17" overhang. I was thinking I needed something there to help support it. That's why I am debating the corbels vs. the end posts. What do you think? 17" okay with nothing underneath? I have read a lot of conflicting information about that too! Our old peninsula had a 15" overhang with nothing, granite guy swore by it and we never had a problem with it.... It wasn't as long though. This island will be about 8 1/2 feet - seating for 4. Old peninsula had seating for 2 - 4 feet I think. I have the OCD part covered but it does scare me that he doesn't seem that precise. I am an anal kitchen girl not a KD! I don't want it to come back and bite me that HE measured wrong. Dh shudders when I measure - my classic response is oh it's 3 foot and a little bit because in most things for my purpose it's close is enough. I don't get precise because I expect THEM TO DO IT.

Maybe it's because it is really new and still in the touchy feely rough quote stage. But, that said I was clear that we needed a quote for BUDGET for our bank sworn statement and it royally ticked me off that he didn't quote what I asked. I know full well that drawers cost more. Quote it! What good is the quote if it doesn't include what I intend to use!

It gets complicated - dh's brother is an installer/finish carpenter and has installed for local guy regularly and works well with him. If something was off - needed another piece or whatever local guy could easy make it in his shop and supply it promptly. I originally checked him because I thought we could do custom - he didn't quote it so I'm thinking it was out of our budget. On the other hand - if I use other company and something goes awry then I am sure I'd hear about it.

My largest hang up is we are GCing ourselves. I get the feeling that he may need excessive babysitting, prompting and strong follow up to get it right. I know that is part of it but I'd rather not feel that he is high maintenance from the get go. He is only one of many that I will need to check and verify. Didn't get the warm fuzzy from the start. When he didn't respond to my email reminder after he'd had our information for almost a month - my BIL said oh - no, you need to call him, that will get him going. Cringe. I called and sure enough had it in a day (but wrong).

Overall when we were discussing options - he was general and vague - "oh everybody hates susans until they have ours." Okay - why? What is it that's different? Didn't really explain his comments. When I was bouncing things off of the Shiloh KD he offered differing opinions on what to ponder. If you make that choice then you've got this to think about X - what is more important to you or maybe it's not a large factor for you and it won't matter. Think about what I may or may not find important in my space.

kksmama-hmmmm. That doesn't sound good. I was kind of hoping that maybe because I was just quoting he wasn't specific BUT then again I think if you want my business pay attention enough to do it RIGHT! That is what made me wonder if I just expect too much. Sorry you are struggling with your GC. I hope mine doesn't give me more trouble than he already has (dh). Ha!

Mrs Nyefnyef-I have one upper that I was going to have dishes in - it would go down to the counter. If I go Shiloh frameless it will be 13" deep and I thought that would be okay? If I go with Diamond the local guy was going to make it custom because I didn't like the 'stock' cabinet that Diamond offered. So in that case being framed I was thinking of asking for 15" deep. Thank you for offering a different perspective. It's definitely not a period home but not modern by any stretch. I would say probably transitional to traditional - but not fussy or ornate. I am a simple girl. :)

I do have one wall where the fridge is recessed that the uppers will be deeper - 18". I think I really only have 1 upper that will be the standard 12 or 13. I don't have a ton of uppers because the range is on the outside wall and flanked by windows.

I have a large pantry.

I would *LOVE* to have part of the cabinets done to look stand alone like a hutch but it will likely be too costly or take up too much pantry to recess that side into the pantry. It would be awesome though! I've seen so many cool things on here. I need to give myself a reality check and be glad that I can at least achieve all drawers!

Thanks for all of your suggestions and food for thought. For some reason the kitchen is taking the place of 'most important room in the house' right now (at least to ME).

Any other thoughts? Comments about overhang???

Thanks again! Dh thinks I over think EVERYTHING and especially the kitchen. :)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Sparkling water-Shiloh kd did say that once framed he would come out and measure himself. So it sounds like we'd have the rough design down first and then wait for framing - then he'd measure exact and make necessary changes at that point.

Thanks for the fridge tips! I have seen many store their baking sheets, etc above the fridge and I was going to look into that. I thought it seems a good use of space because otherwise I can't reach anything up there anyhow!

Thanks Susanne-I hadn't really checked big box. I read such good reviews about Shiloh that I sought them out and then the local guy was a recommendation from bil and others. I surely want to get this right!


    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 12:32PM
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There are more lower prived fraamed cabinets than there are frameless. Very few lower priced brands offer both. Medallion and now shiloh. Medallions frameless cost more than their framed- don't know about Shiloh. Once you go to mid and upper level brandds then frameless costs less.

Very possible it is particle and not mdf- common misnomer by sales people- check the specks. That said it is still not a problem, especially for frameless. With a quality particle it is pointless to upgrade the sink cabinet. My own kitchen is frameless particle and would do that again in a heartbeat.
BTW having fitted out a lot of kitchens I'm of the opinion that the extra width in frameless is ffar less important than the extra height, especially if doing many drawers.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 1:48PM
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jakuvall-how much height do you gain in frameless drawers? I'm assuming that semi-custom does not include custom drawer sizes. Very good point - I'm not even sure of the difference between mdf and particle - thought they were the same.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Quite a while ago, I actually looked up the whole plywood vs mdf thing in answer to a thread way back then. Found it!

The mdf (AKA "furniture board") vs. plywood is an old argument around here. You can search it on this site and get a million or so hits, but how about an easy summary?

First, definitions:
Plywood - made from thin sheets of wood veneer layered so that the grain of each sheet is 90 degrees to the ones on either side. There are 8 recognized grades from sorta glued together with all sorts of defects (fine for some purposes) to really nice. Cabinets would use the top 2 grades. Generally an "upgrade," although many dispute that the upgrade involves any perceptible quality vs. an upgrade in cash outlay.

mdf - made from wood fibers combined with wax and resin and formed under high heat and pressure. Doesn't have knot holes and other imperfections of plywood. Doesn't hold wood screws as well as wood, so other fasteners may be used. Often used for painted cabs since it doesn't have a wood grain showing and paints up well.

"furniture board" - highest quality mdf, although not all manufacturers use the term. Any decent cabinets made of mdf will use this quality no matter what they call it.

particle board - is like mdf except that instead of starting with wood fibers, it starts with wood chips and chunks that are waxed and resined together. Not suitable for cabinets. If any cabinets are actually made with this, you'd probably purchase them in a back alley for a "really good deal." I'd have said it's not used at all for cabs, except that I suspect the cabs in the kitchen of my nephew's newly flipped/newly purchased house. Some building people use the term loosely when they really mean mdf.

wood vs. mdf crowns and baseboards - we used mdf for our crowns because they do look the same and cost about half as much. We used wood for our baseboards and door trim because they get bumped by passing feet and furniture. MDF molding strips are softer and will dent with bumping.

And don't forget that generally people don't mean these exact definitions when they use the terms mdf, furniture board, or particle board. In non-precision speech, these terms are interchangeable. When you specifically want to know, you'll need to refer to actual specs.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 3:28PM
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On the drawer space framed vs frameless question, I have a couple of photos that may help.

This is our frameless drawer. Look at the bowls stacked up in the back corner. See that they come all the way to the top of the drawer and even a little higher than that? Frameless drawers can be filled until they just clear the bottom of the drawer or counter above them. At the sides they are a drawer slide away from the box.

This is the back side of a cabinet that used to be next to the stove. The top drawer is original. You can see how much space is lost at the sides so the drawer can clear the face frame and how much lost space there is above the drawer, but behind the face frame above it. The lower two shelves were retrofitted with roll-outs, but they show again how much side space was given up. (Roll outs are still better than digging through fixed shelves!)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 3:42PM
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Autumn- depends on how they are built. Most mfg only use a stretcher between the to drawer and the one below. In that case you give up a total of 2.25" to structure. Most framed cabinets use a rail between each drawer and at the top and the bottom. So a 3 drawer gives up 6" to structure and a 4 drawer 7.5". In practical terms- I can fit a sauteuse inside a 12.5" frying pan in the top drawer and I can use dividers and tilt an 11" fry pan in a midddle drawer withiut giving up enormous width.
When I'm designing a frameless kitchen I always use a 3 drawer for pots. For framed I most often use a 2 with a rollout inside the top drawer and use a 3" wider cabinet.

To me semi is really a price point and covers a lot of ground.
There are "semi-custom" lines that allow you to change drawer heights. Many will also do dimension modifications even in 1/8ths and a few will entertain building to a drawing. They price in the semi custom range, are built like semi custom. Some even will do custom paint colors now and even offer a choice of sheens. My "semi" brand does and is competative with the better brands at the boxes.

Currently am working on a kitchen with 31.5" h base cabs, with 3" toe space. Designed it in both my semi framed and a frameless line that is "almost custom".

I don't consider a cabinet "custom" just because they say so-unless: they will create or alter door styles, use more speciees (any), will do custom stained finishes, will build whatever I draw that can be built AND have superior construction and QC- there are a lot of sort of custom.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 4:49PM
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In my experience, there're nothing more "cheap" than cheap framed cabinets. It's what a lot of so called "custom" hacks make. For manufactured cabinets, with Ikea being a notable exception, frameless is usually more costly than framed. Especially when you start talking Italian or German frameless. Costs aren't irrelevant, but in good mid grade lines, you ought to be able to get what you need fairly close to the same price point in either a framed or frameless line.

Furniture board is a fine substance to construct cabinets out of, and it's what I chose for my own kitchen. No way would I pay the 20% upgrade charge for plywood. That money is better spent towards upgrading the door to a "prettier" one, or getting more inserts that help you keep your kitchen organized.

The big thing that hasn't been brought up as a difference between lines is the doors and their finishing. It's what shows the most, and it's where most of the money difference is between lines, not from the framed/frameless issue. The better quality more expensive cabinet lines will have silky smooth doors, even on end grain. Their stains will give a depth and clarity to the wood, not muddy the grain trying to hide it because it's lower quality wood. Their paints will have a "hand" to them that makes you want to touch them and they will be applied evenly, with no drips or runs, even on the edges.

Construction details aren't unimportant, but if a cabinet line has KCMA certification, accept that it will be well constructed and move on to the features and benefits that will make a difference in your finished kitchen. Any good mid grade line will offer a kitchen that's well built enough on the inside to not have to sweat those details at all. Focus on the details that make a difference in your daily life. Find a maker whose finishes you love, and want to touch on a daily basis. Because you WILL. And you want to love what you see. Find a maker that offers that special super duper LeMans II blind corner pullout that makes your kitchen usable if your architecture dictates that you have to have a blind corner. Or a maker that gives you a tray cabinet above the fridge, if that's where you want to keep your cookie sheets.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 5:27PM
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I have looked thoroughly at both Diamond and Shiloh's cabinet lines and I love the finish on the Shiloh.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 6:38PM
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I have looked thoroughly at both Diamond and Shiloh's cabinet lines and I love the finish on the Shiloh.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 6:40PM
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I agree with the finish being better quality on Shiloh's cabinets and I've seen both cabinets. You're right, apples to oranges comparison Autumn.4.

Just to followup, I'd like to ask jakuvall why he says this:

"With a quality particle it is pointless to upgrade the sink cabinet."

Does the particle board resin deflect possible water damage that much? I hadn't heard that which is why I ask.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 8:02PM
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Susanne-Thank you so much for going out of your way to re-post that information and the pics! I have seen that thread before but can't recall what I was researching at the time or if I was just browsing on current threads but I had seen it and it would have been tough for me to re-find it! That back view helps a lot. The Shiloh brochure I have doesn't specifically say what material it is - just 3/4" and very strong. I will have to do some asking and see but KD says they are very heavy and I haven't heard of anyone having issues with their construction.

jakuvall-thank you for sharing your personal experience and what you normally spec for pots/pans in framed v. frameless. That is very helpful. I was just debating that in my head and trying to figure out 3 drawer or 4 drawer or pay extra for deeper drawer. Scary part is going from nothing but a 4 drawer (that held only baggies/wraps, trivets and dish towels) to all drawers I want to get the configuration right to hold my stuff. I did inventory what I had in what sized cupboards before we moved but it's still tough to figure out what's best when you have a choice starting from scratch and not having to retro-fit into the space you have.

Greendesigns-thank you also for weighing in. I was thinking it'd be more economical to go aftermarket for inserts. I've read a lot of people on GW like the wood hollow one's on ebay. I am thinking of trying that route for cutlery, etc.. You have made me feel MUCH better about not agonizing over the 'mid-line well built enough' part. Overall, I am feeling much better about frameless. I really do want to focus on the 'perks'. I am already feeling spoiled with all drawers and soft close (shiloh has blum but I am not sure about diamond - they don't specifically say so I think not) but I would like a few extras if we can swing it. :) I do know what you are saying and I WILL want to touch it and hopefully smile when I walk in there every day.

Question on corner upper (decided to close off corner and opt for a small filler and drawers on the lower): One KD offered an easy reach which I think would be handy for my flour/sugar/mixing bowls and baking things. The other preferred a blind corner up top and 2 smaller doors that opened on the left and then 2 that opened to the right - with blind space. I think I might like easy reach better? Any comments on what you normally spec or find your clients really like?

Grace-thank you for weighing in on finish! I think I need to go back to the farther away KD and at least just look at things again. I didn't get to keep his design as I'm still undecided so it's already getting foggy. I remember thinking I liked the finishes well enough. But I want to touch them again. Thankfully school starts on Tuesday so I'll have a bit of discretionary time to myself.

Thanks again everyone. A whole house build is a bit overwhelming.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 8:13PM
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With minimal water nothing happens to either- more water and particle can swell, with ply it wicks between the layers, lot of water particle swells more and ply delaminates. When they dry out the particle is still soundd and the ply is no longer structural.
In either case simply keep a mat, and or silicone arond the interior seam. The extra money spent on ply won't protect a cabinet in the event of a catastrophic leak. It is entirely emotional.

I heard of a dealer who has kept a piece of furnitue board and a piece of ply floating in a bowl for a few years, the ply is in several pieces, the particle intact.
I've wanted to do it in my place but don't have the room.

I spent a few years consulting and working at a boat builder/rebuilder, even marine mahogony fails.

In most cases the upcharge is actually for the veneer interior and many mfgs use a "plywood" that has mdf sandwiched on the outer layers. Now a veneer interior is nice, and if that is important to you and the only way to get it is an upgrade then fine. Just understand what you are paying for-it is not water protection. Once doing that it is often worth looking at a slightly pricier line anywway- may come out the same or less.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Thanks. So interesting and helpful to read your posts.

Out of habit, I turn off the water main when we vacate our house for a bit.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 8:36PM
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Reading through this thread, it sounds like you are wanting to go with Shiloh and that KD, but are holding on to the convenience of the closer dealer. Bite the bullet and use the KD you like better!

I can't recall any cabinet dealer (outside a Big Box) here or that I met with that pushed plywood. In fact, most installed furniture board cabinets in their own home even with the opportunity to get the "upgrade" free or with their dealer price.

I love my frameless cabinets. I've read more than once here about how FB is better for frameless, I think less likely to warp maybe? Either way, I felt confident passing on the added cost of ply. I spent that savings on maple upgrade (wanted a very hard wood) and the premium dark stain I wanted instead :-)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 9:07PM
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Autumn, my cabinets were built by a local cabinet maker. I had him build these pull-outs over the fridge (I had another spot for cookie sheets).

I put in easy-reach uppers, and so far I love them - a huge improvement over the diagonal corner caves I used to have.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 11:55PM
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ply vs mdf and framed - I think we are behind the times here. The common perception is plywood is BEST, MDF is BAAAADDDD, framed is BEST. I will be blazing my own trail. ;)

williamsem - sigh, yes. I think you have nailed it. I am trying to find reasons TO talk myself into using the local guy (we do like to support local when we can). We had another conversation about it last night and Dh feels 'obligated' because BIL installs for him. I however - do not feel obligated whatsoever. He will still get our laundry and bathroom business. I think it will be okay. I just need to make sure I have the support of dh who is the GC.

But BIL is our 'builder' in name and will do some of our finish work with us. That is what is making things tricky. We've spec'd our own subs and haven't felt obligated to use any of his for electrical/plumbing/etc. so I don't see the kitchen as being any different.

ann-thank you for adding your experience with the easy reach! I too am coming from a diagonal corner cave (had to actually CLIMB on the counter to see back there). The rental has blind corners - that's not great either. What do you store in your easy reach if I may ask? I suppose the options are pretty limitless. Nice idea for above the fridge. We have plenty of those boxes hanging around our house too. I need to narrow down a few things yet.

Thank you all so much. I am seeing more 'clearly' now.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 8:59AM
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There turn out to be several ways to do easy reach doors. Here's some links I found with helpful photos to boot:

Here is a link that might be useful: helpful easy reach thread

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:52AM
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I think both materials have advantages and disadvantages to them...
I had the sidewall that blew out due to weight and not enough screws. I am still working on the resolution - I will be splitting the drawer longways and have a second drawer iinside the first drawer.
That being said - I am not sure plywood wood have been any better in this situation...
Not finding my picture in Photobucket but I think this will link if you copy/paste. And here is the full version of the thread -

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 12:43PM
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a2 - I remember that thread. Do you think it was the width of the drawer that was the overwhelming factor? I will not have anything larger than a 36" and likely may be just a 33". It's been a while - thought you had it all worked out and resolved. :( I hope it's rectified soon.

susanne-you are a wealth of thread information! Thanks! I kind of think I like the hinge door but then I see there is the one that folds into itself (not sure the technical term). Hmmm. My plan is to put stuff up there that most of the time only I would use so I'm not so much worried about the wear and tear caused by my growing boys.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 2:04PM
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A2gemiini- I' m inclined to think your drawer blowout is more likely caused by faulty install of the drawerglides than materials. I've done drawers that wide without issue and the tech specs from the US plywood assoc say that screw holding is stronger in FB than ply-for properly installed screws.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 2:13PM
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Jakuvall - that is possible - the GC used the standard Brookhaven/Blum recommendations - but since the incident - all have been reinforced - so hopefully not an issue downstream.
They are also throwing in the heavy duty glides to go with the drawers.
BH sent the wrong size drawer first and the kitchen company accidentally canceled the replacement orders since they thought it was resolved (or maybe just giving me a run around)
I was emphatic - needs to be fixed now.... Well at least by the time of my DH retirement party which still has to be planned...

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 2:58PM
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Are drawer content weight limits published anywhere?

Or is more the hardware then the drawer?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 3:42PM
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