Soft Close and Drawers

Ray72September 13, 2012

Need a little help.

Building a house while stationed in the Middle East but my wife is on site.

She met with the cabinet maker who talked her out of two features that I think help make for a custom feel: soft close and lots of drawers. He did our builder's cabinets and they look great, so I know he does good work. I really like what he's doing in the baths and laundry, just need some advice on the kitchen.

He kept drawers under the cooktop but basically got rid of the other lower drawers I had envisioned. I need good input to convince my wife the drawers are a great idea and not just my "crazy" idea.

Second, he said he doesn't like soft close because they wear out and you have to slam them to close them. Can some folks share their experience and possibly what brand of soft close you have?


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What??? You're preaching to the choir here about drawers. That's one of the top pieces advice given here on the forum. Drawers, drawers, drawers. So much easier to use them getting on your hands and knees to explore the dark, back corners of a regular doored cab. To sum up, drawers are best. ;)

As to soft close, we're talking drawers, right? Some people just don't like them. They creep out some folks. It's preference. I love not having to purposely push a drawer all the way closed and listen to it BANG shut. With soft close/self close, I give them one little shove and move on to my other kitchen chores while the drawer politely and quietly closes itself. It's a time and frustration saver for me. Blum, one of the best in the business, makes very high quality glides called Blumotion that do not wear out. Maybe your cab maker has been using a cheaper knockoff?

If you're talking about soft close on doors, those cab be retrofitted very easily and cheaply after the fact if necessary. I'm thinking about asking DH to install some for me on my dish cab as a Christmas present. If his honey-do list wasn't so long, I would have already asked for it.

You mentioned the middle east. If you're there serving our country, I'd like to thank you for all you and your family have done to serve. It's a huge sacrifice. Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 12:24AM
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I'm with breezy- two of my favorite features in our new kitchen are the two your contractor is trying to dismiss! I can't say enough about drawers vs cabinets. There are many threads on this topic on this board.
That said it's important to make sure they are deep enough for what you need to store. Example-Besides the pot/pan drawers under the cooktop, we wanted to make sure we could stack our tupperware/ziploc plastic containers in a drawer. Sooo much better than opening a cupboard, squatting down and reaching into a towering stack.

Re. the softclose, agree that a good brand is important. We've only had ours a couple of months. Again, it may be preference, but I love having it go shut vs. having to slam the drawers.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 5:46AM
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That would be two strikes against this guy. I wouldn't care if he's your builder's favorite, I would give him one more chance to do YOUR kitchen instead of one that's safely within the comfort zone of every other blah kitchen he's done for years. He isn't keeping up with the functional improvements in kitchens very well, and it sounds like he uses garbage hardware. (That right there would be a BIG RED FLAG!) If he says any other stupid crap like "you don't need...." or "what you want here is...." without giving you a very very good reason for the "suggestion" then can him and move on to a different company.

I'm not overly enamored with most "custom guys" as it is anyway. They like to use that term, but when it comes down to it, what that really means is, "Don't ask for a truly custom kitchen that is the doorstyle and perfect size. I can only give you a basic kitchen that I know how to build and I don't even make the doors or boxes, I just order them from somewhere else and put them together and call myself custom." You usually get a better selection (and attitude!) from actual cabinet design showrooms or even box stores that carry semi-custom lines.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:24AM
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The Blum soft close doors and drawers are one of my favorite things about my kitchen! Don't be talked out of it, it's YOUR kitchen after all. One of my friend who renovated her own kitchen without them recently came to see my kitchen...she kept opening and closing the drawers and really regretted not getting them in her kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:27AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Yeah I see reed flags with this guy already. Most builder's "custom" guys are anything but, and are only focused on giving you the cheapest solution possible so the builder can get his kickback. Explore going elsewhere.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:38AM
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Is this an expense issue? I never had soft close before, so I tried to cut expenses by telling myself the old way worked good enough. I did, however, want full-extension drawers. (Hope you're getting those!) Midway into the planning, my cabinet company went to all soft close as standard with full-extension. I have them on drawers AND doors and I love them! My trash pull-out doesn't have soft-close and now that's the cabinet that feels unnatural to close.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 9:04AM
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Kick him to the curb.
If this guy is used by the builder, he's
1) used to a certain production speed and anything else will seem to cost him money, and
2) not lacking for business. He doesn't need yours.

Not only would I not do without them now that I have them --- all drawers and all soft close doors and drawers, I'm retrofitting.

I've built my kitchen out of reuse center stuff, stuff I've built, and stuff I've saved to buy. EVERYTHING is getting soft close doors and drawers.

I just found a source and bought 30 Blum soft door close mechanisms, $.50 a piece. I can build my own drawer boxes, but I won't cut expenses on the correct hardware, the warranty, nor the convenience. This stuff is sold to accommodate weight. If you use the right hardware, it doesn't "wear out". In 100 years. Really. Would you give someone a nail file when they need a belt sander? A spoon when they need a shovel?

WHY would your wife acquiesce to crawling around on the floor to find things in the back of cupboards. And before you ask, no, roll-outs aren't the same. The major complaint is they crap out and scratch up the doors in front of them.

Nice give-it-a-bump doors and drawers!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 9:22AM
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Love having drawers in our new house !! Our primary residence has base cabinets where we store the pots & pans. I can only see the ones along the front edge and have to move them around to get to the ones behind. Our new house has drawers everywhere except for one base cabinet that stores the small appliances (vitamix, electric griddle, toaster, etc) where I wanted adjustable shelves. All these items are only one deep anyway.

It is SO much easier to pull out the drawer and access all the pots & pans from front to back in the drawer. Plus I am looking down on the contents, not squatting down to look into the base cabinet. 14 drawers in all store kitchen towels, baking dishes, tupperware, pots/pans, etc. in addition to normal drawer stuff like junk drawer, saran wrap, silverware, and gadgets drawers. The storage is so efficient that I have leftover unused drawers !

Make sure the drawers are tall enough for the items you want in them. I had wanted to put all my baking dishes and pans on edge in the drawer, but I am too short on clearance for my largest skillet by 1 inch. I have to store that one flat down in the bottom which takes up a lot of real estate in the drawer. Waaaah !!

We also have Blum full extension soft close drawers, and Blum soft close doors. Love both of them. Have only had them for 15 months, but no problems so far. This is a rental home with different families every week during the peak season - 37 families (2 peak seasons) so far. I estimate about 740 people, plus us and different friends and family which would put us around 800 in 15 months. Even with all those different people using them, we have had no issues. Blum is the standard hardware used by our cabinet mfg (UltraCraft).

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 9:24AM
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Ray72, you may have a fine cabinet maker, but he obviously is not a cook. Tell your wife a whole hoard of women second your choices. Blum soft-close is a must, and if you ever have to sell, a near-necessity in some markets, according to RE agent buddy. Yes, doors are out. Drawers are in. More expensive, yes. But if you go doors, as I have in my contractor kitchen, you will just end up installing Rev-A-Shelf stainless sliders @ about $50 each. Pay me now, or pay me later. When your wife reaches my age, she will not want to be down on her knees scrabbling around the back of a cupboard. My .02.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 10:12AM
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@ray72, let me add my 'yes!' to the drawer and soft close chorus. My kitchen currently has the roll-out shelves behind doors and as CEF says, they're *not* as good as drawers but at least I don't have to get down on my knees to fish something out. And soft close, ooooh! I spent my first visit at an Ikea about a year ago opening all their kitchen display drawers and watching them soft close without the Bang. Verrrrry niiiiice! I sure hope this thread will convince your DW!

@breezy, the Blum soft close door retrofits are extremely easy to install if you have overlay doors. Perhaps you could do your dish cab yourself? ARgh, I can't remember if you have inset on your dish cab or not and I can't find a pic now (even with google search)! Easy enough for me to do on ~50 of our doors (yeah, I really wish the POs had been visionary drawer installers!) with just a screwdriver. If your cabinets are too hard for a screwdriver, then it's a little more complicated because you have to use a flexible bit extender with a drill. With THAT I needed about three hands to do everything correctly but I had a cheapie bit so it wouldn't stay tightened into the drill properly.

@CEFreeman, I swoon at your .50 soft close door mechs! I paid ~$3.50 for my bulk purchases on Amazon. Would your source have more and be able to ship? I have a few more doors...


    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 10:13AM
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CEF posted at the same time I was. I would love to get my hands on some more Blum hardware at a good price. I really want soft close drawers and doors in the bathrooms too. Can ya help a girl out ?!?!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 11:26AM
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Yes, I can.
I have the soft door mechanisms, still in their little plastic Blum bags.

If you want to email me privately, we can do this for postage and .50 each. I can definitely help a kitchen chick out. :)
Try me at Christine at Yoga Dancer dot com, rather than the email address thru here. It comes through sporadically.

See, Ray72? What lengths someone will go to get these wonders of modern Kitchens?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 12:25PM
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I too have to question the credentials of this "cabinet maker." He sounds like the folks who wondered why you needed a refrigerator when an icebox was more than adequate. Why would you need a modern washing machine when one of these will be just fine?

You're building your own house for goodness sake! Don't build to what was good enough in the last century.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 12:44PM
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We reworked and refinished our existing cabinets. We converted the cabinets on either side of the stove to drawers. I'm kicking myself for not converting a bunch more cabinets to drawers. After using the drawers, I really hate crawling around on my knees trying to get stuff out of the lower cabinets.

A friend has the Blum soft close on her drawers. She likes them and I like them. The Blum glides are mounted on the underside of the drawers. Since we were using existing cabinets, there wasn't room on our drawers to use Blum. We tried out a couple of side mount soft close glides made by other manufacturers, and weren't happy with them. They were hard to pull open, and indeed seemed to slam shut. If you use them, insist on Blum.

For our cabinet doors, we did go with soft close. Our cabinet maker brought us some that he said should be just as good as Blum. Again, we didn't like them, and had him return them and get the Blum hinges. We're very happy with them.

I think the Blum hardware is a little pricier, but it seemed to function much better. The other brands aren't cheap either, so if you're going to pay for soft close, get the good ones.

You should get the cabinets you want, not what the cabinetmaker wants to build. After all, you're writing the check. Good luck and please share your kitchen with us when it's finished.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 12:49PM
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Another voice in the choir warming up: Drawers? Yes, everywhere you can! Soft-close? Yes, it is much nicer. Just a bump and you're good to go.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 1:13PM
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Find a new cabinetmaker immediately.

Drawers wherever they fit and Blum soft-close on all.

Those features are among the most enjoyed by my family and, if you are into this sort of thing, most envied by my snooty neighbors.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 1:22PM
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I guess you get the message -
ALL LOWER DRAWERS + ALL SOFT CLOSE (both drawers and doors).

If the cabinet maker cannot provide this, ditch him and find another.
Or better yet, go to IKEA and get everything for cheap, great value and construction, save money!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 1:32PM
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Guys, I want to specify I've got the soft close thing that goes by the hinge. Not the new hinges with it built in. I'm good with either. :)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 1:34PM
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I told my cabinet maker and my contractor I wanted all drawers in the kitchen. They both said, "Of course, that's what everyone is doing."
I had thought it was a GW thing but apparently not.
Go for drawers.
I also love my soft close slides. I hate the sound of cabinets and drawers banging shut.
Maybe your cabinet maker needs to read some GW posts.

I have to commend you for helping with your remodel while being so far away.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 1:44PM
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Fori is not pleased

I don't care about soft close one way or another, but if the cab guy thinks they fail, he's using crappy hardware which is going to be a problem.

Drawers are good. Tell your wife to toughen up and get you what you want, regardless of what the cab guy wants. :P

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 1:56PM
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Drawers, Drawers, Drawers,.....

I'm already scared of the day that I might have to move and move into a kitchen that doesn't have all drawers.

Your wife will thank-you if you get your way.

Direct her to this post.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 2:36PM
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'Nother soft close and drawer lover!! My laundry room doesn't have soft close, and I hate the bang when I close the doors. I am getting soft close installed there too, so the whole house will be soft and serene... :)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 3:49PM
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Ray72, I think you get the point by now, so I will only say this...GET THE DAMN DRAWERS! Or at least tell your wife to. :) And, if it's in the budget, get soft-close everything, unless someone in the family gets creeped out by them. But even then, hire a therapist and get them over it. It's worth it! Blum is probably the largest and most used brand. But there are other good hardware brands. I have Hettich and they are every bit as solid, but without hype. I did hear that Ferrari stuff is built nothing like the car, so I avoided any cabinet brand/maker that used those. I read somewhere that Ikea used Ferrari before dumping them for Blum.

Send your wife the link to this thread and let her read. Show her she has support here and should stand firm with you on getting what you want.

PS - I even change my toilet seats to soft close!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 3:53PM
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Yes, lots of drawers, soft close, full extension... My Mennonite true custom cabmaker does those standard.

But... not every single lower needs to be a drawer. You may have some things that you want in a cupboard or a thin pull-out. I have a thin lower cupboard for pans, a cupboard under the sink (drawers are kind of tough to do there), a trash pull-out, and a lower cupboard with a pull-out for small appliances. Ideally, you would think about what will go in each cupboard, then specify what kind of cupboard goes where. There are lots of interesting ideas for storing different kinds of things, and they aren't all drawers. Does she want an appliance lift? Does she want a thin pull-out with a rack for towels? If, since you're doing a whole house, she doesn't have time to consider the details of the actual cab layout, then, by all means, do all drawers except under the sink and a trash pull-out, if you want one.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 4:39PM
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Another vote for drawers, drawers, drawers. It also gets my back up when someone like that just takes it upon themselves to change YOUR design.

Here's an idea: have your wife do this comparison for herself.
At a place with sample kitchens, have her put her purse on the back of the shelf inside a lower cabinet, close the door, then open it and retrieve it.
Then have her find a cabinet with lower drawers, place her purse inside, close it, and open it and retrieve the purse.
If available, both ways should be tried with and without soft-close.
Then think about doing this every day, for every item stored in base cabinets.
I think she'll see the light.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 6:56PM
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Jscout, I just had to replace the toilet in my kids' bathroom and I totally went soft close because I was sick of the lid and seat slamming!

Which leads me to an important aspect of soft close. If you have children, consider the extra cost of soft close as a small insurance policy that maybe the kids won't be constantly slamming your brand new cabinets and damaging them. I have three boys 5 and under and there was no way I wanted them slamming the cabinets for the next 18 years.

I would also shop around a little for the cabinets. The builder might be suggesting this guy because he gets a kick back or he might actually be suggesting him because he's good. Best to get an idea of what others are charging for something similar and what others can do.

There's a post on here that boils down to how often people hear they don't want something that's actually really good and i think the concensus was it usually stems from the ignorance of the speaker.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 6:56PM
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heh just another vote here for full extension drawers w soft close...

I read up here for countless nights and went ahead will all drawers for all my lowers and its fantastic!!!

I always thought of soft close as a gimmick but it's fantastic now i am used to it and will never go back.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 7:46PM
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As long as you're building a whole house, make sure that you also get soft close toilets since mrsjoe brought that up. Smashing toilet seats is something I don't miss at all, especially in the middle of the night! Not that anyone does it on purpose, but it's dark and you're sleepy.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 8:09PM
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first of all - thank you and your family for your service! And may God truly bless you (and them) and keep you safe!

then on to drawers! as was posted - drawers, drawers, drawers. I don't have many in my old (new to me) place - nor do I have full ext or soft close - but eventually I will. Hopefully, before next summer.

I plan to discuss those with my 'handyman' in the next wk or 2 so that I can find out if it's something he can and is willing to do. Else I'll have to find someone else to do that for me. Those are very important things to me - after running water, plumbing that doesn't leak and things like that.

No one should put in a new kitchen - or remodel an old one without those things!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 8:26PM
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I began the thread where sentences began with, "YOu don't want that...."

JScout is right.
Check the kickbacks. There are cabinet people who will tell you flat out, that is a consideration for KDs, and you didn't mention if yours was [ahem] national or local.

The bottom line, and I repeat myself,
Kick this guy to the curb.

If your wife is (understandably) overwhelmed doing this on her own, please do send her here. I can completely understand a wife not wanting to make decisions that are so impactful on her own. She will see you obviously felt it was worth the visit. She'll understand she is NOT doing this by herself, and even you, her far away husband, is looking out for her.

If you (and she) read here, looking back thru all these posts, she'll gain a lot of insight. Particularly into men/people who tell the cook what they do or don't want. Just because it's always been done that way, or because it's easier for them for the money they've bid, doesn't make it the way it has to be.

I'm sure I speak for all here, in that we're looking forward to her visit. Just look at Mrs. Concrete. (or is)it Mrs. Morter? [LOL])

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 8:27PM
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Soft close rock!
Drawers rock!!1

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 9:01PM
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I did as many drawers on the lowers as I could. I love them. I did soft close drawers and cab doors. I love them. Some of the cab door soft closers aren't working so well, I need to call the cab company and have them come in. But I do love them and would get them again!!!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 9:06PM
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ditto to what everyone above said. drawers where you can, echo what Ginny20 said, and definitely use the soft-close on all drawers and cabs.

Thank you so much for your service to our country!! Its so appreciated! God Bless and stay safe!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Drawers, FULL EXTENSION, soft close. Skinny drawers, too. Not negotiable. Fin.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 8:17PM
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How much longer til your wife logs on and says OK we convinced her ???

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 10:05PM
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Thanks for the great feedback!

My wife is totally on board for drawers. I think we were both surprised at the volume and emotion this topic inspired.

I was able to call the cabinet guy (I LOVE SKYPE) and talk. His concern was for the way the kitchen would look with drawers. He doesn't like pull outs either! So, we are good and headed the same direction. I didn't ask what brand of soft close he used, but we will have Blum in our new house!

Several suggested getting a different cabinet guy. While we'll get a second opinion, I realized our guy was actually trying to make sure my wife would be happy with the way the finished product looked. Once I told him we were fine with how drawers would look, he was all on board. I think doing this from 7000 miles will have more challenges in communication that most, but we'll get there. I'd love to be at all the meetings, but I'm happy to serve where I am.

I've got a great wife who is doing a wonderful job staying within budget and still getting great things for our house.

Thanks for all the input. I'm sure we'll have more questions along the way. We are just about to go to contract and this was the last budget item to figure out! Turning dirt soon...


    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 11:17PM
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I think both options are a no brainier! I wish I had more drawers too. Thank you and your family for your service to our country. We appreciate you!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 12:44AM
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