Kitchen Designers in the DC Area

DCJerseySeptember 17, 2012

My wife and I are just about ready to start renovating our kitchen. I posted on here about a year ago and received a lot of good information about how to best use our space. Now that we are actually ready to begin the process, i am looking for some good information as to kitchen designers/contractors to meet with/determine if there is a good fit/ get estimates from.

We live in Silver Spring, MD and are not looking for anything too too high end. Our current home was built in 1985 and it still has the original kitchen. We are not looking to knock down walls or build an addition to the home, but we would like to change the layout of the kitchen so the current space will likely have to be gutted. We will also probably be renovating a small powder room off the kitchen at the same time. Our total budget is in the 30-50k range.

Can anyone recommend some kitchen designers/contractors to approach for help in designing our kitchen?

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Friends and neighbors have had excellent luck with:




    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 12:18PM
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Sorry, I have no kitchen recommendations since we decided to DIY. I just wanted to say "Hello Neighbor." I am also in Silver Spring (near Holy Cross Hospital).

We did look at Cabinet Discounters in Rockville/Gathersburg for cabinets and thought the quality was nice and the price was OK. Ultimately, we went with Dutchwood, a GW favorite (better price, full custom). We paid the Home Depot (off 29 near Cherry Hill) to come out and measure and draw up a cabinet plan. That was $50 wasted, they were useless.

A year ago, we had American Bath in Silver Spring redo our bathroom. They were on time, on budget, and did a good job.

Good luck with your project!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 12:39PM
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Hi Neighbor! We actually live about 5 minutes from the Home Depot on Cherry Hill. Thanks for your advice, we won't be going near them!!

I have been reading a lot of good things about Dutchwood on these boards. It seems like they offer good quality at a good price. I have already emailed Jason about how to start the process with him.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 12:44PM
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Sherrirode, is your Dutchwood kitchen completed and did they travel to do the install? How many times did you have to meet in person with them?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 2:58PM
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Right now my kitchen is torn out to the studs, so no cabinets yet. They are not due till mid-late October. I emailed plans to get an estimate, then we went up for a visit to hammer out the details and to see their work. After that, we paid a deposit and the dad (Earl?) came down to measure. Jason emailed detailed drawings and 3-d renderings, we emailed some changes, etc. They would travel to install, but we decided to pick up and install ourselves to save about $3000. We may go up one more time to check on progress, see the finish, etc. before pick up, I'm not sure. They've been great to work with, though he has bumped the pick up date by about a week. Not a problem since we are running a little behind schedule anyway.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 3:33PM
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thanks Sherriode for that info. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 4:43PM
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I'd drop by Jack Rosen in Rockville/Bethesda, who mainly sells very high quality cabinetry but also designs well for their customers. Also, the recently relocated ABW Appliance showroom off Nicholson Ln (Mikelle), along with a nice selection of mid- to high-end appliances also sells and knows cabinetry. There's Kitchens Inc. in Bethesda, conveniently located next to Architectural Ceramics and Bray & Scarff.

I'm currently auditioning design-only people and firms.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 3:34AM
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I asked a question about custom cabinets last year and I've linked to the responses I got.
We still haven't done anything yet, so I can't help with a personal recommendation.
We did get a quote from case, which has a good reputation but was out of our price range.
Good Luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: information

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 12:02PM
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This is somewhat related to my original question. How exactly do we start the process of renovating our kitchen. I have researched a number of kitchen designers, but it seems like all of the designers are also cabinet dealers and have their own recommended sources for counter tops and contractors. If we are not interested in this "one stop shop" approach it possible to speak with/hire a kitchen designer just to get a design and have measurements taken and then hire a general contractor of our own? Or should we skip kitchen designers and go right to talking to general contractors?

Basically my wife and I are looking for the most flexibility in terms of the source of the materials for kitchen but will need help with the design. For example, I am very interested in dutchwood cabinets, but if a kitchen designer only uses a particular cabinet line then I might be precluded from my preferred choice. At the same time, from what I have heard it is difficult to talk to dutchwood without a design in mind.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 8:19PM
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Dcjersey. I was in a similar situation by wanting a design but not wanting to commit to any designer's cabinet line. I read so many member profiles on nkba and asid sites. I contacted via email those whose profiles indicated that they were open to work with clients in one or more capacities. My email also made it clear that at this time I only wanted a design since I had other projects I was considering at this time. I did receive a response from most. I met with a few of them. The first designer I met with, it seemed obvious they were not interested in a design only. I posted on another site of my experience; was told to hang in there and meeting with others did prove fruitful. I did have to pay for the design. This particular designer did not take measurements during the first meet and greet, but once I signed a contract for design and lighting services, KD did the measurements. Of course, after the first meeting or so, they were pushing their cabinetry lines. I just said I wasnt willing to commit to cabinetry at this time since I didn't know when I would install (which was true). I felt good about the designer and did ask for an estimate for cabinets and install costs. In my case, the KD provides the design, but will only work with you on finishes, etc. if you buy their cabinets. I'm a bit Leary of going out on my own for selecting finishes, etc but praying the good ppl here will hold my hand. I don't know if all KDs operate like this, but it's best to ask upfront during the meet and greet.

Good luck in your search.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 3:33AM
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Excuse my typos. I'm on an iPad. I hope my post makes sense

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 3:35AM
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So my wife and I decided to just go to Home Depot today to talk to a designer and get a rough idea about costs. We put together a design that matched a lot of what we are looking for, though I think it will need to be tweaked. The designer priced things out in American Woodmark cabinets in both thermofoil and painted cabinets. The thermofoil quote was about 7400 with all promotions included while painted cabinets were about 9000 with a number of promos.

I am starting to get a little nervous about how much the cabinets are going to cost. I would really like to avoid a place like Home Depot, but would like to spend less than 15k on cabinets (probably closer to 10k would be better, but I would stretch more for high quality more custom cabinets). Is it realistic that I would be able to afford dutchwood cabinets in this budget given the quotes from home depot?

Sherriode, I found in another thread that your quote from dutchwood actually came out less than homedepot. What line of cabinets was your quote for? Did the Home Depot cabinets include many features that the dutchwood ones did not?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 5:15PM
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Dutchwood also has a ckd that they work with to do the design. DW also includes so many things that are considered upgrades at other places. Things like crown moulding--pick ANY of the choices they have--there is no difference in price between the small one or the big one; Light rail, pick ANY of the choices; tilt out at sink included, cutlery drawer included, paint or stain-same price. And the beauty of custom is that if you need to make something a little smaller or a little larger, they can do it. Whenever I asked Jason about some wild idea I would have, he would think about it and then give me "That shouldn't be a problem" answer vs the first horrid KD I had to go to who would always say "we can do it but it's going to cost you big bucks"... I wanted to make my dish drawers look like a stack of drawers vs having one single panel cover the whole thing. For an extra $15 I could make that happen easily.

DW also has 2 lines of cabinetry. The top line is the 3/4" plywood, and the economy line is 1/2". My closet is the 1/2". I would never know that there was a difference because the finish is just as great on both.

If you need to see a DW kitchen in person, we are about an hour north of Baltimore on 83. You can also ask Jason if he can put you in touch with another customer in your area--I know they did an installation down by you in the last 6 months.

I think having them do the installation is very good, they are excellent. My countertop guys said that they could not believe how perfect the cabinets were when they came to template. In fact they said it was the best they had ever seen. Also, when they do the installation, they can decide if something isn't right, take it back to get it fixed, etc.

Best of luck. (oh, and if you do want to see the kitchen, you can email me at beekeeperswife at gmail dot com)


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:34AM
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Dutchwood cost less than Home Depot because of the options we wanted. We priced Kraftmaid all plywood (no MDF) cabs at HD. Of course the plywood was an upcharge. Paint instead of stain was an upcharge. Glass fronts on several cabs was a big upcharge. Without all of the upcharges, I'm sure HD would have been cheaper. But all of these things were standard at Dutchwood. That, and we could get the exact sizes we needed, so no extra fillers. It our tiny kitchen, every inch counts.

So it really depends on what options you want. HD was a good place to get started, in terms of budgeting, but be wary of paying for them to come out and measure. Their design skills were lousy (at this particular HD); but if you know what you want, it's a good place to start pricing things.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Just want to add, what HD priced at 14k, DW priced at 12k. And I second what Bee said. All my crazy ideas (that I could NEVER get from HD), were met with, "That shouldn't be a problem". If what you want doesn't cost them more, it doesn't cost you more.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:30AM
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Hi neighbor -

We are pretty close by in the Germantown area. We have been working on designs and ideas for awhile. After getting some great ideas from a couple local companies that tend to do BIG $ kitchen projects, we found a local contractor who claims that in his opinion the IKEA cabinets are a better value for your $ than the HomeDepot/Lowes ones. His general estimate (I don't have specific yet) was very reasonable for installation. He also put us in touch with a Kitchen Designer who has actually been pretty helpful, she is just freelance and charges $50 an hour but has really provided some good insight. She does not work for a local contractor/cabinet company/etc.... which is nice.

If you want the contact information please feel free to email me.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:26PM
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I'm another dutchwood kitchen person. We didn't consider home depot, but we did get quotes on candelight cabinets and medallion cabinets. Dutchwood was $30,000 (not a typo!) cheaper than candlelight cabinets and around $15K cheaper than Medallion cabinets if I remember right. This was because of the options we wanted and the fact that they were all considered add-ons or upcharges with any non-custom line.

We have cabinets that I believe are from Home Depot in our FL house (put in by PO's right before we moved in). The difference between the Home Depot cabinets and the Dutch Wood cabinets is very, very dramatic in terms of quality.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:21PM
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So I emailed Jason at Dutchwood and he is busy until mid to late October, but he will email me back at that time to start the process. That should give me a good amount of time to refine what I am looking to do with this space. The more I think about things and the more I look at the pictures of beekeeperswife's and beaglesdoitbetter's kitchens the more excited about the possibilities I get. I am very hopeful that I will be able to fit Dutchwood into my budget. Seeing the amount spent by beekeeperswife on her beautful kitchen I am hopeful that I will be able to get Dutchwood given that I will need fewer cabinets and may be able to go for the lower level line.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:03PM
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Mid to late October- that's just when my cabinets are due. GW is keeping them very busy. I hope it works out for you!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:06PM
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DCJersey, if it helps, my kitchen cabinets from DW were $34,000 for the whole kitchen (that included the custom inserts, 13 ft. island, 15 ft. wall of china cabinets, and all the pull-outs, molding and other features. The basic price w/ the builder's discount was around $400 linear foot (plus extras for the hood and certain other add-ons) I think it might be a bit more than that if you aren't w/ a builder or doing an entire house, but I'm not sure.

The lower level line is 1/2 inch plywood instead of 3/4 inch plywood. I think I have the econoline in my pantry and maybe my closet but I can't remember any more. You can't really tell too much of a difference and in some cabinet lines, even 1/2 inch plywood is an upgrade.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 12:19AM
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DCJersey, I plan on contacting Dutchwood next week to get on their schedule for October. I live on the border of Silver Spring/DC so we may be able to plan any Dutchwood trips to DC around the same time to save them time on multiple visits.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 9:02PM
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So I just got an email from Jason at Dutchwood. It turns out that they are so slammed that they are not taking on any new jobs until mid to late January. This is definitely disappointing and putting a kink in my plans. Perhaps I should not have gotten my hopes so high over Dutchwood. Does anyone have any suggestions for someone that offers the quality and value that Dutchwood does?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 9:41AM
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I will echo the suggestion above that you look at Ikea cabinets. We put them in our last kitchen (have since sold that place and moved to the other coast). I was very, very pleased and we are looking to buy a house again and if the kitchen needs to be redone, ikea cabinets are at the top of my list. They have excellent hardware, a decent selection of door/drawer fronts, come with a 25 year warranty and are dirt cheap.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:04AM
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DCJersey, when we were looking for Kitchen Cabinets, we narrowed on 3.
- Dutchwood
- LMS Woodcraft
- Oxford

We rejected Oxford as the communication was little tough. They use minimum technology so emails and phone calls were very limited.

LMS Woodcraft was a good option as they had equally good cabinet quality and customer service. They priced about the same as Dutchwood. Luke, the owner was able to provide the kitchen drawings based on the ideas and pictures I gave him. The only reason we did not go with him was we felt he had a smaller shop and will not be able to deliver on time. We are getting kitchen cabinets, family room book cases, 5 bathroom cabinets and some custom linen cabinets. You can check with them.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:20AM
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Thanks Jain! I could you provide the contact information for LMS Woodcraft?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:44AM
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Another DC lurker planning a kitchen. I've already contacted both Oxford and Dutch Wood and was pleasantly surprised with the quotes--as everyone who has used them has said. If anyone in the DC area has used either cabinet maker and wouldn't mind showing them off, that might save us a trip to PA :) Sherriode said she used Dutch Wood but she doesn't have the email option active on her profile.

We live in Bethesda and have in-laws in Silver Spring. Thanks for considering!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 2:47PM
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