Amish built cabinets vs. Kraftmaid

chitown_remodelDecember 7, 2011

Hi everyone,

My sister is remodeling her kitchen. She has found a GC she likes who uses Kraftmaid cabinets. She likes the finishes and she found a door style she likes (recessed panel).

She also got a quote from the local Amish for the same finishes and door style. The Amish quoted her $500 more than the Kraftmaid.

The Kraftmaid I think is a veneer door whereas the Amish door would be solid maple.

Both brands of drawer would be dovetail and soft close.

She's not sure what to do. What's your opinion?


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I'd tell the Amish that they have the high bid and ask if they can come down.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 11:23AM
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My Amish bid was less expensive than Kraftmaid. Certain things are included i.e. molding, light trim, sink tilt outs, and door hardware (amerock). In addition, Amish cabinetry is custom and I have a weird kitchen so they were able to customize everything to my space with no fillers. Also, it's only $50 for custom color/finishes vs 15 or 20% upcharge with Kraftmaid.

I'll report back once they are installed.

The Amish bid should be less expensive than the Kraftmaid bid. Unless, it's different a different layout etc. Were the bids apples to apples?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 12:59PM
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There are many quality local cabinet makers. Especially if your measurements do not fit common factory multiples of 3", custom built is the way to go. One of our friends (N IL) has Amish built for more than 10 years, hickory and very nice. Solid doors are a plus.

Dependent on usage though, a baked-on factory finish cannot be duplicated, so could be an issue if children's wet hands or carefree usage are issues.

Personally, I would suspect (site unseen) that the Amish built are of better materials and craftsmanship as Kraftmaid is in many big box stores and sold on price.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 1:02PM
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I'm in Chitown. I am thrilled with the customization that the Amish=-ish cab company, Ayr Custom Cabinets, Nappannee, Indiana did for my kitchen. They did a lot of desing elements, great storage, used every inch and wisely. Ayr works all over Illinois and Ken Miller says 'yes' 'we can do that' to every idea, and then improves that idea. You get so much for your money.

Ayr does have a baked on factory finish as their factory has 40 employees. I just haven't seen better cabinets.

Your sil will be happy, happy.

I have Kraftmaid in two bathrooms, and while they are nice, they are nowhere near as smart as Ayr. My gc had to cut the drawers on the Kraftmaid to customize, but Ayr's are perfectly designed from the get go.

The company has deep experience and Ken Miller is a mind reader.

Loves2cook4six used Ayr and has the same opinion as me.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 1:32PM
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The Amish cabs will be custom and any issues will be promptly taken care of. That is not the case with kraft aid (as I have read). I would go with the amish craftsmanship.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 2:04AM
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I would go with the Amish bid. Having custom cabinetry has been such an added plus for my kitchen remodel. I was able to specify a cabinet run depth slightly less than the standard to enable me to fit a fridge, full size DW and 30" farm sink into a very small space that would have never fit otherwise. I was also able to specify custom end panels and decorative feet at no additional cost, that would not have been included in my Omega Dynasty competing bid. Particularily in a small kitchen going custom as been invaluable. Would do it again in a heartbeat. Note I did not use amish vendors, speaking to the aspect of custom vs. Kraftmaid

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 1:14PM
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She should make sure that the ones from the Amish cabinet maker are the quality she is expecting.

Just a couple of things to consider, I have some Kraftmaid cabinets, they are not veneer, they are solid cherry-that is what we chose.

Just because you are Amish, does not mean you are a good carpenter. There are good ones and there are ones that do not meet what people expect. I have seen decks that have been built by some Amish guys. Might look good, but if you look at the bones of the deck--not that great. Same with some of the furniture.

I'm not bashing Amish cabinetmakers in anyway. Just be careful not to stereotype that they ALL are doing quality work. It is the same thing as saying that ALL Amish are running puppy mills. I am surrounded by Amish farms, so I am quite familiar with them and it drives me crazy what pre-conceived notions people have.

Sorry for the rant.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 2:06PM
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I thnkI would go Amish...our Electrician said there is a guy named Jesse who is absolutely phenomenal if you would like I can get his number for you.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 3:49PM
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we had cabinets installed this summer that were made by the Amish and they are incredible!! The craftsmanship is amazing and they take so much pride in their work if there is any sort of issue it is resolved immediately.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 5:41PM
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Thanks for your opinions everyone I will show these comments to my sister.

The Amish family she got a quote from built my parent's kitchen table, entertainment center, and multiple shelves/bookshelves - so she trusts them.

The Kraftmaid cabinets she was quoted on were the ones with solid doors not veneers (my mistake!)

I just finished my kitchen remodel and now she is just starting hers so she is calling for my opinion quite a bit. And, of course, I want to help her out in any way that I can.

Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 9:03PM
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I'm just begining to plan my kitchen re-do in the Northern Delaware/Philly area and I would love the names of Amish cabinet makers if anyone can recommend them.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 4:28PM
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Hi Bumpyroad,

We had our kitchen cabinets made by Amos Stolzfus of Master Design Cabinetry in Honey Brook, PA and love his work.

We are working with him on laundry room and downstairs powder room.

His phone number is (610) 273-2212. website is

good luck

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 12:12AM
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fks3, Your kitchen cabinet creator/designer has the most amazing website and really does great work. I printed this post. Thank you.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 12:59AM
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He was originally a carriage - maker....but he could make money building cabinets!! He is a great guy, too!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 6:52AM
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hey bumpyroad, I'm in Chester County, right over the DE line. A lot of people here on GW and in my neighborhood have used Oxford Cabinets. They do excellent work.

Oxford Cabinet Shop
120 Quarry Road
Oxford, PA 19363
Jacob K. Fisher
Call Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 8-8:30 AM
(717) 529-0949

And a little further is Dutchwood. I have posted the link to their brochure below.

You can do a search on GW, or even Google, which will lead you back to the GW posts, for both of these companies.

Good Luck! Hey, better yet, don't renovate, buy my house....

Here is a link that might be useful: Dutchwood's brochure

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 7:38AM
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I didn't know so many of us Pennsylvanians were here.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 8:09AM
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Circus Peanut

If she's seen and is happy with the quality of their work, I'd go with the Amish, even at $500 more. I'd be willing to bet that the KraftMaid would cost her more in the end.

The thing about the big commercial cabinet companies is that virtually every change to standard builder's grade is an upcharge -- and any changes that might be necessary due to in-process glitches (and they will happen) will be added to the initial estimate. Not usually the case with custom makers, who can tweak the design as they go without charging you any extra to re-order or re-measure things.

Plus, and this is huge, with made-to-order Amish cabinetry it will be HER kitchen, nobody else's. :-)

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 10:23AM
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Circus Peanut

PS: we don't have many Amish up this way in Maine, but we do have a lot of grumpy out-of-work boat builders who can do bang-up kitchens as well. Real carpenters are an incredible resource: keep 'em in business!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 10:24AM
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I had Amish-built cabinets when I lived in the Midwest. They were Shaker maple cabinets (this was in 1995 when there weren't many Shaker cabinets being built - at least not in that area) and they did a great job - even though it wasn't a style they were familiar with making. I loved that kitchen and still have dreams about it (the sleeping kind!).

The entire experience was memorable; i.e. I had to drive them back and forth from the building site to their cabinet shop and if they didn't fall asleep during the long ride they would sing hymns and when I asked them to build a large entertainment cabinet (midway through the kitchen installation) they informed me they would have to pray over it because they were not allowed to watch television; however, the same day one of them asked me to fax some documents for him for one of his side businesses (which I admit, amused me greatly).

IIRC, I was one of their first customers and the building site was VERY difficult to reach so there was a bit of a learning curve but overall It was one of those fascinating life experiences that I will never forget.

Also, I agree 100% with beekeeperswife's statement: "just because you are Amish, does not mean you are a good carpenter;" however, in your case (or rather, your sister's) their work has already been vetted by a close family member.

Just two days ago I was lamenting to my mother that I would love to find Amish cabinet builders in our area. My mom grew up in the same town in Illinois where Schrock (as Schrock Brothers Manufacturing) started making cabinets in 1961 (in 1998 they went the conglomerate route (MasterBrand)).

If it was my choice to make I know which route I would take. :)

(OTOH, the in-laws just had Kraftmaid cabinets put in and they're very nice and they are quite pleased thus far).

    Bookmark   December 12, 2011 at 1:37PM
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Since the work done by the Amish that are under consideration for the job have already demonstrated quality work, it's a no-brainer to me. Hire the Amish.

I had custom in one home many years ago built by a local clock maker. They were absolutely wonderful cabinets. Then we built another home in another state and bought the top of the line Kraftmaid.

On the surface Kraftmaid looks nice enough (not as nice as a good cabinet maker) but the quality leaves a great deal to be desired. I would never, ever consider a big box store set of cabinets again. The guts are not that good even in their best top of the line. They are overpriced for what they are.

A small, local custom cabinet business is building my cabinetry right now for our new we hope to age in place in and stay for the rest of our lives. They are building the basic boxes and we are getting Conestoga doors and face frames, which are made by the Amish. The sample we have is gorgeous and well made. The pricing is better than what Kraftmaid would have been as well.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 12:11PM
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bumpyroad - we used Triple A Custom Wood Design in Akron, PA (right near lancaster, Lititz) they are phenomenal!! Their # is 717-859-4015, ask for Amos. I highly recommend!! We just had our kitchen finished in the summer.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 2:38PM
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For me this would be a "no brainer"....I'd use the Amish built cabinets even if it was only $500 more...they would be worth that to me for sure...they do wonderful work and take pride in doing so.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 3:24PM
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fks3, beekeeperswife and mick2 - thanks soooo much for the names. I feel much better having names of cabinet makers that come recommended - my father and grandfather built this house [which is why - sorry beekeeperswife - I can't buy yours and move from here!) 47 years ago. It's the original kitchen and when I re-do, I want to do it justice. Thanks!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 5:02PM
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Bumpyroad - how wonderful to be surrounded by such history. When you get done post pictures. I need to figure out how to post mine.

Take your time and enjoy the process

    Bookmark   December 13, 2011 at 9:52PM
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Make sure you're comparing apples to apples. We have alot of Amish living in our area, and I have some Amish made furniture; some of it is very nice, some of it not so much. So just know what you're getting. None of the Amish in our area have phone or websites. Seems unusual to me. We have to go to their farms to order furniture. Must be a different sect of Amish.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 12:37AM
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I was surprised too about the phone and website because they have someone drive them to come measure. According to my contractor if there is a separate building for place of business it is "OK" since they do have to make a living

Totally agree with Joyce - compare apples to apples which is sometimes hard to do.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 12:56PM
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Can anyone recommend a Custom Cabinetmaker (Amish/Mennonite or other) in Central Florida? We live in Sarasota FL but its within driving distance from Tampa to the north or Naples to the south.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 10:31AM
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We recently moved to the Pittsburgh area for a job relocation, bought a 1961 house and are in remodel mode. I finished a major kitchen remodel and next planning finished basement kitchen/bar and shelving surrounding fireplace. Since these are smaller and custom jobs, I thought to search this site for ideas on brands and builders. How funny to land here and read posts written by other PA residents! Can anyone recommend a great Amish custom cabinet maker in south Pittsburgh area? Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:00PM
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