Need help deciding between KD

indecisiveremodelerDecember 1, 2012

So we have had 2 KD companies look a our space for full remodel. KD 1 was kind enough to look at our space before we purchased our home and has since drawn up a plan that we are happy with. They seem very experienced and knowledgable. They are recommending Greenfield cabinets. KD 2 is a competitor of Kd1 and both are high end.KD 2 is recommending Brookhaven cabinets. KD 2's estimate is almost $20,000 less than KD1 but there is less detail on the plan and seems like more wiggle room for things to change.
The dilemma is KD1 has given us a lot of their time, we first had them come out over a year ago, is very knowledgeable and we feel comfortable with their plan while KD2 is also very capable but is more new to us and is significantly less expensive. Hate to turn away from KD 1 after everything they have done for us but $20,000 is a nice chunk of change. Any advise? Either cabinet line significantly better than the other? We are doing a full gut/remodel with beaded inset cabinets subzero, Miele, wolf appliances, new floor, etc.

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I would actually get a 3rd quote....the difference you describe evokes suspicion....a 3rd quote would tell you a little more.....and 3 isn't too many.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 6:56PM
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The less detail part is a red flag if you are just looking at price. If there is a $20k difference, then this must be a pretty sizable remodel. Those details could put KD2 in the same ballpark as KD1. You should ask them for a quote with all the same details and features as KD1 so you can compare apples to apples.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 7:05PM
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If you get a serious quote that is less than KD1, I would go back and at least give them the opportunity to counter offer. I agree with a 3rd quote and make sure you get all the details on each quote. If you want to work with KD1 you can also ask them to work with you on cost savings.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 7:34PM
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Herbflavor, the design quote process has been draining and actually KD2 required a $1000 retainer/design fee. Our appetite for involving a 3 rd party is wearing thin but you may be right.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 7:34PM
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Wlliamsem, KD1 gave us each sub's detailed quote. They had plumber, electrician, floor, and window sub come out. KD2only gave me a single estimate that "includes" plumber, etc but no specifics on each sub's scope of work. With KD1 we actually know where every outlet, recessed light, etc will be. In addition, KD 2 did not have window or floor guy come look at the space but he is quoting what he thinks they will charge.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 7:38PM
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Debrak, that's what I was thinking. I'm not necessarily expecting KD1 to drop their price $20k but perhaps meet me half way or at least take something off their price.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 7:42PM
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Does anybody have input on Greenfield vs Brookhaven?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 7:43PM
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I got at least 5 quotes on our cabinets. It was worth the time because I learned something from each one.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 7:48PM
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Herbflavor, the design quote process has been draining and actually KD2 required a $1000 retainer/design fee.

Are you saying that KD2 created a new and different design from scratch? Then the question becomes what plan do you like more?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 7:52PM
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KD2 had 3 designs but we ended up liking the one that was most similar to KD1

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 7:57PM
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Sherrie Moore

Can't tell you not to go with the low ball estimate in this case. but in my case... in the past when I went with the lowest estimate... that wasn't specific on each and every item... it came back later that they said they needed more money, that the scope of the project was bigger than they believed, that the measurements were off etc.... I now tend to go with the company I know I can trust, and the one that has the best references and recommendations from consumers and other business people.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:15PM
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Sophie Wheeler

The lowest without details means that they will be they highest by the time the details are filled in.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:20PM
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I'm with Holliysprings on this one. the more details and the information that is nailed down early on will mean a more accurate estimate and much less chance of cost over runs later. I would think only unexpected costs that you can't for see now would change on that one or you guys deciding to make changes. Then other one would make me nervous and I don't think the difference is that great in the end. The first may be more expensive still. Can't really tell though. Check all their references and also make sure you have all the details with kd2 in a contract to hold them to the price if you decide to go with them.

Also ask the references how close the end cost ended up to the original estimate. This should give you a good indication as well.

Is it possible you have different designs as in number of drawers and any special inserts etc as well. Drawers are more expensive than cabinets. Inserts also add to the cost significantly. Make sure you separate out what the difference is with the designs and focus on those to find cost differences.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 10:25AM
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I don't have specific information on Greenfield so this is just an educated guess. It will price higher than Brookhaven. I would not guess that the difference in cabinet price, if apples to apples design, is 20k though. It does sound like there are enough other guestimates in the quote from #2 that it could easily account for the rest.

Greenfield has plywood sides, veneer interiors, flush finished ends, and more door styles, particularly in beaded inset, and appears to be more custom. The frames are pocket hole. Looking at where some dealers place it compared to other brands,the construction and options. It looks that it would fall in the area slightly pricier than BH.

Brookhaven is a particle side cabinet though they do use doweled construction in framed cabinets (they are the least expensive brands I know of that does) with melamine interiors - you can upgrade to plywood sides (still melamine), a second upgrade would get you plywood shelves. They only have a few beaded inset doors, so you might get kicked up to Wood-Mode To get veneer interiors you would have to go to WM which is pricier. BH tends to be a good value on paints and glass cabinets compared to others.

Construction variations aside- it is easy to have 2 kitchens that look the same on paper price 10-20%. A properly detailed kitchen will ALWAYS cost more, question is how much and does it matter to you.

Things like: extended ears instead of fillers; top rails extended to attach keeping the same rail height; combined cabinets which save space and improve the look of insets, what molding, is there a stack, special sizes for balance, extended sides if appropriate ...

Without a clear idea of the details there is no way to compare the cabinetry price. But I would think that someone doing the more thorough quote would be more likely to have accounted for detail.

Markup in a given region can vary by 10%, finish can vary a kitchen by 15-30%, style the same, accessories much less- variables should be less than 10% from none to well done.

Wonder if you have enough information on the design to get a simple cabinet quote? If you can bring in a sketch with some notes, and indicate you don't want to play "lets design" just evaluate price, you might find a cooperative dealer or two that would do that. A second advantage would be if you tell them what you are comparing them to, they will have a good idea of how the brand they use falls in relationship to the competition and you can get a sense of that too.

If your too "done" to do that, I'd pick #1 as others have said.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 11:42AM
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jakuvall is at it again with more cabinet details to learn about! You have shared insights and explained joinery techniques, finish differences, and now you describe "Things like:extended ears instead of fillers; top rails extended to attach keeping the same rail height, combined cabinets (I know that one), a stack, extended sides....". What are extended ears, extended top rails to attach to achieve same rail height, a stack, extended sides? Yikes

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 5:38PM
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Thanks for all the great info jakuvall!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 7:44PM
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Indecisive, glad if it helped.
Lorenza- that's a bit much for here now. Just keep it inmind when talking with whoever you deal with. Am switching our web site over to Wordpress, plan on giving some of this kind of info a permanent. Been a work in progress anyway so will be a while.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:10PM
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Thanks jakuvall, guess I will just have to press on not knowing about extended ears, top rail extensions, extended sides.... Seems like it is all about extensions. If you come up with a "Cliff's Notes" version, Jakuvall, please send it along to me. Ciao ciao, Lorenza

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:01PM
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We are on the brink of making our decision. We are pretty deep in with KD1 based on the number of times we have met. Any advice on how to breach the topic with them regarding the discrepancy between the estimates? We really want to go with KD1 but would be doing ourselves a disservice if we did not negotiate on the price.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 10:54PM
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I think it would be hard unless you had more details in the other quote. If you try to negotiate comparing apples to oranges might not go over as well. Might make them kind of defensive, and it would be hard to explain differences when specifics are lacking.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 11:22PM
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As a GC for over thirty years, I'd suggest a third bid, but If I had to choose one of yours, I'd take KD1, hands down based on what you've described.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 11:35PM
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It doesn't have to be quite so painful to get a third bid. You could take the detailed cabinet plan from KD1 and simply have that priced by a third cabinet company, if you felt that was ethical...have you paid KD1 anything? That way the cabinet cost is apples to apples. You could also request that KD2 get more detailed so you can more adequately compare KD1 and KD2. Is the bid from KD2 detailed enough to give you ANY idea why it is so much cheaper? Is it the cabinets that are cheaper or are the estimates for subs cheaper too?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 12:18AM
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In doing some of my own legwork I was able to narrow the gap to around $16,000. The missing pieces to the puzzle are exact drawer/cabinet configuration (footprint is the same but plans may differ in drawer bases etc), also kd2 did not bring window, floor, or drywall subs like kd1 did but states he is pretty comfortable estimating what they will charge.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 6:28AM
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I just put in Brookhaven. They look beautiful but one of the sides blew out from weight (granted, we were above load but KD told us the weight was what we put in the drawer - not the weight of the items plus drawer)

I somehow missed that the sides were compressed wood(which is different than particle board - TKO) - Don't have time right now - but search for A2 gemini recipe for disaster.

If you can afford it - stay with your first KD - the second will have hidden expenses.

If you go Brookhaven - keep your drawer width down to 30 inches +/- a couple. My big drawer (and I will still have it with modification is 42 inches)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 7:34AM
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Jakuvall, is it safe to assume that plywood sides are higher quality than melamine? In looking at woodmode it appears they use plywood sides with a veneer much like you are describing greenfield.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 8:44AM
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indedecisive- ply sides always cost more and veneer interior also costs more than melamine. Better, well....

Last I knew(3 yrs ago) Wood-Mode used ply sides for framed cabinets but frameless were furniture board (particle) with veneer and there was an option to "upgrade" to plywood. The biggest difference aside from style between BH and WM is in the finish. WM adds a final step applying paste wax. Things may have changed.

Unless I wanted the veneer interior I personally would not pay to upgrade frameless cabinets to ply- I actually prefer not having ply for frameless. Many brands higher end brands have switched to ply for frameless. One that I carry just switched from this fabulous composite of veneer/mdf/osb/mdf/veneer- to ply. I not thrilled with the idea as the old material was atomic. The switch was entirely due to consumer push back and has nothing at all to do with what is best, it was the strongest most stable material available for that application, but the public knows better.

Re construction options- you can request 1/2" bottoms for drawers that carry a load along with heavy duty glides, Plywood shelves when shelves are over 30" and will be heavily loaded (for my own BH kitchen I got 1/2 bottoms on one cabinet, skipped all the rest- 8 years now).

With all the drawer upgrades I would not expect any problems as happened to a2gemini, even at 42", unless something was defective or improperly done.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:53AM
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We decided to go with KD1. Sent KD2 a nice email today telling him we decided to go with another KD and he sent a one word reply: "who?". I thought it was somewhat awkward.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 10:52PM
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