Plain & Fancy counterfeits?

tortoise2013December 12, 2012

Does anyone know of any cases of counterfeit Plain & Fancy cabinetry?

I ask because I just received a delivery of what is billed as P & F and, frankly, I was shocked.

The KD told us we were getting "maple" cabinets...and, indeed, the drawers do have this loving maple dovetailing. But the cabinets themselves are made of particleboard.

(An aside: I never would have bought these cabinets had I known they would be fashioned of particleboard. I don't care how one comes down on the whole 45-lb particleboard vs. furniture grade plywood debate, particleboard just doesn't hold its shape the way the good stuff does, which is why it's cheaper. And, perhaps, why the only reference to construction material on our invoice are via the words "species: Maple". But I digress...)

Beyond that, the melamine is haphazardly applied and already delaminating on some corners. Furthermore (again, in contrast to the impression of stolid workmanship implied by the drawer's dovetail joints), the wall cabinet's backrails are not attached to the tops of the cabinets (only the sides) and, since it's through the (particleboard) backrail that the cabinets are attached to the wall, it's likely that, over time, this will warp and sag.

My installer wonders whether these cabinets were built in someone's garage. Which leads me to wonder...were they?

In light of the KD's seeming misrepresentation of the cabinet's material components, is it far-fetched for a reasonable person to wonder whether these cabinets might, in fact, be fakes?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why don't you just call Plain and Fancy and ask them if they sold such and such cabinets to your KD?

Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry
208 North Route 501
Schaefferstown, PA 17088
1 (800) 447-9006

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 12:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think I'll do that. Thanks for the info.

This post was edited by tortoise2013 on Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 23:01

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 6:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Fakes or the real thing if they are really poorly put together you need to talk to your kitchen designer and point out the imperfections now, before install.
Find out what your warranty situation is with Plain and Fancy for future potential sagging issues you are concerned about.

Sorry you are disappointed with your cabinets!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It shows on the bottom of this page that they do, but as hoboken said, they still need to be made correctly.

Here is a link that might be useful: P and F

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The KD told us we were getting "maple" cabinets...and, indeed, the drawers do have this loving maple dovetailing.

Not to nitpik but P& F's website says that the drawers are made from 'European Beech.'

Elsewhere (under 'Sustainability') on their website, I found this blurb:

As far as possible, we use recycled and sustainable products. Solid woods like Maple, Cherry, Walnut, Red Oak, and Pine are sourced from environmentally conscious vendors. We also offer low impact woods like Bamboo, and reconstituted veneers such as Wenge and Zebrawood. And Plain & Fancy is now an Environmentally Preferred Panels (EPP) licensed facility, meaning that our composite wood panels, MDF, Particle Board, and Hardboardare made of recycled or recovered wood fiber.

I could not find any info on their site about case construction methods or materials.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 10:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have observed here on GW that complaints such as the one by the OP come on the same day that they registered... it is curious. There were similar negative posts about Showplace cabinets and the person posting those messages had also registered on the same date as the complaint. Just wondering why???

the OP on this thread uses a certain lingo that I don't think the average consumer would use particularly in the fifth paragraph... While the OP knows quite a bit about the construction of the cabinets, they didn't know that the cabinets would be made of particleboard?? I find this curious.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

P&F comes two ways:
1. (standard) furniture board sides and vinyl interiors
2. (upgrade) plywood construction with birch wood interior. This costs about 10-15% more.

The construction should have been discussed, you should have known (or asked) what you were getting and it all should have been in writing.

These cabinets are built very well, their finish is amazing and they and should last you MANY years!

Don't blame P&F for your KD's lack of detail on your order.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 1:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you nailed it mamadadapaige! Tortoise2013, with which kitchen designer did you work?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 3:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mamadada and Oldbat, I think you're right. Read this second message posted today as well.'re not fooling us. KOMPY

"Hi -- Does anyone know of any on-line sources for inset cabinets? I won't go through a dealer; indeed, I will never step foot inside a kitchen design outlet again, having just been ripped off to the tune of $20k by such a place for big name cabinets that turned out to be particle board junk. But I digress.
Looking for an online source with reliable and utterly impersonal service. Thanks"

Here is a link that might be useful: 2nd post today

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 4:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Kompy...I'm not fooling you as to what, exactly?

mamadadapaige...I didn't know the cabinets would be made of particleboard because my invoice said they'd be made of maple. Am I missing something here?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 9:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Actually, I'm going to follow up to my own post here. Yes, I just signed up yesterday for the first time because I had a horrible experience with a KD.

And, as it happens, I pick up information--and lingo--fast.

Warning to newbie kitchen folk, as I was just a few weeks ago: AVOID ALL KITCHEN DESIGNERS. Get a book and a tape measure and do-it-yourself. It's not rocket science, as they say.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 9:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

tortoise - The "maple" refers to the visible parts of the cabinet, the doors and face frames.

That is the fault of the KD for not clarifying the terms and setting you up for disappointment.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 6:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Way to throw the baby out with the bath water Tortoise2013. Good luck to you... I'm betting you'll need it.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

mamadada...yes he is.

Tortoise, You're going to make the KD take back all the cabinets? And now you're going to buy some inset cabinet with "all wood" construction over the internet, sight unseen??? You might get your plywood construction and wood veneer interiors, but very few companies on this planet can put out a finish like P&F. So, you're giving up a great finish for what??? And because of one KD, you're now going to bad mouth all KD's? What do you do for a living...would you want one person's bad experience to ruin the reputation of your industry?

It's not rocket science. But there are a LOT of things that can go wrong if you don't have the experience in doing this everyday, like we do. This is something that us KDs learn over time.

I can look at just about any DIY kitchen and tell you at least one way it could have been done better...but I always keep quiet out of usually there isn't any point once it's finished to mention these things.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 11:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The type of wood name, i.e. "Maple" "Cherry" "Oak" etc., refers to the door only, and sometimes only refers to the stain of the door and not the actual wood used. There was not enough information from the KD to you to educate you about the way cabinets are marketed. There is nothing wrong with MDF, but if that's not what you wanted or expected, discuss this issue with your KD.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Checking back in to let folks know what happened.

1) I forced the KD to take back the cabinets. He gave me a full refund. He knew I had him, and a lawsuit to boot. So, lesson learned.

2) We finished the kitchen, sans KD, with the help of our installer. We sourced the components we wanted, from the places we wanted to source them. Which is so easy in this age of the internet. Since we fired the KD, it's been a blessedly drama-free experience. People who've seen the kitchen think we spent about $80k on it. We will have ended up spending about $38k, soup-to-nuts.

3) I have since learned that my KD-nightmare experience is not unique. My installer has regaled me with other nightmare stories of clients who've had bumpy experiences with KDs.

To folks contemplating hiring a KD: KD's are like funeral directors. You need them if you need them, but buyer beware. Don't do what we did, which was to assume that our KD was an expert with our best interests in mind. That was foolish. If you must use a KD, first educate yourself on every aspect of your kitchen, its design, and your options. The best way to look at, I think, is this: With a KD, you're not hiring an expert, you're hiring an assistant. If you go into it with that approach, you'll increase the odds of getting the kitchen you want, without getting ripped off in the process.

Any KDs reading this: The big problem, I suspect, isn't ethics, per se, but communication. This stuff gets technical and detail-oriented, and you're forced to explain the same things over, and over, and over again, for the very first time, over and over and over again, to people who sometimes won' But that's the business you're in. Explain EVERYTHING. And put it in writing.

4) I can't say enough bad things about Plain & Fancy cabinets. I guess the finish on the doors was perfect--if you call a finish that makes maple doors look like they've been dipped in plastic "perfect"--but the cabinets themselves were shoddily constructed. That's the only word for it. Just shocking. And not because of the particleboard cases (ironically, I ended up opting for particle board cabinets, more on that below). I'm talking about poor fastening of structural components, mismatched melamine (talk about finish...these "white" cabinets had two or three different shades white...on a single cabinet!)

5) We sourced our cabinets from Home Depot. Their InnerMost line. The cabinet construction is superior to Plain & Fancy. Just leaves P&F in the dust. And their pricing is transparent and fair: Do you want particleboard cases? Or furniture grade plywood? 3/4"? Or 1"? It's all up front, and transparent. The pricing is aggressive, as you might imagine, although not bargain basement. But if you decide you don't like what you have, for any reason, they'll take it back, minus a 15% restocking fee. Pretty cheap insurance, all things considered.

We're not sending anything back. But after what we went through, with inferior P&F cabinets from our KD--cabinets, by the way, constructed from the faulty kitchen measurements he'd taken--and how I'd been forced to threaten to sue before he'd make things right, our Home Depot experience was a balm.

Bottom line: Take the time, before you start a kitchen redo, to really understand what you're doing. If you do, all will be well...with, or without, a KD.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well as long as you are happy downgrading from a Lexus LS600 to a Subaru Legacy 2.5, that's nice. But to suggest that the two cabinet lines are evenly comparable is grossly misleading. They are good and better quality lines. You can get a "white car" with leather seats from each. But that's where the similarity ends.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I LOVED my KD. Every morning I walk into my kitchen and love it. I know I NEVER in a million years could have come up with the design he did. Tortoise, for you to say all KDs are to be avoided is an ignorant and prejudiced statement. As Kompy mentioned, what do you (or your spouse) do for a living, and how would you like it if someone posted in cyberspace that your work is terrible cause someone else they worked with in the same industry was terrible.

Wondering if you used your KD's design and layout for your cabinet purchase at HD.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We considered Plain & Fancy when we were redoing our kitchen. They were the best ones we looked at, our favorite designs, and most appropriate for our old PA farmhouse. We even visited the factory. But, they are fully custom, and we eventually decided to go with a semi-custom brand, Shiloh.

I agree with everyone that condemning a profession because of a bad experience with one practitioner is illogical.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi -- live_wire_oak

Re: Lexus v Subaru...I would agree that InnerMost is a Subaru (with all the solid build quality that implies), but Plain & Fancy reminded me not so much of Lexus (with all the solid build quality that implies) but of a 1970s-era Jaguar...y'know, superfical prettiness hiding awful workmanshop.

I would happy to post photos to illustrate, if that would be helpful.

The Plain & Fancy representative came out to inspect and admitted, "Not the best" and gave it a grade of "C+." But she didn't offer to replace them, either. She said, "Look, when everything is up and looking fabulous you won't notice this stuff." In other words, my impression was that, while she agreed that the cabinets were not carefully constructed, the carelessness was nothing out-of-the-ordinary.

The InnerMost cabinets, in contrast, were very well constructed. Absolutely no complaints from me. The color was also consistent--to my eye, utterly so--from door, to case, to shelf, to interior. Again, quite unlike Plain & Fancy.

Are you a customer who has bought a set of Plain & Fancy cabinets and are happy with them? If so, good for you! You, then, are speaking from your experience as I am speaking from mine.

However, for some reason I'm under the impression that you sell P&F cabinets. Perhaps it's the "Lexus v Subaru" statement. Carries a whiff of sales patter.

I know it all to well, having fallen for it with my KD. Caveat emptor...

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Turtle, I am so glad it worked out for you.
Like GCs, KDs come in all shapes and sizes. And an excellent GC or KD for one person can be a nightmare for the next. And visa versa!

As do home owners. Those who are hands on, those who just want it done for them, and those who want it done for them and b!tch about it.

It sounds like you're the former, which means you'll get what you want and what you'll enjoy for a long, long time.

Are you going to post picture?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi akchicago --

No we did not use our KD's design, for three reasons:

1) His measurements were off, so that would have messed things up

2) After researching kitchen designs on the web, we saw a better solution to the refrigerator-sink-stove triangle.

3) I would have felt like a creep. After all, I fired the guy and got my money back. Others might have felt differently, justifying it as compensation for time and trouble, but that's just me.

I'm suspicious of KDs, generally, for the following reasons:

1) It's an unregulated profession. You don't need to be licensed to be a KD--unlike, say, an architect. Yes there's an industry-awarded certification, but that's not remotely the same.

2) If you want to be an architect, you need to get a degree in architecture. If you want to be a KD, you need to be...a salesperson. Because unless you're a KD charging by the hour (few do it that way, I gather), you're getting paid off commissions. From a designer's perspetice, that's a built-in conflict-of-interest.

You say you had a good experience with your KD. I say I had a bad experience with mine. If it really is simple as that, neither one of us have grounds to issue categorical evaluations about KDs as a professional class, either for better or for worse. Right?

My negative opinion, however--admittedly anecdotal--is based on the experiences of others I know who have felt similarly burned by their KDs. On what is your positive opinion based? Your own experience, exclusively? Or similarly anecdotal data gleaned from others' experiences? Or are you a KD, too?

Herein lies the challenge inherit in anonymous web fora. Savvy internet veterans can deduce what they will from the evidence at hand. There's a lot of hermeutical detail embedded in these posts, for those with the eye to spot it.

As for me, I'll just say that the reponses on this thread have reinforced, rather than disabused me of, my prejudical suspicions of KDs.

Best regards,


    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi CEFreeman --

Truer words have yet to be uttered. And, to illustrate my point about hermeneutical detail, your post suggests to me that you're a homeowner/consumer. (If, indeed, you are a KD, then you are one smart KD and, therefore, the kind of KD that would prompt me to amend and revise my remarks on KDs!)

And you raise a really good point about the three classes of customers. For a variety of reasons (a "perfect storm" of life challenges including two sets of parents suddenly in nursing homes), we started this process in category 2...we just wanted our KD to do everything for us. Big mistake.

If we had approached this project in a hands-on manner, if we had done our homework prior to engaging the KD, if we had not allowed his fast-talk, mumble-chatter to flow in one ear and out the other, if we had taken responsibility for a project that, after all, was OURS, I have no doubt things would have turned out differently. (Well, except for maybe the Plain & Fancy part; not sure what to say about that.) But we didn't. We were too busy to be bothered, and left our fate to his not-so-tender mercies.

That's tbe lesson here. If you're going to initiate a $50k project, either become as much of an expert as you possibly can, or accept the fact that you're just gambling.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

CEFreeman -- I'm actually writing this from the airport, leaving town for three weeks. When I'm back, I'll post before and after pix!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Posting this for the future not for the OP.

I'm a KD. I do not and have never sold Plain & Fancy. I have often competed against it, still do. It is a decent cabinet, better than average. Any company can have a problem, sounds like there may have been one here, but there are issues with the postings.

I mention this because every now and then we get one of these "drive bys" on the forum. Someone has an isolated problem and wants to rant. Occasionally it is a shill or a troll; don't think this is. Years later somebody does a search and some poor KD somewhere is left defending the product to a skittish and confused client. Often folks looking at these things years later don't check into all of the details. READ THE ENTIRE THREAD PLEASE.

Obviously the OP had a bad experience, and she was given a full refund. Why the pound of flesh?

BUT a few things changed along the way- from "inset plywood cabinets, particle board is crap" to "bought frameless full overlay particle board cabinets that are wonderful" (quotes meant to isolate the idea, not verbatim) and for the record you can't get a 1" box as an option at HD.

As to the OP's take on KD's. If you are around here much you know which KD's posted on this thread. None of us make it a secret what we do. All the KD's on this thread have been contributing to the forum for a long time, some over a decade. Contributing, AFAIK none gets or wants work from here. It is unusual for any of us to even accidentally run into one of you forum folks (and we might just run away:).

I often say- who you work with is more important than what specific brand you buy.

There are plenty of skilled, honest, diligent, well trained KD's out there. Find one. Doesn't sound like the OP worked too hard at that.

Sure there are hacks. Hopefully they will stick out, the more you are looking for the right person instead of a "BOX" the more likely you will ferret them out.

There are toxic clients too, doesn't mean all clients are bad, that assumption would put me out of business. I am careful about who I accept as a client. Goes both ways.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for a thoughtful summation, jakuvall.

I'd like to find a way to put jakuvall on the GW payroll! :-) Along with a few others.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi jakuvall -- Yes, a few things did change along the way; I got educated, and my understanding of what was necessary and what was not necessary, in the process, changed.

I decided I did not want to risk another blind cabinet encounter, that this was not the time for a new set of potentially expensive risks--such as inset cabinets--when it was clear that I was in over my head. So off to the comforting familiarity of the big box store I went.

I'd thrown in the towel, decided to go cheap-cheap-cheap, and forget about an upscale kitchen. What I was surprised to find, in Home Depot's InnerMost, were cabinets constructed under the same frameless design parameters as Plain & Fancy, but with superior quality cabinet construction, and completely transparent pricing structure. (An aside, yes, my mistake on 1"; it was the choice between 1/2" and 3/4" plywood, anyway...)

Everything about the InnerMost experience was light years away from the Plain & Fancy ordeal. Each InnerMost cabinet came in a sturdy crate; the Plain & Fancy cabinets were haphazardly wrapped in brown paper over corrugated cardboard bumpers. The InnerMost cabinets had little stickers on them signed by the person who'd inspected the cabinets. The Plain & Fancy cabinets, on the other hand...well, not sure anyone inspected them, but if anyone did, no one left a name. InnerMost called me to see if the order was ok and if there was anything else they could do. Didn't hear a peep from Plain & Fancy until I started jumping up and down.

Bottom line: Apples-to-apples, InnerMost wasn't that much cheaper than Plain & Fancy. Maybe 20%. And, when you consider that the Plain & Fancy price included services of the KD (and if the KD had done his job, it would have been well worth the price differential), you're not really saving money when you go with InnerMost.

But the superior build quality and customer service from InnerMost really tilted the scales here, at least in my view.

Ok, that tour d'horizon out of the way, I'll now address your question, "Why the pound of flesh?"

Here's why. This was the worst retail (or wholesale) experience I have ever had, coming at a time when, well, let's just say it was the last thing I needed. But that, in and of itself, wouldn't prompt my determination to put this experience on record for other newbies out there who might be prime targets for unscrupulous KDs.

You mentioned that posts like these make for skittish potential clients. I say, "great." Not because I'm jerk. Not because I don't know what it's like for people who have no idea what they're talking about to go around trashing my profession. No, I say "great" because a skittish client is a client who's less likely to get ripped off.

You see, a business like yours is primed to take advantage of people like me. How?

First, there's informational assymetry (eg, you know more than the person walking through the door ever will). Second, there are the conflicts-of-interest inherent in any commission-driven profession (all the more so in one such as yours, with virtually no regulatory restraints beyond whatever consumer protection laws exist in your state). Third, there is the product itself, all-too-often (it appears) designed to convey an aura of quality and, therefore, exclusivity, that isn't really there.

Anyone who walks through the door of a kitchen showroom ought to be skittish, if that's what it takes to be alert. Because a lot of these salespeople--some of them on this very thread, I suspect--know just what buttons to push on the monied unwary.

For example, consider, live_wire_oak's comment (above) about my comparison of Plain & Fancy to InnerMost. The one where she or he said what I'd done was akin to swapping a Lexus LS600 for a Subaru Legacy 2.5.

Quick deconstruction: The average kitchen client shopping for Plain & Fancy cabinetry will be well acquainted with Lexus; he or she might even drive one! So when an "expert" uses a heuristic like "Lexus" to describe Plain & Fancy cabinetry, he or she is asserting that the standards of design and execution of Plain & Fancy cabinetry are on par with that of the most fastidious luxury car manufacturer in the world. (I was laughing as I wrote that.) Even better, live_wire_oak's invocation of a specific model of Lexus against a specific model of Subaru further reinforces said expert's aura of authority. And when a high-end salesperson makes such an assertion to an individual who hasn't done his homework...well, that's the stuff of a sale.

I'll drop Plain & Fancy in a moment, and for good, but I think it instructive to contrast the care P&F lavishes on the exterior finish and the carelessness of its efforts on the stuff you can't see. And to consider the little cost-saving cheats--two hinges on its cabinet doors, for example, compared to three for InnerMost--that are, well, most un-Lexus like.

No wonder KDs on this board defend Plain & Fancy so vociferously. P&F is their partner in this KD theatre, for the KD makes the sale against Plain & Fancy's Potemkin Village backdrop.

Before I go, one last point. I agree, jakuvall, those in the future checking out this thread should be sure to read the whole thread. To my eye, it's become a Rosetta stone of tricks & techniques of the sales trade, not the least of which is the trick of delegitimizing the critic. Like with live_wire_oak's accusation that I'd written "grossly misleading" things. Or your airy invocation of "problems" in my posts.

Accusations and insinuations...and obfuscations. Yes, the client should be skittish, indeed.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No, I don't sell P&F. But I do respect the competition. They do a quality product. And like Jakuvall, I find it interesting that the awful substandard product of your earlier posts is now the wonderful quality product that you're happy with. A little education on the front end probably wouldn't have gone amiss here. And it's a good thing that others find this forum and educate themselves before they buy. That way they don't end up with buyers remorse. Too bad that didn't happen in your case.

I find those types of buyers who've done their research very easy to work with. The difficult ones are those that already think that they know it all and have such ingrained prejudices that you can't help educate them at all. That's all any KD wants really. To help their client learn how to get the best functioning and prettiest kitchen that they can afford.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tortoise2013, I asked before, but perhaps you missed my post. With which kitchen designer did you work?

Please do post before and after pix, that would be very helpful in understanding your case.

I have found the KD posts on this forum immensely helpful. I've even been through a gorgeous kitchen designed by one of them. I'm a DIY'er who would love to engage a professional but is too cheap (maybe). In the meantime, receiving the advice I get on this forum is greatly appreciated and valued.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You know, I've been on this forum since a decade ago and finished my kitchen project well neigh 7 years now. At this point in time, I mostly do drive-bys every few months or so. I'm just not that into kitchens and whatnots anymore but sometimes it is fun to see who's done what. But I've seen this thread a couple of times and I had to comment on some of the comments here.

So, while I am very surprised by tortoises' P&F experience - I've seen and aspired to P&F cabinets including some in kitchens finished on the GW and there didn't seem anything shoddy about them - I completely sympathise with his assessments of KD-ship as a profession. There are some genuinely good ones around - over the years I've sat up and paid attention when Kompy spoke or when mamadada did so or cabinetSomeThing from years ago ... . But my own experience with the KDs I could find in the real-world left me so cold that, as a homeowner, I fall entirely in line with tortoise: My experience with the KDs I met was everything from lazy to unprofessional to creepy to incompetent to formulaic.

I wound up attending to the design on my own - everything from measurements to sizing to placement, using GW to critique the layout but with a very heavy filter because mostly it is still an amateur's feedback with limited knowledge of how to scale to different uses and users.

At the end of the day, it leaves one realising that while there clearly are good KDs, the fact that there are such abysmal ones also isn't comforting in something that passes off as a profession. No formal training, no regulation ... It becomes more like it is a hobby that people are allowed to charge for. Too bad.

Jakuvall, you asked why, when P&F returned tortoise's money that he is still here whinging about them. Well, I'm not tortoise and I'll repeat that I'm shocked to read this about P&F but I'll answer for tortoise. As a KD you should know that when a homeowner goes through a renovation of their house, they are taking on a level of discomfort and upheaval as part of the cost of getting to an improvement. When a major component of that project is rubbished, to say that "why the pound of flesh? You got your money back for the product that wasn't to spec." will get your head caught in a vice by the customer who dares and virtually so by every one who dare not. Months into a project with the house a wreck, a steady diet of sand and dirt ... reversals of any sort are not and should not be accepted lightly. It *is* a big deal when cabinets are below par and have to be returned, cabinetry rediscovered and reordered, or structures are not put back right - refund or no refund, who's refunding the REAL cost of the poor work delivered to the customer? No one. A professional should understand what the facts on the ground are. This is why yours is not a profession - you are allowed to think and act unprofessionally.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

live_wire_oak, I'm not certain why you write that you "find it interesting that the awful substandard product of [my] earlier posts is now the wonderful quality product that [I'm] happy with." What are you talking about? I got them to take the Plain & Fancy cabinets back. I then found a substitute that was fairly priced and well constructed. Now I'm happy. What's "interesting" (surely not another insinuation; it it is, I'm not sure what to could possibly be insinuating) about that?

As for the rest, yep, like I said, didn't do my homework. A sheep waiting to be shorn. Lucky for me, though no "buyer's remorse" as I didn't end up buying what I would have regretted owning.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

...the trick of delegitimizing the critic.
No effort needed.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mindstorm--Jakuvall's playground taunt nicely ratifies your point. I think we've exposed something here...

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 12:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mindstorm- I'd agree that the greatest impact of a problem like this would be lost construction time and inconvenience.
Curiously there is no mention of it.
Was construction started? No photos of the problems, odd with a lawsuit threatened.

As to training- off the top of my head I know folks who've gone to RISD, Parson's, Cornell, Penn State. It's not really a topic of discussion among KD's so anecdotal.
Still the most useful training any of us has is apprenticeship. There is no substitute for in the field experience under the guidance of a pro. (Your not allowed to practice as a doctor or architect without it) The second most useful is at manufacturer facilities, third are NKBA courses.
Do you know what training any of the KD's you spoke with has? or just an assumption?

Trained or not, certified or not, there good and bad in every profession. The most mistake prone KD I know is a CKD, doctors carry malpractice insurance, architects get "Errors and Omissions" insurance, KD's just pay for their mistakes.

If you wish to cast aspersions on me and my profession because of your experience and unmet expectations, don't like what I think or say, so be it.

This thread started with a complaint that the KD "misrepresented the components" because the cabinets were particle board. P&F offers both particle and ply construction. Particle is usually selected for budget. So the KD (all KD's) is made out to be a snake because he did NOT upsell the client. Then the client buys a different brand made from particle board then returns to the forum to ridicule KD's as a group.

There appears to be a legitimate issue with the interior fit and finish. How many cabinets? how severe? photos? was it even available to the original KD to rectify the situation?

We're told that the finish was perfect but looked as if it was dipped in plastic. OK but wasn't a sample of a painted finish available prior to purchase? bought it anyway? Odd.

The comments about the packing and hinges while honest are misinformed. Less expensive brands use boxes. The cabinets are delivered by truck drivers who simply haul the cargo in a semi box loaded at the factory. Better brands typically have less packing, corner protectors and shrink wrap. They are blanket wrapped on the truck by the person who will deliver them, a factory employee trained to handle cabinets. Nice thing is it allows for easier inspection, bonus is less waste.
The number of hinges is dictated by cabinet height, the load rating of the hinge, and the manufacturers confidence in the ability of the door to withstand warpage. Less is better if the door can hold up. Extra hinges interfere with shelf placement. No mfg would save a few dollars on a cabinet with a lifetime warranty to risk later failure.

I believe tortoise had a bad experience. I don't see reason to decry an entire group.

I have nothing to do with P&F. In my own business I'd prefer they went away.
I don't defend incompetent KD's. While they might occasionally make me look better they damage the profession, I prefer they went away too.
I know many good KD's. I've worked with, for, and compete against them daily. Within half an hour of me there are 18 other kitchen dealers. 4 are excellent, 2 depends what you need, 2 to avoid, the rest I just don't know. There are 4 box stores where I know of 2 excellent KD's.
YMMV, often by how you drive.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 12:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Now Jakuvall finds it "curious" that I made no mention the construction that would normally accompany a kitchen remodel. He says it's "odd" that I didn't post photos.

These continuing insinuation are just plain...yucky. And they're all over this thread. My question: Is this some kind of kitchen designer technique?

Just for the record, yes Jakuvall, there was construction. We took the room down to the studs. No problem with that part of the project. I loved my contractor. So I guess I didn't think to bring it up in this context.

I haven't posted photos because I'm of two minds about putting stuff up on the internet that floats out there forever. Call me crazy, if you like. Not sure how many people would characterize my ambivalence as "odd."

My takeaway from this thread is that the immaturity, the lack of professionalism, that I encountered with my KD, may be more rule than exception. Not surprising, perhaps, for an unregulated business with such inherent conflicts-of-interest.

Anyway, moving on, for the record, Jakuvall..

1) You write: "...the KD (all KD's) is made out to be a snake because he did NOT upsell the client."

FALSE. I said no such thing. I said I was led to believe I had paid for cabinets that were made of one kind of material (wood) when, in fact, they were made of another kind of material (particleboard).

I was not willing to spend $20k for kitchen cabinets made of particleboard. Had I known they were made of particleboard, I would not have placed the order.

2) You write: "Then the client buys a different brand made from particle board then returns to the forum to ridicule KD's as a group."

My post from Feb 8, 9:07, I think, speaks for itself. To clarify, when I understood the cost differential between plywood and particle board and investigated further, I decided to go with particle board AT THE RIGHT PRICE and with superior build quality. live_wire_oak, I know, characterized this as "interesting" (again, in an insinuating manner) but, for the life of me, I don't know why the iterative nature of self-education--especially self-education in the middle of, yes, a construction project--is so difficult to comprehend.

3) You write: "There appears to be a legitimate issue with the interior fit and finish. How many cabinets? how severe? photos? was it even available to the original KD to rectify the situation?"

Bascially all the upper cabinets. Lower cabinets were ok. Yeah it was severe. I think I spelled it out at the top of this thread (and was then accused of being a shill for someone). And, heck yes I gave the KD a chance to rectify the situation!

4) You write: "We're told that the finish was perfect but looked as if it was dipped in plastic. OK but wasn't a sample of a painted finish available prior to purchase? bought it anyway? Odd."

"Odd" again! How about "newbie mistake"? How about live and learn to distinguish the difference between showroom lighting and the lighting in your kitchen? Yeah, like I said, I went into this project completely unprepared!

Sloppy? Sure. Reckless? Maybe so. But how is that "odd"?

5) You write: "Better brands typically have less packing, corner protectors and shrink wrap. They are blanket wrapped on the truck by the person who will deliver them, a factory employee trained to handle cabinets. Nice thing is it allows for easier inspection, bonus is less waste."

The cabinets had been abraded in shipping. There was no shrink wrap. Period. As for less waste...less material waste for them, huge time waste for me.

6) You write: "The number of hinges is dictated by cabinet height, the load rating of the hinge, and the manufacturers confidence in the ability of the door to withstand warpage. Less is better if the door can hold up. Extra hinges interfere with shelf placement. No mfg would save a few dollars on a cabinet with a lifetime warranty to risk later failure."

Ok, this is now out of my depth. My contractor, who's a genius as far as I can tell, disagrees. He says the construction is inferior. You say it's not. I'm the guy in the middle.

Tell you what, though. Since you've essentially agreed that your goal here is to delegitimize my experience, I guess I have no choice but to disregard your stated opinions, since the motive behind them is, by you own admission (it seems), suspect.

And that gets to the heart of the KD dilemma. KDs, as a group, should not be trusted because there is no universal ethical standard guiding their behavior. In other words, it's a crap shoot.

And that's the only reason I'm now responding to this thread: To protect people like me...from people like you.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 2:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know, my experience was roughly like Tortoise's. Lots of misinformation, a non-functional layout, many layers of miscommunication, and some bullying in the end. We stuck with her because I love my GC and he told us to use her. Without him, I would have walked. I would have liked to find someone who charged by the hour, rather than got commission. That made it all very murky, and I just got the feeling she was trying to make a sell. I am sure there are many very good KD's out there, ours definitely wasn't. And if it wasn't for this forum, our kitchen would have been a disaster from a function perspective. I think that Tortoise is trying to say: Caveat emptor, and I wholeheartedly agree. Educate yourself as much as possible, and if something seems wonky to you, question it!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 5:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just wanted to share...

There are KD's and there are KD's...

One cannot judge all by experience they had with one.

I worked with several interior designers. Some were inexperienced, one was very experienced but was a "hit-and-miss" who did some things right and totally screwed up some others things because of simply "not getting" my style and what I wanted. I am so glad I had the guts to "fire" him.

My current KD is rather expensive but he "gets" it. He saves me so much time and effort that I really don't care if he charges me 10% (or even 20%) more than others b/c I don't have to stand there and watch every move, iykwim. It is not much different than finding a good doctor: it is hard but really worth it. :-)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 6:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

wow, scary thread - probably everyones' points of view are legitimate but kudos to the original poster for sticking to his or her guns despite what seem like semi-bullying from others. as a newbie myself, this seems a cautionary tale of people in the industry somehow expecting us newbies to know what we couldn't possibly know. this is why I fear making a decision on what cabinets to order and who to do design for me. I'm a lawyer and don't presume to know that the client understands how to write a contract... I have expertise in some areas but not this one, KDs please be gentle with those of us who don't know what they don't know, necessarily... and by the way it's an INSANE learning curve, we have to spend hours and days learning something that hopefully we may never need to know again, I may never do a home renovation again so it's not like when I went to grad school and worked as a newbie attorney and the knowledge base could be used for decades to come... this just feels like a huge time suck, it's more like cramming for the bar exam to pass the bar, than doing something with staying power - your knowledge is invaluable to us but in return, please be gentle and kind

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 2:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Excuse me but I have Plain & Fancy cabinets which are solid wood, beautifully made and finished and now 9 years old. They are holding up superbly.

To compare P&F to anything Home Depot sells betrays a lack of knowledge about kitchen cabinet quality. However, the OP certainly is entitled to his/her opinion.

A KD is another issue. There are good ones and bad ones. I didn't have a very good one -- she mismeasured the entire kitchen and while most of it was rectified, it will never be perfect. But that has to do with her ability, not the quality of the cabinets.

To come to this forum and trash one of the better cabinet brands is a real disservice. P&F is one of a handful of the American-made custom brands that are relatively affordable and as Kompy notes -- because she has used P&F for years in multiple kitchens -- the finish is superb. Mine are painted.

As a long time owner I would definitely purchase P&F again and recommend them highly.

Perhaps you think you pick up "lingo" and "information" quickly but it would appear you have a lot to learn.

That said, it's always a shame when someone has a bad experience with a kitchen and that extends to yours as well.

This post was edited by rococogurl on Wed, Apr 17, 13 at 16:28

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 4:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nicely said, rococogurl! As one who has benefitted from the advice of KD's and cabinet reps on this forum, I am both grateful for the help and protective of the people who've helped me.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 10:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I laugh at the idea that anyone I am paying to do a job for me would be anything less than courteous and professional. If they're not they can not do that job.

I agree with dreamojean. If I have hired a KD and an architect and any number of other "professionals" to design and build something for me I shouldn't have to educate myself beyond what I want and like. If they would cheat me for my lack of knowledge that is being unprofessional (as I side note I actually get angry these days when someone holds themselves out as a professional and then calls in sick on sunny days, doesn't do a job well, doesn't finish a job, takes other clients when they can't handle the ones they have.) Otherwise they serve no other purpose. If I am going to go to all that trouble I'm inclined to act as my own GC and do as I please.

I'm a lawyer, my husband is a doctor - between the two of us we're pretty smart. It might take us a few extra months but I'm sure we can figure out whatever it is a KD knows. The point of hiring that kind of work out is that you don't have to think about it because you can either pay with time or pay with money but you always pay.

Perhaps you think you pick up "lingo" and "information" quickly but it would appear you have a lot to learn.

What is the point in insulting the poster like this? Did she personally insult you?

Taking it to the larger thread - places like the garden web survive in times where Houzz et al are the big dogs because it is a nice place to get good information. It will not survive if you're mean to the people who come here. It is laughable that people come here positing "my whitest white isn't white enough? WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS THINK OF ME. OH THE VAPORS!" And "do I want white or beige...oh this is the toughest decision I have ever made in my life, I can't sleep, I can't eat, quick someone get me my Xanax." The most ridiculously long threads will erupt supporting that person - yet now that an unknown or unpopular person posts some very real concerns about how he/she spent 30-40 k results in a long thread that basically insults the poster.

Why? What's the point? To protect a KD you have never met? And may have actually taken this person for a ride? As if that never happens in this industry.

"I have observed here on GW that complaints such as the one by the OP come on the same day that they registered... it is curious"

No it makes perfect sense "oh, this is terrible, may I should see if this was some kind of accident." This person then goes on line, finds one of the most active communities on the internet, heck it even has threads about PF. Posts. And wow, the thoughtful helpful comments that person gets.

Actually, it's probably better that this place be allowed to die with it's HTML 2.0 coding and 1996 design. I don't think the harridans that post here would be allowed on moderated boards that you find on Houzz.

This post was edited by ThePaintedLady on Thu, Apr 18, 13 at 7:36

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 7:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I wasn't insulting the OP. I was stating my opinion about the post.

Any number of people on this board are very smart and highly educated. One poster on this thread happens to be a physicist who designs rocket propulsion systems for a living. And while smart people can figure out how to renovate a kitchen, many kitchen designers go to school to acquire their expertise, just like attorneys. In both professions there are people who are good and bad at their jobs.

Whether the computer coding at GW is up to whatever standard is not the point for many people here. It's the unusually generous spirit of this community and the considerable expertise which often quietly emerges. Over the years, there's a conventional wisdom here. One can agree or disagree with it but the site is so large the sampling is helpful. Admittedly, GW has its quirks. Yet it's been around far longer than houzz or any of the others and if one were to ask which is larger, it would be this one I believe.

No one forces anyone to come here and post. But, like it or not, there's a shared sense of responsibility for the information that gets posted. When I've lived with a reputable product for 9 years and someone comes along and, whether through misfortune or misinformation, flames it in a non-nuanced way, I may choose to speak up.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 8:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Kompy here again. I've been a KD since the mid-80s...and I'm finally getting my dream kitchen. I'll post pics when it's all done.

My store carries 6 cabinet lines. I could have spent quite a bit less money with Shiloh, Medallion or Kraftmaid, but I chose Plain & Fancy. That is a great testimonial to Plain & Fancy.

My cabinets are up and I love them! I'll post pics when it's all finished. Tops in next Friday....not sure when the backsplash will get started. I haven't really picked out the tile for sure yet. Yikes!


Ps. And for the record, this was a great exercise is putting myself in my clients shoes. I promise I'll be much more sympathetic about dust, and no water to do dishes and being tired of restaurant food. :-)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 5:25PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Please help with Kitchen floorplan
Hello everyone, My husband and I are building a new...
Strategies for washing dishes in a large single sink vs double sink
Hi all, We have in our plans to get a large (33 inch)...
Curava countertops?
I was wondering if anyone has experience with Curava...
Have white marble counter on copper sink?
I am putting a white marble countertop on an undermounted...
Ordered my cabinets in rustic beech
What I am wondering is why all the kitchen magazines...
Sponsored Products
Inspirations Plain Finger Pull
Signature Hardware
Magic Blue Metallic Wexler Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
K-Cup Slide Holder
$14.99 | zulily
Afina Broadway Surface Mount Single Door Medicine Cabinet - 20W x 4D x 26H in. M
$389.00 | Hayneedle
Home Decorators Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Home Decorators Collection Rugs
$39.00 | Home Depot
Forum Foyer Chandelier by Savoy House
$430.00 | Lumens
Plain 19" LED Snowflake Mot150
Woolrich Hadley Plaid Decorative Pillows Collection - Multiple Options
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™