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Frustration With Cabinet Sub (Long & Venting)--Advice?

Posted by mydreamhome (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 25, 11 at 11:30

I haven't posted about our cabinet problems (or our concrete problems) before due to lack of sufficient time & promises that it will all come together...but now I've really had it!! Let's start at the beginning...

DH & I hunted for a builder for months after finally coming to the realization that we were not going to be able to GC our house ourselves. We finally found one that we really liked after we checked him out thoroughly--the only issues we had were: windows (didn't want all vinyl), sidewalks (too narrow), and cabinets (they were particle board and warping in the just completed Parade home!). Obviously the window & sidewalk issues were easy enough to fix. DH pushed to work with the GC's subs as much as possible to make things easier for him & us. So we met with the cabinet guy-- Solid wood/plywood construction--no problem that comes standard with the upgrade you want with the glazed cabinets. Soft close drawers--no problem. Doors sounding tinny/rattling when you close them--bumpers and silicone the panel in place. No center stile desired--no problem. Pewter glaze--manufacturer just started doing pewter--will get you a sample in next 2-3 weeks. Custom hood as shown in picture sent via email--we can get close-- shows picture of what he can do--I can live with it. Can you work with the design layout I've already done--very similar to what I (cabinet guy) had already worked up as a preliminary--no problem. Double tall trashcan pullouts for trash in kitchen & 3 sets for laundry room to serve as sorting hampers--no problem let's take a look at what we have available--selected the perfect one out of the catalog which he specced on the sheet. We receive the layout pics & price quote a while later & we're ~$2750 over budget.

2nd meeting-Pewter glaze sample is in--perfect! Informed hood manufacturer now has 4 new hood styles that are standard and should bring hood cost down as it won't be custom anymore. Shows us one he thinks we will like, we end up choosing a different one in the new standard line that he says is even less expensive than the one he pointed out. I ask if making one of the skinny cabinets a basket pullout would be less expensive than the shelf & door, he says yes. Similarly, in the laundry, if we opt to go with a shelf unit in the corner vs. a corner cabinet--reply is yes less expensive. Custom valance over sink is specced and it looks too large proportion-wise...can we go with this one I found on the manufacturer's website (smaller and inset)--yes. Can we add different corbels to the backside of the island--yes the ones we chose were $600 ea (I just about fainted)--ok we will go with those--Hopefully some of those cost saving changes will help with that overage.

Fast forward a few weeks--DH is pressuring me all this time to make sure everything is final with cabinet people--I keep telling him I can't get answers from them--they keep saying they can't get answers on the hood & valance. I refuse to sign anything until we have firm pricing. While on a business trip 600 miles away, I get a call stating they HAVE TO HAVE the cabinets signed off on or they won't be in on time. Still no pricing--just a lovely descriptive paragraph of what I will be receiving (i.e. kitchen perimeter-[style of cabinet] white with pewter glaze & Level 1 granite, island-merlot [style of cabinet] with coffee glaze & Level 2 granite, etc.). Pushed very hard by GC, cabinet sub & DH who is only hearing from GC & cab sub that I am being unreasonable and can't make up my mind and I am holding everyone up so we will be off schedule. So I cave & sign knowing we can't possibly be too far off budget.

Cabinets come in weeks later and I get a frantic phone call from DH saying we need to get a check for $10,000 down to the cabinet guys or they're not installing on Monday as scheduled. Wait, we went over budget by $10,000?!?! How can that be--the changes we made were supposed to save $$$. Tell cabinet guys I need to see itemized list of charges--Itemized? We don't have an itemized list...just what we gave you to sign--a summary paragraph. I tell them no money until we see something--of course by the time we get to the shop, they have come up with a handwritten list of changes we made and show that those are what jacked the price up including that the hood & valance ended up being custom and went over (but not by much--just $1400). We had had another manufacturuer quote our cabinetry before when we were going to GC the project (ironically, the builders' cabinet guy used to work for them)--his quote with high end quartz countertops everywhere plus a more expensive decorative cabinet had come in $5,000 less. I know we're being taken for a ride & not one change that was supposed to save $$ did. DH writes the check & states, "At this price (now we're up to $48,000 in non-custom cabinets for a 1 kitchen, 1 laundry, 3 1/2 bath home), it better be right."

Cabinets start going in & everything looks good until the island cabs get uncrated & 1/2 are particle board. Then the upper cabinets flanking the rangetop are unearthed with stiles in them. We're assured these will be corrected. Then the cabinets doors are finally unveiled and they are not the right color!!!! They are silver, not the pewter I still have a sample of. 1st we're told it's a color variation which we were told could happen--I responded that would be like ordering chocolate glaze and getting tan--try again. Then we're told they sent the wrong sample door color--they must've sent you chocolate and mislabeled it--Try again, here's the sample and as you can see there is absolutely no brown whatsoever in this sample. Then we're told that manufacturer changed the color (2 weeks after I got my sample door) after customer feedback that the pewter was too dark--not my fault, I say. They offer to have everything reglazed custom by a local guy--I want a sample first. In the meantime, they negotiate with the manufacturer who agrees to do a special run with the old color pewter & I get all new doors & trim.

Fast forward to next phase of install--Island is fully installed & those corbels we upgraded are beautiful. New doors arrive & they are the right color. Cabinet guys throw in soft close cabinet hinges as free upgrade for our trouble (we were already quoted $2.00 per unit retail so we're only talking about $68 retail). Trash pullout for the kitchen is wrong size--we got the short version becasue he thought the width was the important part not the height too (the correct one has finally come in and been installed), trash pullouts we specced for laundry hampers did not come in & we found out weren't even ordered right--they ordered single hampers instead because it said 'hampers' regardless of what item# was specced (I truly do not know how much more specific we could've been on these 4 pullouts!!), pullout baskets don't fit & can't be modified--recommended to go with roll out trays at this point instead, stiles in cabinets flanking the rangetop have to stay--structural thing, glass doors came in as solid and have to be reordered a 3rd time, they couldn't figure out how to make the sink valance crown and the house crown die into one another so they put up these 3x3 blocks in between, oh yeah...and the hood color didn't match the island color (both were supposed to be merlot--island matches the merlot sample, but the hood looks more cherry.) They told DH, they were ordering a new hood. Then Friday, I show up at the house & they are taking the hood out as the manufacturer has opted to just refinish it--it'll take about 3 weeks. What?!?! We are supposed to have the house turned over to us on Wednesday! We still don't have 2 of the 3 laundry room pullouts, the pullout basket cabinet has not been resolved, I still don't have my glass cabinet doors & now I have no hood over a commercial gas 6-burner rangetop with 18,000BTUs out of each burner!?!?!?! What about the appraisal--just tell them it was scratched or something. We asked how we were supposed to move in & cook without the hood. We were told "Just don't fry anything."

GC has pretty much stepped back ever since the overage of $10,000 occurred so there is absolutley no help there. At this point, what recourse do we have if any? With this many goof ups, if we were in a restaurant we would have the entire dinner for free & probably get coupons for a few more free meals. Obviously, I don't expect to get my cabinetry for free, but do you think we deserve some sort of discount? How do we protect ourselves against them not coming back to finish the job? And frankly, I really am not even 100% happy with the kitchen cabinets as a whole. GC is supposed to be paid his last $$$ this Wednesday when he turns over the keys. Even DH finally agrees we should have gone with the other cabinet manufacturer at this point. Please help me navigate from here.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Frustration With Cabinet Sub (Long & Venting)--Advice?

Was your contract with the cabinet folks between them and you directly or with the GC? If the contract is through the GC, you should withhold enough money on Wednesday to cover the missing hood and any other missing items or necessary fixes.


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RE: Frustration With Cabinet Sub (Long & Venting)--Advice?

I checked the form I had to sign. It states:

Proposal Submitted To:
Builders' Info Follows

Cabinetry Confirmation For:
Our Info

Where I signed:
Above specs and conditions are satisfactory & hereby accepted.You are authorized to order the above stated cabinetry as specified.

And I probably should've worded the discount part above differently-- do you think we should ask for a discount? The cabinets really have been a nightmare from the get go.


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RE: Frustration With Cabinet Sub (Long & Venting)--Advice?

It doesn't hurt to ask for a discount. I'm still not clear whether the contract is directly between you and the cabinetmaker or the GC and the cabinetmaker (and you signed off on selections), but you should hold money back from the proper party until the hood is installed, the laundry room pull-outs are all in, and the glass cabinet doors are hung - plus whatever else is missing or incorrect.

I'd have a difficult time accepting the keys from the builder on Wednesday if you don't have an operating and functional kitchen (and if you can't use the stove because you lack a hood, then the kitchen is not functional). If delaying the closing is an option for you, it might incentivize your GC into getting on the cabinet guy's case.


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