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Fast advice needed please!

Posted by neshanicguy (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 18, 13 at 12:57

I'd like to get some feedback on our current "problem". We've admired certain kitchens that we've seen online that have a modern/transitional look. We live in an area that is UBER traditional. So we wound up corresponding with a designer whose portfolio we LOVED. Over several weeks of measuring, skyping etc, we got the kitchen design that we always wanted. Problem is that out search to find a local cabinet builder that has experience with the materials (European laminates) has left us wanting. We had plenty of referrals that stated " oh wow, that's awesome! I'd like to TRY that". Problem is that we aren't willing to be anyone's guinea pigs. So in a nutshell, we are currently looking at only 2 viable quotes:

Quote 1 - is a local custom builder who wants to use different laminates that the designer wants (note - designer is NOT on board with the laminates he specified as they are lower quality).
Quote 2 - would be to have the cabinets built in Canada by the designers own team and have them shipped to us (East Coast) and installed by a local GC.

Believe it or not, quote #1 is a whopping $10K higher!! Seriously.

I wanted to put this out there to see the opinion of the board. The idea of having the builder local to take care of unforeseen issues is attractive to me. But I guess with a $10k savings I can afford to have the remote builder flown in (and in first class) to fix issues.

What are your thoughts / experiences? Has anyone ever had custom cabinets/furniture built remotely (i.e. far away) and shipped to you?

Thanks for your help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Fast advice needed please!

I haven't personally, but my builder does. They used to routinely use a Canadian cabinet company before they finally shut down last year (due to the economy). In fact, the company shut down before we could order our cabinets and we had to use a semi local cabinetmaker (about 3 hours away).

They had no problems with the Canadian company and the pricing was much lower than even the semi local cabinetmaker. The quality was pretty high end as well.

The real question for you would be

1. who is responsible for measuring and getting that out to the cabinetmaker? who will be responsible for measuring errors?

2. how will mistakes and the warranty issues be addressed? That ultimately is the real issue. If you had to send the cabinet back - that is most likely not cost effective, given the size. It's probably cheaper to buy another cabinet and ship it over.

For us, our builder would have stood behind the cabinets and would address the issues, so it was a non issue for us (in addition, our builder had used this company hundreds of times before in the past, so much so, that the builders house was featured in the cabinet company's catalog). Unfortunately for us, they went out of business so we couldn't use them.


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RE: Fast advice needed please!

Measuring is the main issue. Will your designer take responsibility for that and the insallation. I would see how make option #2 happen. There are some people on the board who have bought cabinets from italy and got them shipped here etc.


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RE: Fast advice needed please!

Yes, I have done it. So have many others here on GW. As others say, measuring and extremely careful planning and attention to all details is very important. If you ensure that all of that is done correctly beforehand, you should have no problems, if the company is reputable. Have everything in writing, of course.

Your option #2 sounds the best.

I am a super control freak, so I did all the measuring of my space myself, and checked and double-checked and triple-checked the cabinet order before placing it. Ask your designer if you can check the details of the order yourself if you are worried. Do not rush this step. It took a lot of number-crunching, brain-hurting, eye-strain time, but it was worth it in the end.

I've heard many reports of errors in translation here on GW, so I don't know that I'd totally trust the designer, unless you have in writing that she/he will pay for or make right any errors in the order/measuring. (That's why I did it myself.)

Mine all came out beautiful. Everything fit. Nothing was incorrect or missing. No problems in shipping despite a hurricane at the time. Finding a great local installation team was also key. Having detailed plans helped them too.

Good luck! How exciting!


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RE: Fast advice needed please!

DO you mean hi-pressure laminate as in formica? when you say European laminate I think in terms of foils.
If foils then pretty much anyone offering those doors is outsourcing the doors. There are only a few makers on this side of the Atlantic.
Point is if your getting foil there are only a few options for the doors-
You say the east coast- there are several brands that offer foils with factories on the east coats. IF your worried find a local cabinet dealer. Most of the brands that have good foil are full custom.


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RE: Fast advice needed please!

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I apologize at being away without any update. Work pulled me out of the states for an unexpected length of time. Soooo... in the end, we went back and explained to the local builder that we couldn't walk away from such a price difference with the other offer. He came back with a great reduction. In a nutshell we signed with the local builder and are on the edge of stepping off into the "fun" of a kitchen remodel. Wish me luck.

ps @ jakuvall it is a high pressure laminate. This is similar to the look we are going for: http://www.houzz.com/photos/468178/Kitsilano---Kitchen-contemporary-kitchen-vancouver


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