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kitchen remodeling

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I hope this is a legitimate topic here, as the kitchen is the place for food. :) I want to replace some cabinets and countertops, and wondered if people had any suggestions for #1, some good places to get ideas, as well as #2, a good place to get them at a good price. My first guess for both would be Home Depot, which tries hard to be the first and last name in home remodeling, but if anyone has better ideas, I'd like to hear them, thanks!

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  1. Go to www.gardenweb.com and look for the ths.home site and go to forums. There is one labeled kitchens which was extremely helpful when I was building my house. You can spend alot of time in places like Home Depot Expo (didn't use them by the way) etc. but the advice of these people (just like here on Chowhound) is invaluable. Hope it helps. Linda

    1. Home Depot is a good place to start. But before you commit to prefab cabinets, you should check local cabinetmakers. Custom cabinets are not necessarily more expensive than good-quality factory built, and you can have more variety and flexibility with the design.

      I had to have custom because of the weird shape of my kitchen, but my sister was going to go with Home Depot, until I talked her into seeing my guy, and he came in *one-third less* with more custom features than what they had settled for at Home Depot.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        I completely agree. We first looked at Home Depot for some things we wanted to do. While they weren't bad, we found out that we had better local choices - we ultimately went with them because we perceived they were more interested in repeat business, customer service and doing a good job to gain us as a referral.

        We encounted a high degree of apathy among the HD folks. They were helpful and well trained, to be sure, but we didn't feel they had any interest in going the extra mile like the local guys.

        We also had some problems with getting someone to come out to our house to take measurements - the contractor (and by the way, they do contract out) didn't show up at the agreed upon time and then showed up when nobody was home and wanted to charge us for the trip. There was also an issue with mandatory charges - we had a very small project and it was the contractor, not the HD salesman, that informed us of the minimum charge.

        1. re: MkeLaurie

          "We also had some problems . . ."

          Just know that kitchen remodeling is on the top of the list of "Most Stressful" things you can do. That's why the designers get big bucks.

        2. re: Ruth Lafler

          Exactly my experience, right down to the size of the price difference. We'd assumed that custom would be more expensive, but it turned out to be considerably less. Plus, we were able to do exactly what we wanted, which involved some non-standard sizing and configurations (not to mention being able to accomodate some not-so-square corners in our house).

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I'm a fan of custom cabinets. They are made to custom sizes with quality materials and workmanship and can cost far less than one's from Home Depot, etc. My third kitchen with custome cabinets is nearing completion.

            The first time was in my own home ten years ago. It has solid oak cabinet fronts and doors with Corian counters. Spent about $9-10,000 for it. Laughed to myself when magazines at the time quoted $25,000-60,000 for likely cost range.

            Just finishing a small galley style kitchen in a rental house. Well made custom paint grade cabinets were about $1,800 installed. Painted them myself for about $200 in paint and supplies. Tiling the counters, backsplash, and floor, again DIY, cost another $1,000 or so. Total cost for a very nice small kitchen, excluding fixtures and appliances, added uo to about $3,000.

            Two years ago a larger kitchen cost $4,200 for custom paint grade cabinets, installed. Far inferior quality Home Depot cabinets would have been at least a $1,000 more. On top of that HD would have charged several thousand dollars for installation.

            1. re: SLOSteve

              Good point about "paint grade" cabinets. Some people think that means inferior wood -- or maybe even mdf -- but my paint grade cabinets were solid poplar so beautiful it was a shame to paint them (I didn't paint the inside of the window seat, and I still admire the wood every time I open it).

              And yes, a window seat is just one of the custom features I got with my cabinets, which were $5,000 installed (although that was almost 14 years ago). And that's in the San Francisco Bay Area, where everything is expensive.

            2. re: Ruth Lafler

              I'm a fan of custom cabinets. They are made to custom sizes with quality materials and workmanship and can cost far less than one's from Home Depot, etc. My third kitchen with custome cabinets is nearing completion.

              The first time was in my own home ten years ago. It has solid oak cabinet fronts and doors with Corian counters. Spent about $9-10,000 for it. Laughed to myself when magazines at the time quoted $25,000-60,000 for likely cost range.

              Just finishing a small galley style kitchen in a rental house. Well made custom paint grade cabinets were about $1,800 installed. Painted them myself for about $200 in paint and supplies. Tiling the counters, backsplash, and floor, again DIY, cost another $1,000 or so. Total cost for a very nice small kitchen, excluding fixtures and appliances, added uo to about $3,000.

              Two years ago a larger kitchen cost $4,200 for custom paint grade cabinets, installed. Far inferior quality Home Depot cabinets would have been at least a $1,000 more. On top of that HD would have charged several thousand dollars for installation.

            3. If you can get a hold of Friday's (4/29) Wall St. Journal, they sampled nine chain store design centers:

              Ace Hardware
              Boffi
              Case Handyman
              DreamMaker
              Expo Design
              Great Indoors
              Home Depot
              Ikea
              Lowe's

              Also, the August 2004 issue of Consumer Reports covers kitchen remodeling. I don't think you can get either of these articles online unless you pay.

              1. My mother had one of the Home Depot kitchen cabinet contractors come out and give her an estimate on replacing the cabinets in her kitchen. The contractor told her $16,000. My sister and her husband recently remodeled their entire house and put in a completely new, and very large kitchen. They have 3 times the linear cabinet space as my mother and their cabinets cost $18,000. Their cabinets look fabulous and are pre-fabs that are just like custom made. Their designer and contractor both recommended a manufacturer called Wellborne. They got custom looking cabinets for a fraction of what custom would have cost given the size of their kitchen and amount of cabinetry needed. There is a web site, (I'll try to link below).

                I've spent time at Home Depot and Home Depot Expo looking at their kitchen selections and haven't been all that impressed, but it is a great place to start and get ideas about what you want to do. I've actually gotten better ideas from watching HGTV and buying some of the home and redecorating magazines, not for the features, but for the ads.

                Link: http://www.wellborne.com

                1 Reply
                1. re: Gayla

                  The link I posted isn't quite right. Here's the correct link to Welborn (no "e" on the end) cabinets.

                  Link: http://www.wellborn.com

                2. If you can't get WSJ article I think I can email it to you. Send me an email and I'll send it to you.

                  1. Home Depot contracts their work out to local contractors, which means you don't have any real say in who does the install.

                    About 3 years ago, I assisted a co-worker in resolving a Home Depot remodel that went VERY badly. The installers ended up cutting part of her floor away and leaving exposed luon underfloor. Cabinets were hung crooked, too.

                    Home Depot did eventually make good on the situation but it took several nastygrams and numerous phone calls after I got involved. (I'm a lawyer, one of the most satisfying things I do with the degree is help people with this sort of thing.) It is not easy to find the right person to resolve a problem at Home Depot if something goes wrong.

                    Chances are that some Home Depots have contractor managers who really take the time to identify sub-contractors with quality problems and eliminate them from the program. But others are probably too busy just lining subcontractors up to do proper quality control.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: PollyG

                      Additionally, I know that one "Kitchen Designer" at a Home Depot store in Southern California has NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE in that field and only sought the job because he was replaced in his Management position at a technology firm. He's been working about one month at Home Depot, but his card says he is a Kitchen Designer.

                      Also, try getting a fax delivered to the appropriatte person. Really, try. LOL

                      That said, their resources are abundant and brainpower DOES have something to do with quality, though experience may follow.

                    2. This really is not the place for discussion regarding kitchen design, this is a food board seeking deliciousness.

                      However, other discussion sites have been offered in this link already.

                      Also, consider visiting some kitchen design showrooms, area events with industry people, and read magazines and library books to get and idea of design concepts and available products. Also, track your current home cooking habits and note what you like, don't like, and dream of. Few designers will know it all or even offer their knowledge without compensation.

                      1. What part of the country?

                        1. A great place to get ideas is at That Home Site

                          http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/

                          specifically the kitchen forum and the appliances forum. Those folks have done their research.

                          Regarding cheap places, it really depends on where you live. If you live in the SF Bay Area, check out Superior and/or Sincere in Oakland for one-stop shopping.

                          And Home Depot may not be all that. In lots of locations around the country, you can get decent cabinets for lower prices, and better service to fix any screwups/misorders. Sometimes these can be the local custom cabinet guy or they can be the prefab China cabinet importer. Just be sure you know a thing or two about cabinet construction before you hand over your credit card.

                          Link: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/

                          1. Your best bet is to contact a local kitchen design center. I used to work in one of the big box stores and now I work for a smaller, much better kitchen and bath store. I am able to provide much better service and product here. The whole approach here is far more professional and personal. I think there is a huge misperception that unless you're buying from the big box stores you will be paying more. That is just not so. We have a range of product to fit anyone's budget. Also, my customers know they won't be getting "Jimmy from paint" to help them make very important decisions about their entire project.