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Jan 25, 2007 09:14 AM

Need Kitchen Cabinets...Help!

Hello everyone,
I'm doing a complete kitchen gut and remodel, and I need advice on kitchen cabinets. I have not been impressed with the quality of the products I've seen so far. My kitchen is not that big ( I only need about four 30" base cabinets and uppers, a few 15" base cabinets, a base corner unit, and a pantry unit), but the prices I have been quoted seem quite high ($9,000-$10,000), especially given the fact that many of these cabinets are made of particle board with only solid wood fronts. Even the shelves I've seen are only supported by pegs, not built in.

Is it now common to have to spend $20,000+ in order to get all-wood, quality cabinets, even for a relatively small space? Can anyone recommend a custom cabinet maker that is not completely out of my price range? I was hoping to spend less than $10,000 for all of the kitchen cabinets. And I would like to spend significantly less than that if I'm buying particle board.

Am I being unrealistic? Help!

In case it matters, I am in the Los Angeles area. But I am willing to do mail-order for a quality product from a company with good customer service.

Also, does anyone have any personal experience with Diamond cabinets?


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  1. Oh, and I would like to do white painted cabinets. I am finding that it is difficult to find white cabinets that are reasonably priced but don't look "cheap."

    4 Replies
    1. re: L.A.Hound

      be very careful on painted cabinets. jfood installed painteds 5 years ago and he has already had them reconditioned. every little bit of water from splashes at the sink find thoi\se little crevices and then the paint will bubble. refinishing is not only a chore but an unnecessary cost. after three kitchen guttings, jfood and mrs jfood would NEVER dopainted ever again.

      1. re: jfood

        Sounds like a poorly prepared original surface. My mother's painted cabinets are 40+ years old, only repainted three times in that time span. It is worth seeking out oil-based yachting paints if you are concerned about durability. Interlux, et al, make a wide variety of colors, and boat paint certainly stands up to water, oil, etc.

        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          oh for the beauty of 20-20 and hindsight. it never occured to the jfoods that this would be a problem but once these puppies were installed, what could you do? one assumes that in an industries that manufacturers custom kitchen cabinets, they would understand that water is an element that can not be avoided.

          so to the OP, jfood would suggest taking HC's advice (nice advice jfood might add) and perform additional due diligence on the paint quality.

          1. re: jfood

            I concur with jfood's advice and that of HC -- paint quality is important.

            I would also add that "all wood" is too generic a description. You could get cabinets made out of "all wood 3/8 plywood" that would be pretty crummy. A heavier grade of "particle board" or true cabinet quality MDF will be far superior. Hardwood cabinet grade plywood is not a cheap material, if that is what the $20000 cabinets are made of you are getting something that is top quality.
            If you are looking to get "solid wood" cabinets you don't want to waste money on pine for the "box" and you certainly don't want to throw money away for a quality hardwood that will perform worse than a more dimensionally stable alternative.

            Even custom cabinet makers do a very poor job matching the cabinet build quality / finishes to their intended use. The smart kitchen/bath designer ought to know that cabinets going in a laundry room or other "nightmare" location need to be VERY durable. I can't tell you how many "spec homes" I've seen that have "high dollar" cabinets right next to laundry tub that is inviting disaster...

    2. I used to design kitchens at a big box home improvement store (I won't name names), so I know a little bit about this subject, although I have been out of the loop for a couple of years. I would say that the *average* kitchen, just for cabinets, was usually between $8,000 and $10,000. This was usually middle of the line quality/ price range and usually smaller kitchens. Kitchens are expensive- there's just no way around it. Luckily, a lot of times, this pays off when you go to sell... even people that don't like to cook like to have a nice kitchen. What is going to cost the most money is specialty cabinets- cabinets with drawers are really expensive, corner cabinets are very expensive, and pantry cabinets are the worst of all. Any kind of attachments, i.e. lazy susans or spice racks are usually ridiculously priced. Also, hardware... I can't tell you how many times people would have me price out the hardware that came with the cabinets and they would pick hardware that was $20 a pop! Go to the hardware department and buy anywhere from 50 cents to $5.00 hardware- you're still going to save money. Other than that, I don't really have any recommendations for companies, been out of the loop too long for that.

      1. We have Diamond cabinets in our kitchen and are very happy with them. We used Preferred Cabinet in Lake Forest. See their website at You can describe your space and they can probably give you a quote for Diamond which you can use to compare to others (including a custom cabinet) or use them if they'll work in your L.A. location. We found them to be reasonably priced and honest and the work they did to install them was first-class.

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