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Cabinet Maker Reviews/Information-Let's Start a Thread

11 years ago

In planning a kitchen, one of the big issues seems to be finding the right cabinet maker. Many on this forum have gone or will go through this process. I wonder if a thread for summary of what you considered in selecting a cabinetmaker, and comparing the custom, semi-custom, and other makers that supply customers nationwide, would be useful for a lot of people researching and planning their kitchens?

Not everyone has an outlet for the national brands in their city, so a thread where others who have seen or own a particular brand give a "review," might be useful to many. Also, so many people say they find that local custom shops are a better deal on price and quality. I live in a medium-to-large city (Seattle area) and yet, surprisingly, there seem to be few quality custom makers around.

How does Crown Point compare to Kennebec, Plain and Fancy, or to Cook & Cook? Are there others, who do nationwide custom in the same class or better? How do any of these compare with the products from local shops? What is the best way to find a good local shop?

I will start--with the brand I have owned in another kitchen:

WOODMODE: Good, sturdy boxes. Beautiful cabinetry, about as close to furniture-looking as you can get, without going 100% custom. They use cheap hinges. Reorders are up to 10 weeks for anything changed, damaged, etc. I had a nightmare with one dealer, and a great experience with another. (Who you buy from makes a huge difference, and do not assume that because you are buying "high-end" cabinetry, that a dealer will be a good designer, or that they will have competent installers.) Finishes are beautiful, and supposedly legendary, however, my top-of-the-line hand-rubbed finish on cherry, which has a matte look, burnishes to a shine if rubbed using too much pressure in one spot. Woodmode stands behind their product 100%. Any defective, damaged or incorrectly ordered items (and we had a lot of these with the incompetent dealer), were replaced without issue (other than the wait for a long lead-time). The cabinets are holding up well at 2+ years--but with limited use in a vacation home. Aside from the hinges, the functional hardware is top-notch. Soft-close drawers and pullouts are a dream! My own carpenter, who came in to rescue a botched install by the dealer's installer, and ended-up completing the job, reiterated throughout that he could not believe how much we spent on what are, after all, wood boxes. That, along with all the costs incurred due to the incompetence of the dealer and their installer, (delays, damage to other items, damage to cabinets reinstalled several times to get them positioned correctly, etc.) has always left me feeling as if I did not get a good value for the money spent, even though the cabinets are very nice.

BROOKHAVEN: (Woodmode's lower-cost line) We used this in our butler's pantry and laundry to save on the cost. Truth be told, I like the usefulness of this line better than the Woodmode. With overlay doors rather than inset, they are much more useful. The painted finishes are bulletproof. Overall, very nice cabinets. The cost difference between Brookhaven and Woodmode is strictly due to the number of features offered, and not to the quality of materials or workmanship. Brookhaven is equally nice in these respects. (When we did our kitchen, Brookhaven did not offer inset doors, though I have heard that they now have a limited selection of inset offerings.)

Anyone who can contribute a similar review for other national brands, or any info on what led you to choose a local custom shop, and how they compare to the national brands in features and quality, please do.

(I personally would love to hear more about Crown Point, Plain and Fancy, Kennebec, Cook and Cook, and any others...)

Thanks for sharing!

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