kitchen renovation- information gathering-planning

November 4, 2019

I'm planning a kitchen renovation- I live near upland California. We have a long 21'3x10'5" rectangular space. We also have soffits over the cabinets that we like to remove. So far I received a couple of estimates, the cabinet quality are not that good and the cost seem high. So I'm looking into doing some of the work myself. I'm looking for ready made cabinets (good quality) no particle board. I like the white shaker and like the Diamond sumner door style or the Breman. Checked their prices and they are on the expensive side, so I'm looking for similar cabinets that are more reasonable. So far the cabinets I seen in the shaker 5 panel style have a gap in the center incert, the paint is smear and the joints of the styles are not tight. It seems that this is the norm with most ready made cabinets. I can't find myself to purchase such low quality cabinets.

Looking for information on where to purchase good quality ready made cabinets- reliable and reasonable contractors in my area and any other information that can help me with this project. I'm open to hiring a contractor if the cost is reasonable.

Comments (24)

  • stillpitpat

    Do you have an Ikea nearby?

    ramon63 thanked stillpitpat
  • suezbell

    Do you have a state owned tech school nearby that teaches cabinetry?

    ramon63 thanked suezbell
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  • PRO
    Beth H. :

    Ikea is a good choice.

    most of the ready to assemble cabs come straight from China.

    I have a very good cab company that just did my kitchen. (I had mine painted but they refaced the doors) They aren't super cheap, but the quality is very good and they are trustworthy.

    The Cabinet Experts in Santa Ana. talk to Sam.

    I don't know what your budget is, but if you want cabs, countertops and appliances, you need to be in the 20K range.

    if you do all of the demo, you'll save a few thousand. Take out the florescent light and learn how to do recessed, you'll save a few thousand. Check on Craigslist for new or slightly used appliances, save more.

    ramon63 thanked Beth H. :
  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    IKEA for cabinets.

    ramon63 thanked Zalco/bring back Sophie!
  • ramon63

    Yes there is an IKEA and no there is no school near by. Thank you all for your tips. I already replaced the lights with recessed and thinking of taking out the soffits. Went to see more cabinets today and the same story, very poor quality and there were people buying these cabinets- if the cabinets are so bad in the showroom I can't even imagine the ones you buy. I will check the cabinet experts in Santa Ana.

  • shead

    Definitely look at IKEA! You’re lucky if you have one nearby as my closest one is 5+ hours away.

    ramon63 thanked shead
  • remodeling1840

    Before we started anything, we budgeted for everything we would need. Everything. It is not just cabinets. Price everything. List everything. What material cost is associated with removing soffits, repairing the drywall, repainting, wiring, outlets, screws, everything. Fixing the floor, adding trim, counters, backsplash, grout, light fixtures, vent, hood, every single thing.

    ramon63 thanked remodeling1840
  • mackdolan

    Diamond is very middle of the road price wise. And it’s decent quality, for what it costs. No one needs to insist on paying extra for plywood. Furniture board is more than fine. There is zero comparison to Diamond and IKEA for quality. Especially if you think it’s “low quality”. You’ll think IKEA is made from paper maché. You need to budget double Diamond cost if you want true high quality custom. Omega, Plain and Fancy, Crystal, Plato, etc. You're going to easily be in the upper end costs of a upscale kitchen redo with that size space and those expectations. https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2019/

    ramon63 thanked mackdolan
  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    ^ This. Do you have a plan - are you going to do any rearranging? Make a list of exactly what you need a contractor to do for you, tell him what you will be doing/sourcing/buying yourself, then ask for his price. You don't have to supply everything - he will take care of stuff like plumbing materials, drywall materials and so forth and build that into his price. So you don't have to know the price of every screw, outlet and light switch, but you do need to know where you want those outlets and light switches to be, and how many.

    You may have pipes or wiring in those soffits, so be sure to discuss that "what if" with your contractor.

    I took about 9 months before work started and shopped hard (really, as soon as I decided to remodel, so longer than that); I decided what materials I wanted (like type of floor, type of counter, style of cabinets) and started looking for bargains on ebay and Amazon (faucet, sink, garbage disposer) , online sellers (pulls), interior fittings for the cabinets and drawers (Ikea, Target, Lowes), clearance sales (flooring, hood), coupons/discounts (Ace Hardware-paint, Lowes - lighting fixtures), scratch & dent/floor models for appliances (all from either Sears Outlet or Sears proper). The only material I paid full price for was the new window, and the cabinets. Even the granite was discounted because it was their last slab. Taking the length of time to do this really paid off.

    I had the cabinets made by a local cabinet shop -- very well made and very reasonable - less than similar quality from Lowes. Take a look in your area for one. See if they do or can include installation.

    Ikea is also a very good choice, especially if you have to keep costs low - you just have to be prepared to take your time assembling the cabinets to avoid flaws.

    Conestoga Cabinets is another brand that has had good feedback here - google to find online sellers who will help you through the entire process of planning, measuring, and ordering.

    ramon63 thanked raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
  • Trish Walter

    we had a bunch going on in our soffits so hubby did this back many moons ago.....



    ramon63 thanked Trish Walter
  • ramon63

    wow! thanks so much. I have a lot to think about.

  • live_wire_oak

    The average cost of the level of cabinets that you seem to want would be in the 60-100K range for a large space like you are talking about. It depends on the ceiling height, material chosen, and features that you choose. IKEA will probably be 8-15K, depending on door style. Add another 5-10K for 3rd party doors and finishing pieces. Which takes you right back up to something like Diamond Vibe or Kraftmaid One, which comes in lots more sizes and options, and doesn’t require assembly.


    ramon63 thanked live_wire_oak
  • Rebecca Mauri

    We are finally in the home stretch of renovating our long narrow kitchen. Like yours, we had soffits and flooring and cabinets to deal with. I ended up taking my time figuring out what we really could do, budgets, etc. When I say time, I mean it's been probably 3 years of on and off again research and thinking. Which I realize might not be your timeline. :) Below are some notes on what I've learned from the process so far:

    My first advice --don't rush the planning process. Really take your time and for anything you think you can take on yourself, research what it really means to do that work yourself. Figure out your time budget (not just your $$ budget). How long can you live with your kitchen disrupted? Can you do the kitchen in pieces? For us that has been the killer piece. We did demo in June. And we figured we'd be done end of Sept/early October. (The contractor said August and I didn't believe them --they always over promise). However, unforeseen delays like one of the electricians going away for 3 weeks in the middle of the job. Delays with getting the city out to do the inspections have set us back. We are now (fingers crossed) wrapping up this next week. Just in time for the holidays. I don't say this to scare you --but just be very aware of how the work can disrupt your daily routines and how you can work around that. And as much as we had plans to grill all summer --and had the use of a toaster over, hot plate and microwave as our temporary set up --there was a lot of take out and ancillary expenses related to meals.

    With your soffit, take a small piece of the drywall off to see what is in there so you know what you really are dealing with under there and if it will be worth any extra expense to reroute what could be there. In our case, we had nothing. We got lucky.

    Depending on the scope of what you need to do (ours ended up being a gut job right to the studs) you will want to hire a contractor to do the things you can't -especially when it comes to anything structural you might find as well as plumbing/electrical if you don't have your own people. I interviewed 7 contractors and asked to see their work. The proposals were all over the map as far as price. I choose someone who I found to do quality work and wasn't pushy-- like wanting you to make really $$ choices or upgrades. Our contractor has been good to work with us where we are and not to over complicate our project. As well as let us do things we are skilled at doing (painting, staining, trim work, grouting). When looking for contractors I prepared a spreadsheet of the big ticket items that I was anticipating and how much I was hoping to spend. I was very transparent about budget and where I was hoping to be.

    For cabinets you might also want to look at a line called Fabuwood. They use Blum hinges and two of the kitchen designers we considered working with carried them. Also look at Wolf. These cabinets were relatively affordable. We ended up going with Kraftmaid, but not ordered through home depot or lowes, we ordered through a kitchen designer/showroom. We ended up spending around 12K on the cabinets and were able to take advantage of a special/discount when we ordered that saved us 2K. If I did Fabuwood or Wolf I would have spent around 9-10K for the same footprint. But neither Fabuwood or Wolf carried one of the cabinet colors we wanted, so we did go with Kraftmaid. In the big scheme of things, and because the cabinets take up most of the space, we felt it was worth going a bit higher to get the look we wanted.

    I mentioned Lowes and Home Depot only because I find that people who order Kraftmaid through them seem to have the most issues with fabrication and quality. At first I was nervous that we were going with Kraftmaid based on other reviews, but we have had a good experience so far. We only received one door that had a minor scratch, and it was replaced quickly. Everything else was in good shape. Installation with my carpenter/contractor was another 2K -we have old, uneven floors so there was a lot of effort with shimming, etc to make sure everything was level and took a little longer, and more expense, for us. But in working with a kitchen designer we also got accurate measurements --they came on site and really learned about our goals. Asked great questions about how we cook, what we wanted. And then presented us three different scenarios. The cost of that work was applied to the cost of the cabinets. I don't think I would have had the technical acumen to walk into an Ikea or Home Depot or Lowes with accurate measurements and planning to be able to purchase cabinetry directly like that. I was happy to have a pro help with it. But that is me. I know my strengths and my limitations!

    When I could, I tried to see if vendors would give me the contractor pricing for things and direct bill me. If they direct billed him, he would just mark it up again. For example, I got my quartz countertops and install done for $3400. This was with an LG Viattera Minuet. The average price quoted was between $4700-$5000 without it. I also got my backsplash tile at discount and that saved me around $300 in materials. I did not need new floors --that was the only thing that stayed the same! We simply refinished our existing hardwoods and that was about $400 in labor/materials.

    I tried to maximize large purchases during our tax free weekend here in Massachusetts. So new doors, windows and even things like lights and hardware (all at Home Depot) I purchased then to save a little.

    Good luck. Sorry if this is a lot of info. I have kind of stumbled through the process and learned as I went.

    ramon63 thanked Rebecca Mauri
  • AnnKH

    Lots of good info from Rebecca!

    But even before that: what are the goals of your remodel? For example, when I did my kitchen, my goals were to improve efficiency/function; increase storage space; eliminate clutter from the counters.

    My kitchen is U-shaped, with sink in the middle, fridge on one leg, range on the other, so I didn't have a lot of flexibility as far as moving things around. To improve function, I moved the range further down the leg of the U, added 8" to each leg. I replaced all base cabinets with drawers. To increase storage, I ran the cabinets to the ceiling (makin the uppers a foot taller), and added pantry shelves. To reduce clutter, I planned the storage so things had a place to be put away: a drawer for canisters of flour, sugar, etc; a drawer with a knife insert, to eliminate knife blocks; a super susan for small appliances, so we actually put the toaster away when we aren't using it; a charging station inside a cabinet, so there aren't a pile of cords on the counter.

    So identify your goals. Think about the things you really like about your current layout, and the things that drive you nuts. Do you love the wall oven? Where is your current landing spot for the oven and fridge? Post an overhead sketch with dimensions (including doors and windows), and the kind folks here can help you design a functional layout.

    ramon63 thanked AnnKH
  • felizlady

    I’m with Rebecca on this. AnnKH also has good suggestions. You should try to discover the “surprises” before you tear everything out. Plan well, research costs and bids, and have the money in the bank. Only do what you are capable of doing. Don’t mess with electrical or plumbing unless you know what you are doing. Charge everything on a credit card which gives you the best points and rewards, but ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS pay off the entire credit card bill each month before it is due or you will have to add interest to the expense list.

    ramon63 thanked felizlady
  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.

    I see you have terrazzo floors with integrated toe kicks- are these being retained (please say yes...) If so IKEA would be the perfect choice as you can skip the legs, most 'American' lines have integrated bases you would have to cut off. Yes IKEA is furniture board but they are solid and have a warranty.

    ramon63 thanked HALLETT & Co.
  • Rebecca Mauri

    Second the comment about credit card points. Whenever I could I charged things to maximize my point/cash back programs. Also, if you are military or have a military family member (active or retired) there are some great discounts out there that you could be eligible for. Also, if you are an educator or have one in the family, you can also get discounts --but this seems mostly on things like furnishings and finishing touches. I am an educator and my dad is retired military so that has been another source of savings.

    ramon63 thanked Rebecca Mauri
  • ramon63

    Great, wonderful tips and ways to save, I'm a veteran and my wife an educator, so will be looking for them. The floor looks terrazo but it's actually linoleum, they did an icredible job on instalation then, but it's coming off, we have a concrete slab and looking into luxury vinyl. The old cabinets were built with plywood- solid construction. We are also putting a gas stove instead of the electrict cooktop. I like the idea of storage and lots of drawers. We would like to add cabinets all the way to the wall next to the fridge and two 30" pantry cabinets to replace the ones we have and yes we are going all the way to the ceiling which is 99 1/2 inches, so we would need molding on top of the 42" cabinets.

    The imput has been great and it's giving me great ideas for planning and strategy. Thank you all.

  • AnnKH

    Perhaps you could build a walk-in pantry instead of pantry cabinets - much cheaper, and you could do that right away without having to make any other kitchen decisions.

    ramon63 thanked AnnKH
  • Rebecca Mauri

    You will get there! We started with this (below) and we are almost done. Don't have full pics yet. But for us we had three goals: Increase counter space (which was fairly non existent), Increase storage (also non existent) while maintaining an eat in space without having to knock down walls or open up to another room. I guess fourth goal was relocate a heat pipe hidden in a "pole". We seem to be achieving all of these things. But it's a journey. I lived with the below kitchen for 10 years (yes, 10 years) before we reno'd. I hae to look at pictures to remind myself it is worth the effort and $. :)

    Almost After --almost there....

    ramon63 thanked Rebecca Mauri
  • ramon63

    Looking great! thanks for the encouragent!

  • mmhagen

    We live in Claremont and are embarking on a total kitchen remodel. We found a cabinet maker who is amazing and building everything custom for us. You would have to plan in advance since he is so booked up, but I would be happy to share his info.

    ramon63 thanked mmhagen
  • PRO
    ramon63 thanked The Cook's Kitchen
  • ramon63

    Thanks again to everyone for your suggestions, it's helping me out a lot. mmhagen, did you get an estimate for standard cabinets before deciding on custom made? I suspect the cost of the custom made cabinets are probably much higher?

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