Shopping for Kitchen Cabinets

Below is our latest post for BrickUnderground.com containing our advice on buying kitchen cabinets.

But first, here is a bit more detail on our shopping experience at Home Depot and IKEA for those trying to decide where to purchase cabinets.

We started out first looking at IKEA cabinets and for the rental unit and although the price was right there was little design assistance, their computer software (which you can download on ikea.com) is rudimentary at best (but good for planning) and there was a limited selection in cabinet sizes.  With our irregularly high ceilings we couldn’t design them to fit.  And don’t forget, the cabinets do not arrive assembled.

That being said, we have friends who installed IKEA high gloss cabinets in a very modern newly constructed kitchen and ten years and two children later they’ve stood the test of time with only minor replacements, so whether IKEA is right for you is relative.

When we renovated the kitchen in our previous apartment we went to the 23rd Street Home Depot in Manhattan to check out several kitchen designs and materials in person We dealt with a different person at each process.  Someone who is not the designer came to our home to measure the space and later when we needed a cabinet door replaced because it was warped we dealt with someone completely different in customer service.

Also they subcontract installation to a third party, which lead to a problem when we installed our cabinets because our kitchen was measured with the old cabinets and drywall in place.  We handled demolition and had the room re-drywalled.  During this process one of the dimensions of the room increased by two inches.  As a result our cabinets did not fit the space as designed.  Thankfully, the installer was able to add filler pieces to solve the problem but it did not look exactly as we designed.

We purchased full-overlay cabinet doors but see the gaps between the cabinets on the right and left below.

Cabinets from Home Depot

Cabinets from Home Depot

While we were satisfied with the cabinet quality and service overall, we chose to go the small shop route this time because we wanted to work with one person for the entire process.  For both our kitchens, the designer at Park Slope Kitchen Gallery came by and measured our space twice to make sure it was accurate before finalizing the order.

For more information about what style and type of cabinet to buy see our post below.

BUYING NEW KITCHEN CABINETS? WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Our kitchen cabinet odyssey involved a lot more decision-making than you might imagine.

Longtime New Yorkers Angela Tiffin and Andrew Nichols bought their first brownstone in South Park Slope in May 2012, and have spent two years renovating—first, their own duplex apartment and in recent months, a third-floor rental unit—much of it with their own hands. You can read more about the project at their blog,Brownstone Cyclone.

We recently purchased new kitchen cabinets for the rental unit in our brownstone, after buying them last year for our duplex, which may seem like an easy decision. In truth, however, there are a dizzying array of choices when it comes to picking the style, the substance and the construction methods, not to mention where to shop in the first place. Below, what we learned in the process:

 

 

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It sounds crazy but it might just work…

Because of hurricane Sandy, we are behind schedule about a week and a half, due mainly to transportation issues for the crew.  Although demolition was almost complete, they were not able to haul away the debris yet because alternate side parking rules were suspended and it was too difficult to get a dumpster right in front of the house.

Our second bit of disappointing news was that our contractor quoted us a price to rebuild our neighbor’s shed that we have to tear down.  A whopping 13K to replace a 50 year old box!  While we want the lady’s shed to be replaced a little better than it was, we do not want to provide her with a state of the art solarium.  What pains us most is that it mainly houses old cleaning supplies and the like.  

Nevertheless, the crew started the excavation for the extension in the back.  At the end of last week we  attended a status meeting at the site with our architect, structural engineer and foreman.  As we have mentioned before, if you are planning on major structural work to your home you will need to hire a structural engineer.  His or her price tag will be high and you will think, oh man.  Well last week our engineer (along with our architect) earned his paycheck.

During the meeting we all took a close look at the shed wall abutting our property and determined that instead of demolishing her entire shed we could simply incorporate the wall into our extension. The plan was for our extension to use CMU blocks (concrete masonry unit) with an EIFS (external finishing insulation system) with a stucco coating. Under this new plan we’ll continue to use CMU blocks and EIFS but in the areas of the wall abutting her wall (top photo, right side) we’ll leave out the stucco and apply a metal flashing over the top of her wall to water proof it.

We will have to give up about 2 inches of space in our bedroom (sadly from our closet) but we will have saved the cost of the new shed and when it’s complete we won’t be able to tell the difference.  Like most things with renovation–it is a wait and see game.  They will go forward with this new plan until or unless some unknown factor prevents it.  In the renovation game, it’s the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men.