Kitchen

YEAH, WE FINALLY MADE THE DECISION

ktichen timeline

Today is a very happy day at our house! It’s official… the kitchen cabinets have been ordered! Yes, Greg… I’m going to say it… Holla!

As you know, we’ve gone back and forth… and back and forth… between Ikea, Lowe’s/Kraft Maid, and custom cabinets. But last week, we finally bit the bullet, made some decisions, and placed an order. Before we get to the “who”, we’re going to talk about the “why”. Through the entire process, we’ve considered pretty much all of the ins and outs of each option. Seriously, give us a pop quiz. We’ll ace it. It was decision making time, though, so we did what we always do: We made a pros and cons list!

Our pros and cons won’t be the same as everyone else’s, so this is just what we came up with when we considered our specific needs and wants for this project.

IKEA. First up is Ikea. This was our first stop in the kitchen “reinstall” project. When I first came across photos of their 2010 kitchen catalog, I immediately became smitten with the idea of Ikea cabinets (read that post here). Ten months later (10 months!), our pros and cons go something like this…

PROS:

    • Super-affordable. Literally a fraction of the price of the other options on our list!
    • Customizable storage. Every single customizable option under the sun.
    • Kitchen Planner Software. Fun, easy to use software that helped us “see” our kitchen design and even compiled a list of the parts and pieces we needed when it’s time to go to the store with a rental truck.
    • Reader’s Comments. When we first talked about possibly going with Ikea cabinets, many of you guys talked about how you loved your Ikea kitchen. We even featured an Ikea kitchen Reader Reno. Check that out here.
    • Warranty. Ikea’s cabinets are backed with a 25 year limited warranty. Always a good thing when making a big purchase.

CONS:

    • Lots of work. We’d have to put each and every piece together ourselves (or pay a company $100 per cabinet to do it). We welcome the challenge, yeah, but we’ve heard it’s sometimes not so easy peasy.
    • Missing “puzzle pieces”. As far as the cabinets themselves, they aren’t as customizable for our kitchen as we originally thought.

KRAFT MAID / LOWES. The second stop on our journey to kitchen cabinet land was our local Lowe’s. When we met with the kitchen designer for the first time (which is a pro on the list!), we easily decided on KraftMaid cabinets. Before I start gushing, let’s get to the pros and cons…

PROS:

    • Professional kitchen designer. Gaylord, our oh-so-awesome Lowe’s kitchen designer, did a fantastic job of implementing the plan we originally sketched up using the Ikea Kitchen Planner software. Using KraftMaid cabinets, he was able to help us make a completely functional kitchen that not only worked for our everyday needs, but one that would be great for entertaining – which is something we’ve really missed while not having a kitchen.
    • More options than you can shake a stick at. KraftMaid has beyond enough styles, finishes, hardware, and “add on” options to choose from, which would give the kitchen a very custom feel.
    • A better fit. Overall, the design using KraftMaid cabinets had a tighter, more integrated feel in our kitchen than the Ikea cabinets.
    • Warranty. The KraftMaid backs their cabinets with a limited warranty for as long as you own the cabinets.
    • High Quality. Not only are the cabinets made extremely well, their “standard” options are our cup of tea. The cabinet doors include self-closing concealed hinges and the drawers have self-closing drawer buffer systems as well as pull-out shelves.
    • Reader Comments. Once again, many of you declared your love for your KraftMaid cabinetry.

CONS:

    • $$$$. Going with this option would be the most expensive of our three avenues. Every single detail added, right down to each shelf, is an extra cost.
    • Non-DIY(ish). Some wouldn’t really think this would be considered a con, but we tend to think it is. Going with Lowe’s/KraftMaid means there’s not much room for DIYing; they do it all! We like to get our hands dirty. Though there may be opportunities to DIY some finishing touches.

CUSTOM. Our third and final option was having someone custom make the kitchen cabinets. Though we don’t know a cabinet maker personally, and making our own cabinets is a tad too much DIYing for us, we’ve had a few great referrals given to us by family, friends and even a few local readers.

PROS:

    • Hand-made. It’s a cool idea to have cabinets like the “good ‘ole days”: 100% solid wood, every piece put together by hand, etc.
    • Totally custom! The major perk of custom cabinetry is just that: custom! We can come up with any configuration and customize our kitchen to our heart’s content.
    • Affordable. Though this route wouldn’t be as cost-effective as Ikea, it’s definitely proven to be less expensive than Lowe’s/KraftMaid.

CONS:

    • Warranty? Through our research, we found that most private contractors carry a “limited” warranty for as long as the company is in business or the life of the contractor. When the economy is good, that sort of thing would be reassuring, but with businesses going under left and right these days, the warranty might only last months, rather than years.
    • Blind Guarantee. While you could totally use the free designer tool on the Ikea or Lowe’s website, we still wouldn’t be completely sure what we were going to get until we got it.

Taking everything into consideration (and we mean eeeeeverything), we finally decided on… Okay, this totally deserves a drumroll, don’t you think? Drumroll, please…

KraftMaid/Lowe’s! As we mentioned in the pros/cons list, this option is the most costly of the three. However, by going with Lowe’s, we are certain that we’ll get what we want in our kitchen, and we have peace of mind that there’s a hefty warranty to back it all up. Also, we paid to have the cabinets installed by Lowe’s. In the long-run, we feel that knowing everything was professionally installed and not going to fall off the wall because we missed a screw will be well worth the cost. Oh, and we’ll be sure to get into the breakdown of the dollars and cents once the kitchen is installed and the finishing touches are complete.

So now that we’ve made the decision of the century a decision, here’s how it’s all going to go down… err.. up: We got “the call” yesterday letting us know that the cabinets will be delivered a day or two before Thanksgiving. Because of the holiday, it’s our guess that the actual instillation process will be begin the day after Thanksgiving. I’m sure we’ll get more information on that as time gets closer. That gives us roughly 23 crazy days of preparation. (We have a few projects up our sleeves that we want to get done before the delivery; we’ll talk about them later.) On the second day of installation, the countertop guys will come out and make their templates. Then, we’ll have to wait 5-7 days until the countertops are installed. After a few finishing touches (backsplash, minor modifications, etc), we’ll be on the road to an actual, honest-to-goodness kitchen! And, of course, all of this will be completed just in time for my family coming to town for Christmas! Okay, getting even more excited now!

On top of the projects we’re wanting to get done asap, we’ve got to make final decisions on countertops, backsplash, the rest of the appliances, oh, and the kitchen sink. Yep, we’ve got our work cut out for us for the next 23 days. As usual, we’ll be sure to keep you guys posted on the progress and decision-making. Here’s to decision-making and 23 days of crazy!

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Melanie @ Mailbox Journey
    October 31, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Go Lowes!

  • Reply
    Kristin | Snip&Scribble
    October 31, 2011 at 9:33 am

    okay, so not to be a total design dork, but… you’re timeline is pretty. 🙂

    • Reply
      Ashley
      October 31, 2011 at 9:50 am

      Haha! Thank you, fellow design dork 😉

    • Reply
      Christin
      October 31, 2011 at 10:28 am

      I agree! It’s so cute!

    • Reply
      Lindsey @ arkadian belle woods
      October 31, 2011 at 10:54 am

      I second that! The timeline is awesome! I bet Ashley’s got a pretty amazing house book all decked out and graphic designed for the house progress!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    October 31, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Hi! Long time reader- first comment! 🙂 My husband and I started following your blog when we began our own kitchen renovation. We wanted you to know that your cabinet/materials research and design board were oh-so-helpful for us! We too, ended up going with Lowes (we went with Diamond as opposed to Kraftmaid though) and have been very happy with our choice! Lowe’s gaurantee absolutely calms nerves and they stick to the timeline… they called us every step of the way to make sure we were happy. Congratulations and thank you for all the inspiration! Can’t wait to see what you create together!

  • Reply
    Christin
    October 31, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Congrats on the final decision! I hope it all goes really well. Can’t wait to see the after shots! Have you already started thinking about what kind of counters you want and backsplash?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      October 31, 2011 at 11:17 am

      We can’t wait to finally take after shots! Haha

      We made a design board (back during the Ikea phase). Everything is still pretty much the same – except for the cabinets. I’m planning on doing another design board in the very near future along with the final cabinet layout/design we chose.

      Oh, here’s that design board we did a while back: http://7thhouseontheleft.com/2011/02/kitchen-decisions-made/

  • Reply
    Lindsey @ arkadian belle woods
    October 31, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Awesome! I’m excited to see the kitchen progress! You guys are brave souls for diving into this right near the holidays! I think it actually works to your favor in a way! YAY!

    Cheers to cabinets!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    October 31, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Your timeline definitely is cute! If you don’t mind, can you share the font you use?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      October 31, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      Haha, thanks! Sure thing, I used “CK Handwriting” (though I modified it a bit) and “Champagne and Limousines”.

  • Reply
    annabelvita
    November 1, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Hooray! I think that’s a great decision. I like the idea of a big brand like Kraftmaid because I imagine it would be super easy to retro-fit different interior fittings as your needs change or if you don’t like something in practice as much as on paper.

    Some custom work can be amazing (my mum’s bathroom is a dream) but it’s hit or miss (the first carpenter she hired was a jerk but luckily she didn’t have to pay him because he was so off the mark). For a big thing like a kitchen, it’s nice to have that reassurance. And I’m sure any future buyers will appreciate the brand name.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    November 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    As I was reading the pros for the lowes option, I knew that’s what you decided!

    Can’t wait to see how it all goes down. EXCITING!

  • Reply
    Lily Drummond
    November 2, 2011 at 1:05 am

    I wish we had gone with Lowe’s when we did our kitchen. We were crazy enough to attempt the IKEA cabinets and it was a nightmare!!! Unless you, your spouse, a relative or close friend are construction savvy, run and never look back! We had to bring in a professional to help us finish. We are pleased with the final product but in the end did not save as much money as we had planned. I would rather have paid extra $ on the cabinets and saved $ on the Extra Strength TYLENOL:) Looking forward to seeing your new kitchen!

  • Reply
    Cjfrary
    November 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I am at the crossroads of Lowes and IKEA right now. What was the cost difference in th cabinets?

    • Reply
      Ashley
      December 9, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      Well, it totally depends on your space. While Ikea is undoubtedly less expensive, Lowe’s has more options to choose from, better warranty coverage and you don’t have to buy them piece by piece. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Sering
    September 5, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Hello! I was wondering how much did your lowes cabinet installation cost you? did lowes install the cabinets for you or you had someone else do the installation for your lowes cabinets.
    Information about this would be much appreciated!
    Thanks

    • Reply
      Ashley
      September 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      You can find pretty much everything you’ll ever want to know about our kitchen renovation (including the cost break down) in this post: http://7thhouseontheleft.com/2013/02/kitchen-2/ Hope that’s some help to you! : )

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