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$15,000 kitchen cabinets?????

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Postby Jack Willard on Wed Jun 07, 2006 10:12 am

Our PO was a retired (disabled) cabinetmaker that had owned his own company in So Cal, and made cabinets for Hollywood stars etc. We made a deal with him during escrow to build a bunch of custom cabinets for the Victorian, including the Kitchen. Our price was essencially just the cost of materials.

Lots of cabinets were made and installed: Child's room with toy box and built-in cabinets, guest room built-in cabinets, Master bedroom built-in cabinet, Master closet built-in cabinets, Master bath built-in cabinet, Parlor built-in cabinets and the Kitchen cabinets.

I got to design the Kitchen myself and helped the PO with much of the work, learning it all as we went along. To my surprise, I learned that guess what? It was like way simple.

Yes, he had some special tools that I didn't have, like a biscuit cutter, a corrogated fastner driver, and a cutter (similar to forstner bit) for the hidden door hinges. But mostly it was just straight forward woodwork. The cabinet doors were the only part that required anything special in tools. And I can buy tools. I am no longer afraid to design and build them myself. Besides, all of the cabinets are a Shaker design (his specialty) which is clean looking and simple.

We probably spent about $5,000 on materials (poplar, birch veneer plywood and plain plywood), and that was for the whole house. :shock:

I stained all of the cabinets myself and lacquer sprayed many of them. We saved sooo... much money! The cabinets, the new doorway and window trim, and baseboard woodwork have probably added $40,000 of value to the house.

There is SO MUCH to be gained by doing the work yourself, if you have some workshop (or garage) space, some woodworking tools, and the willingness to take a chance. It can be as simple as buying a DIY book on cabinetry.

I feel so lucky! :D
Jack Willard
ImageOn the way to California in 1972
http://members.oldhouseweb.com/jack_willard/Index.html
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Postby Don M on Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:38 pm

I built my entire kitchen in our Cider Mill from scratch. My custom kitchen was just what we wanted and everything fit properly because they were built on site. I didn't make the raised panel doors because we were out of the country at the time so my sister-in-law had a local craftsman make them in exchange for living there :) . I even built the counter tops with the exception of the island butcher block. They really aren't difficult to build. Don
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Postby Tujo on Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:50 pm

My brother is a cabinet maker. He does good work - I just have to convince him to do good work for me. He told me that guys in the cabinet business should be charging at least 4x their cost of materials, so Jack that doesn't sound that far out. Unfortunately my brother still doesn't have much in the way of his own tools (he is working in the shop for a guy while living in a tiny apartment) so can't do much for me yet.
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Postby Don M on Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:45 pm

Tujo,
It sounds like you need to buy the tools and provide the work space so your brother can do good work for you :D ! Any excuse to buy new tools :twisted: !Don
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Postby Tujo on Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:59 pm

I've been aquiring tools at a furious rate. 3 months ago I only had a screwdriver set, now I have assorted tools lying all over my house. I stole my brother's small cutoff saw, but now I should be getting after his router...
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Postby thouser on Wed Jun 07, 2006 4:24 pm

Just to put cabinet cost in perspective.

Good quality self closing/full extension/fully concealed drawer slides $29 per drawer. Ball tip hinges $3 to $25 each. Drawer pulls solid brass nickel plated $10 each. These are my prices for bulk on the lowest grade we use.

If you look for a cabinetmaker in your area I'm sure there will be someone like me who takes pride in what they do and unlike the big guys inset doors is no big deal (this is a major up & extra for them). If a cabinetmaker has a problem with inset doors or wants to charge an arm and leg for them walk away because it tells you there not used to building anything with accuracy.
Thom Houser
Craftsman
http://www.thouser.com
"Let the work be simple and genuine, let it be a genuine
expression of the life which it is to environ"
Charles Keeler
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Postby 4packgirl on Mon Jul 24, 2006 7:53 pm

kec01 wrote:In March we had Amish custom made quarter sawn oak cabinets with maple boxes installed. All doors are inset. About 1/2 of our lower cabinets have pull out maple shelves. Our peninsula lower cabinets open on both sides. We have a tall pantry cabinet and our uppers go almost to the ceiling. Total cost for our medium sized kitchen $8800. Installation was $900. We went with this fellow because we got exactly what we wanted at a much lower price than a big box store.

Funny timing, but on another website, a woman posted today: "On the same note, I listened to people on this board and got a bid from a cabinet maker that will make exactly what I am looking for and the cost is going to be the same as what I would have paid at Lowe's for cabinets that I would have had to compromise. I highly recommend getting a quote from a cabinet maker before settling from a big box store. He is making me inset cabinets with maple on the inside and white painted poplar on the outside, glass inserts, installing the door pulls, etc. and delivering them to me and installing them for the same price as Lowe's. I am getting exactly what I want!"

I agree that one can spend $15000+ for cabinets, depending on what they want. I'd also suggest getting an estimate from a custom cabinet maker.


WOW!! i am in illinois also & not terribly far away from oak park. do you happen to remember the cabinet maker who made your cabinets?? that price sounds awesome to me. i went to menards & priced some cabinets - maple - for my kitchen they'd run around $3,000 but my kitchen is quite small. if this cabinet maker could make them for me even for twice the cost, i think it'd be well worth it. quality counts!! :)
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Postby kec01 on Mon Jul 24, 2006 9:56 pm

dpackgirl, email me at jefkit at comcast dot net and I'll be happy to provide all details. The fellow we worked with is in Shipshewana, IN, just south of the Middlebury exit on the Indiana Toll Rd. We went back and forth to meet with him a couple of times - travel time 2.5 hrs ea. way. Even with that, it was well worth getting our cabinets from him...plus we had time "in the country"!
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Postby wessieball on Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:39 am

12'x14' kitchen...Mills Pride...$2600...'nuff said :lol: :D

$15k doesn't sound too unreasonable for high-end cabinets. Is it worth it...maybe. Would I do that...never.
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Postby stjomo on Tue Jul 25, 2006 5:41 am

it has been a big of a struggle to convince my supervisor in situ that i don't want the kitchen planned at all. . the only true cabinet i plan on is an (i hate this word) island with a low end gas cooktop. in the cabinet there will be to my right two refrigerator drawers and to my left more drawers. i hope to have a concrete countertop, but stained something nice. i have a great old zinc standing sink with its own dish drain which must have come from one of those really grand homes you go on tours of. or a restaurant because i got one of those hanging hot water spigots that i recall so well from jobs washing dishes in college. for the sake of cohesiveness, i may concede on an "L" of integrated furniture with the sink. ..the rest of the storage in the kitchen will get furnished with found old stuff. i love old hoosiers and pie safes and being 5' tall older furniture is perfect for me. over head shelving is lost on me without a library ladder. so, while we camp out in the downstairs, i will have a vary basic kitchen structure which i can finish with discoveries as i go along. GET TO THE POINT< SARAH says my good angel. the island i plan is really simple but elegant with all the widgets not including the appliances or hardware and i pour my own counter it could easily come in at 2K on its own.
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