When we were looking at houses, we knew we wanted a fixer upper that we could make our own on a small budget. So we were prepared to renovate a kitchen no matter where we ended up. There are so many ways to update your kitchen cabinets, we considered them all:
- Keep the original cabinets and refinish/paint them.
- Keep the original cabinets but replace the doors as well as refinish/paint them.
- Buy used cabinets.
- Build our own cabinets.
- Buy RTA (Ready To Assemble) cabinets unfinished and finish/paint them.
- Buy pre-finished RTA cabinets.
- Buy fully assembled and pre-finished cabinets.
Out of all of those options, never did I think we would choose either of the last two (and most expensive) options. We even purchased doors on Craigslist for $100 to try and make them work on the existing cabinets – nope. But after weeks of trying to make the cheapest options work, we realized we should price out pre-finished cabinets and see if we could swing the cost.
Our reasoning: The original cabinets were cheap, builder grade material that we didn’t even like enough to refinish. We couldn’t find enough used cabinets in the size we need all in the same style. Building our own cabinets not only seemed crazy, it worked out to not be as cheap as we assumed and had so many more variables than we were comfortable taking on on our first time building cabinets. Unfinished cabinets are hard to find and you don’t save nearly enough to justify finishing them yourself.
So one Saturday, we went to a few cabinet places to price out our kitchen. We first visited Cabinets To Go who had just released one of the cabinet styles we liked (already available in white) in gray, which we wanted for our island. Armed with our measurements, we went to a show room in Delaware and met with the only employee of that location. A bit grumpy at first, I was able to talk geek (i.e. video games and computers) and get him to be friendly with us. He designed our kitchen in less than 20 minutes, while it had been taking me days to make any decisions. The measurements were one aspect I somehow couldn’t wrap my mind around and it was so easy for him. Without him, we may not have even made our kitchen work by ourselves. The price was great at around $5,500 for solid wood cabinets in our two colors. Then he says they’re back ordered and shipping from China, meaning we wouldn’t receive them for 6-8 weeks minimum. Out the door we walked.
We found out about an outlet store close by called Solid Wood Cabinets. They could order cabinets new but also had a stock of scratch & dent cabinets. I thought we had found what we were looking for: solid wood cabinets produced in the US and KCMA certified. Then the quote ends up being over $10k and we felt deflated.
That week I remembered going on Craigslist looking for cabinets and finding a dealer in Levittown. At the time, I was asking them about unfinished options but I went ahead and emailed them with the list of cabinets we had from Cabinets To Go to see what price they would give me. They came back at around $4,700! I looked up the line they said they sell and was thrilled to find out that Forevermark Cabinetry was solid wood, KCMA certified and finished with paints by Sherwin Williams. We made a trip out to their showroom to make sure these were “the ones”. Our contact said we could have our cabinets delivered right to us within a week! We checked our list and layout, made some adjustments and upgrades, added assembly for $15/cabinet and placed the order for $5,200 including delivery!
Like I said in Update #1, I don’t want to mention the company we worked with because of a negative interaction we had with them a couple weeks after installation was complete. For the majority of the transaction, they were responsive and provided great service. I’m happy to share the information privately, so feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Up next, I’ll go over the kitchen plans and installation of the cabinets! Want to follow along with where we are in our renovation right now? Follow @techmomogy on Instagram!