When we built our home we had to make decisions where we would put our money. As with most of us, we only had so much to spend. We did our very best to make good decisions on where to put our money.
The Kitchen is one of the areas of the home that has a very high rate of return for money invested. In other words money that is wisely spent in the Kitchen brings back a good return on appraised value of the home. This is also true with bathrooms.
With this in mind Michaela (my wife) and I set out to get the most out of our kitchen without breaking the bank. This my friend proved to be a challenge. We looked at pre-made, custom built, custom designed and everything else that we could. They all had one thing in common a huge price tag. Did I mention we wanted granite countertops too!
After we chose our plans we had a rough idea of what we wanted in the kitchen so the next task was determining a design for the whole kitchen concept.
Ok, let me show you how they turned out before we go on. Below I have included some pictures for you to look at to get an idea of the overall design.
One thing that you are going to need as mentioned on the Home Construction Page. is a Trim Carpenter. The Trim Carpenter comes in after your sheetrock or wallboard is up and trims out. This will include Baseboard, Roof Moldings, Stair Railings and any other wood that is a finish item. Did I mention that some of them do Kitchen Cabinets also? Well they do.
Our original plan was to buy cabinets pre-made from the factory and let the trim carpenter do the rest. It seemed like a good plan, until we got the price tag.
Now back to the Research. We selected 3 contractors for bids on our project. More details are available on the Building Contractor Page.
We set up a meeting at the house with each one. We asked them to bring pictures and samples of their work if possible. They usually will bring a portfolio and a few custom doors they have built for kitchen cabinets.
The Trim Carpenters for lack of a better word, are Artsie Fartsie! Most of them are very creative, and think they are better than the rest of the building contractors. To their credit most of them are very talented and perfectionistic. At least you hope you find one that is.
After viewing their portfolio and samples it is a good idea to go look at a project they are working on. Beware if they resist this. Also as mentioned on the Building Contractor Page. Get references and call them. I found out one guy had just up and walked of the project he was on because of creative differences.
We had a group of 4 that we set up appointments with. One had creative differences with his last project. One gave me a bid in about 10 minutes that was so high it put us in orbit. This left two that were in the running.
After much review we made our decision and the work began. The Trim Carpenter had a crew of 4 and took several weeks to finish. This work proceeds slowly and it seems like they are going to be with you forever.
All the Kitchen Cabinets were built onsite finished and then installed. Here are some more pictures:
Another great addition to your kitchen is accent lighting. It is inexpensive to add and adds a real touch of class to your overall look.
We added overhead lights above the kitchen cabinets. They are fluorescent strips that add soft light above the kitchen cabinets.
We also added halogen lights on the bottom of the kitchen cabinets. They are commonly called "Hockey Pucks" because of their shape. They are installed in a false bottom on the cabinets. If you look at the trim on the bottom of the cabinets it covers the false bottom that is simply made of quarter inch maple plywood.
Let me leave you with a couple of points. We choose to buy all the materials for the kitchen cabinets and trim work. You can also bid the whole package turnkey and let them give you a price completed.
I wanted control of the quality and pricing of my material so I choose to set up an account at a lumber yard. Be careful what you purchase when. High quality wood for cabinet making is expensive and will walk off your project if you are not careful. All your moldings and other trim are also very expensive, so I suggest you buy it, as you need it. Good communication with your Trim Carpenter is essential for this.
You will also need to purchase hardware for your kitchen Cabinets. This includes hinges, door and drawer pulls and guides for the Drawers. Shop around for these items. I found the drawer and door pulls considerably cheaper at Home Depot than at the Lumber Yard.
Do not skimp on Your Drawer guides! We bought ours at the lumber yard, they had the highest quality we could find. Knapeand Vogt Kitchen Cabinets Drawer Guides are high quality,and they are made in the US. The assembly operates on roller bearing and is smooth as silk. They also have a lifetime warranty. I have provided an installed view below.
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