Kitchen Cabinets - recomendations?

Have any of you folks replaced the cabinets in your kitchen, and, if so, can you recommend a good to good+ brand?
The big boxes killed off my old favorite shop, and the stuff at the big boxes (even their “special-order” leaves a bit to be desired. I tried a mid-price Kraftmaid for an in-law I slapped together - even with the “all wood” (no MDF) option, I was afraird to bump them to hard. The local Lowe’s “premium” line uses staples to secure a board where glue blocks are supposed to be - and the display unit has the staples pulling out just from a drawer being opened/closed. Not confidence-inspiring.
Any ideas?

Have the big box stores killed off all the small cabinet shops locally? Because I would start there and ask to see some kitchens they’ve done and get price estimates. I’ve been pleasantly surprised how the cost compares between a big box mass-produced cabinet and the local shops.

I wanted a built in bookcase a while back. Kraftmaid (via Lowe’s) came in at $900+, the local cabinet shop built it for $600 and made it match my entertainment center to boot.

An architect friend just put in some IKEA cabinets that look almost custom, and feel very solid. You might check that out.

There are cabinet makers around still, though they’re usually either handyman grade or small corporate enterprises. I imagine their quality is at least equal or better than the big boxes. Do an internet search for cabinet makers in your area; there should be several.

When my mother had her kitchen redone, she contacted the Industrial Arts department at the local university. She had new cabinets and drawers custom made to match her dining room furniture. Lovely stuff, and since it was made by college students, was remarkably inexpensive.

One word of advice, too, for anyone redoing their kitchen cabinets - cabinets above the countertops, big drawers below. It’s much easier getting stuff from low down if you can pull out a drawer instead of bending down to look for it. Now that my mom is getting up in years, it’s been really nice.

A more useful (IMHO) option below would be cabinets - where the shelves are on rollers to be pulled out. Same benefit as the drawers, but a bit more adjustable. You can have the pullout just for the shelf portion (silly!) or on the shelf and on the bottom.

I think you waste less cubic space this way vs. true drawers.

We redid our kitchen in our old house 7 years ago (because we were never going to be able to sell and might as well have something we liked… we moved out a year to the day later :rolleyes::p) and used Kraftmaid and were satisified though it sounds like the OP is not so impressed.

The only issue’s I’ve had with that setup is that if the items on the pull out shelf shift they get caught on the edge of the cabinet rendering it useless. Oh and if something slides off the back you have to reach in to fix it. Big drawers, I assume, would fix that issue. Of course so would careful placement or said items.

I’d second the Ikea cabs. It’s very different from the rest of their furniture, very well made. For more than you ever wanted to know about the subject, try the Kitchen Forum at gardenweb.

Another problem with this is it takes two motions to get what you need. Open doors, pull out shelf. Where as if you have drawers, you just open the drawers. We had pull out shelves in a previous house, and they bugged me. And I guess you could adjust them, but I never did. YMMV, of course.

I’m the sales and estimating manager for a custom cabinet shop near Raleigh, NC. We mainly do commercial cabinetry, but we do get into residential sometimes, too. If you’re close to even a small-to-middle-sized town, I’d be willing to bet there are several cabinet shops in the area that would come cllose to matching, or even be under the big box chains. With the way the economy has been lately, many cabinet shops are starving for work (not us, thankfully!), and will be very generous on the quote.

Good luck!

I love my Ikea kitchen.

It was installed by my husbands uncle, who does plumbing and kitchen installment for a living. He was impressed with the quality of the standard IKEA kitchen, and not because his expectations were low :).

I’m happy with my Ikea kitchen too. Mr. bink and I installed it ourselves over a weekend several years ago, and it’s still rock solid. Just buy more trim than you think you’ll need.

I’ll pile on the Ikea route. We’ve been happy with them for about 6 or 7 years now.