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janbb's avatar

Should I go to a custom kitchen shop or Home Depot for my kitchen remodeling?

Asked by janbb (61403points) February 18th, 2020

I’m probably going to stay in my house another 10 years or so. It’s time for a complete remodeling. I want something really nice and am prepared to pay but obviously want to do it reasonably. Home Depot has good idea people but the custom shop may have more unique ideas.

I’m planning to meet with a Home Depot designer and go into one or two custom shops before deciding but was curious about what the collective thinks.

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26 Answers

chyna's avatar

I would go with custom. They might be pricier, but I think they will have better flare and style than the people at Home Depot.

janbb's avatar

@chyna I did just walk around Home Depot’s department and I was surprised at the range and quality of what they had but I’m taking all advice in before I decide.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Figure your budget first, we had an estimate for granite counter tops was $6000 to 9000. Custom in my area is more expensive and fabrication of cabinets will take time, Home Depot with cabinet in whorehouses will be quicker.

janbb's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I think the cabinets would have to be made from Home Depot as well but agree about the budget. I want to get a range from each place.

And did you mean “warehouses” in your last sentence or what you wrote?

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Tropical_Willie's avatar

yes “warehouse” auto correct has a dirty mind.

JLeslie's avatar

I think either is fine. I like your idea to talk to both and see which you like best in the end.

Home Depot will probably have more straight forward pricing.

A kitchen shop might still be using non-custom cabinetry. They most likely have different levels of cabinets.

Typical cabinets come in 3 inch standards. For instance you can get a 27” wide cabinet or 30”, 33”, etc. Real custom can make literally any size, they cut the cabinet to fit your space. People will use the term custom for both types of cabinetry.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have had poor luck using the people Home Depot or Lowe’s contracts to do the work. It’s ok to buy the materials there but find a reputable contractor to do the work.

zenvelo's avatar

I would actively shop at both first, and get detailed price lists. HD has a lot of variety, but you still may want to look elsewhere for a broader selection of accents like tile work or flooring.

Also, look at your present kitchen and see if you have nay nooks or crannies that would require custom cabinetry or counter tops to fit. I had an odd corner in my kitchen and my contractor could not fit a “standard” cabinet in the spot so had to do a lot of custom work.

JLeslie's avatar

I’ve had great experience with Home Depot and Lowe’s contractors, so I think it’s hit or miss, I am not questioning people who had a bad experience. I’ve bought, tile flooring and window treatments at both. Window treatments multiple times, custom blinds, curtains, and shutters.

jca2's avatar

My parents contracted with Home Depot to do their kitchen and they had a horrible experience. HD told them it would be three days – one to tear out, one to install cabinets and one to put in the tile backsplash and other features. A month later and they were still working on it. The problem was, the guys would come over for an hour or two and then they’d get called to another job and they’d leave for the rest of the day. It was only after my stepfather called them up, screaming that they must have read the guys the riot act and then they were at my parents’ house at 10 pm on a Sunday night, doing the work while my parents were in bed.

Other friends had the same experience with HD.

I recently put in a new bathroom in my house and I had a guy do the work and he took a week from start to finish. I got the vanity from HD online and the tiles and bath fixtures were from HD. The good thing about getting the tiles from the store instead of online was that if I needed more (which I did due to unforeseen circumstances), it was easy to get more, whereas if I had to order them, it would hold the job up waiting for them to be shipped.

A friend had a private contractor do two new bathrooms for her and she had a contract that specified that they would complete her job before they left to work on someone else’s job.

My point about the above is that HD might not have such an incentive to do a good, yet speedy job since they contract the work out and much is pre-paid.

Friends in my area just bought beautiful cabinets from a local cabinet company (Danbury CT). They said the company (a manufacturer) wasn’t much to look at on the outside but once inside, they did it all on the computer and since they were local, I guess it was easier with the work being completed in a timely manner and getting any fixes rectified.

There was recently an article in the NY Times about IKEA kitchens. They said IKEA uses really good quality hardware, and some people take the IKEA box part of the cabinet and put on different doors, using the hardware. I love looking at IKEA kitchen cabinets. You can go to the IKEA warehouse and see their various kitchens to get some ideas. When we went away to Cape Cod for the summer, for the past ten years, the summer house had IKEA cabinets. They looked good and seemed to be good quality.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 Interesting about specifying in the contract that they finish her job before going to another.

Caravanfan's avatar

When we did our remodel we went with a local contractor that was recommended by a friend of mine. We may have gotten supplies from Home Depot but mostly they were from other sources.

Sagacious's avatar

I used a licensed contractor for a whole reno and he did a great job.

I would NOT let Home Depot or Lowes DO anything for me again. I will buy stuff there but NEVER AGAIN let either of them DO anything. I bought my new cabinets from Cabinets To Go and they are all wood, very high quality and beautiful! There are stores but many purchase everything online. I went to a Cabinets To Go store where the contractor was well known and liked and looked at them in person. Then I used the internet to pick all of the different pieces, spacers, trims, and moldings. So very very happy with how it all turned out. After you pick out everything they can create a photo of exactly what your kitchen will look like. Great.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I too would be wary of the big box warehouse folks for any job more sophisticated than plugging in your fridge or the most basic of plumbing. You need to consult your friends in the trades (if applicable).

YARNLADY's avatar

We had our kitchen redone by Sears Services. An estimator came in and discussed what we wanted, then got it done just the way we discussed, for a very reasonable price.. We moved into a residential motel for the week, a two bedroom that allowed our dog. They had an indoor pool and hottub so it was a vacation for me.
We kept much of the original cabinets with some custom modifications, all recovered and painted, all new countertops, matching backsplash, all new appliances, sink and faucets. We had a door and pantry moved, and a corner cabinet installed. It came just under $10,000, plus the price of the appliances..

seawulf575's avatar

Check out Ikea before you do anything!

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

I had Home Depot come do an estimate for my kitchen and their quote was insanely high. I looked at Ikea and found basically the exact same options (Ikea has custom countertops as well) for about 1/5 the price.

I had also previously gone to Home Depot to look through their catalogues, etc., but the person who came to my house said the stuff they can order if they’re doing the work is totally different than what’s in the store, so that’s also something to think about.

gorillapaws's avatar

I completely agree with @seawulf575! We just finished (well, almost) our kitchen remodel. We went with Ikea cabinets, drawers, etc. which are very affordable (and have nice features like modular designs and soft-close doors/drawers) and then used semihandmade cabinet fronts and panels that are designed to exactly fit Ikea stuff but give it a custom look. We’re really happy how it turned out.

Here are a few pics.

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jca2's avatar

@janbb: Here is recent NY Times Real Estate article about redoing kitchens using IKEA and other methods, to save money:

janbb's avatar

@jca Thanks.

jca2's avatar

@gorillapaws: Nice job! I love it, so clean and modern!

What is the backsplash made of? I couldn’t see from the photos.

jca2's avatar

@janbb: Just took another glance at the NY Times article and I see they reference Semihandmade, which is what @gorillapaws used.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws Lovely kitchen! What size oven did you wind up with? Wasn’t that you trying to decide 27” or 30”?

gorillapaws's avatar

@jca2 Thanks so much. We worked really hard on it. The backsplash is a mosaic of frosted/unfrosted clear tiles. I’ll post a pic when I get home later. The glass was white/clear in the box but took on a slight greenish cast when installed. I guess that’s a property of light moving through glass tiles or something.

As for Semihandmade, I have very mixed thoughts. We had a damaged order, and then another issue with the replacement order. It was a pain in the butt dealing with the customer service and it set our schedule back a lot.

Having said that, the panels themselves are really awesome. They look nice, with a good weight behind them. They seem to be holding up to daily abuse really well. We get lots of compliments on them. While not cheap (it’s more than stock Ikea stuff), they do have that high-end look/feel, so it’s a good value for me compared to actual high-end cabinets.

For us we experienced some initial pain/frustration, but in the end we’re really happy with how the product turned out. That’s a worthwhile tradeoff for me, but everyone has different priorities, and Semihandmade’s process for shipping/handling/packaging may have improved over the past 9-months-or-so.

@JLeslie Thanks for your help last year. We went with the 30” Oven/microwave. There were some design trade-offs that had to be made to make it work.

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