Shopping for Kitchen Cabinets

Boy was it nice to leave that repairing stage behind and get moving on actually building the kitchen! Especially after using the dining room as a make-shift kitchen:

Needless to say, there was a lot of cereal and raw fruit consumption going on at Casa koeppel. We’ll never complain about not having enough kitchen space again!


We shopped all over for cabinets. The options fell into four basic categories: refurbished/reclaimed, custom built, semi-custom (the kind you order at a big box store like Home Depot), or pre-assembled (usually those cheap-looking laminate cupboards you see in rentals, although unfinished wood options are now available, too).

Here’s how we narrowed down our decision:

  • Refurbished/reclaimed – none available in our region
  • Custom built – cost too high
  • Semi-custom -good option for us
  • Pre-assembled – yucky

But knowing we wanted semi-custom left us with tons more options. There are a huge variety of makers and designs out there. A little in-person and online research helped us choose Ikea cabinets for these reasons:

  • Thomasville brand cabinets (custom order from Home Depot) have cabinets boxes constructed out of 1/2″ plywood – as do virtually all of their competitors
  • With custom order cabinets from both Home Depot and Lowes you have to upgrade to laminate box construction, still in 1/2″ thickness
  • Base cabinet boxes sit right on the ground – some online complaints included comments about water saturation into cabinet boxes if there was a flood or large spill
  • Ikea cabinet  boxes are 3/4″ laminate
  • With Ikea, drawer and door dampening hardware is standard
  • Boxes sit on legs covered by toe-kicks, not straight on the ground
  • Quotes for the identical kitchen cabinet layouts: Thomasville $7,800; Ikea $1,100

After looking at things that way, it was really no choice. And after obsessing for far too long, we chose Ikea’s Adel door style:

The style suits our old house really well – something we’re trying to respect in our design choices. Plus, because T and I are detailed (and I suppose blissfully ignorant of our actual skill levels), we have sketched out custom options that we’ll build in with the Ikea pieces to squeeze the most usable space out of our tiny kitchen. The nice folks at the local hardware store were able to match paint to our cabinets almost exactly, which will (hopefully) help everything blend together.

One tedious day spent at Ikea and two trips over a snowy mountain pass later, we were ready to begin cabinet assembly. We can honestly tell you that the decision is the hardest part. Like everything else Ikea, the cabinets were stupid-easy to assemble. More details to come!




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3 Responses to Shopping for Kitchen Cabinets

  1. Mike G says:

    So… the fact that the T-Bros cabinets would have been 7X the cost of the equivalent Ikea jobs was somehow relevant in the decision? ;-)

    Do you have any working sketches of your kitchen layout, just something you made as a space-usage guideline? If you had some sketch ideas, it would be cool to post them. Just take digital photos of them (or scan, if you have a scanner), and put those images up for reference. It’s the thought-to-action process that’s interesting here. Well, also your aesthetic choices… of course. :-)

    Looking really good there. It’s good that you’re charging ahead, otherwise, momentum has a tendency to evaporate as you get used to your surroundings and gradually turn a uniform Pepperland gray. Don’t be assimilated! Resistance is not futile!! The black helicopters are… are… uh… [meds start to kick in, here]… whatever.

  2. Mom says:

    You really nailed it with these cabinets! They look just like your inspiration pictures! I wish Ikea was closer…

  3. Pingback: How to Plan a DIY Kitchen Remodel « Our Corner House

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