Welcome to part two of our deep dive into the form and function of the humble kitchen cabinet, in partnership with Sheri Mercadante of German Kitchen Center.
If you missed part one, check it out here. You’ll learn all about how to intelligently organize your kitchen cabinets based on your lifestyle, a bit about plywood versus particle board, and why cabinet systems can differ so vastly in price.
And now, onto part two!
Are there any red flags that homeowners and professionals should be aware of when seeking material vendors for a kitchen?
“As in any industry, most people are honest and the occasional charlatan is out there but rare,” says Sheri. “At a minimum, you have the power of the internet right at your fingertips Google everybody!”
Sheri notes you should not stop at simply searching the company you do business with, but that you should do your research into their competition as well. “By Googling everybody you'll quickly figure out that some complaints are typical of the vendor, but most complaints are typical of the industry. In the world of kitchens, don't forget it's remodeling and construction so of course things won't run 100% smoothly.”
You might think that homeowner gripes are the major red flag, but Sheri notes to take that with a grain of salt. “What you're looking for aren't necessarily the complaints, it's the reviews that say their vendor worked to get everything straightened out. Hire the problem-solver above everyone else.”
Any trends you're noticing in the marketplace lately?
“Well, that depends on where you’re living, more than anything else,” says Sheri. “In Manhattan for example, it's extremely rare that we use a shaker style, though my own home in the suburbs is all shaker.”
“There's a new, more modern shaker that's just starting to trend, although it's been widely available for over a decade. We call it skinny shaker or slim shaker. It's a nice compromise between a contemporary slab door. It’s a more traditional shaker door and feels a little more modern,” says Sheri.
“The thing with shaker is that it's straight out of the 1920’s which, based on my own observation, is in line with America's current favorite architectural period, Craftsman. We seem to love 100-year-old stuff! When I was just starting out we were all mimicking Victorian style,” says Sheri. “Styles and taste obviously change.”
What do you wish homeowners knew more about before they walk into a German Kitchen showroom?
“I wish they had a timeline! It makes me so sad when someone walks in and says they just demo'd their kitchen and they're ready for cabinets,” says Sheri. “At that point, no one wants to wait weeks or months for their cabinets to arrive, so their only choice is stock cabinets which are notoriously cheaply built and extremely limited in size, selection, style and color.”
Being proactive about your timeline will ensure you’re delivered the kitchen cabinets of your dreams, exactly suited to your needs. “High quality kitchen cabinet usually take 10-12 plus weeks to arrive, medium quality around 6-8 weeks. These cabinets are built and painted or stained only when you place your order,” says Sheri. “But note that this timeline doesn't include the time it takes to design the kitchen, make dozens of decisions, choose appliances, and have the room measured and laid out. That can add anywhere from a week to a month or more to the timeline.”
A little bit of Bolster advice here: make sure you’re working hand in hand with your architect and your contractor, who will help guide you through this process. There’s no need to go at this alone!
Any advice for homeowners interested in renovating their kitchen?
“More than anything, work with a professional kitchen designer or an architect,” says Sheri. “They know all the available options and price points out there and they can take your wishlist and budget and make it happen. Most importantly though, the right kitchen designer will be your problem solver who's got your back.”
Bolster is a data-driven team of experts on a mission to eliminate risk from major home renovations by being radically transparent across everything we do. We hire the industry’s best talent and use a continual improvement process to financially guarantee that your major home renovation is designed and built beautifully, on-time and on-budget. From the first sketch to the final handshake, our homeowners know the cost of every line item and have full visibility into project milestones.