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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Donnelly

Where to go for a kitchen remodel.

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

Where does someone even start when they want a kitchen remodel? It’s easy to say S. Donnelly Interiors and it's true we’d love to have your business, but we want you to always make the smart decision for yourself. Reading this guide will ensure that you go to the right source for the work that you need, and it doesn't require you to know nearly anything about construction, or remodeling.

There are generally four different categories of places that you can go to start your kitchen project each with their own pro’s and con’s:

  1. Big box home centers & building material stores

  2. Cabinet Dealers

  3. Contractors

  4. Interior Designers

Big box home centers & building material stores.

The long and short of these places is budget friendliness. These places, Lowe’s, Menards, The Home Depot, IKEA, etc., carry a few lines of economical cabinets and have people on staff who are trained on software that can size these and place them in your kitchen. The downside is those employees rarely have knowledge of general design principles, they typically don’t do house visits in the design stage, and they generally don’t have years of experience resulting in mistakes that can make a kitchen undesirable. They also won’t be seeing your kitchen through beyond the ordering of cabinets. They are essentially a trained salesperson doing quoting with you, after that it’s up to you.

More generally, the lines of cabinets carried in these places are going to be semi-custom lines. That means they are highly configurable to the level that your choose hardware, colors, door styles and sizes from a catalog, with enough choices to be uniquely yours, but they still only have set features. If you want something custom, like a special cabinet that accommodates a unique oven hood, that isn’t possible here. This is the kind of place to go if you have a rental that needs new cabinets and you don’t want to put in anything too fancy. Also, they are the type of cabinets selected for a “quick flip” where the goal is to turn around a broken down place in a nice neighborhood to make some quick cash.

If you are looking to have your dream house, then this isn’t the place for you most likely because style will be limited and you won’t get the assistance you need to bring an entire kitchen together.

Cabinet Dealers

Cabinets are the most expensive part of most kitchen projects. So this is often a starting point for many looking to redo their kitchen. If you go to cabinet dealers that have showrooms you’ll find more selection in style and quality than is typically found at previously mentioned group. Generally, since the company specifically focuses on cabinetry, you’ll find higher knowledge levels of the different lines, materials, styles and increased professionalism in these places. The prices can vary significantly depending on the lines carried, so it’s not possible to paint price in a broad brush stroke with these places.

If you start here, you may find that they are willing to take on your kitchen project and that they have a team to do so. Often times, they may be contractors themselves or hire out those guys as well as a professional interior designer who will do a concept drawing for you utilizing the cabinet lines that the dealer provides. These dealers generally will have more leeway and knowledge to work with you to balance the quality, style and budget that you are looking for compared to the big building material stores. However, if not a contractor themselves, they may have to bring one in to deliver the project, so pricing out the project may require additional assistance.


Starting with a builder can be a good option. Since they will be doing the work, they should be able to give you a good ballpark price right off the bat. After checking in with a cabinet dealer if they aren’t one themselves, and getting you style you like for that, they should be able to give a decent timeline and budget for the project.

Generally where contractors lack is in the styling. Most contractors come from a “build it” background. So they like things that are simple and easy to build. That often means simpler details which don’t always produce the wow factor. In order to overcome this the contractor may hire an interior designer to give you more style. Here are S. Donnelly Interiors, we often are hired by both cabinet dealers and contractors to do client work on their behalf, acting as an extension of their business.

The drawback to starting with a contractor or a cabinet dealer is that it’s going to be hard to shop the designs around for the best price. Generally, they keep their design to themselves. This makes it hard to compare apples to apples and you are locked in to shopping around less.

Interior Designer

This would be starting with S. Donnelly Interiors. There are some benefits to starting with an interior design at least to have a concept developed. First, if you have a concept in mind, you or the designer can shop that same design around to cabinet dealers and contractors. This is allows you to get more apples to apples comparisons which may help save you thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars off of competitive bids.

Second, interior designers are trained to think in terms of your lifestyle as well as you aesthetic preferences to deliver something that really wows you, makes you feel something for your home and makes your life easier. They spend significant effort early on to do make this a possibility. This is often at odds with the contractor or cabinet dealer even when they hire an interior designer because they are generally told to design things quickly to keep costs as low as possible so they can come in as the cheapest. Contractors and cabinet dealers are generally in competition on price as they are the ones that craft new trends in style, they seek to provide something “nice enough” at the best price. By comparison, an interior designer may even add more custom flare to the kitchen than a contractor is dealer is likely to. They are seeking to make your kitchen one-of-a-kind to beef up their portfolio.

Finally, an interior designer is a third party to get recommendations from. They may know many contractors or dealers and even point you in the right direction on who you should be dealing with. Depending on the designer and the services agreed to, they could even be hire to project manage, check the quality of the craftsmanship and be an advocate for you to ensure all the work is done to a high level.

Here at S. Donnelly Interiors, we want to be the place you start your kitchen project. If you haven’t read the rest of our website, we encourage you to do so. We seek to produce exceptionally beautiful kitchens and if you’re looking for something original, that fits your life so well that everything seems easier, we’re the place to start. S. Donnelly Interiors also has connections to contractors and cabinet dealers that can craft nearly any kitchen imaginable. Let’s talk today if you’re interested. Call us at 847-209-1418. We don't bite, and if we aren't ideal for your project, we tell you who you should reach out to next.


S.Donnelly Interiors
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