The Big Box Kitchen Series: How It All Works

Hey peeps!  Wow, exciting things are happening at the flip these days.  The kitchen and den aren’t going to know what hit them by the time things are through, that’s for sure.

Speaking of the kitchen, I seem to remember that I promised you guys a little series about tricking it out with cabinets from a big box store!

big box kitchen series

Let’s get started, shall we?

We’ve done plenty of fully custom kitchens (5 of them so far!), but we’ve lusted after the Martha Stewart line of cabinets from Home Depot for awhile and we thought it was high time to give them a whirl.  Martha’s cabinets are semi-custom – in the world of cabinetry, they fall somewhere in the middle in terms of cost and customization.

Choosing Cabinetry - custom versus semi-custom versus off-the-shelf

If you’re thinking about using big box cabinetry in your kitchen remodel, here’s how to get started!

1.  Scope out your options. There are a few big box retailers out there, from Home Depot to Ikea, etc., that offer semi-custom cabinetry. Do your homework and check out all the different product lines and finishes that they offer.  You may find that you really love the options available at one retailer over another.  In my case, I’m in love with Martha’s line, so my search was short and sweet.

2.  Make sure it works with your budget. We all know that cabinetry prices can vary wildly between custom, semi-custom and off the shelf.  But did you know that even in the narrow category of “semi-custom cabinetry from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot” there are huge price variations?  Tis true.

Martha Stewart Cabinets at Home Depot

As a general rule of thumb, cabinets are priced per linear foot, and that price includes standard-sized uppers and lowers.  The price also depends upon the door style that you choose – in Martha’s line, the price ranges from $79 for the most basic door to $200 for the fanciest door.  The doors that we liked best ranged from $106 for the Wainscott to $178 for Skylands.

Martha Stewart Wainscott Cabinetry from Home Depot

Martha Stewart Skylands Cabinetry from Home Depot

The “price per foot” of cabinets seems to be just a guide, though – somehow the price manages to go up, ha!

3.  Scope out the other goodies. Cabinets are lots of fun, but cabinets + counter tops = even more fun.  :)  I knew that Home Depot carried marble, granite and other solid surface counter tops, but I didn’t know that they only charged for their material by the foot.  That’s a HUGE deal!  You see, stone yards charge by the slab – that means that you have to pay for a full slab, even if you only use a little tiny bit of it.  You can get around that issue by buying a remnant piece of counter top from a fabricator, but then your selection is really, really limited.  (If you more info about this topic, read this post.)

Counter Tops at Home Depot

This is an especially good deal if you need bathroom counter tops which require just a few feet of material, or if you want a kitchen island in a contrasting material with “wow” factor.  Can you tell that I’m excited about this?

4.  Make an appointment with the big box kitchen designer. You can absolutely design the kitchen by yourself – goodness knows you can’t stop me from doing it!  But . . . and this is a big “but” . . . you really do need the expertise of the kitchen designer.  The designer knows all the ins and outs of the product, and has access to a handy binder with all the available options.  You have no such binder.  So by all means, have a vision of the finished kitchen in your head, have drawings, make a diorama, whatever – but remember that you need the kitchen designer to actually make it happen.

5.  Make an appointment to have your kitchen measured. Home Depot knows that you can’t be trusted with a tape measurer, so they have a licensed and insured contractor come out to your home and take the measurements of your kitchen for you.  Hallelujah!  You can have them measure before or after the existing kitchen is demo’d – the final round of measurements won’t be taken until any changes being made to the shell of the kitchen have been framed out.  In our case, we wanted to speed the process up and had the first round of measurements taken while the kitchen still looked like this:

It's Great To Be Home - "Before" Photos of Our 6th Flip

However, they’re coming to take the final measurements this week, now that the kitchen looks like this:

kitchen and den after demo and framing

(That’s the kitchen on the right.)

6.  Prep for your appointment with the kitchen designer. Start scheming.  Schedule the wrecking ball.  Pull out the graph paper and get to drawing.

kitchen floor plan options

That’s all for now -stay tuned for the second installment, and for more updates on the flip!

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  1. andrea says:

    I love this! My husband, the in house remodeler/contractor/flipper/real estate guru, has only used custom cabinets once because for most people semi-custom is the best budget fit. And I love the Martha line as well:)

  2. Kristin says:

    I love reading your tips and seeing your flips come to life! Can’t wait to see the Martha cabinets when the kitchen is completed…good luck!

  3. Thank you so much for this series, Liz! My hubby and I hope to buy an older ranch that needs a reno someday and really have no idea what the process for the kitchen really looks like. I look forward to learning more!

  4. deb says:

    Thanks for this!

  5. Tiffany says:

    This is such a fun series! I used to be a Kitchen Designer for The Home Depot and you are hitting the nail on the head! I then went to work for a custom kitchen designer, but I always go back to THD for kitchen cabs! The quality is amazing and if you know how to work it right, you get everything you wanted in the kitchen for a fraction of the price! I can’t wait to see the rest of the process!

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Tiffany, what a cool job! And I’m so glad to hear your comments about the quality – I agree, but it’s great to hear it from a pro! :)

  6. Aimee says:

    I love this series! You are providing answers to questions I didn’t know I had. YEA LIZ! I’m ready for more in the series.

  7. Kate says:

    Ohhhh, good to know! Is this what you will do for the bathrooms also? We are doing a master bathroom re-do on a budget.

    • Liz - It's Great To Be Home says:

      Hi! We originally planned on just doing the kitchen, but it now looks like we’ll be using big box cabinets in the master bath (and possibly the guest bath). I’ll definitely keep you posted! :)

  8. I’m hoping the next entry goes into a little more detail on how to layout the kitchen. Figuring out where to put everything so that the space works really well and everything fits is really challenging for me (ergo, kitchen designer, I know). Your graph paper drawings look intriguing. Can’ wait to hear more. Great series!

  9. Amy says:

    I just found your site today, and pretty much have lost a whole day looking at your AMAZING flips! It’s my secret dream (well, not anymore, since I just made it public) to flip a house one day. How do you see the potential in these houses? How do you walk in and think to yourself “this will look great with that wall gone, a wider entryway here, and maybe swap the whole thing around a bit…”? I am in LOVE with your posts, can’t wait to see more!

  10. Delane says:

    GREAT blog! Looking forward to putting some of this advice to use as i move into my new home.

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  11. You’ve given some great advice here Liz – excellent article. I look forward to checking out the rest of the series and going back through your archives to check out what you’ve already done.

    You seem to know your stuff :)

  12. Dannie says:

    As I’m moving to a new place, this is exactly what i was looking for. The floor plan made it very simple to understand. Great stuff.

  13. Very helpful indeed! Many people rush into designing their kitchen which is why they change their mind a lot and will cost them a fortune! I am sure this article will be beneficial to many people, keep the great posts coming :)