I purchased about 20k worth of cabinets for a kitchen remodel from XXXX. Actually the kitchen designer was nice and friendly there, but maybe not that experienced with kitchen design. With the XX design, I ended up going to another private kitchen designer who improved on the design, but whose cabinets were a bit on the expensive side (compared to XX, and similar quality rating), so I ended up going back to XXXX with the revised design. The XX designer also spent time with me as I made decisions regarding which trims and options to pick, as well as to take advantage of the promotions XXXX has. I ended up going with the Savannah style in the painted hazelnut glaze, with oil-rubbed bronze pulls, all-plywood with dovetail construction.
When I received the cabinets, they were all packaged quite well (as in a lot of padding where needed), and I did not have any problems with any of the pieces when received. No damage, no missing pieces, and they were all in pretty good quality. A couple of the cabinets were slightly off in the joint, but nothing that wasn't fixable. I also had very experienced contractors to install them, which is extremely important when buying cabinets. In the end we ended up with a beautiful kitchen, and the finish of the cabinets was really nice. I can't vouch for the durability as it's only been about a month since the install was complete. So far so good though.
It's very easy to blame the cabinet company for everything that goes wrong, but not always fair. I have some tips:
1. Don't depend on XXXXX to know exactly what you want, and verify everything before you buy. Make sure the trims, colors, etc.. match what you asked for. And also verify the measurements that were made of your kitchen - if it matters that they are an inch off then you should verify it yourself.
2. Do some reach about kitchen design and flows and try to make sure that other aspects of kitchen - e.g. where the appliances / sink are match your kitchen usage patterns.
3. Take advantage of promotions - if you are on the edge of a discount bracket, e.g. 19k, then it makes sense to order more options to reach the next bracket (i.e. 19k worth of cabinets gives you $2000 discount, but 20k worth gives you a $3000 discount). Also, at the time I ordered AW also had free plywood construction (or premium glaze) and another 10% promotion.
4. Very important!! Make sure you have reputable / experienced contractors to install the cabinets. They should know how to adjust and make your cabinets look perfect, and can mean the difference between feeling completely satisfied and feeling frustrated.