When the limited possibilities offered by the stock cabinets that you find at the home improvement store are standing between you and your dream kitchen design, it's time to step up to cabinetry with more options. Both Kraftmaid and Brookhaven cabinets allow you to shape your design to your own special vision, but although Kraftmaid offers a variety of design options, Brookhaven lets you get closer to the luxury of fully custom cabinets at a less-than-custom price.
1. Cabinet Construction and Finishing
Both Kraftmaid and Brookhaven standard cabinets are made from particleboard lined with woodgrain laminate, but Wood-Mode, the manufacturer of Brookhaven cabinets, uses substantially thicker material in its Brookhaven cabinets than Kraftmaid does. Both manufacturers offer a wide variety of door styles, and both solid wood and laminate door styles are available in both brands. Both companies also use a multi-step finishing process on their wood drawer fronts and doors; Kraftmaid provides a detailed description of each of the 14 steps in its process, while Wood-Mode describes its Brookhaven finishing process as "multi-step" and leaves it at that.
2. Drawers and Hinges
Both companies build their drawer boxes from solid wood, although Wood-Mode specifies solid maple for its drawers, while Kraftmaid describes its drawer material only as "wood." Kraftmaid uses 3/4-inch wood for its drawer sides and 1/4-inch plywood for drawer bottoms; Brookhaven drawers have 5/8-inch sides and 1/4-inch bottoms. Both brands use dovetail construction in their drawers, and all drawers from both companies are equipped with full-extension, under-mounted slides with soft-close action. All Kraftmaid hinges are concealed, soft-close types; Brookhaven offers a choice between concealed and decorative hinges for its traditional framed cabinets.
Both Kraftmaid and Brookhaven offer upgrades from their standard-grade particleboard cabinet construction. In the case of Kraftmaid, the upgrade options include all-plywood construction, partial-plywood construction, or furniture-grade plywood cabinet ends. Upgrading to all-plywood construction will also get you 3/4-inch plywood shelves. Brookhaven upgrades are more straightforward, with only a furniture-grade plywood option available. With both brands, a plywood upgrade also includes natural wood veneer on the cabinet interiors. Kraftmaid also offers an upgrade to an interior laminate veneer that matches a particleboard cabinet's exterior laminate.
Kraftmaid cabinets are semi-custom cabinets, which means that you have more design flexibility and finish options than you'd have with stock cabinetry, but you're still limited to a fixed number of cabinet sizes, styles and finishes. Brookhaven cabinets, by contrast, are more fully customizable, and their lower cost in comparison to the more expensive Wood-Mode line of cabinets comes primarily from their lower-quality construction materials.
- Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images