Hey Step Out Buffalo fam! My name is Raelyn, and I am the owner and principle designer over at West End Interiors – here to shed some light on home reno in WNY with guides to local businesses to buy from, sources to use, how to’s, pro tips, and more!
The most common project West End Interiors is hired for is kitchen renovations. If you’ve been living in an outdated kitchen for a few years, you know the struggle. I’m not just talking about the aesthetic struggle, but the functionality of it as well. Over the years I’ve mastered the functionality of a kitchen design, with proper placement of appliances, custom storage for everything you can imagine, all while making it pretty to look at and increasing the value of your home.
To be honest, I shy away from the “one-stop kitchen shops” that produce cookie cutter kitchen designs. I think our beautiful homes deserve more than that and that’s why I like partnering with local artisans and carpenters to bring you a gorgeous final product. If you’re hesitant that custom cabinetry is out of the budget – all of the custom companies I list below give free estimates if you have a layout. You never know, you might just be surprised.
I’ve grown to love a handful of local cabinet-makers and vendors that help bring your Pinteresty kitchen goals to life. Since I work with a variety of budgets, I’ve narrowed down my secret stash of sources to give you the scoop on where to go when you’re looking for a kitchen refresh from local craftsmen and women who are educated and skilled in their specified craft.
Here’s your guide to local cabinetry sources and some bonus kitchen renovation tips:
Shop Dog Studios
Kyle and Jeff are relatively new to my realm of go-to tradesmen, but they’ve made a stellar impression on me the few projects we’ve worked on, and their cabinetry is on point. Shopdog has a studio in Clarence where all the cabinetry is made and painted in-house. This isn’t a client showroom, but a large warehouse where everything is constructed. I have met clients there a few times while working with them to view cabinet samples, trim samples, and check on progress. They even work with metal, which gives the opportunity to design something out of the box and still have it made locally. (Think metal and glass doors on upper cabinets!)
Jeff & Kyle are both graduates of Alfred University with a bachelor in fine arts. With a passion for building they provide sophisticated designs using the best materials available to modern construction. Clean, organized, and precise are traits carried out throughout any project large or small.
They also cover built-ins and contractor services which makes them even more versatile.
Amish Kitchen Gallery
I met the owner of AKG, Ryan McKeever a couple of years back when I had a super complicated cabinet door I wanted designed and could not find anyone brave enough to take it on. After I found AKG, and they perfectly executed my design, I’ve worked with them on a ton of projects.
Amish Kitchen Gallery’s showroom is located in Orchard Park, and has a large selection of cabinets that stand out. All of their cabinets are handmade about an hour south of Buffalo by his Amish Partner. They use real hardwood when constructing cabinets; which differentiates them from the rest. They do not have different options of quality, it’s all made the same way. Most custom cabinetry companies will use MDF as door cores to cut on cost if you’re going the painted route, but no MDF is used in the construction of their cabinets. I like working with AKG because I know the quality I’m going to get every single time. Their showroom in Orchard Park also has countertop and hardware options to help pull together a look. If you are a super visual person, their showroom has a ton of door styles and wood species to pick from, including sample kitchens created to showcase the functionality. Ryan and Brittany offer free in-home consultations and layouts to get a starting price on a kitchen. They also have carpenters that they work with to install their cabinets.
Joel Sullivan is the owner of Sullivan Interiors. I’ve worked with Joel for years now, and he always impresses me with his work, but specifically his mudrooms and laundry rooms. Joel has a knack for on-site building and finishing that ensures that everything is a perfect fit. He is a carpenter by nature, but his company does it all. Their workspace is located in Tonawanda, but it is not a showroom. Most of Joel’s work is done on site. After signing on and giving him a design, he provides you with samples of stain and paint which is always helpful to visualize the final product.
He is super organized, has great input on design ideas, and knows how to get the job done. Sullivan Interiors works from custom designs, or from client inspiration. If you have a mudroom that you’ve re-pinned more than twice, show it to Joel and he can make it! Joel offers free estimates, but it’s best to have a plan together before you give him a call.
Acme is a new cabinet company in Buffalo, and is a great option for someone who is budget-minded. Their Fabuwood pre-fab cabinets come in at a lower price point than custom made, but if you’re looking for a standard shaker door, or something similar they have the most popular styles to choose from. Pre-fab has the standard cabinet sizes (15,18,21,24, etc.) to work within your layout and they are made/assembled in a factory and then shipped to your home. There are a set selection of colors and door styles that you can get for the base price, and adding custom colors or features is an add on from there. You order the cabinets with them, they are drop shipped to your door and you (or your contractor) bring them in to install. Their by-appointment showroom is located in Allentown, and holds a variety of cabinet door samples to view. They offer free in home measures, or you can bring your measurements into them!
You might know Norman for his custom furniture around Buffalo, but he has built a team of talented carpenters and has expanded their trade to custom kitchens and trim work. If you’re looking for a vanity or a custom living room built in for storage or your TV, they can tackle that project too. With a more modern style and a focus on fine craftsmanship, Norman’s attention to detail stands out. I’ve worked with Norman on projects and specced higher-end materials, like Walnut, and I’m always impressed with the quality and how his joinery and finish techniques enhance the natural material.
Raelyn’s Kitchen Reno Pro Tips:
- Have a plan before you start: You’d be surprised how many decisions go into a kitchen (or a bathroom, or a built-in!), and it would stink to miss any opportunities you have to make it your dream space. If you know what you want and you’ve been scheming and pinning for years, you can tackle it yourself – otherwise, hire a designer! May I recommend West End Interiors? 😉
- Mix materials and colors with your cabinetry: In order to avoid your kitchen looking like one big blob of white shaker cabinets, I like to mix a wood and paint tone to break it up. You can also add glass doors, floating shelves, bookshelves, metal… the possibilities are literally endless.
- Your kitchen does not have to scream “kitchen!!”: I like incorporating unusual sources for light (sconces and semi-flush). Making room for art, and not covering every single inch of blank space with a cabinet.
- Make a statement: Yes, white kitchens with subway tile are pretty – but let’s not be so sterile. Add a patterned backsplash or find a really great granite or quartz you love that has character to it. The jewelry of the kitchen – think fixtures – are important too. There are hundreds of designers out there creating faucets, sinks, and hardware. You don’t have to pick from home depot!