Thank you for your sweet responses about the kitchen reveal. It is such a central spot in our home and it turned out pretty much exactly as I envisioned.
When we were planning out the renovation, we decided two rooms would be our main splurges: the master bathroom and the kitchen. But just because we were planning to put some high end finishes in these two spaces didn’t mean we wanted to spend a fortune on every single thing. The cabinets were an area we knew we could save.
Jon and I have been though a lot of custom homes– beautiful houses with really gorgeous finishes. We have really studied these homes and analyzed their finishes to figure out exactly what we wanted to do in ours. What we’ve discovered is that very, very few homes have actual “custom” cabinets. Most custom cabinet companies will essentially design your space using their products, rather than build something specifically for your house. Most cabinet boxes are pretty much the same. It’s the doors that make a difference.
There are some really talented cabinet makers and they are worth paying for, but that just wasn’t in our budget. I started doing some research and came across this gorgeous kitchen. My jaw dropped when I learned they weren’t custom cabinets. Instead, she used a company called Semi-Handmade.
Essentially, they build custom cabinet doors for Ikea cabinet boxes. We have really examined Ikea kitchens and have used them in our rental properties before and the boxes are actually really great. They are good quality and have a lot of great features. We weren’t in love with any of Ikea’s door options/colors though, so this seemed like a great solution. It’s more expensive than a straight Ikea kitchen, but not as expensive as a complete custom kitchen. They are based in California so shipping is pretty affordable.
Working with the company was pretty easy. We designed our kitchen using Ikea’s kitchen planner (if you’ve never used this before, a couple tips: the online version kinda blows. It’s worth going into the store and working on it there. Just don’t do it right before closing time because at the stroke of nine, the computers literally turn off and you will lose any unsaved work. Yep, we learned this the hard way).
Once the kitchen was pretty much designed, we then emailed Semi-Handmade. They reviewed the plans and made some good suggestions for simple changes. Once it was finalized, we just placed the order for the doors and floating shelves (we went with the DIY Shaker style) and waited for them to go into production. They were shipped directly to our home and from there, they just needed to be painted and installed.
We set up a sort of painting booth in our garage and taped the entire thing off so everything could be sprayed. It took several days to prime everything, let it dry overnight, spray the first coat of paint, let it dry again, spray the second coat, let it dry, then do the other side. But if you want it to look custom, you’ve got to do it right.
We used Benjamin Moore Advance in Super White and Hale Navy. This paint is my favorite for cabinets, btw. I’ve used it for years and it never fails to give the perfect, professional finish, even when brushed.
While we went through the paint process, we installed the boxes and our countertops, light fixtures, and backsplash went in.
A tip for the floating shelves: Semi-Handmade’s floating shelves are installed with a steel u-shaped piece that does not come pre-drilled. You’ll need a drill press (a specialized piece of equipment) to do this the right way. Luckily Jon’s brother is somewhat of a specialized tool junky and had one we could use. Also, it’s a good idea to map out studs or even install the steel piece before tiling your backsplash, if it goes behind the shelves. Yep, we learned that one the hard way too.
Installing doors just takes some patience to get them even and level.
And there you have it. DIY custom kitchen cabinets.
Love it when a DIY doesn’t look like it, don’t you?
*In case you missed it, you can read about the full kitchen reveal and some products here.