No Budget for a Custom Kitchen? No Problem

The Four Percent

People often assume that getting a gorgeous kitchen like the ones they see in design magazines would require draining their bank account. And often, they’re right: Building a custom kitchen with upscale materials and finishes can easily run into six figures.

What they might not realize is that there are cost-saving alternatives that can deliver a high-end look for a fraction of the price. One of the most popular, employed by a number of architects and designers, is building a kitchen with Ikea cabinets and then covering those cabinets with custom doors, drawer fronts and panels from companies like Reform, Semihandmade and Kokeena.

“Ikea makes a great box,” said John McDonald, the founder and chief executive of Semihandmade, a company based in Monrovia, Calif. And inside its Sektion cabinets, he added, Ikea “uses the best hardware you can get.”

Those hinges, drawer slides and other pieces, he said, are from Blum — the same brand of hardware that many custom cabinetmakers use, although Ikea’s products are far more reasonably priced.

Ms. Menefee has designed many custom kitchens for clients, but turned to Ikea’s kitchen planner when she sought a more affordable option for her own home. She later worked with Portland-based Kokeena to develop custom doors, which evolved into Townsend Home, a new collection of cabinet doors that Kokeena now offers to all customers.

If Ikea’s kitchen planner leaves you scratching your head — or if you just want a second opinion — there are other options.

Then the company produces a quote for custom doors, drawer fronts, panels and other elements as replacements, while confirming the details of the design.

“There are always some small adjustments,” Mr. Christensen said, so don’t buy the Ikea components before making arrangements for the doors. “It’s really important for us to make sure that there are no other requirements beyond what the drawing shows — and there often are.” That includes awkward corners and soffits that may need to be addressed.

The company also produces filler strips and toe kicks that match the doors, to give the kitchen a perfectly finished look.

Russell Edwards, the chief executive of Kokeena, noted that door manufacturers can make many other components, too. “We can make a custom box, like an open cabinet,” he said, that matches the doors. “And floating shelves.”

When your kitchen design is finalized with the door manufacturer, it’s time to order the parts.

To ensure you have everything you need from Ikea, Mr. Christensen and Mr. Edwards recommended providing a complete kitchen design, with Ikea doors, drawer fronts and panels, to the retailer, and asking a sales associate to remove those finishing components from the order.

“When you go to order it from Ikea, you take your entire list, but say, ‘We’re doing custom,’” Mr. Edwards said. “They’ll eliminate just the doors and drawer fronts from the cabinets.”

And don’t worry about insulting Ikea — the company doesn’t flinch at this sort of order.

According to a statement emailed by Janice Simonsen, Ikea’s senior public relations specialist in the United States: “While we encourage customers to create their own style with Ikea cabinets, we do believe they should be able to design a kitchen that expresses their own original style — this is why we sell modular systems.”

Ikea usually has its cabinet components in stock, so they can be bought and brought home on the same day, or arrangements can be made for quick delivery.

The custom door manufacturers, however, have a longer turnaround time, because the pieces are made to order. Semihandmade and Kokeena, for instance, typically ship doors in two to six weeks. Reform makes its doors in Europe, so the lead time is typically 10 to 14 weeks, delivered. (Depending on your renovation schedule, you may want to order the custom doors long before you intend to tear out your old kitchen and buy the Ikea components.)

Custom door manufacturers and kitchen design firms have their own lists of contractors to share with clients across the country. Online services like Sweeten and Houzz can also help homeowners find contractors.

Of course, recommendations from friends and neighbors are often best of all.

While cabinet installation may be a do-it-yourself project, some of the finishing touches are best left to professionals. Licensed plumbers and electricians should complete any work on pipes or wiring, along with the installation of plumbing fixtures and built-in appliances.

There is also an opportunity to upgrade the look of your kitchen further with the counters. Ikea sells many types of affordable counters, including wood and laminate, but there is no requirement to buy them with the cabinets.

Source link Real Estate

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