Go to Ikea first I like to say. Find your inspiration and take those ideas to Ikea to see if you can bring it to life for less. I bet you can. The 2 keys to a custom Ikea kitchen are out of the box thinking and a good finish carpenter/cabinetmaker. Mine is OUTSTANDING and if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area I might just give you her name.;)
A Few of the reasons Ikea kitchen cabinets are awesome
First, they are probably the best bang for your buck kitchen cabinet solution out there. For this reason alone they ROCK. I’m a most bang for the buck, let’s not waste any money here so we can spend more there kind of girl. For example, I was able to purchase a Sub-Zero wine fridge with the money I saved by using Ikea cabinets in my latest kitchen. It was a floor model the showroom was trying to get rid of so I got a deal, duh;). We aren’t big wine drinkers but for resale this thing should be awesome, fingers crossed! We use it for bubbly water and diet soda cause we are fancy like that;).
Second, the interior hardware is some of the best in the biz. Blum from Austria supplies the hinges and interior hoozywatsies that make opening and closing furniture a mesmerizing experience. These are their words, not mine and they are right. And for the frequency you open and close your kitchen cabinets it should be as enjoyable as humanly possible.
Third, you can get additional pieces readily without long wait times. This is extremely important when you have a full construction crew waiting on you to finish the kitchen and BOOM you hit a snag. I’m sure there are some interior designers out there that have everything figured out in advance, have planned for everything, change nothing and nothing ever goes awry. I’m sure they are out there, but that has not ever been my experience nor do I expect it to be my experience anytime soon. So to be able to jump in the car and head to Ikea to pick up another cabinet or drawer front is INVALUABLE.
The final thing today is the fact that there are legions of businesses that have come into being simply to elevate the Ikea kitchen cabinet experience. When people think Ikea kitchens they think simple, modular cabinets that don’t have the look of custom cabinetry you find in high end homes. Or they think they don’t provide real wood doors, or oodles of colors. Ikea itself might not provide the look you want in your kitchen but there are companies you can use to completely customize your Ikea kitchen cabinets.
How I customized my Ikea kitchen cabinet pantry
One of the companies you can use to customize your Ikea cabinets is Myoverlays. They create ‘overlays’ that you can apply specifically to Ikea furniture. In my most recent kitchen I knew I wanted some type of fretwork or ‘ornamental design in wood, typically openwork, done with a fretsaw.’ Ikea out of the box does not have a cabinet door with fretwork. It took some investigating and several trips to Ikea to peruse their door options to devise my masterplan for what are now my very custom fretwork pantry cabinet doors.
I had many inspirational photos from other kitchens with examples of amazing cabinetry details. My favorite kitchen designer Matthew Quinn does fretwork all the time. Here is a perfect example, how gorgeous is THIS???:
Here is the simple shaker style cabinet door I used for my custom fretwork cabinet, the TORHAMN. I chose it because it had the deepest inset in which to place my mirror and overlay, you can see what I mean below.
Here is how these TORHAMN doors typically look in an Ikea kitchen:
So, I bought the 6 doors I needed for my pantry and took 1 to the local glass shop and had mirrors cut to fit inside. I contacted Myoverlays and gave them the exact measurement of the inside of the door and sent them a sketch of what I wanted the design to be. After I approved and paid they created the overlays and sent them to me! Here are the overlays when they showed up:
I primed and painted the doors:
I glued in the mirror with the mastic the glass shop provided to me:
After painting the overlays I glued them onto the mirrors using some type of silicone.
This project exceeded my expectations. I love the look of it. I love the drawers at the bottom like an armoire. I LOVE the overlays and the mirrors. And please, not what you think of when you think of Ikea kitchens, am I right? I bet I am.;)