Having decided to go with statuary marble for the backsplash, the rest of the kitchen design fell quickly into place. To keep this renovation budget in line, I hope to make IKEA cabinets work for me. As I really dislike IKEA cabinet doors, this will require sourcing custom doors to fit IKEA cabinets. First up: A visit to Semihandmade in NYC.
I met with Jeff, a kitchen rep at Semihandmade, in their Manhattan showroom in Midtown. While the space is not a showroom in the traditional sense — it’s a small office located in one of those hip shared workspace buildings — it does have a full line of door samples and hardware to look at. When you sign up online for the appointment, you learn that the space you’ll be visiting is not a showroom and the person you will be seeing is not a kitchen planner who can help you with your design. Nevertheless, I did throw printouts of my before and after floorplans as well as my IKEA Home Planner designs into my tote, and they did turn out to be helpful as reference points to quickly bring Jeff up to speed on my plan. I found him to be a knowledgeable resource, as he’d lived through his own IKEA + Semihandmade renovation, which was picked up by the New York Times.
Jeff had gone with a sleek, modern design mixing two styles of Semihandmade slab doors — glossy white and bamboo — for an urban industrial look, centered by a waterfall island. We talked a bit about the challenge of renovating kitchens in NYC, where it’s often difficult to get co-op board approval for things such as properly venting cooktops, and he suggested some exhaust hood options that he had considered that might work for me.
When he learned I was interested in seeing the Semihandmade shaker door options, he pulled out a few samples for me.
They were the same as the samples I had already ordered online (for a combined cost of $50). But the real benefit of seeing all the door samples side by side in person was that I noticed a distinct difference in the Semihandmade supermatte, already-painted door versus the DIY unpainted door, which I had not ordered a sample of.
Sad to say, the DIY unpainted door wins hands down. Sad, because it means more work for me. But in the end, it will be the right choice.
Comparing the two side by side, the unpainted door has an authenticity that the pre-painted doors simply can’t replicate. Better quality than IKEA doors, the Semihandmade pre-painted doors are on par with custom and semi-custom cabinetry lines at big box stores, including Kraftmaid, Thomasville, American Woodmark, Martha Stewart, and the like, but in my estimation, all have a plastic-y handfeel and lack sharpness and definition in the panels. They can look okay from afar, but close up they just don’t seem like real furniture. So, while I’m reluctant to add yet another dimension to this renovation — hiring a painter to paint the cabinet doors — it is only the doors and exposed end panels that will require painting, as IKEA boxes already come in white.
While at Semihandmade, I had the opportunity to get a close up look at the new Sarah Sherman Samuels + Semihandmade collaboration. It’s a pretty, modern riff on beadboard that I would consider for a future sideboard or credenza.
And the brass pulls in the line are quite lovely and feel substantial.
It was Sarah’s blog that first introduced me to Semhandmade and she was one of the first designers to popularize brass hardware. While most of the fixtures in our home are chrome, our doorknobs, which are original to 1946 are brass, so I could make brass fixtures work in a very deliberate way. It’s tempting. I’m seeing brass everywhere I turn and it’s growing on me. But is it just another fly-by-night kitchen trend that we’ll all soon tire of? LMK your thoughts about it in the comments and we’ll chat!
Meanwhile, eye on the prize.
1. Schoolhouse Electric Globe Pendant
2. Thermador Masterpiece Series Gas Cooktop
3. Kitchen Aid Wall Oven + Microwave (via Houzz)
4. Fisher & Paykel Panel-Ready Counter-Depth Refrigerator
5. Statuary Marble + Semihandmade Shaker Cabinet Doors (to fit IKEA)
6. Miele Panel-Ready Dishwasher