Friday, October 23, 2015

Kitchen Cabinets From...Ikea!?

I have been investigating different sources for kitchen cabinetry over the past few months.  My main challenge is that I have champagne taste on a beer budget... and I'm not talking about fancy, craft beer.  I want quality and durability, but I don't want to pay for it.  I'm being totally reasonable here right?

My top two contenders right now are Cliq Studios and Ikea (what!?).  Yup, that's right my friends, I said Ikea. Let's start with Cliq Studios.  They area semi-custom cabinetry provider based out of Indiana (though I understand there is some question if the cabinets are truly made in America).  They have a wide range of cabinetry options and the cabinets come factory finished and assembled.  They are extra unique, in my opinion, because they offer an inset cabinet option - their Austin style.  My quote through Cliq Studios, including toe kicks, crown, etc. was about $4,500.  Not bad...especially for inset!  I ordered a sample door and I noticed that there was a finger print in the paint finish.  Now, look, I know it's just a sample door.  BUT - if you have quality control issues in your promotional products that are designed to get you sales, what happens to the quality after the sale is already made?

The other issue here is that I want to run my uppers to the ceiling and top them with crown that runs around the cabinets and the ceiling continuously.  Like this:


The trim in my home is a bright, pure white and the Cliq Studio cabinets are more of a creamy white.  It contrasts enough that I would have to switch up the trim color in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, the crown and baseboards in the kitchen run straight through the hallway and up the stairs without a break or division, so this means that I will have a weird color differential.  Obviously this is a "me" problem and not a Cliq Studios problem, but it's still an issue nonetheless.

I considered the Home Decorators Newport cabinets available through the Home Depot for a hot minute, but I didn't like the lack of customization options available and I could not find ANY reviews of these cabinets online.

I have been seeing lots and lots and of Ikea kitchens and people raving about how much they loved them, how easy the kitchen was to assemble and install, and how high quality and durable the cabinets are.  The challenge is that I just didn't care for any of the door styles - they are all either too modern or cheap looking to me.  Then I explored some custom door and drawer from options, through Semi Handmade or Kokeena.  Here is an absolutely gorgeous kitchen through Semi Handmade...



So I logged on to Ikea's kitchen planning tool and designed my little heart away, coming up with a great layout.  I was stunned with how affordable the Ikea boxes, hinges, drawer slides, etc. were.  Then I sent my specs to Semi Handmade and Kokeena, optimistic that I could beat my current quote through Cliq Studios. Both of the quotes were REALLY expensive.  Even for completely unfinished doors!

By this point, I was actually kind of stuck on the idea of going the Ikea route.  Ikea uses Blum hardware, which is the kind of hinges and drawer glides used on very high end cabinetry and both the hardware and the cabinets come with a 25 year warranty that is...get this...transferable to future owners of your home.  How cool is that? While they offer a fairly limited range of cabinet sizes, the interiors of those cabinets are highly customizeable for very little added cost.  So I kept on looking and then stumbled across this blog post from Sarah from St Paul Haus and her fabulous kitchen.

She used Ikea cabinets with custom door and drawer fronts and achieved a very custom looking kitchen with a great vintage feel through a company called Scherr's based out of North Dakota.  So I basically decided to rip off Sarah's kitchen entirely (no really, but kind of) and contacted Scherr's for a quote.  It could not have been easier - I simply sent them my Ikea item list and they sent me back a quote.  Let me tell you - the pricing was FANTASTIC!

Since Scherr's makes each door and drawer front from scratch, they are able to make some custom tweaks for my kitchen that I think will make a huge difference and eliminate Cliq Studios from the running.  First, I am stacking 15" cabinets on 30" cabinets, but I don't want them to look like it...  I want the cabinets to look like this:

Not like this:

To get that effect, I would have a 45" tall door made with borings for hinges at 4 points that correspond with the hinge locations on the cabinet frames.  Since these are full overlay doors, you will never know that they are two cabinets until you open the doors!  Pretty tricky, huh?

The other nice thing is that I am able to customize the actual construction of the cabinet doors.  I received a quote for the 409 door style for the uppers that has a cross rail.  Typically the rail is placed in the middle, but I asked them if they could place the rail 15" from the top on all of the cabinets instead of the middle, and they said that they could.

Scherr's can also paint the doors whatever color you want.  The only downside is that having Scherr's paint the doors costs as much as it does for them to actually MAKE the doors.  It's still affordable, but I can paint them myself for a fraction of the cost.  I just don't think I can justify forking out the cash even though it would be great to having them painted and ready to go...

I took a trip to Ikea last night to look at their product in person and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed with the quality.  I also fell madly in love with this sink:

The challenge is that I am also madly in love this this faucet:

And sadly, the two are not compatible.  Thankfully, there is still time to sort out all of the details.  However, here is my current "mood board" for the kitchen:

Final Kitchen

Going for a light, bright and clean look with brushed nickel hardware, white shaker cabinets, and classic carrara marble counters and backsplash.  I haven't completely determined the wall color, but I know that I want it to be almost white.  Currently leaning towards Dove Wing by Benjamin Moore.

Very excited to have settled (for the most part) on the layout and cabinets!  More updates soon.  I am working on a DIY of this lovely bone inlay dresser to serve as the buffet in my dining room this weekend. 


If it goes well, I will be sure to share the process and details!  Also, these photos are courtesy of Studio McGee's blog.  If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend it if you're into a bright, clean and classic design aesthetic.  



  1. OH Jen,
    I so well understand the champagne/beer problem! Why oh why? Love where you are going and can't wait to see where you end up!

  2. We just went through a very similar experience pricing out kitchen cabinets. We were after a shaker style and planned on going through the Ikea route, also considering upgrading the doors with the Semi Handmade company. We also considered Cliq Studios, but turned out to be much more expensive. The night before we were about to make the three hour drive to Ikea (I live in Upstate NY with no local Ikea), I talked my husband into going to our local Home Depot, to at least do a price comparison. Turns out, our local Home Depot just so happened to be having a fantastic kitchen cabinet sale. On top of that, Kraft Maid was having an additional fantastic sale. The HD kitchen designer was able to take our Ikea kitchen design and whip up a cost comparison on the spot, only took about 15 minutes or so. Long story short, with the great Home Depot sale, we realized that the cost difference between Kraft Maid and Ikea were not that far apart. We also took advantage of the sale and purchased beautiful Silestone Quartz counters that look very much like Marble (Silestone Snowy Ibiza, it's a new one since this past summer). Anyway, I just want to encourage you to possibly consider your local Home Depot. We also went to Lowes to see if we could do better, but not so much. Lowes was much more expensive for the same exact product. Overall, I'm so happy with the entire experience and just wanted to share in case it can help you in your journey!

  3. So is the kitchen finished?

  4. Jen! I love this post and it's just what I needed to know, as we'll be starting on our kitchen this summer. I love the long gold handles in the second picture on the gorgeous green/gray cabinets. Where are the handles/pulls from?

  5. Great to know that customised services are available at your site for installing cabinets. Will book my order soon.