When designing your new home, what does it take to be daring and innovative? Can you put aside the “resale” ingredient and pick something exciting, which might give you great enjoyment in life? Are you ready for a RED KITCHEN?
As we work through our design program, this is a question I often ask a client, and just about always it’s the fear of “resale” that kills the red kitchen. In one instance the client went from rosso corsa to rosso rubino, a more subtle red for resale; but it was never the less a Ferrari red kitchen.
The second biggest deterrent to a Ferrari-red kitchen is of course the cost; either the hi-end Italian Pininfarina design from Snaidero, or a fully custom-built kitchen with an “automotive” finish can propel your kitchen budget easily into 6 figures. Just like a red Ferrari!
This was our concept design for the BARNSTUDIO an Original Evergreen Experience. And of course, they did not have a Ferrari-sized budget for their kitchen….but they were up for the design if we could get it done for a more attractive cost!
So after not a little bit of thinking (aided & abetted by not a little bit of Pinot Noir), we decided to make an IKEA kitchen work for us (the phrase “IKEA-hacking” will become second nature to you…), with the help of the entrepreneurial LA company SemiHandMade; whose business model is to fabricate doors, drawers and panels exclusively for IKEA kitchens. An option that gives you a different selection than IKEA, along with a slightly more substantial finished product, at close to the same price point. And of course, we were pretty excited when we found out that Semihandmade had a bright red kitchen option to implement our red kitchen design, and at a really affordable price! Ferrari-red here we come!
The IKEA store kitchen sales team rapidly generated an IKEA kitchen “shopping list” from our SketchUp image (above); this took about forty-five minutes. Next I emailed the IKEA “shopping list”, along with the SketchUp image to SemiHandMade, and Joanna Serrano came back to me the next day with the information I had asked for about their process, and a price for our red kitchen components. It really was a super customer experience in all respects! Placing the order was seamless, the kitchen arrived on time, and it was extremely well packed (shipped from Los Angeles via 2 carriers) with no damage when we inspected the doors, drawers and panels upon arrival.
We completed the installation, and everything from SemiHandMade fits, just like they said it would. The RED will blow you away! It’s difficult to capture an image without all the construction chaos reflected in the glossy red surface. So stay tuned for our completed BARNSTUDIO project photo shoot in the Spring.
How did we do it? The IKEA parts have been “hacked” and modified to a greater or lesser extent …….. what you may not know is that IKEA-hacking is more prevalent than you ever imagined. I first heard about modifying or customizing IKEA kitchens (that’s what IKEA-hacking means) from a prominent kitchen designer in Vancouver BC, who bragged that he could design a $5K IKEA kitchen that you couldn’t tell from an six figure custom kitchen. Hmmmm…..
We could not have done it without researching extensively online…. and one of the most helpful blogs was The Renovation Diary: Faith’s Budget Luxe Kitchen ; it saved me a lot of time, and that included learning about shortcutting the complex IKEA kitchen buying process, which Faith outlined in one of her first posts!
Like Faith, we bought the European style kitchen furniture legs, and like Faith, our contractor opted to build a 2×4 and plywood platform…… so like Faith, we returned the legs.
We shortened the upper cabinets (yes, all of them), allowing the upper doors to overlap the bottom of the upper cabinets; so no need for upper cabinet handles to open the doors, and thereby we maintained our uncluttered design. Our contractor Scott Havel, of Mud Bay Builders is becoming a genius at hacking IKEA!
We also modified the lower cabinet top surface, so we could accommodate a thin porcelain tile counter with a reclaimed concrete look! That was a bit tricky!
The refrigerator cabinet was an interesting challenge…we constructed it with SemiHandMade end panels, and inserted a standard 24” wide IKEA cabinet (15” high) over the refrigerator. That way we got the extra width required for the refrigerator, and maintained the proper lines.
You have to be willing to experiment…and I admit we bought a few extra IKEA pieces just to try things out….mostly they worked, but sometimes they didn’t. The small extra cost for experimentation and education was well worth it! Don’t be cheep!
The cost saving on the cabinets, and the cost saving as a result of selecting smaller European-sized appliances allowed us to purchase name brands like, Miele, Wolf and Bosch for the red kitchen. That’s a Bosch black glass front counter-depth refrigerator, and a Wolf induction cook top seamlessly set into the counter.
All in all, we’re pretty happy with the results, and the client is too!
So; are YOU ready for a red kitchen? Can you overcome the “resale” fears? Well, even if not….check out Semihandmade , and order cabinet drawers and doors in resale “eco-walnut” for your own IKEA-hack!
Need help with your kitchen design? We are always happy to help and to share resources.