Our IKEA and Semihandmade Kitchen Process
We built our kitchen with IKEA Sektion cabinets and Semihandmade walnut slab doors and panels, and were very happy with how it turned out! We had a plan created by Inspired Kitchen Design, which was extremely helpful in making sure we weren’t making any design mistakes.
It was way less expensive than a custom kitchen, and if you’re handy it can easily be a DIY job. Inspired Kitchen Design also provides a list of local contractors that specialize in IKEA kitchens if you’d rather hire a pro.
Whether or not you use a design service, installing a kitchen with IKEA cabinets and Semihandmade fronts is an excellent way to get a custom look with a smaller price tag.
Note: This post is light on info about the actual installation process. IKEA and Semihandmade provide detailed instructions and the exact process will depend on your kitchen’s layout and design.
We scoured the internet for images of kitchens we loved.
- Pinterest is my favorite resources to find and save inspiration. I find it helpful to have separate boards or sections for dream designs and more realistic designs. I pinned a lot of original 1950s and 1960s kitchens on my dream board, but kitchens with modern finishes made it on the realistic board since they are materials we can more easily get today.
- We also found it helpful to look at kitchens on Semihandmade and Inspired Kitchen Design site to see examples of the actual product.
- Blogs were extremely helpful. A blog that heavily inspired our kitchen was Destination Eichler. They feature multiple Semihandmade kitchens with walnut doors.
Inspired Kitchen Design requests about five inspiration photos to help them design your kitchen, and I think this is a good number to reference if you are designing on your own. After pinning a ton of photos, we picked five that were realistic for our space and budget.
Take detailed measurements and photos of kitchen
If you are using Inspired Kitchen Design, order the kitchen design package now. They will provide a list of the exact measurements and photos they need to design your new kitchen.
If you use Inspired Kitchen Design
Inspired Kitchen Design provided a detailed questionnaire for us to submit along with our photos, measurements, and inspiration photos. Once they create your kitchen, you get two revision cycles to make changes and tweak the design. We ended up tweaking ours to remove the microwave (we just ended up putting it in the pantry instead) and change the dimensions of a wall we decided to move.
As part of the measurements, IKD needed our exact appliance measurements. We did a separate stovetop with a wall oven below it, so we had to be precise. Appliances that are not built in to the cabinets may not need as precise a measurement as long as they are standard sizes (check with IKD for sure). We opted to order our appliances at this point to ensure we were getting the exact appliance measurements we submitted, and because of long lead times.
Once your design is final, IKD will build the kitchen in the IKEA planner for you, and provide a detailed design sheet with exactly what to order from IKEA and Semihandmade. We referenced this plan a TON, and it made ordering from Semihandmade super easy – we just sent the plan.
If you skip a design service and order from IKEA
Use the IKEA kitchen planner to create your kitchen. If possible, I definitely recommend scheduling an appointment with an IKEA kitchen planner at the store. Anything you can do to ensure there are no ordering mistakes is worth it!
Order from IKEA and Semihandmade
Once you receive or create your finalized plan, order the cabinets from IKEA. Remember not to order doors and panels!
When we ordered, IKEA was experiencing stock issues with their cabinet boxes, so we were able to order about 75% of what we needed. This was the most stressful part of ordering our kitchen because:
They do not allow you to backorder items that are out of stock. You can sign up to get alerted when items are back in stock, but I have had bad luck with this before. Anything you are not able to purchase will remain in your cart, so I downloaded the IKEA app and checked a couple times a day to see if what we needed was available.
Once a cabinet we needed was in stock, we had to order it immediately or risk it going out of stock again, so we ended up driving to IKEA a couple times to pick up one cabinet at a time, and paying $49 to have a single piece delivered.
I HIGHLY recommend waiting until you have all the cabinet boxes prior to starting the kitchen demo. I read stories of people living without kitchens for months waiting on a specific cabinet to come back in stock. It is easier to handle delays starting than when your kitchen is torn out!
We utilized the Semihandmade “We create your cart” service. It was $99 (which then gets applied to your order, so ends up being no extra cost) and included a 30 minute call with a specialist to ensure everything was correct.
All we had to do was send the Inspired Kitchen Design plan.
Assemble & Install
Assembling the cabinet boxes was easy. Starting out each one took about 30 minutes, but once we got the hang of it it took about 15-20 minutes each.
They were also easy to install. They hang on a metal bar on the wall, then have adjustable legs to ensure they are level. We stretched the process over a few days, but the whole installation probably could have been done in one long day.
Installing the doors and drawer fronts on the cabinets was very easy, because the holes are pre-drilled for IKEA hardware. They are also numbered so it was easy to figure out what goes where.
We wanted a built-in/custom look, so we had a lot of panels and trim pieces. Semihandmade sends larger panels that you need to cut to size to perfectly fit. This was the most nerve-wracking part. We are not carpentry experts, but at a high level the most helpful tips Bryan has are:
- Take your time and measure carefully
- Mark the cut line with painters tape to help ensure the wood veneer doesn’t sheer off on the edge
- Use a brand new, sharp saw blade