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Jul 11. 2014

Semihandmade IKEA Hand PhotoThe number one question we get is Why should I buy an IKEA kitchen?

The Everest of the subject is Faith's Kitchen Renovation, which covers in wonderfully exhaustive detail everything from financing and design to appliances and installation and - yes - even the kitchen sink.  We're biased since we made the project's doors, but the breadth of reporting is astounding - she seriously does not miss a thing - and the series is an absolute must-read for anyone renovating (with or without IKEA cabinets!).

Second most asked is How did you start making IKEA doors?  There's a longer account in this Dwell Magazine profile, but the CliffsNotes version reads something like: screenwriter trades promising career as LA's angriest waiter for the custom furniture business only to see the economy tank at which point he hail-mary's a booth at the Dwell on Design Show where a famous photographer asks "What if...?" 

If you're reading this, David, we owe you, look us up.

So the truth is, yeah, making IKEA doors is a spectacular idea somebody else gave us, though we do get points for execution (700 IKEA projects this year alone!).  We're especially proud that our goal today is the same as it was when we started four years ago: offer handmade quality at a competitive price using IKEA cabinets as a base. 

We make IKEA doors because it's a great concept.  We make IKEA doors because we've always seen the value in balancing our business and creative sides, and there's no better bridge between stock and custom cabinetry than a Semihandmade door.  We make IKEA doors because if you're going to piggy-back another business, you could do a hell of a lot worse than the world's largest furniture retailer.  We make IKEA doors because we get to work with amazing companies like Plyboo, Stikwood, and 33StewartAve.  We make IKEA doors because - unlike almost all our competitors - we actually make the doors that go into your kitchen, bathroom or bedroom.  And while maybe that's not as artistically satisfying as the days when we were building credenzas or dining tables, it definitely beats waiting tables!  Most importantly, though, we make IKEA doors because we believe in the IKEA kitchen system.  And clearly we're not alone, as seen in the JD Power survey just released ranking IKEA highest in kitchen customer satisfaction. 

Without further delay then, and in no particular order, we humbly offer our Semihandmade Top Ten Reasons To Buy An IKEA Kitchen:

1) IKEA's a la carte ordering This isn't the sexiest place to start - we could have wowed you with Tandembox specs - but without this door-optional policy Semihandmade doesn't exist.  Besides, what other kitchen manufacturer gives you the flexibility of cherry-picking parts? 

2) Blum hinges and drawers This stuff is the absolute standard for custom furniture and cabinetmakers everywhere.  Try it out, ask around, Google away.  The pros know.

3) That 25-Year-Limited-Warranty Okay this one actually seems a bit excessive.

4) The hotdogs The obvious choice here would have been the meatballs (before Triggergate, anyway), but the fact is shopping makes you hungry and from 9 to 9 seven days a week you can scarf down two dogs, chips, a soda and a cone for less than the cost of a gallon of gas.

5) A box really is just a box To those deluded into thinking there's a real difference between a three-quarter-inch melamine box and one in plywood: plywood is stronger, yes, and a natural veneer face is preferable to bland white foil.  But assuming your box is installed correctly what do you need that extra strength for, and do you really care that much about the color of the inside of your boxes, and what's up with all wasted space behind that face-frame, anyway?  The rest of the world and some of the best and most expensive cabinet lines like Bulthaup and Poggenpohl are frameless, foil and just fine with a particleboard core. 

6) An easy-to-use design planner So maybe easy is being generous, but it is free!

7) They're almost Contractor-proof Once the boxes are assembled, installation is no different than a standard kitchen and Semihandmade parts snap directly onto the IKEA frames.  Still, as someone once said, "You don't go into contracting because the brain-surgery-thing didn't work out."  Old School guys can be especially resistant; one refused to install his client's kitchen because he had IKEA furniture in college and "hasn't quite recovered."  Remember: you're the one writing checks.  If they're pushing hard for somebody else to do the cabinets, there's a good chance it's because they're getting a 15-20% mark-up.

8) Accessibility Despite only 38 US locations (3 more will be added by 2015) and 12 in Canada, you're never far from somebody on Ebay or IKEAfans hoarding a Billy bookcase, Lack shelf or missing part.  Store too far away?  Ingenious companies like Modern LV in Las Vegas will drive and shop for you!

9) Price Number one on a lot of lists for good reason.  Our doors aren't cheap - sequenced veneers start at about twice the cost of IKEA Abstrakt - but we'll still save you probably 30% on the cost of a typical custom kitchen, and we dare you to find anyone who can tell the difference between us and them (FYI: a $7K IKEA kitchen will probably run $11K with Semihandmade).

10) Daim is back!