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A Cozy Kitchen Renovation: Review on Ikea Cabinets with SemiHandmade Fronts

Kitchen

When I first started looking at kitchens, the ones that stood out to me the most, the kitchens I kept pinning and repining were all from Devol Kitchens. Their kitchens are so dreamy. I love the in-set cabinets that just melt into the boxes. I love how cozy and classic and rich they feel. And if you have the budget, Devol Kitchens will actually design your kitchen lay-out and ship a whole set of cabinets to you. They start at around 60k. LOLL. That was not in the budget, unfortunately. Not even close.

SO, I got a bid from a cabinet maker and it was closer to 20k for what I was looking for (shaker-style cabinets that had that in-set). That price tag still hurt, so I did some more research and came across Semi Handmade, a company that makes fronts that fit onto Ikea boxes.

Like everyone who was broke AF in their 20s, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Ikea. A few years ago, I vowed to rid my entire apt of anything Ikea so I was a bit timid when it came to this cabinet process. It’s safe to say that the cabinet process still resulted in a love/hate relationship! LOL. Still the same—nothing has changed!

So here is how the process went down (I’m including prices just to be transparent and informative but of course this will vary depending on the size of your kitchen):

1. Measuring Kitchen – If you’re getting custom cabinets, the process for it usually goes like this: demo, space is cleared out and then the entire space is measured and custom cabinets are built for the space. This is not a bad way to do it. Of course, this is why some kitchen renos take a ton of time.

With Ikea, they sub-contract a company that comes to your house and measures your kitchen space. These measurements then get put into your “profile.”

2. Kitchen Design Time– You have to make an appt with Ikea to design the space. There are also companies that will design it at your house in the space. This is the route I wished I had gone because it’s easier to imagine. Continue Reading

A Cozy Kitchen Renovation: Tips on Working with a Contractor for the First Time

Kitchen

I’m really excited about this post because I really should’ve researched tips on working with a contractor BEFORE I started. I would also like to preface this post by saying that this is my only experience with a contractor so obviously take this with a grain of salt.

How do I say this gently?…I didn’t LOVE working with my general contractor. But as I asked around to some friends, I found that our experiences were very similar. My contractor wasn’t on the job the entire time, there were mistakes that happened and I didn’t know what I was looking for or how to fix them. There was miscommunication, lack of communication, people not showing up on time, people not showing up at all, delays, etc. This is apparently super normal!

Every industry I’ve worked in, I’ve never experienced this so this was sort of a shock to me haha. Call me naive. Regardless of my experience, if I were to do another renovation, I’d absolutely use a contractor again.

Here are some benefits of using a contractor:

1. Insurance – They are insured. Meaning if they do work on your house and the roof caves in, their insurance will kick in and pay for the repairs. If one of their workers hurts himself/herself while working on your home, their workers’ comp will kick in. Their work is insured and so are their employees. Huge plus!

2. Licensed – All contractors are licensed. Actually probably not all but make sure you’re hiring a licensed contractor. This means that if you need to pull a permit with the city of wherever last minute, they can do it. Licensed also means they usually know what they’re talking about. Ours absolutely did know what he was talking about.

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A Cozy Kitchen Renovation Reveal Part I

Adventures, DIY, Kitchen

OMG I can finally tell you that the entire kitchen is done done DONE. It’s an amazing feeling and I love the way it turned out. As you know, I started this process a long time ago!! There are a lot of bases to cover so I’m not going to cover everything in this post, instead I’m going to separate the posts into three or four posts.

This one is all about the reveal! I love dramatic before and afters and I have to say, the before photos show a pretty intense makeover.

This was my first ever renovation and I learned a lot. I also designed this space myself, which was another huge learning experience.

INSPIRATION
Let’s start with the inspiration. The house itself is an English-style cottage so I wanted to be true to the house. I wanted it to fit within the style of the house so I went with shaker cabinets. What I didn’t want? Was an all-white kitchen. I wanted something with a bit more style but at the same time, I wanted to make something that would be sellable and not too custom.

Here are some BEFORE photos that show the dramatic change:

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A Cozy Kitchen Renovation!!!: Part 2

Adventures, Kitchen

Before we start, here’s a link to Part 1 in case you missed it!

If you’ve been following the kitchen renovation on the Insta Stories this is all old news to you BUT I figured it’d put a legit update on this here space to show you where we are in renovation land.

It has been a pretty fun learning experience. A lot of people told me that the four week estimate that we were aiming for probably wasn’t going to actually stick and they were right. We’re currently four weeks in and we’re kinda far from being done.

The first thing that was done was the demo. PHEW! This might’ve been my favorite part. It was so dramatic and really made me laugh because it was so crazy how different the space took. Continue Reading

A Cozy Kitchen Kitchen Renovation!!!: PART 1

Adventures, DIY, Kitchen


Big news today in cozy land because we’re moving!

We’ve lived in our beloved lil’ Echo Park apartment for a long time but we’ve been kinda outgrowing it and looking for a new place for a while so when Josh’s dad moved out of state (for a new job) and asked us to move in to takeover his house for the next 5 years or so, the timing was perfect.

Before we officially move in, we’re renovating the kitchen. And by renovating I mean tearing every single thing out, knocking down a few walls and starting from scratch. I have never done a renovation before so it say it is a bit of a dream is an understatement. It’s also a bit overwhelming because there are SO many choices and decisions and I fully understand why people hire a designer to help them.

Initially we were gonna start the renovation back in June but I’m so happy that we waited because it really gave me time to understand what would look best in the space. I really believe that kitchens, and frankly any renovation, should complement the house itself.

The house is a bit like an English cottage. It’s cute with red brick, built in the 1920s. There are beautiful green vines growing on the outside and SO many roses in the front yard and in the backyard. It’s quite adorable and it’s the perfect size (not too big, not too small). It has charm like no other but it does need a bit of love in the kitchen department.

At the beginning of this whole venture, I thought a lot about what I wanted from a kitchen and I kept coming back to super modern, clean style cabinets with cozy, sweet colors.

This is what I had in mind:

I was really into completely flat cabinets with little leather handles (we all know those can’t be durable, I was picturing myself with frosting on my hands ruining those things).

But this felt too sterile and new for the house. I’m so happy I came across Devol Kitchens, a kitchen designing duo in England, because they create the perfect kitchens for this house.

I’m absolutely obsessed with the inset cabinets (spoiler alert: custom cabinets were way too expensive so we’re going a cheaper route) with calcutta marble, sage green, warm tones.

All my Scandinavian kitchen dreams flew out the window when I came across their kitchen designs. Every single one of them made me want to bake and cook in these spaces. None of them looked too fancy or fussy.

They looked durable and sturdy. They have a bit of an old feel while still feeling relevant and new.

The layout of the kitchen has been formatted. Demo starts today!! WOOHOO!!

And of course here are the before photos. Two walls are coming down. The original windows are going to be peeled and restored with new hardware. The old 50s tile is going to be scraped off the walls and ceiling and the laminate floors are going to be ripped up and trashed.

We’re getting beautiful appliances from Kitchenaid! Continue Reading