Designing an Ikea & Semihandmade Kitchen

ikea and semi handmade kitchen

I get so many comments and questions from readers about buying and designing an IKEA and Semi Handmade Kitchen that I wanted to do a follow up post to our kitchen reveal. Our kitchen is one of my favorite parts of our house so I’m always so happy when people reach out to ask me about it.  I also LOVE our cabinets which are IKEA bases with Semi Handmade fronts and I can’t stop telling people about how they are the best decision we made when picking finishes for our kitchen.

If you’re not familiar, Semihandmade specializes in creating fronts that fit with IKEA products. They offer an amazing selection of fronts and customizations so you can get exactly what you want without paying a huge markup on a custom kitchen.

So let’s dive into the FAQs about buying and designing an IKEA x Semi Handmade Kitchen:

How much did you kitchen cabinets cost?

Although I was unsure about sharing this information, I know it will help so many of you with your decision so here we go. The IKEA portion which includes the bases, drawers, shelves, lights, and kick plates cost us about $3,300. The Semi Handmade portion which includes the fronts and panels cost $10,000. Note that we selected one of the more expensive finishes from SH but it’s exactly what we wanted. That brings the total of our kitchen cabinets to $13,300.  We got multiple bids from contractors for a custom built kitchen and they ranged from $35,000 – 50,000 with 2 of the contractors using the same materials as IKEA and SH (particle board).

Are you happy with the quality?

Alan and I are both yelling OMG Yes! We are so happy with the quality of both the bases and fronts. I also have to note that we have friends who are realtors, high end interior designers, architects, and the like and all of them agree that our kitchen is top quality and beautiful.

Is it difficult to design your own kitchen?

I can confidently say it’s easy although it requires time and patience. “But you’re married to a trained architect!” you’re thinking. Yes, I am but Alan didn’t design the kitchen, I did. He measured out the entire space and I spent hours laying out the design of the kitchen – pantry here, broom closet there, refrigerator on this side – you get the gist. IKEA’s design software is very easy to use, although it is frustrating at times. The wonderful thing about the software is as your drag and drop in cabinets to design your kitchen, IKEA makes a line sheet of every.single.item for you.  If you think you’re on your own in this process, you are not. Once you’re done designing, you submit your kitchen and then meet with an IKEA kitchen pro in store. She’ll go over it line by line with you to make sure you have every screw you think you may need. Easy!

What’s the design and delivery process like working with 2 different companies? 

After finalizing your kitchen design with IKEA, you send the design and line sheets to Semi Handmade. You don’t have to explain anything to SH, they know how to read the design and know all of the parts that make up the IKEA kitchen. From there, you’ll make your selects for the fronts, panels and any exposed shelves (like we have).

I have to admit, I was worried it was going to work something like asking the DMV to call the IRS to coordinate LOL. Obviously it was nothing like this.

Did you build the kitchen yourself or hire someone to do it?

Alan put together the entire kitchen himself, from the IKEA boxes to Semihandmade fronts. He literally finished our kitchen the day before I went into labor with Harlee – talk about timing! You can definitely hire people to build it for you but it’s an additional $2,000-4,000 depending on the number of boxes. Alan said if you can build an IKEA bookshelf, you can build an IKEA kitchen – you just build one cabinet box and repeat over and over until you’re done. He did get help from my brother-in-law when installing the larger pantry boxes.

Sources below!

Kitchen Finishes: Fireclay Tile BacksplashSemihandmade Cabinet FrontsQuartzstone counter and terrazzo-like quartzstone floor tileIkea cabinet boxDelta Trinsic FaucetWest Elm Pendant LightWest Elm CanistersTea TowelsMarble Serving Tray, Vintage Runner


  1. Karen
    July 9, 2019 / 11:46 am

    Just wondering how large or small your kitchen is. I’m beginning the process and am fairly sure ikea cabinets with custom doors is the way to go

    • July 23, 2019 / 10:34 pm

      Hi Karen! Our kitchen is about 20 feet long and 8 feet wide. We kept about 3 feet of space from cabinet to cabinet. I hope that helps!

  2. Sharp
    July 18, 2019 / 3:03 pm

    Was the semihandmade Tahoe? We are building a new house and have visited their shop in Palm Springs, but deciding between wood look and ‘beach’

    • July 23, 2019 / 10:33 pm

      Hi! The SH fronts are walnut with horizontal grain! We definitely wanted a wood look to go with our mid century modern home. It’s beautiful and such high quality. 4+ years later and the fronts still look amazing!

  3. Rachel
    July 24, 2019 / 12:39 pm

    Hi there! I went on SH website and the finish you selected (Walnut w/horizontal grain) is no longer available for use on the Sektion cabinets. I reached out to them and they said the finish is now only available for Godmorgon and Besta, they’re unsure if they will offer it again for Sektion in the future.

    I’m so sad! 🙁

    • July 24, 2019 / 3:40 pm

      Ahhh that’s such a bummer. It’s such a beautiful finish. Do they have anything similar available for Sektion?

      • Rachel
        July 25, 2019 / 10:04 am

        I know 🙁 It really is gorgeous and total kitchen goals! Their suggestion was their Impression line (Tahoe or Sonoma looks to be the closest).

        • August 5, 2019 / 10:16 pm

          Yeah, I just looked at their site and those are closest but not quite the same. I do remember the Flatsawn Walnut being one of the pricier options, so they may have just eliminated the style because of pricing. 🙁

  4. Mary
    September 4, 2019 / 11:29 pm

    Beautiful kitchen! Do you have a picture of the layout?

    • September 5, 2019 / 3:58 pm

      I don’t but it’s a galley style kitchen if that helps. I can ask Alan to sketch something and I can add to this post!

  5. September 23, 2019 / 10:05 am

    Where did you get your backsplash? It’s beautiful!

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