Semihandmade Solutions #3: The Warped Door

We are back with the third edition of Semihandmade Solutions. After looking at a one-time accident in the most recent entry, we’re going to look an issue generated over time.

Problem:  I have an Akurum kitchen from 2008 with Ramsjo Red-Brown doors, the kind with solid-wood framing and a particleboard center. Unfortunately, the tall cabinet door next to my refrigerator has warped over time (marked in red on the image below). I really love the unique look of these doors, But Ikea discontinued them. I don’t want to replace my entire kitchen, so what should I do?

Semihandmade Solution Akurum Cabinet Before

Solution:  The challenge here is finding a way to compliment the Ramsjo door-style without overshadowing its distinct design and rich red-brown tone. The good news is, you don’t have to replace the entire kitchen!

Since the warped door is alongside the refrigerator, we can turn the four doors around the refrigerator into a run. We went with our brand new Impression Sonoma doors because they look great and complement the Ramsjo doors without drawing attention from the rest of the cabinets. Impression Sonoma is one of our newest materials, and we love how it mimics the texture of a walnut veneer with a durable textured melamine that harmonizes with the kitchen’s traditional look. All in all, this turns one warped door into a new run that accentuates the existing doors.The total cost for the project pictured below: $619 USD.

Semihandmade Solutions Akurum Cabinets After

Take a look at these example images and other Semihandmade Solutions (part one, part two) to get a look at our products alongside Ikea doors, and send an email to with the subject line “I need a Semihandmade Solution” to get a quote started for your kitchen.

REMINDER: Semihandmade is not a design firm. We are happy to provide suggestions, but we can’t help you generate a design for your project. You’ll need to decide that on your own. There are also limits to what Semihandmade can provide. We want to help, but there may be some requests that are too complicated for us to handle.

#TBT: Semihandmade and Nate Berkus at Dwell on Design

With Thanksgiving just a week away, we here at Semihandmade were thinking about what we’ve been thankful for this year. We had a great time at IDSwest and we’re proud of our brand new Supermatte doors, but the highlight of our year has to have been working with Nate Berkus for Dwell on Design LA in June.

Sponsored by Dwell Magazine, DODLA is America’s largest design event; since it’s right in our backyard, we always have a booth to show off our latest doors. Not only are events like this a great place to connect with potential customers, they also offer a lot of opportunities to make professional connections—case in point, our involvement in Dwell Magazine’s 2013 flagship home. It was the success on that project that landed us on Berkus’s radar.

Basically, Nate needed help putting together a pair of kitchens for LG Studio’s Re-Imagination Pavilion, a 2,000-square-foot booth showcasing the newest LG appliances. He had designed a pair of beautiful kitchens using Ikea’s Sektion cabinets and asked Semihandmade to handle the doors.

LG Imagination Pavillion

The LG Studio Re-Imagination Pavilion, featured on

People say you shouldn’t meet your heroes, so we were nervous. We’ve been longtime fans of Nate going back to his time on The Oprah Winfrey Show. But, there was no need to worry because Nate was so great to work with and as charming in person as he is on TV.

Semihandmade Rift White Oak Shaker Doors

An inviting family kitchen featuring Semihandmade Rift White Oak Shaker doors

For the first design, Nate set out to make a spacious family kitchen with a wide marble island and plenty of counter space. Semihandmade provided our Rift White Oak Shaker doors to give the room a classic look and a lot of warmth.

Semihandmade DIY Shaker Doors

A modern, two-tone kitchen made with Semihandmade DIY Shaker doors

In the other kitchen, Nate aimed for a more intimate space centered around hosting guests and socializing. He used Semihandmade’s DIY Shaker doors to create a sleek, modern look. He painted the cabinets a cream color that matches the tile backsplashes and painted the island black to make it stand out even more as a conversation piece.

After such an amazing experience in 2015, we’re already gearing up for our biggest display ever in 2016. We’ll be back at Dwell on Design LA this summer and we’re going to fill our booth with new and exciting designs. We hope to see you there!

Our Brand New Video!

We couldn’t be happier with this new video just completed by the folks at Chibi Moku!

Shot over two days this past May, Joshua and Natsuko did an amazing job encapsulating exactly what we do – from design and material selection, to shots around the shop (sawdust included!) and our beautiful Burbank CA showroom, to finishing and finally packing all the parts for shipment.

Really the entire process that goes into getting you the hands-down best IKEA doors on the planet!


Semihandmade Showroom Update

It’s been a crazy summer so far with New York’s ICFF show at the end of May and Dwell on Design here in LA in June, but we finally managed to grab a few shots of our Semihandmade IKEA Door Showroom that opened this past Spring.

Located just minutes from the IKEA Burbank store in sunny Southern California, our hours are 10-8 every day, there’s plenty of street parking, and walk-ins are always welcome.  To get a feel for the place, and especially for our friends out-of-town, here’s a really cool virtual tour.

Semihandmade Burbank IKEA Door ShowroomTo say we’re thrilled to be open is an understatement.  The last four years have been a blast and a blur – challenge, fix, screw-up, breakthrough, milestone  It’s been exhilarating and exhausting and a few of us around here honestly don’t remember what it’s like to have full heads of hair (forget no gray!), but we wouldn’t trade it for anything.  We’re proudly on pace to complete 700 IKEA projects this year alone, and with our expansion in the last twelve months from just kitchens to include doors for IKEA bathrooms, closets and media systems, opening a location to put our one-of-a-kind products directly in front of you made perfect sense.  Really, when you think about it, there is no better way to experience and enjoy a truly “Semihandmade” home!

Semihandmade Blue OvenSetting-up the living areas was easy; we’ve done enough design and trade shows by now to understand good lay-out and flow.  As you can see from the photos, the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living room are all well represented.  We even made room for a coffee bar, kids’ area and workstations.

Semihandmade Flatsawn Teak Pax Closets Semihandmade Redo IKEA CabinetSemihandmade Burbank IKEA Door ShowroomEspecially fun was the fleshing out of the space.  We’ve made a lot of friends and been inspired at past shows, so from day-one the goal was to make this as collaborative an endeavor as possible.  Really, there’s no point in filling the showroom with only Semihandmade and IKEA stuff (you guys see it every day on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds).  Even we get sick of ourselves sometimes!

We’re happy to report that many of those same friends came up big, so over the next few weeks we’ll be highlighting each of them.  The list continues to grow, but for now it includes:

Modwalls (tile), Loll Designs (bar-stools), 33 Stewart Avenue (art), Savon Appliance (you guessed it, appliances!), Whyrhymer (lighting),Pretty Pegs (furniture legs) and Geos (counters).

Loll Barstools in Semihandmade ShowroomFirst up are these amazing bar stools from the gang over at Loll Designs.  We’ve long been fans of these guys – besides making incredibly stylish indoor/outdoor furniture out of one-hundred-percent recycled milk bottles, they’re hands-down the most fun booth at every design show we’ve ever done!

As it says on the website: “Barflies should be able to sit outside too and it might even help their complexion. This round topped modern bar stool is sturdy and will hold up to hours of posting up. Available in both bar height and counter height.”

Loll ChairFor more information on everything Loll, check out the website.  PS: they also happen to be the folks behind cutting board/utensil giants Epicurean!

Epicurean Cutting Board PhotoNext up… we’ll spotlight long-time supporters and pals Modwalls – Northern California-based and pretty much the last word on modern tile!

Modwalls Brio Stove

Dwell on Design 2014

Here’s a nice video re-cap of our Semihandmade IKEA Doors from this past June’s Dwell on Design show in Los Angeles.  This was our sixth year at the nation’s largest design event, and we couldn’t be happier with the results.

Semihandmade Plyboo Linear DoorsAbove is shot of our Plyboo Linear Line for IKEA cabinets that debuted at DOD.  Already featured in the LA Times, these one-of-a-kind doors were a huge hit and we are excited to launch them formally this Fall.  For more information on Smith and Fong’s amazing bamboo products, and for more Plyboo options to choose from for your IKEA project – kitchen, bathroom, closet or media cabinet – please click here.

For steady updates and photos, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Stay tuned for more details!



Why Buy An IKEA Kitchen?

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!