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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Scherr's Versus Semihandmade White Shaker Doors That Fit IKEA Sektion Cabinets


There's a growing trend in homeowners choosing IKEA cabinet boxes and organizational inserts but sourcing their doors elsewhere, and it's dominating Houzz discussion boards lately. If you're looking for doors made to fit, with the bored holes for IKEA's European style concealed hinges already carved out and ready to go, there are several companies providing custom doors for IKEA. I've looked at all of them, and with samples in, I'm proclaiming the winner in the category of already-painted white Shaker is Scherr's. Here's why.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Free Kitchen Design Apps to Make Your Floor Plans, Mood Board, and Renderings


As your kitchen plan comes together and you start speaking with vendors and interviewing contractors, it's really helpful to have something to show them that's more than just a collection of inspirational photos you saved on Houzz or Pinterest. Contractors, especially, can get overwhelmed by too many photos. So, I like to boil it down to just one inspirational photo, floor plans, and a drawing — and I keep them on me at all times, just a click away on my phone or in dropbox. It's not difficult, and a lot of the apps you need are free. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

What Lenders Look for in a Renovation Appraisal


This kitchen renovation, for so long just a gleam in my iPad, is becoming a reality, and that's exciting. I'll be paying for a good deal of it out of pocket, but I'll need to borrow additional funds. Let's take a look at the number-one thing a lender looks for to approve renovation financing: Will the current value of the home support the current mortgage loan amount plus the renovation amount you want to borrow.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Financing and Return on Investment for a Major Kitchen Renovation

Via Berkshire Green
The kitchen renovation I've been dreaming of has finally arrived, and I'll be paying for a good deal of it out of pocket. But adding up cost estimates so far for cabinets, countertops, and appliances, I can see I'll need additional funds. Financing a renovation isn't a topic many home blogs cover, so I thought I'd share my discovery process. Let's take a look at the cost of a major kitchen renovation and the estimated return on investment (ROI).

Saturday, January 27, 2018

IKEA Kitchens: Planning Your SEKTION Cabinet Organizers

Via IKEA
When you're planning your kitchen, don't stop at the exterior design. It's helpful to sketch out exactly what you'll be storing in each cabinet. It's a tedious mental exercise that you'll be tempted to put off until after installation, but that would be a mistake. Planning the interior organization will help you anticipate your family's needs and design a kitchen that fits the way you really live. Here are some things that I changed my mind about that would have been expensive mistakes to correct.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Can You Open a Wall in a NYC Co-op Renovation?

Via Fontan Architecture
Our renovation has hit the wall — figuratively speaking. I've been in a holding pattern these past weeks, uncertain of how to move forward. Every step seems to bring me back to this wall that separates our kitchen from the living room. Scary stories about co-op renovations abound, from restrictive board rules to labyrinthian city permit processes to costly paid expediters, and the like. It's enough to put off even a seasoned renovator. But finally I see my way clear. Yes, you CAN open a wall in a New York City co-op building, with just a few mitigating factors.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Why I'm Minimizing the Range Hood in My New Kitchen

Via Houzz
Is it just me, or have range hoods gone over the top? Sometimes it seems as though a Rolls Royce has been parked in the kitchen. Granted, if I lived in a manor house, I'd probably be coveting a custom steel hood like this, that puts Cornue to shame. (I certainly love that cut marble backsplash.) But here in New York City, co-op living prevents most homeowners from venting our range hoods to the outside, and this brings things into a sharp new perspective, where range hoods stand on their design merits alone. Here's a look at what I see.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fixer Upper Friday: 2BR Convertible to 3BR for $525k in The Plymouth in Jackson Heights

Via StreetEasy
This week I profile a Fixer Upper extraordinaire. This home at 35-20 82nd Street, #41, has an unusually flexible floor plan that could allow an owner to add both a third bedroom and a second bath. As 3BR/2BA homes in this Jackson Heights neighborhood are going for upwards of $850k, there's about $300k of instant equity on the line for some lucky buyer, and that could fund a pretty swell renovation. Let's take a look.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

My Visit to the Semihandmade Showroom in NYC


Having decided to go with statuary marble for the backsplash, the rest of the kitchen design fell quickly into place. To keep this renovation budget in line, I hope to make IKEA cabinets work for me. As I really dislike IKEA cabinet doors, this will require sourcing custom doors to fit IKEA cabinets. First up: A visit to Semihandmade in NYC.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Classic White Shaker + Marble Kitchen


I met today with the good folks at Semihandmade. This company makes door fronts that fit IKEA cabinets — they even drill holes for the hinges. So brilliant! Now I can go with affordable IKEA cabinet boxes, with their cleverly designed interior fittings that I love, but I have a better option when it comes to the door fronts. I can even get real wood shaker fronts, so I'm not locked into ultra modern slab fronts if I want to use IKEA. After seeing the Semihandmade doors, I think I've made my decision.