The “Before” Kitchen

Our clients for this kitchen installation were a married couple in Brooklyn looking to transform their charming but dated kitchen into a warm, stylish, and functional space.
Notice just how many doors are crowding the upper cabinets! Our clients wanted to balance their need for storage with a desire for some display space that would add visual interest, and break up the monotony of an all-cabinet kitchen. More about the cabinet installation in a bit…
First, let us show you how the layers of this 30+ year kitchen were peeled back, revealing some unexpected surprises.

Things Got Ugly Before They Got Beautiful

After moving the fridge and removing some cabinets, we discovered that the kitchen was painted fire engine red at some point!
The floor pictured here was what was revealed when that whimsical canvas (painted by the previous homeowner!) was removed. There would be another layer to discover just underneath…

What’s Underneath the Floor?

Beneath the drab-grey linoleum, an “historic” floor lay in hiding. The building dates back to the early 1930s, so this floor certainly predated the 80s renovation that gave us the kitchen you saw above.

This is Beginning to Look Like an Archaeological Dig!

Behind a square metal door in the wall that we suspected led to the ventilation system, we discovered some historical artifacts: a Blimpie’s cup and a business card for the maker of the little door. In the spirit of creating time capsules, the homeowners decided to leave a few momentos of their own…ask us about it 🙂
We digress…let’s see how this kitchen installation turned out!

Here we are!

The two-tone cabinet doors are in Semihandmade’s “Supermatte Shaker” style, and work well in both traditional and modern kitchens. The upper doors are in  White, while the lower ones are Agave. (Semihandmade updates and expands their product line from time to time, so the product names might appear different on their site when you are browsing.)
No one will know that the cabinets behind these gorgeous doors are from IKEA, but our clients will enjoy their durability, functionality, and soft-close hinges for years to come.

What We Love

Installing these cabinets up near the ceiling instantly lifts the eye, making a modest size kitchen appear lighter and more spacious. It also clears room for that backsplash you’ve been craving. Our clients ordered half a dozen tile samples but ultimately opted for a double coat of Benjamin Moore’s “Early Sunset” in semi-gloss from the Aura line: The buttery smooth wash of color with just a hint of peachy-pink dynamically changes with the light of day, appearing almost white if it’s overcast and edging toward a warm blush-y hue on a late afternoon transitioning to dusk.

The cabinet doors are accented by polished bronze knobs from Yesterhome: While brass hardware is ubiquitous in today’s kitchen renovations, and copper can often lean toward a rose gold hue not everyone favors, bronze was the stand-out choice for our clients. These knobs will naturally age over time, their patina gently changing to reflect the years of loving use.

The key to achieving a polished, high-end look in your kitchen installation lies in cabinet customization and paneling. Our team at Ultra Assembly excels at cutting and customizing IKEA cabinets so they align perfectly along your walls, and fit snugly around your appliances. It’s the difference between a streamlined, visually pleasing look and a dated kitchen with jutting cabinets and poor use of space. The paneling encasing the cabinets and the Bosch dishwasher offers a finished, “built-in” effect.


To achieve airiness in their kitchen design, our clients opted for open shelving in lieu of cabinets above the sink. Using the same hickory wood from which the counters were made, we cut and installed these two floating shelves that now display the couple’s ceramic planters and other decorative pieces. Shout-out to Ohio-based Hardwood Lumber Company for the beautiful job they did with the counters: The shelf brackets were handcrafted by SolForge, a self-described “Modern Smithy” with an Etsy shop worthy of a repeat visit:


The Moment of Truth (i.e., What’s It Gonna Cost Me?)


The amount of customization required will play a role in determining the cost of your kitchen installation. Before starting any project, the Ultra Assembly team can meet with you and take measurements. This will help ensure your IKEA cabinet and Semihandmade door orders are accurate, and avoid costly surprises later.


The kitchen installation profiled here involved customization for roughly 40% of the cabinets. The clients paid under $2,000 for the IKEA cabinets and under $4,000 for the Semihandmade doors — labor costs not included. Semihandmade charges more for custom sizes, but if you happen to place your order when they’re having a promotion, you can defray the costs like our clients did. Check their site often in the months leading up to your kitchen installation start date!


We hope this kitchen installation journey was both fun and informative. Our Ultra Assembly team are truly the experts when it comes to kitchen overhauls, and we love to help transform our clients’ kitchens into their favorite space in the home. Whether you’re ready to start tomorrow or are just beginning to plan your kitchen installation, call or email us to see how we can help.

The Bells and Whistles

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