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You’re ready to press go on your kitchen reno: finishes are picked out, everything has been measured (twice!), and your fabricators are lined up. It’s finally time to place your order! Semihandmade fronts, included. To save yourself the headache of having to rework your plans, or even worse, change course after already ordering non-returnable materials, it’s important to know what pitfalls to watch out for and how to prepare accordingly.

As you might already know, the most important part of a renovation is planning — from your color palette to your plumbing and everything in between. Are the appliances and floor plan compatible? Are you considering the best materials for your needs? Often, having the advice of a seasoned reno veteran makes answering those questions easier. That’s why we consulted five Semihandmade experts to help you prep your order(s) like a pro. 

We called on Mike Toth of Inspired Kitchen Design, Wes Sisk of The Pacific Northwest’s Brave Element, and Sweeten certified specialists, Mike and Frank, to seamlessly plan your kitchen from design, to order, and install! We also tapped our very own Customer Experience Manager and Semihandmade Guru Ryan Rael, to guide you through how to plan and what to expect when ordering your Semihandmade kitchen. 


Panels to Power Outlets

Measuring is only half of the story. Think through all the features you may want — down to power outlet placement — and consider how you and your family will live and function in the space. Often, you can’t insert that dream appliance garage into your plans if you’ve already ordered materials. Ryan cautions, “If you start the ordering process and attempt to make multiple changes to your design, there is a good chance you will miss items or have too many.” The result? Longer wait times, a potential contractor reschedule, and additional costs. 

This is where our Create Your Cart service can come in handy. It’s a $99 service that acts as a deposit for your order where we take your IKEA plans and build the Semihandmade order for you, effectively taking away your ordering stress. We double and triple count drawer fronts and panels, and would never forget a toe kick.


Figure Out Feasibility

How you approach your floor plan is a huge predictor of time and money spent. Wes of Brave Element notes that bringing on a contractor for this preliminary step is essential. “If you are changing the footprint of your space, you’ll want a contractor to come discuss the feasibility of your vision.” Once you know what is actually possible, then you can bring in designers to bring everything to life. Brave Element offers everything from initial consultations and virtual design services to, if you are in the Seattle or Portland area, full installations. They are both an IKEA certified installer and a Semihandmade preferred partner! Two words: Full service.


Calculate Costs

Let’s get down to brass tacks. When it comes to budget, Mike of IKD notes, “On average, fully renovating a 10’×12’ kitchen typically costs around $26,000-$38,000. By contrast, a typical full IKEA kitchen renovation costs $13,500-$19,000.” Of course, that price point can be drastically lower depending on the size, finishes, and appliances used in your kitchen. We suggest keeping the one-third rule in mind, splitting costs evenly between your cabinetry, finishing touches (appliances, faucets, and countertops), and labor for installation. It’s also important to note that overlooked details can lead to lost time and money. Working with experts from the start can eliminate avoidable costs down the road. 

Wondering what your kitchen reno might cost? To find out how affordable your cabinets (including IKEA bases and Semihandmade doors) will be, check out our Cost Estimator Tool.

White kitchen with white stove


Photography by Stoffer Photography Interiors, design by and home of Sarah Sherman Samuel

Get To Know Your Materials

Taking a trip to IKEA, a Semihandmade showroom (yes, we’re open!), or visiting your appliances-to-be in person is the best way to envision your kitchen remodel. Mike and Frank of Sweeten believe seeing IKEA’s Sektion cabinet systems in person makes all the difference: “We really encourage the client to head to an IKEA showroom and check out the product to make sure it fits with their design aspirations.”

To visit Semihandmade in-person at one of our showrooms in Monrovia, CA, New York City, and Chicago, head book an appointment to see and feel samples today!


Dare to Get Digital

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic took design processes virtual, Brave Element and IKD were both offering remote design services for IKEA and Semihandmade kitchens. IKD offers a 360 immersive design service that takes your plans and produces high-resolution 360 renderings of everything from the material finish to spacing and dimension—all in about three days. “Using an IKEA design survey, basic room measurements, photos, walk through video, and inspiration images, we are able to create initial designs,” says Mike. Once they’ve carefully walked you through the design process and land on specs you’re happy with, they are also able to connect you with an IKEA certified installer!


Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

If you planned on taking on your renovation plans solo (good for you!), but decide you need help — have no fear! Wes from Brave Element suggests bringing in design firms at the beginning for the most seamless experience. “Semihandmade ordering is surely more straightforward [than custom cabinets], but getting that good shopping list at the beginning is key.” But he asserts that no matter where you are in the process, expert installers can always lend a helping hand, even if it’s to play a temporary role and steer you back in the right direction. 

Ryan from Team Semihandmade agrees, saying, “Ask your designer questions, ask us questions, ask your installer questions and most importantly ask yourself questions.”  The verdict: It’s best to be over-informed and over-prepared. 


Know Your Timeline

Ryan notes that, “One of the biggest challenges people face when planning their kitchen renovation process is not factoring in lead times. Remodeling is nuanced with many moving parts so timing can be critical.” Semihandmade lead times are typically between 3-5 weeks but we’re only part of the puzzle. You need to factor in IKEA itself, countertops, hardware, appliances, flooring, the list goes on—and in 2021, delays and lead times are continuing to increase as we feel the effects of a myriad of supply chain issues, thanks to the ongoing global pandemic. “Each of those items has its own production lead time and coordinating installs in the right order can be a nightmare without proper planning,” says Ryan.

Confused about the “order of operations” for a kitchen renovation install? We have you covered

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