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Now more than ever, your home should be your sanctuary. A place you want to be, no matter what’s going on outside of those four walls. And that’s exactly what Sebastian Kim created for his family. 

When his entire duplex flooded due to a burst pipe in the building, the celebrity photographer made lemonade out of lemons and used the opportunity to redo his entire unit. 

Though the kitchen wasn’t damaged in the flood, all of the floors in the apartment needed to be replaced, so he decided to bite the bullet and include the space in the project. “The apartment used to be a rental I never intended to live in,” Kim says. “I had at least five different tenants, so [the unit] was quite beat up by the time I moved in.” 

Photography by Nick Glimenakis; Styled by Kristi Hunter

The kitchen, though livable, wasn’t functional enough for Kim and his children. It lacked the storage they needed, and because of that, the space looked cluttered—a direct contrast to Kim’s more minimalistic style. Not to mention, the aesthetic didn’t match his own. 

“Having the opportunity to design a space made me think about what I liked,” he says. “And I realized I’ve always leaned towards minimal Scandinavian.” But he knew he didn’t want the design to be too modern.

In the beginning stages of design, Kim set out to find the perfect cabinets. But they didn’t seem to exist—custom options were beyond his budget and less expensive options had unreasonably long lead times due to supply chain issues caused by COVID. But then Kim discovered BOXI cabinets

Peppercorn Edge was the perfect match for the all-black kitchen he envisioned, as they fit his budget, and the lead times were reasonable.

For simplicity, Kim worked within the existing footprint of the kitchen, but simply expanded the cabinets and the island to suit his storage needs. With the extra cabinetry, he now has ample room for everything, including small appliances that used to sit out on the countertops. 

Beyond function, the kitchen is just what Kim hoped for aesthetically. The black countertops with the waterfall island and matte black and stainless steel appliances perfectly contrast the bright white walls, the light floors, and the big, airy windows, creating a sleek and masculine room that’s perfectly balanced. 

He calls the space his home’s “statement piece.” In the kitchen, “my whole mood changes,” he says. “My house no longer feels like somewhere I want to get away from. My kids and I have embraced this minimal and modern lifestyle. It’s been a great opportunity to figure out my sanctuary.” 

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Renovation

We don’t believe that renovations should be daunting. The key is to arm yourself with the right knowledge, people, and products to achieve your goals. It also helps to ask the right questions: How much does it cost to renovate a kitchen? How do I find the right general contractor in my area? Where do I even start if I’ve never remodeled before? This is where we come in. Through hard-to-believe before and afters, first-person renovation accounts, and step-by-step DIY projects, we demystify every aspect of remodeling and give you a ton of full-house, bathroom, and kitchen renovation ideas. Semihandmade was built on a strong make-it-yourself spirit and we’re carrying that legacy beyond DIY kitchen cabinets (though we’ll certainly touch on those too) by bringing you a ton of weekend projects for novices (have you ever tried making your own planter?) and experts (try your hand at a full-wall media center). What do people really mean when they say a house has “good bones”? Before and after projects show first-hand what’s possible in a transformative remodel. How do you make the most of a narrow galley? Should you swap your upper cabinets for floating shelves? What would it look like if you opened up your small kitchen? Renovation ideas abound in our spotlighted projects. A lot goes into a kitchen renovation, but it’s usually hard to tell from a beautiful “after” shot. Our monthly series “Island Hopping” is about getting a behind-the-scenes account of what the process is like through honest conversations—you know, the kind that typically take place around a kitchen island. We’ll chat with designers, homeowners, and architects about their projects, hoping to peel back the curtain on picture-perfect spaces.