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From touring musician to cabinet installer, Wesley Sisk has had quite the career. He began installing garage cabinets and closets as a kid with his dad, and in 2011, got his first IKEA job throughout Craigslist. 

“I turned out that it was for installing kitchens,” he says. “I immediately fell in love with it. It came naturally.” Then, IKEA had the Akurum system, which was later replaced by Sektion. 

By 2017, Sisk worked for Traemand, a company owned by IKEA, and became a lead installer. He moved from San Diego to Seattle to expand the market yet was met with challenges when it came to installations. “There are limitations of what IKEA will let you do with their products,” he says. “They don’t allow IKEA hacks to keep it under warranty or full-service ordering.”

Solutions For All

“I’m solution-based to a fault,” Sisk says. During his experiences, he was learning how to be a better business owner. His first Semihandmade install using Night Sky doors was what led him to go off on his own. “The client encouraged me, although I had no business experience,” he says. Brave Element was born and he quickly became known as the lead Semihandmade installer and designer in the Pacific Northwest. His current favorite Semihandmade fronts include Tahoe, Supermatte Agave Slab, Supermatte Black Slab, Walnut, and Moss in Quarterline

Midcentury Client

For a recent kitchen project for a Seattle homeowner, Brave Element designer Beck Pierce created a u-shaped walnut midcentury kitchen. “The homeowner, Courtney, already knew exactly what she wanted,” he says. Her home, a lake house on Matthews Beach, has a midcentury feel throughout

Clever Fixes

Brave Element designed the kitchen based off the space, but the client’s general contractor built out the walls thicker than expected. “The room is six inches smaller than it used to be,” he says. “Right off the bat, we edge-banded, re-drilled, and rush ordered a Rev-a-Shelf pullout for the blind corner,” he says. 

On the other side, the trash pullout was taken from 18 inches to 15, and Sisk was able to find a timely solution due to Brave Element’s warehouse. “At the beginning of the pandemic, we started storing IKEA items,” he says which vastly cuts down on wait time and costs. 

A final hack was building a microwave cubby out of paneling. It not only fits appliances well, but there is room for book storage. “It’s a difficult thing to do the right way and make perfect,” Sisk says.

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Island Hopping

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.