Kitchen Design


December 11, 2013 by stpaulhaus

My biggest inspiration is this very lovely craftsman style kitchen by Design Manifest


and this kitchen featured in TOH Magazine: tohkitchen

Just lovely. I saw these photos and immediately thought they read my mind. The mix of stained and painted shaker style cabinetry, the hardwood floors, white subway tile backsplash, crown molding, and oil-rubbed bronze hardware–all things I wanted in my kitchen.

The Layout: (Thanks to IKEA’s really terrible but slightly helpful software. Please take with a grain of salt and note that the exhaust hood will actually go all the way up to the ceiling in real life…stupid software)

overhead view…


elevation looking west…


elevation looking north…


elevation looking east…


Elevation looking south…


3D elevation looking north…


3D elevation looking southwest…


3D elevation looking west…



After quite a bit of research including scouring the internet with reviews from people that have owned and lived with these kitchens for a long time we decided to go with IKEA cabinet boxes.  GASP!  I know. The particleboard breeding place–but hear me out…


The crappy bookshelves you used at your first apartment are much different than these kitchen products.  The hardware is impressive. Full extension drawers, soft close heavy duty hinges, they can handle the weight of deep drawers with no problem. There are warranties on everything. To be able to get those features from other cabinetry lines it would cost an arm and a leg.  Most cabinet lines have different categories and price points and you have to pay to upgrade the box material.  We found that the IKEA boxes were actually nicer looking and feeling than the cheapest options on some of the cabinet lines carried at the big box stores (which by the way are also made from particle board). For the price, you just cannot beat these things. We also have to remember that we do not live in a million dollar home that needs top of the line everything.  We would never get our money back if we spent 25k on cabinets.

As good as the prices at IKEA are, we were not able to find a door style that we liked which is why the layout drawings do not have any doors on them. Enter these lovely shaker style cabinet doors from Scherr’s in Minot North Dakota:

409Door Style 409 540Drawer Style 540

We went with a door very similar to the ones in the first inspiration photo. Scherr’s makes custom doors and drawer fronts that fit onto IKEA boxes.  The ordering process was extremely easy. I emailed them the cabinet numbers from the Akurum catalog and they did the rest.  They are even boring the holes for the hardware too. The uppers will be paint-grade poplar and the lowers will be select quarter-sawn white oak.  I know what you are thinks: Oak??  Yikes.  Again, hear we out on this. The quarter-sawn oak is soooo much better than the plain sawn oak of the 1980s. Here as a cool diagram I found that explains oak: Sawn-Lumber

(source here)

The rays and flecks are so pretty. QS oak was very popular in craftsman style architecture and furniture so it was a clear choice for us.


Example of a pretty quarter-sawn white oak door (not the one we picked out and not from Scherr’s but you could get it here from the Amish. Thank you Amish.).

Of course, you have to pay more for materials this pretty. Scherr’s also offers custom painting or clear finishes, but to save on costs we ordered them unfinished.  The finishing would cost about the same the doors themselves, and I just can’t fathom paying that much when I could do it myself for about 20 times cheaper. It won’t be any cheaper than getting doors at IKEA and they will be more work, but at least we will be getting exactly what we want for pretty much the same price.


I knew I wanted either black or white quartz, butcher block, or soapstone countertops in our kitchen.  I knew any of those would look like they “fit” but I just wasn’t sure which one I wanted.  After many, many hours searching through photos I decided on a mostly white countertop. In fact, I was really hoping for this quartz countertop from Cambria:


Gorgeous right?!

buuuut…with a near $5k quote for our kitchen we decided it really wasn’t worth the price tag.  We also looked at a similar mostly white countertop by Silestone but it ended up being the same price as the Cambria at $89/sqft (measured/template/installed).  I knew I didn’t want granite but I humored myself and got a quote for a mostly white granite as well and it actually came out about $250 cheaper than the quartz. Knowing that Menard’s carries a small selection of quartz, we decided to have a looksee and we were pleasantly surprised to find they had a 20% off sale going on and it was the last day.  They have probably 20 different color options at different price points.  We liked this one:


The gentleman that was assisting us related that the white color that we picked out, Cotton, has never been on sale for as cheap as it was ever—I don’t know if that is true but I don’t care. I’ll take it at $37/sqft. Also, menards just recently started carrying butcher block slabs (on sale right now) and I have to say I am pretty impressed with the quality, especially for the price. They are birch and come in a couple different lengths and widths. We decided it would be nice to have a bit of the block in the kitchen to keep the countertop costs down. The slab will go to the left of the sink and will have a cutout for the induction cooktop. menardsbutcherblock

Of course IKEA has butcher block at a reasonable price but I’m not really too impressed with it and it comes pre-oiled which means you have to sand down the whole thing to be able to apply any stain or other finish to it.

Sink and Faucet:


This double bowl sink from IKEA was a clear choice for us.  At was less than 1/2 the cost of any of the other farmhouse sinks I looked it.  The only thing I didn’t like was the single faucet hole–it wasn’t a deal breaker but we were limited in our faucet options because of it.   We decided to go with this one that has a pull-out sprayer:


Simple but pretty.



Oh of course I had to go with the ceramic white subway tile with light gray grout. I loved it so much at our last house I have to use it again.  Also, you just can’t beat the price at .19 cent each. We plan to tile any bit of wall that isn’t covered by cabinets on the south wall.  This will run behind the exhaust hood which I think will make a really nice focal point.  Additionally, all the traditional backsplash space along the west wall will be tiled.  I am still giving serious consideration of tiling everything above the chair rail on all the walls but that is a really big design commitment (and time commitment) and I am not sure I can do it.



Hardwood Muthafa.

We did give a fair amount of thought to doing the floors ourselves, however, this is just not something we are feeling we want to take on right now.   If you remember I refinished the floors in the guest bedroom at our old place so I do have some experience with it, but it will take the pros 3 days to do what would take me 2 weeks.

We will be doing 1 1/2in maple floors with amber water-borne finish.  Normally, I would not pick a waterborne finish because the oil based finish is more appropriate for a old home and it has a nice natural looking amber hue.  However, oil is smelly and it takes longer to dry so we are going with a waterbourn finish with an amber colorant.  We really want the floors to blend in well with the other floors in the home.


All from IKEA. The 20% off and a 5yr warranty sealed the deal. The one thing in the kitchen Adrian was adamant about was the induction cooktop: nutid-induction-cooktop

We fancy.

Sadly, we will have to purchase new pots and pans that are compatible with the cooktop (they must be magnetic to work), but I’m not too upset over losing our cheap, 6+ yr old set. And I really liked the counter-depth fridge and the panel-ready dishwasher: datid-refrigerator-freezer renlig-integrated-dishwasher

I really didn’t want to loose those extra 5 inches a normal sized fridge would take up in our small kitchen, and I thought it would be a treat to have the dishwasher disappear into the cabinetry. I would do it for the fridge too if it wasn’t so expensive to do so. The hood and oven we picked out together: datid-exhaust-hood datid-oven


knobcup_pull BOOM! ORB cup pulls and oval knobs for $1 each. I was pretty lucky to score these babies when I did since the cup pulls are no longer on clearance for $1 and are back to their regular price of $7.79!  The knobs are still on clearance (in store only) right now, but I have to warn you that I may have something to do with the Midway store being out of stock :).  I saw the exact same knobs on the Rockler website today for $10 each.  I love a deal.

Lighting: We don’t have anything picked out yet, but I would like to find something that matches the rest of the house.  There is an antique dealer in St. Paul that has a ton of old light fixtures I am planning on checking out soon. DSC_0711 We will also put in some undercabinet lighting as well, just as we did at our previous house.

Blinds: DSC_0403 …but I think I may go with something a little softer and colorful like this ikat roman shade:


…or perhaps something even simpler like this tailored lambrequin: curtains

I don’t know what I will end up with, but I do know that anything would be an improvement on this: DSC_0621


OMG, really. It is much too early to have nailed down any specific paint colors.  I just know I want white upper cabinets and white trim. The walls will probably also be a shade of white/off-white/ivory/cream etc.  My head nearly exploded yesterday when I started searching for white paint colors.

Just for fun here is the before photo to refresh your memory:


2 thoughts on “Kitchen Design

  1. Lory says:

    Fascinating. Beautiful. Impressive.

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