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Kitchen of the Week: A Design Couple’s Ikea-with-a-Twist Kitchen in Connecticut

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Kitchen of the Week: A Design Couple’s Ikea-with-a-Twist Kitchen in Connecticut

June 25, 2020

We recently dropped in on New Yorkers Charlie and Kevin Dumais at their country workshop in Bantam, Connecticut, where Charlie, a lighting designer, makes their ceramic lamp line, and Kevin runs his interiors business: see Studio Visit with Dumais Made. Today, we’re following the couple to their nearby home in Litchfield to take a look at their Ikea-with-a-twist kitchen.

Over the last few years we’ve spotlighted a lot of inspired kitchen remodels built on an Ikea foundation upgraded with custom cabinet fronts. In Europe there are countless versions to choose from. But US companies have been slower to catch on: Semihandmade, which Kevin and Charlie worked with, is one of the first. And has been growing: back in 2015 when we featured designer Sarah Sherman Samuels’ Semihandmade Kitchen Remodel, it had a single showroom in LA. Semihandmade has since opened outposts in NYC, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Palm Springs. Working on a tight budget—and doing much of the work themselves on weekends—the Dumais duo were able to install a 150-square-foot, modern-rustic kitchen from affordable off-the-rack parts. The results, if you ask us, are far from cookie cutter.

Photography by Kevin Dumais, unless noted

after marrying in \20\14, kevin and charlie began house hunting and ultimately  9
Above: After marrying in 2014, Kevin and Charlie began house hunting and ultimately fell for a newly shored-up 1941 Cape Cod cottage, where they spend half the week (they also have a small apartment in NYC). They didn’t have to worry about installing new systems but wanted to rethink the dark kitchen: “laminate mock cherry and beige granite,” says Kevin.

They sent the existing cabinets, counters, and outsized appliances off to be repurposed: their floor installer/refinisher took them for a personal project as a barter for replacing the kitchen’s floor tile with ebonized oak that matches the adjoining dining room. “For additional spatial continuity, the wall separating the kitchen and the dining room was knocked down [see below] and the appliances were reoriented to create a U-shaped layout with central work table,” explains Kevin. Photograph by Eric Piasecki.

&#8\2\20;to help keep our renovation costs at a minimum, we used ikea for t 10
Above: “To help keep our renovation costs at a minimum, we used Ikea for the cabinet interiors and added plain front doors, drawers, and side panels from Semihandmade,” says Kevin.”We ordered them unfinished so we could paint them—they’re in Sag Harbor Gray from Benjamin Moore, which we also used on the trim and doors. Ironically, as soon as we finished our project, Semihandmade updated their finishes and came out with a color eerily similar to ours.”

Kevin first worked with Semihandmade on a small project for a client and reports he was very happy with the design and quality.

the splurge: to add nuance and texture, the counters are calacatta tucci marble 11
Above: The splurge: to add nuance and texture, the counters are Calacatta Tucci marble from Stone Source and the back and entry wall have whitewashed V-groove pine paneling Charlie installed himself.

The undermount black sink is from Elkay and the faucet is by Kohler.

the most used drawers: &#8\2\20;just make sure you tell guests about the se 12
Above: The most-used drawers: “Just make sure you tell guests about the secret top drawer if they’re using the house while you’re away,” says Kevin. “There was almost a meltdown over a wine key.”
the open shelves on the back wall are made of reclaimed oak barn boards and pai 13
Above: The open shelves on the back wall are made of reclaimed oak barn boards and painted Ikea Ekby Valter birch brackets, $5 each. Note the brass light-switch plate from House of Antique Hardware: a simple detail that makes a difference.
the stove is a bosch with an under cabinet vent. the ellis wood cabinet pulls,  14
Above: The stove is a Bosch with an under-cabinet vent. The Ellis Wood Cabinet Pulls, $22.49 from House of Antique Hardware, were chosen because “they have a scale that’s comfortable in the hand and we like the Scandinavian aesthetic of oak against painted cabinets.”
when a quote for the kitchen work table came in as unaffordable, charlie built  15
Above: When a quote for the kitchen work table came in as unaffordable, Charlie built the island himself: “Luckily our slab of marble for the counter was large enough that we could template a perfect square to use on top,” says Kevin. The base is painted Benjamin Moore Essex Green.

The fridge, neatly fitted into the cabinetry, is a Blomberg. Charlie made the surface-mounted brass ceiling fixtures as “retrofits that plug into the existing recessed lighting,” he says. The globe light is from Restoration Hardware and the fixture over the sink is a School House Electric design. Photograph by Allegra Anderson.

the dining area is now open to the kitchen. it has a farmhouse table newly pain 16
Above: The dining area is now open to the kitchen. It has a farmhouse table newly painted a high-gloss white. The walls throughout are Benjamin Moore White Heron and the windows are original. The couple bought their pair of Piet Boon display cabinets on Chairish. Photograph by Allegra Anderson.
the console table, another homemade piece, serves as a catchall as the couple c 17
Above: The console table, another homemade piece, serves as a catchall as the couple come and go from the side door. Charlie used butcher block salvaged from his childhood home; the legs are industrial piping painted in Benjamin Moore White Dove enamel.
charlie (l) and keven (r) in the breezeway that links the kitchen door to the g 18
Above: Charlie (L) and Keven (R) in the breezeway that links the kitchen door to the garage that they converted into Charlie’s tool shop. Photograph by Eric Piasecki.

More Ikea kitchen inspiration:

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