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The ultimate design hack: This Bow Mar kitchen shows off flat-panel walnut cabinet doors with vertical grain matching and sleek chemical- and scratch-resistant faces in white and black. Courtesy of Daniel O'Connor

The Ultimate Kitchen-Design Hack

Budget-friendly gets beautiful, thanks to a Denver company's custom doors for IKEA cabinets.

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When Matt Dandurand bought a midcentury ranch in the coveted Applewood neighborhood in 2013, its ’50s-era kitchen was like a time capsule. “It was untouched”—and not in a charming way, Dandurand says. The cabinets were inefficient and “turning a faded orange-ish hue.” His heart was set on a custom kitchen, but his budget said otherwise—until a friend suggested he buy IKEA cabinets without doors or hardware and customize the fronts. “All of a sudden,” Dandurand says, “we were going to get what we wanted at a price we could afford. It was like a light bulb went off.”

The idea made Dandurand think he might not be the only one who would find budget-friendly dream kitchens desirable. So he teamed up with veteran furniture-makers Kyle Kwiatkowski and William Wolff to launch the Cabinet Face, which produces a line of customizable fronts, doors, and drawers that add stylish options to the standard IKEA offerings (think grain-matched wood and scratch-resistant laminates). “IKEA’s product has come a long way,” Kwiatkowski says. “Its cabinets are durable and have a 25-year warranty, and the versatile, modular systems fit in any style or size of space, from a studio apartment to a multimillion-dollar home.”

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For an additional fee, the Cabinet Face designers work with homeowners to create a plan that can be taken directly to IKEA and ordered. Dandurand’s company then builds the facades (choose from wood shaker, textured melamine, acrylic, or flat wood panel) and delivers them in approximately three to six weeks. The trio recently expanded its North Denver workshop to accommodate a showroom (open in October) where customers can experience the product before they buy. An affordable custom kitchen made right here in our own backyard? Yes, please.


Small Fixes

Give your kitchen a subtle facelift with these tips from local design pros.

Go Green. “Plants instantly add life and character to a space, and a hanging planter in front of a window is a great way to keep fresh herbs close at hand.” —Lee Mayer, CEO and co-founder of Havenly.com

Splurge On Hardware. “Updating your hardware from a knob to a pull, or a fun metal like a satin gold, will make your kitchen feel fresh and current.” —Katie Schroder, owner/designer, Atelier Interior Design

Light It Up. “Installing under-cabinet lighting can quickly add interest. Bring in an electrician or even buy from a hardware store and install yourself.” —Schroder

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Be Bold. “Make the greatest impact without a huge expense with paint! Painting your cabinets non-traditional kitchen colors, like deep grays or blues, is interesting and fun.” —Jennifer DesJardin, principal, Motif Design Solutions

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