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IKEA Kitchen Cabinets with Custom Doors from Scherrs

Update as of 10/2011 — I’m about to launch into another kitchen project and Scherrs now makes things really easy — you provide the IKEA box numbers and they take it from there.

I recently completed a kitchen renovation in which I used IKEA base cabinets and custom doors from Scherrs in North Dakota. The end result is stunning, and the prices compare favorable with an all-IKEA project. I’ve included a bunch of technical details below (and in the attached, but feel free to email if you have any additional questions.

Scherrs

The Scherrs web site has detailed information on a number of different styles of doors and possible woods. They also offer per square foot pricing in .pdf format for different doors styles and wood which can give you a ballpark sense of pricing for your project. They also offer stain/clear-coat, which is extra, and shipping is extra, of course, but reasonable, and the doors came extremely well packaged.

Materials and Features

I used select red alder for my cabinet doors, and chose a simple shaker style. The kitchen is not huge but has about 190 cubic feet of storage in total, which is quite a lot. The IKEA boxes and hardware cost about $2000; the doors, includind side pannels, shipping, etc. cost about $4500. A great value, I think, for an incredible result.

The Process

In order to get the custom doors made, I had to go to the IKEA show room and measure:

  • The exact sizes of the IKEA boxes for the different cabinets I had chosen;
  • The exact locations of the fixed interior shelves (for pantry cabinet styles);
  • The size of the IKEA doors (doors are not same size as boxes for a variety of reasons)
  • The boring locations for each door

This all took some running around, but I was able to locate each model by walking through a bunch of different displays with my tape measure. I had to go back several times because I didn’t know all the information I needed, but hope to spare you the effort but offering this list and explanation.

In working with Dea Herperger at Scherrs (a saleswoman extroadinaire), we adjusted some of the “tolerances” to arrive at door sizes that were somewhat different than those of the IKEA doors. Scherrs allows 1/8” for each door that opens and closes, rather than 3/16 at IKEA. And Scherrs allows doors/drawers to start 3/8” below counter, which I think it more than IKEA, and somewhat large in my estimation. I would adjust to 1/2” or even 3/16” for my next project.

I had Scherrs bore the holes for the hinges because my carpenter was reluctant to do this himself. I sent Scherrs a sample of an IKEA door and a hinge so they could see how the doors are bored, and then I gave Dea measurements for boring locations on the doors. This was tricky. First, it’s tricky to measure. And second, my doors are slightly different sizes than the IKEA doors. I think, though, that minor problems that I encountered with boring locations (see spreadsheet, link above) can be sorted out with a close evaluation of how each door fits on each cabinet. For example, 39” wall cabinets are really 39 1/8”. The doors, which we made to be 39” high (Dea at Scherrs explained that, for some reason, it should end slightly before the top b/e you look at it from below). So this door would be flush with the bottom of the cabinet but start just below the top of the cabinet. As a result, the bore hore for the bottom hinge would be farther away from the bottom edge of the door than the bore hole for the top hinge would be from the top edge of the door. The IKEA cabinets themselves had small holes (for attaching the hinge) at, I think, equal intervals (Dea refers to this as the something-millimeter system), so using this information it should be possible to figure out exactly where you bore holes should go.

Additional Notes

  • The drawback to the IKEA products is that they have a limited number of sizes and sizes (compared to, say, the Kraftmaid line at Home Depot). It would have been nice if IKEA has some 6” base cabinets, or some end cabinets that were not open. We worked around these things. In one case, I bought two 6” base cabinets from Miller’s Pride (available special order from Home Depot), had my carpenter, John, make some adjustments (they were 1/4” shorter than the IKEA) and then I got Scherrs doors made for these. He just drilled the holes for the hinges in the cabinet where they needed to be and that worked.
  • I waited to order side pannels until all of my cabinets were installed and until the doors were on, because I wanted to take exact measurements on site. This added about 3 weeks to an otherwise very short/tight time line. Scherrs finishes the filler for you, so it’s better to have exact measurements, though limited cutting can be done on site and not show up. Also, side pannel sizes can be unpredictable given irregularities in walls and floors, so better to do these after installation, as we did, order to the largest dimension, and trim down on site.
  • Note that the IKEA toe kicks only come in limited heights (not high enough for my purpose) and attach with a special clip to the Akurum legs. The toe kick itself has a routed line in the back to help it attach to the clip. John had the great idea to make toe kicks from the wood that we used for the flooring and which is quite close in color and grain to the cabinets. They came out beautifully. John had to build a backing for the toe kicks since they didn’t have the special routed groove in back.

Pictures from most recent project (May 2012)

These pics includes detailed pics of doors/drawers so that you can see how they cover the cabinet faces.

10 comments

  1. Sandra

    Hi – Regarding the end panels, did you order them wider to compensate for uneven walls and trimmed to fit onsite? If yes, did you trim to fit before or after the cabinet doors were finished?

    • Hi Sandra — I didn’t order them wider but this is a good point. We finished our doors onsite (for the most recent project) though I would recommend having Scherrs do it because it’s less expensive and a better job(!) Hope this helps, and good luck with your project!

  2. Lisa

    Love all of the info you have provided. Thank you. I am thinking about using the Ikea boxes with custom doors for a mudroom/laundroom project. I would stain the doors a dark color and I am concerned that the frames would be visible even with a full overlay. ie. you could see the birch or white Ikea cabinet underneath. I do not see this in your kitchen pictures at all though. Do they fit that well so that you can not see the frame?

    • rlburger

      Hi Lisa — Best of luck with your project. They fit VERY well, with the possible exception of the corner cabs, where you can see a sliver of the underyling cabinet. I’ve added some pictures of our current kitchen above (the latest project) so you can have a look. We have birch base cabs and oak doors and you really don’t see it, but with a dark stain you might. You might just want to stain/paint that sliver of base cabinet to match your stain. And of course you’ll want to use side panels to cover up the birch on the sides (also pictured). Let me know if you have any other questions. — Rachael

  3. Kathryn Winslow

    Can you tell me in more detail about the special backing John made for the back of your custom toe kicks? We are mid-reno and have our Ikea cabinets set at the highest height and must do custom toe kicks. Would so appreciate any hints!

    • rlburger

      Hi Kathryn — As I recall, John just put together a backing for the tow kicks out of 2 X 4s . . . then used extra flooring materials for the tow kicks themselves (it was 5” flooring). On our recent project, we just used some extra (white) baseboard (though I think it’s nicer when the toe kicks match the cab/flooring and not sure how they affixed that time. Hope this helps, and best of luck with your project! — Rachael

  4. Pingback: Building and Renovation Resources | wordaroundtown.com
  5. shannon

    i dont see your link to the spreedsheet we gave done this too. we are having problems with the drawer fronts. i don’t want to have to go buy one to get hte hole dims. do you have them? did you just measure displays for them too.?
    thx

  6. Jeff

    Hi – I can’t seem to access the flickr pictures… am thinking of going the same route and would love to see the results. Thanks!

    Jeff

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