Kitchen of the Week: A Design Couples Own Ikea-Hack Country Kitchen in Connecticut


We recently dropped in on New Yorkers Charlie and Kevin Dumais at their country workshop in Bantam, Connecticut, where Kevin, a lighting designer, makes their ceramic lamp line, and Charlie runs his interiors business: see Studio Visit with Dumais Made. Today, were 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, weve 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 budgetand doing much of the work themselves during weekendsthe Dumais duo were able to install a 150-square-foot, modern-rustic kitchen from affordable off-the-rack parts. The results are sunny, well-0rganized, and, if you ask us, are far from cookie cutter.

Photography by Kevin Dumais, unless noted

Dumais kitchen Litchfield, CT. Eric Piasecki photo. 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 didnt 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 reused: their floor installer/refinisher took them for a personal project as a barter for replacing the kitchens 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, says Kevin. Photograph by Eric Piasecki.

Dumais kitchen Litchfield, CT, counter detail. 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 themtheyre in Sag Harbor Gray from Benjamin Moore, which we also used on the trim and doors. Ironically, as soon as we finished our project, Semihandmadeupdated 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.

Dumais kitchen Litchfield, CT, counter detail. 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.

Dumais kitchen Litchfield, CT, counter detail. Above:The Ellis Wood Cabinet Pulls, $22.49, from House of Antique Hardware, were chosen because they have a scale thats comfortable in the hand and we like the Scandinavian aesthetic of oak against painted cabinets. Dumais kitchen Litchfield, CT, cutlery drawer. Above: The most-used drawers: Just make sure you tell guests about the secret top drawer if theyre using the house while youre away, says Kevin. There was almost a meltdown over a wine key. Dumais kitchen Litchfield, CT, shelf detail. Above: The open shelveson 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 Hardmare: a simple detail that makes a difference. Dumais kitchen Litchfield, CT, stove elevation. Above: The stove is a Bosch with an under-cabinet vent. Charlie, who The master bedroom is right down the hall. Dumais kitchen Litchfield, CT. Allegra Anderson photo. Above: When a quote for the kitchen work table came in as unaffordable, Charlie made the island himself: Luckilyour 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.

Their 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: recessed lighting didnt feel right for the age of the house or the simple charm of the Cape-style architecture, 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.

Dumais dining room and kitchen, Litchfield, CT. Allegra Anderson photo. 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. Dumais kitchen Litchfield, CT, entry. Above: Theconsole table serves as a catchall as the couple come and go from the side door. Charlie built the table using butcher block salvaged from his childhood home; the legs are industrial piping painted in Benjamin Moore White Dove enamel. Kevin and Charlie Dumais at home, Litchfield, CT. Charlie (L) and Keven (R) in the breezeway that links the kitchen door to the garage that they converted into Charlies tool shop. Photograph by Eric Piasecki.

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