Installation of an IKEA Closet Using Sektion

After fabricating retro grasscloth closet doors in other parts of the house, we still needed to tackle the kids hallway closets. This time we sought out additional functionality and turned to the trusty 'ol Swedish retailer, IKEA, for a sleek custom closet. By using the Sektion system of cabinets, typically used for kitchens, we were able to customize cabinet sizes, source modular components and modern finishes to fit our 60" wide closet space.

Steps to Install IKEA Sektion Cabinets

  1. Planned out our closet system using the [frustratingly buggy] IKEA software.
  2. Ordered the cabinets at IKEA.
  3. Assembled and installed the cabinet frames.
  4. Mounted the cabinet ledger and bottom cabinet bases using 2x4s.
  5. Installed the drawers, hinges, doors and faces.
  6. Installed trim piece at the top (repurposed the toe kicks)
Here's where we started. It used to be a closet, then previous owners closed it up, then we opened it back up.

Here's where we started. It used to be a closet, then previous owners closed it up, then we opened it back up.

Installed our twin 2x4 ledger into studs so the cabinet frames could anchor anywhere along the horizontal plane. Placed 2x4s on the floor instead of using the supplied plastic feet that were an inch too high.

Installed our twin 2x4 ledger into studs so the cabinet frames could anchor anywhere along the horizontal plane. Placed 2x4s on the floor instead of using the supplied plastic feet that were an inch too high.

Test fitting a frame with a single drawer to make sure we had clearance and to see how much shimming against the back wall was required. We ended up needing to sister up another 2x4 ledger to make up the extra space in order to have the cabinet faces flush with the wall.

Test fitting a frame with a single drawer to make sure we had clearance and to see how much shimming against the back wall was required. We ended up needing to sister up another 2x4 ledger to make up the extra space in order to have the cabinet faces flush with the wall.

All the IKEA Sektion cabinets were finally installed after having to quickly mud up a new corner bead.

All the IKEA Sektion cabinets were finally installed after having to quickly mud up a new corner bead.

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We ran an outlet for our charging station.

We ran an outlet for our charging station.

What's Next For Our Eichler Custom Closet

  • T-molding for the flooring
  • Finish skimming and painting the walls
  • Find the strength to do the other side ;)

A Flooded Kitchen Gets a Fresh Start

If you have been following us awhile, you probably know that one our biggest passions is mid-century modern design. We do however love and appreciate different styles of architecture, and in particular, we have a soft spot for homes built in the early 1900s, since our first home together (which was our first big DIY project as a couple) was a four-square built in 1907 in Brighton, MA. Will have to dig up a photo sometime and post it, (but that would require taking a photo of a photo... since it was pre-iPhone and digital media days....)

Anyway, here in Northern California, we are lucky to have many gorgeous original Craftsman homes in picturesque neighborhoods, with their classic front porches and detailed woodwork, to neat floor plans, with little special nooks and built-in cabinets.

Last year, I was approached to help a homeowner re-envision her kitchen in her classic Berkeley 1907 built home. There had been a bad flood in the house a few years back and her kitchen took the brunt of the damage. 

It looked like this when I first visited.

BEFORE:

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After working through tedious insurance claims and related items (headaches), plus living in a very limited capability kitchen, the homeowner was excited and ready to get started on the design and planning process. I was thrilled to be her partner in re-imagining the space and helping to bring a functioning kitchen back into her life. She has a background in fashion design, and it was really fun to work with her ideas and bring in her love for British-inspired design, which was perfect for this era home.

AFTER:

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BEFORE:

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AFTER:

In the far corner, we created a built-in china hutch, utilizing Ikea and Semihandmade Doors, with brass hardware.

In the far corner, we created a built-in china hutch, utilizing Ikea and Semihandmade Doors, with brass hardware.

BEFORE: This was the view to the old laundry room:

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Which we turned into a petite Butler's Pantry!

The Butler's Pantry features leather pulls from Rejuvenation.

The Butler's Pantry features leather pulls from Rejuvenation.

We still wanted to keep the charm of original style materials, so we sourced this unlacquered brass gooseneck faucet, paired with a slightly modern take on a classic Farmhouse sink.

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My client found these original brass taps all the way from the UK!

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We included a bit of swankiness, with brass hardware and the integrated fridge. There is actually a fireplace on the other side, but the brick wasn't in great shape to be exposed, so we built in a new "old" brick wall with brick facing.

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These pendants hail from the UK from the company Bert Frank. They can be moved up or down to adjust the light, balanced by a (very heavy!) solid brass weight.

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New French Doors:

You can spy John in the reflection. I am so lucky to have an amazing photographer-husband-partner!

You can spy John in the reflection. I am so lucky to have an amazing photographer-husband-partner!

And for fun, one our two "helpers" on Photo Shoot day, taste testing the cookies for staging. 

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Thanks to our amazing client C, for allowing the whole family to come see and photograph the finished space. We are thrilled that we could help you create a new kitchen space to enjoy. 

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Sources:

Kitchen Cabinets: IKEA
Door Fronts: Semihandmade Doors
Blanco Cerana Farmhouse Fireclay Sink & Granite Undermount Sink: Build.com
Rohl Perrin High-Arc Bridge Kitchet Faucet: Build.com
Island Lighting: Revolve Rise & Fall Pendant, Bert Frank
Hardware: Top Knob, from Belmont Hardware
Butler's Pantry Leather Drawer Pulls: Rejuvenation
Appliances: Miele
Exterior Light: YLighting.com

Destination Eichler Featured in Atomic Ranch Special Issue Renovation Guide

We were honored to be featured in the Atomic Ranch Special Renovation Guide. Thank you Sarah Jane Stone from Atomic Ranch for the feature! It is such an honor and thrilled to be in such fantastic company, alongside the beautiful home from KUD Properties. It was a fun shoot day shot by Daniel Blue Photography, and styled by Christina Yan 

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Espirit Park Warehouse Loft Project

Our clients have been settled into their newly renovated Loft home for quite sometime now, but we finally got the opportunity to check out the fully completed space and snap a few photographs. 

Here is some neat history about their warehouse condo building, provided by one of the homeowners when they initially contacted me:

"The building was originally a wine warehouse built in 1906 before becoming the Esprit clothing company headquarters in the 1970’s, and finally converted to lofts/condos in early 2000s."

There are still many great original architectural details in the condo unit from the warehouse days, such as oversized wooden columns, concrete interior walls, and a fantastic original brick facade. 

I had such a fun experience working with my clients, integrating many of their clever ideas, such as the cats' out-of-sight litter box area under the stairs, to the mobile, yet multi-purpose kitchen island. The homeowners also wanted to integrate their mid-century modern heirloom furniture (from Paul McCobb to Eames) and eclectic art collection from their travels around the world. Some of my (many!) favorite design elements include:

I designed a custom painted mural to bring together the under-the-stairs storage area doors, which had been installed by previous owners. We had a hole cut in the smallest door, which gives the cats access to the hidden litter box. The colors in the mural were inspired by a restored family painting that hangs on the opposite living room wall.

I designed a custom painted mural to bring together the under-the-stairs storage area doors, which had been installed by previous owners. We had a hole cut in the smallest door, which gives the cats access to the hidden litter box. The colors in the mural were inspired by a restored family painting that hangs on the opposite living room wall.

Fireclay Tile subway tile paired with Semihandmade Doors in Eco Douglas Fir. 

Fireclay Tile subway tile paired with Semihandmade Doors in Eco Douglas Fir. 

Central island, which is on castors and can be moved, if desired.

Central island, which is on castors and can be moved, if desired.

Waterfall edges finishes off the bar height counter area, designed to perch over a multi-functional workspace/mobile kitchen island.

Waterfall edges finishes off the bar height counter area, designed to perch over a multi-functional workspace/mobile kitchen island.

Plenty of room for entertaining or cooking prep. Note our boys enjoying themselves on their patio, which overlooks a peaceful water feature and courtyard.

Plenty of room for entertaining or cooking prep. Note our boys enjoying themselves on their patio, which overlooks a peaceful water feature and courtyard.

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It is always so special to see design work come to life and of course working with amazing clients with fantastic ideas! With our clients' eclectic artwork, furniture and accessories in their newly renovated space, this loft is now ready for entertaining and relaxation, for both people and kitties! 

DIY Eichler Grasscloth Closet Doors

One of the (many) unfortunate things that happened to our house before we became its owners is that each and every closet had been altered in some (bad) way. And by altered, I mean: one closet (the hallway one, which is seen from the entryway) never had doors to begin with, nor any shelves or rods for storage. The bedroom closets were converted into these odd triangular shaped closets, by (trying) to connect two closets into one, and a swing door entry into each closet. (Yeah... still trying to figure that one out.)  We once had a huge awkward master closet that was built from our master bedroom, eating up space into the family room. That closet had a nice arched entryway. 

Eichler Guest Bed Closet

But I digress! ... We eventually "fixed" one of the triangular closets in the guest bedroom first, by knocking out the fake angled wall that had been put up in between two closets. Then once we had a "normal" sized closet opening, realized we would need closet doors. We really liked the look of the closet doors that were included in original Eichler homes, which was a shoji-like panel (zolotone trim) with grasscloth panels. 

It seemed kind of crazy to build them from scratch, so at first, we jumped on a Craigslist post for someone getting rid of their original closet doors. What seemed like a great idea turned out to be a dud, as they didn't fit our model at all (they came from another Eichler neighborhood) and plus the doors were kind of old (and musty), so ended up in the trash. D'oh.

Eichler Hallway Closet

For the hallway closet, I wanted a specific "drop-station" area for the whole family. The kids seem to do fine hanging up their backpacks every day on the same hook at school, so I figured I would try to apply this habit at home. We only have two kids, but what seems like 2.5 backpacks per kid! The hook system seems to be working (we have two rows), and then we made some wood shelves, where we keep craft and school supplies. 

We look at the corner where the closet is every day from the kitchen. And what used to be a huge clutter mess, now has someplace for everyone to hang their hat (and packs), and then we can close the doors for a zen-like look. 

Eichler Master Closet

Three-panel system on an off-the-shelf dual rail track.

Three-panel system on an off-the-shelf dual rail track.

Finishing The Closet Doors

Once each door was completed, we decided to oil the door frames, to keep them natural looking. We added grasscloth wallpaper to the masonite panels, for an "old-school" kind of look, adding the cross bar trim detail, similar to the originals. John mounted a standard sliding door track available from the big box stores. We are thrilled to have doors that fit in the original style of the house, and fit perfectly in the openings. 

Behind The Scenes DIY Closet Doors

John was pretty determined to build them, and lucky for us, we have many industrious Eichler friends who tackled the project themselves, so we could learn from them! We used Karolina's post as a guide, building out frames, with Masonite backing. This posts consists of photos from two separate door building sessions.

Angled closet wall had to go, as was a good hiding spot for the kids.

Angled closet wall had to go, as was a good hiding spot for the kids.

The lavender trim was fun.

The lavender trim was fun.

Put up Zipwalls and break out the sledge hammer!

Put up Zipwalls and break out the sledge hammer!

Demolition complete.

Demolition complete.

We had to extend the cork flooring.

We had to extend the cork flooring.

The Kregs pocket screw jig made things pretty simple. Pocket screw joints aren't exactly a fine woodworking joinery technique, but for my level of time and ability, it fit the bill.

The first time around, I routed out some space to drop in the Masonite fiberboard, but I've also constructed the doors without this additional step.

The first time around, I routed out some space to drop in the Masonite fiberboard, but I've also constructed the doors without this additional step.

Douglas Fir from Lowes - FYI these didn't exactly match original specs for wooden Eichler doors, but the closest thing I could find off the shelf without cutting.

Douglas Fir from Lowes - FYI these didn't exactly match original specs for wooden Eichler doors, but the closest thing I could find off the shelf without cutting.

Oiled with Watco natural finish oil.

Oiled with Watco natural finish oil.

Grasscloth wallpaper applied to Masonite backer.

Grasscloth wallpaper applied to Masonite backer.

Test fitting.

Test fitting.

The Master Bedroom Eichler Closet Doors

This was the behind the scenes from the second set of doors we made. Instead of routing out a channel for the Masonite backing, it was placed directly on top. The wood we got wasn't quite thick enough to staple the backing without going through, and also required the cross trim pieces to be half as thin by carefully ripping them down, which also made stapling difficult. 

 

 

Modernism Week 2017 Palm Springs

The Kennedy Compound

Social media guide, @KellyGoLightly, offered up her 6,500 sq. ft. home as a partner/client for this year's annual Christopher Kennedy Compound, which celebrates and fosters appreciation of mid-century architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking in these fields, by encouraging education, preservation and sustainable modern living as represented in Palm Springs.

The Racquet Club Estates

 

The Signature Home Tour

1940s Kitchen Transformation

We have eagerly been awaiting the final reveal for our 1940s Kitchen Renovation located in the East Bay. Our clients Melissa and Jake approached us last us fall to help re-imagine their kitchen and living/dining area. Melissa wrote in an email early on, "The kitchen has been driving us nuts since we moved in this year, and we can't wait to start remodeling it!" The couple already had such a great sense of style and were amazing partners to collaborate with on re-designing their home.

The original home was built in the 1940s, and consisted of a small kitchen area, which was cramped for daily use, and the layout included a few different closed off areas, such as the pantry and laundry area. The couple desired a larger, more open space, since they love to cook and entertain, plus with a new baby, knew that an open, functional space would better suit their needs. 

BEFORE

Before: Living Room to Kitchen (through that little doorway).

Before: Living Room to Kitchen (through that little doorway).

Before: View to the side entry door; the old Laundry Room is on the other side of the wall.

Before: View to the side entry door; the old Laundry Room is on the other side of the wall.

Before: Right when you entered the kitchen from the Entryway, the Refrigerator was located in a small pantry area.

Before: Right when you entered the kitchen from the Entryway, the Refrigerator was located in a small pantry area.

AFTER

Good-bye closed off spaces and rooms, and hello to the newly transformed Kitchen!

After: New Kitchen Island, Bar Area, and a more open, light-filled space.

After: New Kitchen Island, Bar Area, and a more open, light-filled space.

The new design incorporates many materials found in this 1940s period of architecture and homes, which is part of our design philosophy when we approach a home renovation like this one. Natural materials, such as Semihandmade's Flatsawn Walnut and soapstone counters, pair with more modern touches, such as the large center Island.

We installed classic small mosaic hexagon floor tile from the front entryway all the way into the Kitchen, which was a common flooring found in apartments and homes from this era. One of my favorite design details is the floor transition from Kitchen to Living Room. Here we eased the transition with an organic flow, from tile to new Cork Flooring:

New Cork Flooring is soft on the feet and easy to maintain, plus an eco-friendly material.

New Cork Flooring is soft on the feet and easy to maintain, plus an eco-friendly material.

The Kitchen now naturally flows into the Dining and Living areas.

The Kitchen now naturally flows into the Dining and Living areas.

I already knew I loved working with Melissa and Jake, but when they wanted to put in a new Bar Area, I was super excited! Anyone who loves cocktails like I do is a friend of mine and I was thrilled with the opportunity to install a pattern from Fireclay Tile's hand-painted tile collection as a feature backsplash for the space, which really helps make the new bar shine.

After: A new Bar Area features hand-painted tiles from San Francisco-based Fireclay Tile.

After: A new Bar Area features hand-painted tiles from San Francisco-based Fireclay Tile.

After: Open Kitchen to Living and Dining Areas, perfect for entertaining.

After: Open Kitchen to Living and Dining Areas, perfect for entertaining.

After: The Laundry is hidden by new closet doors that also doubles as Chalkboard area. 

After: The Laundry is hidden by new closet doors that also doubles as Chalkboard area. 

After: The formerly corner-situated sink is re-positioned for easier access and replaced with a new Farmhouse Fireclay sink and flanked by new windows.

After: The formerly corner-situated sink is re-positioned for easier access and replaced with a new Farmhouse Fireclay sink and flanked by new windows.

After: View from Kitchen to Living Room.

After: View from Kitchen to Living Room.

Thank you Melissa and Jake for the opportunity to help transform your home! What a fun and collaborative project it has been! 

Special thanks to the lovely Kara from Styled with Life, who helped us to make our shots just perfect on Photo Shoot day! 

Destination Eichler Awarded Regional Winner of The 2017 BlueStar Design Competition

Stainless steel BlueStar® 36” RCS gas range featured in winning kitchen design.

Stainless steel BlueStar® 36” RCS gas range featured in winning kitchen design.

WALNUT CREEK, CA, March 16, 2017  Destination Eichler, LLC, interior design firm specializing in mid-century modern restoration projects, was announced as a regional winner of the 2nd Annual BlueStar Design Competition. The contest, which attracted entries from across the country, honors design professionals who incorporate BlueStar® products into innovative, beautiful kitchen designs. 

BlueStar, manufacturer of high-performance appliances for the home, assembled a jury to include award-winning designer and Elle Décor A-Lister, Eric Cohler, and Kim Lewis, best known as the Lead Designer behind ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," and last year’s grand prize winner, Heidi Piron, of Heidi Piron Design & Cabinetry in Summit, NJ.

The winning kitchen design was crafted for a 1959 Mid-Century Modern home, and used a mix of natural materials, such as Flatsawn Walnut and Concrete, melded with European style modern cabinetry, stainless steel BlueStar® 36” RCS gas range and designer lighting.