Jeff at HS Design Studio unboxes his Dendra Doors and gives his initial thoughts on the Lancaster Wide profile and SuperMatte finish. HS Design Studio popped up on our radar this past summer while looking at Designers & Influencers we would want to work with. We knew the Homestud team would understand the value of a Designer curated selection of custom door options for IKEA Cabinetry.
Custom IKEA Cabinet Doors | Are Dendra Doors Worth It?
“The custom IKEA cabinet doors have arrived! After years of settling for the stock IKEA cabinet doors, I am working with Dendra doors to update my kitchen! I’ve never been fully happy with the aesthetic of our base IKEA cabinet doors- they are the wrong color and they don’t match the wall cabinet doors. It’s time to change that!”
Whoa boy, I’m about to fall down my stairs. It’s officially arrived. It’s here! Now it’s just a matter of how to get that up there.
The doors have arrived, finally. Well, I shouldn’t really say finally, because it was actually a pretty quick process that the shipping aspect, and we’ll get into that. But the whole buildup of this collaboration has kind of been months in the making.
Now, I have to be honest: I don’t particularly love my kitchen, aesthetically. The layout, the organization, what we were able to do in a 100 year old home, on our budget, on our time schedule – you know, we were both in our Phd when we renovated – you know, that I’m really happy with. I’m extremely happy with that. But I spend all day designing beautiful spaces for other people and then I come into my kitchen, and I’ve never really loved the aesthetics of it.
The major aspect of my kitchen that always bothered me was the color of the base cabinets. Traditionally IKEA has never had a great selection of wood options, especially those that look real. But, when we were renovating seven plus years ago we didn’t have the budget for custom doors, or at least we didn’t think we did. I also didn’t want all white. So we settled with this wood option which no longer exists.
New Custom Fronts on IKEA Base Cabinets
Well it’s time to change all of that because we are adding some new custom door fronts to our base cabinets in our kitchen thanks to Dendra Doors. Now, lets get a little bit of Legal out of the way here: This is a sponsored video series. Dendra Doors provided all the products to me. I did not have to pay for them. However, everything I’m about to tell you, my opinions, my firsthand thoughts, how they have worn over time once I’ve ad them in the kitchen for a while, all of that will be my own. It will be as unbiased of a review as possible. And, it’s also supposed to give you a little insight into the idea of maybe spending a little bit more for those custom doors in first place.
The first thing I want to do is talk a little bit about Dendra Doors. Kind of what the products are, my first impressions of them, and why I ultimately chose to collaborate with them on this particular project. Dendra Doors was founded by John Webb Construction & Design with the initial goal of fulfilling their customer’s custom needs. They spent the better part of 30 years completing high-end customizations of the IKEA Kitchen Systems.
Making Custom Fronts for IKEA Kitchens
From there it’s grown into it’s own entity, eventually creating these custom high-quality doors for IKEA cabinet systems. And, if you aren’t working with me, which I guess is fine, the folks at Dendra Doors are more than happy to sit down with you and help you design your custom IKEA Kitchen right from scratch, or they’ll take a look a plan you already have and give you a little bit of extra peace of mind with a second set of eyes.
So, all of my products arrived from Dendra Doors in roughly 7 days. Which is after I picked my color, and after I verified my order form, which I was not exactly quick with on my end, there was a lot of back and forth. Now, that’s pretty awesome when you think about it. Say you’re mid-renovation, you’re installing some cabinets, and you just don’t love the color. Or, say you went with stock fronts from IKEA and they just don’t work in your space like you were hoping to.
Well, now you have a custom manufacturer you can jump on. They have a huge selection of colors, styles, materials – pretty well anything you can think of – and they can be at your door in two weeks. I jumped at the opportunity to work with them because they are built on a strong building and design background, similar to how I started my Design Studio. Firsthand experience through their own construction projects is a great way to build and refine a product and develop a selection that will meet anyone’s needs.
In the name of full transparency I did encounter a little hiccup during shipping. It went through a few different carriers, or my order went through a few different carriers being that it was international, and once it got here I wan’t quite sure who had my doors anymore because the previous carrier said that it was delivered. However, I made a few calls and Kat at Dendra Doors reached out and said “Hey! These guys have your products. Rosenau Trucking called, they can’t seem to get ahold of you.”
Turns out my phone number was transcribed improperly somewhere along the chain. However, that Customer Service, knowing that they were also keeping an eye on my order, making sure that I was, you know, going to get tat delivery on time. That was awesome. So, good customer service so far. Can’t complain whatsoever.
At this point you’re probably saying “OK. Enough yammering!! What about the products themselves?” Now, I want to do a first impression, one-taker, no notes whatsoever. I’ve got a door sitting right here beside me. It still has that plastic on. So lets dive in.
Unboxing Quality Custom Cabinet Fronts
(Oooh. How satisfying is that process? Peeling off plastic. It doesn’t really matter what it is. That’s always such a, such a nice sound when you get to see stuff for the first time.)
So, doors here, sitting in front of me. Uh, you know what? A couple first impressions (sorry that’s probably pretty loud) that I can see right of the bat. So, first thing I like to look for, these are a laminate door, I like to look at the seem. Where corners are done, where the laminate is done, and how it looks. So, what I’m really happy to see is that we’ve got a finished back to these panels. They’re not just an MDF or a particleboard back. They are wrapped all the way around. That will be great for, you know, any aspect of water that might spill onto them. It just, it keeps it out of the center of the door itself. Particularly these seems along this edge. They’re really nice and tight. They’re really nice and crisp. They’re not sharp in any way so they’re finished well. Just a solid, well manufactured door. It’s just a really nice plus to see.
One of the first things that I wanted to look at when I got these doors is: How well did they match the colors from the swatches that I got? So, we ordered, after talking with them, 4 different swatches to kind of see how they would look in our house, what the actual colors looked like. We ultimately settled on this one called Midnight SuperMatte. It’s kind of a Blue-y Grey or a Whale Blue or a…it’s hard to describe. It’s uh, Midnight SuperMatte. Well, I was really happy to see – it might be hard to see on camera – but, they are basically identical. There is no tonal shift. There’s no color change. It looks the same in all the lights that we looked at. That is a really big plus because sometimes it’s hard to pick like a paint color, or a wall color, or a cabinet color, simply based off of a color swatch.
So the color is awesome. The build quality is fantastic. I’m really happy with that. It really really looks nice. That waterproofing, that’s all there. The next thing biggest worry I had was: How does this style match my current wall cabinets? Now, one thing I’ll note is that my current base cabinets are, I think, the Edserum fronts. It’s been awhile. They’re brown, again, they’re discontinued. They don’t quite match my wall cabinets. It’s a slightly different Shaker. It’s a slightly different door. And if you’re somebody that notices things like that, like me, it’s something you notice all the time. No one has really said anything, but I always see it.
Making Custom Fronts for IKEA Kitchens
So, one of the big changes that we made this time is going with this style of Shaker (Lancaster Wide). And I say this style of Shaker because it’s kind of what you would call a fake Shaker cabinet. Now a traditional Shaker cabinet, uh cabinet door, would have 5 pieces. So your rails on each and your stiles, and then you would have your center piece. And that makes up your 5 piece Shaker.
Now when you have that you wind up with little gaps, little cracks where that center panel is nested inside of the five, or four exterior pieces of the cabinet door. Well, that little groove, which I would consider to be the biggest downside to Shaker cabinets, is just a home for crap and dust and cooking crumbs. And, in my case Dog Hair. And, I end up having to clean those grooves out with a little dentist’s pick or a toothpick or something. To just sit there painstakingly just cleaning them out every couple months.
Now, I am willing to put up with that because I love the Shaker cabinet doors for our current house style, our current finish. However, I’m really excited to have this Fake Shaker style, if you will, that I don’t need to do that. I can simply wipe down the front, there is no groove in here. It’s all one laminated piece on top of that door. And it’s really simple for cleaning.
Well, that about does it for this one. My first impressions on the product, you know first time really diving in looking at the pieces. Hopefully it really gives you an idea of what you can look for when you’re looking at custom doors. Or, any manufacturers doors. You know, how they look against the color swatch. So far I’m really really impressed with the product. I can’t wait to get installing these. In the next one we’re going to be installing all these products in my kitchen. I’m definitely going to have more to ay about them.
As you work with a product, as you handle it, as you cut it, you always learn new things. And, I’ll have more things to say, more impressions, more information to tell you guys, in week number two. Or, video number 2. If you’re in the midst of a renovation or maybe it’s a distant idea in the back of your brain, check out Dendra Doors. I’m going to guarantee they’ve got a style, a material, a color, a finish, whatever you’re looking for. For your particular project, regardless of your budget, it’s never too early to start planning. I’ve always said that. It’s never too early to start planning your renovation. Then you know what you’re saving for.
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