If you’ve been following for some time, you’ve proooobably heard me complain about my old builder-grade cabinets. 😂 They were totally falling apart, and I had waited YEARS to replace them! But cabinets are just so expensive—even semi-custom cabinet systems can really rack up the zeros. When you start to factor in all of the other design elements that go into a kitchen renovation, the numbers start to feel impossible, and so the renovation waits.
Ten years later… and we were still using a dysfunctional kitchen that left me avoiding meal prep and cursing my dilapidated cabinet doors. When we finally said, “This is our year!” I knew the first thing I was ready to replace. Of course, it was also the place where I was trying to save the most money.
You guys know I’m OBSESSED with high-low solutions. With a strategic approach to budget, you can maximize the features that matter most to your personal aesthetic and lifestyle. In our case, I knew I wanted to wow the room with tile, and make a shift to open shelving. I also wanted to keep the turn-around time as short as possible, so there was no way we were going the custom cabinetry route.
With all these ideas in mind, cabinets appeared lower on our renovation priority list, while still needing to work hard for our family. I wanted an EASY solution that gave me more of the functionality I craved, and the beauty to help support the rest of my design. So getting to work with BOXI by Semihandmade on our new kitchen cabinets was the answer to all of our problems!
Semihandmade has long been a brand beloved by design bloggers from Sarah Sherman Samuel to Emily Henderson. And it’s no wonder! The high-low cabinetry solution offers customizable style at prefab costs. By outfitting basic boxes with beautiful doors in multiple styles and colors, Semihandmade changed the game. You could get the designer kitchen of your dreams, without having to pay an arm and a leg.
After over 10 years crafting hand-made doors for IKEA cabinet systems, they’re unveiling a new cabinet system: BOXI by Semihandmade. It is SO exciting to be one of the first kitchens to use this American-built, fully assembled cabinet system—the boxes already have the doors attached and the drawers installed in them! You’ll find some of the same styles you know and love from Semihandmade, and the best part is you can buy everything together from BOXI, which makes the ordering and buying process even easier.
My Look: Simple & Sleek
Unlike Semihandmade’s many styles collections and front profiles, BOXI is offering the classics: an edited 8 styles to choose from. I chose the flat front in white caled Salt Slab. We had already chosen our tile, a beautiful, desert-y mauve, so I wanted something modern that would compliment the soothing, minimalist style I was going for. The flat front was a perfect match!
Every kitchen I’ve done so far has been shaker-style, so it was fun to finally get to design with the flat front. It’s a sleeker look that really feels sleek and modern. Especially in white! I knew I wanted at least partially-white cabinets. I really wanted to lighten that space up! The white does such a great job of reflecting and illuminating our once-dark kitchen, and I love how much brighter this room feels as a result.
I love the look of two-tone cabinetry, and have done this for clients in both blue and green. But once we knew the tile would be our big focal point, going with a subtle simplicity was a strong design choice that allowed the Fireclay tile to shine.
Beyond just our tile, BOXI & Semihandmade gave me the option to splurge on the jewelry because I was able to save so much on our cabinets! I like to think about the hardware and fixtures as ornaments for your kitchen—these little details really bring out the personality in your look. We went for a simple, rounded shape in bling-y brass from Rejuvenation Hardware—a frequent partner of Semihandmade!
Why I LOVE Drawers
Okay. Now that all the design elements have been accounted for, it’s time to get into the functionality. With BOXI & Semihandmade, we were able to choose the components we most wanted. And finally, I was able to get drawers in my kitchen! This was critical to improving our kitchen functionality, and this upgrade has officially. Changed. Our. Lives.
With a deep, corner cabinet, tons of stuff gets shoved in the back, out of reach. So you’re either struggling to reach high-touch items every time you use them, or filling this dead space with items you hardly ever use, can’t see, and will totally forget about. When we purged our old kitchen clutter to make space for our new open shelves, there was so much I had forgotten we even had simply because of WHERE it was located!
Drawers are critical for a high-performance kitchen. Rather than getting on your hands and knees to root around in the back of some too-deep, too-dark cabinet, all the tools you need slide straight out to meet you! We can SEE everything when we open a drawer. It’s easy and efficient. And I stocked my new kitchen with as many as we could fit.
Mapping Out Our New Kitchen
Because the BOXI cabinets are prefab, mapping out a full kitchen is a bit like a puzzle. You start with the most important, useful components, and place them where they can do the most good. From there, you figure out what components will fit in the space you’ve got left.
Since drawers were my #1 priority, I began by placing them where I had most often wished they were. First things first: I made sure I had some utility drawers and a pull-out spice rack next to the range, so I could grab the utensils and ingredients I needed without leaving my workstation. Just like that, my biggest pain point was taken care of!
My next question was: where can I put larger drawers that would maximize the space? I placed a big set of super-deep drawers in a high-traffic area for easy access. This way, anyone is able to pop in and easily grab a high-use item, without crashing into the cooking areas.
On the flip side, under our peninsula, I’ve got nothing but drawers surrounding our microwave—which, you guessed it, is also a drawer! Now, the only places I have below-counter cabinets are under the sink and in hard-to-reach corners where drawers wouldn’t be able to pull out. We also placed a couple cabinets so they face the living room, which is a great, sunny space, where you can actually SEE the shelf’s contents.
Planning the whole system takes a little negotiating. If you need bigger drawers on the right, you’ll need to shrink the drawers on the left. There’s give & take as you move around the kitchen based on the dimensions of the space. The effect is a customized kitchen created from mixing and matching basic parts to meet your needs.
Basic, Beautiful, and On-Budget
Building the kitchen we dreamed of was a practice in thoughtful organization and pragmatic planning. As for the design? That was the easiest part. BOXI by Semihandmade gave us the style and functionality we wanted—and they were able to do it at a fraction of the cost. I LOVE my new kitchen, and I plan to share more with you about how we’re organizing all those amazing drawers!