Kitchen cab_1

Published on May 8th, 2008 | by Jules Yap


achieve a built-in kitchen look with a few hacks

michael does a bang up job for his kitchen – using parts of the ikea kitchen system to achieve a built-in look.

michael writes, “i’m not a builder, just a web-designer/photographer. i did all of this work myself… took long enough! these shots are from my almost-finished kitchen, so don’t mind the missing baseboards & trim here & there…

ikea kitchen cabinets are great – really sturdy and hold up well to sawing and chopping… they just don’t come in all the sizes we want, right?

take their drawers – lots of big deep drawers, but most people want at least one stack of narrow drawers. using a good table saw, i carefully cut the drawer fronts shorter, re-glued the binding to the top edges, and made my own configuration – this is really useful, and ikea REALLY should make one:

here’s my oven/warming drawer combo. took a 36″ 4-drawer stainless base cabinet, mounted the sides in a tall plywood shell that the oven installed into, and used three of the drawers. (now i have a leftover 36″ stainless deep drawer sitting around… will be a future hack…)

the ikea stainless matches the appliances nicely, and it’s handy as heck. here’s the framework under construction… you can see the ikea cabinet sides and bottom, recessed into the plywood. you really have to be able to ‘think in 3D’ to figure this kind of hack out. when you finally start chopping, it’s a little nerve wrecking.


here’s a simple one – i wanted a ‘built-in’ look for the fridge, so i just mounted a wall cabinet into the plywood ‘nook’; now i just need to trim out the fridge. the circles up-top are vents, since the fridge needs to vent its heat – those are actually aluminum soffit vents, i think they look cool as hell.

that’s a 36″ cooktop cabinet under the gas burners. i had to cut off the fake drawer fronts, and cut down the sides. the other cabinets are pretty much stock; my wife and i poured and ground the concrete countertops and bar top; 2″ thick with integral green stain and a built-in travertine drainboard. the stainless surrounds for the cooktop came from a local metal fabricator, about $200. that cooktop? heck of a bargain – it’s an electrolux, 6 burners, essentially a wolf/viking style, but… $1300 new!


by the way, if you’re considering concrete counters, add a lot of stainless areas too – the concrete really seems to suck up oils, even with lots of sealer.”

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

25 Responses to achieve a built-in kitchen look with a few hacks

  1. Love the 5-drawer hack Michael. Most people have no idea how much more useful drawers are than cabinets.

    Consider sticking a fan behind the fridge – I know it’s a P.I.A. now but seriously the fridge will work so much better with something pulling heat away from it.

  2. Jenny says:

    Wow!! Beautiful kitchen

  3. Anonymous says:

    I really like the green color on the walls. Not that it’s a huge part of the Ikea hack, but the color looks really nice with the other elements.

  4. EATandHALAL says:

    i don’t think that the oven/warming drawer combo is beautiful….i think only table can be placed beside to the end wall..because you will find difficulty when you are working with the oven

  5. Mamas says:

    Beautiful furniture. Very nice for my office. Great.!!!

  6. Chaz says:

    Fabulous ksitchen. I have to each day and look at it. It is Tres Cool…It is inspiring for when I get my own place soon! Cant wait to hack my own kitchen…renting sucks…

    A 1935 hosue, OMG soo cool..built to last back then, and with some really cool features…Love all that light… keep us posted!

  7. Ruth says:

    WOW! Great job and even greater kitchen!!

    One comment only: Didn’t you know that you can buy really ANY part of the Built-in-kitchens apart?

    Choose the drawer systems in “Interior fittings” (, and then select the fronts in “Doors & cover panels” (

    No need to buy whole cabinets at all ;-)

  8. Michael C says:

    Wow – thanks for all the nice comments. To answer some questions:

    This house was a 2-story duplex from 1935; we lived upstairs for a year and did the kitchen and living room nights & weekends. We took out the back stairs, and opened the wall to the front stairs.

    The warming drawer came as a set with the oven, both frigidaire. I’m a convert to convection ovens, it’s awesome.

    I used 3D illustration software to play with the design; when we bought the house, we got a pile of old appliance boxes and constructed the kitchen, out of cardboard, in the living room. And learned we didn’t have room for an island. Better to learn things like that with cardboard…

    I have a VERY messy page that’s a jumble of photos, 3D renders, etc; it’s at

    Thanks again all – MC

  9. Michele says:

    That is a beautiful kitchen. My favorite part is the built in cabinet over the fridge.

  10. Anonymous says:

    wow! super job…your kitchen looks fantastic

  11. Anonymous says:

    wonderfull hack! i really like build in nooks above the oven… they look great!

    i’m suprised that IKEA doesnt sell 5 drawer fronts… we have them here in NL ( ). Same with the build-in appliances. No hating here, just wondering why especially the appliances are almost always free-standing and so big… Here in the EU (in the netherlands anyway) everything is about making it as flat and as hidden as possible… Hobs with touch-control, hidden dishwashers, cooler-drawers etc.

  12. Phyllis says:

    One of the BEST hacks I have ever seen!

  13. Erin says:

    wow! nice job on the kitchen.

  14. wan says:

    i don’t like the colour of that furniture really….it is brown and do not match the wall

  15. Mackie says:

    whoa!!!!! i am SO envious. that is a great kitchen, congratulations!!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Nicely done! I used to work in IKEA’s kitchen and office departments and I can say for certain that the employees would love for you to bring in photos for them to show other customers for inspiration. As you can imagine, a lot of customers have trouble visualizing certain things and, at the store I worked in, we kept a album of inspiration shots to explain different concepts color combinations etc.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Looks great, I’m doing the same thing in my kitchen. I think I even have the same oven, which was a good deal from Habitat For Humanity Store. I need your oven drawer, let me know if you want to sell it. I looked everywhere online but couldn’t find one. Do you want to sell it?

  18. dianejwright says:

    Very nice hacking, here. It makes me smile to see it because this is pretty much exactly what I do for my high-end clients here in Santa Monica. We dream up the whole kitchen in 3D (see some here: then we cut and reshape and reinforce for some sleek, built-in results.

    My favourite kitchen hack so far is the under-sink trash centre created with a 36″ drawer unit that has the lower 2 drawer fronts unified at the back with a cover panel. Then in goes trash and recycling bins, bag storage, and a pull-out rack for cleaning supplies. Totally simple, looks great, and solves the problem of the stand-alone trash bin.

  19. Elena Murphy says:

    Wow, that’s a sweet kitchen. I can’t believe you did it all yourself. Amazing. Exactly how long did it take? And you’re right, those soffit vents are super sweet.

  20. Emma says:

    That is simply beautiful.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Wow, how amazing…. Michael, will you please marry me?? :)

  22. Ahmet says:

    Very Nice. Awesome Work

  23. Anonymous says:

    Ummm, Wow. Really beautiful.

  24. Michael says:

    In a word: AWESOME. Very nice work.

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