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- Case Study -

Creating a custom styled shaker kitchen on a modest budget

Upgrading new IKEA (METOD & PAX) cabinetry with custom made doors and joinery, allowed Lisa to get the sophisticated shaker styled kitchen and bedroom wardrobe she wanted for her family’s East London home renovation, on a tight budget.

Project Background

Time for a family home

Lisa sits in her upgraded IKEA METOD kitchen in London displaying her bespoke custom made shaker doors

Foxstow client Lisa Comfort, runs her own business called ‘Sew Over It’, offering everything from sewing lessons to fabrics and patterns. Since founding the business Lisa has been busy opening high-street shops, publishing her own magazines and books, while running her hugely popular sewing blog, across social media.

Outside of work Lisa is a mother to her young daughter Jasmine, and walker of Poppy the dog. Somehow she still finds time to blog about everything from fashion and London lifestyle, to renovating her Victorian home in Hackney with husband Matt.

The birth of Lisa’s first child, made her and her husband think about the future. They still loved the flat that they had successfully renovated together. But, now realised they needed a home more suited to family life.

A house with a garden, and a large kitchen diner came high on their list of priorities. However, London’s lofty property prices, suggested this criteria may be difficult to find within their preferred location and budget.

Fortunately, they had no shortage of vision and creativity, and felt confident they could draw on their past renovation experience, to take on a more affordable property.

Realising the scale of their project

The Victorian terrace they purchased in Hackney, had the potential to fulfil all of their wishes. But, its dilapidated state meant transforming it into the family home they had dreamt of, would require extensive work and a very tight control of their budget.

The scale of the challenge ahead become even more apparent when Lisa started planning the kitchen diner they had prioritised. She wished to create the beautifully crafted sophisticated shaker styled kitchen, that she had fallen in love with when researching some well know high-end designer brands.

But, it quickly become apparent that their budget, would not stretch to even a small fraction of the costs required.

The same was also true for the fitted bedroom wardrobes that she had planned, with their budget falling a long way short of the estimates from the premium designer brands that she liked so much.

This meant she would need to find an alternative way of getting her dream kitchen and bedroom wardrobes. But as a creative entrepreneur she was undaunted, and felt confident she could obtain the value for money she needed without having to compromise her creative vision for both interiors.


Alternative solutions including IKEA

In her search for a more affordable solution Lisa explored everything from buying second-hand and ex-display, to carpenters and online discounters, but could not find exactly what she wanted within her budget. Almost all of the new fitted cabinetry options proved too expensive, but IKEA’s METOD kitchens and PAX wardrobes were viable on cost. However, IKEA’s limited range of styles and finishes suggested she would need to make some big compromises to her original design vision, and a visit to local store confirmed this to be true​.

Purchasing IKEA METOD and PAX cabinetry for use with alternative custom made compatible doors from local store

IKEA cabinets & bespoke joinery

Lisa had an IKEA kitchen in a previous home which she had always been fairly happy with. But with this project she couldn’t get the exact shaker styling, paint colour and finish, door knobs and pulls, or sizing that she wanted to create her vision. Fortunately after a bit more research she stumbled upon some sites on IKEA ‘hacking’ and ‘upgrading’, and was inspired by a family member who had successfully taken this approach themselves.

Spurred on by her findings, Lisa contacted the company who her family member had successfully used, only to find they only had a limited range, and couldn’t offer the things she wanted. This was also true for many of the other IKEA upgrading companies that she discovered online, until she found Foxstow who were able to reassure her that they could offer her everything she wanted while working to her budget.

Purchasing IKEA METOD and PAX cabinetry for use with alternative custom made compatible doors from local store
Joinery Solution

Planning for success

Lisa provided her Foxstow Project Manager Mark with her IKEA plans and inventory, along with an outline of her requirements and links to her ideas and preferences on Pinterest. This allowed Mark to advise if her plans were technically viable, and suggest any ideas that he felt could improve things. The final specification was then confirmed, allowing Mark to provide a quote for all the doors and cladding joinery needed, along with guidance on what items could now be removed from her original IKEA plans and inventory.

Exact Specification

Lisa felt that IKEA’s shaker styled doors did not offer her the exact styling or quality feel she wanted. Foxstow assisted by making everything to her exact specification, fully compatible with IKEA’s PAX and METOD products.

Finish & Colour Matching

IKEA could only offer Lisa a limited range of colours and finishes for her kitchen and wardrobes, whereas Foxstow were able to offer a broad range of finishes and match any colour from well-known branded paints to RAL references.

Customisable Potential

The creative vision for Lisa’s kitchen and wardrobes used a distinctive mix of door knobs and pulls, but none of IKEA’s products fulfilled her needs. Foxstow allowed her to use any independent ironmongery, predrilled for easy fitting.

Seamless Integration

IKEA’s fitted cabinetry includes cladding items like end panels and pelmets matching its own door products. Foxstow provide a comparable cladding system that goes beyond IKEA’s own, matching the colour and finish of its bespoke doors.

Supplementing IKEA joinery

Upgrading third-party cabinetry like IKEA’s METOD & PAX, with doors and cladding is only part of what we can offer. We can also create additional matching joinery like shelving, wine racks, display units, or any cabinet unit size that is not available in the third-party’s standard range.

Using Foxstow cabinetry

As an alternative to using third-party cabinet units, please consider using our own cabinetry. We make every item to order in our workshop, so you can specify virtually any specification that you can think of. With everything beautifully crafted at a competitive price.

Project Gallery

View photos from Lisa's project

Although her building work wasn’t quite finished, Lisa and her family moved into their new home and shared the photos in the gallery below. Lisa is thrilled with the result of her IKEA upgrade, and can’t wait for the dust to settle in her renovation project, so that everyone can start to enjoy their beautiful kitchen dinner. She really enjoyed working with Foxstow and her builder to realise her creative vision, and would not hesitate to recommend Foxstow and the IKEA upgrade approach.

Project Feedback

Reviewing the project

Q: What was behind your creative vision?

A: I was originally inspired by the beautifully simple aesthetic, and authentic shaker style kitchens, made by some of the more exclusive, high-end kitchen brands.

Q: Did you do much research?

A: I ended up spending quite a bit of time, looking at their brochures and photography online, and really wanted to capture the sophisticated sense of elegance, that I found in these kitchens.

Q: What challenged you in achieving your vision?

A: I have an expensive taste, but only had a limited budget for this project. So it’s a good thing that I always look for exceptional value for money.

Q: How do you get value for money?

A: My job requires creativity and design skills, which allows me to create value as well as making things more personal and individual. I’m also no stranger to upcycling and driving a hard bargain.

Q: Why did you choose to upgrade IKEA?

A: I originally only considered IKEA for budget reasons. But after learning about IKEA hacking and upgrading, I realised that it could be the best way to get the kitchen I wanted within our budget.

Q: Why did you select Foxstow IKEA?

A: I read some really good reviews on, before speaking to Mark at Foxstow. He told me they could make everything I wanted, and was very helpful and knowledgeable.

Q: Who fitted everything?

A: My builder’s fitter, who had never done fitted an IKEA upgrade before. In truth when I first mentioned it to him, I think they had a few concerns about having two different suppliers.

Q: How did the fitting go?

A: Great! They found it really easy and straight forward to fit, and would definitely do it again. Plus I had the peace of mind knowing Foxstow was only a phone call away if they needed any technical guidance.

Q: What do you think of the results?

A: I have ended up getting exactly the kitchen and bedroom wardrobe I wanted, on a very tight budget. There were times when I thought I would not get close to what we have, but I’m really happy with everything.

Q: Would you recommend a Foxstow IKEA upgrade?

A: I already have. No one can believe what we have achieved for so little, so I’ve been happy to recommend Foxstow and the approach to anyone considering doing it themselves.

Please Note: IKEA® is a registered trademark of Inter-IKEA Systems B.V. and is not affiliated with the Foxstow Joinery Co. in any way.

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