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Omaha Magazine

DIY = Do IKEA Yourself

May 23, 2023 03:17PM ● By Katy Spratte Joyce
Spaces Home Magazine June 2023

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

Bonnie and Adam Curtis Home [2 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
From the outside, the Curtis family home in Manchester Park looks like many West Omaha residences; it’s a traditional two-story with a three-car garage and a brick facade. But on the inside, this suburban stunner transforms into a minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired dream. Home to a family of four—parents Bonnie and Adam and sons Gavin and Isaac—this house has morphed into a stylish, modern abode centered around a sleek kitchen renovation. 

The tale begins in 2017, when the Curtises moved into their current home, seeking a larger footprint for their growing brood. After completing a few small DIY projects, the homeowners decided to remodel the kitchen as their first significant indoor task. Adam laughingly called the old space “orange on orange” and “Oakey McOakface” for its abundance of tangerine-hued, dated wood. Country-style cabinets, an awkward two-tiered peninsula, and a less-than-ideal layout were problems the couple wanted to remedy with the new design.

To begin, Bonnie scrolled the Houzz home decor website for inspiration, evaluating online design options and, ultimately, settling on IKEA for cabinetry. The affordability and customizable aspects appealed to the sustainably-minded, cost-conscious couple. “We loved the flexibility” of the IKEA option, she added, as they aim only to renovate once to reduce waste. 

Bonnie began by using IKEA software to mock up the room. After playing around with multiple ideations, the couple posted their plan to Reddit and Houzz for feedback, garnering helpful advice from fellow design enthusiasts. Still, the DIYers were a bit uncertain.

“We had a vague feeling that we were missing something, and we ultimately wanted a professional opinion,” Adam shared. They settled on an Inspired Kitchen Design consult offered through the retailer at a flat rate of $450. A few tweaks later, the Curtises were ready to transform their kitchen. 

The couple got to work finding unique solutions and vendors to make their vision a reality. For example, with IKEA, customers can put any face on the cabinets they prefer; the couple found a specialty company, Plykea, which excels at crafting plywood fronts for the brand.  

 Adam built and installed the flat slab maple cabinets, admitting with a laugh that the process had a steep learning curve. 

“When I started, two cabinet boxes took me a whole week…I got faster and faster as the project progressed, and by the end, [it] took one to two hours,” he explained of the reno, which wrapped in September 2022. 

​​Specialty touches helped polish the kitchen. The couple added upscale touches like Bloom hardware, hidden drawers, soft-close hinges, and inside drawer lighting to elevate the cabinetry. They changed the wall color from light gray to Sherwin Williams Pure White (SW 7005), a move that proved to be impactful in an unexpected way. Bonnie said spending time in the brighter, cheerier kitchen is seemingly easier through the darker winter months. Matte-finished stone—the “ethereal dust” quartz offering from Counterworx in La Vista—was chosen for the countertops and backsplash, creating another clean element reminiscent of Scandinavian design. 

Double Miele brand ovens, Lumens pendant lights, and a Bosch refrigerator complete the room, adding both function and high-end aesthetics. A coffee station/dry bar with a beverage fridge, geometric backsplash, and illuminated open shelving adds another useful yet exciting element to the room. 

But the best upgrade, Bonnie said, is the gas range, which is ideal for cooking Bonnie's famous Chinese food (which she didn't make using the old electric stovetop). With a gas stove's higher heat and open flame, the food can caramelize instead of steam, she explained, so her wok gets regular use. 

"We end up hanging out in there so much more," Adam shared, pleased at having realized their vision. It's clear the Curtises have room to grow in their new kitchen's wide open, functional spaces; a clean, elegant end result perfect for this family. 

This article originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of Omaha Home magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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