Kitchen Renovation: How Hardware Can Change Everything

hhgritsOur kitchen features the 128mm Studio collection pulls from Hickory Hardware in Bright Nickel

Okay, friends: it’s confession time.

Every time I walk into my kitchen, I’m squealing and clapping my hands in my head. Sometimes I forget that my thoughts are the words I don’t say out loud, so I just end up standing in the middle of my kitchen squealing like a teenage fangirl who just got her first glimpse of Bieber. Other times, I just lay my right cheek down on our cool quartz countertops (LG Viatera in Rococo) and sigh.

I know. I’m not well.

I’m planning several posts about our kitchen renovation, and I’d like to start with a shout out to Hickory Hardware, the company that graciously provided us with all of our cabinet pulls. Early in our renovation process, we’d decided that the most budget-friendly option for cabinets for our needs were from IKEA. We picked ADEL off-white cabinet doors for our kitchen (as I quickly learned, IKEA sells cabinets in a package with AKURUM base cabinets and RATIONELL interior fittings, like drawer dividers and brackets and whatnot). However — and I mean no offense to IKEA — I wanted a higher-end look that didn’t necessarily scream “IKEA!!!” the second someone walked into the kitchen.


Thanks to obsessive Pinterest board searches, I figured out that the key to make an IKEA kitchen look customized is to pull in finishes to layer on top of IKEA cabinetry. In other words, if you use all-IKEA fittings, including hardware, sinks, appliances, etc., you end up with — predictably — an IKEA-looking kitchen. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I wanted something that felt a bit more personalized.

The hardware we found at Hickory Hardware actually ended up guiding many of our design choices throughout the process. I started by browsing through Hickory Hardware’s extensive collection of cabinet pulls on their website, which turned out to be a great resource, since their site allows you to filter by style, size, finish color, and many other options until you have just a handful of choices. Our clear winner was the Studio collection.  I liked the classic, timeless look of the pulls and the clean lines they would add to our ADEL doors.


Figuring out exactly which pulls in which finish was trickier than I imagined, so I ended up ordering several samples from Hickory Hardware in different sizes and finishes. With samples in hand, I marched down to my local IKEA store to physically place each one against the off-white ADEL doors on display. I learned early in the process that when it comes to design choices, nothing beats having samples in hand to see how everything fits together. Even with everything all together it was still hard to figure out whether things actually would coordinate once it was installed. Several times throughout our renovation I wished I had someone else to go through this process with me, to cry-yell when things went south and to hug and jump with me when things went well. (I mean besides the hubby, who has learned a lot in five-plus years of marriage and generally just patiently listened while I droned on and on about all of the options before ending with a “Well, whatever you think is best, honey.” Sweeter words have never been spoken.)


To complement the cabinet pulls we chose, Hickory Hardware also sent us their appliance pulls for our deep drawers, larger pantry cabinet and integrated dishwasher panel (the IKEA RENLIG dishwasher allows you to attach a panel to the front so that the dishwasher seamlessly blends in to the rest of your kitchen cabinets). We chose the 13-inch style, which I think in cabinet hierarchy puts these pulls officially in the “baller” category. These are the pulls that hang out in the VIP room, cracking open bottles of Cristal until 3 am. They are fancy and flashy.


The fact that these pulls had a polished nickel finish guided our other design choices. I liked the warmness of polished nickel (as opposed to polished chrome, which has more blue undertones, as you can see in this comparison photo). Everything else in our kitchen, from the faucets to the light fixtures, also have polished nickel finish. The finish is a nice contrast to our other metals in our kitchen and dining room, which are mainly stainless steel.

So I guess that really only leaves one question to be answered: do I rub my face on our cabinet pulls, too?

All I’m going to say is this: sharp corners make my face go ouch-y.


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About me

I’m Ann, a mom / wife / lawyer / certified culinary enthusiast. I share recipes, travel guides and home life tips while living overseas. Currently based in São Paulo, Brazil.

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