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Baguettes and storage—Paris does them best, if you ask Jordan Ferney. The New York–based creative; her artist husband, Paul; and their kids spent a year in the city in a pied-à-terre with epic floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, something their new Greenwich Village apartment was sorely lacking. To outfit the living space and main bedroom in similar cupboards, the couple searched high and low for the perfect custom pieces, to no avail.

Since they were renovating their rental in the middle of a pandemic, when labor, materials, and life in general were thrown out of sync, Ferney quickly ditched the idea of going handcrafted, instead opting to elevate products from a favorite Swedish retailer: “I love IKEA. Accessible design is important to me. I got whatever they had,” she says. Specifically six Pax wardrobes.

Beautiful interior design doesn’t always need to come with a big price tag—creative customizations helped the family make the most of every purchase in their home, including this one. Here, Ferney explains the cost-saving IKEA touch-ups that paid major dividends in the end.

Put Things on a Pedestal

Before constructing a larger framework to give the cabinets that French-minded appeal, Ferney simply put together the armoires as instructed. Once they were all assembled, a friend connected her with a woodworker to mount them onto platform risers 8 inches off the ground. (This way clothes would be centered between the floor and ceiling when the doors open.) The surrounding plywood frame, another one of the woodworker’s creations, was cut to stretch up the sides, giving the appearance of a built-n cabinet. Once the factory-made wardrobes were secured to the encasement, the team installed a couple final pieces of plywood to close off the gaps between the ceiling and the risers below. 

When a Window Closes, a Door (or Five) Opens

Unlike the closets in the main bedroom, the family room’s cupboards were larger PAX units, for which IKEA doesn’t manufacture doors. Ferney commissioned custom Shaker-style fronts from a local carpenter, which turned out to be comparable in price to the average IKEA products anyway.

Collaborate With Color

Factory white was a no-go for Ferney, who thrives on color. To match the cabinets to her signature style, she coated the exterior with Valspar’s Oyster Shoal (a soft biscuit shade) in the bedroom and Kale (a bright teal) in the living room. For the latter, she continued to paint onto the wall to underline the cabinets’ permanent feel. “It adds architectural detail while still seeming open,” she notes.

Getting a Handle on It

“The way you make IKEA look higher-end is luxe-feeling hardware that plays the part,” Ferney reveals. For both storage punch-ups, an $80 10-pack of brass-colored handles from Amazon did wonders. Just like in Paris, it’s the subtle details that make all the difference.