...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Obligatory preamble rambling: When we were renovating our kitchen, I searched high and low for any information I could find on Ikea kitchens. The results were few and far between. We did end up with an Ikea kitchen (which we love) but I’d like to shed more light on Ikea kitchen renovations from the perspective of other real life homeowners. It’s something I wish we would have had access to when we were considering Ikea for our own kitchen remodel. Plus, it’s fun to see how others use Ikea to suit their personal style and needs in the kitchen. I hope you find these posts helpful and inspiring – whether you ultimately end up with an Ikea kitchen or not. Enjoy!

texas ikea kitchen 1

Ashley’s home in Texas Hill Country has an innate rustic feel. When it came to remodeling the kitchen, Ashley and her husband, Bob, wanted to bring in more storage and modern elements while honoring the home’s rustic vibe. The results are nothing short of jaw-dropping. I asked Ashley several questions about her kitchen renovation. Find her answers and the amazing “afters” below.

wimberley_ikea_renovation_2

Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

The cabinets, cabinet fronts, cabinet hardware, countertops, oven, cooktop and hood are all Ikea. Note: Ikea only sales a 24″ width butcher block so for the island we had two pieces professionally cut and bonded together.

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

I started by looking for images of kitchens I liked. Googling things like ‘rustic modern kitchen’ or ‘barn kitchens.’ I found several I thought would really work for this space and after researching more I found that a lot of the products used in the kitchens I admired were from Ikea.

We researched Ikea kitchens, made several trips to check out the products and were convinced that it was the best route for us. To be honest, I had no idea that an entire kitchen could be purchased from Ikea!

wimberley_ikea_renovation_5

Who designed your kitchen? What aesthetic were you aiming for?

I designed the kitchen myself, along with help from my own personal interior designer who just happens to be my aunt. (I’m a lucky gal.)

Our house has a very rustic southwestern feel. I wanted to keep that vibe by choosing organic and rustic elements along with industrial and modern pieces.

Did you assemble and install all Ikea kitchen components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?

My husband, Bob, assembled all the cabinets. When you purchase an Ikea kitchen it literally comes in what seems like a million pieces. We had boxes stored in every nook and cranny of our house. It is very overwhelming but you just have to take your time. Patience is key. Bob would put together one or two cabinets a night. A family friend who happens to work in renovation and construction was kind enough to help us with the install.

texas ikea kitchen 2

How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to suit your needs and preferred aesthetic?

The great thing about an Ikea kitchen is that is easily customizable. This was our first remodel and in the beginning I was pretty intimated and a tad overwhelmed. The 3D kitchen planner that Ikea offers lets you work from the comfort of your own home to customize and visualize your kitchen.

I wanted lots and lots of drawer space and Ikea has amazing kitchen drawers so I included several of them. When I selected the stainless steel cabinets I was told that there were far fewer options when it came to cabinet selection in the stainless. This ended up working in our favor because where we had originally planned to have cabinet doors we had to put in large drawers and I love them so!

How long was it from design to the final product?

The kitchen was the first room we tackled. We are renovating every square inch of this house while living in it. I wanted to get the biggest inconvenience out of the way first. It took about a month from the first sledgehammer hit to where we are today. There are still a few things that need to be done such as purchasing a new fridge and dishwasher but because those items do their jobs just fine they keep getting pushed lower and lower on the list, making room for new floor, tiles, tubs and sinks.

We were, for the most part, solely dedicated to the kitchen renovation. We use and abuse our kitchen daily and were eager to get it done and functioning as quick as possible.

How long have you lived with your Ikea kitchen? Have you encountered any problems?

We have had our new kitchen for about 8 months now. Our biggest issue is with one of my favorite pieces of the kitchen….the butcher block. There’s really nothing I love more about this kitchen than the combination of the natural rustic butcher block with the industrial feel of the stainless steel. But we have discovered that we may not be the best candidates for an entire butcher block kitchen. Like I said before, our kitchen is worked hard every day all day and the butcher block has not held up to the torture. We love it on the island and will keep it there but we are in the process of looking for a more durable material for the rest of the counters. We are leaning towards black leathered granite.

The butcher block around the sink has taken the hardest hit. The first ‘oh sh*t!’ moment came not long after we had it all finished. One of us had left a damp rag on the counter overnight and come morning the butcher block had buckled and cracked where the rag was. We need a kitchen that can handle the stray damp rag and water splash.

wimberley_ikea_renovation_8

What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

My favorite, hands down, is the storage space that the drawers and cabinets provide. I thought I had a lot of kitchen crap but Ikea has proven me wrong. I have several drawers and cabinets that aren’t even close to being full and some that are still empty!

My least favorite is unfortunately the butcher block. Love the way it looks, hate the durability or lack thereof. I’m going to be sad when we replace it but I will be oh so happy when I don’t have to look at the water stains and buckled countertops.

Would you recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel? If so, which items?

Absolutely! I already have. The cabinets have been the greatest surprise for us. The space and the look of them are great. I don’t know if you could find a better bang for your buck.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

We have talked about this because our goal for this house has always been to fix it up and then sell it. I think we would definitely consider Ikea products for another kitchen; most certainly the cabinets and appliances.

Resources of note:
paint – Valspar pale bloom
open shelves – reclaimed wood we pulled out of a guest bathroom in the house
wood on the back of the island – also reclaimed wood pulled from the guest bathroom
backsplash – Lowe’s American Olean 42-pack urban canvas ice white (common: 4″ x 8″; actual: 4.25″ x 8.5″)
sink – Lowe’s Superior Sinks 16-gauge single-basin undermount stainless steel kitchen sink
light above island – Lowe’s Allen + Roth oil-rubbed bronze pendant
light above sink – Lowe’s Allen + Roth edison bronze pendant with clear shade
faucet – discontinued but this is very similar…Lowe’s Giagni Fresco stainless steel pull-down kitchen faucet
barstools – Tabouret 24″ metal counter stools (These stools are nice but clash with the stainless steel cabinets. I think a rustic wood and iron stool would do the trick.)

*BONUS* – The total cost of the kitchen was around $9,000.

texas ikea kitchen 3

Thank you, Ashley, for allowing me to feature your kitchen. I am so in love with the rustic / modern / industrial aesthetic! I have to say I never would have thought of combining stainless steel cabinets with white cabinets but it totally works. I’m also grateful for the honest review on the wood countertops. Maybe we could do a follow-up post when the perimeter butcher block is switched out? Out of curiosity, from one mom to another, I asked Ashley how she cleans her stainless steel cabinets. Her secret? She uses Method stainless steel cleaner. She’s tried other cleaners but was leery of their “keep away from children” warning on the labels.

Alright, folks. Another day, another Ikea kitchen. Are you enjoying this series as much as I am? Before-and-afters are THE BOMB but, hopefully, you’re learning stuff, too. See more Ikea kitchens here, here and here.

Do you have an Ikea kitchen (it doesn’t have to be 100% Ikea) you would be willing to share on House*Tweaking? If so, email me at housetweaking@gmail.com for consideration.

Pssst – Thanks to everyone who has already submitted an Ikea kitchen! I really, really, REALLY appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into bringing these posts to fruition. I have a slew of Ikea kitchens sitting in my inbox waiting to be featured. I apologize for the lapse in time between submission and the post going live. I’m buried in Ikea kitchens – in a good way! Keep ‘em comin’!

images: Ashley @ One Lucky Nest

When we were renovating our kitchen, I searched high and low for any information I could find on Ikea kitchens. The results were few and far between. We did end up with an Ikea kitchen (which we love) but I’d like to shed more light on Ikea kitchen renovations from the perspective of other real life homeowners. It’s something I wish we would have had access to when we were considering Ikea for our own kitchen remodel. Plus, it’s fun to see how others use Ikea to suit their personal style and needs in the kitchen. I hope you find these posts helpful and inspiring – whether you ultimately end up with an Ikea kitchen or not. Enjoy!

chesapeake ikea kitchen before

This story hails from Chesapeake, Virginia. Kristen and her husband bought an outdated 1960′s brick rancher three years ago and have been slowly bringing it to life on a budget. The original kitchen was cramped and featured an awkward layout. (Hello dishwasher on the non-kitchen side of the peninsula!) Together, the young couple has created a bright, open kitchen with a more functional layout while working within the confines of the original space. I asked Kristen several questions about her kitchen remodeling experience. You can read her answers and find “after” shots below.

chesapeake ikea kitchen after 2

Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

Almost everything. Our cabinets, countertop, cabinet doors, drawer fronts, hardware, sink, faucet, garbage disposal, free-standing island, pendant light over the sink and brackets for our open shelves.

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

We were impressed with the quality of the Ikea cabinets over all the places we looked – not to mention their quote came in well below the competition. Ikea also offered fun little extras such as multiple options for interior organizers, soft-close hardware and easy-to-remove snap-on door hinges. (That last feature saved us so much time during the renovation process!) The apron front sink, free-standing island, and the butcher block countertop were very inexpensive compared to other stores.

chesapeake ikea kitchen design

Who designed your kitchen? What aesthetic were you aiming for?

My husband and I designed the kitchen over a period of a few months using the Ikea kitchen planner tool. We experimented with countless designs and tried desperately to reuse our old cabinets but in the end we had to start afresh. Our kitchen was tricky. The old layout was too small and very awkward. It had narrow passage ways, limited counter space and the dishwasher actually opened up into the den instead of the kitchen. A low hanging window kept us from expanding into the adjoining den as well. Thankfully, we got some extremely helpful tips from one kitchen designer at Ikea who had lots of experience with installing Ikea kitchens.

As far as the aesthetic, we wanted something more functional and open. We didn’t need our kitchen to be huge or grand but we did want space to grow into since we’re planning on living in this house for many years. It needed to be bright because the kitchen / den area gets little natural light. Also, since our house was built in the 1960′s, we didn’t want to go too modern with the style and materials.

chesapeake ikea kitchen in progress

chesapeake ikea kitchen floors in progress

chesapeake ikea kitchen cabinet frames

chesapeake ikea kitchen cutting countertops

Did you assemble and install all Ikea kitchen components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?

My husband and my dad installed every last piece from the cabinets and trim to the counters, appliances and backsplash. It was slow going at times because they had to work out all the little details and unanticipated obstacles that popped up.

chesapeake ikea kitchen trim

chesapeake ikea kitchen pantry

How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to suit your needs and preferred aesthetic?

Working within the confines of the older kitchen required us to be creative at times. I really like the look of built-in cabinetry so we added trim to the upper cabinets which is quite tricky in an older unlevel home!

chesapeake ikea kitchen sink

I also insisted that the sink be centered under the window which left a space to the right of the sink that was too small for a standard sized cabinet. We created one using the smallest frame cut to size and a drawer front as a door. Surprisingly, Ikea doesn’t offer an upper blind corner cabinet so we created that with two overlapping upper cabinets and some leftover cover panel. We used extra cover panels and toe kicks to frame out the appliances.

chesapeake ikea kitchen dining work island

The kitchen island is from Ikea but we customized it by adding wheels so we can move it around if we need to. We mostly keep it in front of that pesky low hanging window. We also added open shelves to one wall for our frequently used dishes which contributes to the open feel.

How long was it from design to the final product?

This answer is kind of embarrassing – we take forever with projects. We took our time with the design phase, mulling it over and tweaking it over several months until we were ready and Ikea was running one of their kitchen specials. Next came the demo phase. We had to rip out the old cabinets, counter, appliances and floor. We ended up having a gap of a couple of weeks between the demo phase and installation phase (working around our schedule and that of our families) so we were without a kitchen for about a month and a half, I think. When it came time for installation my husband and I took a week off from work to get the majority of the kitchen installed so it would be at least functional. My dad ended up coming all day every day during that week to help us. The more functional our kitchen became the less momentum we had to finish the kitchen. The painting and trim we worked on slowly over the course of several months, just working on a part here and there when we felt like it. We only recently completed the ceiling and changed out the old lighting. There are still some final touches left to do!

chesapeake ikea kitchen organization

How long have you lived with your Ikea kitchen? Have you encountered any problems?

We’ve lived with our kitchen for a little over a year now. So far everything is holding up wonderfully. We’ve had no problems with the cabinets or hardware. The interior shelves and organizers still look great despite putting wet dishes straight from the dishwasher on them.

chesapeake ikea kitchen after 1

What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

My favorite thing is how open and bright the kitchen is now. It feels so different from the old kitchen. I’m very happy with the layout. It’s not too small where you can’t have multiple people and a dog walking around yet it’s not too big to make it harder to keep clean. It is also a space into which we can grow. We actually have a couple of empty cabinets! My least favorite thing is the lack of natural light coming in. We’ve compensated by adding under cabinet task lighting that we purchased from Home Depot.

Would you recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel? If so, which items?

I would definitely recommend Ikea. We haven’t been disappointed with any of the Ikea components. The kitchen extras like the soft-close hardware come standard and all the doors and drawer fronts can be adjusted to make things look even and level.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

Hands down, yes – especially if we lived closer. The closest Ikea is a little over three hours away so it was a little annoying if we forgot something. We had to go up there three times for returns / purchases on top of two visits during the design phase. Ikea also has limited selection for white cabinet doors that aren’t fiberboard. My husband wanted the door frames to be made of joined wood so Ramsjo in white was really our only option. But overall we had a very good experience and would definitely use Ikea again.

Resources of note:

cabinets / doors / drawer fronts – Ikea (Ramsjo in white)
paint – Sherwin Williams mint condition (for the walls); Sherwin Williams custom color match to Ramsjo white doors (for the cabinet trim)
flooring – Lumbar Liquidators (Mayflower prefinished red oak)
backsplash – Lowe’s for white subway tile, mortar and grout
appliances – Lowe’s…including refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, stove
lighting – Ikea pendant over the sink; Home Depot for the semi-flush-mounted ceiling fixture and under-cabinet lighting
butcher block countertop – Ikea
cabinet trim – 84 Lumber for trim above the upper cabinets and pantry; Ikea for trim below upper cabinets
sink – Ikea’s Domsjo
faucet – Ikea’s Elverdam
shelving brackets – Ikea
free-standing island: Ikea’s Stenstorp customized with casters from Ikea
counter stools – West Elm

chesapeake ikea kitchen design vs final product

Thank you so much Kristen for sharing your kitchen remodel! It feels like a completely different space. I’m amazed by how much the real life final product looks like the design created with the planner tool. And the island on casters is brilliant! I love that it can be moved around to serve as either a dining or prep surface. Sometimes little hiccups (like low slung windows) produce clever solutions, no? Be sure to check out more of Kristen’s home here.

Do you have an Ikea kitchen (it need not be 100% Ikea) that you would be willing to share on House*Tweaking? If so, please contact me at housetweaking@gmail.com for consideration. Thank you in advance!

images: Kristen @ A Manor of Mischief

I received great feedback from the first Ikea kitchen a reader so kindly agreed to let me share here on House*Tweaking. Since then, more readers have sent me wonderful stories and images detailing their experiences with Ikea kitchens. I’d like to continue to feature these types of posts throughout the year so I hope you don’t mind if I sprinkle them in from time to time.

These posts won’t feature overly styled rooms or professional photography – although many of them are magazine worthy. They are meant to provide personal accounts of designing and installing Ikea kitchens…something I felt was lacking when we were considering Ikea for our own kitchen renovation. These are real stories from real people. I ask the owners to be as honest and candid as possible. I want the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Personally, I get so much inspiration from seeing how other people incorporate Ikea products into their homes to meet their needs and style. I hope you find them inspiring as well.

french barn before

This particular story comes to us by way of France. (!) Ariane is a journalist and was once a news anchor for a local French network. Her dream had always been to own and run a vacation guesthouse. To realize her dream, she and her husband bought a home with outbuildings on the property that they could eventually turn into guesthouses. They started the process of revamping an old barn very casually but when Ariane was laid off in 2012, it became her full-time job. Ariane still does some journalism work on the side but she finds running the guesthouse completely fulfilling.

The barn had great features to begin with – high ceilings, a stone wall, tons of natural light, open layout – but it was necessary to add a functional kitchen to the space without distracting from the overall vibe.

french barn progress

Ariane worked with an architect to come up with a general layout for the barn but she designed and sourced materials for the kitchen herself. And, surprise!, she tackled the installation mostly on her own as well.

I asked Ariane several questions about her kitchen renovation. You can read the interview and find “after” shots below.

ikea barn kitchen 2

Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

The cabinets, doors, drawer fronts, hinges and hood are from Ikea. I must point out that this kitchen is located in a barn I just renovated. The barn is on our property and I run it as a rental guesthouse.

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

When I started planning this kitchen, I looked around to see if I could find better prices but I couldn’t. No one would beat Ikea prices! And the look is pretty great, too. It’s trendy but nothing that will be outdated in a couple of years. And it’s sturdy.

I hadn’t planned on buying Ikea kitchen appliances for the guesthouse. We bought new appliances for our house and put the old stuff in the barn. The fridge is three years old. I had a new dishwasher on hold. The only thing I needed was a hood. I scouted Le Bon Coin (our version of craigslist here in France) and outlet stores with no luck. The day I went to Ikea, I found the hood on sale for 80% off! It was meant to be.

This is actually the third full kitchen I have purchased from Ikea! The first one was for my dad’s home. The second one was for my first apartment. The house I live in now has awesome custom oak cabinets that we’re reusing but we did hang Ikea glass-front cabinets next to the fridge. And we’ve started a wall-to-wall TV stand and bookcases for the living room…all made with Ikea cabinets!

ikea barn kitchen design

Who designed your kitchen? What aesthetic were you aiming for?

I hired an architect for the barn renovation and he planned the general layout (electricity, outlets, plumbing, etc.) so I started from there and worked with the Ikea design software. I took my design to the store and an employee helped me finalize the layout (and told me about the clearanced hood!). I located a bottle rack on the right side of the stove so the oven wouldn’t open next to the wall. The white version of the rack was 40€ and the stainless was 80€. I chose the white. In the “as-is” section, I found a stainless rack for 14€!! It made the trip home with me.

For the guesthouse, I needed a functional and low maintenance kitchen that would fit in with the general mood I wanted for the whole space. The kitchen is open to the dining area and living room. My first choice was based on an inspiration photo I had found on Ikea’s website – oak-colored doors for the lower cabinets and white cabinets on top. But once I saw them in real life, I didn’t like them so much. So I turned to a combination I had seen elsewhere. Your very own choice of black-brown for the lower doors and white for the top.

ikea barn kitchen install 1

ikea barn kitchen install 2

ikea barn kitchen install 3

Did you assemble and install all Ikea kitchen components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?

I assembled all the cabinets myself. At the time, my hubby was recovering from an appendectomy so he couldn’t help at all! But since the installation stretched over several months, he was able to help me hang the upper cabinets (even though I did almost everything else alone). I asked for help when I needed it. Since pros were working in the barn alongside me, I asked a carpenter to help me with a piece of wood that needed to be cut with a circular saw (which I don’t have). A friend of mine helped me with the back of the peninsula and the baseboards. My brother-in-law installed an under-cabinet light and the hood. Even my eight-year-old nephew tried his hand at the counter tiles!

custom built counter

How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to suit your needs and preferred aesthetic?

I knew I couldn’t buy counters from Ikea without renting a truck so I decided against it. (I live >2 hours away from the nearest store.) Besides, the barn’s crooked walls would have made it very difficult to perfectly cut a counter without proper tools and advanced skills. Instead, I decided to buy tile-able counters and tiles. I custom built the whole thing. I built a wood frame around the peninsula so it’s sturdy and doesn’t flip over. The wood (which is actually flooring!) on the back and side is nailed onto the frame like tongue and groove.

The day I went to Ikea to buy the kitchen, they were rearranging the hardware aisle and were out of stock on all the nice pulls. Instead of buying so-so pieces, I bought pulls I liked better at a big box store.

I had plumbers in for the barn remodel and they supplied the faucet. I bought the sink on sale. The plumbers installed both.

How long was it from design to finished kitchen?

I bought the kitchen in February 2013 and it was fully installed by the end of July 2013. I bought it early because sales were going on. I knew I wouldn’t start installation right away. The drywall wasn’t even up yet!

First, I focused on painting the spaces I had saved for myself. (The painter did all the ceilings and the walls that required scaffolding.) I got very bad tennis elbow which prevented me from working for a month. In the end, it took two months on and off to tackle the whole space.

ikea barn kitchen sink

How long have you lived with your kitchen? Have you encountered any problems?

I don’t “live” with my kitchen since it’s in the guesthouse. But tourists who have stayed here like it very much! They like the layout, the view from the window over the sink, the simplicity and the airy feel.

The only problem I’ve encountered was a broken dowel in one of the upper cabinets which loosened the tightness of the installation. My hubby helped me take the cabinet down and I changed the dowel (on both sides, you never know!) so it’s nice and secure now.

Ikea barn kitchen 1

What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

You mean besides the pride of having it done almost all by myself?! I like that in real life it’s exactly like it was on the Ikea software. The design software is reliable if you use it correctly. I also like that it’s open and light on the walls but grounded with darker lower cabinets. It ties in really well with the rest of the space.

I think my least favorite thing is the counter. I need to fix a crack that has appeared between two rows of tiles and I think it would have been nicer to have carpenters install a custom solid counter. But I couldn’t justify the cost of that in any way, especially since it’s not for personal use. It will have to do!

Would you recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel? If so, which items?

Yes, I would definitively recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel. I know that they have changed the Faktum line (it’s Metod now) so I’m not as familiar with it as I was with the previous one. I’ve purchased Ikea kitchens in 1997, 2003 and 2013. I’ve seen the line evolve and become sturdier and easier to install so I’m confident this new line will be as easy to use as the old one.

I’ve never bought appliances from Ikea (except for the hood) so I can’t vouch for them.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

Yes, I would definitively consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel. Although, once in my lifetime it would be nice to experience a big project entirely taken care of by the pros!

Resources of note:

cabinets, doors, drawer fronts, hood – Ikea
counters, tiles, grout, sink – Brico Dépôt
faucet – Anchonetti
pulls, lights – Leroy Merlin
dishwasher, stove, clock – La Redoute
fridge – Darty
microwave, coffee maker – hand-me-downs
wood on the back of the peninsula – Chèze
accessories – Noz, Casa, thrift stores, yard sales

french barn turned guesthouse

Thank you, Ariane, for sharing your experience and letting me feature your lovely guesthouse kitchen. I can’t get over that stone wall, the soaring ceilings and those steel framed windows! Congrats on turning your barn into a functional and profitable space. Kudos to you for chasing your dreams!!

UPDATE: If you are interested in staying at Ariane’s lovely guesthouse in France, you can find more information here and here.

Okay, readers, who suddenly feels the urge to renovate an old barn? Yeah, me too. Even though most of the items sourced in this kitchen aren’t available in the U.S., the story and ideas have my wheels turning. Please thank Ariane for sharing her kitchen barn remodel. English isn’t her first language but she did wonderfully!

Do you have an Ikea kitchen (it doesn’t have to be 100% Ikea) you would like to share on House*Tweaking? If so, please contact me at housetweaking@gmail.com for consideration. Thank you in advance!

As you know, we chose to go with mostly Ikea products for our kitchen remodel. (You can read more about the design, purchase and installation of our kitchen here, here and here.) Before making the decision, we did a ton of research online. What was the price comparison between Ikea and other cabinet sources? Could Ikea cabinets support granite? How would the frames hold up long-term? How easy / difficult was DIY installation? What level of quality should we expect with Ikea cabinets and appliances? Which items should we look to buy from other sources? Soft-close hinges sound nice but are they worth the hype? And so on. We had so many questions and, surprisingly, so few answers. I wish there had been more access to personal stories regarding Ikea kitchens.

In an effort to bring those stories to light, I would love for House*Tweaking to become an unbiased medium for sharing Ikea kitchen experiences. Even though our kitchen remodel is finished, I love a good kitchen renovation and it’s fun to see all the ways others have used Ikea products to meet their needs and style.

ikea cape kitchen before

The first story I want to share hails from a reader who chose to go the Ikea route after reading about our kitchen. Leigh and her family purchased a foreclosed summer home on a street lined with beautiful houses. It was the worst house on the street, she says, which put it well within their budget.

ikea cape kitchen 2

Though outdated and cramped, the kitchen was livable so the homeowners simply gave it a facelift by painting the cabinets, laying peel-and-stick linoleum and purchasing new stainless steel appliances while they focused their attention on other projects and saved for a full-on kitchen renovation. They lived with the kitchen like this for two years taking mental notes of how the space did / did not work for them. Then a little over a year ago, they plunged into a complete remodel. They researched blogs for inspiration and decided it would be best to take down the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room to create a bright, family-friendly kitchen.

ikea cape kitchen 3

I asked Leigh several questions about her kitchen remodel. You can read her answers and find “after” shots below.

ikea cape kitchen after 1

Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

Cabinets, doors, drawer fronts, hardware, microwave, hood vent and countertops.

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

We were redoing the kitchen in our summer home and looked around at various cabinet makers and determined that Ikea was the best quality for what we were looking to spend. Additionally, there was very little time between placing the order and delivery where some of the other semi-custom lines would have taken up to 18 weeks for delivery.

Who designed your kitchen? What aesthetic were you aiming for?

We designed it ourselves using the Ikea kitchen planning tool. We also got assistance from the kitchen reps at Ikea who were very helpful and informative.

ikea cape kitchen install

Did you assemble and install all Ikea kitchen components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?

We assembled the boxes and some of the install by ourselves (or should I say my husband did). It was last winter when we started to assemble it and my husband was a trooper doing all of the demo and assembly in an unheated house with no running water! We did seek help from a local specialist in the area who installs Ikea kitchens for the Cape and islands and his price seemed to wash out the savings we got by buying Ikea cabinets.

My husband was determined to save the money for something he could do himself. He is not a trade specialist by any means but he has a hard time paying people to do things he can to himself. He was very overwhelmed when the boxes arrived and numerous times said there was no way he could do it. Through determination and hard work, he assembled them all himself. He bought some new tools to do the assembly. He did do most of the install as well. Once everything was in place, we hired a finish carpenter to come in and put moldings above the cabinets. We had planned to do this from the beginning to give the cabinets a finished look. We didn’t like the moldings that Ikea offered.

ikea cape kitchen after 3

The finish carpenter was a bit of a perfectionist and he ended up pulling out a lot of what my husband had thought he had leveled out and redid it. All the cabinets that were hung were great but the lower cabinets were apparently a bit off. He told us that when they came to template for the countertops, they may not have signed off on the template because there would have been gaps. We felt very grateful to have worked with the finish carpenter; he was excellent. He built a custom cabinet for the refrigerator that matches the Ikea pantry. Although we had purchased Ikea panels to wrap the island and end cabinets, he suggested we do those custom as well. We agreed and couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out. We feel that it really made the kitchen look more expensive and more custom than it actually is.

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How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to suit your needs and preferred aesthetic?

As mentioned above, we used custom molding at the tops of all the cabinets and also around the island and end fridge cabinet. To paint the custom pieces we first tried Benjamin Moore’s paper maché which was suggested by another blog. It did not match our cabinets so we took a cabinet front to our local paint store and had them color match it. It worked perfectly. The advice on the trash pull-out from Aubrey & Lindsay’s blog worked great for us. The only tweak we made was to fit a top slide out drawer above the trash bins for extra storage.

I bought all new white plates, bowls, etc. from Ikea. I have a few of the organization systems but have not found them to be terribly useful. The rubber mat rolls that ikea sells have been helpful and look nice at the bottom of each cabinet.

We splurged on some things to give the kitchen character. I had fallen in love with a few things I saw on other blogs including a glass tile backsplash. I contemplated doing white subway tile but decided on a family trip to the Cayman Islands that the color of the water made me so happy and I wanted to incorporate that into our plan. Of course, it is a beach house so something bright and fun was a good fit. We wanted nice countertops. I like the look of carrara marble but knew I did not want marble due to etching and the high maintenance. I did a ton of online research and visited a few stone yards before landing on Caesarstone.  I learned a few months before that London Fog Casearstone was coming to the U.S. market while visiting one of the stone yards. I saw a sample about three months before it hit the market and knew that I had to have it.

Have you encountered any problems with the Ikea products in your kitchen?

We have not encountered any problems with our cabinets. We are really happy with them. We have more expensive cabinets in our kitchen at our primary residence and the Ikea cabinets are right up there in quality. We love the soft-close hinges – something our other kitchen does not have. I looked into other fronts for the Ikea frames because I originally wanted something that was a brighter white but am very happy with the color. In fact, I think a bright white would be too harsh. I do wish that Ikea had the option of a solid, off-white wood door front in the same style. There is a lot of humidity in the summer here so the laminate material will probably work better for us in the long run. Also, they are super easy to keep clean with kids and entertaining.

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What is your favorite thing about your kitchen?

I love how open and bright it is. I love the design, the ease of cooking in it and cleaning up. I love the aesthetic. I love the island where people can sit and eat while we cook. I love that I don’t have to treat it with gloved hands and that my kids are learning to cook in the space. I love how it opens to the living room and our new porch. I love that it allows us to entertain when in our previous kitchen it was just too tight. I love that it is all of my favorite colors and designs. But most of all, I love that we did it ourselves and can enjoy our sweat equity!

Would you recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel? If so, which items?  

Of course! I would suggest all the items they sell for a kitchen remodel. We only did a few select appliances because we were able to reuse the appliances that we bought earlier when we did a “band-aid” of the kitchen shortly after buying the house. I really do think that the quality at Ikea is nice and you can’t beat the value.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

Yes, I would. Regardless of budget.

Resources of note:
countertops – London Fog Caesarstone
sink – Julian
faucet – Grohe
microwave – Ikea
hood vent – Ikea
refrigerator – Kenmore Elite, counter-depth
dishwasher- Kenmore Elite
stove – GE gas with electric oven
backsplash tile – Daltile Whisper Green
flooring – hardwood, refinished to match the rest of the house
lighting – can lights in the ceiling, wired above island in case we ever want to put in pendants. (We did not do under-cabinet lighting. We figured this was an area where we could save and we don’t miss them.)
window – Andersen 400 series
paint – molding is a custom color-match; walls are Benjamin Moore cameo white

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Thank you, Leigh, for sharing your Ikea kitchen experience and allowing me to feature it on House*Tweaking. I know it will be helpful and inspirational to many people contemplating a kitchen remodel.

Okay, readers. How do you feel about me featuring real life Ikea kitchens from time-to-time? Of course, I don’t want it to seem like I’m forcing anyone to buy Ikea. I just want to scout out some of the inspiration and information that I wish would have been available when we were getting ready to renovate our kitchen. I think so many times homeowners swear off Ikea because they fear the end result will look “Ikea” but I really believe it’s an affordable, quality source that can be tweaked to meet different needs and styles.

Do you have an Ikea kitchen (it doesn’t have to be 100% Ikea) that you would be willing to share on House*Tweaking? If so, please contact me at housetweaking@gmail.com for consideration. Thank you in advance!