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How do you clean your living room rug?

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that I’d have a lot of dollars. And I’d probably spend them all on books or Trader Joe’s cookie butter. Or hand soap.

In all seriousness though, up until a few weeks ago the only cleaning our living room rug had seen was frequent vacuuming – maybe once or twice per week – and spot cleaning over the last 2+ years. I’ve always used this vacuum and vacuumed the shag rug with the roller brush turned OFF. We don’t wear shoes in the house and only allow water and popcorn in the living room for family movie nights. Keeping shoes, food and drinks off the rug helped us avoid major spills. (Except for that one time I floundered a glass of rosé. Oops. Luckily, it came right up with vinegar + water.)

However, I was terrible at rotating the rug regularly and, eventually, there was a noticeable difference in appearance between the part of the rug near the kitchen and the part hidden under the sofa. On the rare occasions when we would pull out the sofa to look for a lost library book, we were struck by the pure whiteness of the untouched area under the sofa. It completely called out our family’s filth and made the rest of the rug look dingy. When it was covered up, no one was the wiser. So I left it covered up.

But I kept getting that question.

How do you clean your living room rug? Cha-ching. Kidding.

I started to become a little self-conscious. Was I supposed to be cleaning the rug? According to Martha Stewart, no. The rug was two and a half years old; I had two and a half years of vacuuming and spot cleaning left to go. It really didn’t look bad unless you saw the virgin part under the sofa. But curiosity got the best of me. I called a few local rug cleaners for quotes. Prices ranged from $2-$2.50 per square foot. For our 8′ x 10′ rug, I was looking at $160-$200 for a cleaning. Having only paid $270 for the rug to begin with, a $200 cleaning seemed pricey. But I had already been bitten by the rug cleaning bug and started researching a way to DIY the cleaning to save money.

(It’s worth noting that we had a horrible experience with a reputable big brand carpet cleaning service several years ago. They came in and cleaned the carpet in our first home and told me their methods were “safe” for kids and pets. An hour after they left, our dog had an anaphylactic reaction to whatever “safe” chemicals had been used. She spent an entire weekend in triage loaded up on epinephrine, steroids and antihistamines. We didn’t know if she was going to live and, if she did, if she would be able to come home to our “safe” carpet. Long story short, I don’t trust carpet cleaners.)

I assume you can predict where this is going.

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I made up a solution of water + vinegar + OxiClean and poured some into a spray bottle.

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1 – I dragged the rug outside to the deck, a feat in itself. I turned it upside down and vacuumed the backside several times.

2 – I turned the rug right side up and vacuumed it several more times. (You can see how dingy the rug really was!)

3 – Working from the middle to the edges, I saturated the rug with my homemade cleaning solution and let it sit for 10-15 minutes then rinsed it well with the hose. My plan was working! The rug looked brighter and whiter.

4 – I rolled the rug towards the yard end of the deck to squeeze out excess water. Easier said than done. The rug was so SO heavy. I had to put my back into it. I was sweating.

5 – I unrolled the rug and used a wet/dry Shop-Vac to suck up more water (plus miniscule Legos, Play-Doh crumbs and leaf bits). It was slow going. The rug was soaked and I took my time dragging the attachment tool slowly to get up as much water as possible. I had to empty the Shop-Vac canister twice. I got to a point at which the rug felt slightly damp and less slushy. I stopped vacuuming.

6 – I snipped loose threads and used a hairdryer to help dry things a little more. Basically, I groomed and styled that shag. I was happy with how the rug was looking!

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I pulled the rug up and over the outdoor dining table to finish drying. This required more muscles than I anticipated. I rubbed my knuckles raw pulling on the heavy rug and dropped a few f-bombs under my breath. But the rug looked so much better! I patted myself on the back for saving a few hundred dollars. The forecast predicted mild temps, low humidity and plenty of sunshine so I left the rug outside for a few days to allow it to dry completely.


But after 3 days it smelled like a big, wet dog. I tried to salvage the rug by hanging it over sawhorses in the garage with a box fan blowing under it. I did a great job of making our garage smell like a big, wet dog.

After several more days, it was apparent that there was no way the rug was coming back in the house. In retrospect, I think I did a pretty decent job of cleaning the rug but a horrible job of drying it. The smell was most likely due to mildew from not drying it quickly or thoroughly enough.

I felt awful. I loved that rug. As bad as I felt about ruining the rug, I felt worse about sending it off to a landfill. Ugh. I promise I don’t hate you earth. I should have listened to Martha’s rug guru.

Having lived with the durable but scratchy sisal rug in the living room for a week while I “cleaned” the shag rug, we discovered just how much our living room’s cozy factor rode on the shag rug. Without it, we found ourselves spending less time in the space and what time we did spend there wasn’t as comfortable as it had once been. Needless to say, the entire family was stoked to discover that the rug is still available from RugsUSA. A 75% off coupon code sealed the deal. We didn’t think twice about buying the rug…again. This time it cost us $280…$10 more than what we paid two and a half years ago…and about $80-$100 more than what it would have cost us to have the old one cleaned.

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The rug arrived last week. Our cozy living room is back! We’re completely smitten with the new rug. It doesn’t smell like wet dog. It’s plush and clean and barely sheds. Most likely, it’s better than whatever results a professional cleaner could have achieved with the old rug.

Surprisingly, there are some other differences, too, even though the rugs are technically the same. The pile of the new rug is slightly shorter. (I wish I had measured the previous one for comparison.) While I really LOVED the look of the longer pile on the previous rug, it would get caught in the roller brush of the vacuum which is why I had to turn it off while vacuuming. It made hunting for lost Legos nearly impossible. It’s also the reason why I was leery of using a powered carpet cleaner on the previous rug. I had read that long shags don’t do well with agitation. It can lead to knotting, fraying and unraveling. With the shorter pile of the new rug, I’m able to vacuum it with the roller brush on, no problem! I’m hoping this means I’ll be able to clean it with a powered carpet cleaner in the future. You know, to save money ;)

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Another subtle difference lies in the zig-zag pattern. The zig-zags are slightly narrower with more brown in them. The older rug’s zig-zags were more taupe/gray in color. The difference in color isn’t a deal breaker at all – just something we noticed. In case you’re wondering, the light background is pretty spot on when compared to the previous version. Overall, we’re impressed with the new version. It’s already proven to be more family- and user-friendly. I’m calling it a happy accident.

A few things I’m taking away from this whole rug cleaning experience:

*I need to do a better job of rotating the living room rug.

*Extremely shaggy rugs aren’t the most family-friendly rugs.

*Water + white vinegar + OxiClean does a decent job of cleaning grimy rugs.

*Wet rugs are super heavy.

*Sometimes I have really bad ideas.

*I love having no carpet in the house. After seeing what came out of the old rug, I like being able to remove our floor coverings for thorough cleanings (or, um, replacements).

*DIY isn’t always better or cheaper.

*Having a cozy rug in our living room makes a world of difference.

*My kids are horrible at picking up their Legos.

*I like my knuckles best when they have skin on them.

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I’ll let you know how things go with the new rug in, oh, two years or so ;) Until then, I’ll be vacuuming and spot cleaning away!

Pssst…if you’ve ever considered using the same rug in your home, it’s on sale through 10/12! #notsponsored

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

1st 5K

After mentioning the completion of my first 5K a few weeks ago, I received some questions regarding my training. I thought it would be most helpful to just lay everything out in post form for ease of reference. FYI: I’ve always been a physically active person but never by means of running. This information is meant for novice runners like me whose goal is to run an entire 5K. If you have any running experience you may find these tips to be too rudimentary. On your mark. Get set. Let’s go!

1. Runner-friendly apps. When I signed up for the 5K, I had no idea how to train for a long distance race. I had no internal gauge to determine how fast or how far I was running. (Spoiler alert: I was slow and not running very far at all.) Steve downloaded 5K Runner onto my iPhone and I used it for the first month or so of my training. It’s basically an audio coach that talks you through a walk / run / walk workout three times per week. For the first 2-3 weeks, I was extremely discouraged. I could finish the workouts but felt completely spent during and after. My breathing was erratic when I ran. My legs hurt like crazy all the time – even on my rest days. I was seriously doubting my ability to run 3+ miles without stopping to walk when I could barely finish a 1-mile walk / run at a snail’s pace. I said things to myself like, “I’m just not a runner.” “Something isn’t right. My legs aren’t supposed to hurt this badly.” “It doesn’t feel natural when I run.” “I can always back out.” I even half-wished I would pass out like I used to so I would have an excuse not to run.

But somewhere around the 4-week mark of training, I noticed a shift. I had more control over my breathing. My legs weren’t hurting as much. I was experiencing natural “highs” after my runs which kind of made me look forward to the next run. Instead of focusing on how far away I was from my goal, I was able to reflect on how far I had come.

The kids and I visited my grandparents in Florida in early August. I mistakenly forgot to pack my phone. My first thought was, “Well, guess I won’t be able to run because I can’t run without someone / something telling me when and how.” It was a lame excuse and I knew it but that was my rationalization. Then I saw my grandma (who had a knee replacement last year) waking up early every morning to meet her girlfriends at the neighborhood pool for water aerobics and I thought, “If she can do that, I can make an effort to run a few times this week.” And so I did.

Without my 5K Runner app, I decided to borrow a wristwatch from my grandma and run until I needed to walk. To my surprise, I ran for 11 minutes without walking! It was the longest continuous run I had completed. I walked for two minutes then ran for another eight. My phone showed up in the mail a few days later but I ditched the 5K Runner app and stuck to my 20-25 minute wristwatch workout, running until I absolutely had to walk, walking for 1-2 minutes then finishing with a shorter run. By the end of my visit, I could run ~15 minutes without stopping to walk.

When I returned home, I added Map My Run to my phone to document my routes, distances, splits and overall times. I was running 2-3 times per week. Seven weeks into my training, I was able to run two miles without stopping to walk. That was the moment when I actually believed I could reach the 3.2-mile mark if I kept at it. I gradually added snippets of distance to those two miles and I completed my first unofficial 5K two and a half weeks before the race.

2. Runner-friendly gadgets. Starting out I ran with my phone in hand and the volume on high so I could hear the audio coach. Steve made fun of me and quickly bought an armband holster for my phone. (For the record, he’s the gadget lover in the relationship. I avoid them at all costs.) I tried adding a pair of basic ear buds from our junk drawer but I was continually adjusting them so they wouldn’t fall out, which they did regardless. And what to do with the dangling, bouncing wires?! It was annoying. Reluctantly, I shelled out money for wireless bluetooth earphones. They made me a gadget lover. They didn’t fall out (they come with ear buds and ear loops in various sizes for a custom fit) and they blocked out the sound of my ragged breathing. Not being able to hear myself breathe made such a difference to me! It’s as if I couldn’t hear how tired I was. The wireless aspect was completely freeing, too. I could focus on my form and pace instead of wrangling wires.

3. The right footwear. As mentioned above, pain in my legs from the knees down was my biggest hurdle early on. I had expected some pain but this was almost unbearable at times. I tried improving my gait by emphasizing a midfoot strike. It definitely felt better than my natural (i.e., very wrong) side-to-side stride but I was still in pain.

I did some reading online and determined improper support of my high arches was partly to blame. It probably didn’t help that I didn’t own true running shoes. I read a bunch of reviews online and ordered a pair of Brooks Pure Cadence 2 running shoes. I didn’t care what color they were. I just ordered the cheapest ones in my size from Amazon. I loved them right out of the box. There was no break in period, no blisters. With proper cushioning in all the right places, my gait improved even more. Maintaining proper running form required less effort and felt “natural” for the first time in my life. (I followed these guidelines for proper running form.) The pain in my knees, shins and feet improved almost immediately. My arches never felt better.

However, the pain in my calves did not improve. In fact, I even experienced intense swelling at one point. My legs never swelled during any of my pregnancies, but the pain reminded me of how my legs used to feel after a 12-hour workday standing in the pharmacy while pregnant. Back then, I wore compression stockings for relief. I wondered if it would be weird to wear them while running. A quick Amazon search revealed that compression socks for runners actually do exist! I had no idea. I snagged a highly rated pair of performance run socks in pink. (Because it was the cheapest color and I don’t care what I look like when I run.) THESE SOCKS WERE GAME CHANGERS! For me, the claims of more comfort, less fatigue and quicker recovery completely held up in real life. It should come as no surprise that my first run in the socks was the 11-minute wristwatch run I mentioned in #1. Sometimes I even wore them for comfort on rest days. #sohot

4. Ideal running conditions. At first, I ran whenever I had a break in my schedule. The kids were home from school for the summer and squeezing in a run wasn’t always easy. I ran when I could. It didn’t take me long to figure out I was NOT a night runner. I didn’t like not being able to see what was around me and I had trouble falling asleep afterwards. Running in the stifling hot summer afternoons was excruciating. Also, I learned that running shortly after eating gave me intense runner’s heartburn. For these reasons, I made every effort to get my runs in first thing in the morning. Later on as summer dwindled and the temps cooled, I was able to go for pleasant afternoon runs but morning time really was my running sweet spot.

When I started training, I had visions of running in all these cool places around my city. But what I realized was that if the location required me to get in a vehicle, I was less likely to run. It seemed like too much effort. Eventually, I settled on a route in my neighborhood. (After all, a legit running club runs through our ‘hood every Tuesday.) It’s mostly flat and quiet with little to no traffic and the kicker is that it’s just steps from my front door.

I had a few friends offer to run with me but I never took them up on it. For one, I thought I was so terrible that I would hold them back. But mostly I preferred running alone. It was me time, albeit grueling. (That might be an introvert thing.)

So, yeah, my ideal running conditions involved cool temps in the morning, an empty stomach, my trusty neighborhood route and just me. That’s when I felt and did my best. (Luckily, the conditions of the real race were quite similar.) Once I tried a different route on a HOT afternoon and it went horribly. There were hills, a construction zone, heavy traffic and no shoulder to run on. I walked a lot and it took me >45 minutes to finish. I vowed never to take that route again.

5. Patience. I don’t like doing things I’m not good at. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t attempt to run before this summer. (Fear was the other big factor.) I’m old enough to know that accomplishing a lofty goal requires hard work and time. I knew training for a 5K would be strenuous physically. I knew I wouldn’t be able to run 3 miles overnight. I gave myself ten weeks to train for the race. Still, I expected to see results sooner than I did. I had no choice but to be patient with my progress. I’m not going to lie. The first month sucked. Big time. I couldn’t run longer than a minute without needing to stop and walk at least the same amount of time or longer. The entire time I was running, I couldn’t wait to walk. I told Steve I would rather go through another au naturel birth than run a 5K. That’s where #6 came in and kept me going.

6. Inspiration. I found inspiration everywhere. For starters, Steve organized the Lift Up Autism 5K. I watched him spend so much of what little free time he had setting up an event website, getting people registered, creating the race route, organizing a group of volunteers, contacting sponsors, etc. all for a good cause and I wanted to support him. I also found it extremely inspiring to read about others’ first 5Ks. There’s a lot to be found by googling “first 5K race.” Dipping into others’ experiences helped me focus on endurance, reaching that 3.2 mile mark and finishing strong with a smile on my face.

I thought about my childhood neighbor and friend who now has the extremely challenging job of raising three children, two of which are severely autistic.

I thought about my dear girlfriend who experienced a traumatic labor and delivery which ultimately resulted in her losing her baby the same day he was born.

I thought about my own son, Layne, who was once on the autism spectrum and has grown into the most intelligent and sweetest ten-year-old I know.

I thought about my kids seeing me cross the finish line.

When my legs wanted to stop I thought about all the chronically ill people who would give anything to have healthy, tired legs.

During one run in Florida, I had just reached my goal for the day when a golf cart passed me carrying a severely disabled elderly woman. I was so ready to quit but I ran another two minutes just for her.

During a run in my neighborhood, I passed an elderly woman who frequently runs in the area. She looks as if she’s been a runner all her life and has the injuries and crippled posture to show for it. I had only planned on running 2 miles that day but ended up running 2.5 in honor of her.

During a week that Steve was out of town for work, the only way I could get in my run was to push Mabrey in a (non-jogging) stroller. The stroller is over a decade old. It’s the only stroller we’ve ever owned. The wheels are terribly squeaky and I fear it could collapse at any moment. That stroller was all over the road that day! I kept thinking it was too hard to run behind but then I thought about Mabrey and I wanted her to see me do something difficult. I finished a 5K run that day. Mabrey had no clue. She just liked going fast. The next time I ran stroller-less, it was so easy relative to that stroller run.

You get the point. Inspiration is everywhere if you want to find it. It’s yours for the taking. Use it to do good, hard things.

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I completed a total of three 5K runs before the actual race. I posted a PR of 25:09 on race day. Out of 70 participants, I placed second. I was the first woman to cross the finish line. And I did it with a smile on my face.

After the race, my sister (who is an avid runner and has completed several marathons) asked me if I was hooked. I’m not entirely sure what my relationship with running is from here on out. I feel great. I’m probably in the best conditioning shape of my life. The fighter in me wants to get my time down but I don’t want chronic injuries. That being said, I ran a mile “for fun” this past weekend and posted my best mile time ever – 7:14. I read somewhere that a 37- to 41-year-old is in the top 1% of their age group if they can run a mile in 6:48 or better. I turn 37 next month. I kinda want to try. For fun.

For me, the weirdest part about all of this is that I run for fun now?! Who am I.

Reading others’ experiences inspired me so much and I want to pay it forward. Have you ever completed a 5K? What were your training must-haves? One more thing: Do you use a music app or create playlists for running / working out? That’s the one thing I haven’t been able to nail down. Any songs you would recommend? I’m all ears. Hehe.

It seems the consensus is that you guys would like to continue seeing and reading about Ikea kitchens regardless of which cabinet line – AKURUM (previous) or SEKTION (current) – is featured. For that reason, I will continue to share the best of the bunch that come my way. Thanks for reading!

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!

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Weslie and Kristina bought their 1970s fixer upper in early 2014. Right away, they set to work bringing improved functionality to the kitchen. The original layout was cramped and closed off from the rest of the house. The location of the dishwasher made it nearly impossible to stand at the kitchen sink with the dishwasher door open. (Which pretty much defeats the purpose, right?) A small doorway leading to the dining room was the only means of entry / exit. A pair of awkwardly placed pass-throughs provided limited views to the adjacent living area and left a lot to be desired.

In an effort to improve traffic flow & sight lines, add function and incorporate Kristina’s Finnish heritage, the couple created a new floor plan for the space (bye, bye pass-through wall!) and utilized Ikea cabinets. Weslie was kind enough to answer several questions about the renovation. (Kristina was off doing important things like giving birth to baby #2!) Find his answers and images of the cheerful space below.

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Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

Cabinets, sink, vent hood, shelf brackets, perimeter countertop, step stool, drawer organizers, lighting, curtain rods, storage containers, bookends, shelf liners and dish drain.

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

Aesthetics, durability, price and ease of DIY.

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

We created a fairly detailed design and then utilized Modern Family Kitchens which was completely worth the relatively small designer fee. One of the greatest benefits of using the outsourced design service is that they know all of the little spacing tricks and, perhaps most importantly, upload the entire design to Ikea with a pick list for the employees. Because of their knowledge, our conversation with the employee in the Ikea kitchen department was about 30 minutes. Compare that to another poor soul who sat down at the same time as us with a different employee with a list of ideas. She may still be there a year and a half later!

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The aesthetic we were aiming for is probably something like Scandinavian modern. Kristina is from Finland. Our kitchen looks like the average kitchen there. Though I’m a pastor now, my undergrad studies were in design and photography. Our kitchen design was a complete collaboration. One goal was to add touches from Kristina’s home in Finland into our north Texas home. For example, the long runner in the kitchen is a handmade vintage piece which was a gift from our sister-in-law in Finland. These are very typical in Finland and most Nordic countries.

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Likewise, the curtains (the biggest block of color in the kitchen!) were a gift from both of our parents. The pattern is the iconic Unikko design from Marimekko, one of Finland’s most well-known design exports. The fabric was a gift from Kristina’s parents. My mother, Sylvia, sewed everything to perfection. The little painting of lemons is from my dear great aunt, Edith, whom our daughter is named after. We love collecting vintage pieces as well which is evident throughout the kitchen.

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

We did everything. My parents were in town for the demo and helped with that and watching our daughter, Edith. They also helped greatly by bringing their big truck! We live a little over two hours away from the closest Ikea, so we took the truck down to the Dallas metroplex and spent the night with a friend. The next morning we rented a large U-Haul trailer for the cabinets. We also picked up approximately 750 sq. ft. of flooring the same morning, drove everything white-knuckled back that evening and unloaded everything in the garage late into the night. All of the demo, electrical, gas, plumbing, carpentry, sheetrock, painting, trimming, flooring, countertop laminating (for the peninsula), and tile work (completed with consultation from a friend) was done by us!

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

The main goal was functionality. Our old kitchen didn’t function well. It was the original one from 1970 and included a small wall oven that always ran 50 degrees too hot. Our first itch was to deal with that, but a new wall oven that would have fit the space (24″) would have been more expensive than our current stainless steel, five burner convection oven! If we were to go with a regular stove, we would have had to figure out what to do with the hole in the wall left by the nonexistent wall oven. Secondly, when the dishwasher was open you couldn’t reach the sink. It needed to be moved. Lastly, good access to the backyard was high on our wish list. This led us to decide on a complete gut and wall removal. We expanded the original entrance to the kitchen as well. We cook and bake a lot, so we wanted the kitchen to function well for us. Since our funds were limited, we decided to keep the plumbing and gas lines in the same place though we did add and move electrical.

How long was it from design to the final product?

We closed on the house on Valentine’s Day in 2014 and started designing immediately after. It took about six weeks from the day we started gutting until the kitchen was usable again. That includes flooring throughout the house except the bedrooms. I didn’t take a day off work but worked on the kitchen every spare hour of the day. Kristina, who is a stay-at-home mom, worked as much as she was able to during the days. She assembled nearly all of the cabinets herself. It took 18 months to completely finish the kitchen, including crown molding and trim. The long timeframe was due to laziness on my part! Once the kitchen was usable and decent-looking, we were so exhausted that the finishing touches were put on the back burner.

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

We’ve lived with it for ~16 months. It was a complete DIY and some things were harder to do than we had imagined. I laminated the countertops using materials from Home Depot, but the result on the perimeter cabinets was not as good as we had hoped for. Rather than trying to fix them, we ended up switching them out for one of the newer Ikea countertop options. We kept the countertop I made for the peninsula, and we are really happy with that decision.

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

We love the openness to the living and dining rooms now and the functionality of the drawers and pantry. Our least favorite aspect is probably the fact that the white doors are a little hard to keep clean.

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

Yes, absolutely! The cabinets are as high of quality as you can find without paying tens of thousands of dollars for 100% wood cabinets. In fact, after we completed our work we visited some dear cousins in Austin who had just finished their own kitchen remodel with very beautiful, all wood cabinets. Their kitchen looks amazing but we’re just as satisfied with ours – no regrets. We’re also very pleased with the perimeter countertops we decided to buy. The texture on the laminate is a nice touch.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

Yes, without a doubt.

Resources of note:

paint – Lowe’s Olympic gray beige (light color) and eiffel tower (darker color)
cabinets – AKURUM, Ikea. (We did not use Ikea trim because it was rounded. We found 8′ sections of door jamb trim at our local Habitat Restore for $1! We simply turned it around, cut it down, painted it and used it as under-cabinet trim and upper cabinet spacers. The upper spacers give the crown molding something to rest on.)
shelf brackets – Ikea
perimeter countertops – SÄLJAN, Ikea. (We’re very pleased with them.)
peninsula countertop – textured slate laminate, special order via Lowe’s
flooring – Lamton Madagascar oak laminate (discontinued), Build Direct (They’re 12mm thick, commercial grade and we’re very happy with them. The nice thing about Build Direct for us – besides the price – is that they have no sales tax and are located somewhat near our local Ikea.)
subway tile – Home Depot
grout – pearl gray, Home Depot
sink – BOHOLMEN, from the “as-is” section of Ikea! One of our great victories! They had just taken it off of the floor. It was about $85, a steal!
faucet – Kraus, eFaucets with a coupon
dishwasher – GE, Home Depot return inventory
stove – Frigidaire Gallery, Best Buy
microwave – GE
refrigerator – Kenmore Elite, a generous gift from friends
vent hood – NUTID, from the “as-is” section of Ikea! Another great victory! It, too, had just been taken off the floor and was marked half off.
kitchen timer (on hood) – Moomin Mamma from the well-known Finnish stories of Tove Jansson
pendant lights – RANARP, Ikea
ceiling light – ALÄNG, Ikea
LED light above sink – Lowe’s
curtain rods – Ikea
curtains – Unniko fabric design by Marimekko, DIY
runner – vintage
counter stools – J. Persing Arborline stools, Craigslist

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north tx ikea kitchen after 11

Thank you Weslie and Kristina for sharing your kitchen! I love the new layout and all the Finnish-inspired touches. And to think you did it all yourselves?! Kudos. For the record, putting off finishing touches like trim and molding is par for the course in my book. After seeing your kitchen transformation, “lazy” is the last word that comes to mind. Congrats on your newest (human) addition! Hope all is well. I can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your busy lives to help bring this feature to fruition.

Okay readers, what ideas are you stealing from this remodel? I love the overall happy, cheery vibe. Before I even read Weslie’s answers, I was thinking Scandinavian. The mix of black, white and wood tones is classic while meaningful touches like the vintage runner, handmade curtains, baking ingredients labeled in Swedish and heirloom art create a homey atmosphere. The end result feels personal not sterile like some Nordic kitchens. FYI: socker = sugar and matsoda = baking soda. Don’t say you’ve never learned anything from this blog. Ha!

By removing the kitchen-living room wall and widening the doorway to the dining room, the homeowners were able to create a workable layout with improved traffic flow, loads of natural light, better access to adjacent rooms and direct access to the backyard via nearby sliders. I’m always amazed by the impact of wall removal. You can see more behind the scenes action of this remodel over on the homeowners’ blog right here.

Another possible takeaway for those of you considering an Ikea kitchen is enlisting the help of Modern Family Kitchens. Honestly, I had never heard of them before but taking advantage of their knowledge of the ins and outs of Ikea kitchens sounds like a wonderful thing. Paying a few hundred dollars to have full confidence in your kitchen design (regardless of whether you plan to DIY or hire out the installation) seems pretty reasonable to me. Has anyone else worked with them? I’d love to know more.

Want more kitchen inspiration? I finally created a banner in the side bar that will take you directly to the Ikea kitchen series. Just click “See Real Ikea Kitchens” and all the posts will pop up. I’m working on creating a simplified landing page for the series but, for now, you have to scroll through the posts. Sorry fingers.

Do you have a project (big or small, Ikea or non-Ikea) that you would like to share with House*Tweaking readers? Email me at housetweaking (at) gmail (dot) com for consideration. Thanks in advance!

images: Weslie Odom