...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!

kitchen before 2

Kitchen before

Jon and Jen bought a 1922 bungalow in Asheville, North Carolina, over three years ago. The kitchen was outdated and the layout was jumbled. A refrigerator and washing machine occupied one wall. A freestanding stove occupied another wall. A single wall of cabinetry didn’t provide enough storage. The placement of the dishwasher was inefficient. When opened, it blocked a doorway. In an effort to simplify and streamline the kitchen’s layout without adding square footage, the couple dreamed up a well-appointed galley kitchen. Taking cost, aesthetics and the need for more storage into consideration, they sprung for Ikea cabinetry in a style that works well with the home’s innate character. I asked Jen several questions about the renovation. Find her answers and the cheery “afters” below.

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Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?

The cabinets, doors, drawer fronts and most of our dishes are all from Ikea. We went with RAMSJÖ doors and drawer fronts in white. They aren’t a solid white. They have more of a white-washed finish. We really like the look in the context of our bungalow.

What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?

My brother and his wife installed an Ikea kitchen in their home about 7 years ago. We watched them go through the entire process and then put it to a daily test – with four kids! When they moved last year, the kitchen still looked new and they didn’t have a single complaint! That was a huge endorsement. My husband (a general contractor) has also had many designers praise Ikea for functionality, price and aesthetics. Finally, we couldn’t beat the price which was really important since we were renovating the entire home and had lots of other places to allocate our savings.

kitchen gutted

kitchen gutted 2

kitchen progress drywall

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

My husband planned the layout and I chose the components. We gutted the kitchen down to the studs and raised the windows so we could fit a row of cabinets and a sink underneath. We also opened up two walls, added a mudroom and relocated a doorway to achieve a galley layout. Jon recessed the full-sized refrigerator a few inches into the wall so it reads counter-depth. We were hoping to achieve a classic cottage / bungalow style that would fit in with our 1922 bungalow home while keeping the original footprint of 10′ x 13′.

ikea boxes assembled

ikea kitchen cabinets up 2

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

My husband and his brother assembled and installed everything with relative ease. They didn’t use the Ikea base cabinet levelers but really liked the wall mounting strips for the upper cabinets.

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

We chose Vermont granite from a local stone fabricator and installed classic subway tile with contrasting grout for the backsplash. The cabinetry hardware, sink, faucet, pendant and appliances are non-Ikea. I think they keep the kitchen from looking like an Ikea display. We painted the kitchen the same color as the rest of the house since each room flows to the next.

How long was it from design to the final product?

Our kitchen was gutted over the 4th of July weekend and done by Labor Day weekend. It was part of a full-time larger scale renovation that also included the only bathroom in the house. Six weeks seems like a very long time when you’re living through it and showering on the back porch. :)

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

Nearly 3 years and not a single issue or complaint so far! We love it!

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

Jon loves the hinges and the drawer slides. He claims they’re even better than many custom cabinets he’s encountered in his line of work. I love that we have TONS of storage in a relatively small space. A close second are the glass front cabinets on the same wall as the double window. Together, they make the kitchen feel light and bright.

Jon has no complaints about the kitchen. The only complaint I have doesn’t concern Ikea. The knobs and pulls (from Pottery Barn) are not aging well at all! The finish started coming off about eight weeks after installation. I tried returning them but I didn’t have the original boxes so it was a no-go. We’re living with them for now.

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

Absolutely! Definitely the cabinets, drawers and door fronts.

Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?

Yes! In fact, we installed an Ikea kitchen in the apartment we just built over a detached garage behind our house. The apartment is a furnished vacation rental so we definitely wanted an Ikea kitchen to stand up to lots of use.

Resources of note:

cabinets – Ikea
wall paint – Benjamin Moore thundercloud gray
countertop – Vermont granite
backsplash tile – basic white subway tile with pewter grout, both from Lowe’s
sink – Overstock
faucet – Costco
cabinetry hardware – Pottery Barn
appliances – Kenmore dishwasher, microwave, gas range / oven; Samsung french door refrigerator with bottom freezer
recessed can lights – Home Depot
pendant – Allen & Roth, Lowe’s
rugs – RugsUSA

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Jon and Jen, thank you for sharing your kitchen renovation story with me and for providing such thorough images of the process!

What a bright and happy lil’ kitchen! It was a huge undertaking, but repositioning and widening the doorways on either side of the kitchen was a game-changer. The galley layout suits the home well, don’t you think? I love the sight lines giving peeks in to the dining room and mudroom. Streamlining the space and painting it the same color as the rest of the main floor created a good flow. And that bit about recessing the fridge? Genius. I ain’t mad at those rugs either. See Jen’s blog for the full house tour. (These two have been busy!)

*BONUS* – Check out Jon and Jen’s newly finished apartment above their detached garage! It includes a tidy Ikea kitchen and is available for rent here. It’s only a $5 Uber ride to downtown Asheville which I hear boasts lots and lots of beer, so there’s that. ;)

If you’re in the mood for more Ikea kitchens, check out the rest of this series:

A (Mostly) Ikea Kitchen in Denver

An Ikea Kitchen in Rural Australia

An Ikea Kitchen in the SF Bay Area

An Ikea Kitchen in Northfield, Minnesota

An Ikea Kitchen in Brooklyn

An Ikea Kitchen in Orange County

An Ikea Kitchen in Texas Hill Country

An Ikea Kitchen in Chesapeake

An Ikea Kitchen in a Barn (in France!)

An Ikea Kitchen in Cape Cod

images: Jen Woodward

41 Comments

22.November.2014

I love this update! It fits so well. Do you know what blinds they used on the windows? They look like just what I’m looking for for our home!

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replied on November 23rd, 2014

Hey There! The blinds on the window are just the faux wood blinds from Lowe’s. They will even cut them to fit at the store.

-jen

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22.November.2014

Any chance she gave you info on that thin table by their calendar?

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replied on November 23rd, 2014

Hey Liz! The narrow console table was something my husband built a few years ago out of scraps from the hardwood floors in our old house. :) We love it and get source requests all the time. I keep telling him he should build them to sell!

-jen

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replied on November 23rd, 2014

Yes! I’ll be his first buyer!

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replied on November 24th, 2014

And I’ll be his second! I was just going to ask that question and can thank Liz for asking it first! Beautiful kitchen and absolutely am in love with your sweet console table that fits that space perfectly.

replied on November 24th, 2014

I was thinking the same thing LIZ. Great use of a small space

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22.November.2014

It is perfect. Was the wood floor already existing under the laminate tiles?

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replied on November 23rd, 2014

Thanks, Krysta! The hardwood floors are original to the house and were under at least 4 layers of vinyl! After the vinyl came up, they were nearly black from the adhesive! Thankfully, sanding and refinishing left them looking much better. I actually really like the dark spots and stains – 92 years leaves some marks! :)

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22.November.2014

Love it! So funny because we just installed an ikea kitchen last year and used the EXACT SAME wall color! We used the Ramsjo in black/brown for our cabinets though. This looks great and just proves that you can retain some of the historic feel with ikea cabinets — love the glass doors!

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replied on November 23rd, 2014

Thanks, Allie! We’ve actually had some older neighbors ask us if the cabinets are original to the house. :) I think younger folks are more familiar with IKEA, but that was a pretty nice compliment for someone trying to blend the old and new spaces.

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22.November.2014

I really love everything in this space but my FAVE thing is the pendant light above the sink – super cute!!! ~Kylie

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22.November.2014

Does she have a blog?!?! I want to see the rest of her house! I looked at the listing and the apartment looks like it would be an awesome place to stay during a visit!!! What a great inspiration!

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replied on November 23rd, 2014

Thanks Rachael! I have kept a blog since 2007 so our friends and family can keep up with our hijinks. :) It’s http://www.jenfromtheblock.com – there is a full house tour under The Bungalow tab, as well as a full tour of the vacation rental apartment. Come stay with us and see it in person! :)

-j

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22.November.2014

Where is the rug/runner in the garage apartment kitchen from? I love it!!!

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replied on November 23rd, 2014

Hi Robyn!
The rug/runner in the apartment kitchen is from Urban Outfitters. It’s a flat woven rug and comes in two different color schemes. I’ve been really impressed with the quality.

-jen

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23.November.2014

What is that paint color! It’s so lovely!

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replied on November 23rd, 2014

Hi Kym! The paint color is Benjamin Moore Thundercloud Gray. We love it!

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23.November.2014

Say whaaaaaa!? I live in Asheville too! I’m a real estate agent here and furnished vacation/corporate rentals are on fire. I love the apartment and kitchen.

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23.November.2014

Hi to my fellow Ashevillian! How funny! You should send your clients my way if they’re coming into town for house hunting trips. :)
I’m actually in real estate as well (but work now as a referral agent) and my husband is a local contractor and home inspector. It’s a small world!

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replied on November 23rd, 2014

Small world, indeed! I work for a commercial real estate firm and often have clients come in from out of town. I’ll send them your way!

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replied on November 23rd, 2014

If you wouldn’t mind, I would love to get your contact information. I would be super interested in learning about the commercial real estate world, especially in a local context. You can email me at jenwoodward@gmail.com

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23.November.2014

The layout of the kitchen looks so natural. It makes you wonder why the people who remodeled before didn’t do it the same way!

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replied on November 23rd, 2014

The previous owners had done a very minor update, but no remodeling. We actually moved things around quite a bit and added on the mudroom addition which allowed us to relocate the stairs. We also took out the non-functioning fireplace in the dining room and that is what made it possible to open the kitchen up to the galley style.
Very few people realize we added on the mudroom, most people assume it was an original feature.
Thanks for your comment!

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23.November.2014

Oh my goodness, it looks and sounds amazing!

xx Kelly
Sparkles and Shoes

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23.November.2014

Yay for Asheville! I love the bungalows in this town, and this one does not disappoint. The original floors are beautiful, Jen! I don’t want to think about how long all that work took.

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24.November.2014

Thanks for sharing Jen and Dana! I love the ikea posts, keep um coming!

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24.November.2014

Oh now you know im completely smitten with this one Dana. I think this kitchen design is spot on fab. Jen and her husband did an amazing job at maximizing every inch of space in that 10×13 footprint. I love that they used little tricks like recessing the fridge and raising the window to make it even more affective. Their little bungalow is lovely from the outside and I love their carriage house. Naomi and I have talked about creating a carriage house/guest house in our detached garage to accommodate guests since our little bungalow is lacking space on the inside. Theirs is great inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing:)

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replied on November 24th, 2014

oh and i looooooove those gorge floors!!!

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replied on November 24th, 2014

Thanks Shavonda for such kind words! :) We love our small(ish) house — the main floor is about 1100 sqft and then we partially finished the basement to get another bathroom, a family room, laundry room and office — but having the Carriage House apartment has already been game changing! Not only do we now have a super comfortable space for visiting family and friends, but we have been able to have it booked 24 out of the last 30 nights just from AirBnB. It’s our retirement plan! :)

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[…] the write up Dana posted about our IKEA kitchen on House*Tweaking. I’ve been reading her blog for years and years, it’s surreal to see my pictures being […]

24.November.2014

I am curious what you think about the new IKEA kitchen system change coming in February. I have designed one with the Akurum set up but like a lot of the new details in the Sektion but think that it will take some time for the IKEA kitchen designers to really grasp a good handle on how to best work the new system. I mean they’ve had so many years working with the old one, right?

So I’m not sure if I should go ahead and pull the trigger on an Akurum or wait until after Sektion debuts to redo the whole design but benefit from the new configurations, doors, and colors. Thoughts? I am going to be leaning heavily on the IKEA kitchen designers for assistance in making what I created work best.

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[…] following post was originally featured on House*Tweaking and was written by blogger Dana Miller, who is part of POPSUGAR Select […]

[…] This remodel is […]

09.December.2014

[…] An Ikea Kitchen in Asheville […]

23.October.2015

So…”raising the window”? No other info in this? Did you rebuild the framing of the outer wall of your house in order to incorporate a higher window?

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replied on January 20th, 2016

The original windows were quite tall. The original header was left in place and the outer wall was reframed on the bottom to fit the new, shorter size. Hope that helps.

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06.December.2015

If you don’t mind. Does your husband know anyone in town that installs Ikea Kitchens?? Your kitchen looks amazing!

Matt

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replied on December 7th, 2015

We have a good friend who is a great contractor. His name is James Kracus. Phone number (937) 545-7668. Can’t recommend him highly enough!

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replied on January 20th, 2016

Matt — we do have a great contractor in Asheville that has installed several IKEA kitchens. If you’d like more information — just email me. –jen

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[…] am trying to convince Coffee to do a small “bump in” for the fridge. I discovered it in this person’s account of installing a new kitchen – scroll down to the 7th picture to see what I mean. I love the […]




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