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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!

ikea nebraska kitchen before 3

ikea nebraska kitchen before 2

ikea nebraska kitchen before 1

In 2013 Nicole, a maker of small batch home goods, and Adam, an engineer, bought a 1910 fixer-upper in a small town in Nebraska. Along with pulling up old carpet and cheap laminate, refinishing the original hardwood floors, painting the exterior (black!) and adding new landscaping, they completely overhauled the kitchen. Working with a limited budget, the couple retained the original floor plan and used IKEA cabinetry mixed with natural materials to achieve a look they describe as “rustic modern.” The couple recently sold their Nebraska house and made a cross-country move to Philadelphia for a job transfer, but Nicole was kind enough to share more about the renovation just before the big move. Read her thoughts and see the beautiful results below!

(FYI – Nicole and Adam’s kitchen was a finalist in the amateur category of the 2015 Remodelista Considered Design Awards. It’s even more inspiring when you know what the kitchen looked like before and how much work the homeowners put into the project!)

ikea nebraska kitchen after 1

ikea nebraska kitchen

ikea nebraska kitchen

Which items in your kitchen hail from IKEA?

The cabinets, door/drawer fronts, interior organizers and range hood are from IKEA.

What made you decide to source these items from IKEA?

We had some previous experience that we were able to rely on. This is the third IKEA kitchen we have installed! We knew we would be completing most of the work ourselves to stay within our budget. IKEA was a great choice since we could build everything ourselves, and the price point helped stretch our budget. We also found IKEA to be an ideal choice when it came to small town living. With limited local options, IKEA stood out because we could plan, select and order everything online then have it delivered.

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

I designed the kitchen aiming for a rustic modern aesthetic. Our home was built in 1910 so we wanted the kitchen to feel like it belonged to the rest of the house while still incorporating some fun, modern elements.

ikea nebraska kitchen progress

ikea nebraska kitchen progress

ikea nebraska kitchen

ikea nebraska kitchen progress

ikea nebraska kitchen progress

ikea nebraska kitchen progress

ikea nebraska kitchen progress

ikea nebraska kitchen

ikea nebraska kitchen progress

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

Yes, we assembled and installed all of the IKEA components ourselves. The assembly of the cabinets was pretty easy but the installation was dicey at times with our crumbly plaster walls and extremely unlevel floors. We built our own toe kick platforms to raise the countertops a little higher than average. (We are both tall and a friend of ours had done the same thing.) It was very tricky getting things to level out. Instead, I would definitely recommend using the legs or rails that IKEA offers.

ikea nebraska kitchen

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

We used the cabinets to set the foundation for the kitchen. One of the choices we made that we have been really happy with was incorporating lots of drawers into the cabinet design. We chose larger drawers over cupboards so that we could easily pull them out and have access to everything within the full 24” depth of the cabinet instead of rummaging around in the back of a cabinet. I would definitely do this again if I were to design another kitchen!

ikea nebraska kitchen

ikea nebraska kitchen progress

We have been working over the past few years to really pare down our belongings to the best and most special things. This drove our decision to give the open shelving concept a try. We sourced reclaimed barnwood from a Nebraska barn to provide a warm and rustic element against the black and white backdrop. I worked with my brother, a designer and fabricator in Oakland, California, to create brackets that mount behind the tile to give the effect of floating shelves.

ikea nebraska kitchen

For the countertops, we wanted something with a matte black finish. Soapstone was out of our price range. We found beautiful brushed granite that popped against the cabinets and subway tile and gave us the look we wanted.

We found a floor model Kenmore Elite integrated dishwasher at Sears for a steal right before we moved into the house so we were able to incorporate it into the design with a door panel from IKEA. We went with a smaller fridge which allowed for more counterspace.

ikea nebraska kitchen

To contrast with the traditional and rustic elements, we incorporated some modern pieces such as the brass hardware, West Elm wall sconces and clean-lined faucet.

How long was it from design to the final product?

I started designing the kitchen a few months before we moved into the house but, due to our work schedules, we didn’t start working on the kitchen for another six months after closing. We completed the demolition and cabinet and countertop install within a couple of months so we had enough of a functioning kitchen to get by. The remaining items such as the lighting, tile, shelving, painting and finish work took about a year for us to complete as we worked on it as time allowed.

ikea nebraska kitchen

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

It’s been a year since we completed the kitchen renovation. So far, so good! The open shelves are super efficient for quickly grabbing dishes and dry goods. The drawers…did I mention those drawers?!…they are the BEST.

ikea nebraska kitchen

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

Our favorite thing about our kitchen is that it is so comfortable for cooking. It’s compact size makes everything easily accessible. We’re in love with the finishes. Sometimes we just pet the countertops and gaze fondly at them, and our houseguests do, too. We love being in the room.

Our least favorite thing is that it is a separate room. It would have been nice to open up the kitchen to the rest of the house but it wasn’t in the budget.

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

Absolutely! The cabinets are great and they have some nice interior organizers. Some of my favorites include the pot lid organizer, the VARIERA door-mounted hanging storage and the baking sheet organizer. We have also used their exhaust hoods in more than one project. They always work well and look stylish. We didn’t use them for this project but I would also recommend their butcher block countertops. We have used them in other projects to top freestanding islands.

Would you consider IKEA for a future kitchen remodel?

Yes! We went with IKEA for this project because, historically, we’ve had success. The tradition continues! We hope to do another IKEA kitchen in the future.

Sources of note:

wall paint – rodeo by Benjamin Moore
door paint – onyx by Benjamin Moore
cabinets – AKURUM cabinets with LIDINGÖ fronts, IKEA
countertops – brushed black granite
subway tile – Menards
faucet – Delta trask pull-down kitchen faucet, Lowe’s
water filter faucet – Amazon
garbage disposal air switch – Amazon
gas range – Kenmore
fridge – Summit counter-depth, bottom freezer refrigerator, Home Depot
range hood – DÅTID exhaust hood, IKEA
ceiling fan – Amazon
wall sconces – West Elm (I painted the backplates matte black before installation.)
rolling butcher block – Goodwood Furniture in Virginia Beach years ago (It has moved with us several times.)
cabinet hardware – Liberty, Home Depot (discontinued)

ikea nebraska kitchen

ikea nebraska kitchen

Thank you Nicole for sharing your kitchen during such a hectic time in your lives! I hope the move went well and that you’re having fun working magic on your new old house in Philly. I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

So readers, what are you taking note of in this kitchen? I think this space is a great example of how you can make a dramatic change without removing walls or shuffling appliances around. Sometimes reconfiguring an entire kitchen just isn’t in the budget, but cosmetic changes can go a long way in bringing more function and style into a kitchen. Optimizing drawer space, incorporating a slim counter-depth refrigerator, paring down kitchen essentials, replacing overhead cabinetry with open shelving and bringing in a freestanding island make the space look and work larger without changing the room’s footprint. I love the black, white and rustic wood mix. The hidden mounting hardware for the open shelving was an ingenious solution. Sourcing veiny, matte granite over soapstone was a smart choice that fit the couple’s aesthetic and budget. And I had no idea the dishwasher cover panels from IKEA could work with non-IKEA appliances! Little DIY details like the black painted backplates of the sconces and the butterfly joinery in the wood shelves draw the eye in for a closer look. The entire space is the perfect backdrop for Nicole’s handmade woodwares. So special!

Be sure to check out Nicole’s shop, Vestige Home, for beautiful wood pieces. Follow her @vestigehome to watch the renovation of her new old home in Philly!

Want more inspiration? Click the “See Real IKEA Kitchens” button in the sidebar to read about all of the kitchens featured in this series.

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: Nicole Cole

39 Comments

07.January.2016

This kitchen came out great. However, I feel like most of the IKEA kitchens you feature look a lot like yours (black and white, white subway tile, wood accents). It would be cool to see some in other styles as well.

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replied on January 7th, 2016

I suppose many of the IKEA kitchens that come my way are from readers who share a similar aesthetic. I’ll keep an eye out for different styles to share! Thanks for the feedback.

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replied on January 8th, 2016

My thoughts exactly. I was wondering if you’re instinctively attracted to designs that match your tastes or whether we’re in the midst of a distinctive moment in kitchen design.

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replied on January 11th, 2016

I’m sure seeing things that match your taste plays a big role on our response to a particular design. I do think that the black, white, wood combo is definitely having it’s moment, but what drew me to this particular combination is it’s clean, peaceful feel and more importantly, it’s timelessness, which seems especially crucial when working on a more expensive (and permanent) space like a kitchen.

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07.January.2016

Lovely! However I have one question. It appears as though the top drawers are a different style. Was this purely a design choice or do they serve a different function and didn’t come in the same style as the rest? For some reason that really stuck out to me.

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replied on January 7th, 2016

I believe that is the only way the top drawers in that line were available at the time. (Ours are the same way.) The drawer front isn’t quite large enough to allow for any type of extra decorative detail/trim.

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replied on January 7th, 2016

Interesting I never noticed on yours but I just went and looked and sure enough, you’re right! (Haha, not that I doubted you knew what drawers you had) maybe the black hides the difference. Either way, both are beautiful kitchens!

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07.January.2016

Did they paint the exhaust hood black? I am absolutely in love with this kitchen!!! I am doing the same colors and was afraid to use wood tones with a black counter top! Glad i saw this today!!

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replied on January 11th, 2016

Hi Jamie, we actually found it that way from Ikea, I don’t believe they carry this hood anymore though, super sad, because it’s lovely and I would definitely use it again. Thanks so much for your kind words good luck on your kitchen project!

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07.January.2016

What a beautiful kitchen! I too love the black, white, and natural wood elements so that could be why it so pleasing to my eyeballs! The top drawer looked odd to me too, but i’m droiling overy those brass pulls. I think they did a great job for the space they had. Every time I read about an Ikea kitchen on your blog I get the itch to start looking into it for our home. Thanks for the inspiration!

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07.January.2016

Love seeing these kitchens and getting feedback about the Ikea products. We’re hoping to buy a fixer upper soon and are on a very limited budget, so these posts are awesome to learn from! I really love the butterfly joints and and seeing how they completely transformed the space without a huge renovation. Thank you so much for sharing!

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07.January.2016

I’m in the minority here, and while I love the look of the new one, I actually loved the original more. I found it charming. and with the pantry and top cupboards, it looks like there was more storage space!

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07.January.2016

Remodel looks amazing! The wooden shelves are beautiful. Where did you purchase them from? Thank you for sharing!

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replied on January 11th, 2016

Hi Beth, thanks!! We purchased the wood from a salvage place in Omaha, I think they were originally stairs from an old barn, the brackets we used to hang them were a custom collaboration between my brother and I.

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07.January.2016

I love the white and black feel of the kitchen, simple but elegant!

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07.January.2016

Tacky question, I know, but how much did it cost?

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replied on January 11th, 2016

Hi Margaret, The cabinets, appliances, and countertops were the most expensive parts, probably coming in somewhere around $7,000. We also paid plumbers and electricians to do their parts, the great thing though is that we were able to build and install the cabinets, shelves, tiling, painting, etc, ourselves, which saved us a TON of money, we would not have been able to pay someone to do this kitchen for us, Ikea definitely saved the day for us in making this an affordable option to renovate this kitchen.

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I love the matte finish on those counters, very inventive.

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08.January.2016

What a beautiful kitchen!!! Absolutely love it. Makes me giddy about doing another Ikea kitchen one day!

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08.January.2016

If I had a dollar for every pic I’ve seen of a DIY’er demo-ing a kitchen in sandals…

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replied on January 8th, 2016

Haha!

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replied on January 11th, 2016

Haha, not the safest thing to do for sure!

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08.January.2016

Gorgeous kitchen re-do! I’m curious, though – do you know how well IKEA kitchens hold up? I have IKEA furniture that lasts a couple years and have been hesitant to commit to their kitchen cabinets.

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replied on January 10th, 2016

I can’t speak for others but we’re four years in…so far, so good!

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replied on January 11th, 2016

This was our second Ikea kitchen in our personal homes and we’ve always been really impressed with the quality. There are no dovetail drawers or solid wood fancy-ness, but we’ve always been happy with them, no issues, and I would definitely do another Ikea kitchen again in the future.

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08.January.2016

OH! I LOVE this kitchen! One of my favorites for sure!

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09.January.2016

This kitchen is beautiful! I also live in Nebraska and I’m in the process of buying my first house and was trying to gather some inspiration for my future kitchen. I’m glad to have something from my home state to inspire me! Thanks for sharing!

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replied on January 11th, 2016

Hi Rose!! Best of luck on your reno in Nebraska! If you’re looking to do Ikea, you can always have it shipped in, that’s what we did :) Also, if you’re close enough, I think they just opened up a store in Kansas City.

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11.January.2016

An amazing transformation! Loving the new dark countertops. They look amazing.

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11.January.2016

Beautiful kitchen. I love the brushed finish rather than countertop and how the black sink flows with it. Can you give more info on the sink? Thanks!

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replied on January 14th, 2016

Hi Shay,

Thanks! It’s a Blanco granite composite sink in the Anthracite color. My favorite sink we have ever had by far, I hope to put one in my current kitchen someday. You can find them at dealers around the nation, or order it on Amazon which we did and was a bit more affordable.

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replied on January 19th, 2016

Nicole, this is off topic, but I wondered if you could give the source of your exterior home color? Love the kitchen – great job!

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replied on May 14th, 2016

Hey Stephanie,

So late in replying terribly sorry, it’s Benjamin Moore’s Onyx.

11.January.2016

I adore this series. But I also love white kitchens and subway tiles.
We live in a 1925 Sear’s house and had custom Amish cabinets made for our kitchen.
We are six years in and they look like hell. Granted, I cook a lot and we have three little boys; a total disapointment nonetheless. The past few times I have been
to IKEA I have been slack-jaw, open-mouth drooling at the amazing kitchen vignettes.
I told my husband that our next kitchen is going to be IKEA.

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14.January.2016

This has a lot of elements about a kitchen I want! Really lovely!

And please. . . . and an anti-open concept person, do not worry about the fact that you couldn’t open up the space to the living areas. I love historic houses and I have a 1913 craftsman and when I see people take out a built in and wainscotting wall for open floor plan it upsets me. It doesn’t flow. I love the kitchen to be this seperate wonderful space that stands on it’s own. I don’t want to look at my kitchen from the couch. This is beautiful. Have no regrets!

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18.January.2016

Could you tell me about the subway tile? I cannot find it at Menards.

What size are the tiles and are they sold per tile? I’m wondering if they are not available in our area…

Thank you!
Kathy

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replied on May 14th, 2016

HI Kathy,

So late replying on this, but it’s the standard 3″ x6″ subway tile, I think it was something like 19 cents per tile and is sold in the Menard’s stores, I found them readily available in both the Norfolk, NE and Omaha, NE stores. Thanks!

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26.January.2016

Such a great space! Love love this one. Love that back door and that they painted it black. And interestingly enough the thing i loved MOST about this space is that it isnt opem concept. Im not a fan of open concept living so when we moved from our new build open concept home i couldnt wait to find a house with a kitchen seperated from the other living spaces. Its one of the features i love most about our house and its one of the things I love most about this space:)

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31.August.2016

Hi! So late to the ballgame, but do you happen to remember what grout you used? Beautiful kitchen!

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