...because home doesn't happen overnight.
On the blog, I’ve affectionately referred to this room as the “everything room” but in real life we usually just call it the mudroom. Here’s what it looked like when we bought the house…
There was an A/C unit in the window and an ominous ceiling fan. We thought the laundry closet was cumbersome. The dryer vented directly into the attic! Ugly tile and a remnant of green shag carpet completed the mess. We did like that this room served as a pause when entering from the backyard through the sliders (on the left) and from the garage via the man door (on the right).
Out of necessity we assigned this room multiple purposes: mudroom, dining room, craft room, game room and laundry room. Knowing the room would receive abuse on a daily basis, we opted for durable, dirt-colored tile on the floor and a forgiving tongue-and-groove wainscoting on the walls. (The tongue and groove is a repeated element also seen on the vaulted ceiling, planked TV wall and kitchen desk backsplash.) We were in need of closed storage for seasonal outerwear, reusable shopping bags, a broom, crafting supplies and a small collection of home accessories. We added a pair of freestanding wardrobes to serve as closets. One is customized with hanging rods at different heights (for outerwear) while the other is full of deep shelving (for crafting supplies and home accessories).
In an effort to optimize wasted space under the window, I commissioned a local woodworker to create a custom wood bench out of Douglas fir. We hung sconces above the bench on side panels of each wardrobe to create a cozy nook without actually changing the structure of the room. It’s a great place to read, play a game of Uno or watch the kids get on / off the bus. The bench is surprisingly large!
A long, farmhouse-like table is perfect for dining, crafting, sewing or enjoying family game night. I chose a lighter wood tone to avoid overpowering the space. A mix of knockoff tulip and wishbone chairs surround the table for a laid-back vibe. I had the tulip chair seat cushions covered in a vinyl leather-lookalike. They are so kid-friendly! The iron pendant is industrial and beautiful all at once – which is fitting for a mudroom-slash-dining-room. We DIY’d a fauxdenza to house board games and incoming mail. The sleek profile and floating installation free up precious floor space. Cleaning underneath it is a breeze.
I painted the walls THREE TIMES before falling hard for the velvety black. It’s a great contrast to the slick surfaces and oodles of white. A gallery wall of family photos and art dress up the space so when we eat in here it doesn’t feel like we’re eating in a mudroom.
We had the original sliders replaced with french doors. This room is our main entrance / exit on a daily basis and, for us, the doors are easier to open and close. Not to mention, they look better.
A small bench just inside the door gives the kids a place to put on / remove their shoes. A felt basket and a trio of hooks corral shoes, bags, jackets, backpacks and hats. We try to keep only the items we’re currently wearing or using out in the open. The rest is stashed in a wardrobe.
We nixed the laundry closet in favor of a laundry nook. (And the dryer now vents to the outside.) Discovering a recessed dryer vent box at Home Depot was like winning the lottery. It allows the dryer to hug the back wall. We built the wood countertop using boards we found in the attic during renovations. A small “lid” opens to reveal the washer controls and detergent dispenser. In a perfect world, I would have a dryer with a flat top and controls near the front so the countertop could extend all the way to the back wall. But I have never lived in a perfect world so until my current dryer konks out, I’m stuck with a raised control panel on the back of the dryer and, consequently, a tiered, shallow shelf above the countertop. For fun, we added a metal strip along the shelf to display family photos held in place by magnets.
Fabric panels hang from curtain wire to conceal the washer and dryer while still allowing easy access. I also keep a rolling cart and small ironing board hidden behind the curtains. Two upper cabinets hold laundry essentials, instruction manuals and lightbulbs. A leaning mirror bounces light around the dark corner.
The idea behind the laundry nook was that it could function as a serving area / bar when we entertain. I’d love for it to pull double duty as a dry bar someday. And who said doing laundry wasn’t fun?!
Admittedly, we eat most of our meals at the kitchen island but it’s nice having a designated dining table for special occasions and entertaining – even if, technically, it is in a mudroom. I never have liked formal dining rooms that are only used once or twice a year anyway. The small laundry nook forces me to fold and put away clean laundry as soon as it’s dry. That might seem like a disadvantage but it’s super effective and keeps me honest. This (unusual) setup totally works for our family and we’re happy we aren’t wasting money on unused space. It’s such a hardworking room!
Resources of note:
wainscoting & trim paint – Benjamin white dove, semigloss finish
wall paint – Ace Paints besalt mixed in the Clark + Kensington line, flat finish (I LOVE this paint.)
pendant – Crate & Barrel Hoyne pendant
pendant lightbulb – Bulbs.com
dining table – West Elm Boerum table in natural
succulent centerpiece – DIY
vintage kilim rug – etsy
tulip chairs – Overstock, reupholstered by Springboro Upholstery
wishbone chairs – Home Emporium
wardrobes – Pax units, Bergsbo doors; both from Ikea
hardware – Värde handles from Ikea, spray painted black
sconces – Jonathan Adler Havana wall sconce
woven shade – petite rustique from Overstock
wood bench – custom (I found the woodworker via craigslist.)
Hmong pillow – OrientalTribe11 on etsy
ochre throw – Target
sheepskin – Ikea
woven basket under bench – Wayfair
fauxdenza – DIY featuring Ikea’s Akurum wall cabinets
fauxdenza hardware – Home Depot
faux horns – Home Emporium
wood sculpture on fauxdenza – thrifted
white picture frames – Ikea
metal picture frames – West Elm
wood picture frames – Target
art – various DIY, Clare Elsaesser, Amelia Kay (The baby pointillism piece is Steve’s work.)
saddler bench – Wayfair
wall hooks – Home Depot
felt basket – Target
laundry cabinets – Ikea Lidingö wall cabinets
laundry countertop – DIY
magnetic strip – Home Depot
laundry nook mirror – Feiss Cleo mirror via Wayfair
curtain wire – Ikea
curtains – Ikea Aina panels, hemmed to size
If you feel like reading more about this multipurpose room, here are a bunch of links documenting its evolution:
You can access this mudroom / dining room tour via the “See My House” link in the side bar along with a general house tour and tours of individual rooms. I’ll be adding more rooms in the weeks to come. Thanks for reading!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
Ohhhhh, the kitchen.
The original kitchen was walled off from the living and dining rooms.
If the cabinets had been in better shape, we might have tried to work with them but, sadly, they were rotted and the doors / drawers didn’t open or close properly. The odd layout assigned the refrigerator to a lone corner with no storage or counter space nearby. There was no dishwasher.
One thing we liked about the kitchen was the window above the sink which looks out onto the backyard. It was one of the few windows that had been replaced by the previous owner.
To enlarge the kitchen and create a more functional layout without altering the house’s original footprint, we removed walls separating the kitchen, living and dining rooms. We aren’t formal people so the small dining room was relocated to allow for a large island. The dining room window was replaced with french doors to connect the kitchen to the backyard. A vaulted ceiling and skylights flood the north-facing space with natural light. It’s a far cry from the dark, soffit-heavy room we started with.
We had our plumber run new water and gas lines to accommodate the current layout. A counter-depth refrigerator stands where the stove once lived. A freestanding range occupies the site where a wall used to separate the kitchen from the original dining room. A new dishwasher is located to the right of the sink. It’s hidden behind a cover panel that matches the base cabinetry. When the house came to us, a microwave sat in a corner eating up precious counter space. We added a shelf next to the refrigerator to house the microwave and a few cookbooks which freed up counter space for a coffeemaker, toaster and shelf of drinking glasses.
One thing we didn’t change was the location of the sink. I like that I am able to look out the window when I’m washing dishes to admire the greenery or watch the kids playing.
We opted for solid surface countertops around the perimeter of the kitchen for easy maintenance. An extra deep, under-mounted, single basin sink makes cleanup a breeze.
The nine-foot-long island is the hub of the house. It sees as much Play-doh, crafting and homework as it does meal prep, entertaining and casual dining. We topped it with a walnut slab to give it the feel of a wood table since we eat most of our meals here. It’s a warm contrast to the granite in the rest of the room. Guests always comment on the island and wood top saying they feel like they’re at a bar. We take it as a compliment.
We suspended a trio of pendants above the island. I wanted something that would punctuate the island but not impede the view of the kitchen from the adjoining living space. Clear globe lights were an ideal choice. I especially like the black cloth cords. The pendants are on a dimmer so we can have bright light for food prep or low light for dining and ambiance.
I chose durable metal counter stools to stand up to the kids and their inevitable messes. I wipe them down with a wet cloth and they look brand new. To keep the view from the living room to the kitchen uninterrupted, the stools are backless. This feature also makes it easy to turn around to talk with someone in the living room. Initially, I had some reservations about using backless stool with kids but it hasn’t been an issue.
We kept the back wall free of upper cabinetry and installed reclaimed wood shelves. A sleek range hood and minimal backsplash add to the open feel. It’s nice to look over from the living room and not be bombarded with a slew of wall cabinets or an entire wall of tile. I really wanted the kitchen to feel like an extension of the living space instead of a kitchen thrown into a living room. To achieve this, we continued the engineered hardwood flooring into the kitchen. The wood flooring, walnut island top and reclaimed wood shelving help bring warmth to an innately utilitarian room.
The cabinetry is Ikea. From the get-go, I had my heart set on a tuxedo kitchen: dark lowers, white uppers. I wanted dark base cabinets to ground the kitchen in such an open space. I wanted white wall cabinets to keep things light. A mix of black and white just made sense.
We fell hard for the Ramsjö black-brown base cabinets but were disappointed with the slightly pink tone of the coordinating white wall cabinets. In the end, we used three different door styles. (Ramsjö black-brown, solid front for the bases and Lidingö white, solid and glass-front for the uppers.) I was a little worried about the mix on paper but in real life I think it goes a long way in helping the kitchen feel less generic.
One end of the kitchen is devoted to paying bills, making grocery lists, creating meal plans and all the other secretarial tasks that go along with running a household. It’s also where I do the majority of writing and photo editing for the blog. Essentially, it’s a home office. Base cabinets hold a printer, office supplies and the kids’ crafting supplies. Upper, glass-front cabinets provide pretty storage. I use an assortment of baskets, bins and boxes to corral vitamins, batteries, camera accessories, receipts, crayons and a bunch of other miscellaneous. The planked backsplash is a repeated element also found on the ceiling and TV wall.
To give the kitchen space a cozy vibe, I added greenery, artwork, vintage rugs, an upholstered desk stool and a linen-covered lamp. It feels lived. It is lived in.
There are a few tweaks yet to be made in the kitchen. (We need to add a trim piece next to an upper cabinet in the corner near the microwave and I’m brainstorming an interactive side panel for the refrigerator.) But I’m very lucky to be able to spend the majority of my time in this bright and airy space. In the evening when the kitchen is tidy after dinner and the dishwasher is humming away, I pour myself a glass of wine and golden light glows through the skylights. It’s my happy place.
Resources of note:
wall paint – Benjamin Moore tapestry beige
trim, ceiling, planked backsplash paint – Benjamin Moore white dove
french door paint – Glidden trim & door oil paint, extra high gloss in deepest black
flooring – Jasper engineered hardwood handscraped birch in Texas brown via Build Direct
base cabinets – Ikea, Ramsjö black-brown
wall cabinets – Ikea, Lidingö white
perimeter countertop – kashmir white granite via Stone Design
walnut countertop – Hardwood Lumber Company
island corbels – The Home Depot
hardware – Ikea (Värde handles sans rosettes)
refrigerator, dishwasher, gas range, range hood – Ikea
microwave – LG
sink – Kraus 32″ undermount single bowl
faucet – VIGO stainless steel pull-out
backsplash tile – imperial bianco gloss 2″ x 12″ via The Tile Shop
backsplash grout – Laticrete epoxy grout in natural grey
globe pendant lights – West Elm
counter stools – Overstock
wall sconce above sink – Barn Light Electric
house artwork near sink – gift
spice rack – Ikea
glass storage containers – Wal-mart
kitchen towels – Crate & Barrel
step stool – Ikea, painted & stained
rug near sink – ebay (seller was manhattanrugs)
open shelving - DIY using Ikea brackets and reclaimed wood
oil & vinegar drizzlers – Amazon (These are the best!)
stainless steel containers – Target
antlers – etsy
black & white planter – vintage
rug near desk – etsy
desk stool – Blu Dot knicker stool
laptop bag – STM
blue & white planter – JoAnn’s
letter tray - Ikea
magazine files – Ikea
linen lamp – Crate & Barrel
wood cubby – Kalon Studios
highchair – Ikea
art above highchair – Clare Elsaesser
mat & frame – Utrecht art supplies
tongue & groove planks – Home Emporium
skylights – Velux
In case you’re interested in seeing how this space came together over time, a slew of kitchen-related links:
For ease, you can access this kitchen tour under the “See My House” tab in the side bar along with a general house tour and the living room tour. I’ll be adding more rooms in the weeks to come. Thanks for reading!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
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!
After renting for eleven years, Susan and her young family bought an old apartment in Brooklyn and decided to tackle the kitchen renovation (among other things) before moving into the space. On a tight budget and even tighter schedule, they opted for Ikea cabinetry. Fueled by pure adrenaline, they managed to transform a cramped and dated hodgepodge kitchen into a modern marvel in just six weeks. I asked Susan several questions about the renovation. Find her answers and pictures of the jaw-dropping results below.
Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?
We purchased our base and upper cabinets, dinnerware and utensil organizers, as well as our range hood from Ikea. Friends with experience told us to avoid Ikea faucets. We bought our kitchen during the annual fall mark down, actually on Halloween evening in 2011. It was the perfect time to go as Ikea Brooklyn is usually packed and the wait line in the kitchen design / orders area can be hours. The store was literally empty and we received hands-on service from the kitchen designer who made sure we bought all the right accessories for our design.
What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?
There were a number of factors that made Ikea cabinets the right choice for us. We had heard that the quality of the Ikea cases and interiors was good as long as you used wood glue when assembling.
We were also on a tight timeline and budget as we had just bought our apartment which needed renovation prior to move-in. We were living with very generous friends during the closing process (6 weeks, due to NYC regulations) and the renovation (6 weeks). The great thing about Ikea is that you don’t have to wait weeks or months for cabinet fabrication. We did not want to overstay our welcome. (We are still friends, thankfully!)
The third selling point was the flexibility of the design options. We knew we could upgrade the aesthetic with non-Ikea countertops, appliances and hardware to cater to our tastes and needs without breaking the bank.
Did you assemble and install your Ikea components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?
We actually did assemble all the cabinets ourselves after our full-time jobs, putting our baby to bed, and walking 15 minutes to our new apartment. Looking back, I’m not quite sure how we did it all. I think it was the adrenaline of the renovation.
We found the perfect contractor who installed our upper cabinets and base cabinets as well as the appliances. We did install all the doors, drawer fronts and hardware which was a pretty lengthy process getting the spacing just right. A separate contractor provided and installed the Caesarstone countertops.
We expanded the kitchen footprint by 35% which added some challenges. The floors in our apartment are very uneven (+/- 1-2″ over 6 feet) as the house was built in 1910 and has settled (hence our neighborhood’s name, ParkSlope). To mitigate this challenge, our contractor provided a new level plywood substrate with a self leveling compound topper. This allows the floor and the cabinets within the kitchen to be level. The countertop waterfall and the island panels were scribed to our uneven floors.
How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to meet your needs and preferred aesthetic?
The main thing we liked about the original kitchen was that it was open to the living area. As a young family, being able to keep eyes on little ones while getting work done is a must. We enlarged the kitchen by over three feet in length and one foot in depth. The peninsula went from being about six-and-a-half feet to eleven feet in length. It is amazing! It works really well as a place for our sons to color, play or eat while we cook as well as a perfect place for entertaining.
Design-wise, we wanted the kitchen to be clean and modern but also sympathetic to the details of our old home. I really wanted to do dark lowers and white uppers. The white helps the kitchen feel more open and doesn’t impose on the living and dining areas while the dark lower cabinetry grounds the space and hides fingerprints. I’m glad I did wood veneer on the lowers rather than a glossy laminate as any scratches or marks are easy to touch up.
Some of my favorite details include the Doug Mockett 3″ black chrome edge pulls. These pulls are great as they act as built-in childproofing. Case in point: my three-year-old can now open them but my 15-month-old cannot. I chose to spend a little more on hardware that is unexpected and consequently most people are surprised when I reveal my kitchen is from Ikea.
To save money we went with ¾” thick counters. This literally was half the cost of the typical 1½” thick counters. I love the modern look this references. Probably the most impactful aspect of the kitchen is the waterfall edge treatment on the island. The miter edge is a favorite detail and when you conceal the sides of the cabinets, no one really knows who made them. We also chose to spend a little more money on side panels on either side of the fridge as well as on the back of the island which reinforce the custom / built-in look.
Who designed your Ikea kitchen?
Professionally, I am a certified Interior Designer so my experience in space planning and design, although mainly for corporate clients, was useful. I pretty much designed our kitchen in an evening. As we were moving one of the walls in the apartment to create the washer / dryer closet, we were able to create the ‘built-in’ look by setting the wall dimension for the closet using Ikea’s standard dimensions for their cabinetry. I then worked a few evenings with Ikea’s 3D program online to confirm and refine the design. After we closed on the apartment, we purchased the kitchen which fit in a borrowed minivan in one trip. We carried all 1,100 lbs of cabinets up the four flights to our apartment ourselves.
We only had to make one return trip to Ikea to switch out some drawers. Due to the floor detail at the kitchen threshold, we ended up having to cut 2″ off three panels on the corner cabinet by the range. I had wanted more drawers in this location but due to this field dimension constraint and a conflict with the range, we had to switch to a cabinet which provides deep storage.
What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?
After living in rentals for eleven years, I have a lot of favorites that I feel are luxuries – especially for a NYC apartment. The ice-maker and water dispenser in the fridge, the garbage disposal, the working, *silent* dishwasher, the deep double sink, the touch on / off faucet and the dual convection oven are all attributes that I am thankful for every day. I finally feel like an adult as most rental apartments do not have any of these options.
The Ikea cabinet functions that I love are the soft-close drawers, the dinnerware and flatware organizers. Placing the flatware and dinnerware drawers right next to the dishwasher is one of my favorite things. It makes unloading the dishwasher a breeze. I also love all the drawers and that we were able to conceal our trash can in a standard Ikea cabinet.
I also love, love the rubber floor. After living with ceramic and porcelain floors where a dropped cup or dish is shattered to a million pieces, the rubber floor has saved many of the drops by my family of klutzes.
My least favorite aspect is that we did not integrate the microwave. I really would have preferred it below the counter but there just wasn’t room. I really didn’t want to hang it over the stove. I hope one day I will learn to live without it and can gain that valuable counter space back. The other cost reduction we did that I wish we hadn’t was not venting the hood to the exterior. It is something I regret not doing but hope we can add it in the future.
Ikea cabinet wise, the only disappointment has been the corner lazy Susan. Silly me did not read the weight limitations of the unit which was only 1 lb over my Kitchen Aid mixer which sat on it for 2+ years with five other heavy appliances. Needless to say, a piece holding it in place broke. Thankfully, with some additional screws and super glue, we were able to reassemble. My mixer now lives in the base cabinet by the range and the lazy Susan holds snacks and lightweight appliances.
Would you recommend Ikea for a remodel? If so, which items?
I would definitely recommend Ikea. I think the thing to be mindful of is / are the finish(es) selected on the cabinetry. Definitely use glue when assembling so you don’t have anything loosening over time. Being mindful of exposed sides, fillers, end panels, trim, etc., requires extra planning and forethought but can add sophistication to your design.
Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?
Most definitely. Although next time, if applicable, I would pay someone to carry it up the four flights!
Resources of note:
wall paint – Benjamin Moore cement gray
ceiling & trim paint – Benjamin Moore super white
upper cabinets - Abstrakt white doors on white Akurum cabinets
lower cabinets – Ikea Nexus in dark brown (discontinued, similar to Gnosjö wood effect black doors on birch Akurum cabinets)
hardware – Doug Mockett 3″ edge pulls black chrome DP3A-21
countertop – ¾” Caesarstone in organic white 4600
sink - Signature Plumbing Specialties
faucet - Delta Trinsic pulldown faucet with Touch2O technology (This was an upgrade after the original faucet we had starting leaking due to a bad valve. We got this and our disposal for a steal in Amazon’s returns section.)
disposal - InSinkErator pro cover control (I love the batch disposal so no fingers can end up where they aren’t meant to be! We added this just this year but had installed an outlet below the sink during the renovation.)
refrigerator - GE cafe french door counter depth refrigerator (We actually sourced this on Craigslist. One of the benefits of living in a large city.)
range - GE cafe dual fuel range with baking drawer (Again, another Craigslist find. We paid extra to have it delivered. worth. every. penny.)
dishwasher - Bosch acenta in black (I love how you can’t even tell it’s there as it blends with the cabinets.)
hood – Ikea (discontinued – similar to Luftig)
backsplash tile - American Olean bright profiles 3″ x 6″ in ice white gloss
backsplash grout – Laticrete #42 platinum
backsplash metal edge trim- polished aluminum Schluter Jolly trim
pendant lights – Tom Dixon-inspired found on ebay and rewired with a kit from West Elm
flooring – Nora Rubber norament round platinum gray, 18″ x 18″ tile
counter stools – Overstock
booster seat – OXO tot seedling youth booster in taupe
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Susan for sharing your kitchen with me!
There are so many smart takeaways here. I love how Susan incorporated high end hardware, numerous side panels and a waterfall edge to achieve a more sophisticated look. And the part about using a ¾” countertop versus the standard 1½” to save big money is ingenious. I’m all over the clean and simple design. Those pendants! And that rubber floor is so practical. But what’s truly miraculous is that Susan managed to create a full kitchen – complete with dishwasher – in Brooklyn. That’s no small feat. You can follow Susan and her adorable family over on her blog.
If you’re in the mood for more Ikea kitchens, check out the rest of this series:
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
And if you have an Ikea kitchen (it doesn’t have to be 100% Ikea) that you would be willing to share on House*Tweaking, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
P.S. – 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: Susan at 4th Floor Walk-up
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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
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 email@example.com for consideration. Thank you in advance!
images: Kristen @ A Manor of Mischief