With the major renovations completed, we’ve been able to turn our attention to smaller projects here and there. Most of these pesky projects are leftovers from bigger projects. We never truly finished some projects because we let minor details fall by the wayside in favor of: pretending we did them, feeding the kids, going outside, sleeping, working on our fitness, drinking wine, watching “New Girl,” smothering all the edible things in Trader Joe’s cookie butter, reading, showering, singing karaoke to “All About That Bass,” petting the cat, talking with our faces, (insert any action or inaction here). Whatever. It happens. And when we finally do get around to tackling these measly projects, they don’t seem blog-worthy.
But lump all those lil’ effers together and, BAM!, blog post. At least, that’s how I see this playing out. I don’t know. I might be wrong. Let’s give it a go anyway, shall we?
We replaced the ceiling fans. We loved the look of the first fans (seen here) but they hummed and whirred so loudly. In the fans’ defense, they were listed as commercial fans and we overlooked the possibility that they might not be ideal for a residential setting. The other problem we had with them was the fact that, due to unique installation requirements, the canopies didn’t mount flush against the ridge beam so there was a visible gap.
Last month Steve said, “All I want for Christmas is new ceiling fans.” Santa came through with these plus coordinating downrods. (Apparently, Steve made the nice list.) Installation was uneventful which is always a good thing when it comes to DIY. But the best thing? They are quiet. Like, silent. The canopies are flush with the ridge beam. No gap! And we really like the aesthetic. The fans are matte white and super sleek. Functionally, they’re better too. They’re slightly larger than the previous fans and a better fit for the room. They also have reverse switches at the motor so we can change the rotation based on our needs. (Clockwise in winter; counter-clockwise in summer.) The only thing that would make them more awesome is if they were self-cleaning. Someone please invent a ceiling fan that cleans itself.
We installed and painted trim around the fireplace surround. After painting the brick surround and building & painting the TV wall, we lived with gaps at the mantel-wall and brick-floor seams for several months. We added trim last spring (that can’t be right?!) and I just got around to painting it a few weeks ago with the same paint I used on the surround. It’s Benjamin Moore white dove, semi-gloss finish, mixed in Clark + Kensington’s primer + paint in one. It’s really, really good.
Notice anything else?
I have been cropping out the man door to the garage for years. It’s solid wood but was orange-y and drafty. I kept an old towel pushed up against the bottom to prevent cold air from blowing in but you can imagine how (in)effective my efforts were.
We reworked the door frame and added a new threshold, weatherstripping, hardware and trim. I painted the door and trim when I had the paint out for the fireplace trim. Now the mudroom / dining room isn’t nearly as cold as it used to be but I still wish we would have added radiant floor heating.
I added a double hook to the back of the door for my purse and reusable shopping bags. The three wall hooks in the mudroom have been overtaken by the kids’ coats, hats and backpacks. And a certain toddler likes to play “Quick! Take and hide all the things in mom’s purse!” So this seemingly trivial hook is, in all actuality, a game-changer. There’s a set of key hooks to the left of the door which recently caught the attention of said toddler, ifyaknowwhatimean.
You might also notice that we rotated the sisal rug in the living room. See the corner in the image above? That corner used to live over by the media cabinet and the corner that was here (now by the media cabinet) sported a perpetual roll that drove Steve mad. (You can catch a glimpse of it in the seventh image of this post.) He tried everything. It was comical. If you can’t beat ‘em, rotate ‘em.
Finally, FINALLY!, we added a piece of filler plinth to the corner in the kitchen. (You can see the gap here.) This was one of those minor details that we overlooked when we installed the cabinets. We bought the plinth shortly after “finishing” the kitchen but didn’t put it up until, oh, THREE YEARS LATER. We still need to caulk at the wall seam. According to my highly technical estimates, that should happen in 2018. Don’t worry. It will be a blog post.
Have you been putting off little finishing projects too? What’s your excuse? It can’t be any worse than ours.
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
Do you know what I like *almost* as much as peeking in homes? Peeking in closets and cabinets. Show me an organized closet and I melt. I’ve always been this way. I like things tidy. My mom tells stories about me removing all the clothes from my dresser drawers, refolding them and putting everything back. For fun. As a kindergartener. #notnormal
I still like tidy but I’ve learned to let go over the years. (You kinda have to when kids are involved.) One area that got away from me was the cabinet under the kitchen sink. I remember the day we moved in thinking it could greatly benefit from some sort of organization. But I didn’t make it a priority and just threw stuff down there for nearly THREE YEARS.
The cabinet itself is fairly large but a garbage disposal sits directly in the center, dividing the cabinet in half. And the vertical space wasn’t being optimized at all. I figured now was as good a time as any to get my kitchen s#!t in order.
I cleared out the cabinet and installed this undersink organizational caddy to the right of the disposal.
I attached a bag holder to one door. (I use reusable shopping bags but plastic bags still manage to make their way into our home sometimes.) It came with adhesive strips so I didn’t have to screw into the cabinet door. I stacked a trio of wire shelves to the left of the disposal to take advantage of the vertical space.
The wire shelves corral (from top to bottom) hand soap refill, room freshener, dish sponges, Magic Erasers and kitchen trash bags. I find it helpful to remove most things from their packaging. I slid a few paper bags in alongside the shelves. Replacements filters for our in-fridge water dispenser are hidden behind the shelves. A handheld vacuum fits perfectly under the disposal. Various cleaning supplies and a spare roll of paper towels occupy the caddy.
The caddy slides out on a track for easy access. I keep a large jug of vinegar behind it. I use the vinegar as an inexpensive rinsing agent in the dishwasher…among other things.
The caddy lifts up and out of the cabinet so you can carry it around from room to room on cleaning days if you want. Our house is so small that I probably won’t use it that way but it’s a nice feature.
Peep show! And just like that, everything has a place. My only wish is that I’d have done it sooner.
Do you have any tips for undersink organization? What are you organizing these days? I don’t know if it’s the new year or cabin fever, but I’ve been on an organizing binge these last few weeks.
P.S. – Snoop inside my closets here, here, here, here, here and here.
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!
In February of this year, Jess and her partner, Tim, purchased their first house located in Queensland, Australia. The kitchen was closed off from the main living area and faced the back of the house. 90’s cabinets and laminate countertops did not reflect the couple’s impeccable style.
OLD FLOOR PLAN
NEW FLOOR PLAN
To improve the layout, the couple made plans to remove walls separating the kitchen from the living area and flip the kitchen so the peninsula would separate the kitchen from the living area. They used Ikea cabinetry to achieve a sleek, modern design. I asked Jess several questions about the remodel. Find her answers and the mind-blowing “afters” below.
Which items in your kitchen hail from Ikea?
We chose to purchase our FAKTUM cabinets, ABSTRAKT gloss white doors, drawers (and fronts), BLANKETT handles, RATIONELL drawer liners and cutlery organizers from Ikea. We also selected a few of our appliances – namely the MW6 combi oven, dishwasher and rangehood (discontinued hidden model).
What made you decide to source these items from Ikea?
I had a pretty solid Ikea bookcase constructing background as my first house was furnished with many of their inexpensive storage solutions. I knew that we could probably tackle the kitchen cupboard assembly without too many hiccups. Obviously, the price was also a huge deciding factor for us as we are renovating on a budget and committed to completing as much as we can ourselves.
I also spent hours and hours online reading reviews and comparing different kitchen systems. I found ikeafans.com (sadly, it’s no longer) to be an invaluable source of knowledge. If hundreds of other novices had attempted an Ikea kitchen and come out on the other side without a messy divorce, so could we!
Who designed your kitchen?
We designed and redesigned several times using the online kitchen tool which we found to be very useful and, at times, a bit frustrating. It is amazing how much bigger your kitchen looks onscreen versus real life! I definitely suggest taping out the rough dimensions of your new cupboards before making any final decisions.
Once we were fairly set on our design, we made an appointment with an Ikea kitchen specialist who helped us to finalise additional items like cover panels and plinths.
In terms of aesthetic, we managed to combine our individual styles and also take inspiration from my favourite blogs – House*Tweaking, Manhattan Nest and Chezerbey. The end result is a Scandinavian / clean-lined / warm wood tone style that we both absolutely adore. All the pieces fit together better than we could have hoped!
Did you assemble and install all Ikea kitchen components yourself? If not, what did you seek help with?
With heaps of over-confidence and a passion for late night arguments, we tried our hand at everything over the course of our renovations. And we didn’t suck at it…especially the bickering, we excelled at that!
We knocked down the old wall between the kitchen and the lounge room, built a new wall to effectively reverse the kitchen, plastered and painted, and generally spent every weekend taking carloads to the tip.
I built all of our kitchen cupboards which took approximately 12-14 hours total. Tim & I installed the cabinets ourselves and we even tiled for the first time when we installed the marble splashback.
Unless you are a licensed electrician, it is illegal to undertake electrical work yourself in Australia. Fortunately, we have a great electrician who installed our new downlights and pendants and wired up our new appliances. We also outsourced the plumbing work and the Caesarstone bench top construction and installation.
How did you customize your Ikea kitchen to suit your needs and preferred aesthetic?
To suit our style of mixed cold and warm elements, we chose a Caeserstone bench top in sleek concrete, sourced hexagonal carrara marble from ebay and utilised Tasmanian oak as trim on archways and above the cooktop.
We recycled cover panel offcuts to close a 7cm gap between the ceiling and top of the upper cabinets. We cut down a standard FAKTUM cupboard to create a usable storage space above the fridge pod.
Our kitchen features a few unique items that give it that little bit extra in our opinion: a black Franke techtonite sink, a clock purchased on an anniversary trip to Byron Bay and Tim’s dream induction cooktop which we managed to pick up for a song from an online auction house.
We also took the opportunity to install new flooring throughout our house which originally featured the cheapest bamboo laminate and old cracked tiles hidden under black linoleum. We chose Quickstep classic midnight oak brown which was extremely easy to install and perfectly complemented our kitchen choices.
How long was it from design to the final product?
Design has been happening since day one of viewing the house. We ordered our kitchen components in June and began renovating on weekends in August. The final kitchen reveal happened during the first week of October. I took three weeks holiday in September which allowed me to install new flooring and paint pretty much everything.
How long have you lived with your Ikea kitchen? Have you encountered any problems?
We have lived with the finished product for two months now and have only adjusted the push-to-open hardware on the top cupboards to ensure they close properly. I am very impressed with the quality of the Ikea cupboards and appliances, particularly the fact that we have a working dishwasher again!
What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?
This is a hard question! Tim’s favourite is the Electrolux 70cm induction cooktop, whereas mine is the actual layout which has opened up the main living area.
Our least favourite is, unfortunately, the pantry size. We didn’t realize that the 40cm cupboard actually means 30cm drawers so it was a bit of a downsize from our old kitchen. Luckily, we have ample spare cupboards to compensate.
Would you recommend Ikea as a source for a kitchen remodel? If so, which items?
Yes, absolutely. We are very happy with the quality of the cupboards and the endless options / configurations.
We would highly recommend the combi oven and love the soft-closing drawers. The gloss finish of the doors and drawer fronts is impeccable and seems to be very durable.
Would you consider Ikea for a future kitchen remodel?
We would definitely use Ikea again. In fact, we are taking on the study / linen closet as one of our next projects and plan to use a combination of the Ikea FAKTUM cupboards and the PAX wardrobe system. Ikea provides both great service and an awesome result.
Resources of note:
wall paint – Dulux vivid white
flooring – Quickstep classic midnight oak brown
cupboards (cabinets) – FAKTUM, Ikea
handles – BLANKETT, Ikea
bench top (countertop) – Caesarstone sleek concrete (4003), Regency Stone
cooktop – Electrolux 70cm ceramic induction cooktop in black (EHD68210P), GraysOnline
rangehood – Luftig (BF570), Ikea
oven – Fisher & Paykel 60cm oven (OB60SL7DEX1), JB Hi Fi
microwave combi oven – Nutid (MWC6), Ikea
dishwasher – BESPARA integrated dishwasher, Ikea
fridge – Fisher & Paykel, already owned
splashback (backsplash) – 50mm hexagonal carrara marble mosiac, ebay
grout – Ardex magellan grey, Beaumont Tiles
sink – Franke tectonite kitchen sink in carbon black (SID110-50), Masters
tap – stainless steel with vegetable hose, ebay
wood trim – Tasmanian oak, Bunnings
clock – anniversary gift
pendants – Tadao 1 medium point top concrete pendants, Beacon Lighting
stools – Tolix in white, Outlet Homewares
Hahnii snake plant in grey pot – Masters
Jess & Tim, thank you for sharing the story of your kitchen remodel so candidly and so thoroughly! DIY novices? You could have fooled me.
OH MY WOW. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this amazing renovation. I love that they had the forethought to knock down those walls and flip the kitchen’s layout. It completely opened up the space. The kitchen looks as if it’s been this way all along. Jess & Tim make it look easy, but committing to a minimal design and limited palette requires restraint. And the attention to detail is flawless: the DIY cabinet over the fridge, hexagonal backsplash, concrete pendants, concealed hood, fancy electrical outlets / switches, trimmed out space between the upper cabinets and ceiling. One of my favorite parts is the oak trim above the cooktop and in the doorways. They complement each other so nicely and provide the slightest touch of warmth at eye level. Not to mention, the oak-trimmed doorways are practical. Our drywalled corners have taken a beating from the kids!
As you can see, Jess & Tim’s stellar style doesn’t stop at the kitchen. I’m all over that sofa. It’s further proof that Aussie’s must have an innate sense of style that puts the rest of the world to shame. (No offense, world.) I’m just glad these two are kind enough to share theirs with us and I hope it’s contagious. You can follow Jess & Tim’s renovating adventures over on Jess’s blog here.
I’m off to practice my Aussie lingo (cupboards, bench top, splashback, lounge room – so adorable!) but if you’re in the mood for more Ikea kitchens, check out the rest of this series:
An Ikea Kitchen in Asheville
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: Agent Thirty Six