...because home doesn't happen overnight.

kid-friendly home 1

During our stay in Toronto, I kept noticing colorful baskets in various sizes and shapes all over the house. A large basket in the living room held books. A smaller version in the playroom held a toy Viewfinder along with a pile of reels. A tall, slender basket in the master bathroom held magazines. Several baskets in the laundry room held sewing supplies. By the end of the week, I was so smitten with the baskets that I messaged the homeowner about them. She said they were bolga baskets from Ghana. An online search quickly revealed a whole new world of baskets to me. Bolga baskets are on pinterest, etsy, ebay… you name it! Where have I been?

Bolga Baskets

They’re pretty and practical, and you know I’m all over that woven texture. Of course, I had to have one. (Or two.) After some slightly obsessive internet stalking, I discovered affordable options from this online retailer. They offer free shipping on all U.S. orders and are members of the Fair Trade Federation.

bolga basket mudroom

We now have bolga baskets hanging out in our mudroom…

bolga basket living room

…and living room. They’re perfect for corralling shoes, toys, reading material, craft supplies, produce, cats and, oh I don’t know, maybe your 23 Olympic gold medals. They arrive flattened to keep shipping costs down but are easily reshaped with water. I wetted, reshaped and dried mine in the bathtub. Bam! Baskets!

bolga basket kitty

I wasn’t kidding about the cat part.

Did you already know about the bolga basket thing? If so, sorry to bore you, but I was too excited not share! #basketnerd

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Fair warning: You’re about to commit to a very winded post on the search for an ideal big kid bed. There are few images and lots of rambling. Words > pictures. What I’m trying to say is…you will have to use your imagination. Coffee might help. Or wine.

Reath Design

It’s official. Mabrey is a big girl. She potty-trained on her own over a year ago but didn’t stay dry through the night on a regular basis until recently. I learned the hard way with my first that making a deal out of potty-training before they’re ready just makes more work for me. So I was happy to let her figure out the nighttime thing on her own, and she did just that. My only incentive to her was a “big bed” once she showed me that she could stay dry through the night consistently. Well, the time has come.

Part of me is a teensy sad. I love her room the way it is but her needs are changing. She barely fits in the IKEA GULLIVER crib / toddler bed. It had a good, long run (nearly four years!) but she really needs something larger. The dark pewter on the walls is still one of my favorite hues of all time. It’s so conducive to sleeping and napping (oh naps! where have you gone?!) which makes it perfect for a nursery but I think it’s time for a change. Mabrey is spending more and more time in her room during the day playing, and she’s developed such a spunky personality. I’d love for her room to reflect these latest developments.

Of course, I can’t be sad for long because, HELLO, I get to tweak her room! I’ve started a very rudimentary moodboard and I’m already giddy about the possibilities. I’m channeling my inner Mabrey and having fun with some of the details. But before I get too carried away, I want to share my ideas for the obvious – the big bed!

Mabrey requested bunk beds. Of course. Her brothers have bunk beds. But her brothers also share a room that’s substantially larger than hers. Sure, bunk beds would fit in her room but that’s about it. It would essentially be a bunk bed closet. With her room being so small, I’d like to keep most of the furniture low to create breathing room. I gently broke the news to her and told her we’d find something she liked. She took it in stride.

Right off the bat I had several stipulations regarding the new bed: 1) Twin size. Her ~9′ x 9′ room can’t accommodate anything larger. 2) Extra sleeping space. It would be great to incorporate another sleeping surface into our three-bedroom home for sleepovers or overnight guests. The boys have a separate, pull-out trundle under their bunk that has come in handy over the years. 3) Clean lines. Not only do I like the look, but straight lines take up less space physically and visually – a necessity in a small room. 4) Not a bazillion dollars. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit drooling over Oeuf and Dwell Studio kid beds, but I just can’t stomach the price tags when I know there are other viable options out there for half the cost (or less). I’m more likely to splurge on items that will be used by everyone in our main living areas. Beds in kid rooms? Notsomuch. Which is probably why, currently, all the little people beds in our house hail from IKEA. We’ve had great luck with them. So it should come as no surprise that IKEA was the first place I browsed.

I looked at the TARVA and considered using a SVÄRTA trundle underneath it. The setup was most definitely budget-friendly but I wasn’t convinced of its staying power. I also looked at the BRIMNES which is a pretty smart concept. It’s a daybed / single bed / double bed / bedroom storage in one and includes two mattresses and two drawers. However, upon further inspection I noticed that the included mattresses aren’t standard thickness. Plus, we sometimes bring the boys’ trundle out into the living room for sleepovers and that isn’t possible with the BRIMNES. I couldn’t see paying $600 for something that didn’t check all the boxes so I nixed it.

That’s when the search really intensified. Ha! I searched craigslist and ebay for vintage beds but everything was too expensive, too ornate and / or didn’t offer a trundle option. I considered daybeds with trundles but I wasn’t excited about anything in my price range (<$500) which most likely meant I wouldn’t like them a few years from now. I stopped looking for a while. Then I started back up again just a few days ago and found this crazy affordable trundle ensemble. I know what you’re thinking.

WHAT IS SHE THINKING?! SHE ISN’T. SHE ISN’T THINKING! SHE’S FINALLY GONE MAD. IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE SHE QUITS BLOGGING. THANK GOODNESS AND GOOD RIDDANCE.

But wait a minute. Hear me out. Forget about all that brown for a minute. Take away the espresso finish and the really bad styling. (Is that a beige microfiber comforter?) Yes, the headboard and footboard are slatted but at least they’re relatively wide slats. Now click on the “natural” option. Things just got a little better, didn’t they? Now imagine the “natural” frame painted in a modern shade of olive green. Lose the country knobs on the trundle. Replace them with elongated brass pulls. Do you see it? Let me help you.

DIY big girl bed

Now look at the price. Subtract $10. Did you get $283.95? Great. You win another cup of coffee. Or wine. Go ahead. Pour yourself a second round. I’ll wait. UPDATE: The price has increased since this post was originally published. Grrrr. But it’s still pretty affordable.

Good? Good. Let’s continue.

So, yeah, I bought that bed + trundle setup for $283.95 thanks to a $10 credit on my Wayfair account. (You can earn store credit for leaving reviews on past purchases.) It checked all the boxes. Twin size. Pull-out trundle. No ornate frills. No commas on the price tag. I’ll actually be able to afford mattresses to go with it. Imagine that! The fact that it’s made of solid wood and can be converted to a bunk (with the purchase of another twin) are just bonuses. And with a fresh coat of paint and some killer hardware, it’s going to look way less vacation rental…especially against light walls…maybe some fun wallpaper? I won’t finalize the paint color and exact hardware until after the bed arrives so I can see how things shake out in person, but I’m diggin’ the olive + brass combo. Mabrey is stoked and so am I.

I bookmarked the first image in this post years ago as inspiration for a child’s room and it’s stuck with me. I’ll be loosely referring to it for Mabrey’s big girl room. More details soon!

Here’s to no diapers (cloth or disposable) in my house!

P.S. – A crib review & transitioning from crib to toddler bed.

images: 1) Reath Design 2) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

nebraska home

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