Update! I’ve added more detailed pictures!
My kitchen was in a rare state of pristine cleanliness on Sunday (probably because there was nothing left in the fridge, and we were all too queasy to eat), so I took advantage and grabbed a couple of shots of the clear countertops to show you the transformation of this space from what it was when Drew first moved in.
There’s Mr. Happy Dance.
Ok, so Drew bought the house first, and I moved in later after we were married, but re-doing the kitchen had always been pretty high on his, and then our, list. Of course, we hemmed and hawed and thought about how much money this was going to cost us, and procrastinated some more. About a year after we were married, he heard a rumor that Ikea had all their cabinets and appliances on sale, so we embarked on an intense 3 months of design and renovation. We wanted:
a big stove
a big fridge
a big sink
to use every inch of space in this small room – which is Ikea’s specialty, isn’t it?
Using Ikea’s kitchen planner, and arguing about the space for a month, we finally agreed to a plan. If you’ve never built a kitchen from Ikea before, let me tell you, it is quite the endeavor! There is probably no way I would go through it again. We had to count and recount every bolt, handle, hinge, door, back piece, side piece, front piece and every little accessory. Then we spent about 8 hours (8 HOURS!! I love Ikea but geez) at the local Ikea watching the sales lady type everything in, waiting for every little piece to be counted and recounted, and then loading the pieces we were allowed to take home. The rest of the boxes were delivered, and then we had an Ikea explosion sitting in our garage.
We started the pantry first, since I wanted to keep a working sink for as long as possible, and I had the lofty goal of having a new pantry for Thanksgiving. The wallpaper was removed, the plaster was filled in, and the weird felt material under the old cabinets had to be slowly scraped off.
We finished the pantry 2 days before having 12 people over for Thanksgiving dinner. That gave us an interesting advantage – since the new pantry held our new big fridge, we actually had 2 fridges in use for Thanksgiving. One held the 5 gallon bucket in which we brined our turkey; the other held everything else.
I think we waited until after Christmas to begin on the main kitchen. We did the side without the sink first, and found that the walls were not in terrible shape. The first sight of those glass cabinets gave us an incredible feeling of accomplishment! Then, the sink finally came out, and I hated those days of living on paper plates and washing utensils in the utility sink in the basement. I thought eating out was going to be fun, until we’ve eaten at every place in town. That was some serious motivation to get this thing done as quickly as possible!
In the end, we had someone install our granite countertops, and a guy had to come and secure the gas connection to our stove. Drew’s dad taught us how to install the glass tile backsplash. Otherwise, everything else was done ourselves. The big new quiet appliances were from Sears, the sink and cabinets were from Ikea and the glass tile was from Waterworks in CT. Funny story that: I had bought a couple sheets of the glass tile at the Waterworks warehouse sale one year for $3 (!!), on the thought that I might redo the small counter by the back door. That never happened, and we ended up wanting to use it in the kitchen. But we were several sheets short, so we had to buy them retail directly from Waterworks, at around $40 per sheet. The tile only goes right below where the stove hits the wall, since at $40 per sheet, I wasn’t going to put glass all the way to the floor.
I love love love this kitchen, with my 5 burner stove and ginormous fridge, my hidden garbage can and farmhouse sink, and super duper compartmentalization. It is a reason I may never want to leave this house!
Here are some photos of the inner workings of the cabinets, thanks to the organizational masterminds at Ikea. Please ignore the crap inside my cabinets – after all, this is the fully working kitchen of a crazy family!
We attached a drawer kit to a bottom cabinet door panel to create a pull out space for our garbage can. The setup was a bit shaky, so we added 2 internal drawers at the top for pot holders and random sink stuff, like wire brushes and sponges.
This is the lazy susan for the bottom cabinet. It’s 2 tiers, and is a full half circle that stores stuff all the way in the back corner where daylight never shines.
Another shot of the darkness beyond.
This is the lazy susan for the top cabinet. It’s like a chinese restaurant banquet table, x2! The heights are also adjustable. At this point, Ikea should be paying me for the advertising…
We installed drawers for the pots and pans instead of cabinets, so I didn’t have to crawl into one to pick out the right pan.
You can buy compartmentalization kits to go with your drawer kits, and they’re all adjustable.
The shining star of my kitchen, other than the glass tile, and the stove, and the fridge… is this pseudo pantry. Basically, I walked through the showroom, saw this setup, and said “I want THIS”. It’s a huge cabinet with pull out metal drawers for all the crap you want to hide (which I’m now showing the whole wide world). Of course, the heights are all adjustable.
All of our drawers are full depth pull outs, and we installed little piston spring things on all the cabinets so they can’t be slammed. You can get angry and push really hard, and they all stop within about 1 inch from closing, then close with a quiet whoosh. Like I said, they’re geniuses over there at Ikea.