Cottage Reno: IKEA Kitchen Round 1

April 15th, 2009

As we mentioned yesterday, we went to IKEA. Don’t you worry your pretty little heads, this isn’t going to turn into IKEA-nation around here. Beyond a few random items, our real mission was to figure out the logistics of the kitchen we plan on installing at the cottage, thanks in large part to the Government of Canada’s Home Renovation Tax Credit incentive program. In case you haven’t heard, the government will reimburse up to $1350 in home renovation costs up to $10,000 – and this applies only for 2009.

This also applies to us finally updating the havoc my father wreaked on the kitchen and bathroom, circa 1989 (pardon the terrible photos – taken in the winter when the last thing we feel like doing is staging photos).


Of note: 80s cheap cupboards that have an incredible lack of storage space, the vent hood that appears to just be for show since there is no output vent, the non-prep space counter top, the double sink where we seem to insist on using the minuscule sink on the right to wash dishes in, and the more recent addition (circa 2003) of the fish tile back splash.


Wacky breakfast bar that no one has EVER used because we ALWAYS eat outside, or closer to outside at the more spacious dining table. One thing you can see right away is that we have a huge waste of space, and no storage whatsoever (remember that we don’t have a single closet in the place either). Also, the floor was never a winner – even my dad hated it, and he was the one to DIY it (he was a DIY KING).


We’ve decided to go with an IKEA kitchen because, shock, it’s an affordable solution to our current situation. I learned a few things about the IKEA process so I thought I’d fill you in on how things are going.

So, step 1: awhile back we took measurements of the kitchen. This has actually happened on more than one occasion because we seem to always lose the random scraps of paper that we scribble such things on. Tip: this time we used a Marimekko notebook I gave to John for xmas (sentimental value and good design = not losing important measurements).

Step 2: Make a sketch of kitchen measurements and head off to IKEA – choose a day that is not a pseudo holiday.


Step 3: Don’t panic! The IKEA showroom is way harder to figure out at first glance than you ever imagined it would be – a whole lot of disjointed finishes in one space makes you realize all the decisions you are going to have to make. And although the staff are very cheerful and helpful, they are not there to design your kitchen for you (they’re not?!?). This is where I started to feel overwhelmed, until I had a salesperson outline a few things and then it all made complete sense.

Step 4: Grab copies of the “kitchen planning guide” pamphlet and the AKURUM booklet. And read them. Seriously.

What we learned from steps 3 & 4: Before you go to IKEA armed with what you think is a nifty little sketch, sit down and think about what kind of kitchen you want to have, and what you need. Upon reflection, we basically made a sketch that looks an awful lot like the kitchen we dislike. Go figure.

We of course did not have the luxury of doing this since we were already at IKEA, so we just used their sample kitchens to tell us what we thought we needed and in what way we’d like them to be (ie. a place for cutlery, plates etc in a drawer format versus what I deem to be the less accessible shelf format). As a result of this after the fact method, we devised a plan that I am pretty darn pleased with.


On the island side, two sets of wide drawers will flank a regular sized cupboard. The drawers will hold cutlery, plates, serving dishes, glasses, pots and pans while the middle cupboard will hold pantry goods. The thing hanging from above is an idea to have a hanging shelf (not from IKEA).

The other side will look kind of like it always has, except that we are not going to mount upper cabinets. This will save us money and makes us confident that we can install the entire kitchen ourselves. The things that will be stored on this side are small appliances, garbage, cleaning supplies etc.

Step 5: Use the aforementioned Kitchen Planner and AKURUM booklets to select the exact size of components that will fit your space. There are two ways in doing this. One is by downloading their planning application but this is only available to PC users. Mac users and people without access to a computer can use one of 16 computer terminals at the store.


They also have a handy dandy old school paper cut outs planner, which I think is way more fun and is what we’ll be using.


The AKURUM is the key to all of the kitchen components – once you have a look at it, it starts to come together. Base cabinets, Wall cabinets & High cabinets to suit most needs, with sizing chart and pricing per finish.

I’ll update you once we actually do this step!

Step 6: Finally, we have to select the finish for all the cabinetry. These are the running finalists. We are going for a Scandinavian light and airy look.


SOLAR Birch (this is a bit blown out and doesn’t show it quite right)


NEXUS Beech veneer (when we saw this one online we LOVED it, but in person, we’re not so certain)


White – we are interested in SOLAR but it’s discontinued so they may not have stock – above is APPLAD in white. Problem with white is that we already have a white kitchen, and it ages terribly.


The dark horse is APPLAD in orange, but it could look dated after awhile? Remember, we are only doing floor cabinets.

Other finishes (open to suggestions): We are thinking of a solid white oak or maple butcher block style counter for the island (not IKEA) and a white engineered stone for the sink side. For the floor, we are thinking slate tiles, as whatever we get needs to be used in the bathroom also and needs to be able to withstand the changes in temperature in the winter.

Back Porch Patio473391

Beautiful, but expensive!

DREAM: We’d love to extend the counter top on the sink side for more prep space. Does anyone know where you can purchase affordable under counter refrigerators? Scandinavia and Britain have tons of examples but it seems in North America we are relegated to the college dorm “bar fridge” that fits almost nothing in it.

We need your help!

What do you think? Which finishes would you choose?

– Juli –

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