Our Ikea Kitchen | Design Phase

Up until the 2 weeks before we actually bought the cabinets, Mike refused to put Ikea cabinets in the kitchen.  Like, "I will not have Ikea cabinets, end of discussion." statements were a regular.   I was set on having a 2-toned design, with black lowers and white uppers, and figured Ikea would be the cheapest option for this.  Mike was concerned with quality.

I told him we would explore all our options.  And, since I was in charge of the design, I chose to use Ikea's 3D kitchen planner to design it, and then use those measurements to get quotes for other cabinets.  Spoiler alert: we ended up with Ikea!  We got two other quotes, one was low but only had wood toned cabinets, (not really what I wanted), and the other was painted/stained combo to get the look I wanted, but was above our budget.

Since we we're limited on space, and there are multiple windows, doors, and openings, there wasn't that much actual "designing" involved.  When you add the things you have to have: sink, dishwasher, range, and refrigerator, there aren't that many configurations of cabinets you can place around them.  Here's what our old kitchen looked like for reference:

The wall between the kitchen and dining room was gone, but we had the opening into the living room and the window with the window seat across from it that gave us our ending points.  The windows in the kitchen also made some decisions on placement for us.

The sink would stay in front of the window, and the dishwasher would stay in the same spot as well.  We definitely wanted to move the range to the wall opposite the sink now that that was available.  Having that next to the door was always a pain in the ass.

The refrigerator would go on the same wall as the range, with some cabinets between.  We knew we wanted to add a peninsula so the edge of the window seat dictated the edge of the bar.  With all those requirements/restrictions, here's what I came up.

This is actually like the 5th design, but the changes between each of them were minute and usually related to measurements being finalized.

I started in the top left corner adding a corner cabinet since there's only so many ways to do that, (like only 2 different types of cabinets).  Then added the sink base, dishwasher, second corner cabinet that would create the peninsula, then the other cabinets on the ends.  The uppers were the same, corner then fill around the windows.

The other wall was tight and the fridge, range and 2-18" base cabinets just fit.  We have about 4" left to play with on that wall. 

I added RAMSJÖ black-brown fronts to the lower cabinets, and ÄDEL off-white to the upper cabinets.  I read multiple reviews, and saw in person, that the RAMSJÖ white has a pink tint.  I didn't care for the wood grain effect in the white either.  The ÄDEL has a different profile, (which I prefer over the RAMSJÖ), but since they are different colors, no one will ever notice.

We also chose 39" wall cabinets so that they extended all the way to the ceiling.  Mike will build a simple crown molding that I will paint to match the cabinets for a built-in look.

We did have one major design decision to make, and that was the range and refrigerator placement.  They both fit on this wall, but we didn't know if we wanted the refrigerator closest to the dining room or switched.  Here's the other option we looked into:

Before I added the black to the base.
It makes the view from the dining room more open, but the basement and backdoor feel closed off now, and since we finished the basement, we use this path a lot.  Not to mention the back door is what we use as our main entrance.

After going back and forth, we decided to put the refrigerator closest to the dining room.

We added a full size panel to the refrigerator cabinet, so that it will look built-in.  The only issue this caused was the fridge was directly across from the peninsula.  Not ideal, but I'd rather block the path for a second getting into the fridge, than block it by cooking in front of the stove.  We did want all the space we could get so we chose a counter-depth refrigerator.  It adds to the cost, and reduces the storage, (how does that make sense), but we felt the extra 5" in the path was important.

Once we had our plan finalized we drove the 1 1/2 hours to the nearest Ikea.  I had already been there a couple weeks before and asked a kitchen specialist to review everything so I knew we were good as far as that went.  We still had to make some decisions while we were there, mostly how many panels we wanted and the available sizes to fit the back of the peninsula, etc., and we came up with a better shoe storage solution near the back door which I'll go into further after it's all install, (hopefully it works out).  It was really nerve-wracking for me, mostly because Mike sort of refused to help since I was set on the Ikea kitchen, but we got it done, ordered on the last day of the 20% sale, and set up delivery.   

What took weeks and was a very stressful process, (on my part since I had to design, get quotes, then convince Mike that Ikea was the way to go), seems so simple wrapped up in a little blog post.  I did appreciate the fact that I was able to design everything on my own, and to be honest when I had a professional designer come out as well, she had the same ideas, and didn't bring to the table anything more than I did, which gave me confidence that I was capable of doing it.  Now, we just have to make sure that I designed everything right when we install everything!  Keep your fingers crossed! 

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