IKEA Kitchen Remodel: Part I

If you’ve followed along with my kitchen remodel adventures via Instagram, you know it’s been a process. This past summer, Nick and I got serious about remodeling the kitchen and set aside a budget to get the job done. I try to support small businesses when I can, so I chose a local boutique design firm to help me. I won’t elaborate too much, but after three months, I made Nick break-up with them.

The time was valuable and I learned a lot, but when we met for the final meeting, a lot of my requests were not taken into consideration. They more than tripled our budget and couldn’t provide a line item cost for materials. Can you imagine signing a contract with a business and they triple your budget before the work even began? We did lose our design fee, but I was able to identify my priorities and style.

A few months passed, I had a miscarriage, we got a new puppy (Charlie), and we forgot about the kitchen. Fast forward to two months ago, I reached into the black hole of darkness that is our corner cabinet and cut myself on a food processor blade that had fallen. All it took was a bloody hand and a phone call to Nick about child safety and we were back on the kitchen overhaul train.

I’m pregnant again, now in the second trimester, and I can honestly say we have lost our minds. I’ll share the kitchen remodel in two parts, with the second part being the big reveal. We have encountered many obstacles along the way, but IKEA was so easy to work with and I was able to create the kitchen of my dreams.

Let’s start with the IKEA kitchen planning process. The first step is to log on to IKEA’s website and choose your store location. You’ll find a tab for kitchen services and from there, you’ll create an online account. Next, you’ll schedule your in-home measurement service with Traemand, which is the company that IKEA outsources all kitchen cabinet installations. A Traemand representative came to my house and took exact measurements of our kitchen. In less than a hour and for $89, our kitchen dimensions were uploaded to IKEA’s kitchen software and I was able to schedule my in-store appointment.

IKEA offers a complimentary two-hour consultation appointment to plan your kitchen layout. The woman I was paired with could not have been more patient or more knowledgeable about kitchens. If you have a tiny kitchen and are limited with what you can do, IKEA is ideal. I did not change the layout of our kitchen and I kept all of the appliances in the same location to avoid having to move electrical and utility lines.

Leave it to the Swedes to have endless options for cabinets to utilize every inch of space. Our awkward corner cabinets are no longer an issue and we were even able to fit in trash and recycling bins next to a farmhouse sink, which the other design service had said was impossible. Other favorite features that I chose include a built-in book shelf column next to the refrigerator, large drawers for pots and pans, and glass front doors to showcase my favorite dishes.

I went back and forth between white and gray cabinets, but ultimately chose gray since all of our wood molding and trim is off-white. The hardware is almost identical to what I had chosen with the design firm. I purchased all of the appliances from IKEA after reading online reviews and I liked the efficiency of purchasing everything from one place. The appliances are made exclusively for IKEA by Whirlpool.

Finally, I chose quartz countertops. Although, we loved the look of butcher block, it came down to maintenance. We have a wooden Boos block that you have to oil periodically and it could be an overwhelming task to maintain an entire wood countertop surface.

I was early in my pregnancy and so nauseous during my appointment, but the IKEA woman was so kind. She asked great questions: Do you have a Vitamix? Do you store a KitchenAid mixer under cabinets? It helped me visualize what I needed for a functional, everyday kitchen.

The second appointment is whenever you decide to pull the trigger. Your kitchen layout and design is saved on the IKEA portal, so you can go back anytime to edit or make the final payment. I’ve read that an IKEA kitchen can run anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000. After going through the planning process, I will say that the price can quickly escalate, but they do provide line item prices for everything. Also, we had additional expenses arise during demo.

You can install the cabinets yourself, but if you’re like me, I value my sanity. I can barely put together a bookshelf, let alone hundreds of pieces of cabinets. The cost for installation will vary depending on the size of your project, but it is around $3,500.

As for timeline, you cannot beat the quick turnaround. Our cabinets will be delivered February 12th, Traemand will install everything on February 17th, and the countertops arrive about two weeks later. Traemand requires that everything is in place before they do one last measurement to ensure the countertops are an exact fit. I’ve been told that the cabinets are installed in 1-2 days, which is a huge improvement from the typical 6-8 weeks for custom cabinetry.

Now for the really “fun” part, the demo. The only real negative I can think of when it comes to an IKEA kitchen is that you’re on your own for removing your current kitchen cabinets and appliances. Traemand will do it for a fee, but it’s in small print in the paperwork and the representative I talked to said he didn’t offer demo services.

Enter my friends, Katie and Joe. They are miracle workers and they had no idea what they signed up for when I asked if they would be up for ripping out our tiny kitchen.

Joe is our resident handyman and brilliant at all things remodeling, so I was not concerned at all. Nick on the other hand was more prepared for the bad news that our 1880’s house might be a disaster. As Joe removed the cabinets, he discovered layer upon layers of bad previous install work. Linoleum, tar, concrete, wood, you name it. If it’s a building material, we had it haphazardly glued under our appliances.

Our hardwood floors had mold under a few panels due to a water leak, which we later discovered was the result of a pipe underneath our home that was not correctly connected. Our washing machine water and most likely sink disposal waste was collecting in a giant pile and not properly funneled out. We were composting and didn’t even know it! Had it been toilet waste, I think I would have run screaming. This was an easy fix, but it was unexpected and it added additional work.

All of the hardwood has been removed, we have a new sub-floor installed and we’re almost ready for tile. Nick was up for a fun patterned tile and I can’t wait to share it in the final reveal. We chose tile so that we would not have to try to match our existing hardwood floors. Tile should also be easy to maintain and clean with two puppies and a baby on the way.

Claghorn Flooring in Zionsville ironically had the exact tile that Nick and I had been looking at online, so we are scheduling the tile install for after the cabinets are done. I have a new appreciation for HGTV DIY shows and the surprises you encounter along the way.

If you are lucky enough to have handy friends like Joe and Katie, you can pay someone you like and bond even more during the process. If not, a general contractor would work.

We purchased two Waste Management Bagster bags and placed them in front of the house. The bags are $25 each on Amazon and there is a $99 fee per bag for removal by Waste Management when you’re ready. The bags would also be great for a garage clean-out or for a big move.

Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions. At this point, we’re anxiously awaiting the end result.

Xx, Libby


3 responses to “IKEA Kitchen Remodel: Part I”

  1. Thank you so much for the shout out. It was stressful at times with the long hours, but we got there and had a blast working with you guys. Signing out, the Chip and Joanna of Indiana haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your detailed analysis and write up. It’s very helpful indeed. I am looking forward to reading the part 2 and the big reveal.

    Enjoy your new kitchen and best wishes for your baby.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] This post is long overdue. Our kitchen is not actually done, but I’m at peace with the fact that it may never be perfect. When we started this process in January 2020, I could not have predicted a global pandemic. It took a village of contractors and friends to get the kitchen to functional status. You can find part one of the remodel here. […]


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