Ikea Kitchens. Am I missing something?

kompyJanuary 22, 2009

When a client of mine told me that I was in the running, along with Ikea (on a small L-shaped kitchen-12 cabinets), I decided to check them out to see what I was really up against. So far, I can't see what the bg deal is. Please tell me if I am missing something.

I downloaded the Ikea design software and layed out the kitchen to match what I had done for my client. I was also surprised at the limited sizes available.

I wasn't unable to figure out how to change the doorstyles on the Ikea software...so it priced, what I think is their basic white door "Akurum" white/abstrakt.

For my client, I quoted her KraftMaid Dalton (shaker) Birch door.

Here are the prices. These are for cabinets only and are apples-for apples.

Ikea $2171

KraftMaid $2818 (fully assembled and includes freight costs).

The difference is $647 and you still have to assemble the cabinets. I also think the KM doorstyle is nicer.

So, what's the big fuss about Ikea and am I missing something? I will be up against them more in the future and I'd like to educate myself about them.


Here's the KM door:

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I'd go for that KM in a heartbeat over Ikea! If nothing else, the assembly time would make it worth it.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 11:56AM
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Really? $2808? I did 13 cabinets for my galley, although the uppers were extra height (48"). My cabs were over $7k. They were custom but not much more than my Kraftmaid quote (which I don't recall for sure). I did a white Shaker door style.

I would have done Ikea, mostly because I like to research and price myself (calling every day with, "OK, but what if I do this and not this?" could get old) but also because they were cheaper and their inner doodads were cool, but as you say, their sizes are very standard and my kitchen is odd.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:09PM
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You have to go to ikea and see real ikea kitchen in place. the hardware, organization, all the extras, are genius! it is a complete kitchen SYSTEM. Here is an example. the jars they sell fit exactly into the drawer partitions they sell..

In short, see it for yourself. no other line of cabinetry even comes close in terms of functionality (for the incredible price)...

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:10PM
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Having been quoted $18,000 for custom cabinets with the same degree of whistles and bells that Ikea supplies as standard, and then costing with Ikea at $2600, it was a no-brainer for me.

They have a 25 year guarantee. They use Blum hinges, glides, soft-closing, great drawer dividing stuff.

I think some people are put off because the styles are more European. I'm European - I prefer the look.

Akurum is the name of the frame range. Then you select your door style. If you want more guidance on using the Ikea planner, which isn't terribly user friendly at first, check out Ikeanfans.com. It's not affiliated with Ikea: just other people who have used their stuff, loved it, and want to help others.

they also have great guides on how to modify/customise cabinets to suit your needs. We ended up doing two cabinet modifcations to get the exact thing we wanted, and it was easy. Even my initially-reluctant GC admitted it was great.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:16PM
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Fori is not pleased

There's a good price advantage to Ikea usually. I think you priced it out with their "accent" door which is higher than most others they have.

The appeal of being able to go buy the cabinet you want, return it if you change your mind, seeing the exact price for every option up front, and fitting it out with features over any period of time you want is immensely more appealing than going into the black box of a cabinet seller (no offense--it just feels that way sometimes).

But, limited sizes, limited styles, and RTA.

On the other hand, some of us prefer to be in control...and something made for DIYers is awfully nice.

I needed more sizes. I'm going custom. But if Ikea had a door style that worked for me (like the discontinued Halloran (sp)), I'd rethink it.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:25PM
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beccamj, This Dalton Birch door is only a price group #4 with KM. Some of their other shaker doors are more expensive, due to a 5pc. drawer head, wider rails (ie. Huntington, Putnam..etc). They are priced in groups #10 and #16. So maybe that's what you priced. Plus the prices I posted above only include cabinets...no extras. I could see the Huntington or Putnam definitely getting up in to the $6K-$7K price range if you add the paint.

Thanks for all of your replies. I appreciate the input.

Ps. I forgot to mention that my client is coming in to order this weekend. They were very happy with the KM quote too.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:29PM
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Is the Kraftmaid style frameless? If it is face-framed your clients are getting 15 to 20 percent less useable cabinet space, even if the cabinets have the same footprint. Now that I have experience with Ikea frameless cabs, I would never go back to framed cabs. I can store more stuff, far more efficiently than with framed cabs. As others have said, with Ikea I am getting the best bells and whistles in the industry (Blum) and unparalleled storage innovation.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:43PM
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DH and I finished our Ikea kitchen in 2005. We are very happy with its quality and functionality. Although other cabinet lines have doors whose wow! factor is orders of magnitude greater than the ones Ikea offers, we liked the quality and versatility of the Ikea "system" (as pointed out by pharaoh) and the fact that it was amazingly easy to assemble and install everything ourselves. Assembly, cabinet modification(!), and installation took 6 days total, although we spaced it out over a period of about 8 months due to our busy work schedules. We were pleased to be able to move at our own pace and to avoid the stress of dealing with contractors. If some sort of home disaster occurred that necessitated another kitchen remodel, we'd do Ikea again in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:46PM
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Ah, that makes sense, Kompy, thank you. And I do have the 5pc. drawer head.

BTW, on the one standard cab I have (15" wide), I installed 4 Ikea rollout drawers for a total cost of $60. Mind-bogglingly cheap.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:50PM
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I think Pharaoh and several others nailed it when they said that IKEA is a system. There's no doubt that their door styles are likeable, however they may not compare to the richness in styling in other lines.

I'm looking at IKEA. I'm weighing it against another frameless lines. I'm leaning toward spending more for the Ultracraft line because I love the feel/weight of the door and the door style itself that much more.

Now I only need maybe 6 base cabs and 6 wall cabs. IKEA seems to come in about 35% less. If you're doing a 4K kitchen... then the savings doesn't seem that huge. If you're doing a larger 12K kitchen... well then the bigger the savings.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:55PM
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Here's something I will only admit to this one time: When I began my reno 2+ years ago, I initially installed Ikea cabs. But after I was forced to make several significant changes in my design plans, I decided to ditch the Ikea cabs and replace them with Plain and Fancy custom cabs. Then, as my reno progressed, I made another major decision: to install a second kitchen in my house --talk about TKO! -- that could serve as both my temporary kitchen as well as a very modest kitchen for a future rental unit. Well, thank goodness, I was able to do so by repurposing those same Ikea cabs! And, guess what? Despite the fact that I've got those knock-out P&F cabs installed in my still-under-construction primary kitchen, I'm currently using the heck out of my temporary kitchen. In the process, I'm also finding that I'm loving and appreciating my Ikea cabs more now than ever before!

When I compare the difference in price (approx 3K for Ikea to approx 20k for Plain and Fancy. Ok, I did order more P&F cabs, trim, bells and whistles than I did with the Ikeas so not a perfect comparison); lead time (immediate for Ikea, 10 weeks for P&F); warranty (7years for P&F, 25 for Ikea) and functionality -- I prefer Ikea!!! Plain and Fancy wins out only on greater design flexibility and looks. Yes, Ikea is a big hassle in terms of ordering, assembly, etc. But, the bottom line? Ikea is a darn good, well-constructed, seriously affordable, good-looking cabinet line and I highly recommend them without reservation.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 1:04PM
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Circus Peanut

I think fori said it well with the "black box" observation. (I too priced out some Ikea and would have gone with them if I hadn't gotten a windfall recycled cabinet deal.)

For me, it was an attractive notion to actually get a real instant price quote without lots of discussion and commitment to a fuzzily-defined "design process" that wouldn't really reveal a total price until much later on.

And I'm too picky/anal/demanding/stubborn/selective (choose one) to allow someone else to do my designing. I want my house to be truly mine, not designed by someone else.

I want the freedom to make big changes at the last minute without incurring vast restocking fees, or getting stuck with expensive cabinets I decided not to use after all.

Also, I'm a big DIYer and think nothing of hauling out the skilsaw to redesign anything in my house, if necessary. The presence of IKEAfans simply makes it that much more attractive: lookit all these other people working on their dollhouses, too!

I think many Americans are like me in shying away from the traditional personal connection to an artisan (the KD/architect model) in favor of the flexibility and cost savings of cutting out the middle man. But that's because many of us are comfortable rolling up our sleeves and adding our own personal touches to an otherwise sterile modular system.

Kompy, keep in mind that you're getting a self-selecting group here at GardenWeb: there are likely zillions of folks out there who don't want to be so hands-on involved with their kitchen design, and much prefer the services of a true professional. So (I know you won't, but) just a reminder not to take it personally! :)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 1:08PM
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Ikea is not as limited with sizes as people think. Ikeafans shows people doing all sorts of things with slight modifications to the stock cabinet. A great example of something that is not shown in the Ikea catalog but that Ikea sells is the 30" base cabinet with drawers. The top drawer is two 15" wide drawers rather than a large single 30" wide drawer. Well Ikea sells an oven cabinet with a single 30" wide drawer that is what is needed for the 30" cabinet.

Another aspect that is never mentioned with Ikea is their commitment to environmental friendliness. They have no formaldehyde in their products and the wood products are certified as coming from managed sources. The other beauty is that if you change your mind two years from now and want new drawer fronts or doors than you currently have, it is easy to change out.

I agree that I like Ikea because of its open pricing model. No matter where you live, the cabinets cost the same. You don't have to price shop around at four different vendors who have different books and different prices. If I could afford it, I would buy Boffi in a minute but Ikea works for this house and this kitchen. I can also get custom doors if I want for a more custom look and still pay less than many of the Kraftmaid products and have all the fancy doodads that I like. Kraftmaid in my opinion is not a comparator to Ikea because of the lack of environmental focus from Kraftmaid.

Also remember that Ikea with their door styles mainly focus on modern or contemporary styling which is not the majority of American kitchen shoppers.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 1:20PM
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Fori is not pleased

They also have those fabulous cheap super-customizable drawer dividers--that you don't have to order with your cabinets and can instead pick them up easily later when you decide where you want to put stuff.

I was extremely disappointed that they don't carry them large enough for the one piece of Ikea cabinetry I have in my kitchen (that we purchased to hold us over until I remodel but I do love the thing). Grr.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 1:42PM
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I am doing my kitchen with Ikea, first of all, the assembly is very easy, typically takes 10-15 minutes each especially if you have 2 people. Also, I messed up a cabinet when I had to cut it up for my ducts I cut it wrong, a new frame costed me $27. Then I needed more shelving, I went to the store they cost anywhere from $8-$12 a pair. I have 80% drawers in my base cabinets, all soft close doors and drawers. I am sure with these "upgrades" it is now much cheaper than Kraftsmaid, plus, it is something I can install myself and I saved installation fees.

What I like the most from Ikea are the doors and drawer hardware, they are made by Blum and appear to be high quality. I must say Ikea sizes are more limited but that doesn't mean they don't work for many people, the styles would be the limiting factor if there isn't one that you like (there's always custom doors by 3rd party, though). I don't generally like contemporary look kitchen but I have seen some beautiful kitchen done by real people using Ikea. They don't feature ornate mouldings and ornaments, but very functional and modern.

Due to the lower cost I don't have to wait as long to begin my remodel. The times we are at now I have to be careful, I could lose my job easily and my house value has dropped a lot. I feel it is wise to be a bit frugal but still able to get the new kitchen going now. I couldn't get the pretty moulding that I wanted, but now I am making my own moulding and custom touches.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 1:48PM
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Thanks again everyone...and thanks circus peanut for your kindness. I don't take it personally at all. KD's have to have tough skin...I learned a long time ago not to take things personally. You win some and you lose some. You can't get every job.

And thanks to all of you, I think I am understanding, better, the allure that Ikea has to certain people. And circus peanut, you're right....there are zillions of folks that would get frustrated (instead of elated!) at the DIY mentality that it takes to do Ikea. I think that's why this lady did order from me. She called me after being to Ikea and Home Depot....asking me to please just help her get it done.

And FYI, KraftMaid also has the Blumotion drawer guide as their standard now. Softclose doors are an add-on though.

And to the previous poster that asked if I priced the framed or frameless KM? It's framed. The Venicia has been a flop for us. While it is very high quality and very pretty...it just hasn't sold well for us. I think it's due to the higher cost over their tradtional line.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 2:04PM
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I don't think you're missing much.

To me, the cabinet sizes are limited and their moldings and finishes even more so. Their doors are not as well constructed as the average kraftmaid door. and their box construction is in the very bottom rung of "just ok". Kraftmaid has a better box construction - and I'm not real fond of Kraftmaid.

Their standard drawer is the bottom of the line blum tandembox - which beats some ways that drawers are made. The way ikea does the legs is easier to deal with if you diy. If you screw it up or need a billion cover panels, so what? If you live near an ikea and the panels cost something like $15, what did you lose? Just a bit of time.

Everybody here is pleased with the pricing. Normally, people start talking about the "value" - which I take to be how much cabinet you receive for your dollar. Ikea is a great value compared to the pre-made or flat pack cabinets stocked at the big box stores. It's in the running for american woodmark and such like. I think it might be in the running for the Venicia line - even tho venicia is better constructed. The "look" of both is generic modern and it's hard to see the additional value in the box construction when the drawers look exactly the same. Venicia has always seemed somewhat overpriced to me.

It's not that I hate them. It's a great alternative when you have no budget, you're installing mostly drawer units, you can live with their sizing and one of their doors.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 2:35PM
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Don't worry Kompy, I'm one of those who will probably always go to a KD or BD (Bathroom Designer?) b/c I don't trust my aesthetic skills. My KD worked with me on my design and I have no complaints about her from that standpoint...I think she did a great job working out the design with me...my design...and then she added the aesthetic touches. I am very pleased with how my kitchen looks and have my KD to thank for that.

Measuring was a different issue...but now that it's all over I realize that in the end I got most of what I wanted and more than I had originally planned before GW & a KD! (And, as others have said, you forget the hassles and just enjoy the finished product!)

And no, I'm not a fan of IKEA either b/c I personally don't like any of the doors and I prefer the more traditional woods and finishes, but if someone is really strapped for $$$ I tell them to check them out. I even suggested them to my mother...but she's a "wood purist" so I don't think she's going to go that route (probably she'll do nothing and keep her 48-year old cabinets!)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 2:51PM
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kompy, I too have often wondered what I was missing. After all the raves here about Ikea I was really excited to see them in person for the first time, as I was thinking they would be a great way to do our master bath (and possibly closet) remodel. But the cabinets themselves, to me, just scream cheap, plastic, artificial junk. They are unpleasant to handle and only look good from a distance. But then, I'm one of those very non-trendy people who likes the looks and feel of real wood - the more grain / figuring the better.

The fact that they have this closed system is actually a huge drawback for me. I wouldn't want to be stuck with just Ikea.

That's not to say that I dislike all things Ikea - I actually found some pulls there that I really liked (Hubby didn't, though) and an awesome drying rack. Some of their organizational stuff is indeed really cool.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 2:56PM
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There's a lot of Ikea-tude around. Which I don't really understand...it's simply an option among many options, and sometimes it's the best choice for reasons like perceived value, budget, etc. Well, OK, I mean, I understand it in the sense that my hair stylist might talk smack about someone who colors their own hair if they are feeling snarky.

Enough posters have described above what is so great about Ikea, so I will just point out this: As far as being "durable", day after day on this board I see extremely durable cabs being ripped out because they are perceived as ugly or outdated. Or the layout was bad. Or the color was just all wrong. If a kitchen is truly falling apart, I believe it's due to a bad install or water damage left untreated. I have also heard that children can do terrible things to cabinets, but if this is true, then that is actually an argument for Ikea cabs, save the nice stuff for when the little terrors are surly teenagers and never want to be around the house anyway :-)

Everyone has their idea of a great kitchen, and honestly, how often do you hear somebody who has been living in a preowned home for some time ever say, "My dream kitchen came with this house. The PO made such a gorgeous space with such fantastic materials I don't want to change a thing!" After the honeymoon phase, it's just not something you hear much...

Right. They say they hate oak, or the cabinets are high quality but they really prefer maple to cherry, or the granite is ugly or the layout is bad because they are a two cook household, ad nauseum. And they dream of ripping out the kitchen and putting in a new kitchen.

I have been looking at hard Minneapolis/St. Paul lofts recently, including two that were "penthouses" going for over $1m, and guess what, there was Ikea in the kitchens. You will often find them in designer's own homes if you read the sources in the magazines.

I am not one who thinks their modern cabinet lines are dead ringers for uber expensive italian lines which are much more $$$$. But I believe you can get great value for your money with Ikea if it works with your layout and style. I've been around enough Ikea cabs to know that the materials will certainly outlast the "style" of the kitchen. Just do a good install. And maybe don't let the kids swing on them:-)

Also, I was just in a lovely home that had put in Ikea cabinets with Saphire Blue granite about five years ago, and it_looks_amazing. (The cabs were a discontinued line, but very similar to the current Adel Medium Brown). There was tons of cabinets, but your eye went right to the granite! (And the Sub Zero fridge, and the extra large professional stainless range...). There was marble tile on the floor, heated from underneath. Overall gorgeous kitchen. Since I knew the cabs were Ikea, I KNOW they saved buckets of money going with the those cabs (the kitchen was HUGE with entire walls of cabinets). And they look better than many of HD/Lowes lower end brands that would have cost quite a bit more. The overall kitchen was stunning (they had three little kids, too).

Do what works for you. If resale comes and sombody doesn't like your kitchen, well, at least you didn't spend much much more to have a kitchen they didn't like :-)


    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 3:02PM
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Hi, umm, "Mr. Camargo" here. Ms. Camargo has a thread kicking about with photos of our recently completed kitchen remodel, but just to give my perspective, as I was unfamiliar with Ikea before this remodel. All the cabinets, including hardware (pulls), cover panels, toe kicks, filler pieces, with all the standard Ikea "stuff", came out to about 3.5K:

While we never got a detailed "all in" quote from someone else, an initial estimate at HD for assembled cabinets was 2X as much, with less "stuff". We liked the Venicia line a lot, but it was clear that it would be 3+ X as much (maybe it would sell better if it wasn't so expensive?). So, saving money on the cabinets allowed more budget for other things...

One note to kompy, I think the "Abstrakt" doors are among the most expensive. Also, even your current comparison is 30% less at Ikea...enough for us, although I know it wouldn't be for others.

A couple of other things I really liked: frameless is way better than framed in terms of useable space and access. Our kitchen is small, so this was important. Assembly was easy; we were able to bang out a cabinet in about 10 minutes once we had done a couple. Joints are tight and the boxes generally square properly. Quality seems good, but time will tell. Our European relatives mostly speak very highly of their Ikea kitchens.

Installation was much easier with the hanging rail system for uppers and the ability to level each cabinet for lowers. Seriously, why doesn't every manufacturer have something similar? Now that it's done, organizers and such are cheap and easily customizable. As someone said, it's a complete system, which is great.

What I didn't like: the planning software is buggy and badly designed. It works, but had a learning curve. Cabinet size options were limited. We spent enough time with the tool and online to make it work in our space, but a few mods were needed.

We thought there was a very wide range of door styles to choose from, but that's a function of taste and preference.

Hope this is of interest, from someone who just went through the whole Ikea process for the first time.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 3:08PM
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One slight correction to one of the above posts: While Ikea meets the extremely strict German standards for formaldehyde (much tougher than the US and the toughest in Europe), they're not totally formaldehyde-free.

As an addendum to Joanna's post, one of the things that appeals to me about Ikea is that it is a totally modular system, so if you are sick of your door style fifteen years from now, you can just order new doors. Also, if you don't like any of the ikea door styles, there are many places that will do custom doors for you, and that's still cheaper than most standard cabinet lines.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 3:26PM
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oh, yeah, one more thing: because Ikea uses the blum tandembox system, you can customize with additional blum pieces...we needed pullouts where Ikea offered none, so I got the components from a woodworkers' supply house and went to town...so, you really aren't "trapped."

BTW, I do agree that the doors could be better constructed...we had to exchange a couple of defects. Some styles are more durable than others. The boxes, in my opinion, are quite good, even if cabinetmakers would run screaming from a camlock fastener...they do hold very well.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 3:27PM
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I'm actually glad you did that as at some point I want cabinets in my basement and we were thinking Ikea but I think Ikea look cheap and I don't want to put them together and we are DIY... nothing appealing to me about putting them together. I love our Kraftmaid in our kitchen and have no regrets. The only Ikea appeal for the basement is being able to use the plastic legs but I know you can order Kraftmaid without the base (what ever it is called) and use the ikea plasic (worried about flooding even though we have a dry basement) or build your own as we did for a hall closet. I hate the bluemotion - I upgraded a few and they are slow to close - husband loves them but I just don't get it. The finish & choices on Kraftmaid seems better - only problem for us was I picked one of the most expensive woods, door styles, etc. But for the basement, I can compromise - maybe.

Krompy - if your client didn't appreciate your work - it helped me for the future :)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 3:34PM
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Tradewind 64 - Fabulous post.

"day after day on this board I see extremely durable cabs being ripped out because they are perceived as ugly or outdated".

Exactly! I have an old house with old woodwork, so thought Ikea cabinets would look incongruous. But I know that people do amazing things with them.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 3:54PM
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Really simple. Ikea is a fantastic value, with super quality and fine for resale. AND, the prices are always the SAME. You know what you are getting.

Otherwise, you are at the mercy of some KD or contractor who is trying to rip you off. Just my experience :)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 4:05PM
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S'funny, how "cheap" and "plastic" to one is the opposite of "cheap and plastic" to the other. I saw Kraftmaids in several KD places include Expo and it looked "cheap and plastic" to me. I didn't like the construction of the cabinets, and the overall cabinets looked dull, oppressive, ill-finished, low-end and uninspired to me. I know that were I to have gone with Kraftmaid, I'd never have bothered to do the remodel because those cabinets - the Venecia included - were just not worth bothering about. Neither were several of the cabinet lines I looked at. I simply would not have bothered to do a full remodel to put any of those cabinets in.

On the other hand, there was cabinetry I liked very much indeed. In general, the cabinets that got me enthused were brands like P&F, Plain & Simple, Poggenpohl, Arclinea, Varenna, Neff, Bulthaup - brands that I would definitely have to have a very serious think about plunking that sort of money for in a relatively small kitchen by GW standards (10 feet and 14 feet of cabinetry in a galley - no islands no nothing).

Frankly, as far as I'm concerned, the enthusiasm that IKEA engendered was more in line with these than the Kraftmaid cabinets.

People above talk about the IKEA cabs being poorly constructed and it made me laugh. They're not constructed at all! You have to build them and they're only as good as you build 'em. We built the IKEA cabinets and they were more square, plumb and level than our custom built bathroom cabinetry. Because we used wood glue and squares and clamps to assemble the cabinets, they were rock steady. And actually, it was the construction of the Kraftmaid cabinets (KM uses hot glue to construct the cabinets - any woodworker will tell you that is a poor choice of glue to use for wood) that I found so inferior.

Someone talks about "lowest line blum tandembox" - there is no "lowest line tandembox". Tandem is a line and it is blum's topmost line. Tandembox is Blum's most upmarket integrated drawer design for these most upmarket (tandem) hinges. In contrast to the metabox for instance. This is hyperventilation in order to justify an opinion.

That said, I will also say that that opinion is important and sara_the_brit touched upon it. IKEA cabinets, in my opinion, have a european aesthetic that has a COMPLETELY different air than traditional american aesthetic. Personally, I find that preponderance of heavy wood and molding and flourishes and flairs to be oppressive. They make me cry.
The european cabinets have a much lighter touch - particularly these generally contemporary lines; this is true of their traditional offerings also. To those whom it appeals to, well, the (in my opinion, dodgy) construction of Kraftmaid aside, that aesthetic would never compete. To those who like that heaviness, well, IKEA (and, dare I say it, Poggenpohl, Poliform-Varenna etc) kitchens would look "lightweight and plastic".
Vive la difference, I guess.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 4:34PM
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Yes, I also like Tradewind's observation about all the cabinetry ripped out. What's the point of having good solid wood when so much of it's sent to the dump instead of the refinishing a good quality material deserves?

In any case, Ikea has at least two door styles that are solid wood, and several that have solid sides and tops but veneered center panels, and the doors come in a wide range of price and quality.

Sad for me Euro mod just isn't my style, and I just couldn't get enthused about any of them. So while I put off having custom doors made until I decided what I wanted, I put their cheapest line on. I don't remember what I paid for all of them, but I do remember that the doors for a 5-drawer 36" wide base cabinet totalled $12 (that's Twelve Dollars), for which price I incidentally got to find out that I like a very simple plain-panel door much more than I realized I would; I actually regretted the need to put handles on, but I couldn't have push-open latches and blumotion-type closures on one door.

One of these days I will get around to replacing them as planned, but first I'm going to run a roller over them to see how my kitchen looks with some paint colors I'm considering.

As for disposal, this line does look just about as cheap as they actually are, and are disposable even for a frugal person, but rather than sending them to the landfill they'll go in our mechanical/store room in the basement, where they'll live out the rest of their lives, and I'm afraid ours.

BTW, regarding door quality, one reason I didn't consider Kraftmaid beyond an initial pricing is that their painted doors struck me as distinctly cheap-looking and cost MUCH more than my first-choice Ikea door. In both lines, the ones that struck me as nicest were finished wood.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 4:36PM
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We are going with IKEA, but wanted a different door style than what is currently offered, so we are doing custom doors on the IKEA boxes.

For us, this is a no-brainer. I love the functionality of the IKEA system, and to have that plus the doors I want seems like a win-win. We are adding moldings and etc. to make it look a little more traditional. The same "look" in KM costs thousands more.

A friend of mine lived in Germany and had IKEA cabs there. When they returned to the states, and it was time to re-do her kitchen, she wanted IKEA--and they could afford much more. I thought that spoke well of the cabs and convinced me to explore that option further. I am glad I did. (Hubby is too!)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 5:55PM
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Laughing It's very tempting to fan this tempest into inferno. I shall restrain myself, but its taking some effort.

Actually, there are two variants of tandembox with different finishes and different supported weights. My blum hinges weigh 3 times the blums that ikea uses. All camlocks aren't created equal neither. The screw posts and cams of other systems are heavier and better made.

I'm insane about cabinet construction. I can talk joints, frames, different ways of doing frameless, materials and just about quote the entire blum line of hardware. I bet you didn't drop samples of cabinet materials into water for a couple hours and then dry them out to see what happened. I could be the only person on the forum who has personally put together stuff from just about every flat pack seller.

I am not dinging people for not spending a ton for a kitchen. I spent a whopping 16k on my kitchen for everything including the wretched POC GE profile.

I have affection for those knotty pine boxes that everyone rips out and my taste in modern isn't awful. I could be a pleb ("one who has had their brain replaced with a mall cucumber whilst visiting the doctor for a routine check up"), but even I know that Poggenpohl ain't sold at ikea.

People (like mindstorm) added personal design touches and carefully thought out their plan have kitchens that look damn nice. And I apologize to the hundred and five of the others of you ikeans for not remembering your kitchens (except for the one person who covered the outsides of the boxes with marble and had new doors made and I can't remember your name), but mindstorm goes back quite a while on the forum.

But any cabinet that is partly made from thin masonite and kinda low quality particle board isn't going to win on construction specs(of the cabinet - not the way the assembler put it together).

Here is a link that might be useful: I like micky best (maybe)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 9:03PM
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I have some lovely knotty pine paneling in my basement you are more than welcome to, when we get ready to redo it - part paneling, part shelving. It is ulgy in my opinion and as big of a Kraftmaid fan as I am, I'll take Ikea any day over it . I can't wait to take a crow bar to it but my husband made me promise to wait when I took out all the other shelving as it seperates the rest of the basement (that's what he got for leaving me home alone with his tools - so I went out and bought my own crow bar so he can't fuss I used his and mine is better).

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 10:33PM
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It's very tempting to fan this tempest into inferno. I shall restrain myself, but its taking some effort.

Tempest? Where's the storm at? Did I miss something? I hate it when that happens!

Seriously, this is one of the most mild mannered threads concerning people's choices that I've read lately.

You wanna see a tempest, go read posts on Apartment Therapy. Woohee, those posters raise flaming to a high art :-)


    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 11:02PM
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bmorepanic, You're absolutely correct that Poggenpohl and Poliform aren't IKEA. And I certainly didn't mean to suggest that they area - apologies if I sounded like I was lumping them into the same pot. What I was saying is that Kraftmaid didn't elicit any enthusiasm from me - I simply would not have replaced my older cabinets with KM if that (or some of the others whose names I forget) were my only choice. Poggs, Poliform, Bulthaup, P&F, P&S etc. very much did appeal to me and definitely got me thrilled about doing a kitchen with them. IKEA is no Poggs, Poli etc. and while it doesn't have the same polish, it - to me - had the same air and even if it didn't thrill me nearly as much as did those other brands, it most certainly did appeal to me. I could not see myself getting something that appealed to me with KM and the like.

As for the tandemboxes - indeed there are two weights. IKEA uses 'em both. The shallower or smaller drawers get the lower weight tandemoboxes while the wider & deep drawers get the heavier weight withstanding ones.
Yes, it is true that within those two weights, IKEA uses only a couple (M and B, I think it was) of the 4 tandembox sizes that Blum offers. It is already established that IKEA uses a limited set of sizes - ok, so they don't use Blum's shallowest shallow or the deepest deep drawers. If that is a deal-breaker ... IKEA isn't for one.

As far as dropping doors into a tub for water (or a swimming pool for a weekend as someone on another website suggested) no I didn't and I never saw the point of it. My house is better constructed than that - if my house gets lost in a deluge that puts us chin-deep in standing water , I will miss my laptops and computer more than I will miss my kitchen cabinets. So, while I read some KD somewhere else citing this door-soaked in swimming pool test as a way to distinguish one from the other, it failed to impress.
Meanwhile, for us everyday folks with more pedestrian concerns, IKEA cabinets are made from PB or MDF or whatever panels with a thermofused melamine coating which is considered one of the best fabrication of these PB/engineered wood products. In fact, there were some rather knowledgeable woodworkers/cabinet- makers who used to post here when I was doing my research prior to my remodel who considered thermo-fused melamine coated substrate to be a superior item to even plywood because it is so well bonded to the substrate and so water resistant. I've no idea what Kraftmaid uses but I am quite impressed by the thermofused melamine interiors as they are neither as lighter-duty as the rolled melamine nor the vinyl coated panels.

So, does it work? Well, I wouldn't put money on it withstanding swimming pools, no. But I had a mammoth leak where a huge amount of water leaked overnight in my sink when my faucet failed. I had water flood the sink cabinet and leaking down the front of the cabinet when I noticed it and a vast puddle under the sink cabinet between its feet from leaking through the hole cut in the cabinet where the plumber had cut his plumbing holes for the feed-water pipes. That puddle in the cabinet would have existed for no less than 12-14 hours and who knows if even longer. Now, I had caulked the seams of sink cabinet and I have no discernible damage to the cabinet. Truly nothing that I could see then or now. Now, I still wouldn't bet on water not impacting any wood product but I can say from my unfortunate faucet-failure experience that with a bit of protection - caulked edges - that the cabinet is up to dealing with a plumbing leak.

BTW, I've replaced the blum and ferrari hinges (now THOSE are rubbish) that come with IKEA's horizontal cabinets, with the Blum Aventos. Has gone swimmingly well and the cabinets are still standing.

I'm not sure what else to say. From all the component research I've done, IKEA has made superior component choices. Yet, it is no Poggenpohl. That is true. But ... and here's the thing, were you to get a Poggs kitchen in Europe, you would not pay anywhere NEAR the Poggs prices you do here. I know this. That makes it very hard (for me) to plunk down Poggs-USA cash when I know (or have a better idea) of what it would cost there.

BTW, I know the gorgeous marble and custom door kitchen of which you speak: GORGEOUS!
Jill777's kitchen

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 11:39PM
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Joanna, just saw your post. Apartment Therapy? Flaming?? Seriously?!!! I thought that was the most wholesome, mom-and-apple-pie site there ever was. ;-)

As for the rest, well, IKEA is to "Kitchens" as Bluestar is to "Appliances" ;-) LOL!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 11:58PM
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"I bet you didn't drop samples of cabinet materials into water for a couple hours and then dry them out to see what happened."

I did my homework but no I didn't, then again I wasn't building my kitchen in the pool, no wonder the GE isn't working. Sometimes I wonder what exactly transpires in some kitchens (war games?) that they require these rather extreme levels of fortification. I just cook in mine and while it is good to be prepared I don't anticipate fending off an insurgence from my peninsula.

Ikea is Ok, there is plenty of more expensive frameless product out there that is better constructed, more versatile and offers more and better finishes but you pay for those advantages and I have certanly seen some very appealing Ikea kitchens here. It wasn't the right choice for my Mom but we did take a look.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 12:07AM
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I am wondering if there is a difference between the Kraftmaid/Thomasville products we get in Candaa versus the ones that you have in the US. We looked and looked and looked at just about every option available. The quotes we were getting from the "good" cabinetry houses were just insane - $60K or so - the only place we could find that sold Kraftmaid was Home Depot and we never got a firm price from them so after 8 weeks we gave up but I THINK we were around 20K - Ikea ended up being about half that.

The reason we chose the ikea product was because the doors and drawers close softly and the cupboard doors are heavy.
Ikeas was also the only place that we could get off-the-rack stainless steel cabinetry.

By the time you accessorise and fit out and decorate, the doors and boxes are only about thirty percent of the cabinetry budget (if you use Ikea anyway) so we're able to really spend more money on the details, the counters and the things that people really see.

I guess that if you are not planning on doing much detailing, then the Ikea stuff doesn't have the best finish in the world (not the worst either though). But God is in the details and Ikea stuff is as good a tchotchke support system as any other brand ... ;)

Plus - they don't charge you when you change your mind about the doors you want and exchange $5,000.00 worth of merchandise.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 12:21AM
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We certainly pay more. I'm pretty sure Kraftmaid is the same but Thomasville in Canada is frameless (exclusive to Canada) and as you probably know not all that impressive in terms of build quality. Hard to do better for the price point than Ikea but I don't see why any Canadian would buy from American companies at the box stores when we have so many great cabinetry manufacturers in Canada.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 12:33AM
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Well, my house vibrates because the road out front isn't made correctly (nobody gonna be fixing that anytime soon - been like that forever). So the drain in the kitchen works loose every once in a while and I check it all the time - but still, it happens. So I wanted to know. Both for the floating floor and for the cabinets.

As it turns out, we had a leak from one of the water lines when the permanent sink was installed and the cabinet was soaking wet for a couple of hours ?maybe upwards of 5 hours? as was the floating floor because the water kept on spraying on it and leaking down from the plumbing cut out. And it was a spray, not millions of gallons but maybe ten or twenty.

They are both made of plywood and we had no lasting damage. Some moisture leaked through the cabinet finish, but there was no damage at all after it dried, not even discoloration.
POC was never soaked. Do you think it would help? I often think it should be helped to its final reward. Then maybe I'd stop dithering about what to replace POC with.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 1:14AM
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Just as a clarification, when I said I thought IKEA cabs looked and felt cheap I meant in and of themselves - NOT compared to Kraftmaid or anything else.

We are very DIY. Hubby is building us brand new doors, drawer fronts and drawer boxes (out of ash). He's also made modifications to several of the cab boxes. There is also a very, very good change that he will be custom building our master bath cabs from scratch as I want teak cabs (or maybe walnut).

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 1:38AM
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mindstorm, yes, AT, good clean fun for all! Bring the kids! :-)

bmorepanic, OT but that's crazy about your sink drain working loose because of traffic. How close is the road to your house? Can you personally feel the vibrations, or is it just something the house components feel? In Chicago riding the L I noticed it went right by some people's apartment/loft windows (sometimes within 5 feet it seemed!), and I always wondered about the vibrations.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 1:41AM
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We are looking into Kitchen Craft cabinets --love their New Haven doors in the darker woods. I think they are comparable to Kraftmaid in structure. We are in Edmonton, Alberta but the cabinets are made in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

We have one of the largest Ikea stores(300,000 sq ft) in Canada 10 min away -but I have always been leery of checking them out --now after all the comments -I think I will take a short trip to the store -worth checking out !

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 2:03AM
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we're planning a pool house for phase 2 some time after our build is complete and i'll check prices from my custom cabinet maker (who is doing the kitchen in the main house) and ikea. BUT if we end up with the ikea i have no idea how we'll get them home since both my husband and i refuse to set foot in that store. is it just us? we feel like the life has been sucked out of us by the time we maneuver our way out of there.

HATE THE PLACE. might just spend loads of extra money to avoid it. we'll have to see though!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 2:03AM
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kate - you have to go during the week to avoid the insanity!!! We went a couple of weeks ago with DD and she(12 years old), couldn't wait to get out of there. DH went back another day to actually purchase what we decided on, after 6:00, and breezed right through. Even he commented that he would never go back on a weekend

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 8:32AM
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Kitchen Craft is now owned by MasterBrand (hopefully they won't kill it the way Kohler did Canac). They may be comparable to Kraftmaid in terms of finsh or versatility (not sure) but they are a frameless line (like most Canadian product). I thought it was a good product and fairly priced. If you have DIY skills or are using a contractor they sell the product through DIY Cabinet Wearhouse, I'm not sure what the saving is. DIY Cabinet Wearhouse has a very limited stock but you can special order a lot of the door styles and finishes.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 9:08AM
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Spongebob has a kitchen that can withstand water. I am liking the surfboard counter-tops!!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 9:31AM
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One of my nieces was really into spongebob. Of course, now that she has reached the age of 8, reminding her of that earns a withering stare.

dh is convinced Target is a vampire for the same feeling of having the life sucked out of him. I feel that way about the evil orange.

House is maybe 30 feet from the sidewalk? What we feel is the school buses, large trucks and heavy equipment. The entire house will vibrate for a second or so. The section I live in is all clay, all the way down to china.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 9:53AM
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OP Here:

ROFL Robyn!!! My 7 year old son loves Spongebob Squarepants...but his classmates have now turned him on to icarly. Actually a pretty good show and he thinks it's hilarious...esp. the teenager inventor guy.

And about the Ikea subject...obviously lots of opinions here, which is cool. It's a product with a market...and it is what it is. Not for everyone, but great for many.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 10:12AM
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pbrisjar, I'm sure my kitchen will look cheap, metal and plastic to you - I have the nordic ash wood (a very white low-texture wood - whiter so than American ash) doors and the tandembox drawers. That is alright with me as I vastly prefer the thermofused melamine coated interiors to well, almost everything else now. The metal tandembox drawers are sold at the top of the price heap and over the wooden drawers in any of the cabinetry lines that I've ever seen - Scherrs and St. James' included. I find them very functional and more useful than the wooden drawers to be sure (I've been trying to figure out a way to replace the wooden drawers in our custom-made bathroom cabinets with small tandemboxes).

I studiously went out of my way to avoid molding of any and all sort. Even in the customary light rail (used to obscure the undercabinetry lighting and plug-mold) I found a way to minimize it. Lots of trim and molding are simply not for me. My one wish is that I'd reduced the amount of trim around the doorways and windows when we did the room.

By the same token, from all you've said, I suspect, that from your focus on heavy grained wood and molding that your house will probably be one of the ones that make me cry. :-)

I try to steer clear of that visual heft as it is not for me. And I suspect that the absence of that will suggest "cheap, flimsy and plastic" to you. Because qualitatively speaking, those cabs are anything but flimsy or plastic. In contrast, the Kraftmaid cabinets DO seem flimsy and ill-built, to me. There are some clear indicators of that (the hot glue construction is one tell-tale marker that I spoke of; I don't recall the rest). Actually, come to think of it, KM is generally framed, barring the Venecia line, as Kompy's picture above shows - apples and oranges.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 10:32AM
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Mindstorm, sounds like you have an Askome kitchen? Have you always had Askome? I thought I remembered your kitchen as being a very sleek, glossy white or even glassy (Abstrakt or Rubrik), with a greenish Glasskote backsplash?

We have Askome -- apparently it is one of the best-selling door styles in Europe, and one of the worst-selling over here. I think for me, that underscores the main reason that people choose IKEA or not -- asthetics. As has been said, even the more traditional door styles at IKEA are a fairly modern, clean-lined version of traditional. Its just a style that is more popular in Europe (which fits that we like it, as DH and I are both from Europe -- Germany and UK). Although, judging from how busy the kitchen dept is in our Atlanta IKEA, the Euro-modern look is also appealing to a large number over here as well.

We have been very happy with the quality, for the price (which qualified us for the "under 20K" kitchen thread!).

Oh, and a great reward for getting through a visit to IKEA is being able to buy some "Maribou" chocolate, which is super (although rather over-priced) :)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 11:15AM
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I love my Ikea kithen. Love the simple clean lines but know that if you want to dress it up you can. Quality IMO is excellent and the system is easily modified if necessary. What I find interesting is that no other topic ever generates as many posts on this forum as does Ikea!!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 11:39AM
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Oh I wouldn't say that, Biner, I think the "granite and radon" threads are much more "vocal" and while I think some people are feeling a little defensive here...it's positively confrontational sometimes on those granite/radon threads! [Oh, and a year or two ago the "granite vs solid surface" "discussions"!!!!]

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 12:31PM
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kompy, just went through and changed my door style on my IKEA home planner and found a 25% price difference between the Adel door and the Abstrakt door.

So, maybe your design would have run around $1650.00, saving around $1150.00. Not much to some, but a lot to others.

I chose IKEA and we built our cabinets. We really find them to be sturdy and hold a ton of pots, pans, and dishes w/ out door or shelf sag. The one thing I didn't like was the nail on back. It was really flimsy. The rail system is awesome. Hang a rail, make sure it is level and just hang the cabs right on the rail. My friends, in the area, who have used other cabinets for their remodels drool over my fully extending drawers, soft close, pull-outs and adjustable shelves.

Now if I was in a different neighborhood with million dollar homes, I would probably do something custom. If I move to a bigger house in a similar type neighborhood, I will use IKEA in a heartbeat.

Must add, visit IKEA during the week if possible. Oh, and if your not purchasing other items, you can actually pay in the kitchen dept. At least they let us in Covina.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 1:31PM
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Caryscott, what happened with Canac when it was purchased by Kohler? One of the KD's I spoke to here in NYC sold Canac cabinets. I didn't look that closely at them in terms of quality or anything, but one of the things that struck me was that they only came with a one-year warranty. All I kept thinking was, "One year for cabinets??? What do they think this is, a toaster oven??!" (Come to think of it, the Cuisinart toaster oven I recently bought has a three-year warranty!)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 2:06PM
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What I have found in general about IKEA Kitchens:

Adds useable space to a kitchen by going frameless.
Sleek full overlay look; Euro-style metabox drawer.
Ikea's $ priority is hardware (hinges, sliders).
Full extension drawers, and soft close doors / drawers.
Dampers ARE available for the 153 degree hinges, not from IKEA, but from a Blum hardware rep.
A flat fluorescent light panel can replace the floor of the 30" and the 39" upper cabinets. (It's an IKEA Rationell lighting product).
Tall wall oven cabinets are the same depth as base cabinets.
Cabinet sides are joined by cam locks and dowels.
Finishing quality is good.
Backs are not solid and that is fine, A-OK.
The Depth of an IKEA cabinet can be cut back to less than 22" deep because the sliders are not longer than 21.5" (Mod not warrantee'd by IKEA).
White face frames can be dealt with pretty easily.
To Use Available Space under the 30"high Base Cabinets, put drawer boxes between the legs and cover the front as you wish.
Drawer fronts come in 6" / 6.25" / 11.25" + 12.75" / 12"+12" heights.
A 15" high ("deep") drawer front can be made from a 15"x30" door turned sideways.
Steep learning curve not friendly for first-timers, to uncover the above info.
Ordering and assembly is easy, even with modifications and customizing orders (deselecting components, adding others).
Regardless of images seen on the web or in store documents, anything can be bought separately.
--- Except for certain drawer fronts which come only in kits of 4 (and not 4 of the same).
--- Except for the drawer front facing which you need for interior drawers: these are specific hardware pieces connected to the remaining portion of the drawer; these must be specified to be included in orders for interior drawers.

... and still learning:

You can make your own Pull-Outs (18"w, 21"w, 24"w, 30"w, 36"w)
--- Also, you can install a wire basket instead of an interior drawer.
--- Also, you can install a Variera "pullout basket" instead of an interior drawer. E.g. under a sink, depending on shape of sink.
A Pull-Out can have 2 Attached drawers instead of just One. The Top one's attachment can be removable, with compatible Blum hardware, not available from IKEA. (See Blum site).

To get a Two-Level Cutlery Drawer, put a shallow interior drawer inside a regular drawer.

Some Finishing Panels are 3/8" thick, some 1/2", some 5/8", some 3/4".

To get a handle-less look
A.) Use Strecket handles, or make your own handles even more discrete than Strecket.
B.) Use no handles and plan for only two high drawers, with a gap above the top drawer.
The gap allows one to reach the top of the drawer front in order to pull from there.
Under the lower drawer one uses a foot to pull that drawer. Not optimal but it works.
C.) Use Solar drawer fronts.

Please confirm or comment if anything above is inaccurate or not true. Thank you for your comments!


    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 2:33PM
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David, I confirm all of the above.
Must add, IKEAFANS website is an awesome place to
get help with design and assembly
and check out neat modifications.

People on that site actually referred me to
this site for appliance and countertop help.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEAFANS

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 2:51PM
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mindstorm, you're wrong. I can truly appreciate a well-done modern kitchen. (For example, I love seeing giacamo_it posts.) It won't make me cry or make me hate it or anything else. I appreciate the fact that beauty comes in many, many different forms. I believe I've seen pics of your kitchen and have probably even commented on them. I just know it is not anything I would want in my home. I wou't say never because there was a time in my life when I was quite "into" the sleek look.

Yes, if mouldings and details make you cry then my kitchen will have you in tears. It is full of carvings and curves and detail. I'll make sure I warn you so that you can reach for the tissue box.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 3:23PM
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It is my experience on this forum that most of the people here are rich, and think nothing of spending $60,000 on a kitchen. I say this because of the pictures posted by everyone, and from the thread asking the size of everyone's kitchens, where some people had kitchens bigger than my 800 sq.ft. house! (And maybe it's just my assumption that if you have a 5,000 sq.ft. house and are spending $60,000-$100,000 on a kitchen, you are well off financially)

I think many of the people who buy from Ikea have under $10,000 to spend, and $10,000 at Ikea looks a HECK of a lot nicer than $10,000 at Lowe's or HD. Yes, I would love custom-built, solid wood cabinets, but I have a small budget, plus I like to do things myself. I think those who hire kitchen designers and buy $20,000 in new appliances forget that not everyone has a similar budget! (I was at Sears recently and my jaw dropped at a $6,000 fridge. It would have to also shop and make dinner for me to imagine spending that much on a fridge!!!)

But as others have said, the main thing I like about Ikea is all the cool little "system things" they constantly are inventing. Such as the bottom shelf with a built-in light panel discussed above. And the auto-on drawer lights I posted several months ago. So many cool storage things that I can add on ANY time in the future, when I get more money, or when I have lived with my kitchen for a while and see what would work better.

Go Ikea!

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 3:32PM
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Yes, sounds good. Another way for handleless: Do without the drawer dampers and install those bump-the-drawer-to-open latches from, for instance, Lee Valley.

No defensiveness here. I'm an Ikea fan even if not an Ikea Euro-style fan but agree particleboard boxes covered with thin plastic do definitely look cheap; mercifully, hiding them behind doors and the stuff they're holding helps enormously, but they're still plastic-covered particleboard, if nice and sturdy once installed.

But people who say they just can't compare with X are missing the point that, for their own special combination of excellent function, style, and sub-basement price, they are in their own little category of one. Like comparing particleboard boxes to custom-crafted hardwood boxes, any attempt to weigh them as alternative choices has to include a slew of "ifs" and "considerings."

As to the kitchens they go in being unmemorable, that's because so many of them are home-designed and lack the input of a talented designer, not because the cabinets themselves lack style. Superior, elegantly simple style is what the better door lines have always been notable for. After all, the same thing tends to happen in a kitchen crammed with a complete, lavishly trimmed line from another manufacturer, designed by a salesperson intent on selling as many boxes and doors as possible instead of creating a fine design from the space available--like looking at one of the manufacturer's brochures. JUST like.

BTW, a friend and I happened to drop by the Atlanta Ikea on a weekend a while ago and actually found it charming, although I also strongly recommend weekdays. It struck me as a happy place, crammed with lots of young families busy fixing up the family room or the baby's nursery, and children were everywhere in spite of the playroom service Ikea offers. It was like visiting a nursery school on parents day. Something I guess you REALLY have to like to enjoy. :)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 3:47PM
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Ooooooh, James Bond nudge-to-open, on a regular drawer... Oooh!

I'll go look into Lee Valley and others.

Thank you rosie, and thank you for continuing upon Carla's insight about wealth, quality and "ifs". You are right to mention the lack of comparison--ness.

(makes my day!)


    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 4:19PM
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I would definitely confirm all the comments about planning your visit: Mornings are REALLY quiet, and it's worth taking the time off work, if you can spare it.

I worked out my basic plan, then went to the kitchen planning department, where they worked with me on my list of things, were able to remind me about ordering toekick panels, enough end panels, etc, and all the components needed.
They then loaded this into their computers as a "Draft Order". Printed it out. It stays in their system for 2 months I think.
I took it home, went over it with my GC to check we hadn't missed anything (I'd missed off a set of 153 degree hinges I wanted to upgrade to).
You then have the choice of EITHER placing the order by fax and telephone, or going back to the store.
I went back to the store, again on a weekday morning, and did the whole thing in the kitchen department.
I then went, with the order form, and arranged for delivery - I have a small car, and no way could we handle it. There is a charge, but it was really reasonable. Delivery meant everything was carried into the basement, where I could check off the order. You then know everything is there when you need it.
There was one set of shelves missed off: I called Ikea, and they sent FedExed them the same day. Great service.

At the end, if you have ordered more toekicks, end panels, or whatever than you needed (I did, plus decided not to use one cabinet) you can return the whole lot within 90 days for a full refund. We did this and it was handled quickly and easily.

Again: go during the week, ideally in the morning. Then, it's a breeze.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 4:53PM
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$10,000 at Ikea looks a HECK of a lot nicer than $10,000 at Lowe's or HD

sautesmom, perfect. You just summed it all up. I think that little statement will help people understand Ikea more, because it really puts things into perspective.

Many peeps who think Ikea looks cheap are no doubt comparing them to custom cabs or higher end lines. No, Ikea is not made from virgin timber hand harvested by monks and scraped by the fingernails of orphans. Next to lovely hardwood they will absolutely look cheap. I think my husband's semi custom (tailored) suits are lovely, but if I saw his snazzy suits next to truly custom suits in gorgeous Italian wool, well, suddenly my hubby's suits might seem cheap and ill fitting in comparison :-) Difference was DH paid $1k instead of $4k (or more). He in no way needs/wants a $4k suit. But some people do.

And nobody should think for a second that in 20 years the new owners won't be itching to rip out your kitchen (whether you spent a little or a lot) because they perceive it as dated.

A lot of cabinet brands will get the job done, and done well. How much money (or time -- which is money! -- if you are a DIYer) you want to throw at it is entirely up to you, and intricately intertwined with your aesthetics, lifestyle, values, goals, and budget.

BTW, I just saw a show on the worlds most expensive yachts, and the woman of the boat was showing off her granite, which was --she said -- the rarest and most expensive in the world (I don't recall the name). No other granite would do for her. It was kind of hilarious.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 5:45PM
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mindstorm... I love your kitchen and am now thinking of putting the upper cabs you have above the bakers table I'm refinishing. On one side I have to do something for a MW/2nd oven built in. But I think the steel like that with some metal shelving in between and then a stacked upper like yours on the other side might be a great mix of modern and vintage. I think if the metal is close enough, it would look awesome with my zinc (possumm belly?) drawers. Sorry to get off track but if I didn't put the thought down on paper as soon as I had it... I'd lose it forever.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 6:21PM
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Kohler bought Canac in 1996 and closed it this past September. The warranty was odd but the product was very comparable to KitchenCraft. My Mom came close to going with them but I wanted something built in Canada and Kohler had already shuttered all the Canadian production facilities. Significant job loss but they were closed, they didn't go bankrupt, so consumers shouldn't have been directly affected. The cabinetry game is quite fascinating Maax which has some parallels to Kohler also got out of the cabinetry business in 2006 but they were able to sell their assets. Makes me wonder how thing are going at Medallion which is owned by Elkay.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kohler acquires Canac

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 1:47AM
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I do think some people are getting a little snarky.

Why? Politics are religion are hands-off topics in polite society, is choice of cabinetry next on the list?

Get what you like, don't apologize, don't attack.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 4:25AM
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I love my Ikea cabinets. They've been in for two years and are still in great shape. My budget was somewhat limited, I could have went with Kraftmaid or similar line, and seriously considered it. My husband was afraid I'd be disappointed with Ikea in a few years and asked, "Are you going to be happy with these cabinets in 15 years?" I realized the likely answer to that question was "No!" regardless of what type of cabinets I picked so I went with the more budget friendly option.

Time was also money for me and I hired an Ikea installer and he ordered, delivered, built, and installed my cabinets for around $3500 (cabinets cost an additional $3500). My carpenter wanted a lot more to install semi-custom cabinets and I did not want to shop around for an installer.

Another consideration was that this house is not my forever house and no matter how much money I spent on this kitchen (short of a $200,000+ near total house remodel/addition), I will never have my dream kitchen.

Those factors made Ikea the perfect choice for me. If I stay here longer than 8 years, I'll probably replace my doors with custom doors as I do covet the richer finishes other cabinet brands offer (I don't really care what the inside of my boxes look like - they are filled to the brim stuff!).

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 8:47AM
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Kompy -- I have the exact KraftMaid cabinets that you selected for your client -- Dalton Shaker. I purchased them through a local kitchen/bath dealer. (I'm not a fan of HD/Lowes) I just want to add that I do love them.

I also want to add here that when I was first planning my reno ($20k or less) I did look into Ikea. I did like most of what I saw including the "system" aspect and certainly the pricing. The draw back for me was the aesthetic -- it is simply not my style nor the style of my 1926 home.

The contractor I hired was willing and able to assemble and install Ikea or any other brand I selected as he has done low end to high end kitchens. I finally chose the KraftMaid -- after enough reading about them, discussion with others and certainly my contractor who has a lot of experience installing KraftMaid cabinets and other lines If my budget was $50k, I might have chosen a different line, but KM was in my budget and as far as I know -- a good quality cabinet and the Dalton Shaker style looks lovely in my kitchen.

I just want to say for others who might be reading this thread -- KraftMaid is not the "poor quality cabinet" that it has been described to be in this thread. I really do LOVE mine -- the look, the feel and the everyday function. And the cost was quite reasonable, I believe.

Though I don't have Ikea, I did consider them and I'm sure they are good as well and the add-ons and system aspect are excellent.

Like everything else, you have to look, research, evaluate and decide what is best for you and your home.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 9:09AM
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mayland, I have Askerum, Askome's older brother (or is it, "sister"?) - the shaker-style european ash cabinets that they only had out for a couple of years before they went to Askome. My kitchen predates the advent of Rubrik but Abstrakt is just what I'd envisioned all along as going in there. But then, in the last moments, I came over all traditional and American-suburban and went with a less-loft, more traditional style. But Abstrakt and the high gloss cabs are what I'd had in mind all along.
That said, I do have the greenish Glasskote backsplash (regular green-glass backpainted white) though elsewhere in the kitchen, I also have a stretch of rift-cut white-oak as backsplash.

Yes, these are indeed a cleaner cut door styles employing european woods which tend to have a straighter/lighter grain than the woods used here. It is what it is - you either like the european styles or you don't. I guess I'm not surprised that these ash styles aren't more popular here while they are the rage across the pond: indeed these pale woods with these clean lines are generally very popular in Europe across several brand lines. BTW, I too hail from the UK and my sis is still there.

Also, just to put in a general counter-point, while I did watch the bottom line, I didn't choose IKEA for a budget remodel. My remodel for my kitchen and a small bathroom topped $120K - and I was ONLY remodeling, not building *anything* new; not even moving a wall. IKEA gave me the look (and the quality) I wanted without having to go the $45-60K cabinetry routes AND its other big appeal was that it cut out having to work with cabinetry shop via designers and what-not (I was sick to death of talking to cabinetry shops after a while of it).

Remodelfla, thanks for your kind words. I think the horizontal uppers would look spectacular by your gorgeous bakers table. Yes, you do want to check how the metals compare or work together, but it could look absolutely amazing with your fabulous bakers bench.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 9:33AM
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If you have colleges and universities where you live (we have 2 unversities and a college) don't go when school is starting, it's a horror story.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 11:00AM
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(Sorry for the mini hijack...maybe it will help someone else by demonstrating the flexibilty of IKEA cabs)
Above, you said,
"The Depth of an IKEA cabinet can be cut back to less than 22" deep because the sliders are not longer than 21.5" (Mod not warrantee'd by IKEA)."

I don't speak IKEA Mod very well, so can you explain that to me a little...does that mean I can take a standard 24" depth and cut something off the front or back to make it 22" deep? Which end would you cut? And by sliders, do you mean the sliders for installing drawers? So I could have a 22" deep cabinet w/ drawers or a pullout? Would I be able to use such a cabinet as a peninsula - would there be some way to make the back look ok?

I'm assuming you'd have to have a pretty decent saw to do this...


    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 11:10AM
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Also, just to put in a general counter-point, while I did watch the bottom line, I didn't choose IKEA for a budget remodel. My remodel for my kitchen and a small bathroom topped $120K - and I was ONLY remodeling, not building *anything* new; not even moving a wall. IKEA gave me the look (and the quality) I wanted without having to go the $45-60K cabinetry routes AND its other big appeal was that it cut out having to work with cabinetry shop via designers and what-not (I was sick to death of talking to cabinetry shops after a while of it).

Yes! This was a big part of it for me. While I didn't spend nearly as much as you - my kitchen is coming in right around 30K - I didn't have to go with a "budget" cabinet line. I just got really tired of dealing with contractors and such who knew what I wanted or needed more than I did.

It was such a delight to sit down with my husband, plan my kitchen and then order it up without being questioned. I know I wouldn't have been as pleased otherwise.

The other thing for me is that I am an exceedingly practical person. I would not have enjoyed $50K worth of cabinets, even though we could have gone that route had we so chosen. It would bother me every time I opened a drawer knowing the other ways I could have used that money.

So DIY spirit and practicality were my reasons for choosing Ikea over another line.

P.S. I really like my Adel Birch cabinets, but I do agree that Ikea is limited in style choices, and if they didn't have the perfect style for me, I wouldn't have used them.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 12:51PM
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mindstorm, just saw this thread and wanted to say thanks for the point about the Blum Aventos -- I'm just about to hang a horizontal cab in the master WC and I will get an Avento instead of using the Ferrari. I was so looking forward to a Ferrari hinge, though...closest I'll ever get to Ferrari anything :) maybe I'll just keep it out as jewelry :)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 12:59PM
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amy, one of our friends did an Adel birch kitchen last year. From the money saved on cabs they were able to get granite counters, hardwood floors, all stainless appliances, recessed lighting, and other fancy upgrades.
Looks stunning. and works wonderfully! They could easily pass it for an italian high end kitchen :)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 1:05PM
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flyleft, almost DEFINITELY get the aventos. If you need help digging through or cross-checking the steps let me know - it is all very fresh as we JUST did this and Blum's hieroglyphics are well, just that - hieroglyphs. The Blum Aventos is vastly better than the Ferrari which I have come to abhor ;-) . Mostly because of three of them amongst our 6 horizontal cabs. Feel free to do a sanity check off me. And keep the lust alive for the Ferrari-true, though! Sweet machines but I hope to high heavens that there is not a Ferrari hinge anywhere in them ;-)

Amy, I hear ya. Re: expenses, frankly, there is a LOT of expense in labour - at least in Boston environs. I realised that from the few jobs we've had done here that any job is simply GOING to be expensive. I'm not happy that it took me a 6-figure sum to do a relatively simple kitchen and bath job but I am tremendously happy in the outcome and if I have any regrets they are in what I didn't do or the choices I didn't make - not one in the choices I did make (well, except for the first idiot contractor that I picked to do the remodel. The second was a god-send).
So far. ;-)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 1:23PM
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OT, my nearly 13, nearly 11 and 8 year olds all still love Spongebob.

I feel the way Kate does about Ikea about Wal-mart (or Mall of Wart as DH calls it). Love Ikea and Target though. I won't set foot inside a Wal-mart unless absolutely neccessary and since we have a Super Target closer than the Super Wal-mart, it's rarely neccessary...THANK GOD! I even hate their freakin' parking lot.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 1:58PM
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scootermom, yes you need someone who is comfortable cutting goodlooking straight lines in wood panels. Covering the open back is "simple" in my mind: I would just buy a finishing panel and slap it on. Still lots of questions to ask and answer in my mind... Obviously take no action based on what you have read here.... I not the right person to advise anyone on this as I do not do this kind of woodcutting regularly nor do I buy IKEA stuff regularly, nor do I wish to be seen as an expert in this, not to be flip about it. Due respect to others who have gone before me. Etc.

is where you can read what I have read. Take it from there without me as your reference point: I am happy to be a co-seeker with you.

New topic:
My first thread at ikeafans, opened yesterday: http://www.ikeafans.com/forums/modifications/25294-sink-mod-another-option.html
About getting two 24"h pullouts over a 6"h drawer at the bottom. Under a sink with compact plumbing.

Also new:
I have been looking on blum.com and on ikeafans.com for a while, and have not yet seen (here or there) any overview discussions on the _product_fit_ between the two. What you can buy separately (made by Blum) that fits on the Blum hardware that IKEA has adopted for their products. This seems to me to be the missing link to understanding how much modification one can achieve, or how easily.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 2:14PM
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Caryscott, thanks for the info on Canac! Wow, I'm so relieved I didn't actually go ahead with this line - wouldn't have even gotten the one-year warranty on them! LOL!

Just to add my two cents to this thread, I ended up getting Kraftmaid cabinets (from an independent dealer, who's given me terrific pricing and service). I considered Ikea, but I'm not really into the "Italian" kitchen look, I needed design help, and I don't think I would have been able to get the size customizations I needed for my tiny galley kitchen. (One side of my kitchen has 19" reduced depth base cabinets.) I had actually wanted frameless in order to maximize usable space, but couldn't find a frameless line with a finish I liked. I finally went with Kraftmaid even though it was framed because their Ginger Glaze finish was the one that attracted me over and over again when I went to look at cabinets. (I was much more inflexible about certain details like finish color than I ever dreamed I'd be - learned a lot about myself in this renovation!)

Anyway, I'm happy with the quality of the Kraftmaid cabinets. I got to inspect them in quite a lot of detail due to the problems and duration of my kitchen renovation, so I have some idea what the quality difference might be between them and a high end cabinet line. But for the money I paid, I think they're quite good.

I'm sure - I *know* - Ikea would have been much less money, but it wouldn't have done what I needed it to. For those for whom it works - that's fantastic. I have a friend at work who did his ultra-modern kitchen using Ikea boxes and custom doors. It looks gorgeous.

There's no single right answer for everyone. :-)

Oh, and I love Target too! Got my bamboo silverware organizer there - they were the only place that had one that would fit my very shallow depth drawers, it was *beautifully* constructed (better than the expensive ones I saw), and it was cheap. Can't ask for more!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 2:28PM
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Thanks, mindstorm -- I'll hold onto your offer :)

And scootermom, that's what we did with our master bath -- took two 12" pullouts (little mini pantries--one big door joined at the bottom, three pullout drawers inside) and cut them down to be around 22". We then put (with lots of strong support crossbars) a silestone top across the two, with a hole for the large Hollviken sink. I put extra coats of Waterlox on the Hallarum doors and we are putting (not done yet) a cover panel made of Hallarum across the front to hide the front support bar. We *love* it, including having the luxury of the bottom drawers that are entirely usable -- we can fit a lot more than you'd think in those drawers.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 3:44PM
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I thought I would add to this informative thread rather than start a new one.

Mindstorm, did you stain your stock ikea cabinets? What stain did you use and how did you apply it?

Does anyone (Mindstorm/David) know how to make Ikea cabinets to ceiling height? I want to have a pantry style wall with a small counter space but I want all of the Cabs to extend to the ceiling (less to dust!). Any tips on this?

Can I stack other Ikea boxes on top of their tall cabs?

Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 5:19PM
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If you have questions pertaining to modifying IKEA cabinets, I suggest you go to http://www.ikeafans.com. That's where you'll get the most useful information. They're not affiliated with IKEA, but they are "fans" of IKEA and "experts" when it comes to customizing IKEA cabinets to fit your kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 5:39PM
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You can stack them. In fact, I was just in IKEA today, as I needed to pick up another cabinet and a pack of shelves, and one of the displays has wall cabinets stacked on top of the base cabinets that could easily go to the ceiling. (BTW, it was very quiet, and I was in and out of there, with a pitstop at the As-is dept and getting a hotdog and PEPSI.;^) )

We have made our cabs go right up to the ceiling. The high cabs are 88" without the legs, so you can raise the height with the adjustable feet and add molding to the top. Our wall cabs are 39" and we added 3 1/2" crown on the top. I am loving the way it looks.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 6:16PM
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shelayne: how high are your ceilings? Are you doing stock Ikea crown or your own? I want nice crown on top but didn't see much selection at Ikea.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 7:05PM
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Hi donka, our ceilings are about 8"4" and the crown is not IKEA; we bought it from HD. We added wood cleats on the top of the cabs with liquid nails and brad nails and then nailed the crown to the cleats.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 12:10AM
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Hi shelayne, thanks! Very helpful info.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 12:52AM
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I went to Lowes to get a quote on cabinets for a small kitchen renovation. It was around $9,000 for the cabinets, no appliances included. Installation was $10,000-$12,000.

Ikea was around $5,000 including appliances. I met the Ikea contractor last night and I'm waiting on the installation estimate, but I doubt it will be more then Lowes.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2014 at 9:56PM
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