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IKEA Super Hack

Posted by dutty (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 20:06

Greetings All.

I've been meaning to post forever during this process but I've just been so busy. Anyhoo, I'm building a new home and much to my builder's dismay, I decided to go with IKEA cabinetry and kick his cabinet guy to the curb and boy am I glad I did! I'm truly blown away by what's possible with IKEA, the surprisingly good quality, and the savings we've accumulated. I know when I was making the decision to go with IKEA, it was agonizing and I scoured the boards for advice and pictures so I decided I should probably post here in the hopes that I can help someone else. I apologize if it's too pic heavy but I want to catch up from the beginning so anyone wondering can see the process.

I've been calling the project "hacktastic" because a lot was hacked. I've done my kitchen, dry bar, butler's pantry, laundry, master morning bar and master bath all with Ikea. I drew all the designs in Google Sketchup 3-D software and tweaked for MONTHS! Then we hired a fantastic custom cabinet crew to do all the cutting, assembly, installation, and a few custom pieces. We will be putting in custom wood doors in the kitchen and laundry and stained doors in the master. What really brought me joy was that the cabinet guys said not to second guess my decision because they were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the IKEA boxes and that usually "budget" cabinets are made with 1/2" particle board or plywood but IKEA was 3/4" and thus will be very stable and strong as heck, they were perfectly sized with no weird anomalies, the hinges are Blum and fantastic, and not even one screw was missing! So IKEA was even better than I expected!

I hope this crazy and insane project helps someone out there. It wasn't the easy process of handing it over to a cabinet company but all the work was so very worth it!

Here is ONE of the two storage units filled to the brim with all the boxes:
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Here we had cabinets in piles in the areas they go and the assembly table made everything easier:
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Things are coming together:
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They built a great base to assemble the island (I used a combination of base cabinets and wall cabinets.):
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The Kohler Stages 45 set into and spanning a 36" and 18" base:
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Double uppers cut down to 18" and set over 39" wall cabinets. We also put base cabinets above the pantries cut down to 18":
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Did someone say drawers?:
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Pantry cabinets cut down and placed directly on counter:
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Butler's Pantry:
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Crown, fascia, custom arches, drawers, and custom bookshelf with adjustable shelves! ☺:
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Laundry room pantries with space for bench with back and hooks:
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Laundry room cleaning pantry with cubby for ironing board (a door will span the full distance):

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Edited to fix the link to this last pic:
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This post was edited by dutty on Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 20:13


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: IKEA Super Hack

Wow. I want to see more!


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That's amazing! Curious…will you have one of the IKEA door fronts or something custom from Scherrs or elsewhere?


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Wow wow wow! As another assembler of RTA cabinets, I can so appreciate. No magic truck pulling up to the curb with everything all ready to install....your kitchen looks FABULOUS already, love what you've done so far.


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Keep the photos coming! Fantastic. You even planned a place for the ironing board.


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OMG, I'm speechless! That has to be the most fantastic IKEA kitchen I have ever seen. Your creativity making the cabinet sizes and fittings work for your space is just remarkable. I love how you've used the shallow depth drawers in the uppers and in the shallow pantries, and in those fabulous storage areas. What attention to detail it had to have taken to get so much so right. GREAT job!

Are those IKEA cover panels, or did you use something that will match the doors being installed?


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Oh wow! I can't wait to see more. It's beautiful already :)


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L O V E. Be still my beating heart. Omg, I wish I could've been there during assembly. The island is fabulous, and the crown is simply amazing, beautiful, and perfect! Love the soapstone too.

I can't wait to see it all finished. Your cabinet crew has done an amazing job, and I know how delighted you must feel seeing all your meticulous planning come to fruition. (And I know it had to have been meticulous because I've done it but only on a fraction of the scale as yours, so you take the OCD award of the year!) ;-)

Congratulations!!! And please please post more photos as you go along.


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I saw your soapstone post yesterday & was so impressed with your kitchen. An Ikea hack....feeling very guilty about the money (my money) that could have been saved. Your kitchen is gorgeous! Please, keep us updated with progress & pictures.


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Love it! That is absolutely something I'd do, and get "the look" from DH. Such an inspiration to see it can be done! It looks so functional, I can't wait to see it progress.

I've seen people talk a lot about hacks where cabinets are cut down. What does that entail? I have a hard time imagining how that works.


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Super cool! You know who would love to follow this kitchen...the folks over on IKEAfans!


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Absolutely amazing!

Every time I think about what we spent on our cabinets it makes me a little ill and I wish we'd gone with Ikea, but it just wasn't in the cards for us. Too far away, tight timeline, baby en route, yada yada.

So jealous!!


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Just showed some of the pics to DH--we are both super impressed!


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Great job! I did an ikea kitchen about two years ago for many of the reasons you mentioned. Also used their cabinets for the bath and laundry. And I'm blown away by your design. Really impressive!


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dutty,
Wow the Kitchen is beautiful. I wish I had your vision. Your cabinet guys did such a great job.

Can't wait to see with the doors and the counters finished.


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What an inspiration dutty! We're hoping to gut and remodel our kitchen and you have me looking at Ikea again. I had a hard time with sketch up though. So you were basically your own contractor, correct? Buying the cabinets and then contracting the installers. That must have saved a bunch. I'm starting to ramble because my wheels are churning....

Yes, please post pics once everything is finished!


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I'm doing IKEA cabs in my kitchen too. I hope mine turn out as beautiful as yours! Can't wait to the reveal!

This post was edited by bicyclegirl on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 7:45


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Too picture heavy??!! I wish there were more!! Can't wait to see the final outcome! Wish I could be this creative.


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Spectacular!

I'm one of the original IKEA fans here, posted as "Fairegold" back then. We did our kitchen in 2002 and hacked great portions of it. And it has held up perfectly, using IKEA doors and drawer fronts.

You should be getting commission checks from IKEA, what a great job!


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Looks fantastic! Where are you getting the doors? I guess they will match the paneling? Please post more pics!


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Can't wait to see more!


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So impressive - both your creativity and the end results!!


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Truly "Hacktastic"! Thank you for sharing. Are you going to stain or paint your cover panels and trim to match the doors?

I love those corner shelves with the beaded backboard. What is the corner support for those?

How did you find your custom company; did they bid the project cost based on your design?

thank you!


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I’m so glad you all enjoyed the pictures… I was really worried I posted too many. And thank you so much for all the kind words. It means so much because no one was sure I could pull this off, including myself, so to see it come together just how I envisioned is such a relief!

The key for me was using Sketchup. It is a powerful FREE 3-D tool and I was able to really see how things would work and go together (YouTube tutorials were my best friend for a few weeks). I was able to see problems in the 3D space from any angle and troubleshoot. I built it first with IKEA boxes (someone already has them in the Sketchup library so I didn’t need to do any work there) and then added the doors after the fact. Here are two drawings so you can get an idea for how detailed it is (in this drawing, I can move the doors away and I’d see the boxes behind):

kitchen-overview2

kitchen-overview1

Once the drawings were done, I went though each section (butler’s pantry, dry bar, refrigerator wall, etc.) and plugged that space into Excel line by line with every part it would need and the IKEA 9 digit corresponding code. That way, when everything was plugged in, I could have Excel tally each 9 digit code and I was able to hand that tally sheet to the IKEA employee making it really simple to place the order. I did have to be super OCD because I live 2 hours from IKEA and couldn’t be driving back and forth! :D

I'll answer everyone's individual questions in an additional post coming shortly.


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That's an amazing kitchen. I bet once the doors are on it will not even look like an "IKEA kitchen" or what people think of when they say IKEA kitchen. You did a great job and so did your cabinet guys putting it all together!


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spartans99 - I will not be using IKEA doors because too many of my doors aren’t standard size. I will be getting custom wood doors. I was originally planning to use Scherr’s but our cabinet guys offered to go through their CalDoor rep and it ended up cheaper than Scherrs.

smiling - First of all, AWESOME username! ☺ Secondly, those are not IKEA cover panels. The cabinet guys made them to match the doors, which wasn’t all that hard since my cabinets will be painted. Well, except in the master bath where they are staining them.

Jenswrens - I busted out laughing at your OCD comment. You just can not imagine the level of OCD this was! Even the cabinet guys were laughing at the detail in my spreadsheets and instructions. Haha. Thank you for your kind words and I promise to post more pics as I go!

Williamsem - Ok… the hacks… it’s all based on the fact that IKEA cabinets do not come assembled. So, you have a flat pack with the sides, bottom, top, and back and you cut the pieces to size before you assemble. For example, IKEA does not make an 18” tall cabinet so if you took a standard 30” cabinet and cut the sides down to 18” and then the back down to 18” and THEN assembled the cabinet, you’d have a new size. Albeit you can’t use IKEA’s original installation holes but there are solutions for that depending on where you cut and what you cut off. You could also decrease the depth if you wanted the same way.

goodbyekitty - Yes… for the cabinets, we served as GC in sense. Our actual GC hated it because he said he was simply an accountant for this piece BUT it worked very well. We went when there was a 20% kitchen sale and bought everything and then hired the installers.

rockybird - We are getting the doors through a place called CalDoors. They are “to the trade” only but because we hired a professional crew to do the install, they are getting the doors for us. It worked out well because it was CHEAPER than Scherr’s or Barker Doors. They will be shaker doors with some flat front drawers so some of the cover panels are flat and some will be shaker.

scrappy25 - When you say corner support, what do you mean? The cabinet makers built the bookshelf but I’m not actually sure how they secured it to the wall. I just came one day and it was installed! I’m guessing that they screwed into the studs in multiple locations and THEN put on the beadboard with finish nails but I can’t be sure. I’ll try to remember to ask when they come back for finishing.


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This is just amazing! Can't wait to see it completed. Just looking at the pile of boxes makes me feel like I need to lie down for a couple of hours. :)


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I love your corner shelving with the bead-board! Your crown is wonderfully precise and neatly done. You have a great crew doing that installation.

May I ask the height of your kitchen ceilings and the amount of space alloted between the countertop and uppers?


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Oh
My
Gosh!!!

Simply amazing! I am so impressed with how your kitchen looks, even in its unfinished state, your clever hacks and your attention to detail (that's a kinder way to say "OCD" ;-) ). I can not wait to see your reveal photos (I'll bet you can't either). Thank you so much for sharing!


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lannegreene - Thank you. My cabinet crew/company really are superstars. They actually specialize in finishing and custom furniture and the guys really know their stuff. We are very blessed.

My ceilings are 10ft. My backsplash is 17.5". Here is a diagram of how I made sure all the tops of everything matched and fit. If you click on it, it should take you to a large version to see the measurements.

edited to add - I forgot... the dry bar (the self contained area with the arch) is different so if you're looking at that picture it isn't 17.5 inches. On that one we used 30" cabinets and made the backsplash area about 21" to fit a coffee maker. :)
diagram-custom

This post was edited by dutty on Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 14:22


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Wow!!!! I am so (ooooooo) impressed. It is going to be gorgeous! Don't be shy with future photos!!!


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How hard was it to cut down the cabinets?


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Whoa. That pile of boxes is impressive. And daunting. But wow, I second all comments above and I bow to you. That is incredible and please keep posting pics. This is amazing to see!


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I am going to show this post to DH and see if he wants to consider Ikea for the boxes. We had considered RTA cabinets. Can you let me know what Sketch-up did for you over and above the Ikea online planner.

Also, you say you are going to paint the cabinets. What if any part are you painting yourself (what parts of the boxes need paintings)? Will the doors come pre-painted? Please tell me what is involved with the painting part in general.

You kitchen is going to be so very fabulous and just think of all the $ you have saved. What an outstanding accomplishment!!

Carol


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I faintly remember a similar pile of boxes in my new, bare house.....
Your kitchen is going to be beautiful and amazing! You have done a fantastic job with the design and hacks.
I can't wait to see your finished pictures!

Dawn


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I wasn't sure what a super hack meant, so I read your post. Very impressive! As a finish carpenter for (ahem) 40+ years, I would never have imagined one could get such results out of boxes of Ikea parts! Great work, and from another soapstone lover, your counters are super not hacked :)
keep posting progress


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Wow! What an amazing kitchen you've designed. I'm really interested in seeing it as it gets completed. Thanks for posting.


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Duty:
You have done an AMAZING job! Your attention to detail, persistence in making things work and your design eye are all wonderful.

I am curious what you paid for the assembly team and whether that might be possible in certain locales like California? What was your total cost if you are willing to divulge that info?

I am contemplating working on a fixer upper and I am quite intrigued by your lovely experience. It's fabulous to have people with your talent and organization skills sharing with the GW audience. Inspiring in so many ways!!!

Your kitchen is going to be such a work of art!!!


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I just want to thank everyone for their kind words. I'm really floored by the support I've gotten. Thank you all so much.

lazygardens Actually, I’m not sure how difficult it was to cut the cabinets. My cabinet guys said it was a piece of cake but then again, they are professionals. People do it all the time but I guess how difficult it is would be based on how experienced you are with woodworking? ☺ Sorry I couldn’t be more help. Maybe check out Ikeafans.com and see what people are saying who’ve physically done the cutting themselves.

Carol - I never actually used the IKEA planner much. I toyed around with it but it’s not really Mac friendly and because I was going to hack so many pieces, I didn’t want to bother fighting with it. The IKEA planner will give you a LOVELY Ikea kitchen but my goal was to build an “un-IKEA” kitchen with IKEA boxes. For instance, IKEA doesn’t make an 18” cabinet in the widths I needed so I planned to hack those cabinets and cut them down. If I was working in the planner, I could not have placed those cabinets to see how they would work. In Sketchup, I could change the size of any cabinet and place it anywhere. I was able to add my custom arches to see what it would look like. I was able to build different crown molding profiles to be sure I picked the perfect one. I was also able to remove the doors to see how things would actually be constructed and fit together. I could also add different counters, art, stools, etc. Sketchup is a true 3-D rendering tool whereas the IKEA planner just places IKEA boxes.

None of the boxes need painting because the doors are full overlay so you’ll never see inside. ☺ The doors and all the cover panels, fillers, and custom pieces will need painting. The doors do not come pre-painted from where we are purchasing but I do know Scherr’s and Barker both offer painted doors. For us, our cabinet guys actually specialize in finishing and furniture building so we are going to have them paint for us and that will actually be the most expensive part. My space is just too big and DH refuses to take the project on but if someone was willing to put in the work painting themselves they could save DUCKETS! Painting is over half the price of the job! But the process is basically this, all the things other than the doors that need painting are painted on-site. The doors get painted before they are installed.

firsthouse_mp - You are too kind… thank you for the wonderful compliments. Ya know, I’m sure it’s possible anywhere if you find the right crew. I’m not in a particularly cost-effective area so from that perspective, I don’t think we’d be significantly cheaper than SoCal. That said, my crew are actually custom furniture makers and finishers. We originally went to them to talk about painting the cabinets and we liked them so much we asked if they could do the whole job. I think they were eager to take our project on because cabinet building/installation was something they were interested in tackling to expand their business and our project was a large one so maybe we got a better deal because of that. I’m happy to share rough numbers just keep in mind that they didn’t just do the kitchen... we had over 100 cabinets. :-O

16K - Cut down and hack, assemble, install, build custom pieces in the shop, drill hinge cups, custom cover panels, fridge surround, double toe kick, crown, filler, fascia, etc. for: Large Kitchen with 10x5 island, Dry Bar, Butler’s Pantry, 12x16 Laundry room, Master morning bar, and a large Master Bathroom.

16K - finishing (this is where you can really save if you DIY)

6K - wood doors (maple) and shaker cover panels from CalDoor

10K (bought during 20% sale) - Everything from IKEA and that’s a bit higher than ANY sane person would have because I did drawers everywhere. I think I only have three cabinets in the whole house that don’t have drawers. Some of my pantries have 10 drawers in them and even some of my uppers have drawers! ☺ That also includes all the inserts, tons of drawer dividers, shelf paper for all those drawers, stationary shelves, etc. etc.

All together it’s 70K less than our first quote (albeit that had inset doors) and it’s still 12K less than our final quote from the GC’s cabinet guy and that final quote would have been ½” (probably high VOC) press board, MDF doors, barely any drawers, NO double uppers, NOT to the ceiling, NO custom pieces, NO laundry room, NO custom painting, etc. etc. I’m getting a high-end look, feel, and functionality in all those rooms for what some people pay for just kitchen cabinets. I’m very happy.


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that is one AMAZING super-hack! I am beyond impressed!

So essentially, you are "wrapping" your boxes with custom doors and end panels, yes? So when cabinets are closed, there is no visible Ikea anything right?

You know, this is exactly what I was thinking about doing in my new home. I want my kitchen to look like this photo, but using Ikea boxes and adding trim and moldings. Was told by a custom door shop it is not possible. Would you agree?


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I would 100% NOT agree... in fact, the kitchen pictured here would be easier to do than mine simply because there are no double stacked cabinets! Don't let them discourage you. Oh my goodness, my juices are already flowing... in my mind, I can see this kitchen without the doors and with the IKEA boxes. I've been staring at IKEA boxes for too long. ;)

The only issue I see with this kitchen is how you would treat inside the glass cabinets but there are things you could do. You could fill them with wallpaper, you could try painting them, or possibly you could put on wood veneer.

You would need some custom filler pieces around the sink to deal with the large corbels. So not a big deal.

Are you looking to do it yourself? Or hire someone?


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Dutty,

Thanks very much for your detailed response. Looks like we will be watching those Sketch-up videos. I eagerly await your updated pics. Good luck finishing up.

Carol


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And to think that I didn't use Ikea because I was intimidated by cutting down a corner cab, and making 2 9" wide cabinets....


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I agree that that kitchen could be done with IKEA, with almost no cabinet modifications from what I can see. You could even do the step-back to shallower depth cabinets shown on the right side of the sink. IKEA has 12" deep base cabinets, and even 12" deep high cabinets, and you can even put little shallow full extension slow close drawers in them.

I am SO glad I found IKEA for my kitchen project, it's working out just great, and allowing for better quality granite, flooring, windows, and appliances with the savings. This is the first IKEA kitchen for my contractor, and he said just yesterday how much he likes them, especially the hanging rail system for wall cabinets.


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Dutty --

I would have my trim guys do the install and molding, etc. I would probably go ahead and assemble the cabs/drawers myself, with the exception of any cutdowns of boxes.

Have you posted a SketchUp of your master bath? Would love to see it. You are a real inspiration!!!


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Hi Dutty,

You have inspired us to try our own hand at hacking! I'm curious to know what flooring plan you are going with in your kitchen? Incidentally, since you are doing a new build, I'm also curious: are you building / installing the entire kitchen before floors are installed? Or are the floors to be installed, and then the cabinet installation will be completed afterward?

Thanks for posting!

Carol


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Dutty, I keep going back and looking at your kitchen pics. Beautiful! Thanks for providing the details.
I wish now that I had hacked my Ikea kitchen just a little bit more :)

Re: Ikea open upper cabs - I'm in the process of lining mine with thin beadboard panels and painting them darker (BM Monterey White) than the Lidingo fronts for some depth & contrast. Undecided whether to router out the back of the panel at the top corners to hide the hanging hardware or just use the supplied plastic cap covers and paint them too...


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dutty-that is nothing short of amazing. I bet you could make a living laying things out for people. I cannot imagine it. I can't wait to see it completed. We may try our hand at hacking the closets but nothing anywhere near this complex. Your home is gorgeous!


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Dutty:
Thanks for the reply about costs. I think this is useful info for those looking to try this same approach. It's fabulous that you were both brave and talented enough to do this! Your kitchen will probably be referred to years by this forum! Keep posting pictures....if you have any more construction ones, I am sure that more of those would welcome too.

Your kitchen has my mind churning with ideas!


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carsonheim If you have professionals doing the installation than you will have NO PROBLEM recreating that kitchen. It's beautiful, by the way. I keep thinking I went too simple but we're trying to stay simple everywhere (flat stock trim, no crown, etc) and I was nervous if I went too "jazzy" the kitchen would be out of place. I hope I made the right call!

And yes, I do have a sketchup of my master. :)

master-hex-view3

and here it is IRL... we are waiting on the counter guy with the marble upstairs so we can finish the upper pantries.

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I had some dead space behind this wall so we set wall cabinets inside the wall. There will be a mirror in the center and mirrored doors on both cabinets and they will hinge inward to create a tri-fold mirror. They cleaned up those rough wallboard edges with a strip of moulding but I don't have a recent pic. This was my one major mistake... I forgot to instruct the guys to cut the bases more shallow. Now my inset cabinets will not be AS easy to reach. Good thing I'm 5'8"! :D
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Holy moley! So impressed so far!


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Carol - Yay! Good for you... I really hope you have as much luck as we have had!!

My flooring is going to be wide plank southern yellow pine. We will be completing MOST of the kitchen on just the sub-floor. I wanted the flooring to run under the cabinets but the timing just didn't work out correctly. Our cabinet guys adjusted the IKEA legs to account for the 3/4" flooring that will be installed. The kitchen will be mostly finished, the flooring guys will install the floor, then the cabinet guys will come back and put in the back toe kick and decorative toe kick.

Good luck with your hack... please post and share all the details when you have them!


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Dawn ooohhhh... that's a toughie because once you apply the beadboard, you're kinda stuck. Are you good with a router? I think that would give you a more finished look BUT if the supplied caps are painted the same color would you even notice them? It would certainly be easier.

I'm no help here. Please post pictures... I want to see. :)


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OK... so DH is super ANTI yellow cabinets. Sigh. So, my yellow kitchen has died but I did Sketchup the direction I think we'll go. Do you all think it looks/feels too much like an Ice Cream parlor or something? The light fixtures are accurate and sitting in my storage room. The only difference is that over the window sink, the two side pendants will be set flush on the ceiling rather than hang at the same height as the middle. And, the butlers pantry bases will be white, too, not blue.

kitchen-salvage-lights1

This post was edited by dutty on Sat, Jan 18, 14 at 23:06


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I am so impressed with this. I "hacked" an Ikea kitchen 6 years ago (which I loved! was gail0202 back then if anyone remembers that IKEA kitchen) and am about to start a new kitchen in my current house. I've been flip-flopping about whether to go IKEA again because I have a lot less time available this time around. It didn't occur to me to hire pros to customize it for me. Duh!

Any chance you live in the Bay Area? If so, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE send me your installers' info :)


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Gailfhm - Ugh, I don't think I could get farther from the Bay area! :/ I'm on the other side of the country in SW Florida. But, I'm betting you can find a wonderful crew in your area! I'm gonna have to go back and see your hack. I just think it's so cool what people can do with the product. I really was able to save so much even hiring a crew AND if I would paint the cabinets myself I'd cut my cost in half! But, I too don't have the time or energy to paint myself at this point... building fatigue has set in BIG TIME being a year into my build. Good Luck!


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It's all about those boxes with the goodies. Where else can you get the bones with all that Blum wonderfulness at such a low cost? We did it, too, with custom door and drawer fronts. A hack here, a modification there... We did everything ourselves, including the painting of the door/drawer fronts, sides, trim, crown, etc. We used an airless sprayer, and they turned out fantastic. Needless to say, when it was all said and done, we saved thousands. It was; however, a lot of work. I would do it again in a heartbeat. DH, not so much.

So, from one IKEA hacker (though our kitchen is on a much, much smaller scale) to another: this is SO amazing! It is going to be incredible, as it is already fantabulous, and you don't even have the doors on, yet! Love your vision! You must be doing cartwheels with how it is turning out!

We've used IKEA kitchen cabs in other rooms as well and are currently working on a bathroom. Again, nowhere near as grand as yours, but in our cozy little house, it'll do.

Thank you so much for sharing your progress. I look forward to seeing more!


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I just stumbled onto this thread and wondered if you had any updated pictures. Love what you're doing!


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dutty -- does your cal doors quote include paint or are they unfinished?

Still looking at your awesome super-hack and figuring how I can do the same :)


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carsonheim The cal door quote is unfinished solid maple. We were having everything site finished so it all would match but I'm thinking they offer primed doors for not much more. I hope you have as great an experience as we've had! I think it all depends on how devoted your crew is... our guys are just rock stars. They NEVER cut corners, even when I think they should! :)

imjustagirl I do have some new pictures... site finishing has begun! I was planning on starting a new thread since this is getting long. Stay tuned.


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any newer pics duty? would love to see the progress.


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Dutty:
Any new pictures of your fantastic kitchen??? Really love what you have done.


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Hi there -- I'm just getting ready to assemble a simple Ikea kitchen, and found this thread while looking for information. I bet your kitchen has come a long way; I am hoping for more pictures.


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dutty -- I wondered if you have any updated photos to post????

I dream about your kitchen all the time :)


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RE: IKEA Super Hack

Best IKEA hack ever!


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