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Ikea visit

Posted by columbiasc (veronative@aol.com) on
Wed, Jan 28, 09 at 19:46

I just got back from a trip to San Diego. While there, I visited an Ikea store. WOW! They have some really neat ideas for maximizing small spaces. I had looked online before but it just isn't the same as going into a showroom. The quality appears marginal, veneer over partical board, but it is very affordable and innovative. I would like to see what they would come up with if they designed a house from scratch.

As we drove around San Diego we went through some of the older neighborhoods that were typically smaller, stucco homes with barrel-tile roofs. Very attractive, well kept and probably outrageously priced.

Also on this trip I picked up a copy of Dwell magazine. I had flipped through it before so I am familiar with it. They seem to share a lot of the thoughts shared here about high quality small spaces but their idea of affordable is ludicris for my area. One example was $300,000 for a 1900 square foot (house only, not land) prefab unit. Affordable? Really? It really does dissapoint me that small and affordable is usually cheap and cookie cutter. I wish someone could crack that code. In my area, "affordable" usually translates as vinyl boxes with no curb appeal and in communities that are run-down and trashy in a few short years.

Oh, I almost forgot. The National Kitchen and Bath Association was having a gathering at the Hotel where I stayed. I talked to a few of them and even in the midst of this current "housing crisis", none of them were working on smaller, affordable solutions. They all had wealthy clients willing and able to keep building their McMansions.

Good trip. Gave me lots to think about.

~Scott~


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Ikea visit

IKEA is based in Sweden, where people tend to have smaller houses than they do in the U.S. -- and, therefore, a greater need to use space more efficiently. If you really want to see some ingenuity applied to IKEA products, however, check out the IKEA Hacker blog.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA Hacker blog


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RE: Ikea visit

I wish we had an IKEA somewhere close to us. I saw some of their product in a friends house in Calif.

A few months ago I promised to show pictures of the neighbors house that is for sale. I am not trying to sell it just showing how cute it is. It is a small house. I do not know the SQ FT. It is a two and one. I put the pictures I took today in my family album to share. Link below.

I would guess this house is in the 1000 SQ FT range and I think it is a good use of space. I could easily live in it. If we had only known she was going to sell it before we got the place we did.

So Scott our area falls into the ideal place you talk about except for one little thing. There are no jobs here.

Chris

Here is a link that might be useful: Cute Small house


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RE: Ikea visit

IKEA quality varies tremendously across the lines. The bookcase and some media stuff is college-dorm-worthy, but the kitchen and Pax wardrobe lines are top notch and very high quality, without the sticker shock you'd expect. You'll find IKEA items and kitchens in many of the homes featured in the higher-end shelter mags, and often in designer's own homes.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA Fans


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RE: Ikea visit

There's an IKEA a couple of towns over from me, and I love shopping there. I found a lot of great things for my boys' playroom, and a wonderful table and stool for my older boy to use for his LEGO building.

The best thing about IKEA for me are the small house or apartment interiors they have set up to walk through--they give the square footage for each space, which is very helpful, and they make living in a small space seem chic!

Scott--I think the days of getting well crafted details at an affordable price are over. I think the carpentry and woodworking that can produce really nice details are becoming lost arts and the people who can produce that kind of work can get top dollar.


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RE: Ikea visit

Scott- The problem with building a small custom home will always be cost. Bigger houses are cheaper per square foot than small ones, so you have that. Add to that the skill level of the average builder's employees, and you wind up with vinyl boxes. I think in the old days, the skill level and pride of workmanship was much greater than it is today. It took a LOT longer to build houses in the old days; I'm shocked at how fast they build tract homes these days. The more the builder can standardize, the faster they can slap the houses together. It would seem like with the technological advances that have been made in construction, houses should be (relatively) cheaper than ever before, but that is not the case.

I'm wandering all over here, but I can't understand why it costs so much more to live these days. When I was a kid in the 60's, very few mothers worked, yet everybody had a nice house, and seemed to live comfortably. Nowadays, a two-earner household is the norm, and many are in debt up to their eyeballs. Where did affordability go?


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RE: Ikea visit

Crystal, I'm not talking about a lot of well crafted details and expensive trim when I refer to a nice, affordable home with curb appeal, I'm just wishing builders would add a little bit of something to catch the eye. Covered entrys and porches aren't that expensive but they add so much to a home's appeal. Yet today's boxes are devoid of them and in many cases, the roofline prohibits adding one even if the new owner wanted to. Design these homes with future additions in mind allowing owners flexibility, not a box dominated by a garage-door.

Gargoyle, on the affordability issue, think about it. When I was a kid in the 60's, my mom didn't work either. We were poor but didn't know it because there was less "stuff" that everyone "had" to have. We had one television, not one in every bedroom. We didn't have cablevision. We listened to the radio, we didn't buy music. We played board games that lasted years and years or baseballs and bats that never wore out. We went to the library and checked out books, we didn't buy them. I was in my teens before anyone in my household subscribed to a magazine. Sunday dinner at Grandma's was better than any restaurant and I got to climb Grandpa's big tree and swing on a rope swing.

As I see it, three things radically changed how we live during my lifetime. 1. Two income households. Once moms started working outside the home, there was more money to spend. 2. Advertising. If you really think about the underlying message, most ads tell us that if we don't have this or that, we are just loosers. We did and still do buy into that. 3. Easy credit. The advertisers had us convinced that we had to get the new gadget so we wouldn't be a looser. Once easy credit became prolific, those two forces created a chain reaction of over-consumption that ultimately ended in the financial crisis we are facing today. Don't blame the banks, they just put it out there. We (the general public) gobbled it up like a crack junkie.

Everything else like throw-away quality and runaway prices and bigger and bigger houses to hold more and more stuff bought on credit came as a result of the first three. That's my humble opinion.

I skipped it earlier because everyone seems to want to avoid discussing it, but why is it that many affordable neighborhoods are also junkie. As in broken down junk lying helter skelter and clearly visible. Do lower income people not grasp the concept of a garbage can? How many parts did they really salvage off that old lawnmower sitting beside the house for the past five years? What they saved in the cost of new parts they lost in appreciation.

~Scott~


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RE: Ikea visit

Wow. This one conversation touches on not only the social mores and fabric changing since the end of WWII to international economics to style decisions.

I'm not sure where to start. :-)

However, I can tell you that I LOVE Ikea, and will point out that in Europe, Ikea builds....houses. Modular, modern homes.


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RE: Ikea visit

Maybe some lower income folks move into already junked up neighborhoods because it's all they can afford. And while they're there, they dream of moving up and they figure that in the meantime they don't want to put money into fixing up their place if the neighbors around them won't do the same.

On the other hand, there are also people like good friends of mine, who moved into a low income neighborhood and started to fix up their small house, which hadn't been touched in decades. Not long after they began making improvements, they noticed that many of their neighbors had begun paying more attention to their own homes, as well.


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RE: Ikea visit

I'll skip commenting on the consumer culture today in this post, although it's an interesting discussion. I logged in today because I wanted to comment on my first visit to Ikea.

I went because I had discovered by searching on line that they carried some stainless steel kitchen shelves that I was interested in. I agree that some of their stuff is sort of cheaply made, so I wanted to see the shelves in person before buying.

I spent a couple of hours wandering around the store and got the shelves. By mounting these shelves on the wall over the stove, I'll have a good place to store pots and pans (with S-hooks, I'll hang some of them).

The store showroom did have a lot of good ideas for good use of small space. Something I picked up on impulse turned out to be even better than the shelves - a set of heavy duty plastic lifters that go under the bed legs to raise it up about 6" so the storage space underneath becomes really usable. Wow! I can slide my laundry basket under the bed so I can walk all the way around my 100 square ft bedroom now. My double bed occupies 25 square feet - 1/4 of the floor space. Making that space really usable for storage makes a huge difference.


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RE: Ikea visit

Maybe some lower income folks move into already junked up neighborhoods because it's all they can afford. And while they're there, they dream of moving up and they figure that in the meantime they don't want to put money into fixing up their place if the neighbors around them won't do the same.

I know some "lower income folks" and can tell you that some of them are working two or three part-time jobs apiece with few benefits so they can keep the roof over their heads. Trust me, keeping the place looking good enough for Metropolitan Home is not very high on their to-do lists. That does not excuse the stereotypical rusting objects on the lawn. But it certainly goes a way to explaining why some properties in some neighborhoods could use a coat of paint and maybe a few repairs on the fence and window glass.


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RE: Ikea visit

I agree, steve. There are reasons why homes in these neighborhoods start to get run down, and rarely is it because the people just don't care about their surroundings.

Still, Scott is right when he points out that tossing some of the "yard art" into a trash can isn't that difficult. Unless the person is disabled, of course.


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RE: Ikea visit

Annebert, We have done the raised up bed thing for years. We have an old iron bed. We used heavy duty electric conduit to slip over the bed legs to raise it up. Works great. We also use it on the futon when we set it up for a bed. Makes it the normal bed height. I store my Christmas things under the bed in hard sided suitcases. Also have other suitcases for storage. I label the handles with what is in them. They are quick to pull out and dust off once in awhile. We love the bed up high.

Back on Ikea. The things my friend had were the kitchen cabinets and large cabinets. They really were pretty nice.

Chris


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RE: Ikea visit

"Still, Scott is right when he points out that tossing some of the "yard art" into a trash can isn't that difficult."

You'd be surprised. I live in one of those [euphemism] "transitional" [/euphemism] neighborhoods in a fairly [euphemism] "transitional" [/euphemism] small city (one of those places where people asked us "seriously, you're moving THERE?!") and the trash collection company is picky as all get-out about what they will and will not take. Piles accumulate because it's hard to get rid of some stuff without paying someone to come take it away, which can be absurdly expensive, or you try to find a willing person with a truck and can get to the transfer station during their ridiculously truncated hours (after going to the city clerk's office during their impossible-for-people-who-actually-have-jobs hours to buy the disposal stickers)... and even the transfer station has limits on what they'll take. When we took down our collapsing garage we rented a dumpster for the debris, and I'm glad we got the biggest one we could because a lot of junk that wasn't ours mysteriously appeared in it.

It's an old neighborhood, the vast majority of the houses are from 1880-1910 and a great many of them are pretty run-down, but it's where we could afford to live without starving to pay the mortgage. (Most of the "affordable" single-family housing around here is either that or trailer parks. Oh, sorry, "manufactured home communities".) Most of the people in my neighborhood are scrambling frantically these days, either working multiple jobs, or one job with long hours, so it's unsurprising that the curb appeal suffers. They're more concerned with keeping the heating bill paid and food on the table and their kids in school (this city has one of the highest dropout rates in the state, and truancy rates are crazy high too), it's lucky the lawn even gets mowed. As a side note, virtually everyone in my social circle is low-income/working poor, most of them at or below the poverty line.

DH and I would like to be kind of a "role model" for the block in terms of making things neat and all, but it's difficult especially since we're now very reluctant to spend anything and DH has extremely limited time and skill for big DIYing projects. (I'm useless for anything besides planning and supervising.) We're hoping to tackle the peeling and rotting porch this coming summer but don't know how successful we're going to be, it will depend on many other factors.

I've only been to an Ikea once because the nearest one is well over 3 hours away each way. The store drove me crazy (I felt like a rat in a maze) but I was VERY impressed with their kitchen cabinets and wardrobe systems, and I liked the Billy bookcases quite a bit. Sure, it was a million miles away from handcrafted products, but no one I know can afford that stuff anyway. We were planning a kitchen renovation in our previous house before we sold it, and intended to use Ikea cabinets because they offered a lot of features that you just don't see in that price point elsewhere.


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RE: Ikea visit

Just to clarify, I grew up in a tract neighborhood where every house was identical. 900 square feet, 3 bedroom, one bath, concrete block and no air conditioning, in Florida. My mom never worked outside the home. My dad dropped out of school in the 8th grade to work on the farm. He worked part of my childhood as a factory worker for Piper Aircraft and when he was laid off from them, which was often, he worked for a propane gas company. We were poor, really poor. Dad worked a lot of hours too. However, our yard was mowed, our hedges trimmed and our house was well maintained including paint when needed.

How did we manage that? Paint is cheap. So is soap and water for the windows. Once we kids (4 of us) were old enough to push a mower and trim the hedges, we did it. If dad was lucky enough to get a paid vacation, he spent at least half of that week painiting or maintaining the house. When it came time to replace porch posts or patch a roof or something like that, dad traded his skills with other less fortunate people who had skills he didn't. In short, you just do it. You find a way. And no, we weren't trying to make the next cover of Metropolitan Home, but we did have pride and dignity.

~Scott~


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RE: Ikea visit

Scott--the friends I mentioned in an above post who live in a lower income neighborhood share your sentiments. They both work at a lot of hours, six days a week, at jobs that don't pay a great deal, but they find the time (and a little money) to care for their yard and paint, etc.

It has made a world of difference to their cottage, which had been sadly neglected for a long time. (One neighbor, who has lived in her house for 50 years, told them that they are the first people she can remember who have actually done anything to spruce up the property.)

And, as I also mentioned, it has had a positive impact, as other neighbors have begun small home improvements of their own.


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RE: Ikea visit

I'm sorry; but I have to ask. On this thread, do we want to talk about Ikea, Dwell magazine, small homes, modern homes, and modular small homes, or about other....issues? Let me know; I'm very familiar with Dwell and small modular homes (since I'm workign with an architect to start a company to build them), and with Ikea; but I don't want to do politics, hot topics, etc. Where we going with this?


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RE: Ikea visit

Go anywhere you want with it. By all means, discuss IKEA.

We've all been addressing various topics raised in the original post. My first post on this thread was about IKEA, but Scott posted again and asked for feedback on another issue he raised, which I then gave.

Simple as that.


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RE: Ikea visit

I look at these forums as a fusion of ideas, information, entertainment and enlightenment. I answered someone's question about a type of plant over in the Plant Forum and we ended up talking about San Diego. That's just what happens in conversation and I thoroughly enjoy the way it develops here. I'm thankful for comments from every perspective. That's how I learn and grow.

~Scott~


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IKEA on my mind

Annebert said:"The store showroom did have a lot of good ideas for good use of small space. Something I picked up on impulse turned out to be even better than the shelves - a set of heavy duty plastic lifters that go under the bed legs to raise it up about 6" so the storage space underneath becomes really usable. Wow! I can slide my laundry basket under the bed so I can walk all the way around my 100 square ft bedroom now. My double bed occupies 25 square feet - 1/4 of the floor space. Making that space really usable for storage makes a huge difference."

Again the bed risers make an appearance, as a way to increase storage. Neat.

And I too am scheming (not yet planning) how to work in a trip to Atlanta especially to visit the IKEA store there. I think flying up would be the best option, since I might have to rent a truck to bring my treasures home to Alabama. Meanwhile, I think I will be visiting the Stoughton MA store before then. That is the one outside Boston which is the place to shop for new bath fixtures for the little Cape redo.

...and another poster on this thread mentioned the tendency to stray from a strict adherence to the perceived topic:
.."I'm sorry; but I have to ask. On this thread, do we want to talk about Ikea, Dwell magazine, small homes, modern homes, and modular small homes, or about other....issues? Let me know; I'm very familiar with Dwell and small modular homes (since I'm workign with an architect to start a company to build them), and with Ikea; but I don't want to do politics, hot topics, etc. Where we going with this?"

Personally, I think the tendency to follow a topic where it might lead is good brainstorming technique. It is also a serendipitous way to broaden your options. Maybe to connect some disconnected dots of your thinking. It is not for everyone, as I see that the person who wanted a narrower discussion is no longer among us. We all make choices.


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