Anywho, due to a lack of building space, we'll be installing the cabinets in three different phases. The first phase of our cabinet installation involves the cabinets along the wall, appropriately dubbed "Phase 1". Since we're pressed for building space and we'd prefer to have a working kitchen sooner rather than later, we're holding off on the island (Phase 2) until this part of the kitchen is done. Phase 3 will be the pantry. Check out our spread of non-assembled cabinets for Phase 1:
|Each pile contains the components of a cabinet -- I laid them out in "cabinet piles" to make sure we had all of our supplies (since we brought home about 50 freakin' boxes that night).|
Again, we selected the Ikea Lindingo cabinets, which are nice traditional white cabinets. Perfect for the "updated vintage" look we were going for. I guess you can infer from the plethora of boxes (and lack of actual cabinets) that Ikea cabinets need to be assembled. Just like any other Ikea product, assembly is required. Believe it or not, I'm the one who does the Ikea building around our house. Maybe it's because Chris doesn't consider it to be "real" work, or maybe it's because I'm just insanely good at deciphering Swedish hieroglyphics. Either way, it's my "thing" and I'm pretty dang good at it. Don't be too discouraged if you're not good at "assembly-required" products -- Ikea offers a service to build your cabinets (or any other Ikea product) for you. They also offer delivery in case you don't have access to a truck or large trunk to haul your boxes home. I've even seen Ikea customers rent U-Haul trucks to bring home their boxes of loot. You have options, my friend.
|A nail gun is not required to assemble the cabinets -- I just used it with short tacks instead of nailing in the 50 tiny nails Ikea provides with a hammer. Needless to say, the process went a lot faster.|
Ikea provides extra instructions, like a step-by-step pictorial poster featuring real humans (instead of the little cartoon Ikea guy) and an instructional DVD to help explain how the cabinets are fastened to the walls. I'll spare the deets, but in a nutshell, Ikea wall cabinets are attached to the wall using a sturdy steel suspension rail. Due to the inconsistent surface of our plaster walls, we found this process to be a little more difficult than it probably should be. The wavy walls caused a couple of gaps between the bulk head and the cabinets, but we just filled them will a little bit of white acrylic caulk.
Once we had cabinets, it was on to the counter top! For our counter tops, we chose the Ikea NUMERAR oak counter top. I've gotten a few "it must be nice" comments regarding the swanky looking oak, which dumbfounded me a bit considering it's one of the most affordable options available. It cost about $300 for our kitchen, which includes the counter top that runs along the window wall as well as the counter top for the 6 foot island. Considering the cost of granite is about 10 times more expensive than that, I'd say the oak is affordable. Of course there are pros and cons to having wood counter tops. The pros would obviously include the affordable price. You also have the opportunity to stain them any color you'd like, refinish them if they got tired, or sand away any pesky stains. One con is that they do stain, so wood counters take extra vigilance to keep things like wine and excessive moisture off of them. And contrary to popular belief, wood counter tops should not be used as a giant convenient cutting board (I'm assuming this is a disappointing con for some people). Unless you want your counter to be riddled with splinters, stains, and knife gouges (much like a cutting board is), don't chop directly on it. You'd be surprised how many people thought this was a legit feature of wood counter tops. I tried my best to not give them the "omg, I never realized you were such a dummy" stare.
Of course, Ikea has your back and recommends the BEHANDLA wood treatment oil to help encourage the longevity of your wood counter top. One can costs a mere $5 and boasts that it protects your wood on the "surface and in depth", prolonging your counter top's life. It's also made of natural products, like linseed oil, which makes me feel better about slathering on a surface intended for food preparation. It smells somewhat lovely too -- I thought it smelled like banana bread crust, fitting for a kitchen I feel. We applied three coats to our counters, then let them dry for 24 hours before installing them. We applied each coat with a sponge brush, let it dry for 15 minutes, then wiped away any excess oil. You might find that the wood surface becomes really rough between coats; when you apply stain or oil the wood grain will often stand up creating a rough texture. The Ikea instructions don't mention how to deal with this, but don't fret. We gently ran a piece of sandpaper over the surface and wiped away any resulting dust between oil coats. The instructions say to finish the installation of the counter top by buffing it with a coarse paper or cardboard, and I have to tell you -- cardboard really does work! Much to Chris' surprise it made the wood surface nice and smooth.
If you're planning to install Ikea cabinets anywhere in your house, here are some extra Ikea products that exist that make the process easier:
- BEHANDLA Wood Oil Treatment -- Protect your new wood counter top investment!
- FIXA Drill Template -- At $1.99 this awesome investment makes the process of centering knobs and handles incredibly easy
- FIXA Diffusion Barrier -- This chrome plated barrier is recommended by Ikea to install between your counter top and dishwasher to diffuse unwanted moisture. This item needs to be ordered in the kitchen planning area of the store along with your cabinets, etc, but they don't tell you that you need it until you go home and read the instruction manual. It's only $3.99 too.
- Extra Cover Panels -- There are different cover panels to match the cabinets you choose in a variety of sizes, but be sure to dig through the As-Is section for any matching cover panels. We ended up using them to fill gaps between appliances and walls, but paid 40% less by scoring one in the As-Is section. Plus it doesn't hurt to have an extra one on hand just in case you make a mistake with your cuts.
So now you're familiar with what ate the baby, now onto some pennies...a penny tile backsplash that is.