Tuesday, September 30, 2014

US IKEA Sale Starts FRIDAY! Canadian Sale is Underway!

 (Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

Our clients have called or written in to day their local stores have mentioned the Fall sale starts this Friday, October 3. The new line, SEKTION, won't be available until February but the tried-and-true Akurum line will be on sale and a fabulous buy for a new kitchen.

SEKTION will be released February 2, 2015. Only the comparable but not identical METOD cabinets are viewable on European websites. The sizes of the SEKTION components are not published and probably won't be until Feb. 2.

We have a transition design service so a homeowner get a design underway now, and a redesign once the SEKTION line becomes available.

Call or write if I can help you. We offer a FREE 30-minute phone consultation that has saved many from errors and/or confusion. Get some expert guidance, for free!

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

IKEA FALL 2014 Kitchen Sales

(Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

The IKEA kitchen sale in Canada has started. It runs September 22 through November 3. The cabinets are not discounted BUT you get $200 in IKEA gift cards for every $1000 you spend. That's really a 20% discount on any kitchen purchase–a SWEET deal for Canadians since the minimum purchase is only $1000, unlike most US sales.

The US IKEA kitchen sale should be announced soon. It typically starts the first week in October and runs through Thanksgiving.

If you've read my post from earlier this week, you know that IKEA has announced the dates for the release of the new line, known as METOD in Europe, but called SEKTION in N. America–February 2, 2015.

Some of you will wait for SEKTION and others will grab AKURUM kitchens while you can (IKEA will stop selling full AKURUM kitchens as soon as SEKTION is released, although parts will continue to be available).

I recommend to all our design clients that they do their projects when the time is right for their own lives. Waiting for IKEA isn't really an optimal plan, in my opinion. But if you like the METOD cabinet displays you can see on IKEA European websites, why not?

We all know that AKURUM is proven, and well-loved. So you can't go wrong if you want to do your project this fall or winter and you purchase your materials during the upcoming fall sales.

My company will offer a "transition" service so that if we design your kitchen using AKURUM cabinets so you can plan with a contractor, we will transform it into a SEKTION design for an add-on fee.

If you want to discuss your project, I invite my readers to schedule a complimentary 30-minute phone consultation. I can usually offer tips and guidance to save you time and money, and I am happy to do so. I can tell you about our expert design services, and send you sample files also, if you'd like.

Susan

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation







Thursday, September 18, 2014

The NEW IKEA Sektion line: New Data Announced

(Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

Finally we have some solid data about the release of the new IKEA kitchen cabinet list. Most questions homeowners have are answered from data posted on the IKEA site.

I've summarized it for you, below:

First, the SEKTION line (called METOD in Europe and Asia, where metric sizes are used) will become available (which means IKEA will start selling it in the US on February 2, 2015. 

Because the existing AKURUM line is so well-loved, one would wonder why there will be a new, replacement system now. 

"IKEA AKURUM kitchen cabinets “Highest in Customer Satisfaction” in the J.D. Power 2012 and 2014 U.S. Kitchen Cabinet Satisfaction Study."

The new SEKTION system will have many of the features of the AKURUM system including soft closers for drawers and doors and a wall mounted rail system for easy installation. They'll also have the same 25-year warranty.

The biggest difference is that the SEKTION line is more modular, so that the interior cabinet spaces can be used in more ways. There is also a new system for integrated lighting.

The SEKTION cabinets will cost about the same as AKURUM cabinets, says IKEA, but there is no published price data and it's unlikely that any will be available until the SEKTION line goes on sale in US IKEA stores on February 2, 2015.

The two systems are not compatible insofar as design. You would not be able to mix and match, or design a kitchen using AKURUM and purchase SEKTION. They are two separate systems. However, some of the most popular door styles within the AKURUM system will be available as SEKTION door style options. This data from the IKEA US site:

"The AKURUM and SEKTION systems are NOT compatible systems. This means that you cannot use SEKTION components with an AKURUM kitchen system. If you want to add to your AKURUM kitchen or purchase replacement parts (that wouldn’t be covered by the warranty), you should do that by February 1, 2015. IKEA will continue to honor the 25 year limited warranty on AKURUM kitchens. We will replace product under warranty with a similar product of equal value at the expense of IKEA."

Many people can't or don't want to wait until February for their kitchen purchase, or they simply prefer the tried and true AKURUM line. Here's what IKEA says about availability until February:

"You will be able to purchase your AKURUM kitchen until February 1, 2015. However, it would be in your best interest to purchase your AKURUM kitchen as soon as possible as we will have a fixed amount of AKURUM stock available and will only be able to fulfill orders while supplies last.

We will offer service for AKURUM cabinets (from February 2, 2015 until October 1, 2015; while supplies last) to handle replacement pieces or damages for AKURUM kitchens that are in the process of being delivered or installed. And, the AKURUM 25 year limited warranty will be honored. We will replace product under warranty with a similar product of equal value at the expense of IKEA."


Finally, in regard to appliances:

"The majority of the IKEA appliance range will also change as of February 2, 2015. The 5 year limited warranty will also be standard on the new range of appliances. And the 5 year warranty on our previous appliance range will remain valid."

So, there you have it. I recommend doing your kitchen project when the time is best for you and your family. Don't wait for IKEA, unless something in the new system seems a must-have for you. Sign up for sale promotion emails from IKEA and get the best prices, and sale prices, on the Akurum line, while it's available. This is a tip for a great kitchen at a fabulous price, with no waiting or wondering needed.


Susan

PS. If you need some help planning or designing your new kitchen, I am happy to talk with you. We offer a free, no-obligation IKEA kitchen consultation. Here's a link to my appointment calendar:

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

 



Monday, September 01, 2014

IKEA METOD and SEKTION

 (Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

The new IKEA kitchen cabinet line, METOD, available since early 2014 in some European and Asian countries is likely to be announced in early 2015 in the US and Canada as SEKTION. There are two names because there are two size systems, metric sizes and Standard (inches).

The quality seems similar to the current Akurum frame system. There are more options, such as drawer components in different sizes. The new system is likely to be more useful for smaller kitchens.

Akururm is tried and true and will be gradually phased out as SEKTION is introduced. Since IKEA cabinets promote a 25 year warranty, keep in mind that there are likely to be Akurum components available for a few years to come and that it is VERY rare for a homeowner to keep a home, or a kitchen, for more than 10 years, by research.

Should you wait until the new system is released?

The best time to do a kitchen remodel is when the time is right for your own family and life. Products come and go.

Susan

 (Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

How IKEA Kitchen Projects are Different

 (Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

I've been wanting to write about the difference between an IKEA kitchen project, aka a kitchen remodel in which the homeowner is using IKEA kitchen cabinets, and other types of remodels.

First, and most obvious, there's the cost. A typical remodel you can see in a magazine is $50,000-$80,000. A typical IKEA kitchen project is $8,000-$25,000.

Why the wider range? Some condo kitchens, rentals, and other small city apartment kitchens, require very few cabinets and thus less labor. The variables are appliance choices and countertop type.

Some average-sized (for the US) kitchen projects have to start with rewiring and new plumbing, or could include laundry areas, or more expensive appliances or countertops than average.

But cost is obvious. IKEA cabinets cost less than many other brands, and are almost always better quality, too.

The difference I mean to bring up is this: with IKEA kitchen projects, the homeowner wants to great result at an affordable price. The way this is achieved is by running the show yourself. As compared to turning over the project to a contractor, or to Home Depot or a cabinet company, the homeowner has to learn about, choose, manage and control all aspects of the project.

It's dream only to hire someone, give them a key to your house and a big, big, check, and go to Hawaii for three months and return to a beautiful new kitchen. Would you even want to do this if you could?

Most homeowners, in my experience, want to choose products, want to work on the design, want to meet, agree to and oversee the contractor, in person. It's a hassle, it's time consuming, and if you haven't done it before, it's a bit nerve-wracking. But it's the way to get a great result for the least cost. It's much easier the second time, your next kitchen in your next home!

This said. there can be this odd middle ground, where someone, often a single person or someone who is unfamiliar with remodeling or who doesn't speak English comfortably, turns over a lot of the project to a contractor, often a guy with a small company, some laborers he pays. This can be risky and we have seen some clients get bad advice from these guys, in regard to IKEA cabinets, in regard to the design and installation process, in regard to real costs.

The basic idea is that you are only buying some materials from IKEA. Cabinets, maybe appliances or countertop. It's a source, a store. It can't remodel your kitchen for you. IKEA measuring, design and installation services are available, they are not the best way, nor the least costly.

The best way to do an IKEA kitchen project is to research, learn all you can, appoint yourself the In-Charge of the project, choose your own materials, manage your contractor, or at least keep in mind that you hired him, create your own timeframe, and troubleshoot any problems. Be the boss, get the elegant result you envision, at the lowest cost and with the least stress.

Susan

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

 (Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

IKEA Kitchen FALL Sale 2014

 (Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

The summer 2014 IKEA kitchen sale is drawing to an end. But that's ok, a fall sale is on its way.

It's never a good idea to rush a kitchen remodel. We've had clients call a week before a sale end wanting help with design. We used to try to help but we've gotten smarter. It's a kind of disservice to assume a homeowner can make all the choices and do a good job planning and designing a new kitchen in just a few days.

That's not to say some can. Some know exactly what they want, some feel the sale discount and timing is more important than the details. And that's ok. But the professional designers on my team don't do as well under pressure. Kitchen remodeling is not an emergency subject, even if it has to be done quickly in some circumstances.

Anyway, if you feel bad that you missed the sale, there's another one every year starting in early October. This is actually a great time to start planning for a fall remodel. If we can help, write or call. You can use the link below to access my online calendar and schedule a time to talk.

Susan

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation




Saturday, June 28, 2014

IKEA KITCHEN SUMMER SALE DATES


 (Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)


THE SUMMER SALE HAS BEGUN!

Friday, June 27 – Sunday, August 24, 2014.

 ● Spend $3500 or more on your new kitchen and save 10% on your entire kitchen purchase
● Spend $4500 or more on your new kitchen and save 20% on your entire kitchen purchase


This includes cabinets, appliances, and counter tops!


Most homeowners starting an IKEA kitchen project have many questions. It's not easy to get them answered at IKEA! I can tell you that now is the time to start the design work and, during that process, to make calls to contractors and installers, to shop for appliances and other materials (if you are not buying everything at IKEA) and, most of all, to sort out what you really need and want. 

Finding a contractor?
Real costs? Custom doors?
Cabinet lighting?
Crown molding?
Pull out cabinets for trash and recycling bins?
Glass door cabinets?
Custom cabinets?
Island or peninsula? 


There are many options, even for small kitchens (which can be harder than large kitchens to design!). 

My blog readers are welcome to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute phone consultation with me. I am happy to offer you tips and guidance specific to your project and, if you are interested, I can tell you about our expert IKEA kitchen design services.

Let's talk!
FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation


Susan





Monday, June 23, 2014

IKEA SUMMER 2014 SALE! (corrected)


 (Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)
 
For those of you who have been waiting to hear about a summer sale, the announcement is coming! Look for a summer IKEA kitchen sale in US stores starting the first week in July!

If you have not yet planned the layout (kitchen design) or if you have not made at least a few calls to line up a contractor/installer, find some time this week to get these things underway.

Typical IKEA summer sales last six weeks, so don't panic. But do get your design work underway. We don't think that a design done in one day with the free IKEA planning tool is optimal. Homeowners need time to consider draft versions and options and to sort out finish details and much better renderings on which to base a major home remodeling project.

My company's IKEA kitchen design process typically takes three weeks. We take care with small issues. we cover every inch of the kitchen space, and we provide sophisticated drawings from high end software, as well as complete order lists. It's an entirely different experience compared to struggling with the IKEA home planner.

If you'd like help with your design work, write or call. I am happy to offer a free, no-obligation 30-minute phone consultation to all my readers. I can almost always offer some tips or guidance and if you want to know about our design services, we can discuss those, too.

 Here's a link to my appointment calendar:

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation


Susan




 (Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)


Thursday, June 05, 2014

When is the Next IKEA Kitchen Sale?

 (Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

This is the big question right now. I get asked a few times each day by people who call for design services. Most realize it's a good idea to get their planning and design done ahead of time, but knowing when the sale prices will next be available is important to many.

IKEA doesn't announce sales until it announces sales. In some stores, staff will tell you what they know, but it's often kept hushed up.

Historically, in the US, there's a fall sale in October/November and a Spring sale in March/April. Usually there is a summer sale, too. It's often shorter. Sometimes the discount structure is different than it was in the Spring sale (10% for purchases (cabinets, countertops, appliances are included) of $3500, 20% if you spend $4500.

Is there going to be a sale in July? Probably. Should you get your planning started so that you are ready? Definitely. It's better to place your order at the beginning of a sale, than at the end. It's really stressful to be planning and designing 5 days before a sale is over!

A good design process can't be done in one day. Even if IKEA will send someone to your house to do it all in a few hours, that's not a professional service. It takes a few weeks to draft, review, revise and polish a kitchen design. If you want an elegant, optimal layout, creatively designed and a joy to use when finished, spend some time sorting out all the details, confirming the sizes and styles and options you really want.

Susan

PS. If you need some help planning or designing your new kitchen, I am happy to talk with you. We offer a free, no-obligation IKEA kitchen consultation. Here's a link to my appointment calendar:

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Thursday, May 22, 2014

IKEA Kitchen SURVEY

Dear Readers,

I order to understand how to provide the best and most useful information, as well as the premier professional IKEA kitchen design services, I'd like to know what you need and want.

Please take a few moments to fill out my IKEA KITCHEN SURVEY.

You can choose a thank you gift at the end of the survey, including my new eBook, BEST TIPS for IKEA KITCHENS.

 Thank you!

Susan


(Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)




Wednesday, May 07, 2014

IKEA Kitchen Projects: Do Your Homework

(Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

The most common error I see homeowners make with IKEA kitchen projects is failing to do their homework, or research. It is very rare to find a turnkey solution for IKEA kitchens where you can sit back and let someone else figure things out for you. Only in the rarest circumstances does someone hire a company to do the entire project, from planning and design through kitchen preparation and then installation. Most homeowners choosing IKEA cabinets have modest budgets, $10-$20,000 or even less, and the type of design-build firm that can remodel your kitchen while you vacation is Hawaii typically does $50,000-$150,000 kitchens. I've seen IKEA stores offer a "project management" service for a thousand bucks or more, and I cannot understand why anyone would pay another to make decisions (because that's what it comes down to) for them. 

For the vast majority of IKEA kitchen projects, homeowners will plan and budget, work with a designer to create an optimal configuration of cabinets and appliances, order their cabinets, interview and choose contractors, and oversee all the work, day to day, start the finish.

To get a beautiful result at the lowest cost, you have to take the time to learn about kitchen remodeling, about IKEA components, about permits, about contractors suitable for your project, and about the real costs and process. 


Unless you have done a lot of remodeling before, you’ll want to spend some time reading up on these various aspects. IKEA cabinets are different than some brands that come pre-assembled, but other than that, the factors are the same. There’s design, demo, repair of walls or plumbing, electrical prep, cabinet and appliance installation, flooring, lighting, countertop choice and installation, sinks and faucets, back splashes, and other subjects which a smart homeowner who wants the best kitchen for the lowest price will take the time to research

If you have a busy life, and feel you need help to get your project done, that's fine. But to remodel a kitchen well, it really takes a commitment of money and time. You can do it hurriedly, with minimal attention to detail and with a "fingers crossed" approach, but for most, taking the time to learn about how the process will work, the choices you have, the product options available within your budget, the layout possibilities you may not have considered, will result on "the best bang for the buck" every time. 

Friday, April 04, 2014

IKEA Kitchen Projects: Labor Cost Summary

(Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

When you walk through an IKEA kitchen department, it's easy to think that IKEA has the solution for your kitchen. There in front of you are these lovely displays of clean, modern and super-affordable kitchens, so much nicer than one's own. I think highly of IKEA kitchen cabinets, of course, but the solution to your kitchen involves more.

One simple and obvious tip is this: when you walk around those store displays, multiply the price tag on every display by two. That's a low ballpark of the actual cost of the kitchen. Note that most don't include the price of appliances so if you'll be buying appliances, multiply by 3.

This is simply because the cost of LABOR for a kitchen remodel is often half, or more of the price of the project overall. Materials half, labor half.

There are exceptions. If you are simply removing old cabinets, keeping appliances, and not changing flooring, your labor costs could be 1/3. Keep in mind that countertop must be removed, in almost every case, and appliances too. There is no way to replace cabinets without removing these. In very rare cases expensive solid surface countertop can be left in place, but this is really the rarest exception. Don't plan on this. If your countertop is invaluable, go with refacing, not replacing, even though refacing is often more expensive than an entirely new IKEA kitchen.

In most kitchen remodels labor services that will be needed include:

Demo
This includes removing old cabinets and counters and hauling them off somehow. Rental trash dumpsters in some areas can cost $500 to $1000. Or you can hang your old cabinets in your garage, or put them on the curb for someone to re-use. Or you can throw them into a condo trash bin. Up to you.

Wall patching
This can be minor, a few small pieces of sheetrock, or you might need your entire kitchen fixed up, even the ceiling. If you are removing walls or a soffit, expect wall repair to be part of your costs

Electrical
It's almost always part of a kitchen remodel to add a few strategically placed outlets, relative to your new kitchen layout.  If you are adding cabinet lists, that too requires wiring. This is not very costly but it is something to plan for.

If you have an older home, you might need to upgrade your electrical panel in order to add outlets. Make sure you have your contractor inspect your panel when he bids your project or this can be a surprise cost.

Plumbing
Even removing and then re-installing a sink and faucet or a dishwasher is plumbing work. Moving a sink to an island is significant plumbing work. Sometimes, plumbing needs to be repaired before new sinks and dishwashers can be installed.

Cabinet installation
Of course. Prices range from $70 per cabinet to $130 in the US. It'a worth paying a bit more for fast, expert installation. The beauty of a finished IKEA kitchen is in the details, both design and skillful installation.

Tile/Flooring
Sometimes you have to replace your flooring, other times you'll want to. Tile setters are skilled craftsman so for tile backsplash or tile flooring, labor costs might be significant.

Appliance installation
Some stores include "free" installation in the cost of the new appliance. This looks good but keep in mind that they install WHEN they deliver in most cases. This can be tough to schedule so sometimes it's better to pay your general contractor to install appliances.

Cleanup
After the kitchen is installed, there is the dust. Always there is some dust from remodeling, even if your contractor carefully sets up plastic sheeting, etc. You might also have a huge pile of IKEA cardboard boxes to dispose of. Try to recycle, hire a cleaner if your contractor doesn't have a crew that cleans at the end. Or just enjoy the kitchen by dusting each lovely new IKEA drawer.

Susan

(Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)


 I also offer a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation to my blog readers.




Monday, March 17, 2014

IKEA Kitchens for Beginners

(Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

I decided to write down some basic basics about IKEA kitchen projects. If this data seems obvious and useless to you, go back to a more "advanced" posts, for example about choosing a contractor or layout tips. I don't mean to "dumb down" kitchen remodeling with IKEA cabinets, but it has come to my attention that quite a few people have never remodeled a kitchen, don't know much about IK

The most basic thing to know is that you are simply buying some cabinets from IKEA. An IKEA kitchen somehow suggests that the IKEA company is going to be involved with the remodeling of your kitchen. This is an inaccurate foundation on which to base your project. You simply want (if you do) to buy cabinets from IKEA, because, for the price, they are the best product on the market.

In my experience, it is usually a mistake to involve IKEA, or considering involving IKEA, in your remodeling project any further than as a source of cabinets. That is to say, don't assume that store will NECESSARILY provide any of the other materials or labor you will need to complete your project, such as measuring for the design, installing the cabinets or appliances, designing the layout, removing the old cabinets, etc.

BASIC POINT #!
IKEA sells great kitchen cabinets. The countertops and appliances sold there are also good. However, IKEA is not a remodeling company/contractor. A remodeling contractor is needed for a kitchen remodel, unless you plan to do all the labor yourself. IKEA does offer some basic services (as opposed to materials) but these are far from the best options for the labor part of your project. I've explained why I feel this way, in other posts.

In order to buy cabinets at IKEA, you have to have a kitchen layout. You can't walk into the store and ask to buy some cabinets. The layout defines which cabinets, the sizes and styles, that you will need and want. Whereas there are computers with a basic layout program on them in all IKEA kitchen departments, and whereas sometimes you can get a bit of help from store staff to string together a layout, it is far from the best way.

It is also not a good idea to use IKEA planning services or any designer who comes out to your house and sits with you for 5 hours to design your kitchen. I have worked on hundreds of IKEA kitchen projects and thousands of designs, and it is absolutely necessary to design a draft for a client, have them provide feedback to enable an initial design to be created, and to give the client TIME, between versions and revisions, to consider options, talk things over with family members, shop, etc. Doing an entire design in one afternoon is a high pressure situation that you really don't want.

Not to mention, the IKEA services person is using the same free online software you can use yourself and that is so limited, so full of software bugs, that your finished kitchen will, to a greater or lesser degree, look like, and function like, it was designed with bad software.

BASIC POINT #2
Buy IKEA cabinets. Find a designer and a contractor that are not affiliated with IKEA. The one except might be using the service IKEA refers you to for installing the cabinets. They are very fast and usually very good. But don't hire them to do demo, electrical, plumbing, etc. Hire a licensed, insured, bonded general contractor who is familiar with IKEA cabinets. That's the best way.

More later.

 I offer a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation to my blog readers.

Susan




Saturday, March 15, 2014

IKEA Kitchen Sale Tips about Designing with the Home Planner and then Ordering

(Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

A lot of homeowners wait for the IKEA kitchen sale and the Spring sale is most popular among those. It's timing the project to coincide with warmer weather, I suspect. Or possibly after a winter indoors in an old kitchen, they just have to get into action.

In any case, I have talked to many people in the first two weeks of the current US sale, as well as many in Canada where their IKEA kitchen sale ends the 24th of March. I've looked at photos of kitchens in various states of disrepair, from really quite nice to nearly destroyed. I have also looked at many IKEA Home Planner drafts that homeowners sent me to review, and I feel obligated to offer some tips for anyone trying to base their remodel on an IKEA Home Planner design.

As I've written elsewhere, I completely biased. I own an IKEA kitchen design company so, of course, I am always pitching professional design services. But if you saw what I see, the mediocre, or even terrible or unsafe layouts some do in the Home Planner, you would convince everyone you knew of the true value of professional kitchen design for IKEA kitchen projects.

First, it is important to know that the online planner is FREE, and you get what you pay for. The purpose of the planner is to sell IKEA cabinets, it is not to design an elegant, optimal layout for a remodel.

Second, the planner will allow you to place cabinets in ways that won't install correctly, and, worse, will NOT allow you to place them in many elegant and optimal ways. It's software limitations mainly, but also consider that I work with professional kitchen designers who know how to do things by training and experience, that most of us just don't realize are possible and beautiful.

Third, the list that the Home Planner generates is far from complete for any given layout you have drafted. It's another software limitation. Even if you meticulously place cover panels and trim, the chances are more than 100% that there are parts you'll need that are not listed. This means that when you go to the store to order, you'll be waiting in line, and waiting in line some more, for an IKEA staff person to help complete your plan and list. Talk about stress on a $7000+ purchase!

This is off topic, but I wanted to mention that kitchen remodeling IS a pretty stressful activity. A lot of emotion can come into it, even if you have the money and the time. Unfortunately, to remodel your kitchen you are going to need the help of others, whether contractors, tile settings, IKEA sales people, designers, plumbers, permit offer people, electricians. delivery people, etc. etc. Given that on earth at this time, a considerable percentage of people don't consider being on time to be important. not to mention doing what they promised to do, kitchen remodeling, dependent on at least SOME of these people, is stressful. Take B vitamins during the entire process.

Back to topic, let's say you created a layout in the Home Planner and you feel somewhat confident it will work. It looks OK, it seems to fit. Can you order it and do your project? Yes. SHOULD you order it and do your project? NO. "OK design: and "somewhat confident it will fit" are the formulae for disaster. For projects that tale 7 months to install and are not really a lot better than what you started with.

People: kitchen design is a professional skill. You want , with your IKEA cabinets, the elegance you see in magazines but at an affordable price. You want a smooth installation in which all factors were predicted pretty darn well.

Let's consider ordering by phone. Is it possible? Maybe. It depends. Some have done it. It's not easy or guaranteed, but if you have a COMPLETE order list, it can be done. But wait with the Home Planner there is no complete order list. So, if you are set on using your Home Planner design, go to the store to order. That is a big tip.

With our professional services, the designer creates a complete order list for every client, with product codes. Our clients waltz into IKEA, bypass the moaning hordes of people with Home Planner lists, slap their complete lists on the counter and demand to be sold just those things. No discussion required. Ah, what a better way to go.

One last thing to mention today. The US sale ends on the 27th. If you are, wisely, going to consider professional design services (my company's or any other comparable, is fine), don't wait till a week before the sale ends. Our service has no time limit and it's a process not a one shot design. In fact, any service that designs your kitchen in 4 hours is worrisome to me. I create things, sleep on them, and always have new ideas the next day.

Anyway, if you want to order during the current sale, which in the US ends April 27, or in Canada March 24, let's get started. You want that perfect design, complete confidence, and complete order list before the last few days of the sale. The hordes get more stressed, less patient and bigger, as the sales draw to an end.

Call me, go to my calendar to schedule a time to talk. I am happy to help you.

Susan






Friday, March 14, 2014

IKEA Kitchen Sale Spring 2014: TIPS


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Dear Readers: If you'd like to discuss your project with me, or if you are interested in my company's professional IKEA kitchen design services, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. There is no obligation and I am happy to give you tips or guidance specific to your project. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.

The IKEA US Kitchen Sale for Spring 2014 has started. Mark your calendar, it starts February 28 and will run for until April 27.

If your total purchase is $3,500.00 (including kitchen cabinets, appliances, counter tops), you get a 10% discount. If your total purchase is $4,500 you can get a 20% discount.

An average kitchen requires 18 cabinets total, top and bottom. The cost of your cabinets will vary (a lot) with the door style you choose. Countertop is another big variable. You could spend $200 for laminate or butcher block, or $3000+ for solid surface types (like Casearstone) for the same square footage.

Most kitchen purchases will easily top $3,500-$4,500, so by ordering during the sale period you can save $500-$900 or more. 

There are many ways to get the best benefit from the sale. The methods vary with the type of project and purchase. For example, sometimes buying something extra you don't necessarily need can boost your sale discount. You can then sell that item on Craigslist or give it as a gift. We show our clients how to best take advantage of the sale discounts. 

Now is the time to get started on the planning and design phase. First, get our free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel. This will help you know what the real costs are, both labor and materials.

The next step is to plan the layout. That's what my company does, so contact us if you would like help. I offer a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation to my blog readers.

 An expert and carefully checked layout plan is vital for the next step, which is getting labor bids. A contractor needs to know what the cabinet placement will be in order to give you a comprehensive, and thus accurate, bid. 

The sale, running for eight weeks, really is the best time to order, but only if you can either launch the project during or right after delivery (usually 1-2 weeks after ordering) or if you have a storage place that is dry. Timing is part of the planning. If you can order in the first half of the sale, you'll run into less of a crowd, less wait time for delivery and less likelihood of backordered parts. 

Keep in mind that during sales, all IKEA kitchen departments and even all IKEA kitchen pros, get very busy. The best time to order is early in the sale, when stocks are high, wait times are minimal, and you can schedule to suit your own preferences, rather than having to wait for a contractor or installer. 

Ready, set.....

Susan











Monday, March 10, 2014

IKEA Kitchen Layout Tips

(Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

 I offer a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation to my blog readers.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that my company designs custom IKEA kitchens and that I used to be a partner in a remodeling company that installed them. Hundreds of them. Thus, I do know about kitchen layout although I am nowhere near as knowledgeable or as talented as the professional kitchen designers who design for my company, Modern Family Kitchens.

I wanted to provide some tips because many people start out their kitchen remodeling process by going to the free IKEA planner or some other basic layout software and do their best without really knowing what makes a great kitchen.

While there is no easy replacement for professional design, and expecting that you can design a kitchen as well as a professional isn't reasonable. I also recommend hiring a professional, using our services, of course. I don't want to say bad things about IKEA's $199 design service other than to say it's not.

However you proceed, I do want to offer some guidance so that if you really can't afford the cost of expert design, you don't make major errors and end up spending way more time and money than you need to.

1) To the extent possible, draw out the kitchen AND surrounding areas. In other words, if your kitchen has a pass through window to a dining room or a family room, or a hallway, include these in the shape of the overall room. If you have a small galley kitchen, this is less important. But to ensure the proportions of things are optimal, you wan to include the bigger area related to the kitchen, even if you won't be putting cabinets beyond the obvious kitchen footprint.

2) A row of cabinets that FIT, is not necessarily a row that LOOKS BEAUTIFUL. Try not to use too many door sizes. A 36 inch wall cabinet has two 18 inch doors. Try to use other 18 inch doors, or place other-sized doors symmetrically so that it's not a mishmash of sizes. This is more important for wall cabinets than for base cabinets, and more important where the kitchen is viewed from another room. But even if you have a small galley kitchen, you might was well have an elegant one.

3) Make allowances for filler. Filler means pieces of the IKEA material that is used ordinarily for panels to cover sides of cabinets, or to trim the foot of wall or base cabinets. A row of cabinets almost always has to have some filler so that appliance and cabinet doors open without hitting adjacent items. Filler can be placed arbitrarily or artistically. It can be installed sloppily or elegantly. Filler is an important part of kitchen layout and aesthetic.


4) Keeping the kitchen work triangle in mind, design a kitchen that you'll enjoy. You might want to avoid glass door cabinets above or next to a cooking surface because they get greasy quickly. You might want to ensure you have adequate space for two cooks at a time. You want to make sure you have a place to put glassware that is near the dishwasher so you don't have to carry glasses across the room when you are unloading.

5) Don't let your budget determine the layout. You might spend LESS with a more elegant and functional layout so do the layout so that it really works and then, if you need to, trim down the cost of things overall. One larger cabinet requires less labor to install than two small ones. Consider using laminate or butcher block counters for a year or two and later replacing with solid surface. This can allow you to use your current budget for expert design, more cabinets, better and more lighting, better appliances, etc.

6) Make sure you really like the way horizontal cabinets work (by going into IKEA and trying them out in a display kitchen) before using them in your layout. It's really different to access a cabinet you use frequently when there is a horizontal door to lift, versus a vertical door to swing open.

7) Consider buying crown molding at a third party supplier, like a lumberyard, if you like a more traditional style kitchen. Have your contractor paint or stain to match your cabinet doors.

8) Don't let your contractor ALSO be your designer. Keep these two things entirely separate. No IKEA kitchen-skilled contractor has a professional kitchen designer on staff, or is also a skilled designer him/herself. It's much better to give a contractor a finished design you love and ask for a bid to turn the current kitchen into THAT one. Nothing ambiguous, nothing the contractor has to guess at. Keep in mind that plan errors can cost you in labor since if you have some, the contractor will try to solve the problems and will not only turn into your designer, by default, but is likely to charge you for the time the errors take to correct. 


There are many more tips I can offer and I will write on this again. Feel free to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with me if you have specific questions.

Susan

Get my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel. This will help you know what the real costs are, both labor and materials.

 I offer a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation to my blog readers.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

The IKEA Kitchen Sale Begins! (in the US)

(Request my free IKEA kitchen budgeting eBook)

Unlike with the release of the first iPad or newest iPhone, there probably won't be a line outside IKEA in the early morning hours. But that doesn't mean that many people have not waited for the sale start tomorrow. The savings on a typical kitchen purchase (cabinets, counter top and/or appliances) can be worth waiting for if you plan to remodel your kitchen (or other areas of your house) with IKEA kitchen cabinets.

The one tip I can offer tonight is to get your planning (by which I mean contractor bids and kitchen design) before you go into IKEA. Don't be one of those homeowners sitting wretchedly at the IKEA computer workstations trying to design your dream kitchen, the one you've waited for, worked hard to afford or just need desperately for one reason or another. Get the design and sort out the costs before you go to order.

I have ordered many IKEA kitchens. I have spent entire days at the Burbank store,  in which my first cell phones simply did not work, trying to place an order which was incomplete, where measurements were uncertain, where what and how much of various cabinet components had not been specified in advance. Where I still had to decide between cabinet fittings, door fronts, trim. Where the help of an IKEA salesperson seemed to be least available when I had the most need, the most money on the table, and was the most tired of the whole thing 8pm.

Although my design team works for elegant, optimal design solutions for our clients' IKEA kitchens, we also make sure that these issues are sorted out, optimized, organized, before they go to order. We make sure their plan is correct, will fit, will work, is a beautiful, symmetrical, stylish, warm, contemporary and welcoming space for their lives.

We send them off at the end of the design process with a complete order list. Every cabinet, every panel, every door, drawer front, handle and knob. All neatly listed. And uploaded to the IKEA computer system so that most of it is already typed in when they arrive to the store. Do you know how long it can take a young IKEA co-worker, as they are called, to type in an entire kitchen order?

I am bragging, I am trying to point out an extra benefit of investing in professional design. But if you've been reading my blog, you already know.

Today, one day pre-sale. I looked over three plans that clients had draw up in the IKEA online planner. All three knew they could not move forward with the ambiguous fit, troubling asymmetry, and inelegance of their IKEA planner draft. One told me she felt the IKEA planner was a disservice because it limits and regulates the creativity needed to design a truly wonderful kitchen using IKEA's truly wonderful cabinets

The sale starts tomorrow, it lasts almost 8 weeks. The steps to do an IKEA kitchen are written in this blog, so read the articles that interest you. I wrote them to make it easier. If you want help with your layout or just have questions, I continue to offer all my blog readers a free 30-minute phone consultation for at least the next few weeks.

Check available times for a 30-minute complimentary phone consultation on IKEA kitchen planning


Best,

Susan

Friday, February 21, 2014

IKEA Kitchen Planning Tips 2014

Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel

This week I reviewed about 15 different IKEA planner design drafts, during consultations (I offer a free, no-obligation, 30-minute phone consultation on IKEA kitchen planning).


One or two were pretty nice. Both were modest, galley kitchens. Neither had wall changes. One was simply replacing existing cabinets, no other real change.

With one of these, I told the homeowner what I really felt, that the plan was fine. I also recommended checking carefully for clearances, in other words making sure that there will be enough room for doors, cabinet and appliances both, to open easily without hitting knobs or handles, etc. It is very easy to place a row of cabinets in the free online planer that seem to fit, but won't.

Also, keep in mind, if you are going to do your own layout, that cover panels take up room. And that you might need a panel on the side of a dishwasher to support the countertop. These panels add to the overall fit, and it can be really messy to notice the problem during installation. It is really a top tip to ensure the cabinets will really fit BEFORE you start the installation. If you are doing the installation yourself, it will just add time, a lot of time. If you don't live near an IKEA store, a huge amount of time, to get replacement cabinets. If a contractor is doing the installation, some will actually leave the job until you figure out the solution. Which leaves you without a kitchen for more days or even weeks.

Thus, checking your plan very carefully is vital. It's one reason we offer a Basic Design service, to plan check, adjust, propose alternate solutions and really ensure you have an optimal plan. Your entire project is based on the layout so, if you are doing it yourself, spending the time to ensure it is correct is absolutely worth it.

The other person I talked to, who had a nice simple galley kitchen with no major changes, also had a nice IKEA layout done. But as we talked I wondered why she was actually doing the project. She had just bought the home (in Washington, DC), the kitchen was in beautiful condition, and only the appliances really needed to be replaced.

She explained that she just didn't like the style of the existing cabinets and was planning to move the stove to the other side, a simple, easy change.

The longer we talked, the more I wondered why she was doing the remodel. Finally, I told her that, in my opinion, she should either leave the cabinets and just replace appliances, OR, if she wanted to do a remodel, to do it so that she had some real improvement, not just new cabinets.

I had an idea about extending one row into her dining area and creating thereby more workspace AND a small seating area. Suddenly her voice changed on the phone and I could tell she got excited about the project suddenly. She realized my point, that her investment should pay off, the new kitchen should have more workspace, more storage, more usefulness and pleasure for her life.

Be wary of using the IKEA online planner.  It's limitations become the kitchen you will have. Even if it seems to be a way to design a new kitchen, for almost every project, except for a very few simple, galley layouts, it's just not the right tool.

Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel

Thursday, February 20, 2014

IKEA Kitchen Sale Spring 2014


Get our FREE ebook, "How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel"

...and visit our website to find out about our expert IKEA Kitchen Design Services

(This post was written in January, re-posted in March, 2013. If you are trying to find out WHEN the NEXT IKEA KITCHEN SALE will be, that data has not yet been made public by IKEA. It's likely to be late Feb, early March. The discount structure could be different but you can usually save 10-20% by ordering during a sale. I recommend doing your research, budgeting and design work now, per the posts on this blog, and being ready to move forward as soon as the sale is announced. 

See my other blog posts to understand when it's worth waiting for a sale, and when it's not. Or write me, I'll help).


The sale dates have been announced! Mark your calendar, it starts March 28on the West Coast of the US (other cities  can have other dates,) and will run for about eight weeks.

Each sale is a little different but the data promoted for this Spring 2013 sale is as follows:

If your total purchase is $3,500.00 (including kitchen cabinets, appliances, counter tops, interior fittings), you can get a 15% discount. If your total purchase is $4,500 you can get a 20% discount.

An average kitchen requires 18 cabinets total, top and bottom. The cost of your cabinets will vary (a lot) with the door style you choose. Countertop is another big variable. You could spend $200 for laminate or butcher block, or $3000+ for solid surface types (like Casearstone) for the same square footage.

Most kitchen purchases will easily top $3,500-$4,500, so by ordering during the sale period you can save $500-$900 or more. 

There are many ways to get the best benefit from the sale. The methods vary with the type of project and purchase. For example, sometimes buying something extra you don't necessarily need can boost your sale discount. You can then sell that item on Craigslist or give it as a gift. We show our clients how to best take advantage of the sale discounts. 

Now is the time to get started on the planning and design phase. First, get our free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel. This will help you know what the real costs are, both labor and materials.

The next step is to plan the layout. That's what we do, so contact us if you would like help (We offer a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation). An expert and carefully checked layout plan is vital for the next step, which is getting labor bids. A contractor needs to know what the cabinet placement will be in order to give you a comprehensive, and thus accurate, bid. 

The sale, running for eight weeks, really is the best time to order, but only if you can either launch the project during or right after delivery (usually 1-2 weeks after ordering) or if you have a storage place that is dry. Timing is part of the planning.

Keep in mind that during sales, all IKEA kitchen departments and even all IKEA kitchen pros, get very busy. The best time to order is early in the sale, when stocks are high, wait times are minimal, and you can schedule to suit your own preferences, rather than having to wait for a contractor or installer. 

Ready, set.....


If you'd like to discuss your project with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.

Susan



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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

IKEA Kitchen Sale Spring 2014 DATES

Design clients sometimes send me updates from their local US IKEA stores.

Today I received this:

"Thought you might like to know that I just spoke with an IKEA customer service rep who told me that the next sale starts February 28th and is 15% off $3500+ and 20% off $4500+."

So there you go.

Tips:

1) Read this blog. Read the posts that most interest you, but read it. I've tried to provide key data for avoiding errors and getting the best result for the least cost. 

2) Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel

3) If you are interested in our professional IKEA kitchen design services (and you REALLY want to ensure the success of your project with professional design by SOMEONE expert with IKEA components) use this link to choose a time on my online calendar for a


I look forward to talking with you. I am happy to help you design a fabulous, affordable new kitchen.

-Susan