Friday, February 05, 2016

Two Helpful Articles on Kitchen Remodeling

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These articles (links below) were written by design clients and although mention us ( was nice, the data in these articles will be useful for anyone planning an IKEA (or any affordable) kitchen remodel.

KARA's article from Arizona

Wesley's article

The help of experts and articles like these will make a big difference in how much you spend and the result you achieve.


P.S. I am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, money and stress. We offer a FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Can Your Contractor Design Your New Kitchen?

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This is an easy one. With a few, very rare exceptions the answers as to whether or not a contractor can DESIGN a kitchen is a resounding NO.

I used to be a contractor. We installed hundreds of IKEA kitchens. I used to do the designs. I used the Home Planner. I learned, painfully, that the free software and the designs the I, an artistic and precise and graphic design-skilled person, were nothing like the designs a professional could do.

How did I learn this? By noticing that the installations that were done for clients with professional designs were completed more quickly. Cost less. Look much better. Happier clients. We got the credit often. But it was the design, the designer, who deserved it.

Now, with a company that designs IKEA and similar kitchens, I see how this works. We spend weeks working with a client to create a truly elegant and optimal layout. Inch by inch. We provide detailed diagrams for installation.

Weeks later the client has purchased cabinets and the contractor hired has installed them. The client has forgotten the designer. The contractor is right there, sweeping up the final bits of dust and getting all the credit.

But I know that had the contractor drawn up, with a pencil, some layouts for the client who sought to save a bit with "free" design done by the contractor, he would not get the kudos nearly as often. Chance are, he made less because his own layout took him longer to install. What contractor knows IKEA components the way our team of experts does? What are the chances some small boo boo had to be fixed during the job. Hopefully the client never knows.

Not to belabor a point, if someone thinks design can be "free" just because it isn't marked on an invoice, think again. The contractor wants (and appreciates) the job. Sometimes he offers to do the design for free to "save" the client a design fee elsewhere. But rest assured the time he spends is hidden in his final invoice. OR he does the design in 20 minutes, with free (and inadequate) software.

Kitchen design is a skill and trained professionals want to be paid for their work. The kitchen design underlies your entire project so don't skimp on it. The value of it won't be obvious until the project is done, and even then you could think it's the contractor's work alone.

Both you and your contractor get great value out of an investment in professional design.


P.S. I am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, money and stress. We offer a FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Saturday, January 30, 2016

About WOOD Cabinets

P.S. I am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, money and stress. We offer a FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

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( took a look at a a website for a company that makes custom doors for IKEA cabinets. You know who I mean?

Their prices used to add about 30% to the cost of buying IKEA boxes and adding their doors. Now it's closer to 60% more than IKEA and higher.

But here's the crazy news: they are mostly selling THERMOFOIL  It really is wild. The idea is you go to IKEA and buy IKEA's fiberboard boxes, and then you pay 2x the price of IKEA's most expensive doors for thermofoil (which is a heat-applied finish on an MDF core). THAT'S NUTS, I feel.

We have decided to offer a line of thermofoil, either wood-look or high gloss, with WOOD boxes and high quality hardware and accessories, with soft closers and hinges INCLUDED, for MUCH less than this.

Why buy IKEA boxes and, seperately, expensive thermofoil doors? Oh boy!

I mean, if you want SOLID WOOD cabinet doors, on IKEA boxes, OK, that's fine. They cost a lot but if you have the budget, that makes sense.

But if you want beautiful modern cabinets (with a European look that IS the kitchen of the near-future in the U.S. and Canada, since wood is just not the right product anymore, let's talk.

IKEA is fine, if you find what you want there. But if you are considering gloss (Ringhult) at IKEA, you MUST get in touch with me. I have a FABULOUS option for you.

In ANY case, still, the secret to a great result is DESIGN. The layout. The way the kitchen is design will make a bigger difference in your life than the way your cabinets look. Don't use the Home Planner or any service based on it. It's BIG and VERY EXPENSIVE mistake. We have PROFESSIONAL kitchen designers for IKEA and our own gloss line. The investment in design services, working with pros, is the key and the best investment. I've worked on a few thousand kitchen projects in 12 years. I have seen many things.

Monday, January 25, 2016

What is FOIL, a.k.a. THERMOFOIL GLOSS, cabinets?

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We are very excited to be able to get gloss cabinets for our clients at a great price and in many colors. But it occurs to me that there are so many things about buying cabinets that are mysterious. People go to IKEA and find something that seems nice and seems affordable and you can see the kitchen displays and make choices. But BETTER cabinets are available at the same price point or lower. Especially for the more expensive IKEA doors. Gloss. That's where I can help.

Design of IKEA kitchens is often incidental, a big mistake. The free IKEA software and the IKEA staff trained to use it can help you PLAN, but to DESIGN a beautiful arrangement of symmetrical, functional and elegant cabinets you need expertise. We can only encourage you to consider professional design as a way to SAVE money on a MUCH nicer result.

But today I want to write about the big word THERMOFOIL. IKEA calls it's RINGHULT doors FOIL which is simply short for THERMOFOIL.

What is thermofoil? It is simply a complex plastic film that is pressure heated onto a (usually) slab or flat board door to create a highly impermeable and glossy finish. The door itself is usually medium density fiberboard, MDF.

Thermofoil can be a solid color, a wood-look, and it can have metallic particles in it, a third popular style.

Gloss cabinets can be VERY expensive if purchased from traditional suppliers who have other means of creating a gloss finish. But ultimately, you can have a beautiful highly modern European-look kitchen for a fraction of the cost with thermofoil.

It used to be that to get a gloss kitchen you'd have to order Italian-made cabinets and wait months for delivery and expect to pay $80,000 and more.

Now you can get a beautiful, quality gloss kitchen for IKEA prices. But you probably know that the IKEA gloss (Ringhult) doors come in only gray or white. If you wanted a different look, you have no options. IKEA cabinets have fiberboard BOXES as well.

We now can offer a quality, made in the U.S., gloss cabinet in 33 colors. Start the creative process.

Don't forget though that the DESIGN of a kitchen is key. You can't just line up some cabinets and expect a beautiful result. It takes precision and experience to create an elegant look that is JUST right for a particular client.

In my opinion you have to design gloss cabinet layouts a bit differently to get the modern look. You need symmetries that are not easy to achieve with free software or the limited hinge options of IKEA cabinets. But we can do it. We design for both lines, IKEA and our own.


P.S. I am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, money and stress. We offer a 
FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

33 Colors of GLOSS cabinets!

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That's right!

IKEA has just two and the cabinets are fiberboard. We now have 33 colors of thermofoil (IKEA calls Ringhult doors FOIL but it's known in the cabinet industry as THERMOFOIL and you know them as high gloss cabinet doors that have a super-modern look.

Thirty-three colors, made in the US, with plywood cabinet boxes and high quality hardware. And the cabinets are delivered to you ALREADY assembled! My next post will show the ACCESSORIES that we have available, such as roll out trays, and swing up doors.


P.S. I am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, money and stress. We offer a 
FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Type of Gloss Cabinets

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This is really a very exciting post for me. I've been writing IKEA kitchen tips for YEARS. We've been designing elegant, professionally executed IKEA kitchens for YEARS. Finally, because we found a line of cabinets that offer clients who want GLOSS cabinets a great alternative, we are becoming DEALERS of modern cabinets.

That's right, after all these years and all these posts, I have something, a THING, to sell. That is, a line of kitchen cabinets with gloss (thermofoil) doors that are PRE-ASSEMBLED, have PLYWOOD boxes and excellent hardware, and come in 30 colors, all the same price!

The prices are comparable to IKEA gloss (Ringult) even thought you get a delivery of actual cabinets, not a pile of flat packed boxes you have to figure out and assembled. OK, maybe you will spend a few hundred more on delivery because assembled cabinets shipped across the country take up more room in a truck than flat packed. But there's a lot less cardboard. And they are MADE IN THE US.

Out clients have to be patient as we learn but I am telling you, telling the world with this blog post, that it's worth it. I'll update on this blog as I learn so you can have the inside scoop.

I've written some posts before but get on our email list for sales, coupons, etc. Just request my FREE ebook on budgeting for an affordable remodel. I'll send it to you and if you want to also talk on the phone, we offer a free 30-minute phone consultation. It's fun. I really like talking to people about kitchens and getting a fabulous result on a small budget. And now I can help people get this great line of gloss cabinets, as well as elegant design (for either this new line or IKEA cabinets(. I'm pretty excited!


P.S. I really am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, money and stress. We offer a FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Quick Tip on IKEA Kitchen Cabinet Panels

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We've had many clients who hired local contractors, not the IKEA-recommended company in their area, to do their IKEA kitchen installation. If you need plumbing, electrical, wall changes, flooring, tile, etc. you probably want to find a real kitchen contractor who can do most if not all of these things. The IKEA company will generally subcontract most things other than cabinet installation, which can be risky or expensive or it can add time.

To find a contractor, you have to make a lot of calls. Expect to call 20 local kitchen contractors to find one good one. I've written about finding a contractor elsewhere in this blog. I used to be one.

Anyway, for this post I want to remind installers who are fairly new to IKEA kitchens that ALL IKEA panels have to be cut. This stumped a client's contractor recently and it's a key point. IKEA sells standard sizes and all have to be cut, including cover panels at the end of rows.

This will seem obvious to many, as it does to me, but it could be a very valuable tip to others. So there you go.



P.S. I am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, money and stress. We offer a 
FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Saturday, January 16, 2016

IKEA type modern cabinets on sale

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If you have been considering a modern look and gloss IKEA cabinets (Ringhult is the name of the IKEA door style) you will want to get a copy of a brochure I put together for our design clients. It's about another brand, that come PREBUILT and have WOOD boxes, not fiberboard like IKEA's. I've written about them before but I am increasingly amazed that for about the same price as IKEA cabinets you can get something much better.

You just have to have the courage to look a little and get some new data and samples. 

This is not to say that design of the layout is STILL the key factor in creating a great remodel or new build of a modern kitchen. In fact, even with low end IKEA doors you can create a fabulous kitchen if the DESIGN is elegant and done well. You can't do a beautiful design using the full capability of the cabinets using the free Home Planner. 

It's also true that a professional designer (what we have) is a HUGE help in creating the look and function you REALLY want. For a budget price. You DO pay for design, but it comes back in savings on cabinets, LABOR and in the value you add to your home. The biggest error people make is designing themselves in the Home Planner, or thinking an IKEA staffer can do what a pro can do.

So step up your dreaming to an elegant, affordable new kitchen that you get with professional design, and modern cabinets.

The 15% sale is extended to our design clients for another few weeks. Call or write to discuss. There is no charge and no obligation. We offer a FREE 30-minute phone consultation.


P.S. I am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, money and stress. We offer a 
FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Monday, January 11, 2016

About Designing Your New Kitchen

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I realize I am biased since my company designs IKEA kitchens. But still, the most important thing I could write about is how important it is to have a good, functional and elegant design (aka cabinet layout) for your new kitchen before you buy cabinets.

Many people send me draft plans they've created in the IKEA Home Planner. I don't have permission to post any of them here, but if I could you would best understand the difference between what a typical homeowner can come up with using that free software, and what an expert designer can create using professional kitchen design software.

The best way to explain is to show you so email to to request copies of our client files. Those I can send. They won't match your kitchen, no matter how close they seem to, so you won't get free design, but you will realize how you can end up with a very mediocre kitchen, despite all your work and money invested, if the foundation is an incorrect or non-optimal layout.

Every kitchen cabinet source is the same in this regard. Whether you buy at IKEA or from us (our line of gloss cabinets is highly competitive with IKEA Ringhult), you need a good design. Now if you go to Home Depot, or similar cabinet sources, they'll design "for free" or so it seems. Of course, you know that Home Depot cabinets are 3-4 times the price of our cabinets or IKEA cabinets. The design service cost is buried in the cabinet cost. This is always the case, whether it is upfront or not.

Now at IKEA, you can get free help from store staff. You have to wait until they can give you their attention, and you already know that these are simply young IKEA co-workers, who have some experience with the IKEA Home Planner free online software. There are no actual kitchen designers standing around waiting to help. Their purpose is to help you BUY IKEA cabinets and the designs I've seem from them often make me sad or angry. They are the lowest common denominator.

You can also purchase an in-home design service from IKEA. Again, these are IKEA staff who come out, measure, and on a laptop and using the same free software, with the same minimal kitchen design training, create a layout for you. It's done in a few hours. There are no revisions allowed afterwards.

We think this is nuts. A beautiful kitchen takes some work to design. It's a process. It's a back and forth communication between client and designer and gives the client private time to consider the layout and aspects of it. It includes revisions. There is really no way to design YOUR optimal kitchen in a few hours, while you are sitting in your home with the designer. This is a cheap substitute for real design. IKEA provides this service to encourage you to buy their cabinets. It's purpose is NOT the best possible design for you, I honestly feel.

I have simply seen too many of these Home Planner designs.

You might also have worked on the Home Planner yourself, we understand wanting to save ANY design fee. But let's consider the investment you are making and whether an awkward design, or one with technical errors that will show up during installation (costing you much more than any design service).

That's the point. The money you spend on design is an investment that comes back to you in savings on contractor costs and, most of all, in the value you add to your home. A future buyer is going to notice the awkward or inelegant design solutions brought to you by free software and inexpert design.

Write me and I'll send you some of our client files so you can see the difference.

I am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, save you money and reduce stress. Thus, we offer a FREE 30-minute kitchen planning consultation

Thursday, December 31, 2015

IKEA Appliances? Waiting for an IKEA kitchen sale?

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Happy New Year to all. This is actually a great time of year to plan a remodel. Although no one knows if there will be a Spring IKEA kitchen sale (or any sales on IKEA kitchen cabinets) if you shop for OTHER items this time of year (appliances, flooring, tile, etc.) you might save yourself a bundle over purchasing these items other times of year.

You might only want to buy cabinets at IKEA (and we have some data on another, competitive brand that trumps IKEA glossy door cabinets, see other posts), and you have probably realized that you don't need to buy appliances at IKEA too. Any brand of appliances can be worked into a layout of IKEA cabinets.

The key is to have the exact measurements of the appliances. If you purchased at IKEA, our designers know the sizes, of course. But if you buy another brand, the exact specs will be needed to integrate them with your IKEA layout.

Many people wait for IKEA kitchen sales but in my experience, the savings of buying OTHER materials on sale is often overlooked. While it's easy to just order everything from IKEA at one time, saving on appliances can be substantial. Often, you can get nice appliances for lower prices if you keep your eye out for sales, especially in early winter.

So, if you order a stove this time of year for a project you might not do till June, you'll have to store the stove. Thus a garage is typically needed. But if you save $400 each on a stove, fridge and hood, it could be worthwhile. Just store them in a protected area.

They key is to design the kitchen with these appliances in mind. You can proceed with a design without specific appliances, to get the general layout and cost nailed down. But you will want the exact specs of appliances before finalizing the design.

This is not to say that some appliances are standard sizes. Dishwashers are standardly 24 inches wide and enough room for pretty much any model can be allotted in a design. A 30 inch standard stove, same. Refrigerators vary, as do hoods. There's really no standard with these.

I just wanted to point out, on this last day of 2015, that you can shop for some items for your planned remodel, without waiting for an IKEA sale (which might never come). Should there be a spring sale, you will want to get your design work underway by February 1, if not sooner.

No matter the size of your budget, professional design is the key to an elegant, affordable result. Why not get the nicest possible kitchen for your remodeling dollars?

I'd be happy to talk with you about your project, whether you use our design service or not. I can usually provide some tips or guidance that will save you the cost of our professional kitchen design service!

We offer a FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Saving on Gloss Door Cabinets

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I've written about the alternative to IKEA cabinets we recently discovered. We have had some very happy clients buy from this source.

Today I got to see a bid done for one client with a fairly large kitchen and a completed IKEA plan (not done by us). The bid for this alternative was $3000 lower than IKEA Ringhult (the gloss door style). I am shocked. Had to write about it. It was $11,000 versus $8,000.

We have been DESIGNERS of IKEA kitchens and experts when it comes to IKEA components for many years. So it is odd to suggest looking at another line. But if you are planning a modern kitchen with the gloss door cabinets, I think there is an alternative that can get you what you want, better quality for less money.

You will need a DESIGN to get a BID. I can give you an ESTIMATE just based on LINEAL feet of cabinets you need if you only have measurements. Or you can look at IKEA RINGHULT in their catalog and realize that this other line has PLYWOOD boxes, come PRE-ASSEMBLED and there are 33 color choices. It sounds unreal, even to me. But it's real.

This is not to say that you don't need a professional design done (what we do) only that I am pleased to provide data that might help you save some money. You deserveexcellent service, an expert and caring human with whom to discuss our project. If you have tried to get this from IKEA you will understand my frustration and why we MUST be different and better.

I am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, money and stress. We offer a FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

FRAMELESS and FRAMED Cabinets. Which do you prefer?

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IKEA sells FRAMELESS or BOX Cabinets.  There is another type of cabinet, a FRAMED cabeint, that is a different construction. IKEA’s frameless cabinet BOXES are four MDF sides (medium density fiberboard) with a thin fiber backing. If you want plywood boxes, you have to look elsewhere. These days it’s almost impossible to find solid wood cabinets.

But let me clarify the difference between frameless and framed. You can save some real money and achieve the look you want more easily if you understand the difference. 

With FRAMED cabinets, a border or frame (of about 2 inches) hides the edge of the cabinet box. The face frame adds strength. The door of framed cabinets is attached to the frame's side or under the frame. Framed cabinets usually have a box made of plywood, particleboard or medium density fiberboard (MDF). 

Here's a kitchen of FRAMED white cabinets:

With FRAMELESS construction (such as IKEA cabinets) (also known as euro), there's no face frame and the cabinet doors attach directly to the sides of the cabinet box. The cabinet door covers the entire cavity and box. Because they don't require a frame, frameless cabinets make maximum use of space. Cabinets and drawers are usually slightly larger than those of framed cabients. Most frameless cabinet boxes are built from plywood, structural particleboard or MDF and edged with a laminate or wood veneer.

Here's a kitchen of FRAMELESS white cabinets:

If you're seeking a traditional look for your kitchen, go with framed cabinets and wood or wood-look doors and drawer fronts. Framed cabinets have a classic appearance unlike the frameless, more modern styles. 

Frameless cabinets are sometimes more economical, although this also depends on the chosen style and material. However, you’ll find that super modern, high gloss fronts add to the cost as do plywood boxes versus MDF, in either style. 

I’d suggest comparing prices of framed and frameless cabinets for your new kitchen.

I am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, money and stress. We offer a FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Friday, November 06, 2015

Photos of gloss door, super modern look kitchens

If you are planning a modern type kitchen like these, write me and I'll tell you where these cabinets, which are NOT IKEA cabinets, came from. They are made in the U.S., have PLYWOOD boxes, and prices are lower than RINGHULT, the IKEA cabinets with high gloss doorss. And they are delivered to you  anywhere in the US or Canada PRE-BUILT. No assembly, as with IKEA cabinets. 

They have 20+ colors and wood look thermofoil. 

Use my form to REQUEST CABINET INFO. If you want pricing you have to send a DESIGN so I can get you a bid because the manufacturer doesn't do design.

You can also schedule a free, 30-minute phone consultation with me to discuss you project. I can give you some tips that can save you thousands and stress on an IKEA kitchen or IKEA-type kitchen.

Want to talk? FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

There IS a Sale!

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As far as we can tell, there is just not going to be the typical IKEA fall sale on kitchens. Many people wait for IKEA kitchen sales so it's rather disappointing.

However, I can tell you that a design client of ours requested a bid (done from her design work) from the alternative cabinet source I wrote about last. They sent her a sample cabinet and color chips. There was a live, very knowledgeable person on the phone that helped her through the purchase process. Her timing was good and she got a 15% discount, comparable to an IKEA sale discount (this is effective through Nov 30, 2015 only and I don't know when they will offer it again).

Anyway, there's the sale discount. These cabinets, from all I can see, are better quality, nicer and about the same price. Her bid included shipping and she ended up spending $245 more than her IKEA pricing. So, about the same.

One important note is that this line only has gloss doors, or wood look thermofoil (nice). The gloss looks similar to similar to IKEA RINGHULT.  They have TWENTY colors (yes, you can have an orange kitchen now!) but the cost is lower as far as I can tell.

If you want the lower end IKEA doors, these may not be a competitive product. But instead of 30% more for custom doors, consider these.

This is a manufacturer, no retail. I send you photos and can get you a bid however, just email me your design or sign up for our design service (as it is at IKEA, you have to have a finished design in order to buy cabinets). If you like what you see you can talk with the manufacturer's rep yourself.

Use this form so I can easily send you photos but if you want PRICING for your DESIGN, send the design. There's no pricing without a design.


Want to talk? FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Thanks for reading,


Friday, October 30, 2015

Alternatives to IKEA Cabinets...!

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For years, as designers of IKEA kitchens, we've kept an eye out for alternatives. We were thrilled with the "custom" doors that you can now buy from half a dozen or more companies to make your IKEA kitchen unique.

We recently found a source that seems to be a better option for some of our projects. The cabinets are a bit lower in cost (even with shipping included!) yet have PLYWOOD boxes, the SAME quality hardware, come pre-built (!) and have many more door styles/colors. They are also MADE IN the U.S. IKEA cabinets are  a great value but it's possible, if you are in the U.S., that this could be a better option.

Since our purpose is not to advertise anything, use this form to request more data on this. You can also request a complimentary consultation so I can understand your project and provide the best tips.

Remember, you'll need a DESIGN to proceed with IKEA's or any other line of cabinets.

Expert kitchen design is a foundation for an elegant and easy to install new kitchen.

Want to talk? FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation


PS. one of our design clients just bought from this alternative source. She is THRILLED. I think we are looking at a whole new game for homeowners who want a sleek modern look. Same or similar cost, higher quality, more features/colors.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Finding a Contractor for an IKEA-type Kitchen

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Many people ask me (I own an IKEA kitchen design company), "how do I find a contractor." Still others don't realize they will need to find one. It can seem as though IKEA is going to handle your remodel.

In fact, most IKEA stores in the US have companies contracted to IKEA to provide kitchen installation service. They will remove the old cabinets, install the new ones along with appliances, IKEA sinks, IKEA laminate or wood counter tops.

The prices these company charge are controlled to some degree by IKEA. They might even do electrical work or plumbing (beyond appliance or sink installation) but these services are generally not related to IKEA and often they are subcontracted by the IKEA-affiliated contractor.

Some of these companies (different stores and areas have different ones) are ok (by review) some are not well liked. Consider that IKEA feeds them customers and they are beholden to IKEA more than you. Still, they want you to be happy so you don't complain and they often have a lot of experience with IKEA stuff.

On the other hand, most cities have dozens or hundreds of remodeling contractors who can install IKEA or similar kitchens. Finding one suited to your job and your preferences is the key. What does it take? Communication.

I've advised many to create  list of 10 possible contractors and call them all. See who calls back promptly. Who is polite and professional. Which ones give you bids or estimates quickly? Do they need to come to your house? If you need electrical work or plumbing work or want wall changes and such, YES, they do. But any company with IKEA kitchen experience can look at your design and provide an estimate at least. 16 cabinets plus a dishwasher, sink and stove.

Keep in mind that most IKEA stores sell solid surface countertop as well as laminate/butcherblock. These are not IKEA products and are installation is included in the price. Typically a local supplier will contact you and arrange for installation. So this is a service you might not need from a contractor.

Should you hire the IKEA-affiliate or find an independent contractor? That you need to decide. A good contractor is key to your project.

One final tip. Have a design before you look for a contractor. You'll get a lower estimate if you say THIS is what I want, rather than, UM, I am not sure.

If your design is professionally done all the better. If the contractor runs into errors in your self-drafted design, it'll cost you in labor hours. Another reason, among many, we are happy to offer professional design.

Want to talk? FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Why You Should Insist on Professional Design

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IKEA has great, affordable cabinets and if you've been looking at them in the store or online for awhile you know that a finished IKEA kitchen can look fabulous and be a fantastic value, as home remodeling goes.

I've been working on IKEA kitchen projects for more than a decade. Hundreds of installations, thousands of designs. I can tell you without bias that investing a small part of your budget in expert design is UTTERLY worthwhile.

We have design clients who feel that JUST the ease and confidence of ORDERING at the end of the design process was worth the price of the service.

But our larger goal is to ensure each client sorts out the many factors that go into designing a really wonderful kitchen layout so that our designers can create a kitchen just right for their preferences and kitchen space. It's a process. It takes experience, skill, good software.

The IKEA Home Planner free online software is ok for planning. It does not allow you to use IKEA components in many ways and, worse, it allows you to make errors that won't be apparent until the installation. Then you can find yourself needing to let a contractor make design decisions for you. Ugh.

Anyway, I am completely biased. But I can tell you that you'll save money, stress, and time, and you'll get a much nicer result, by basing your kitchen remodel on expert design and drawings. Your contractor will know exactly what to do, where everything goes, and you won't have to worry that your dishwasher door won't open all the way, or that the new space around the island, which seemed ok on paper, is really too tight.

I'm happy to discuss your kitchen project with you, a free 30-minute phone consultation. Whether or not you are interested in our design services. Perhaps I can save your some money or stress or time, and I'm always happy to do so.

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Our toll free number for design help or free consultation: 1-877-550-1753

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Great Kitchen Story

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

We designed an IKEA kitchen for a client last year and he just sent me a link to an article he was interviewed for. It has great photos of his wonderful new kitchen, a lot of tips, and it mentions my IKEA kitchen design company, happily. I thought my blog readers would really enjoy it and learn from it:

Want to talk over your project with me? It's free and I've saved many people a lot of money and stress:

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation


Thursday, July 23, 2015

How Long Does a Kitchen Remodel Take?

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

Many people have asked me to help define a timeframe for their IKEA kitchen project. It's not that hard to give a ballpark estimate.

A kitchen remodeling project or a new construction installation are two different things. With a remodel, there's the question of the condition of the walls, floors, plumbing. Once the old cabinets are removed, which takes a takes a day with a strong crew of two and a dumpster outside, you have to inspect the walls and plumbing to see if they need any repair. Sheetrock work can add a few days if it's major.

There is also the question of electrical work. Every kitchen remodel is going to have some electrical, even if it's just adding or moving an outlet. But some projects can require adding a new electrical panel to the house, which can add $2000 or more and a week or more if there is a lot of wiring needed. Don't worry about this, just have am honest contractor look at the electrical situation in your house and figure out what is needed, if anything.

Our design service takes a minimum of three weeks. We have found that it is CRAZY to try to design a kitchen remodel in one day. You might try working on it on your own, but ultimately, having professional plans for a major project like a kitchen remodel is wise and cost-saving. Plan errors are costly and it's not so easy to design an elegant and optimal layout of IKEA components. The free online software is very limiting and those limits will show up in your finished kitchen, which we feel is very sad.

Adding a month for design, you'll then order your cabinets and you might be purchasing other items from stores other than IKEA. You have to get the delivery timeline from each store. IKEA is usually VERY quick, a major selling point of their cabinets. You can sometimes take them home on the spot. but more likely their inexpensive delivery service works well. Typically you'll get your order in a week, on average. There could be a backordered part or two, but almost never anything that will hold up the project.

Once you have your delivery of a pallet or two of heavy, flat-packed IKEA boxes, you can start installation IF you have prepped the kitchen. If not, the prep, which means removing old cabinets, perhaps some sheetrock (wall board), making wall repairs, any electrical, plumbing or flooring repairs or demo. Assembling the boxes of your new cabinets is easy and could be done in one day. Hanging takes 1-2 days. Putting in doors, handles, and trim (toe kick or crown molding) takes another day or two. So, really, if your kitchen is prepped, you can have a new kitchen in one week.

That's not to say it can take lots longer. Try to get a timeline in a contract from your installer. List every bit of work you are contracting for and even add a penalty for lateness day by day.

So, how long does it take, really? I'd say estimate two weeks, expect a month.


PS: You are welcome to schedule a time to talk with me, we offer a completely free 30-minute phone  consultation and can often give guidance or answer questions that can save you headaches, time and money. If you are interested in our professional IKEA kitchen design service, we can talk about that, too:

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Sunday, July 12, 2015

About IKEA Appliances

One of the most common questions I am asked is:

"Do I have to use IKEA appliances if I am using IKEA cabinets?"

The answer is simple: No. You can use ANY appliances you would like, but you will want to make sure that any that will be built into a cabinet will fit in the IKEA cabinet lineup.

Wall ovens, either the type that go into tall oven cabinets, single or double, almost always fit into the 30 inch IKEA wall cabinets. Microwaves that hang above a stove are almost all designed to fit under a 30 inch over-the-range cabinet. But larger-than-typical appliances might not fit simply although if the design is done correctly, professionally, you'll be fine in almost every case.

Make sure you know the specs, meaning the size but also the hook up requirements of any appliances you buy. The designer will need the measurements but if, as with hoods, venting is wanted to the outside, you'll need to know a bit more about the hood you choose.

The key for design is to choose what you want in your new kitchen but MAKE SURE to let the kitchen designer know the specs of all these items.

If you have questions, write me or schedule a free phone consultation.