Friday, July 15, 2016

Expert Design Matters

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  • Have you been struggling with the IKEA Home Planner free online software?
  • Do you have four plan versions (or 10!) and none are REALLY what you want?
  • Are you SCARED to order cabinets based on a design you did?


These are comments I hear all the time. To sell their cabinets, IKEA offers a FREE way to design a layout. But is this the way to get a beautiful result? Not unless you have studied kitchen design. Even then, the software itself isn't really adequate to make the best use of the cabinets. Probably you have noticed this.

If you are going to spend $10,000 or more on a new kitchen, invest a small amount in expert design. I don't mean the IKEA service, which is not expert and uses the SAME free software with all its limitations.

Our professional designers, with years and thousands of designs worth of experience use EXPERT SOFTWARE that enables us to create elegant, highly functional kitchens.

Why settle for cookie-cutter or incorrectly designed layouts? It is simply the case that a professional design is needed to get a great result. A pro design will likely save you TIME and MONEY and prevent errors. It will make the installation easier in almost every case. It will make ordering faster and easier.

To save two or three hundred dollars by going with NO design or CHEAP design is a mistake.


Susan




Friday, April 29, 2016

Do you REALLY want IKEA cabinets?

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It has occurred to me lately that many people just don't have the data needed to make the best coices for kitchen remodeling and cabinets purchases. IKEA is easy. There is a huge store, hard to miss, seemingly low prices WITH style.

But, as in all things, you get what you pay for. My son purchased an IKEA couch a few years ago. A few years earlier I purchased a nice, lightly used couch for an area of my home off of craigslist. It wasn't cheap but it was nice quality.

If you could see the two couches now, you would see the difference. The IKEA couch is in threads. True, there have been young children and heavy use of my son's couch. But the quality of the IKEA fabric is so much lower. The springs are shot, it's ready for replacement. You can't do much to fix up a worn out IKEA couch, it becomes clear.

Now my couch, used less admittedly, is as good as new. My dog sleeps on it every day, he has squashed down the cushions to suit his body shape (which is adorable). But were I do vacuum, dry clean or steam clean the couch, it would really be in the same condition as when I bought it.

That's the difference between couches, but how about cabinets. IKEA cabinets are nice. You can see them in the stores and they seem pretty sturdy. But so did my son's couch when he bought it. IKEA cabinets are medium density fiberboard with either particle board or MDF doors of differing qualities. this isn't bad, but for a huge purchase, $5000 or $10,000 not to mention the labor you pay for to install them, maybe it's not the best choice.

We found a US manufacturer that builds plywood cabinets with beautiful thermofoil doors. We are happy to get these for our clients. They cost about the same as IKEA Ringhult (gloss) and whereas you pay for shipping, there's no sales tax (except in CA) and because they are preassembled, no assembly charge. You can find any skilled installer, not just the IKEA installers who charge a premium.

Why would someone choose IKEA cabinets when they can get something better for about the same cost? Because IKEA is familiar, and one thinks it'll be safe.

But it turns out that a lifetime warranty is easy to come by, and higher quality is available without a lot more cost. It just takes some research and some courage to think outside the IKEA box.

Thanks for listening,

Susan



P.S. I am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, money and stress. Call 1-877-550-1753 or schedule here: FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation



Thursday, April 14, 2016

Avoiding DEAD SPACE in kitchen design

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The alternative to IKEA I've been writing about is doing better and better. SUCH nice cabinets and for the same money as a homeowner would spend on fiberboard IKEA cabinets, they can have wood cabinets (with the same hardware that IKEA uses) that are CUSTOMIZABLE.

Let's say we design an IKEA kitchen per the requests of a client (which we still do, of course!) and there's six inches of space left. There is no IKEA cabinet that is 6 inches. Nothing. That is dead space and covered with "filler." But with a customizable line you can resize two cabinets, say from 30" to 33.25" and USE those six inches. The factory simply builds them to the specifications of the design. 

Can you see why we love this line? We know that some clients want the IKEA shaker doors or the lower cost door styles. That's fine, we can create a truly elegant layout for them.

But for anyone who considered the IKEA Ringhult (gloss) I have to recommend that you take a look at this alternative line. It costs the same or less than IKEA Ringhult but instead of TWO colors, it comes in THIRTY-FIVE. Some gloss, some matte, some wood grain, some textured. You can get 4 x 4 blocks of color samples, just request a brochure and there's a link to order.  They are beautiful.

Here is what I can tell you about ordering cabinets from us. First, unless you are in California, there is NO SALES TAX because you are buying from out of state. 

Second, these cabinets are PREASSEMBLED so you save $1000-$3000 on assembly. You can also hire ANY experienced kitchen contractor, you aren't limited to a company that can install IKEA kitchens. This is going to save you money, too. 

So, whereas you do pay for shipping, this is always less, even shipping all the way across the country, than sales tax savings plus assembly cost savings. 

But the most important thing to know is that these are BETTER QUALITY than IKEA cabinets. They are WOOD. They have fabulous accessories, see moderncabinetry,us They are NICER and it's not subtle once you see them. 

That you can customize them is a designer's delight, but after 12 years of designing IKEA kitchens, we know that this is a product anyone considering IKEA cabinetry really needs to consider. It's not just super glossy modern kitchens. You can create so many looks with the 35 styles. And they are all the same price! (the 5 'metallic 'are 10% more).

As always, I offer a FREE 30-minute phone consultation to discuss your project. I can give you more data, perhaps answer some questions about IKEA or other kitchen projects, and tell you about our expert design services, too.

Thanks for reading,

Susan

P.S. I am happy to talk with you. I can usually offer guidance and tips that save time, money and stress. Call 1-877-550-1753 or schedule here: FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation






Thursday, March 24, 2016

LAST CHANCE for PRO DESIGN during CURRENT IKEA Sale


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A beautiful design takes time, communication, revisions, sorting out. Don't expect elegance from a design done in a few hours. You will want time to consider the details, revised, tweak, finalize.

That said, our design process takes at least three weeks and so we have a cut off date to ensure we can complete a design service to a full result before a deadline, in this case the April 17 end of the IKEA sale.

It's not a great sale, but if you want that gift card AND expert design, call soon. We'll get you through.

Susan


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

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mix and Match COLORS


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Not everyone likes or has enough space to pull off an artful mix of cabinet fronts/colors. But from a dark island in a white kitchen, to some metallic drawer fronts in a woodgrain kitchen, I have to say that I love the look of the mix and match.

Possibly a mix of cabinets can look simply eclectic or unplanned, but done well, thoughtfully, the look can add elegance and make a simple, affordable new kitchen look like a high end remodel.




These are photos of the thermofoil cabinets we can get for our clients. They are beautiful and there are 30+ color/style choices, all the same price. Some are gloss, some are woodgrain some are matte. We can send nice 4 x 4 color chips and door samples and even whole cabinets so you can see the quality. VERY MUCH WORTH LOOKING INTO if you were considering IKEA cabinets.

The design is the key, for any new kitchen. That's where a professional, like our team of designers, comes in.


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


Friday, March 11, 2016

The IKEA Kitchen Sale


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Well, it's that time of year and thank goodness there's SOME sale. It's not the 20% off we hoped for, but it's better than no sale, which we experienced in the fall.

The deal is that if you spend $4000 (which is easy on even a modest-sized kitchen, you get a gift card back for 15% of your purchase price.

I suppose that if you want an IKEA couch or are furnishing a whole apartment, it's not bad. But the chances are that if you are buying a kitchen, you own a home and spending hundreds of dollars at IKEA can be FUN, but not that productive. I tend to buy things we don't need when I have gift cards...

Anyway, we have a much better deal on modern cabinets. There's not for everyone, they are not particle board and you don't get a delivery of hundreds of flat-packed boxes. Our cabinet line is WOOD and the cabinets are delivered pre-assembled. The prices are comparable to IKEA pricing and we provide PROFESSIONAL design service.

I really hope that you help me spread the word that there is an alternative to IKEA that is REALLY worth looking into.

If you would like a BROCHURE or color chip SAMPLES, just let me know.  I have lots of data. We are really excited to find this AMERICAN-MADE line of beautiful modern cabinets.

Susan

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




Thursday, March 10, 2016

IKEA Cabinets (fiberboard and MDF) or WOOD?


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It comes down to what you prefer. But you need data so do your research. Know what you are paying for. Some of the PARTICLE BOARD styles are NOT CHEAP. You will pay thousands for particle board cabinets. 

Which IKEA styles are PARTICLE BOARD?

BJORKET
EKESTAD
GRIMSLOV (medium brown)
HAGGEBY
LAXARBY
TINGSRYD


Which IKEA styles are Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)
BOBDYN
EDSURUM
FILIPSTAD
GRIMSLOV (white)
HITTARP
RINGHULT
VEDDINGE


IKEA cabinets are either particle board (lower end) or MDF (medium density fiberboard). Make sure you consider this when you choose your style. Higher quality cabinets are usually plywood.

WHAT IS PARTICLE BOARD?
Particle board is a waste-wood product made by heat pressing wood chips, sawmill shavings, or even sawdust and resin together. To make it water resistant, fireproof, and/or insect-proof, various chemicals are used including wax and dyes. After the resin, chemicals, and wood scraps have all been mixed together, the mixture is made into a sheet and compressed. 

PROS
Low cost
Lightweight
Good for ready-made inexpensive furniture


CONS
Low strength - cannot support heavy load
Not as eco-friendly as wood for furniture
Expands or discolors around moisture

What is MDF?
MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard, which is an engineered wood composite made up of wood fibers. Because the MDF is composed of small wood fibers, there is no visible wood grain, rings, or knots. The making of the composite uses the fibers, glue, and heat to create a tight bonding board. Both softwood and hardwood are used to manufacture MDF. Generally denser than plywood, this composition creates a strong material for building. Use a veneer sealant to prevent water damage. Two types of fiberboard are moisture resistant (which is typically blue) and fire retardant.

PROS

  • Low cost
  • Smooth, no splinters
  • Easy to paint
  • Easy to cut
  • Denser and stronger than particle board
  • No wood grain

CONS

  • MDF is heavy
  • Cannot be stained
  • Can dull cutting blades quickly

What is Plywood?
Plywood is an engineered wood product made up of sheets of wood veneer. The wood veneer boards are pressed and bonded together to create one solid piece. This manufacturing process reduces shrinkage and expansion while improving strength. Different grades of plywood are used for different purposes. Plywood grades are affected by many variables including the type of wood, thickness, adhesive, and manufacturing/compaction process. Lower grades are perfect for subflooring in buildings and homes. High grades can be used for cabinets and shelving.


PROS

Very Strong Material
Less susceptible to water damage
Stainable and paintable
Holds screws well
Possible to purchase with low or no VOCs.

CONS

More Expensive
Have to Finish Edges 
Difficult to Cut

Conclusion: When buying cabinets you could choose any three of these wood composites. Most people will prefer plywood, although it costs more, for the cabinet frame because it holds screws well and takes paint and stain well. The plywood's multiple wood layers make the cabinets lightweight, yet strong and durable. Lower quality home items, such as a shelving unit, could be built with MDF to save money. Particle board is the last choice. It's cheap but for a major project, it's not recommended. 

If you want the most for your money, an elegant kitchen for the lowest cost, call or write for tips and info on professional design, which is the key.

Susan


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, March 01, 2016

IKEA Kitchen Sale Dates


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The sale for Spring 2015 in the US has been announced. It's not our favorite sort of sale but it's something:

Starting March 4, 2016 and ending April 17, 2016, if you are an IKEA Family Member and you spend $4000 on an IKEA kitchen you get a gift card back for 15%.

If you want the most for your money, an elegant kitchen for the lowest cost, call or write for tips and info on professional design, which is the key.

Susan

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

2016 IKEA Kitchen Catalog


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The new 2016 IKEA kitchen catalog is out. Since the SEKTION line itself was new just last year, we didn't expect many new things. But there is new door style with integrated handles as well as a new sink offered. These are not fabulous changes but they add to what can be done with this cabinet line.

I have to admit that after designing beautiful IKEA kitchens for many years, we are startled to notice that there are other ways to create wonderful modern kitchens that cost LESS and get you more. You have to see past the familiarity of IKEA's showrooms and the utter popularity, and you have to be willing to consider alternatives, but I can tell you confidently that there are OTHER brands of cabinets you should consider. For the same money.

Meanwhile, we're happy to design a custom IKEA kitchen for you. You will never get the same result from the IKEA Home Planner, even if an IKEA staff designer uses it for your design. The software limitations are the limitations of your new kitchen. Our pros know how to bypass many of these with our sophisticated design software.

Alternately, work with us to create a truly custom kitchen using the thermofoil cabinets I've wrote about elsewhere. You really should consider this line, or compare at least.

Susan

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, February 20, 2016

Beautiful WOOD Cabinets at IKEA Prices

That's right. There are other brands but that giant IKEA store seems to be the EASIEST place to go for cabinets. We DO love IKEA cabinets, but too many people think it is as cheap and as easy as IKEA makes it look.
First, years of experience have proven to me that the difference between an IKEA kitchen and a PROFESSIONALLY DESIGNED IKEA kitchen is HUGE. Don't think that the free online software is an adequate tool to create your ideal, affordable new kitchen. That's a mistake. Also, designing a great kitchen is a process, it isn't done in a day by anyone who can choose a password and username, or get a row of cabinets to fit. Fit is good. But elegant, functional fit is better.
Second, DO consider ALTERNATIVES to IKEA for your cabinets. Yes, IKEA is easy and familiar but it's a giant, foreign-owned warehouse and the cabinets are all fiberboard. This is fine for many, and surely it's an affordable way to go.
But after years of working on IKEA kitchen projects, we are so happy to find alternative lines that are priced the same or lower than IKEA, have the options (like customized cabinets and more sizes) and accessories (like slide-out spice cabinets) so many of our clients have wanted.
I admit to being an Amazon shopper. I buy things online. I buy shoes and clothes online. I even buy some food items online. Why? It's cheaper and often the brand I want is available for a lower cost. But the one negative is that I can't see or feel the item or try it on, before buying. But I realize that it's the fact of mail order that makes it cheaper. The seller doesn't have to pay for brick and mortar.
So we help our clients to get color samples, sample doors and even whole cabinets so they can see the quality and beauty of the cabinets we now offer. Frameless, thermofoil (which is known as gloss but can have a matte woodgrain finish, too) which come PRE-ASSEMBLED, and traditional framed wood cabinets, at amazingly affordable prices (for the quality). You save a lot buying online.
We are also able to offer our professional design service at a lower cost when the goal is to use one of our cabinet lines. Thus, with better quality cabinets AND professional design, I think we have it nailed as to how to proceed with what you might have thought would be an IKEA kitchen.
But let's talk. I am happy to help you, give you data. I've been through MANY IKEA kitchen projects. We offer a FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation
Susan
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These articles (links below) were written by two different design clients of ours and although the mentions of us (www.modernfamilykitchens.com) are nice, the data in these articles will be useful for anyone planning an IKEA (or any affordable) kitchen remodel.




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 (www.modernfamilykitchens.com) 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.

Susan

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.

Susan



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.

Susan

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.

Susan

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!

Susan

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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Hi!

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.

Best,

Susan

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.

Susan

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

Susan