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the beginning: IKEA kitchen reno. Guide me, wise ones!

6 years ago

Hi everyone, I'm a newbie to posting but I've read a lot of posts on Houzz and am blown away with how thoughtful and knowledgable people are. So I'm hoping to garner some wisdom from the cloud to make our upcoming kitchen reno go more smoothly. I've got quite a few questions I'm hoping you can provide help on - but first let me introduce the project and the users of the kitchen.

We are about to renovate our kitchen in our vintage-1983 home. It's our forever house and in the last 8.5 years we've done a lot of work (mostly on our own) to update and refresh it. The kitchen is in the middle of a long line of expensive projects we need to undertake, so I'll be GC'ing it myself and we'll be self-performing a lot of work.

Before I go further here is a BEFORE pic. Watch out, you are about to be timewarped to 1983. All I have to say is thank goodness that laminate counter is cream and not green or blue.

So, before I describe the scope, let me give you the scoop. We're a family of five, two working parents with kids 5, 7, and 10. Busy, yes; dinner ranges from frozen pizza to uber-healthy home-cooked options. Baking is a special occasion, and vegetable chopping is a daily priority.

OK now for the scope, then I'll get to the questions I have.

1. We'll demo the soffit and the bank o' fluoro lights. Replace with can lights and a pretty set of pendants over the island.

2. We'll replace the vinyl everywhere you see in the photo with maple hardwood (a question on that later...).

3. We'll be doing IKEA cabinets. Bodbyn, offwhite. Classicforever ;)

4. Obviously we'll be getting rid of the fence you see in the foreground. It divides the dining area from a step-down into the living room, and eventually I'd like to replace it with a custom maple bookshelf, but it wouldn't be critical to get that done with the main thrust of flooring.

5. Floor plan stays basically the same, except we'll probably move the fridge from near the stove to near the table, along the same wall. (you can sort of see a desk builtin at the far right of the picture - under a ton of clutter - that's where the fridge would go).

Now, before I get to my questions, a few more pictures. These are the before. Like, from almost-before-I-was-born before.

Dining area. We plan to swap this table out for a hand-me-down heavy heavy solid oak one that we'd have re-stained and painted. Traditional...yet updated.

I thought about a wider window and decided that the proportions would be off and I'd end up sacrificing valuable cabinet space above the dishwasher. (I found about a dozen other reasons it wasn't worth trying to make it bigger).

So, like I said, I'm 90% sure I'd put the fridge on the right, closer to the table. There will be some IKEA planner shots below so you can see what I have in mind. Anyone have strong opinions on this?

So, that 2002 fridge is about 6" shallower than a standard 2018 fridge and about 2" deeper than a counter-depth. So, family of five, we will be eating out of a counter-depth fridge. Otherwise the fridge will cause fire code egress issues. (Sidenote: the kitchen remodel starts the day that fridge dies, even if we're not quite ready...the clearance under the cabinets is about 2" shorter than a modern fridge).

The "not-really-after" photos:

All right. Questions.

1. Where do I put my trash? Right now it is next to the fridge. Super inconvenient. How do you feel about under-the-sink? Has anyone found a 36" pullout from IKEA to be wobbly or are they just fine? I'd rather not sacrifice much coveted island storage to put a pullout in there, but I do want the trash closer to all the action on the island and at the sink than it is right now. I can't put it next to the sink because the next cabinet over is only 12" wide. We have a fancy-dancy water filter hogging up under-sink space but genius-hubby thinks he can mount it on the ceiling of our unfinished basement. Brilliant.

2. Is it too much white? I thought about doing semihandmade panels for the island and painting them Ben Moore's Van Deusen Blue, which I have used several times over the past 10 years and still love, but decided instead to add color with my other oak table instead (stained dark top, white base, and deep blue chairs).

3. Is it ok if I don't have glass doors? I love how they look in magazines. And my house never looks like a magazine. I'm super organized but I tend to stuff my cabinets full. Any place I considered putting them doesn't work because it's a 24" upper - which IKEA doesn't sell with glass. I wish IKEA sold cabinet doors with bubble glass or something. Thoughts?

4. Thoughts on creative solutions for charging devices? We currently leave our phones charging or laying on the desk where the fridge will be. I like having them out/usable and charging. We also have an ever-growing assortment of kindles, tablets, etc. Those could be behind cabinet doors. My best thought are strategically placed USB outlets on the small counter next to the fridge and in the cabinet above. Looking for creative solutions.

5. Does that drawer arrangement on the island look weird? I really wanted two shallow drawers at the top of each section, but I also wanted one deep drawer. That was my best shot...and I suspect function-over-form may compromise aesthetics a bit much...but I am really bad at the aesthetic stuff.

6. Prefinished or site-finished maple hardwoods? We have prefinished in 2 other rooms (one is the formal dining area which shares only an inconspicuous doorway with the kitchen, so I'm fine if they don't match 100%). Prefinished has a more durable finish and would be WAY cheaper since superhero-hubby is an old hat at installing it; but site-finished wouldn't have grooves. We frequent a lake place that has grooved laminate in the kitch that is just fine - but it's a vacation home, not a 100% home kitchen.

7. I don't love the open cabinet to the left of the dishwasher, but that space is gridlocked. From right to left it's corner-cab, 12" cab with pullouts, sink, dishwasher, and mabye 11" of space at best. Any ideas on making that work nicely? I don't really want to go with a puny sink to put larger base cabs in.

8. Countertop color, light fixtures, and backsplash? Oh, you mean those aesthetic things that make a kitchen pretty. All I've done is stress out over that. Not my strongsuit. Just want whatever I choose to have staying power so I don't hate it in 20 years.

OK. That's a mega-post. Thanks for hanging in there - and thank you even more for your time and thought for answering my questions.



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