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Diary of an IKEA Kitchen Renovation

Posted Thursday, May 19, 2016 in: Nerd Life Dare to DIY Obsessed With

So we’ve now lived with our IKEA kitchen for a year and I thought it was about time I blogged a bit more about it and the renovation process – including all the sweat, blood and hormonal pregnancy tears!

You might remember last year a post I wrote when I was 25 weeks pregnant and Mr Nerd and I decided to do some renovations, which included renovating our old kitchen and turning our 1970s bar into a walk-in pantry. We proooobably could have timed that one better.

A full kitchen! Little Nerd at three months. Photo by Earthbound Images.

This week I’ll be sharing a couple of posts – a diary of our IKEA kitchen renovation, and my thoughts on our renovated kitchen and what I think are the pros and cons of going the IKEA kitchen route. Hoping it will help a few of you guys who are considering a kitchen renovation.

So first, here’s our little walk waddle down Memory Lane!


Boring stuff first. In June 2015 IKEA swapped over their kitchen system from FAKTUM to a new one called METOD.

This was our old jarrah kitchen.

Mr Nerd and I were, apparently, some of the last people at IKEA Perth to contract a kitchen using the old system of cabinets. The new system, METOD (called AKURUM in the U.S) apparently means new everything – hinges, doors, drawers, although the cabinet styles are mainly the same, keeping the most popular fronts as well as some new ones.

After seeing some of the new kitchens in real life, there are many aspects of it that seem to look and function better than the old system – for example shallower drawers that mean more storage - and a slightly wider range of cabinetry options make more use of the space. For example in some designs you can have built-in nooks that can hold chopping boards or cookbooks, which was something I wanted in ours but was told I couldn’t have (they just affixed a panel over the space).

The main difference to me seems to be that METOD cabinets are affixed differently to the FAKTUM ones. METOD wall cabinets are mounted to a steel suspension rail that is attached to the wall. It is apparently meant to make it easier to hang and level the cabinets. FAKTUM cupboards were mounted directly to the wall. I am not sure if the new method affects IKEA’s standard procedures for a kitchen renovation but I doubt that it does.


Sunday 22nd February 2015 - the Consultation Booking

We visit IKEA to see the cabinets in person. Mr Nerd and I always aim to buy things that last for ages. I think “solid” is one of his favourite words. He’s happy – I think he is pleasantly surprised how good the quality is - and so am I.

KITCHEN SHOPPING! At that point in pregnancy where it's like, is she pregnant or did she just eat too much carbonara.

We pay the $99 for the initial kitchen consultation with a designer contracted by IKEA. The $99 fee gets refunded if you decide to go ahead with buying a kitchen from them. (Just a little side note, make sure you chase this $99 refund up later – they probably won’t remind you of this!)

We choose the cabinets (Lidingo in white) knobs, a sink, and a benchtop, a solid butcherblock one. We’ll source our own splashback tiles. Oh man, shopping for an IKEA kitchen is fun. Pointing at what you like, ticking the boxes of what you want. It makes it all seem so effortless! Before your consultation date, IKEA advise you to get dimensions of any appliances you are buying (if not from IKEA’s range) so they can factor those into your plans, so later that week we check out dishwashers – the sole purpose of our kitchen renovation, incorporating a dishwasher into our home. I actually genuinely adored our old kitchen, but it will be nice to have more benchtop space and a dishwasher. (You can see pics of the budget makeover we had previously done to it here, including painting the old splashback tiles).

I am six months pregnant and along with renovating our kitchen, we are also knocking out arches and turning our 1970s bar into a walk-in pantry. The house is like a war zone sometimes. But feeling totally (naively) confident that we will get it all done before the baby arrives.

Monday 23rd February, 2015

I liked how quickly IKEA contacted me to arrange the consultation – the very next day after we popped in they called, and we teed up a time for the designer to come out the next week.

Tuesday 3rd March, 2015 - The Consultation

The kitchen designer came over and over a couple of hours I showed him what we wanted and he drew it up. That same night he emailed me through the plans and drawings, including a 3D drawing, which was great.

The downside was that IKEA wouldn’t do the butcherblock benchtop we wanted as our new island bench would be too wide (just over 1m) for their standards. I was a bit disappointed. “Can’t they just join two pieces of benchtop together?” I asked but no. Never mind - we will just have to get a timber benchtop provided by another company. Seems easy enough to us at the time, but this small detail later proves to be the bane of our kitchen renovation!

We think the cost of the cabinets (minus the benchtop) is great – just shy of $4,000 for all the cabinets and hardware (no benchtops). 

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