Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gail's Kitchen Reno: Post #2 - Customizing Ikea

Gails' kitchen and family room renovation is a project of mine that's currently in the early stages of construction. I first posted about this kitchen and family room renovation a couple of weeks ago and if you missed it, you can go here to see all the before pictures and read all about the objectives for the redesign and the process behind developing the final proposed layout.  Here's another look at the new floor plan....

Its quite an extensive renovation with lots of new construction and reworking of plumbing and electrical so one of the ways to achieve everything on the wish list (quartz counters, high end appliances, all new floors, additional sinks, new fireplace etc. etc.) and stay within the clients conservative budget range is to use Ikea cabinets as the basis for the kitchen design.  In this post I won't bother going into all the reasons why this makes so much sense as I've written about all the reasons Why I love Ikea Kitchens here, and its for all those reasons why my client and I came to the decision to take this route for her new kitchen.   Also in that post you can find a list of my favorite ways to customize Ikea cabinets and give it a bespoke look - I'll be implementing all of those tricks in this installation too.   

When planning a kitchen based on Ikea cabinets I treat the base cabinetry like building blocks,,,or legos and configure them in any which way I need them.  There's really not too many limitations as they offer such a wide range of cabinet sizes and styles.  Since this kitchen will be more on the relaxed trad side than the modern side,,,,,I recommended the Tidaholm door style which is a simple shaker style door in natural oak.  As I've mentioned previously I prefer this door style over their other shaker door style the Adel, because the Tidaholm has a cleaner squared edge shaker profile and joinery corners.  Also its key, if you plan on painting the doors the oak doors take a new paint finish better than the Adel door style which is a synthetic polyester finish.  And for this project, we definitely intend on painting them!

The Cooktop Wall:  Essentially this is the main wall in the kitchen which houses the rangetop, exhaust hood and wall ovens.  This was a major change from the old kitchen layout which had a cooktop poorly (and dangerously) located on a narrow island.  I always place ranges or cooktops against walls where ever possible and try to allow counter space on either side.  In this configuration we have lots of extra deep drawers which will accommodate pots, pans, small appliances, mixing bowls, cookware, as well as spices, seasonings and utensils and knives.  The open shelves will house most of the dishware with additional pieces in the glass fronted hutch.  The shelves will provides easy access for Gail (who is a chef) who's always cooking for a crowd.  I've incorporated a desk space for her laptop, cookbooks, messages, and household bills.  I'm on the lookout for an old antique wall hutch that we could use above her desk surface but its not something you can easily find on a deadline, so in this elevation I've illustrated the backup plan which will be new glass fronted wall cabinets with a blue accent colour painted on the inside.  The range hood canopy will be custom built and we're planning on cladding it in an antiqued distressed copper,,much more blackened in appearance than shiny new copper.  (sorry but the colours depicted in this renderring are not quite accurate, the walls will be a very soft fresh pale yellow, all the cabinetry a warm ivory white).

The Island:  The sink side of the island is of course directly opposite the cook wall and despite how large the island is, I still couldn't fit everything in that Gail ideally wanted, but we're as close as we could get.  They'll be a Shaw farmsink, a second prep sink (that was a must!) and a set of refridgerator drawers.  Its these fridge drawers that really make her prep zone and cooking zone work efficiently, she can keep all her dairy and veg here, where they'll be right at hand instead of in the large main fridge.  The biggest challenge about this island has been trying to light it, you can't help but notice it only has a ceiling over half of it! The ceiling goes from 8' in the kitchen area opening up to 20' in the breakfast nook area so its a bit a challenge.  The situation just became more challenging when last week we discovered a new beam would need to be dropped exactly where I've got the light fixture hanging........

The Island:  On one end of the island they'll be another set of wide deep drawers and the other three sides of the island will be clad in a combination of operable doors and fixed door panels all finished off with a baseboard treatment around the bottom instead of a toe kick.  On the seating side of the island I'll be supporting the overhang with some simple corbel style brackets and also adding a small bookshelf unit with beadboard backing.

The Pantry & Bar:  Like the island, this section of cabinetry will be tricked out with additional trimwork to give it more of a furniture look, so in addition to the Ikea base cabinets the contractor will be installing beadboard back panel,,,corbel brackets and corner block details to the base, and built in recessed puck lighting.  I have to admit this elevation is a moving target right now,,,,its actually been changed several dozen times, probably 2 or 3 since this version was drawn.  The size of the wine fridge was the subject of many debates between my clients and my recommendation for a tall but narrow unit ultimately was vetoed for this double door style.  As for the cabinetry, Gail's been quite conflicted as to how much open vs. closed storage she can live with and I predict we'll be going back to one of the original pantry configurations I proposed which had more upper cabinets, less open shelving which will be more practical.   Right after this is posted I'll be working on one more variation of this wall.

Coming up next I'll share some images of the concept board for the space illustrating all the finishes and fixtures I've specified for the space along with some updated site photos.  

Next week I'll be writing a separate post outlining my tips and advice for painting your newly ordered Ikea cabinets based on the process I've used successfully.  I've had several people inquire about this so please know I havn't forgotten and I promise you'll see it next week.

All Images:  Carol Reed


  1. Hi Carol,

    I love the design of the kitchen -- I'm redesigning my kitchen and wanted to put the microwave in the base cabinets, although I can't figure out which Ikea cabinet you used in this design to achieve that effect. I'd love your insight into how to achieve this!

    Thanks so much,


  2. Thanks Meghan! Remember when ordering Ikea you can order every component separately. Depending on the size of microwave you select, use a basic 24" or 30"wide base cabinet. (ie; 22"w x 14"h x 18" is a typical microwave size) Order a set of shelves, use a shelf to place the microwave on. Order a set of deep drawers for this cabinet. install the deep drawer on the bottom, shelf with micro above that,,,,or you could have a door/or pair of doors at the bottom but a pullout drawer is much more practical. Drawers are only sold in pairs though so you may end up with an unused one unless you have an extra spot for it (in this kitchen I used the second one in the wall-oven cabinet). Your installer can then use some filler pieces to trim out any large gaps above or below the microwave, leaving about 1/2" to an 1" all around for air circulation. With little ones in the house make sure to select a microwave that has a lock feature. The Sharp drawer style microwaves are wonderful options for this application! Good luck with your kitchen planning!

  3. Your renderings are great... Do you mind sharing what type of markers and what software you use?

  4. Hi Sara, thank you! I use AutoCad for all my drafting and line drawings, Sketch up for a rough 3D view which I use as an underlay to draw over top by hand and all my colour renderring is done by hand as well. I use a variety of markers some Letraset, Prismacolor and Copic, the Copics are my favorite, occassionally watercolour pencil crayons mixed in.

  5. Thanks so much for mentioning how you install the microwave in the base cabinet, but I have a question. I'm doing a Liljestad kitchen (dark brown) over light brown coloured bases. Do you have a trick for hiding the light brown colour?

  6. Hi Carol,

    Love your blog and your Ikea kitchen design!

    I looked for the Tidaholm door style in the Canada Ikea website and couldn't find it.
    Is this the same as the Ramsjo door style?

    Vancouver, BC

  7. Hi Michelle, the Tidaholm door style was discontinued by Ikea some time ago, I think almost 2 years ago in Canada. (no the Ramsjo is not the same door). ~ C

  8. Hi Carol, I love your island design. can you tell me the dimensions of it?

  9. CarolReedInteriorDesignAugust 24, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    Hi Tina,
    Its irregular shape was designed to suit the particular dimensions and shape of this room, not really something that can just be duplicated in another kitchen, the dimensions would need to be customized to suit the room. This island is just over 10' in length and approximate 6' wide at its widest point. ~ Carol


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