Do You Really Need to Pay for Design?

Having helped hundreds of homeowners install and finish new Ikea kitchens, we've identified the most basic, vital concerns a homeowner should address when planning a new kitchen. The issues are both technical (walls, floors, electrical, etc.), creative, and matters of kitchen functionality.

As a  former remodeling contractor (with a creative and experienced Ikea kitchen planners on our team), we make no claim to be interior designers. We've installed Ikea kitchens for interior designers and we respect the work of those designers. However, for the majority of homeowners, Ikea cabinets come with a promise of simplicity and affordability that rules out the relatively high fees ($1000 and up) for professional interior design.

This is not to say that homeowners cannot draft basicl kitchen plans on their own. But many people need and ask for help with planning. Our experience with those who needed help has enabled us to learn what a thorough planning service needs to accomplish.

There are perhaps four main categories of homeowners who can benefit from expert help with planning:

1. First, are homeowners who do not move forward on a vital or desired project because of uncertainties. Sometimes this is just a lack of measuring-expertise, sometimes it is confusion or difficulty with Ikea’s planning software, sometimes it is really an issue with the house itself, as in category #2, below. But whenever there is uncertainty, self-planning might not adequately assure that a major purchase of cabinets will fit, or that the result will be beautiful and optimally functional.
2. A second category are those with older homes, where the condition of walls, plumbing, venting and electrical needs to be evaluated as a part of the planning phase. For this group especially, the type of planning service we offer can save a lot of time, money and stress. Know before you go.
3. A third group would be those with small kitchens who need to get the most function out of every inch. Small kitchens are often the hardest to plan and most likely to have planning errors turn into problems during installation.
4. A fourth category might be those who know exactly what they want to achieve, and want to minimize risks and maximize efficiency. Expert help with planning is suggested.

Our planning service is adapted to the needs of the individual customer. Some primarily need help with creative design. In this case, we send our planner to do an in-home consultation.

Other customers have wall, plumbing, or electrical issues that must be evaluated in the planning phase. In this case, we send our most experienced contractor for the in-home consultation and measuring. The plan is later drafted by our kitchen planner.

For customers who have already drafted their plans, we can do a plan check.

When we provide any level of planning service, having done an on-site inspection, were able to give detailed bids on any remodeling that might be needed, along with an installation bid. Remodeling work has to be evaluated on-site and, if any is needed and if the plan is already done, a site inspection is the best service to request. (If the customer does not need planning help, we still can provide an accurate bid for cabinet installation based on existing plans and Ikea purchase list).

The fourfold result we are going for with our planning service:

1. Customer has a professional kitchen plan he/she is excited about. 
2. Customer has had questions answered and feels confident to move forward
3. The kitchen design truly addresses all issues. It's beautiful, functional and increases home value. 
4. Customer has a shopping list of Ikea materials to purchase and knows their cost (materials)

Kitchen planning is both a technical and creative endeavor. We try to cover all bases with our planning service to make it truly helpful.

If you'd like to discuss your project with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.

Susan

A Story of an IKEA Kitchen Remodel

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For the purpose of providing some helpful data on home remodeling, here is just one example of how a project was planned and completed by two homeowners, MaryJo and Jim.

This couple has a condo in a medium sized city, grown kids, no grandchildren yet. Their kitchen was a good size for a condo, 11 x 14. Both MaryJo an Jim work full time. Jim travels and MaryJo has to be on call evenings and weekends, in addition to a 35 hour week. They had saved up over two years to redo the kitchen and had a good idea of the styles and types of materials they wanted.

For this couple, time was really more vital than money. As they moved through the planning phase, they chose appliances, cabinets and countertop that easily fit within their budget. Their attention then shifted to the labor costs and timeframe.

As a first step, MaryJo had a big home improvement store come out for a free estimate and design. Although one or two of their cabinet styles were acceptable, they really wanted a more modern look to go with the contemporary style of the condo itself. But the real deal breaker came with the price quoted. The home consultation and design were “free” but the cost of the cabinets was over $28,000, more than their entire budget for materials and labor.

Back at square one, MaryJo and Jim went to IKEA to look again at the displays. It seemed obvious that these were a better deal, and even, per Jim’s research, better quality. So they found us online, a company that specializes in remodeling projects using IKEA cabinets. Our designer came up with a layout that was better for their lifestyle needs than any they had considered. Things really start to get exciting, and to move forward, when the layout is really right for the homeowner. It’s hard to do remodeling with all its costs and messes if you aren’t excited about the envisioned results.

Robert went out to look at the walls, plumbing, electrical, lighting, flooring, etc. so as to be able to answer their questions and provide a detailed bid sheet.

For better or for worse, this couple picked a week for their project when Jim would be out of town. MaryJo could take 2 days off work. The project timeframe was 10 days, including demo, a small amount of electrical upgrade, wall repair, cabinet and appliance installation, countertop install, tile flooring and backsplash and some new recessed lights.

During the project, once things were well underway and MaryJo was back at work, MaryJo kept in touch with Robert via cell and email. She had to make few choices along the way. She emailed our office one night to remind us not to let her cat out of the condo. We called her to let her know she had not received two side panels which were backordered.

On day 5, the countertop supplier came to install countertop and Robert adjusted two cabinets to help them.

On day 13, Jim came home to a finished new kitchen.

If you'd like to discuss your project with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.

Susan


Our company, Modern Family Kitchens, offers an IKEA kitchen design service. We can provide this service locally, or remotely. We think you'll spend the least and get the best results when you invest in expert design. Call or write us to discuss your project. 877-550-1753. info@modernfamilykitchens.com

IKEA Kitchen Remodeling TIPS: Part 1

Get our FREE ebook, "How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel"

...and visit our website to find out about expert IKEA Kitchen Design Services

The more you know, the more expert guidance you have, the better result you will get. This means that, not only will your new kitchen look better, but you'll get more for your money, you'll spend less time and experience fewer delays, and the finished result will be much more satisfactory. Make knowledge a priority over money. Money, i.e., your budget IS important. But the best way to stay within your budget and still get a great result is to plan wisely and to invest a little in the help and guidance of experts.

The typical sequence of events in an IKEA Kitchen remodel:
0) Research. THEN decide if IKEA cabinets are the best choice for your remodel.
1) Kitchen design
2) Meeting with contractor; get a line item bid sheet
3) Ordering cabinets
4) Purchasing any non-IKEA materials: tile, appliances, flooring, lights, etc.
5) Bid sheet for installation and remodeling services approved
6) Permits gotten
7) Cabinet delivery scheduled
8) Contract for bid specs signed, job scheduled
9) Bin for trash ordered
10) First day of project. Meet with contractor in a.m.
11) Schedule countertop template (for solid surface countertop only)
12) Once base cabinets are in place, template is made
13) Complete cabinet installation, place appliances
14) Countertop company installs countertop
15) Contractor returns to hook up appliances, install sink/faucet, make final adjustments. Meet with contractor in p.m. for final inspection.

Kitchen design
IKEA provides software for a do-it-yourself kitchen design. It’s unfortunate because for a small investment you can have a professional designer work with you. The difference is huge. Don’t cheat yourself. Our company charges $375 in most cities within LA county, $475 and up outside the county, to send our expert designer to meet with you, look at the kitchen, house style, and find out what your ideas are. He’ll usually design more than one option and he’ll work with you on design until you love the layout. He can customize cabinets and use them in ways the planner software does not allow. He’s designed thousands of kitchens, he’s an expert with IKEA materials and with kitchen design. Included in the price is cabinet design of a bathroom or similar small area. Unlimied revisions. Best deal in town. People all over the U.S and even Europe call us about this planning service. IKEA is everywhere.

Meeting with contractor
There is really no way to get a price for the labor part of your remodel without having the contractor come out to look, with the new cabinet layout you want available to him.

If a representative, (salesperson) of some other cabinet company (that sells cabinets and installs them) comes for free and gives you a free design and a big price “$28,984.52” for your new kitchen, something is wrong. You’ve lost control because you don’t really know what that includes, the quality of the cabinets, the details of installation and remodeling. They’ll give you a contract with tiny print that explains it all. Don’t go this route.

Instead, meet with a contractor expert with IKEA cabinets if you’re using IKEA cabinets. Show him what you’d like, ask questions. Do you feel comfortable with the guy? Most important, get an easy- to-read line item bid sheet and make sure you understand what each item on it means and includes. Leave nothing ambiguous. Ask all the questions you think of. If he doesn’t answer, or takes days or weeks to do so, find someone else. Our company sells nothing, no products, we only provide service. It’s a better way to go.

Ordering cabinets
Our planning service, which includes professional design, also includes help with ordering. This can be the most difficult part of the whole process. Even with a finished design, you can spend 87 hours at IKEA trying to get the kitchen ordered, never sure if you’ve ordered the right things and paid the right price. For our local remodeling and installation customers, we send an expert who worked for IKEA for 15 years, to meet you at the store when you go to order. He will ensure you get the help you need, the items you need, the best deal. If you prefer to go to the store on your own, we’ll still fill out IKEA order forms for you so that the parts and quantities and numbers are already figured out beforehand.

Purchasing non-IKEA materials
You may not want to buy all your stuff at IKEA and you don’t need to. Appliances come in standard sizes. As long as the designer knows what you will want or have, he can work it into the cabinet layout. During IKEA kitchen sales, if you buy appliances at IKEA you get a discount on the cabinets and countertop. IKEA appliances are Whirlpool, by the way.

Appliances: Enjoy the shopping process. Make sure our kitchen cabinet design accounts for the appliance sizes you purchase. Check with your designer or contractor as to how a certain appliance will affect the cabinet installation. Sometimes, the refrigerator height will determine the height of all the wall cabinets. Know before you buy how the appliances will affect other things. It’s easy to sort out, just do it ahead of time,

Tile: Tile is a very creative and personal choice. A tile backsplash can be awesome. But keep in mind that the installation of the tile adds time to the project, at least two days. More complex tile types or patterns cost more to install than simple patterns. Ask the cabinet designe for suggestions, ask how much tile you’ll need for a backsplash, add 10% when you buy. Get a price for tilesetting listed on the bid sheet.

Lighting: Ask your contractor about code requirements for lighting and other electrical. In California you cannot install incandescent fixtures and usually you’ll have to replace them if you already have some and are doing any remodeling in that room. There are kits for this. It’s not a huge cost but it’s an issue to know about.


If you'd like to discuss your project with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.

Susan

Our company, Modern Family Kitchens, offers an IKEA kitchen design service. We can provide this service locally, or remotely. We think you'll spend the least and get the best results when you invest in expert design. Call or write us to discuss your project. 877-550-1753. info@modernfamilykitchens.com

How Much Counter Space Do You Need?

Get our FREE ebook, "How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel"

...and visit our website to find out about expert IKEA Kitchen Design Services


For many homeowners, planning a kitchen remodel is pretty exciting. If you have to do it, or if you want to do it, either way there is an exercise of your creative side involved. It is easy to imagine the form and look you want in general. But don't overlook some important aspects of function.

What is a kitchen really for? Kitchens are for preparing food, in essence. If you are merely replacing old cabinets with new, you can stick with the existing layout/footprint, but at least give some thought to ways to make the same space better for food prep. If you are changing the layout, opening walls and rearranging appliances and utility lines, it's even more important to consider function.

Sometimes a kitchen is a gathering place, for family and/or guests. It's often a storage or display area for the kitchen stuff you've collected (where to put that KitchenAid mixer). These functions have to be incorporated, of course. But we want you to enjoy using the kitchen, which generally means preparing meals.

Some people depend heavily on microwave ovens for meal preparation while others shun them. Some scrape vanilla beans, some eat packages of ramen or even canned soup several times a week and consider this a meal. But in designing the layout of your new kitchen, consider that you might cook more in the future, that the next owner of your house/condo may be a foodie, or a chef.

Of course you don't have to be a gourmet cook to aspire to good and adequate workspace and lighting in a kitchen. I cook soup and pasta and egg dishes mostly. I also juice daily. For me, having a juicing area, where my juicer and other tools can be used and stored, and veg and fruit prep and cleanup can be done quickly and neatl, is essential.

This brings up an important point. Do you cook? How many meals a week do you cook from scratch? Do you bake? Do you bake once or twice a year, for holidays? These are vital questions to ask when designing the optimal kitchen layout. A dedicated cook needs much more counter space and storage than is provided in a typical 3-bedroom home kitchen. Many kitchens built in the last 30 years were designed with the "microwave age" in mind. There's no room to clean and prepare vegetables and fruit!   the kitchens have a bar area for seating, but no place to chop onions or knead bread dough! What were those architects thinking?!

If, on the other hand, you really want a beautiful space for entertaining, and minor food prep and lots of catered dishes will be involved, your priorities will be different. Sometimes, a dramatic or welcoming look is more important to a homeowner than counter space. This is fine, design with this in mind, but remember that, to sell the house someday, you do want to provide for future use.

Some tips: Always separate food prep and cleanup areas if you can. Work with the "kitchen triangle" but make it work for your style of food prep. For most of us, more counter space is better than bigger appliances. You can often keep an extra fridge or freezer in a garage so don't go overboard on the in-kitchen model you choose. A pantry cabinet or, better, more counterspace, will be often be better utilized than a huge fridge.

Keeping counter space free of clutter is also vital for best food prep function. To keep costs down  consider using shelves built out of IKEA panels (the same style as your cabinets) and used in place of cabinets.

Once again I would highly recommend working with an IKEA kitchen design expert to get the most out of your remodel dollars. You will still have many choices to make and your preferences and requirements have to be worked out and communicated. But to get the ideal kitchen for your budget, your space, your aesthetic preferences and lifestyle, get the help of a pro if you can. Call or email and we're happy to share our resources with you. 

If you'd like to discuss your project with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.

Susan



Our company, Modern Family Kitchens, offers an IKEA kitchen design service. We can provide this service locally, or remotely. We think you'll spend the least and get the best results when you invest in expert design. Call or write us to discuss your project. 877-550-1753. info@modernfamilykitchens.com














The IKEA Kitchen Sale!

Get our FREE ebook, "How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel"

...and visit our website to find out about expert IKEA Kitchen Design Services


The season is almost upon us for butterflies, sprouting plants, warmer breezes, cherry blossoms. But none of these have our attention the way the IKEA kitchen sale does, also coming each spring.

We can hardly blame those who will wait till the sale starts to order their cabinets. Here is the general idea of the sale:

10% off cabinets and countertop
15% off if you buy 2 appliances also
20% off if you buy 3 appliances

As always I highly recommend having an expert IKEA designer do the layout for you. Spending hours perched at IKEA computer stations is no fun. Having an expert designer come to your house, listen to you, answer your questions, and design several options, provide you with cost data, is the best investment you'll make.

Save on the sale, don't skimp on a do-it-yourself design. Our designer can either travel to you or work with your measurements. Ours is the most comprehensive design service we've heard of, and, more important, we really want you to love your new kitchen.


If you'd like to discuss your project with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.

Susan

Our company, Modern Family Kitchens, offers an IKEA kitchen design service. We can provide this service locally, or remotely. We think you'll spend the least and get the best results when you invest in expert design. Call or write us to discuss your project. 877-550-1753. info@modernfamilykitchens.com