How Long Does it Take?

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Many people have asked me to help define a timeframe for their IKEA kitchen project. It's not that hard to give a ballpark estimate.

A kitchen remodeling project or a new construction installation are two different things. With a remodel, there's the question of the condition of the walls, floors, plumbing. Once the old cabinets are removed, which takes a takes a day with a strong crew of two and a dumpster outside, you have to inspect the walls and plumbing to see if they need any repair. Sheetrock work can add a few days if it's major.

There is also the question of electrical work. Every kitchen remodel is going to have some electrical, even if it's just adding or moving an outlet. But some projects can require adding a new electrical panel to the house, which can add $2000 or more and a week or more if there is a lot of wiring needed. Don't worry about this, just have am honest contractor look at the electrical situation in your house and figure out what is needed, if anything.

Our design service takes a minimum of three weeks. We have found that it is CRAZY to try to design a kitchen remodel in one day. You might try working on it on your own, but ultimately, having professional plans for a major project like a kitchen remodel is wise and cost-saving. Plan errors are costly and it's not so easy to design an elegant and optimal layout of IKEA components. The free online software is very limiting and those limits will show up in your finished kitchen, which we feel is very sad.

Adding a month for design, you'll then order your cabinets and you might be purchasing other items from stores other than IKEA. You have to get the delivery timeline from each store. IKEA is usually VERY quick, a major selling point of their cabinets. You can sometimes take them home on the spot. but more likely their inexpensive delivery service works well. Typically you'll get your order in a week, on average. There could be a backordered part or two, but almost never anything that will hold up the project.

Once you have your delivery of a pallet or two of heavy, flat-packed IKEA boxes, you can start installation IF you have prepped the kitchen. If not, the prep, which means removing old cabinets, perhaps some sheetrock (wall board), making wall repairs, any electrical, plumbing or flooring repairs or demo. Assembling the boxes of your new cabinets is easy and could be done in one day. Hanging takes 1-2 days. Putting in doors, handles, and trim (toe kick or crown molding) takes another day or two. So, really, if your kitchen is prepped, you can have a new kitchen in one week.

That's not to say it can take lots longer. Try to get a timeline in a contract from your installer. List every bit of work you are contracting for and even add a penalty for lateness day by day.

So, how long does it take, really? I'd say estimate two weeks, expect a month.


PS: You are welcome to schedule a time to talk with me, we offer a completely free 30-minute phone  consultation and can often give guidance or answer questions that can save you headaches, time and money. If you are interested in our professional IKEA kitchen design service, we can talk about that, too:

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

About IKEA Appliances

One of the most common questions I am asked is:

"Do I have to use IKEA appliances if I am using IKEA cabinets?"

The answer is simple: No. You can use ANY appliances you would like, but you will want to make sure that any that will be built into a cabinet will fit in the IKEA cabinet lineup.

Wall ovens, either the type that go into tall oven cabinets, single or double, almost always fit into the 30 inch IKEA wall cabinets. Microwaves that hang above a stove are almost all designed to fit under a 30 inch over-the-range cabinet. But larger-than-typical appliances might not fit simply although if the design is done correctly, professionally, you'll be fine in almost every case.

Make sure you know the specs, meaning the size but also the hook up requirements of any appliances you buy. The designer will need the measurements but if, as with hoods, venting is wanted to the outside, you'll need to know a bit more about the hood you choose.

The key for design is to choose what you want in your new kitchen but MAKE SURE to let the kitchen designer know the specs of all these items.

If you have questions, write me or schedule a free phone consultation.


An Interesting Kitchen Product

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Anyone who has read my blog knows that I don't recommend products. But sometimes a design client will use a product in their new kitchen, that we design with, that is so cool that I feel like telling others.

But I haven't. Until now. A client sent me this link to a high-tech kitchen growing machine! I mean, it grows sprouts and baby greens right in the kitchen, easily, so you can eat utterly fresh organic greens without stepping outside!

I know this isn't for everyone. It's not cheap. But it is so clever and interesting I felt it deserved a post. Here is a link to the website the client gave me:

Let me know what you think. Write me or schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your project:

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation



When to Start Design Work

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If you've been working on your own kitchen design and feel you can do this yourself, this post probably won't apply. You might be in control of all factors and satisfied with your plan.

However, if you have entirely new construction, if you are taking down walls, if you have an HOA approval or permit processes to get through, or if you haven't yet closed on a home purchase, you might wonder when to start design work and how long it might take.

There is no rule of thumb and no single answer.Each situation and each homeowner is different. Nonetheless, having high quality design work can reduce stress and provide your project with a firm foundation.

Many people ask me how can they proceed if they don't yet have accurate measurements. It's quite true that accurate and detailed measurements of the kitchen to be designed are needed for a final design. But you don't have to wait, in most cases. If you need design work to get things underway, to provide data for your builder, for an HOA, or just to start to map out a new footprint, and placements, before any frenzy of a remodel begins, you can do so with measurements that are complete but not 100% accurate.

Say you are purchasing a home and have not yet closed. You have measurements of the existing spaces but you plan to remove a wall for the kitchen remodel. You want to get the kitchen work completed FAST, once you take possession. (there can be many reasons for this).

The key is to measure or have your contractor measure the space, AS IT WILL BE, as close as possible. THEN let the designer know that the measurements are estimates and are likely to change a bit once the wall changes are completed. IF THE DESIGNER KNOWS, YOU'LL BR OK.

Then, assuming you will go through a DRAFT phase and then a REVISION phase, (that's how our IKEA kitchen design service works), request a DRAFT and provide the final measurements and request the final revisions when you CAN.

This way you have the draft to work with early on. This can save you from stressful imaginings and enable you to communicate with contractor, materials suppliers, and others, about how your new kitchen will look.

You will then have to provide ACCURATE measurements, in other words, corrections, before the design work goes final, during the revision phase.

In my experience, as long as the design knows there will be minor changes to the measurements, you'll be fine. Should you have MAJOR changes, you might need an extra revision, but that is usually a minimal expense, and well worth it.

Again, each project is different.  We offer a free, 30-minute phone consultation to help homeowners planning an IKEA kitchen to sort out issues like these, and many others. We are happy to help.

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Tips on Preparing and Installing IKEA Kitchen Cabinets

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Although some people wait for a sale, it's often better to schedule a kitchen remodel for a time when it's more convenient. Unlike many other suppliers of kitchen cabinets, IKEA delivers very quickly once you order, within a week or two usually. Check with your local store for their timeframe.

Because of this amazing fast delivery, you will want to have your project ready to go, in most cases. If you have a dry garage in which to store the huge pile of  heavy, flat-packed boxes you will receive, you can do so. But for many, this isn't an option. You need to be ready to install your cabinets when they arrive.

What does this take? Just planning. You'll want to find and hire (contract with) a local kitchen contractor who is familiar with iKEA cabinets to prepare the kitchen. This can involve a week or two or more of work. Demo (removing the old stuff), wall repair, electrical upgrades or changes, wall changes, flooring, and other aspects can take a week or  few months. Unless you aren't living in the house, you want to plan well to minimize the time you are without a kitchen. Expect three weeks with the best planning. It can be more, so you might want to note the timeframe in your contract with the contractor and that there is a small penalty for each day he runs over the finish date.

Flooring can be installed after the cabinets, which can save money on flooring materials and labor. The  IKEA toekick of the cabinet goes in last to hide the line where the flooring ends.

Electrical work should be done before the cabinets go up, of course. Possibly any wall repair can be done alongside electrical. Again, it's a matter of planning with your contractor and other labor.

More later...

PS: You are welcome to schedule a time to talk with me, we offer a completely free 30-minute phone  consultation and can often give guidance or answer questions that can save you headaches, time and money. If you are interested in our professional IKEA kitchen design service, we can talk about that, too:

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation



Request my free eBook, How to Budget for an IKEA Kitchen Remodel)

Our clients from around the U.S. Typically provide a good survey of what's happening with IKEA and kitchens. The word is that becaus of low inventory of some doors and some appliance, there will be no summer 2015 IKEA kitchen sale. 
We we know this will be a bummer for many but experience tells me that most will proceed with their projects and look for cost savings in other aspects of their projects.
keep in mind that IKEA still has a fabulous product at a great price. Look for appliance sales elsewhere, and realize that in non-sale periods you might be able to find less costly LABOR, sine IKEA installed are less busy.
as I have written elsewhere, you can proceed with planning and design without a sale deadline. Yes, your materials will cost a bit more, but often in the scope of a full remodel, the savings just isn't worth the time pressure. Sometimes just buying what you really want, on sale or not, is the best way to proceed, and the best way to create a truly wonderful kitchen.
i love bargains As much as anyone, but a kitchen remodel, like other major purchases, is worth doing beautifully, and spending a bit more for the long haul. 

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Get the New IKEA SEKTION and IKEA Kitchen Catalogs

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The new line has some truly wonderful features we are starting to love. But as we get used to them, and put them to use, there's more work to planning an elegant layout than there was with AKURUM. There are just more choices. Make sure you have the new catalogs when you start your planning process.

Here are links to them if you are far from a store (where you can get paper copies, recommended):

SEKTION Cabinets Catalog

IKEA Kitchen Appliances Catalog

IKEA Countertop, Sinks and Faucets Catalog

The kitchen design process is a communication process. Our method is to collect data (as complete and precise as possible) and have the designer prepare a draft kitchen layout, a proposal of an optimal arrangement, given the client's space resources and preferences.

That draft is the starting point. The designer uses design principles and experience to determine what will work,  and what will look best. But we need the client's feedback on this draft.

So then we revise, and we return the design to the client so he/she can see what the requested changes look like. Now we're getting close. It's time to consider details.

This is where the new line stretches the design process a bit. There are so many choices as to drawers, especially. But also glass door options, accent doors, open cabinets. Drawers within drawers.

These things are so personal–how a client might use a given drawer or set of drawers, that the designer needs to know what the client wants. It becomes necessary for any design process for the client to have and study the options–the new IKEA kitchen cabinet catalog.

I highly recommend, if you are or will be planning an IKEA kitchen, to get yourself a copy of the catalog. In fact, there are several for kitchen, one for appliances, one for countertops/sinks/faucets, and, the key, the one for cabinets. That cabinet catalog has detailed charts in the back showing ALL the cabinet options.

It is very hard to get the details as you want them if you don't have a catalog. The IKEA website has a lot of data but you can't search for a cabinet by code, and that is how the design work shows each cabinet, with the IKEA code.

Our designers really want to create a wonderful, elegant and optimal kitchen for our clients. To do this is a team process, designer and client. The client needs to know what IKEA has to offer in the SEKTION line so as to work best with the designer.


It's a bit more complex to design an IKEA kitchen than it seems, perhaps more so now with the fabulous new SEKTION line. The Home Planner just isn't the right tool for many projects and for most homeowners. If you would like some help, or even if you just have questions, I offer my readers a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Let's talk!

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

US IKEA Kitchen Sale Dates

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The Spring 2015 IKEA kitchen sale has started in the US. Here's the IKEA ad:

Save big on a brand new kitchen!

Friday, February 27 - Sunday, April 26, 2015

Now is the time to get a kitchen that’s brand new and all you!

Save 20% When you spend $4500 or more.*
Save 10% When you spend $3500 or more.*

It's a bit more complex to design an IKEA kitchen than it seems, perhaps more so now with the fabulous new SEKTION line. The Home Planner just isn't the right tool for many projects and for most homeowners. f you would like some help, or even if you just have questions, I offer my readers a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Let's talk!

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation


IKEA Ktchen Spring Sale 2015

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We're all wondering about the spring sale, designers, clients and me. We've heard from half a dozen clients in various cities around the U.S. that IKEA staff mentioned NEXT WEEK as the sale start date. We wouldn't be surprised.

We know there will be a spring sale, it comes with the tulips here in the Pacific NW.

So, along with rain, the IKEA sale might be a tad early.

Have you had a chance to look at the new line? The new catalog?

It's a bit more complex to design an IKEA kitchen than it seems, perhaps more so now. If you would like some help, or even just have questions, I offer my readers a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Let's talk!

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation


Your Old Kitchen

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The other day my beloved older dog had an accident (several) on the carpet. I used every (natural) cleaner I could think of but the area, although under a large table, was nearly ruined. I decided to hire pro carpet cleaners.

The morning of the scheduled cleaning, I found myself straightening up and then cleaning various other spots on the carpet by hand throughout the house. I told myself this could help but that wasn't the real reason.

Yes, you guessed it. I didn't want the carpet guys to judge me for the spots on my carpet. I knew they would understand the recent dog spots. But the others?

I mention this silly incident because a lot of people send me photos of their current kitchens, so I can understand the project and offer guidance. Photos are also needed from our kitchen design clients. These help us understand and confirm measurements and other details.

Upon sending photos, people often say something like, "my gruesome old kitchen" or otherwise seem to be apologizing for their existing kitchens.

I just want to say, in this public forum, that I judge not. I actually admire anyone who confronts a situation and handles it and that's what these homeowners are doing.

My own kitchen is far from perfect. My cleaning habits tend to be a bit irregular. I am happy to see photos because they quickly help me understand a project and they are an easy way to communicate.

I just wanted to let people know that you can send me any photos of your kitchen and I am happy to have them, don't judge them at all. Finally, if people had perfect kitchens I'd have nothing to write about and no clients for my IKEA kitchen design business.

If you want to schedule a free consultation and send me photos, please do. I would be happy to talk with you.


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First Thoughts on SEKTION

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After a decade working with the AKURUM system, and a relatively small number of European METOD projects relative to the thousands of AKURUM designs and, earlier, installations, I've worked on, I thought I'd be sour on a new system. It's just me, suspicious of arbitrary changes, of commercial upgrades that are more for profit than for people.

But after a hands-on look at my local IKEA, I have to admit I am impressed. True, I miss some of my favorite Akurum door styles, but there are nice new ones to replace them and custom doors are available from lots of places. 

But this small "con" is made up for 10 times over by the new sizes, new options, drawers-within-drawers, and, oddly, the new kitchen catalog which really shows you what's what, complex though that may be. 

The door style issue is just that I loved a few of the older door styles and the newer, less "wood-y" and more veneer-y look doesn't suit my own sense of style. But that's just me. 

I am flabbergasted by the drawers-within-drawers options, as you can now really make a kitchen perfectly suited to how you use it, how you cook, how you store things. Keep in mind that SEKTION is built on a European model where the cabinets are moved when you move. So beware of creating a finicky storage system that might not suit a future home buyer. 

It remains true that a homeowner needs help to design a good SEKTION layout, more than ever. The new choices mean different issues and I found the staff at my local IKEA still learning the new system themselves and too busy, as they often are, to thoroughly answer my questions. 

Keep in mind that a lot of people waited for the new line so IKEA and IKEA resources are particularly busy right now. 

My company is designing SEKTION kitchens and although we too have to incorporate the many new features, as our clients figure out which they prefer, the results are really wonderful. 


FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

The New Sektion Line

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The introduction of the new SEKTION line is just around the corner (Feb. 2, 2015). The new SEKTION kitchen cabinet line has all the great features you expect from award-winning IKEA kitchen cabinets. Pricing is even comparable.

But the new line has more modular and glass door options with which we can customize your new kitchen. SEKTION offers more drawer sizes and types, more storage space within cabinets, and integrated handles and lighting options.

The IKEA appliance line is also new and SEKTION offers more ways to integrate a dishwasher into your cabinet design, including hiding it entirely. 

All the details of the new line for North American customers, exact styles, options and pricing, will be available in your local store and online on February 2, but not before. We've been designing kitchens with the new system for our European clients (released last year and called METOD in Europe). It's not VERY different but we'll all have to get used to it. 

To be at the front of the line for a new SEKTION kitchen, you'll want a completed design ASAP. It's going to be BUSY at IKEA!

You are welcome to schedule a FREE consultation, get your questions answered, get ideas, and feel confident. I'm happy to help you.


Data Needed to Design a New Kitchen

Collecting Data for Design

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A kitchen design or a kitchen designer need data about your kitchen to create a truly optimal design. The completeness of the data you collect and provide is a key factor in determining how long your design process will take. It's easy to do however.Or get a pro to measure, that's fine, too. 

1) Measuring the kitchen. All kitchen design is based on measurements. Measure and mark down each wall section, from a corner or edge to the next corner or edge. Note down where the doors and windows are and how wide and tall they are, how far off the floor for windows. If walls are being removed or windows moved, precise design requires the measurements as they WILL be. If some aspects are not certain but you need to start the design work, let the designer know.

2) Take lots of photos. The designer needs to see the details of your kitchen. Don't worry about how the kitchen looks! We're looking at these photos differently. Take photos of each and every aspect, even inside cabinets if there's plumbing hidden within. Do this during daylight hours for best results.

Our design service provides a DESIGN QUESTIONNAIRE. This also helps to clarify your preferences. You can use it even if you aren't going to use our service. I'm happy to share. Look for a REVISED version once the SEKTION line is introduced. Or write me and I'll email it to you.


FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

Goodbye AKURUM. Helloooo SEKTION!

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Although it hasn't been released in the US or Canada YET, there IS a lot of excitement about the new line. Have you looked at the European websites that show the METOD line (that's what SEKTION is called in Europe, the metric version)?

I don't know EXACTLY which options will be available in North America, it's never EXACTLY the same as European offerings, but you can see the new features and even those of use with nice kitchens wish it were time to remodel! Yes, even me.

I love the drawers in the upper cabinets! I love narrow drawers! I love the new glass doors!

Twenty-one more long days till SEKTION is released.

In regard to design, we have some wonderful ideas for clients. We've been doing METOD kitchens for quite awhile but our US and Canadian friends and clients have bigger spaces to work with, and those with small, urban or condo kitchens are ALSO going to be thrilled.

I'll be updating my blog more often in coming weeks. Can't help it.

As a note. we are accepting clients for SEKTION design starting Monday, January 19th. It's a waiting list, and first come first served for SEKTION design work in February.

Expect your local store to be pretty busy, if not the first week, soon after. We've got many US and Canadian clients just waiting, waiting, waiting, for the release.

Write me if you have anything to say, to add, or any questions. Or schedule a free consultation to sort out other kitchen remodeling issues in the meantime.

We're all waiting together!


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While Waiting for Sektion

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It's not surprising that many people are waiting till February to start their kitchen projects. The new line, SEKTION, will be unveiled in stores across North America in early February. If you've been to an IKEA store recently, you found that the Akurum cabinet displays have been removed and most IKEA kitchen departments are under complete renovation.

Here are some ideas to use your holiday time to forward your project anyway.

Whether or not you plan to use our professional IKEA kitchen design services, you will need complete and correct measurements of the kitchen. Measure any adjoining spaces unless the kitchen is entirely enclosed. For example, if the kitchen will be open to a family room or dining room, or if there is a pass-thru window to those or other areas of the house, include the measurements of the adjacent room. Don't forget ceiling height(s).

You don't have to use IKEA appliances. And you'll surely want to look at other sources of counter tops or flooring or backsplash tile. Paint, too. If you find great appliances on sale, buy them! You can use any appliances with IKEA cabinets (and any counter tops, too).

Look online and in print magazines for photos of kitchens you like. Often those photos are shot in a studio and the cabinets cost 3-5 times what your IKEA cabinets will cost. However, with good design you can create almost any type of kitchen using IKEA cabinets. So clip those photos, save those favorite images, and once you start the design process, send them to your designer with a note that says, "this is what I like."

This is also a good time to check out 3rd party options, i.e., custom doors or cabinet fittings. For example, you can check out Dunsmuir or Semi-Handmade doors for IKEA cabinets. Or look over Rev-A-Shelf options which can be added to IKEA cabinets.

We offer a free 30-minute consultation, another way to forward your project during January.

FREE 30-minute IKEA kitchen planning consultation

I wish you a great year and a beautiful new kitchen!