Reader Reno


A few weeks ago, we shared our thoughts and plans about possibly installing an IKEA kitchen. In response to our thoughts, one of our readers (Hi, Emily!) mentioned that she recently installed an IKEA kitchen and was in love with it. So she sent us an email with photos of her renovation process. When we saw Emily’s photos, we had to share them with you guys as well. Here’s what she had to say:

I’m Emily and in response to Ashley & Greg’s recent post about considering an Ikea kitchen, I sent them a link to our Ikea kitchen remodel, and they asked me to share our home with all of you – and I obliged! I LOVE our new kitchen, and I certainly will jump at the opportunity to show it off!

My husband (then, boyfriend) and I bought our home in March of 2008 and spent a month gutting the bathroom, repainting every wall and ceiling and replacing every speck of flooring before we moved in (it was a dump when we bought it). It should be said that my dad is a contractor and takes the lead on all of our major home projects. We are so lucky to have him – he has truly saved us THOUSANDS of dollars. When we moved in April 2008, we knew the kitchen was one other major item on the to-do list, but we just couldn’t afford it at the time.

As you can see from our before photos, we had no dishwasher, little cabinet space, and poor lighting…

The yellow paint was a rookie mistake – I never intended for it to look so yellow, but once it was painted it stayed that way.

Fast forward to spring 2010 (after a proposal and a wedding), Ikea was having a kitchen sale and we decided to take the leap and buy new cabinets – after much research and comparison against other brands.  And in June of 2010 we began the huge task of gutting our kitchen and really making it ours!

We opted to go with the Ikea Akurum cabinets with Adel White doors and drawer fronts. The hardware was purchased from a wholesaler in our area.

Our appliances were a Craigslist find – we were lucky enough to find a seller that was getting rid of all four matching appliances that were only 6 months old.  We estimate that we saved around $2500 to $3000 vs. buying all of the identical ones brand new.  And the fridge was the clincher of the deal, it’s a counter-depth style, which was a real space-saver in our pint-size kitchen (our home is a total of 970 sq ft., 2 bed and 1 bath)

We also scored some great deals on our faucet, sink, “insta-hot” water dispenser and skylights, all were either Craigslist or Ebay finds. And my dad was able to get us pre-fabricated granite countertops for a steal on a trip to the SF Bay area – the only additional cost to us was the fabrication of the bar top.

So, with all those great deals, what was the total cost for our kitchen?  Here’s a quick breakdown:

$1850 Appliances
$2400 Ikea Cabinets & Accessories
$400 Electrical & Lighting
$775 Plumbing (including the sink, faucet, instahot water dispenser, disposal, and moving the pipes for the new sink location)
$890 Granite & Fabrication
$1020 Misc (wall texture & paint, backsplash, skylights, drywall, etc)
TOTAL: $7,335


The flooring is not included in the breakdown because we had purchased enough to replace the kitchen floor when we bought the materials in 2008.  But I believe they were about $2.99 a sq ft and are a genuine maple hardwood with a chocolate stain.


All in all, we are IMPRESSED with our Ikea cabinets!  My dad was reluctant to use them, but agreed because they were the biggest value for features vs. cost that we could find.  In the end, he said, “Those cabinets – they’re pretty slick.”  And if you knew my dad, that’s a huge compliment!  It was also a big convenience to be able to return and exchange items as we needed (there was more than one mis-measurement in the process of installation) and we never had any hassles with the store.

The wall color is Behr’s Ocean Pearl, color-matched by Miller Paint.  I love this shade and it’s so much better than the yellow that we originally painted.  The granite color is Santa Cecilia and the backsplash is a simple white subway tile with a smoked glass tile detail line.

Before I go, I just wanted to share a couple “Ikea-modifications” we did in our space that you might find useful in yours.

First, the upper corner cabinet with the lazy-susan rack:

Normally, the rack only comes with two shelves.  We opted to purchase an extra rack and put all four shelves on one center post.  By doing this, we’ve nearly doubled the amount of storage in this one cabinet.  Without this, we’d have nowhere to put all those cans and baking supplies!  Note: it is suggested to use some reinforcements when hanging this cabinet if you intend to do this, since it will put significantly more weight on the cabinet itself.

Second, we opted to create a bench out of two upper cabinets for even more storage:

This has been a lifesaver!  Since we gave up a closet in re-configuring the kitchen layout, we needed another location to store our cookbooks and serving platters.  Again, you’ll need to reinforce the cabinets to ensure that they can bear the weight of a couple of adults.

Well, that about sums it up!  I hope you’ve enjoyed our kitchen remodel!  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like more details about our project.

Thanks, Emily, for sharing your kitchen reno with us!  If you have any questions for Emily, please post them in the comments or send us an email to request her contact info!

Do you have a home project that you would like to see featured on 7HL? How about stories and tips about entertaining, interior design and cool DYI projects? Well, we’re always looking for cool stuff to show our readers! When sending us your submission, include up to eight photos along with a brief description and important details (the name you want to be known as in the article, paint colors, materials, budget, etc.).

Please email your submissions to [email protected]. By sending us your submission, you are giving us permission to post it on the blog unless otherwise stated in your email. Don’t worry, we won’t post your email address or any personal information unless you specifically ask us to do so.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Love the kitchen, Emily! Good choices!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Emily you kitchen is fabulous! My parents where generous enough to hand their home over to us when they moved out-of-state so I had a place to live throughout law school, but they didn’t care so much about aesthetics so we are working on it. ANYWAYS, I’m so happy to see a real kitchen with ikea cabinets in case we have to go that route and replace!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2011 at 7:05 am

    wow that kitchen look so good. We are hopping to redo our kitchen this year, so this was great to see. all looks great

  • Reply
    Inspire Me Heather
    January 23, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Well done! I redid ours in Ikea Stat with the butcher block counters and farmhouse sink – LOVE IT! Also, the paint match for it is BM Simply White so we were able to add our own corbels and cabinet “feet” to match.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Beautiful job, Emily! Thank you, Ashley, for sharing their project because I too have considered the IKEA cabinets for some time. Would be curios to know if Emily has been satisfied with the quality and operation of her cabinets now that she’s had time to settle in with them. Also, I would love to see pictures of the corbels and cabinet feet that “Inspire Me Heather” added to their cabinets!

    • Reply
      January 23, 2011 at 10:16 pm

      I am VERY satisfied with the quality and performance of the cabinets! We’ve had ZERO problems and I love the foil finish on the cabinets – it makes them super easy to clean!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Saved as a favorite, I love your blog! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 24, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Your Kitchen is beautiful Emily! Thanks for posting the kitchen paint color. I have St.Cecelia granite (but with cherry bordeaux cabinets) in our one month old home. I am trolling for gray paint to tie in my kitchen, fam room etc and wanted to know what the other paint for the walls outside of your kitchen are? Also, could you post more details on how to reinforce the cabinets for seating? Thanks a bunch!!

    • Reply
      January 25, 2011 at 11:04 am

      Lita —

      Ask Ashley for my email address and send me an email! I will take some pics of the inside of the bench cabinets so you can see what we did. And I’ll look up the green color that we’ve got in our living room — it’s been almost 3 years since we painted it, so I can’t remember the color off the top of my head!

      • Reply
        January 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm

        Lita took my question. I too am VERY interested in the bench you made. I’ll be emailing you soon!

        • Reply
          February 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm

          Me too! Me too! I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this for a while now…

  • Reply
    January 25, 2011 at 11:16 am

    That Kitchen is adorable!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    wow, what a brilliant job!!! and i love the storage seat. beautiful and practical 🙂

  • Reply
    mike @ the lil house that could
    January 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    just saw your comment about the lucy poster and ran over here (ok, moved my mouse insanely fast)… Love that poster. Kinda wish I had an original, I hear they go for crazy amounts!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    The kitchen is beautiful!!! I have a question. How did you reinforce the cabinet for the lazy susan? Thanks!

    • Reply
      January 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      The Ikea upper cabinets come with a “track” that you use to install them to the wall. We used the track, but on the corner cabinet we added additional screws upwards through the top of the cabinet and into the ceiling (into the trusses) to ensure ample support. We then used white “screw covers” to camouflage the unsightly screws. I think my dad might have also added some extra screws directly into the wall (and through the support track).

  • Reply
    January 31, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Wow I’m in love with your kitchen. We really want to do the Ikea cabinets (same as yours) and I’m fortunate to work for a General Contractor so plumbing/electrical shouldn’t be too expensive etc. My main concern is the ease of putting the cabinets together and installing them as my husband and I will probably have to do them ourselves. How easy/difficult were they to install? Do you have any advice to offer?

    • Reply
      January 31, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      We were fortunate enough to be able to assemble all of the cabinet boxes in my dad’s shop and then transport all of them to our house. We spent a few hours on the weekends just putting the stuff together — and this was before we even began the demolition process at our house. We also opted not to use the legs that Ikea sells. We built our own “boxes” out of 2×6’s. We did this for a couple of reasons: 1. It was easier to make the cabinets level and 2. we could build a box to extend under several cabinets at a time. But then again, I don’t have any personal experience with using the legs from Ikea, so maybe it wouldn’t be that hard? But either way, shims are your friend! I don’t think the installation was that hard, but once again, my dad led the charge and we just did as we were told. If I were doing it myself, I would advise patience, patience, patience. Take your time, be thorough, and double check your work. A small error can grow as you add more cabinets. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I wish I knew the answer to pass along to you! Hopefully Emily will pop in to answer some of these questions. If you would like her email address to email her your questions, just drop me a line at [email protected]

  • Reply
    Marvin Stokes
    February 2, 2011 at 2:44 am

    where’s the rss button? Can’t seem to find it. Do you have one?

    • Reply
      February 2, 2011 at 11:38 am

      Yep. It’s over on the right side of the page, next to the Facebook and Twitter icons.

  • Reply
    February 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    This is awesome! A friend and I were just discussing Ikea cabinets this week, love seeing them in someone else’s kitchen!!

  • Reply
    February 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm


    I love your kitchen and great work on the bench. Can you please let me know how to reinforce the bench for seating.

    Thank you kindly.

    • Reply
      February 7, 2012 at 10:21 am

      Hey there! This is actually a reader reno, not our kitchen. Hopefully Emily will chime in on the comments and give us some more info 🙂

  • Reply
    April 14, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    What a beautiful kitchen Emily has! I love the updates that they did – and opening up that wall to make way for the bar was a great idea – makes the room lighter, brighter and airier. Great job in space saving and storage (the lazy susan and bench). Definitely pinning this for when we get a home. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 10, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Ԍrеat ɗelivery. Sounhd arguments. Keep upp the good work.

  • Leave a Reply