Before & After: Kitchen Remodeled

A number of friends have asked how our custom Ikea kitchen turned out.  I’ve been remiss and haven’t provided any updates since one of my last Progress Reports.  Well, let me just say, that we love our kitchen.

This is what the kitchen looked liked when we bought it:

This is what the kitchen looks like now that it’s been remodeled:

What a difference, right?

One of my idols, Sarah Richardson, has said on her show that the quickest way to have a huge impact on a space is by making structural changes and the kitchen is where we did it.  We removed one wall to open it up to the dining room, then closed up the door leading to the laundry room since we felt that two doors leading to the laundry room was a bit unnecessary.  Finally, this is the controversial part, we removed a window.  Yes folks, you read correctly.  We removed a window.  Our realtor and our contractor both advised us against this idea, but knowing how much stuff we have, we felt that gaining storage was more important.  See for yourself.

You will notice that the upper cabinets that replaced the window have glass fronts.  In addition, to give an illusion of depth and give greater natural light, we cut mirror panels to fit at the back of the cabinets. This is a trick I learned from watching Candice Olson. (Thank you HGTV for your talented Canadian designers.)  Remember, our lower level used to be a dance studio, so we simply recycled some of the old mirrors and gave them a new life.  I think you will agree that we didn’t loose light.  In fact, since we removed a wall, we have tons of natural light streaming in from the rest of the house and the adjacent eat-in breakfast nook that I have yet to put together.

As for some of the details, the quartz counters are from Ikea, since they were also discounted as part of the sale.  The quartz color is “Nougat”.  I didn’t want the kitchen to scream Ikea. I wanted it to feel more like the high end inspiration kitchens I had seen.  So, I went with a gorgeous stacked honed 1″x3″ marble mosaic from Casa Viva.  I picked a handsome, yet slightly industrial looking kitchen faucet from Hansgrohe’s Axor Montreux collection.  The stainless steel pulls and handles from Hickory Hardware‘s Cottage Collection have a similar detail to the kitchen faucet, so they tie in nicely.  Last but not least are the appliances, with the 5 burner pro-looking range from Verona as the piece de resistance.  The fridge and dishwasher are from LG.  The latter decision was dictate by the fact that this LG fridge has the largest capacity of all the French door counter depth fridges on the market.  Counter depth fridges have less storage than their non-counter depth siblings, so for us, every extra cubic inch mattered.  I bought all the appliances in one fell swoop from AJ Madison during the Thanksgiving Black Friday sale.  We saved a ton of cash with the sale prices, and saved even more by buying out of state (no tax) with free delivery.  The savings were equivalent to getting a free washer and dryer for the laundry room.  Nice!  The pendant lights are from Shades of Light.

There is one “issue” I think is worth highlighting for anyone looking to customize their Ikea kitchen.  I wanted the cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling.  Our ceiling is at 100″, the pantry cabinet comes 88″ high even with a toe kick of 4″,  we were still 8 inches shy of the ceiling.  So, I decided to hang the cabinets at 96″ and add some filler at top with some matching molding.  But pantry cabinet was still just 88″+4″.  So I bought a couple of 30″ doors and had my carpenter shorten them, by pulling the top piece off and trimming the extra inches.  When the pantry cabinet doors are closed you would never know the top doors are not the original doors, but when you open them, you can see where we had to fill above the cabinet and  fill the whole where they original hinge was intended to sit.  FYI- I came up with this solution, not my carpenter.  He just wanted to shave an inch from the top and bottom of the door, but I knew that that solution would compromise the lines of the cabinet.  I needed it to look seamless and it does.

Here are a few more pics of our kitchen for your viewing pleasure.

Let me know what you think!  Hope you love it as much as we do.

Update 9.02.14: For a full cost breakdown of the kitchen see here.

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Julie - Fantastic article and photos. It’s absolutely beautiful!

Sage - Absolutely love your kitchen! Just gorgeous. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

Penny - I love your style, design and organization of matching items with Ikea products. I hope I can re-create a similar design, thank you so much for spending the effort and time to share your creation.

rachel - There aren’t word for how amazing this kitchen is. Seriously. You chose everything to perfection. It looks fantastic.

radmin - So glad you like it Rachel. It’s quite satisfying to get this look on an ikea budget 🙂

Stephanie - I just wanted to know the dimensions of your kitchen, if you wouldn’t mind sharing.

isadorag - Hi Stephanie,
Our kitchen is approximately 11’x 13′ if you exclude the breakfast nook (which is not pictured here). However, I think the kitchen feels larger because it is open to the rest of the house and also because the counters extend about 15″ into the dinning area with cabinets underneath. This makes the counters bigger. Also, I think the use of mirrors inside the glass cabinets contribute to a greater feeling of space. Our kitchen is not small, but it certainly is not large. Hope this helps.
Thanks for stopping by.

Stephanie - Thank you Isadora! Your kitchen is beautiful and the use of mirrors inside the glass cabinets have really inspired me! Very clever idea.

Jessica - How do you like the white for cabinets? We’re seriously considering white but we have 3 kids and will have more children. What’s your opinion?

isadorag - Hi Jessica,
We have two boys (ready messy) and white works for us. I find that as long as a surface is easy to wipe, then you’re OK. White really brightens things up. The other option you could go with is two tones, dark/black on the lowers that will likely take more of a beating, then white on the uppers to keep things bright and fresh. Good luck!

HOUSE*TWEAKING - […] Ikea kitchen an elegant and timeless look. You can read more about Isadora’s kitchen right here and see all of the family’s remodeling adventures over on her […]

Kari - Your kitchen is amazing. What type of wood flooring do you have in your kitchen?


isadorag - Hi Kari,
Glad you like it. The kitchen had lino before, so in order for the space to feel more connected to the rest of the house we decided to continue the floor that was originally in the adjacent dining room. The wood floor is a random plank oak floor stained very dark.

Ashley - Beautiful kitchen! I love your range hood. Where is it from?

isadorag - Hi Ashley,
Happy you like it. Our range hood is by Broan. It’s the Elite Pro-Style under cabinet canopy range hood. It can be really powerful, but has nice hidden dial to control the power from soft to strong. Also, it has two settings on the lights which I like. When it runs at full power it can be a bit loud, but it really does the job. Plus it’s super easy to remove the filters and wash them in the dishwasher.
Hope this helps.

Erin - I found your blog through Dana @ HT, and I’m in love! I can’t wait to spend some time scrolling through your posts. This is an amazing kitchen and gives me hope we can one day use IKEA for an update that will look high-end! PS- would you mind sharing the door/drawer style you chose? They look a bit like the Ramsjo, but I didn’t see that style in white. Did you have the cabinets custom painted? Thanks!

Erin - I found your blog through Dana @ HT, and I’m in love! I can’t wait to spend some time scrolling through your posts. This is an amazing kitchen and gives me hope we can one day use IKEA for an update that will look high-end! PS- would you mind sharing the door/drawer style you chose? They look a like the Ramsjo? Thanks!

ChloeI - What is your microwave? We are in the middle of an Ikea renovation and having an impossible time finding a microwave to fit in the cabinet with the microwave cutout – you seem to have found something that fits perfectly!

isadorag - Hi Chloe,
I wouldn’t say it fits “perfectly” but it fits very well. I didn’t want to spend the money on a built in microwave. Why spend $$$ on something that you just use to zap food for a few seconds. So, I went with the cut out. I knew from experience that the platform they usually provide is for a big microwave, but that means it sticks out. I decided to get a super small microwave good enough to warm up food or pop the occasional popcorn. Mine is a 0.9 cu ft countertop microwave in stainless steel by Frigidaire. Hope this helps.
Good luck with your reno.

isadorag - Hi Erin,
Thanks for stopping by. You have a good eye, the door profile is a Ramsjo. It was the only all wood door at the time we were doing our reno. I’ve heard rumors that Ikea will be bringing in all new kitchens in the next 4-6 months; not just new door styles, new cabinets too. I’m waiting to see what that will be like.

isadorag - They had white Ramsjo here, but I didn’t see them online recently.

Steph2000 - I’m glad to see a Ramsjo white kitchen. It doesn’t come off with pinkish undertones at all, which is the concern I’ve heard expressed about them. I’m wondering, though, what did you do for crown? Is that IKEA trim stacked up somehow or did you buy and paint trim to match? If so, would you mind sharing what white you used for the crown paint? It seems to be a great match.

You have a beautiful kitchen! Congrats!

isadorag - Hi Stephanie,
I would agree that the Ramsjo can have a pinkish undertone depending on the light. It looks like this door profile has more of a white wash finish than a full on opaque paint treatment. The good thing is you can kind of see some of the wood grain, the bad thing is that it can lend a pinkish undertone. I was worried about that since I was combining it with gray, but it’s worked out. I figure down the line if I ever get annoyed I can switch out the doors.
For the crown, I used the Ramsjo crown, but it wasn’t tall enough, so I combined it with toe kick to fill in the gap between the molding and the ceiling. You could leave the gap between the molding and the ceiling… but I hate that dead space. I find that the space between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling just turns into a dust trap. So whether in the kitchen, or in our master bedroom, I filled in all the space above because I know myself, I would never dust up there.
Good luck.

Jessica - Can you share a cost breakdown?

Jordana - Beautiful kitchen! I have a few questions:

1- I read your doors are Ramsjo white and would like to know which cover panels for the cabinets you used to match, since they don’t come in Ramsjo white. Is it too noticeable the different colors/materials?

2- Do they have the crown and toe kick in Ramsjo white?

3- You mentioned Ikea is bringing new cabinets… Do you know when (I can’t tell from your post above)? Could you share more info about it?

Thank you very much!

isadorag - Hi Jordana,

1 – Our cover panels are Ramsjo white, so there is not color/material discrepancy. See:

2 – Yes, Ramsjo comes with toe kick and crown see:

3 – It seems Ikea will bring their new kitchen system to the US in Feb 2015. If you are not in a hurry to remodel, I would wait until Feb, so that you have all the new and improved stuff. I’m sad that I wont be able to easily switch things out on our kitchen when the time comes for a refresh (it was part of the reason I chose an Ikea kitchen in the first place). If you wait until Feb, chances are they’ll stick to the new line for another 20 years since they’ve had the existing Akrum cabinets since 1995. See this article for more details:

Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your remodel. Would love to know what you decided to do.

Eliesa @ Pinterest Addict - When we went to Ikea to look at their kitchens, the white Ramsjo cabinets looked sort of pinkish. Are yours like that? Or are they “whiter”?

isadorag - Hi Eliesa,
I agree, the white Ramsjo does have a slight pink undertone, particularly in the showroom when you compare it to the pure white of the abstrakt. I was concerned about it, but once in place it hasn’t really been an issue. Everyone who has visited the house sees the cabinets as white, because they are not sitting right next to something pure white. Also depending on the light and shadows throughout the day is hard to detect.
To be safe you can always buy a couple of doors, see how the look/feel in your space and return them if they just don’t work. Maybe go with a couple of the bigger pantry doors to get more surface area to evaluate them. Keep your receipt 🙂
Also, I saw on your blog that you have been planning your kitchen for a while, if you are not in a rush to order, you may want to wait until February when their new kitchens come out. The cabinets will have more options and I’m sure they will also introduce new door styles.
LMK if I can be of any further help. I’m helping a few people out with their Ikea kitchen redesigns.

Suzanne - Hi,
You have a beautiful kitchen! I’m hoping you can help me.. I just installed a ramsjo white island in my kitchen and came across your blog while trying to figure out how other people have installed their handles in the thin middle area of the drawers. Please let me know if you had to do anything special to make it stable or if it’s been fine in the thin area without adding support.
Thanks so much!

isadorag - Hi Suzanne,
Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, Ikea shows the handles usually on the upper/thicker part of the drawers but I preferred the look with the drawers in the middle. We had to buy shorter screws at Home Depot to use with the drawer pulls. By having the right length of screws, you will have the needed stability.
Hope this helps. Let me know how it goes.

Suzanne - Hi Isadora,
Thank you so much for your fast response! We went ahead with what you did and bought the smaller screws. My husband installed them all last night and so far it’s worked perfectly! Thanks again! – Suzanne

Esther - Lovely job! Curious if the drawer pulls flanking the stove hit the drawer pulls on the fridge side and sink side – can you pull them all the way out or are they stopped by hitting the pull? Just wondering if you’d suggest a 2″ clearance to avoid it or if it’s not a problem for you.

isadorag - Hi Esther,
You have sharp eyes! When they did the rough-in we actually lost 3″ which we were supposed to have in order to address that potential problem. But we only realized the 3″ were missing once the kitchen was fully installed. The top drawers do run into the pulls, but I haven’t found it to be a problem. I am able to access everything I need in those drawers, even though they don’t extend to their full potential. That said. if I kept small things at the back of those drawers, the full extension would be better. I guess it all depends what you plan to keep in those drawers. It hasn’t been a problem for us.
Hope this helps.

jenni h - Hi
I love your kitchen it looks fab – could you tell me where you got your light from please?

isadorag - Hi Jenni,
Thanks for stopping by, the pendants are from Shades of Light.

3 Kitchens with Cottage Bar Pulls | hickory hardware - […] 2) Relocated Living […]

Jackie - Hi! I’m going through a similar issue right now with the pantry! Such a headache. Can you explain what you mean by cutting off the top of the 30″ doors and then cutting them down a few inches? That’s exactly what I would need to do but I don’t see where you did or how you did it. I’m stuck right now in between the 80″ pantry being too short and the 90″ pantry being too tall. I would love to be able to cut the top door down by about 2 inches but unsure of how to do so. Thanks so much!

isadorag - Hi Jackie,
I’ll email you directly with a little more info, which I hope will help you. But in fairness, I don’t think all IKEA doors are the same in terms of ease of alteration.

Erin - Hey! I love your kitchen. What model are those ikea cabinets?

isadorag - Hi Erin,
Thanks. The cabinets doors are Ramsjo. But with the new Sektion kitchen system IKEA introduced back in February, they discontinued this door profile. The Laxarby profile is very similar, but unfortunately does not come in white. Sorry. 🙁

Syeda Rashid - Hello! Wonderful kitchen you got there! Could you tell me where you found your lights?

isadorag - Our kitchen pendants are from Shades of Light.

Michelle - Hi Isadora,
Your kitchen is gorgeous! WE are in the process of planning ours, should be ready to install soon. I happened to choose the same deco strip. I LOVE that you filled in the gap between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling. I see from a comment above that you used the toe kick. How did you adhere it to the cabinet and ceiling? How did you make it look so perfectly flush? How many inches is it (the gap between top of cabinet and ceiling?) Thanks so much for your help!

isadorag - Hi Michelle,
Happy that you like our kitchen. I didn’t do the install on the “toe kick used as trim”, I just told the contractor how I wanted it to look in the end 🙂 That said, I jumped up on my counters to have a closer look. From what I can tell, they first installed the matching crown molding on to the top of the cabinets. I think they then fixed wood blockers on to the ceiling, recessed just enough so that the trim could be added and set flush up against it. Hope that helps. Good luck with your reno.

Cathy - I love your kitchen! Great job! I especially like the mirror backed glass cabinets. Could you please explain how you did those? Did you mount the cabinet on the wall rail with its normal backing first, and then set the mirror inside in front of the backs? Did you attach the mirror in some way to keep it stable? How did you deal with those Ikea corner blocks in the upper cabinets, where you attach the cabinet to the rail? Did you cut square corners out of the mirror to fit those spots, or just start the mirror below that point? Could you post a picture (or email) that shows that area? I think your solution is genius and gorgeous!

isadorag - Hi Cathy,
Yes, we mounted the wall cabinets with its regular backing first, then added the mirror on the inside using adhesive that’s usually used for mirrors. For the blocks you could have a glass cutter cut around them so your mirror fits all around. I actually went for a simple straight cut underneath the block all the way across. So I have 1 1/2″ of inside cabinet that are not covered by the mirror, but it’s all the way at the top that no one has ever noticed.
Hope this helps. Good luck with your reno. Post a picture on my facebook page when you are done. I’d love to see the end result!

Kitchen Remodel – Raimann's Renovations - […] Inspiration Two […]

SAMANTHA HACKLEY - Did IKEA install your counter tops too? How did that work? I am worried out measurements will be off. How was it delivered too? Thanks so much!

isadorag - Hi Samantha,
From what I understand Ikea contracts with local quartz/stone suppliers in each market. Ikea will give you an estimate based on the counters needed for your design, however, you have to schedule the stone people to come out to template once all your cabinets are installed. They usually schedule the install for a week after they come and do the template. I had to keep delaying the template appointment because the cabinets were taking longer to assemble than initially anticipated.
Hope this helps.

Susan - Beautiful!! Are the cabinets Grinslov in off-white?

isadorag - No, they are the Ramsloj doors, all wood. They no longer make them.

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