It seems like there are two groups of people when it comes to putting Ikea stuff together: those who enjoy it and those who want to rip their hair out during the process. We are firmly in the “enjoy it” category. But even then, staring at 143 boxes marked with words that have nothing to do with whats inside of them, is daunting to anyone. Before we started assembling our cabinets, we organized them into categories: cabinet boxes, drawers, door and drawer fronts and miscellaneous cover panels, hinges and legs. For the initial install, we were just putting together the boxes.
We decided to start with the biggest cabinet, the one that will be next to the fridge. It’s a good thing we started with this one because we realized our mistake right off the bat. You see, while we were planning and buying our kitchen, we didn’t realize that the cabinet sizes listed did not include the legs. We got an 80″ and a 15″ cabinet (totaling 95″) to flank the right side of the fridge which, in our minds, would have been perfect for our 96″ ceilings. However, as soon as we put the 80″ cabinet together, it hit us: Once we put the legs on this (which are just over 4″) the combination would no longer fit. And without legs, we won’t be able to pull out the drawers we had planned for the base of the 80″ cabinet. It wasn’t a fun mistake, but fortunately we had only put together the 80″ cabinet box so far–which runs about $110. We were able to return the 15″ cabinet we had planned to hang above that, the doors for the 80″ and 15″ and exchange it for a 90″ cabinet, which with legs on is the perfect height. The exchange cost us about $50 and an 8 hour round trip last Saturday for Chris. Woof.
While he was gone, I put together all the other cabinets myself. I got it down to where I could put a cabinet together in about 11 minutes. It was a little monotonous, but it was fun watching the living room fill up with cabinets as the day wore on.
Installing the cabinets was a breeze thanks to Ikea’s track system. Even though all the base cabinets come with adjustable legs, you still clip the back of the cabinets onto a track so they are guaranteed level without a lot of excess tweaking. So naturally, we installed the track first (on Chris’s lunch break!), anchoring it into every stud on the wall.
When we made the recessed cubby for the fridge, we made it about 26″ deep so the fridge would be flush. Knowing the upper cabinets are only 24″ deep, we added a 2×4 to the back before hanging the track system here so everything would be even once the cabinets and appliances were installed.
We were able to install the track and all the perimeter cabinets in one night and the island cabinets the next night. The island counters have to be anchored to the floor, which we thought would be a nightmare because of our tile, but it wasn’t too bad at all.
We started out by drilling pilot holes through the tile with a diamond tip drill bit made for the job.
Chris made a platform for the base cabinets to sit on that was the same height as the toe kick that came with the cabinets (just over 4″) and secured that to the floor through the pilot holes.
Then we just attached the island cabinets to the base with a couple of screws in each.
Seeing the kitchen altogether was exciting, but maybe a little underwhelming, too. Without interior fittings or doors and drawers or cover panels or countertops, it’s not much to look at.
But, as I keep reminding myself, all that bad office furniture brown (Ikea has this brownish option or white interior boxes and we thought this would be better for the black exteriors we have) will be covered with Ikea’s LAXARBY black cover panels and doors/drawers dressed with brass hardware. And, well, if you follow me on Instagram (@chrislovesjulia), you already know part of the countertops happened this weekend! We hope to share with you those along with finished off cabinets by the end of the week.