This is me in an Ikea kitchen in Italy. Disclosure time: this is my only first-hand experience with Ikea cabinetry. I reported in August '08 that the kitchen in the photograph had one redeeming quality, it's location overlooking the Bay of Naples.
A couple of nights ago, I posted an old post up on Twitter. I do that from time to time. It's a way to get some exposure for posts buried deep in my archives that I think warrant some more attention. Considering that no one read my blog back then, I want them to get some attention for the first time. Anyhow, the other night I posted a little gem from August of '08, IKEA can wait. It was a typically ham-fisted and inflammatory slam on all things Ikea, but Ikea kitchens particularly.
Well in the year-and-a-half since that post ran originally, a lot has changed. I know a lot more people from all sides of the kitchen and bath industry and a really cool person I've come to know int he last couple of months (through Twitter of course) is Becky Shankle. Becky is a designer from Raleigh, NC. She's also a blogger, a dedicated businesswoman and she knows how to use Twitter. Becky's business is designing kitchens using cabinetry from Ikea and her work's fantastic.
Needless to say, my ham-fisted rantings about Ikea cabinetry stepped on her toes. She wrote the following on her blog, Eco Modernism, yesterday. I'm reprinting it here with her blessing. So here's Becky:
Ikea: WHY wait?
January 27th, 2010
Just the facts, ma'am.
Paul Anater's got a post about custom vs. Ikea cabinets over on his blog today. I have to admit that when I first started designing kitchens with Ikea components, I was highly skeptical. I did my own research on it, queried Ikea cabinet owning & using people, talking to the people at the store, checking it out myself.
Of the people who owned & used daily Ikea kitchen cabinets, they overwhelmingly said they would purchase them again, they have had them in place & in use with no breakdowns or visible wear & tear for as long as 22 years. The only negative report I got from the same group was that the countertops faded & scratched unevenly.
Here's some points to compare when shopping around for cabinets:
- Hardware: Ikea uses high quality Blum hardware on all kitchen components. Full extension drawer slides & soft closure mechanisms are *standard* on all doors & drawers. (Are you being upcharged on those custom boxes for such bells and whistles?)
- Warranty: Ikea warrants all cabinetry for 25 years.
- Strength: Every Ikea base cabinet is rated to hold 1,100 pounds.
- Organization: matching drawer dividers & other inserts made for their drawer system make small kitchens run as smoothly as bigger ones.
- Price: The cabinets for an average sized kitchen from Ikea (about 14 boxes - walls and bases) runs about $5,000.
The old standby
As for the argument about particle board, which Ikea uses in all its cabinets, I did some research on that, too. See my post here.
Don't take my word for it.
Ikea is not for everyone. And not all things that come from Ikea are fantastic & high quality (some of their furniture comes to mind). They have, however, engineered their cabinet products very well, & stand behind them with a warranty.
If you have the money & want to spend it on extremely high end cabinets (whatever "high end" actually means), go for it. But don't knock Ikea if you haven't honestly looked at it. That extra $45k could come in handy as a downpayment for a nice cottage in Naples.
Point made, steaming plate of crow served. Check out Becky's blog, Becky's admirable business model and follow her on Twitter.