Phase 3: The Kitchen Remodel

“And in the fine print they tell you what’s wrong and what’s right”

It starts.

Over the next few weeks we will be documenting our kitchen remodel.

Here’s a couple pictures of the kitchen when we bought the house:

home5 home4

Our first major purchase is the cabinets.

The Verbas Adventure at Ikea

After much research, we settled on Ikea kitchen cabinets. All the reviews, awards, customization and price won us over. The idea of having to put together the cabinets did not discourage us. The closest Ikea is in Charlotte, NC so off we went.

We arrived on a Wednesday morning at 10:30. There were already 3 customers ahead of us and waiting on assistance. Without going into all the gory details, lets just say it wasn’t the pleasant experience we were hoping for.

Ikea Tip #1: The kitchen department employees are not kitchen designers. They will point you to a computer and you are on your own. No discussion of cabinet types, functionality or how to work within their buggy software. Figure it out yourself because hey “You know what cabinets you want, I don’t” (said that nice older Ikea salesman) Best to work on their kitchen design software at home first. Also, be sure to download or pick up their cabinet catalog.

3 hours later we had a layout of our kitchen. We went to lunch and discussed which 15″, 18″, 24″ and 36″ cabinets we wanted. We looked at cabinets all afternoon in their showroom. By 3:30 we were tired and decided to get our hotel room and find a nice cold draft beer. That night we sat back down and went over our measurements and cabinet functionality again.

Ikea Tip #2: The cabinet catalog will show all the basic cabinets. There are hundreds of combinations!  You can add drawers and take out drawers, decide what you want the fronts to look like, etc. It does say this in the catalog but its in the small print.

The next morning we got there at 9:45, before they officially opened. We headed over to a computer in the kitchen section and updated our layout. Talia walked over and said hello. She asked if we were the couple from Asheville and then apologized for our experience with them the day before.

Ikea Tip #3: Twitter is a great way to get a company’s attention. I tweeted something like “Ikea_Charlotte kitchen help is of no help. Help!”. They tweeted back later in the day they were sorry to hear this.

Talia wanted to know what happened and asked great questions about their service. She was great! She put us on the list and we were first to get our order in. It took about an hour and they went over everything with us before placing the order. Unfortunately there were some items out of stock and although it won’t effect installation, we will be waiting on a couple door fronts and interior baskets.

Ikea Tip #4: Each store has their own stock and deliveries in their computers. They don’t see what is available in other stores or online. You have to do that yourself. Although our salesperson said she would keep up with our out of stock products and email us when they come in, ultimately its up to us to watch for availability.

Overall, we are still really happy with our decision to go with Ikea cabinets. We are only putting in lower cabinets. We plan on open shelving above. Our cabinets are all pullouts. No bending over to see whats in the back of a cabinet. The cabinets are either drawers (many different sizes and also drawers within drawers) or wire baskets. Even the corner cabinet is a “pull out” lazy susan. All cabinets are soft close.

As far as Ikea goes, it’s a shame that they have such a wonderful product and not the customer service to really sell it. Between the lack of in store help, their software and their website, they are selling themselves short.

We’ll have an update when the 73 boxes arrive and we start to put the cabinets together. In the meantime, we are ordering flooring, picking out countertops, scheduling the plumber and electrician and starting demolition. Whew!!

Lyrics by The Avett Brothers from “Head Full Of Doubt”.

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