It’s been a while since I’ve contributed my two bits worth to the blogosphere. But Farley’s still dead, my kidney stones are gone, my knee is OK, Megan’s settling into her new job, and the kitchen is mostly done, so it’s time.
The rant will follow after a bit of kitchen history.
Those of you who’ve been here, when first seeing the kitchen, must have wondered WTF were Megan and Walter thinking of when they bought this place, but were too polite to say so. Bright yellow Formica counters, crappy wood cupboards, drawers that wouldn’t open, and if they did, wouldn’t close. This was cheap crap in the 70s when it was built, and it certainly didn’t improve with age. Well, it is no more.
I was quite amazed that it all fit in the truck!
We ripped up the walls for access to the electrics and plumbing in preparation. We soon found that the walls and floor aren’t square or straight, but fortunately nothing was rotted or structurally unsound. We also learned not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. When I say we, the main man who knew what he was doing is my friend Geoff, jack of all trades. I was just his helper, building up some sweat equity in the place.
We ran into the usual problems and had a million little and not so little details to work out, but the biggest hassle was with Ikea.
As long as you’re not into super-custom stuff, Ikea has a good product, with great hardware, at a really good price. The problem is that even when you order an entire kitchen and have them deliver it, they only deliver what they have in stock. They leave it up to you to track the shortages, check the website, and pick up the missing materials. They will not hold materials for you, so if you check the website, it says the stuff is in stock, you go down there, and it may or may not be there because someone else may have bought it in the meantime. First come, first serve!
The biggest missing piece we had was the sink. We couldn’t finalize anything until the sink was in place. About two weeks into the project, they told me sinks would be arriving on a Saturday. I called on Friday, just to make sure the sinks were still on schedule. They said they had eight in stock right then, so I drove the 30 miles across Seattle to the store and got the last one in stock. I was just lucky to get it when I did. Imagine how pissed off I’d be if I’d gone to the store on Saturday morning when the doors opened, and all the sinks were gone!
With the sink in place, we were able to make the kitchen functional, and restaurants around here started laying people off. I ate in restaurants more in a month than I normally do in years.
Right now, I’m still missing four cabinet doors and five drawer fronts. After at least a half dozen trips to pick things up, I ordered the stuff online. They say they’ll ship on July 9th. We’ll see.
But the Ikea screwed up system doesn’t stop there. I paid for the whole kitchen, but they only shipped 80% of it. So they gave me three “gift” cards to pay for the rest. What they don’t tell you is that I bought during a 20% off sale, and the gift card amounts reflected that discounted price. So when I picked up materials from the original order and paid for them with the “gift” cards, the sale was over and I was charged full price. I had to spend considerable time in the kitchen department going over receipts and then spent more time in the “customer service” department getting the refund.
But wait! There’s more. The price for the whole kitchen included quartzite countertops that were supplied by a local firm. I found that firm absolutely impossible to deal with, so I cancelled the order. I found a different local contractor for less than half of Ikea’s sale price.
At the end of the day, I’ll be very happy with what we got from Ikea. And the hassle was worth it. Great value for product received. But beware, if you use Ikea for your kitchen remodel be prepared for a lot of headaches.