Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Building Our Own Ikea Kitchen- Because We Can!

The kitchen, as it arrived...

Yesterday in Ikea I placed an order for a complete kitchen, and as I paid for the delivery they assumed they also were charging me for assembly. When I told them that we were assembling it ourselves, they said "Oh, your builders are putting it together for you?" I told them no, my husband and I would be doing it ourselves.
Then when I was walking around the bedding section I was talking to someone there, and mentioned that my husband and I built our own beds; this person asked "Oh, you designed it together and then had it built?" I insisted that no, I didn't "have it built", that I did more than just draw designs on paper but actually did 50% of the physical work on top of doing all the planning and sketching.

Today the kitchens arrived and there were boxes and boxes and packages of materials and the deliverers again asked the same question, who was building it, and then not believing me really when I said we'll do it ourselves. The contractor who is doing the finishing touches to the upstairs apartment asked me the same and was downright incredulous when I said that I planned on doing it myself.

Now let me admit something. I've never built a kitchen before. And today when it arrived and I saw just how much of a huge project there was ahead of me, without any assembly instructions for the kitchen as a whole I kind of balked. I wasn't sure I knew what I was getting myself into...

So why build it ourselves?
Well, a few reasons.

Number one, I knew Ikea kitchens came prefabricated so I wasn't actually building it from scratch, just putting together something that should be relatively straightforward.
Second, because I figured if they were offering to us that we could assemble it ourselves, if it was something people did do, we could probably do it too.
And third, because just because we were spending a lot on a kitchen didn't mean I wanted to spend more than necessary. I mean, if spending more would result in something nicer it's worth it, and that's why we bought a kitchen at all instead of building one ourselves from scratch. But I doubt putting together our Ikea kitchen will result in an inferior final product, so why not save the money there, especially since the kitchen was such a large expense as it is.

But you know what a big part is? I wouldn't necessarily call myself an argumentative or contrary person by nature or in general. However, when I start hearing people either alluding to or saying directly that they doubt I am capable of something, especially if that doubt is because I'm a woman, I get this strong desire to prove people wrong, that I can do anything that anyone else can, that I am just as capable and strong as a man. So the more people asked me "Are you sure you'll be able to do that yourself?" the more that little voice inside of me screamed out "YES!!! Come Hell or high water, my husband and I will build the kitchen ourselves." We may have to do lots of research first to learn how, and we may do it slower than others, but we will do it at the end of the day.

And so today, while my husband was at work, I carried all the kitchen parts myself into the house, looking at each box as I carried it, and saw that there was a picture of each thing on the outside. That was a big help. I know what cabinets I ordered and what went where, so opened up one package to see if I could figure it out. And of course- this is Ikea! It comes with pictorial instructions that are pretty clear! Even with the instructions, the first was a little confusing since we adapted one of the cabinets to have a dish rack at the bottom so that was in two separate packages and comes with two different sets of instructions that needed to be combined, and we did that one first. Also a few instructions were hard to follow at first. But my nine year old son, Lee and I built it together probably in half a hour, including having to undo and redo the parts we got wrong at first.

Kitchen assembled

After that first one, we saw that all the cabinets in my kitchen, no matter the dimensions, were built the same way, and Lee and I divided up the work and found a rhythm and ended up putting together the other 5 cabinets in 80 minutes, or an average of 15 minutes per cabinet, and faster towards the end. It was a race against ourselves to see if we could build each cabinet faster than the last and it was lots of fun.
But even though I am capable and know a lot, I also do generally know my limits and know what I cannot do. So we didn't finish the cabinets entirely- we built them until the part where they need to be wall mounted and I knew I needed my husband for that- also as an extra set of hands, and also because I'm still not proficient in drilling into concrete as would be required when we wall mount our cabinets.

That part will be done tomorrow, and then Mike and I and Lee will put together the kitchen for the rental unit which hopefully will be very quick now that we already know how to build the cabinets.

I'm really looking forward to having my kitchen finished and to be able to show you pictures of the finished thing.

How do you work? When people doubt that you'll be able to do things, do you start having doubts yourself, or do you, like myself, get encouraged even more to do it, and prove them wrong, that you are capable?
If you ever ordered an Ikea kitchen, did you pay to have them installed or did you do the installation yourself?


  1. I do most things myself but I'll pay for the large closets and things that need to hang straight. I'm currently doing a handywoman course so in the near future I won't have to pay anyone at all anymore.
    Funny story: I recently had someone come in to attach an ikea system to the wall. I was telling him how high to put it and where to put the shelves. He said: "You're so unlike most women! You think about practicalities first and not about symmetry or hoe it looks best. That's a compliment!"
    So apparently I'm not like most women, LOL

  2. good luck!! so happy for you!! rochel

  3. In my younger days I would have done it myself. Might still since hubby still is strong. But, honestly, rather let the professionals do it because I would fear the cabinets crashing down at some point due to my husband being a bit lazy instead of precise. As I age, I know my limitations, but as a general rule, yes, I can do it. I just don't want to. Can't wait to see the finished project. Kudos for you!


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