All posts tagged IKEA

My indoor garden for under $100 with IKEA stuff

For those of us without garden space, having a functional growing space has no easy fix. Even a bright window cannot provide enough light for growing veggies and most plants. I’ve been looking at indoor growing solutions. Most of them are hydroponic/aeroponic and are prohibitively expensive. I didn’t want a crazy setup that took up an entire room, nor did I want to spend hundreds of dollars only to have to abandon the project for some reason. So here’s my kit:

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Kitchen coffee center: just put it in a drawer!

One of the main goals for my new kitchen was to find a solution for my coffee stuff. In our previous space, it was sort of confined to a corner of the counter, but still took up counter space and still was an eyesore. Since I use a stove top coffee maker and/or a French press, I hand wash the parts and need a place to dry them. Again, that takes up counter space.

So what do we have in total? A coffee grinder, a hot water kettle, a couple of coffee pots that are used regularly, canisters of beans, a milk frother, coffee stirrers, sugar… these really add up!

The solution is using one of my drawers in our new IKEA kitchen as a hidden coffee station. It turns some of the IKEA parts that go with the Bygel rail system seem to fit nicely on the rails for the drawer. As you can see, I’ve got some of the smaller items in the Bygel cups and have used one of the baskets for drying my coffee pot. I’ve put an old cloth underneath so the drawer doesn’t get wet, and have also taken a small cloth bag and put some uncooked rice in it to absorb any leftover humidity (you can’t see it in the photo but it’s there. It’s about the size of a golf ball). So far, so good.

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Vote for our kitchen on The Kitchn’s Small Cook Kitchens Contest!

The LA Lady's IKEA Adel DIY Kitchen


Happy Friday! Looks like our kitchen made it onto the list so click here or click the yellow graphic below and vote for our kitchen!



Also wanted to note: I think I’ll only occasionally be doing Friday Linkathon since not a lot of folks read it, so I’ll just post one if there’s something timely to announce.


IKEA Adel kitchen: before and after sneak peek!

The LA Lady's IKEA Adel DIY Kitchen

So it’s been a couple of weeks of traveling and house guests and I’ve been remiss in posting. And there was Dwell on Design where I met the most awesome purveyor of skincare products (more on that soon) and I had a great time.

Basically, I was putting the finishing touches on the kitchen and then I had to leave town! After weeks of IKEA cabinet assembly and tile installation, we have a finished product. So now I’ve been able to work in the kitchen and so far it’s been amazing. SUCH a huge improvement over the old 80’s kitchen. And now I won’t hit my head on the cabinets either!

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Kitchen Renovation: DIY Installation: IKEA Adel Cabinets

ikea akurum adel cabinet bases installation diy

After running into a rogue vent, having some odd city inspections and a handful of other road blocks, we finally have our drywall and tile in and are installing cabinet frames. This is when the kitchen starts to look like a kitchen and not a tool shed. When we were bidding the project with our contractor, he said multiple times, “if you run into trouble with the cabinet installation, give me a call.” This was the major line item we decided to DIY and his faith in our ability to do a decent job was slim. I don’t blame him: these cabinets are not a simple DIY. They require some serious planning. 80% of our effort was spent on planning. Experience in assembling IKEA furniture really won’t help you on this project. What will help you is research… and a good tape measure… and a great drill, some extra screws… a laser level, etc. etc. etc.

Mr. Los Angeles has one of the best brains I’ve ever seen and the only contribution I provided was an extra set of hands and some basic suggestions. Even after paying someone from IKEA to come and measure our kitchen, he double-checked that every cabinet would fit and every door would have the right clearance to open. He also took into account that there’s not single wall that’s straight in this joint and we’d have to buy enough shims to build a tree house for The Brady Bunch. And in the true spirit of a remodeling project, there would be problems that need solving.

This process might seem obvious to any/all of you who’ve done this before, but I thought I’d include them anyways since we wouldn’t have known to do some of these things without researching it first. The way I see it, you can go about installing your IKEA kitchen in two ways:

  1. Get the cabinets and follow the directions while installing them. Done and done.
  2. Research the ins and outs of IKEA cabinets. Search YouTube for installation suggestions. Get the proper tools. Measure measure measure. Add all of the end panels, toe kicks, plinth pieces and details that finish off the kitchen.

We went with option two and, at times, it was difficult. I’d say about 60% of our knowledge base wasn’t contained within the IKEA directions but found in online forums and videos. Our contractor offered us a few tips we didn’t find elsewhere and that saved us big time. And it’s not that the IKEA directions are really lacking. In fact, it’s amazing how they’ve organized the whole process.

Before I launch into this, I’d like to recommend a few tools, some of which are specified in the directions and some that aren’t. It’s worth suggesting at this point that if buying all these tools and spending all this time installing the cabinets will outweigh the cost of having someone install them for you, then you might want to rethink a DIY installation:

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Custom DIY spice rack in your IKEA kitchen

Ikea custom diy spicerack

I’ve been immensely impressed with the IKEA process. The few problems I’ve run into have been relatively minor in the grand scheme. They’ve thought of everything…

…almost everything.

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Kitchen Renovation: 75% complete

Cambria countertop in Bellingham, lit by our under cabinet lighting from

Wow… we’ve come a long way! And yet we still have a long way to go. The floors are in, the base of the cabinets are in and I’d say about 90% of the cabinet doors/hinges/drawers are in. We still have to install the counters and backsplash, but once that’s done the kitchen is pretty much done.


    Cambria counter top in Bellingham, lit by under cabinet lights from

Cambria counter top in Bellingham, lit by under cabinet lights from

I’m so excited about our counter tops, and our lighting is looking great. Right now I’m writing several posts about the things we’ve done with our kitchen, plus taking a lot of photos along the way.

Stay tuned!

Kitchen Renovation: Demolition! And why we decided to not DIY this part

Kitchen Demolition


Finally! We’ve started our kitchen remodel today and our old, nasty kitchen has been demolished. I was dreading this day for a while but it just means we are one step closer to the finished project. I think we’ve chosen a great construction company (TME Construction Inc.) who can get this done in a reasonable amount of time. Barring any unforeseen disasters (which are probably inevitable) this should take about three to four weeks, start to finish.

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The economics of a kitchen remodel: how to budget for a kitchen and not lose money

Much has been made of the value a kitchen contributes to a home. This wasn’t always the case and I have a few theories as to why. Anyone who has a home that predates the 1970’s probably has a very small kitchen in a very compartmentalized home. Back then, the Little Woman did all the cooking and she didn’t need a big, open chef’s kitchen, did she? It’s true that many older homes built en masse are also small, but if you look at pre-1970’s kitchen-to-rest of the home ratio and current kitchen-to-rest of the home ratios, the difference is clear. Cooking has become more of a group activity (or, depending on your perspective, men have become more involved in cooking) and therefore kitchens have become a place to cook and socialize, which warrants a bigger space. Now, the kitchen is the most expensive room in an average home. Although if Mr. Los Angeles got his hands on a home with a dedicated theater, this would be a a different story.

After installing our new floors and giving our condo a coat of paint and a good scrub, the kitchen was the room that needed the most work. The condo came with appliances that appeared Soviet in era and design and they had to go. So right after having to buy a home, we had to buy appliances (ick!). Instead of hunting Craigslist or getting ding-and-scrapes from the big box stores, we went to our local appliance store and just got what we really wanted for the long run. Mr. Los Angeles scored a top of the line fridge due to an advertising misprint. So that’s a big chunk of our kitchen remodel budget that was removed from the equation (about $5,000 worth).

Buying the condo was a touch-and-go process so for months I browsed Houzz and all of my favorite design and kitchen blogs and had quite the wishlist! Stone countertops! Instant hot water for my tea! A sink big enough to bathe a Labrador! ALL THE THINGS!!! But my ever-logical better half is wise in most things and we agreed that installing a kitchen that was appropriate to the home’s value is the way to go. We live in a decent neighborhood but we’re certainly not in Brentwood, and the median home price in our condo complex is about $180,000. So is a $50,000 kitchen really going to give us a return on our investment? In these uncertain times with a real estate market that has been described as schizophrenic, counting on a big kitchen remodel to carry the value of a home through the reselling process isn’t very wise. And when I hear phrases like, “a kitchen can’t be done for less than…” I have to laugh. Of course you can do a kitchen remodel for less! But there’s a lot of noodling that needs to be done to the budget and a lot of tough choices to be made. Here’s what I recommend:

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Making an IKEA kitchen look custom made

The LA Lady's IKEA Adel DIY Kitchen

When you talk to contractors, you keep hearing the same thing over and over again when you mention an IKEA kitchen:

  • We don’t do those
  • My cabinet guy can match their prices per linear foot
  • They look cheap
  • They are poor quality

I disagree with all of that.

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