You know I am the world’s biggest proponent of doing things “the hard way.” But sometimes, I see these Ikea kitchen makeovers, and I think: They look pretty darn good and would be so easy, especially compared to spending five years hunting down vintage steel cabinets. Case in point, above: Jerry has embarked on a new project — buying midcentury homes in Pittsburgh and renovating them, as required and in period-sympathetic style, for rental. I like to show lots of different ways to go after your home remodeling projects. I have never shown an Ikea kitchen before. I think this could be a very practical and relatively affordable solution for many people. Read on for Jerry’s story, for more photos, and for more discussion of The Ikea Option. Do you have experience with these cabinets? Please share!
Hi Pam,I have attached pictures of my first Mid-Century Modest Renovation. The house is a ranch built in 1963 that I renovated to rent to retro appreciators. So far that has been a bit of a tough sell in Pittsburgh, but I am not giving up. In fact, I am looking at a second property to rehab in the same manner. Many of the resources I used to refurbish this ranch came directly from info I obtained through Retro Renovation.Actually, aside from the kitchen not much is new. The kitchen was gutted, everything is new except the doorbell cover (Nutone). The pattern for the floor tile came from Retro Renovation.Ikea cabinets, glass back splash and fixtures (new). Boomerang Formica counter top. The only color still in the line (gray). I have also attached an image of the kitchen (before). The old metal cabinets are still down in the garage, but I am afraid this kitchen endured a bad 70’s makeover.Bathroom does have new sink, toilet and medicine cabinet. The cabinet came from Retro Renovation. The sink in a house brand, but I thought it looked a lot like some of the Crane models you showcased.The black and white tile is original as are the chalk fish above the shower (attached). The floor tile was original. It was hard to believe that the whole first floor was covered in this sherbet green sculpted carpet, even the bathroom. When I pulled up the carpet in the bathroom there was this beautiful white tile with black and grey specks. It took a bunch of stripping and scrubbing to get the old wax and carpet residue off, but it came out really beautiful.The drapes either came from companies you listed on RR (living room) or from cloth purchased at a local thrift store, thanks to my wife Mary Jo. All the furniture is mid-century, mostly purchased from two local stores Mostly Mod (no longer in business) and Retro on 8th both in Homestead, PA right down the street.The Lane bedroom came from Craigslist. The hardwood floors were refinished. Oh, and the house numbers came from Home Depot through information from one of the blogs you link to. All the light fixtures are new except the swags and the side-table lamp in the living room.Jerry
More info and more photos on this rental house in West Mifflin, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania can be seen at:
Thank you, Jerry — what a lovely remodel, and way to go for your love of the midcentury modest and your desire to preserve and restore these homes.
I really love the way you rearranged the appliances in the kitchen — the refrigerator looks great at the back now. The floor is terrific, and I know that many readers will love how you incorporated the glass tile backsplash. You also finished out the bathroom perfectly, and omg, that original floor! I sure hope you find an appreciative renter for #4201 — and for a long series of fixer-uppers to come. P.S., Go Steelers!!!!
Resources for this remodel:
- Ikea Akurum kitchen cabinets – now discontinued but Ikea usually has similar cabinet systems available see ’em here.
- Patterns for 1950s vinyl tile floors
- Formica boomerang laminate countertop, Charcoal
- Nutone 455FL medicine cabinet with side lights
- Barkcloth for living room curtains from Tonic Living
Let’s talk about the long-term quality
of Ikea and other stock kitchen cabinets today
Okay, peoples, now on to Ikea. It is pretty amazing, the selection of cabinets this company offers, including the many door styles and colors. The basic white sink cabinet I showed above is: $58. My gosh, my family can spend that much on dinner at an inexpensive Italian restaurant.
Glossy red over MDF — sliders in the case of the wall cabinet, above.
Hey, the door above ain’t too far from Avocado, so Ikea gets props from that. There are many colors and woodgrains, glass-fronts, too….
Honestly, I’ve never written about Ikea cabinets before, for two reasons. (1) Because I always felt like other blogs had that territory well covered, and I wanted to plow new ground. And (2) Because I have these qualms about the longterm quality of these cabinets. Hey: I have my qualms about the longterm quality of Almost All stock cabinets you’d buy today “at low prices” from Big Box stores… and even qualms about “not so low priced” cabinets from a variety of sources.
I am not an expert on all the different kitchen cabinet manufacturers or even, exactly what to look for to ensure good long-term quality. When I was doing my aquamarine kitchen, I bought a Consumer Reports online subscription to see what they recommended. As I recall, key issues included looking for: Solidity of “the box” that that doors and drawers to screwed on to. Indeed, the doors and drawers on our 1975 cabinets were all falling off their cheap (clearly) particle board boxes.
I have this expectation, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable: Kitchen cabinets should last virtually forever. Well-made 1950s wood cabinets did. My steel cabinets will. How long will these Ikeas — and other “affordable” kitchen cabinets made today — made today last?
This summer, Dear Husband and I stayed at a place on vacation that had an Ikea Akurum kitchenette — I took photos, of course, there it is, above. I just asked DH what he remembered about the cabinets. I knew he would remember, because I was all interested in them at the time and tortured him to look at them with me. His recollection, verbatim: “They were nice, they were stylish… but they were chintzy… you know… thin.”
I don’t want to make anyone feel bad if they have these cabinets in their home. I think they could work very well for many people. They may last a long time — much longer than my fears suggest. And oh my gosh, the price for the style sounds fantastic. But will they last long enough and provide the solid “thump” hand-feel that would it would take to satisfy hard-to-satisfy me? I don’t think so, not to live with for the rest of my life. But for a carefully used single-, couple- or family kitchen, a rental, a mother-in-law apartment, a vacation house? Yes, sounds like Ikea is worth checking out.