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Sunday, January 19, 2014


Well we've done it.  We have taken our new homeowner obligatory journey to and through IKEA. I think it is a right of passage for young homeowners to take the pilgrimage to IKEA for its space-saving and money-saving items! At least it seemed that way for us!



Bang for our buck.

That's the bottom line in our book. We would not call ourselves house poor by any means but after a 7 month renovation, any person in their right mind would be looking to save a couple of bucks.

We had several items on our radar.

1. Closet system. 

Although we could have asked St. Steve to build us a beautiful and custom closet, we felt like we just couldn't.  Time and finances made us look at other options.  We looked at Lowe's closet systems and were not too impressed.  I have heard good things about the IKEA PAX system so that was the direction we headed.  They have a very nice planning tool for the system that is fairly easy to use.
This was one of the configurations we had dreamed up for our closet - its not the one we went with, I'll show you that one on another day.

Then, for a short time we considered switching gears to the ALGOT system.
The ALGOT system came in at a cool $255 and would have been an incredible savings for us, but on that day we learned the benefits of checking things out in their showroom.  When we got there we took one look at it, we realized the quality was just not going to work for us.  There was no way it was going to hold up as a closet system. The drawers were pretty flimsy and came off the tracks. So we went back to our original plan of the PAX system.  And guess what?! It was on sale! IKEA is redesigning the PAX system and were putting the old style on clearance. So we saved about $250 on our closet! Score!

1. Living room furniture

I have always loved the look of slip covered sofas.  I love the casual homey feel that they give off.  And I love that they are super practical because you can wash them or replace them to freshen things up.

So I have been dreaming of throwing out our old college-style slip covered furniture and upgrading.

Ones I have been digging?
1. Pottery Barn
2. Ballard Designs

As much as I would love to just go for it and buy me a Pottery Barn or Ballard gem, we can get a great IKEA look-a-like for about $1000 less.  Maybe some day.  Because I truly believe that quality does matter, but so does price.  And with future kiddos coming down the line who will climb, spill, jump, and waller on these babies, I just want to be conservative before I jump in and spend that kind of money.  But also, we have known a lot of people with the Ikea EKTROP sofa and they have all been very happy with how they have held up.

So we went for it.  We bought the sofa with matching love seat.  I was originally planning to buy the beige slipcover but when we got there and took a look at it we thought it was too close in color to the white slipcover chairs we were planning to get.  Michael was happy.  He had wanted the grey ones all along.  I was glad for him.  He doesn't win color battles too often.  :-)

Like I said we also planned to get two white slip cover chairs - the Jennylund EKTORP- to go along with our sofas. 

 I decided on white slipcovers because I love love love the look of white slipcovers but I did not want to take the plunge of going all white on the sofa or love seat.  I wanted a taste, but not the whole meal.  In my mind, it seemed a lot less daunting of a task to remove a slipcover from a chair to wash vs a whole sofa.  We'll see if I live to regret it.  But that is the great thing about the ikea slipcovers, it cost very little to change your mind ($39 to be specific)! Can't beat that!!

3. Bar Stools

We also needed bar stools for our kitchen island.  Ya'll, bar stools are expensive! I have been on the hunt for reasonably price barstools for months! Ever since we knew we'd need them for our counter height island.  The main places I had looked were target, pier 1, world market, joss&main, and craigslist.  I was really hoping I could find some inexpensive options I could rehab from craigslist dice.  The stars never aligned where there were 3 counter height stools that were a good price and condition.  I definitely wanted to spend less that $100 a stool.  So that excluded joss&main and pier 1.  I had been very close to purchasing different stools at world market (#1) and target (#2) - Like I had my mouse hovering over the checkout button.

But I just didn't feel right about any of them.  At first I thought I wanted something industrial feeling like the one from world market.  But eventually I felt like it just didn't seem to fit with everything else - it felt a little too dirty while the rest of my kitchen was feeling so fresh and clean.  The target stools were cute but had a french country feel to them, which is fine, just not what I was looking for.  So ultimately I decided simple and classic is best - not sure why I fight this sometimes... I think more and more I am realizing this is central to my personal style. 

So I finally decided we would go with (#3) the INGOLF bar stool. At a cool $60 a stool, that easily came in under budget.  I know what you are thinking though... did we sacrifice quality for price?  And I would respond, "Not that I can see."  They are built with solid wood and feel very sturdy.  I like their petite frame and the fact that they have a shorter back that does not stick up much over the counter.  I like the white color that ties in with the perimeter cabinets.  Although, I have toyed with the idea of painting them (our kitchen could use more pops of color).  Still might.  As of right now, I am just going to live with them as is and mull over that idea for a while.

That's it!

Big big big thanks to my parents and our friend Peter (who's in med school in Chicago and met us there).  We could not have done it without them! It would have been impossible to maneuver all those carts by ourselves.  Also, a big special kudos goes out to my dad.  What a trooper.  He's not a shopper (biggest understatement ever), and I think he could have very easily lost his mind (and cool) in that crazy place.  But he didn't.  What-a-man! Thanks dad!

Yes, so I mentioned that we had a lot of carts to maneuver.  How many is a lot?  I would say 5 is a lot, wouldn't you?  We had 6.  Yikes. It was slightly embarrassing at the checkout line.  But we couldn't possibly be the only people in history to ever purchase a lot of stuff from IKEA.  A guy across from us in line smiled and said, "is this for a business?" I laughed and said, "Nope! It's all for us!" Embarrassing.  But necessary.  We really are pleased with the purchases now that they have been unloaded and assembled. 
We got home Sunday night about 8:30 and had everything unloaded by a little after 9pm.  We are super smart people and had planned this trip the day before we were having our small group over to our home for the first time. That meant we had to get everything assembled within the next 22hours.  So by 10pm we were looking at each other thinking, ok... hope this goes well... and fast! And it did! By midnight we had assembled the sofas, two chairs, and three bar stools.  I mean, I did have a Purdue Engineer working on this so.... I did have a bit of an advantage over the normal IKEA assembler. But overall it was pretty simple.

Obviously we did not assemble the closet system.  It will be an all day Saturday kind of project I think.  And, of course, I will update you all when we finish that! I think I will be able to post a before and after of the living room soon! Steve finished the fireplace mantel this week, I just need to slap some paint on the trim and stain the mantel.  Excited about that!

Doing any furniture buying lately? Have you guys ever dropped a wad at IKEA like we did?   

Don't miss a beat.  
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