Kitchen series: the nuts, bolts, and savings

I came home late last night to a finished kitchen. Not a tool in sight, appliances in place, a working ice maker humming away where there hadn’t been a waterline before. Glorious. Nik and I just walked circles around the room, opening and closing the doors and cabinets, excessively delighted by the soft-close feature (go ahead! Just try to slam it!)

It will be later this week before I’m home early enough to take the finished pictures in daylight, but in the meantime, I have some unfinished detail shots that I snapped over the weekend, and I thought I’d talk a bit about all the elements and the small savings that helped us stay on budget throughout the project.


The cabinets, as previously mentioned, are from Ikea’s new grey Lidingo line, purchased during their kitchen sale. This was by far the most cost effective cabinetry that we looked at, but there were some hidden time costs. We had the 132 [132!] box order delivered, but the packaging is so flimsy that during assembly, it was discovered that two cabinet doors, the vent hood and the sink were chipped, cracked or broken. All told, we made three (four? ) extra trips to Ikea to exchange things, and the contractor made an additional trip while we were away. On the bright side, we didn’t have any problems exchanging things, and the cabinets themselves are very solid. The contractor reinforced them with glue during assembly, and I’m confidant they’re not going anywhere.

One other Ikea snag? That hands-free pull out cabinet I was so excited about. I must have tried the showroom model a hundred times in the store, but I didn’t realize that it was an electrical mechanism. By the time the box was opened and it was ready to be installed, the electrical work was done and we would have had to drill a hole in the cabinet and counters to run the cord to plug it in. Had we known that ahead of time, we could have planned for an additional outlet underneath. We decided to make it a simple pull-out cabinet instead, and the device will be returned. Small sacrifices in the scheme of things.


The back splash is where we decided to go upscale with Carrara marble. We love the look of subway tiles, which is good, because marble is most inexpensively purchased in small pieces. A lot of small pieces still weigh a TON, though. We ordered the tile online from The Builder Depot, which seems to be one of those places that has a perpetual sale!, but comparing other sources, it was still a good deal. I swung by after work on the day they were delivered to move them from the foyer to the condo on the the second floor. The shipment notice said 3 boxes, 60lbs. Yeah. 60lbs each. I did manage to carry them up the two flights of stairs myself. Not coincidentally, I also upped the weight on my deadlifts at the gym that week.


I LOVE this light. It looks even better hung. We ordered it from Barn Light Electric, and while not technically on sale, it was less than half the cost of similar lighting options that we had factored into our budget. It did, however, take a while to arrive. Each light is hand painted, and weeks went by in between the time it was ordered and the time it was shipped. We were starting to worry that it wouldn’t arrive in time, but luckily it did.


And thankfully, it coordinates perfectly with the wall color. Our original intention was to pick paint that was the same color but a lighter shade than the band on the light, but when it was time to paint the walls with no light in sight, we did our best, and went with Valspar’s Neon Mint. It was a lucky gamble, because I don’t think we could have matched it better to the minty shade on the pendant light. The trim, back door and radiators were all painted Bright White.


And lastly, the counters! Despite the so-called counter saga, I could not love these one iota more, or even imagine what the kitchen would look like with granite. The butcher block is just so warm and inviting, and Nik did a fantastic job staining and sealing them. I think I might expand on the process a little more in a follow-up post, because reading other people’s posts about their Ikea Numerar experiences was very helpful for us, and our before and after pictures are pretty incredible.


I am just so pleased. Everything looks both exactly how I imagined it and way better than I ever could have imagined.



  1. Congrats! It looks fantastic. I have been in love with Cararra Marble myself lately too. Interesting and budget friendly use! Loved the pics of your Grand Canyon trip too. Need to get there one day!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m kind of obsesssssed with marble at the moment. And the Grand Canyon was amazing! Really the first time I’ve spent a lot of time out west, and I can’t wait to go back.

  2. Just came across your blog today! Fantastic job with the kitchen reno!

    1. I’m glad you found my blog! I couldn’t be more pleased with the kitchen.

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