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The Evolution of Our IKEA Kitchen!

cabinets | sinkfaucet | countertop | brass hardware | sconce | S+P grinders

It’s a Monday Rewind! Yellow Brick Home has over 11 years of archives, so from time to time, we’ll be sharing our favorites from posts past. This before + after was originally published in August 2017. Enjoy!

The last room to wrap up in our garden apartment renovation is the kitchen! While plumbing was swapped in the bathroom, water connections were moved in the laundry and a lot of cosmetic upgrades were made throughout, this is the space that has seen the most drastic change – by far. We teamed up with IKEA to create a functional and attractive space for our future tenants, a decision that came to easy to us for all that IKEA has to offer. Soft close hinges are a standard, deep base cabinet drawers are plentiful and finish options are generous. We purchased everything during their annual kitchen sale, saving us 20% off the top and allowing us to stretch our budget as far as possible. We chose the BODBYN gray cabinetry, and with a small exception (the butcher block countertops and tile backsplash), almost everything in this galley kitchen is from IKEA – refrigerator, dishwasher, range and hood included! After tax, we easily stayed under $5k!

Kitchen | Before

You might remember that this room started as a big open space, with almost no rhyme or reason to the placement of the appliances and cabinetry:

Moving, removing or adding a wall as a part of your home renovation | via Yellow Brick Home

From the beginning, on our non-negotiable list was the addition of a teeny mudroom, a small sliver of common space that would give us direct access to the whole house utility room. In doing so, we lost about 4′ of width from the kitchen, but what we pulled off is so much more functional that we could have imagined. And in odd twist, it feels bigger than ever! We happily received input from Daniel – he’s pure magic, we tell you – and although we were on the right track (so close!), his suggestion to add a 3′ pony wall had the entire layout falling into place!

Kitchen | The Plans

created using the IKEA Kitchen Planner

One of our biggest concerns with a galley kitchen was the ability to fit more than one person at a time in here. We’re happy to say that after completing the renovation, Scott and I have ‘fake’ cooked in here, opening and closing the appliances, pretending as if this kitchen was our very own. With more than 4′ of space between the base cabinets, there is more than enough room for the two of us – washing up our fake dishes and cooking our fake pasta. The extra roomy base cabinet drawers are a dream, and as I opened and closed them (and opened and closed them some more), I couldn’t help but wish aloud that we would have incorporated the same into our own personal kitchen!

Kitchen | After

The sink wall has seen a handful of faucet changes, and we waffled back and forth on a few other details (that light bulb in the cutest little sconce has been swapped endlessly!), but we are thrilled with where we landed. We ultimately picked up this pull down faucet, and it was paired with the NORRSJÖN sink, both in a stainless steel finish.

On the opposite wall, we made the (bold?) decision to nix a microwave in favor of the LUFTIG range hood. In doing so, our goal was to keep this smaller kitchen feeling as open and airy as possible – plus we wanted any excuse to extend the glossy white subway tile to the ceiling! Although this hood has the option to recirculate using a charcoal filter, we opted to have our contractor properly install a vent to the outside during the whole mudroom addition, which will be a huge help when cooking large meals on the stove.

We tucked away a few bonus features, including the RENLIG built-in hidden dishwasher (hooray!); it may have been a splurge (when compared to a washer without the door), but the continuity of the cabinets makes it well worth it, we think. And in other small-kitchen-details, we opted for the pull out cabinet underneath the sink, which will be a sneaky way for anyone to hide away their trash and recycling bins!

When we first shared our kitchen plans, we also shared the lesser seen view of our furnace closet, a big bear of a box that had to stay. But! We made the most from what we were given, eliminating what used to be a double bi-fold and installing a (much prettier) 24″ door instead. The rest of the furnace closet was drywalled, and our contractors framed out a small area where we could include a pantry! We used the same BODBYN doors (but in off-white), and we ultimately painted them the same bright white as our trim work, so that they would, essentially, fade way. Tip: For peace of mind, we cleared the size of the door and any additional requirements with an HVAC specialist before the reconfiguration.

Facing away from the kitchen, we weren’t even a little sad to say goodbye to the extra-cabinetry-that-once-was. With an almost 5′ clearance between the cabinets and bare wall, we think there’s even enough room for a slim bench or two-top bistro set, which was our goal all along. This angle might help you to see how the kitchen connects to the rest of the house, too. See that hallway, there on the left? That leads you into the main living space:

This was our first IKEA kitchen that we’ve installed, and we would do it again in a heartbeat! After falling into a routine of cabinetry building on weeknights, becoming familiar with their rail system the following weekend and filling in every last gap afterwards, it’s absolutely something we’d recommend to any fellow DIY-er. (And if that’s not your thing, they also offer professional install services.) To be honest, it’s going to be hard to part with this guy! We hope our future tenants love it as much as we do.

Source List:

wall color: Sherwin Williams Basalt Powder | cabinets | refrigerator | dishwasher | range | range hood | sinkpull-down faucet | countertops | subway tilebrass hardware | sconce | marble pastry slab | cutting board (similar) | fruit bowl | utensil holder (similar)coffee jarS+P grinders | rug

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  • Paige Flamm8.24.17 - 7:40 AM

    Your kitchen looks amazing! I love it!


  • Whitney8.24.17 - 8:42 AM

    Love the look of your kitchen! Is there a reason why some of your kitchen outlets are turned sideways? I’ve seen this done a few times, but never knew the reason why.ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.24.17 - 9:28 AM

      In our case, we needed the outlet to be on the side to fit on that little half wall, so we kept it consistent on that side of the kitchen. On the other side, we had a switch and outlet in one, so everything on that side is placed the usual way. Honestly, I think it’s all personal preference!ReplyCancel

  • RC8.24.17 - 9:36 AM

    Great job! It all came together so nicely.ReplyCancel

  • Brittany8.24.17 - 9:49 AM

    Amazing! If we hadn’t bought our house in Chicago last year I’d definitely be applying for that apartment! Beautiful work as always!ReplyCancel

  • Jacki8.24.17 - 10:20 AM

    Almost tempted to move to Chicago so I can live in this beautiful apartment. Not like I don’t already love the city.ReplyCancel

  • Saz_Gho8.24.17 - 12:04 PM

    It is stunning. I would loved to have seen the inside of the pantry and drawers.ReplyCancel

  • Bernadette8.24.17 - 12:38 PM

    I love this little space!!! Your future tenants are very lucky.
    Not to alarm you, and this may seem silly, but will you have a clause in your lease that the tenants cannot use that furnace closet for storage of any kind? I know a few people whose tenants inadvertently started small fires by storing brooms in the furnace closet despite the rules against it. I’d hate for you to have any issues!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.24.17 - 12:50 PM

      Thanks, Bernadette!

      The furnace is a perfect size for that closet, I don’t think anything else would fit… BUT it’s definitely something we should mention! For brooms and items like that, we could always suggest the utility room.ReplyCancel

  • Staci8.24.17 - 1:50 PM

    That’s it. I’m moving to Chicago! Kidding. You guys did an amazing job. It makes me want to redo a kitchen!ReplyCancel

  • Layce8.24.17 - 2:44 PM

    Love it!! its Beautiful and you guys did an amazing job!
    Question for you – would the microwave fit in the pantry (is it wired up?) or is it destined to go on the beautiful countertop?ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.24.17 - 2:53 PM

      Thanks! If someone wanted to have a microwave, it would need to go on the counter, or there’s under counter space if they want to tuck it away. The pantry is pretty skinny, otherwise we would have added electrical for that reason!ReplyCancel

  • Susan8.24.17 - 2:55 PM

    Beautiful kitchen. Is there a reason you didn’t put the pull out cabinet next to the sink? If it were to the side you would be able to scrape dishes, rinse and then right into the dishwasher while standing at the sink. As it is if you want to throw something out while someone is doing the dishes they would have to move out of the way.ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.24.17 - 3:12 PM

      Good point. This is actually an under-the-sink pull out cabinet, so the idea is to use either trash cans or a way to stash your cleaning supplies. You’re so right through! If we had more than enough for more than 3 lower cabinets on that wall, it would have been a good use of space to put the trash cans to the left of the sink (since the dishwasher is on the right).ReplyCancel

      • Susan8.24.17 - 6:41 PM

        I never thought of using a pullout for cleaning supplies. What a great idea! No more losing stuff at the back of the cabinet.ReplyCancel

  • JoniB8.24.17 - 5:14 PM

    I absolutely love what you guys did in here! I’ve been waffling about what to do for my new counter tops and butcher block was one that I really liked, so it’s really nice to see it here. And I really love the grey cabinets. Very nicely done. And very blessed renters, whoever they turn out to be.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly8.24.17 - 11:00 PM

    I love how you’ve customizable the IKEA look with the brass pulls. The grey with the warm metal is fantastic! One tiny thing to complete everything (that might be OCD) is to cover the cams on the botttoms of the uppers with white melamine stickers. I did that in our Pax closets and it made a surprisingly large difference in how finished it looked.ReplyCancel

  • Alli8.25.17 - 8:30 AM

    You could dab those little screws under the counter with white paint. I did that in our last kitchen and it made all the difference just because your eyes didn’t really even notice the screws anymore! It looks amazing, wish we were looking to rent in the city!ReplyCancel

    • Kelly8.25.17 - 11:18 PM

      I was just going to make a similar comment. We put white melamine stickers on the cams in our Pax closets and it made a huge difference in how finished it looked. The metal is so high contrast, your eyes just can’t help stop on them!ReplyCancel

  • AmandaKB8.25.17 - 6:27 PM

    I love everything about this kitchen! So many smart, clean and pretty decisions. Great job you guys!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah8.26.17 - 9:25 AM

    This turned out great! Your hard work really paid off. My husband and I put in our IKEA kitchen about 9 months ago and we love it. Everything has held up REALLY well and using lower drawers instead of standard cabinets has changed my life! Haha! I’m sure your lucky tenants will love this space.ReplyCancel

  • Trude8.26.17 - 2:22 PM

    The difference is incredible!! So in love, this is the most amazing apartment kitchen. Thanks for all the inspiration, I know when we buy our condo this will be the kind of budget we’ll be working with! <3ReplyCancel

  • Christine8.27.17 - 3:40 PM

    Fantastic! So much in such a small space. It has everything that I would want! Can’t wait to see the video on the entire project! Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Eric8.28.17 - 6:15 AM

    You have found the perfect solution to that wierd space under a kitchen sink. No more half height cabinets, or odd pull out angled shelves. Put garbage and recycling there in a pull out. Everyone looks under the sink for the garbage can anyway!ReplyCancel

  • Mags8.28.17 - 10:26 AM

    If I didnt already have a great apartmenti n Chicago, I’d be emailing you!

    Are the stovetop burners at an angle? In the picture underneath the cutting board picture, it looks like the two left burners are way offset- what’s going on there?ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.28.17 - 1:05 PM

      Oh, wow, that photo does make it look funny, huh?! I used my wide angle to grab as much as possible, and it distorted the bottom of the image (as most wide angles do). They’re not offset, they’re nice and straight. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kelly8.30.17 - 8:52 AM

    What an absolutely beautiful space! I love all the function and style you’ve packed into this small area. And those counters are ah-mazing :)

  • Anne E8.30.17 - 11:29 AM

    In addition to the renovation itself looking beautiful, I really like how you put this post together. Having the evolution of one viewpoint all in one spot to scroll through really brings home how much work you did.ReplyCancel

  • Colleen Welsch9.10.17 - 9:46 AM

    Um excuse me can I rent this apartment? The kitchen turned out AMAZING!ReplyCancel

  • […] Yellow Brick Home renovated the kitchen of the garden apartment they rent out using IKEA. The galley kitchen was expanded and improved in a really beautiful and functional way! I love the clean design and wood countertops. […]ReplyCancel

  • Rae5.14.19 - 2:01 PM

    This is such a lovely IKEA kitchen! Just curious – did you ever consider cutting an additional cover panel for underneath the sink to finish off the underside of the cabinet? Of course there are a few different ways to hide the cam locks, but I immediately thought of though to cover them. Great job on the install! I’m sure that any renter would be ecstatic to have it. ReplyCancel

    • Scott5.15.19 - 8:13 AM

      Hi Rae! Adding an extra panel is certainly an option, but the white cabinet box didn’t bother us so we left it exposed. Thanks for the kind words!ReplyCancel

  • patricia8.31.20 - 12:35 PM

    It’s bigger than my kitchen. Envy!ReplyCancel

  • Adele9.1.20 - 8:39 AM

    This is lovely!! ReplyCancel

  • Beata Tomczyk11.19.20 - 7:16 AM

    Looks so great! How are you finding the IKEA cabinets are holding up years later? ReplyCancel

  • Alex12.22.20 - 4:57 PM

    How would you say the IKEA  cabinetry compares to the Lowe’s ones you used in the Tree House? ReplyCancel

    • Kim12.22.20 - 7:35 PM

      They’re very similar, but the BIGGEST difference is that the Lowe’s Kraftmaid cabinets have a LOT more size options. They both have a ton of storage options, drawer-in-drawer, great quality, etc. But the most noticeable difference is that Kraftmaid has way more size increments.ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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