Truesdale Drive (Part 2)



Buying cabinets from IKEA is like buying sunglasses from the vendors on the beach. They look good for a while, and then they just fall apart.

Or do they?

Let me get this straight. Before you all jump down my back. I LOVE a good custom-cabinet kitchen. In fact, some of my favourite people in the local design scene are custom cabinet guys. Custom cabinets weren’t in the cards for this renovation.

Why not? Well, to be completely honest, they weren’t in the budget. The clients, Susan and her husband Chad, needed a new kitchen. They needed space. They needed working appliances. They needed room to be a family in the most important room in their house.

It was more than just for bragging rights when company comes over. Their youngest son, Harlen, has Cystic Fibrosis. Susan and Chad have witnessed first hand how carefully monitoring his diet and preparing almost all of his food from scratch has improved his health. I learned all of this during my first visit at their home. We sat at their dining room table and I looked past them into their dark, red-painted, tiny u-shaped kitchen.

My first thought was we need space — And lots of it!

Thankfully, adjacent to the kitchen was a formal dining room that was moonlighting as a mini-stick arena and toy storage. A quick assessment of the two rooms determined that we could pull the wall down and expand the kitchen.

Keep in mind, when Susan called us to come over, she called us to discuss switching up her paint colors to freshen things up. You know that old saying “we needed a new faucet, so the kitchen got demolished?”.

….yeah… We fast-tracked to the possibilities of what the space COULD be.

Then we talked budget. We also talked about how the budget related to resale value, and not wanting to over-spend and cut any chance of recouping the costs of a big renovation. Susan gave me her wish list:

  • White, glossy kitchen

  • BIG island

  • Quartz counter tops

  • Full Fridge and Full Freezer

  • Over-sized gas range

  • Bar area

  • Desk / homework spot

(cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching)

A quick calculation in my head and I knew we were going to have to get creative. “What do you guys think about IKEA cabinets?” I asked.


Then the usual questions:

“Aren’t they cheap and made of cardboard?” — Nope, not made of cardboard.

“They’re terrible to put together, aren’t they?” — Not with a bottle of wine and some Kenny G…

“Will they look awful in three years?” — Not any worse than any other type of cabinet in a house with two wild boys…

….hmmmmm, well how much can we save…..

I did the floor plan up, and we looked at the new kitchen in 3D. I sent it off for quoting from a couple local cabinet shops. Then, we priced it with IKEA. I’m not going to tell you just how big of a spread it was, but I will tell you that the difference more than paid for all of the beautiful quartz countertops that went in the entire kitchen. Oh, and the drawers light up when you open them. Yeah, that’s a thing.


IKEA offers a fairly extensive range of cabinet sizes, including specialty cabinets to hold built-in appliances. Their corner cabinet solutions are awesome, and their drawer assemblies are super sturdy. If you’re wanting to customize things a bit, they offer various sizes of filler pieces and full-size panels. They also have coordinating mouldings and a great selection of door styles to choose from.


I will warn you, though. Ordering cabinets from IKEA is not for those lacking in patience. Their computer program has been updated as of late, but when we did this kitchen, it was painfully slow. Archaic. Worse than the windows “updating….don’t turn off your computer” screen. It’s super helpful if you know your way around their software AND if you know a thing or two about cabinet design. Thankfully, Chad travels to Winnipeg for work on a regular basis and was able to load up the kitchen (and the beautiful table, the chairs, the light fixtures AND the stools).


They were off to the races. And by the races, I mean the super slow races of DIY renovating. They worked tirelessly, juggling their own busy schedules and the boys’ activities. They demolished the existing kitchen. They laid new Armstong Luxury Vinyl flooring. They installed pine to the ceiling and stained it in place. They assembled and installed all of the cabinetry and hardware. They did almost every piece of this kitchen renovation — and it turned out beautifully. I stopped in to lend moral support when I could — or when Chad would send a Mayday! text By moral support, I mean eat Susan’s cookies.


When the kitchen was complete, Susan asked us if we could help her style the adjacent sunken living room so it “fit in” with the brand new kitchen space. She had already purchased the amazing aqua colored sectional, so we went to work styling around that. We took the same colors and pulled them back into the kitchen with the table décor and accents throughout.

If you’ve been thinking about an IKEA kitchen for your home — go for it!  

There are a couple great contractors in town *cough* Collaborative Construction *cough* and *cough* Gazda Construction *cough* that are magicians with IKEA cabinets if you’re not quite ready to take the leap to install them yourself!

Sending lovely kitchen vibes your way,