I started off with the intention of documenting our whole installation process but here’s where things start to get a little crazy and my photo album gets a little thinner than I would like. You’re just exhausted and just want to get over and done with that the camera’s the last thing on your mind!
We had 2 weeks to finish everything before we moved in since that’s when our rental lease expired. That, and the contractors working on our lightings, fan and all the electrical goodies were racing to finish their work too! So many a times, we had to share (fight?) for space. That’s one of the contractor guy working on the wiring in the kitchen and we had to wait till he was done which turned out to be a good few hours.
Having said that, I do have photos here and there to show you how we installed our IKEA cabinets. Like this pile of IKEA boxes that filled one of the rooms in the house which will somehow turn into my kitchen!:)
Assembling IKEA Cabinets
The process of putting the METOD IKEA cabinets were pretty straight-forward. Somewhat like assembling IKEA’s bookshelf or drawers. But they were also pretty time consuming. We only had 8 cabinets to assemble but in all took us about 8 hours to get done. I got pretty good at slicing open so many packages!
We found out that the most efficient way of doing it was to first lay out all the cabinets and their respective parts in a row, assembly line style. Then we’d lay out the pieces, knock in the dowels, screw in the cam screws, then put them all together.
Just a note, it’s a really good idea to invest in a battery operated screwdriver if you don’t want to break your wrist. Hehe. There were so many screw-driving that had to be done! And since it’s supposed to be our kitchen cabinets obviously we had to make sure it’d be as sturdy and strong as possible. It’s seriously an investment. If you’re planning to DIY your kitchen cabinets – this is totally a must have!
Installing the cabinets
Our budget with the contractor guys working on our wiring didn’t extend to helping us install the kitchen. But they did help us cut the suspension rails with their awesome chain saw.
Describing all this makes it sound fairly simple but I think if you’re anything like us – not a building pro or not an avid DIY-er – this kind of things take a long time. We learnt a whole lot through this process. And by we I mean my husband. Hehe.
He spent hours of painstaking cautious checking, planning, prepping, leveling and double-checking as he hung the railings, attach the cabinets before bolting them down. Pain, tears and sweat to give me the perfect kitchen. He’s such a sweetheart:)
Yet, it really shows how do-able the whole thing was. If you have adequate tools, time and a mountain of patience, it’s really possible to install the cabinets yourself. This is probably our first big project of DIY-ing, but we’re really proud of the time and the handiwork that went into the kitchen. And to see our (ok fine my husband’s) hardwork slowly turning into a kitchen is indescribable!
Installing the Worktop and Sink
We chose the EKBACKEN light oak effect worktop for our kitchen. I’m not sure how many times husband traced the sink unto the worktop and measured (and re-measured) before actually cutting out the hole for the sink.
I love love love the countertop! I was initially a bit hesitant to settle down with the EKBACKEN range. I was considering to expand my budget so that I could include an oak worktop. But I’m glad I chose this. It’s so easy to maintain and clean. No regrets at all!
Our dining table is actually oak and its such a nightmare when the kids spill anything on it. You really can’t scrub the stains off completely without damaging the surface. And not to mention the maintenance – you need to oil it every now and then to make sure it stays pretty! Boy I’m glad I chose EKBACKEN alhamdulillah!
My husband also did the plumbing works for the sink – we had a bit of a hard time with one of the parts. We found that IKEA’s instructions, sometimes, tend to be over simplistic. Like using a handsaw to cut galvanised steel suspension rails (?) that’d seriously take forever!
So with one of the plumbing parts, the instructions just showed this – chipping off a part using a screwdriver:
Simple enough – not! We tried it. To no avail. It didn’t even make a chip! We ended up having to hammer the screwdriver really hard – and it needed 2 people for that! But good news is – it worked out in the end! And that’s what matters:)
My husband also installed the tap for our kitchen. Ran into a few problems then too (again-oversimplistic instructions). But I think both of us (being engineers) secretly had fun trying to figure out a solution each time it happened. Hehe
Installing the interior fittings and finishings
This is the part where I actually helped out (after assembling the cabinets). I’d like to think that my husband was way more efficient without me around asking him what I could do to help all the time (when he was busy trying to focus on cutting the sink hole or perfecting the levelling of the railings).
So while he worked on the more hard core stuff, I was assembling all the inserts, drawers and finishings for the cabinets. Which is you know, still a lot of ehem hardwork!
Sigh, to this day I still love these spinning thing-a-lings in the corner cabinet! Such an efficient use of space. (Yupp! I assembled those babies! Hehe)
Then there’s the pull-out cabinet for all my bottled stuff and condiments (sauces, ketchups, olive oils, salt and the likes) which was also assembled by yours truly🙂
Haha I know. So much of hard work right? Don’t roll your eyes like that. It really is! It’s not easy to do all this while day dreaming to the level of detail like figuring out what I’m going to put on this shelf, and what’s going to go in that drawer – all while I assemble those things. A lot of mental work there. Very draining! Lol
These are real renovation photos guys – no staging obviously!:) The vacuum remained a permanent resident there throughout the installation process to suck up all the dust. With all the drilling going on and the contractor guys working on their thing it was a dust-haven. I’m pretty sure kids would have so much fun making snow angels (dust angels?) in the dust if they were around.
By this time we were really trying hard to just get things done as we were due to move in the next day. So in my attempt to help my husband, I picked up the drill and for the first time in my life, I started drilling!
Oh how my heart pounded as those drill bits turned and made a hole through my lovely white doors!
But you know what! I did it! Hihi. I actually drilled in the handles for our kitchen! #blowsdrillbit
I don’t have photos of me drilling unfortunately. I should have. Because it was the first, and for now, the last time I actually held a drill:p
Sigh the feeling of seeing our kitchen finally come together – the kitchen that bore our hard work, that witnessed our pain, sweat, patience and perseverance (and cost us our hard earned money:p) is indescribable! There’s this satisfaction of making things with your bare hands:)
Want to read the whole process?