Like most new houses in Malaysia, the only thing in the kitchen was a sink (that was loosely attached to the wall). The contractors were installing a pipe for our washing machine so they were breaking the tiles and all, hence the mess. They just ripped off the sink here in the photo.
We had a clean slate to work with,
Since we were on a tight budget, we decided to build our own kitchen using IKEA’s METOD range. And when I say ‘we’ I mean that mostly husband did the grunt work and I just assembled the stuff (which is important too!:)). After 3 weeks of planning, measuring, installing and inhaling dust from the contractors working on the wiring around us, this is what we ended up with…
This is everyone’s favourite spot! We eat here, make cookies together here, do work here aaaand I also do my ironing here! Hehe. I love that the microwave does not take up any (precious) countertop space.
And here’s how we add our workspace – a trolley! Which is awesome when we’re cooking for a lot of people (definitely need more countertop space), or as a place for the kids to eat when I’m using the table to iron clothes.
I still can’t get over spinning this thing! But I do it behind my kids back. I don’t think they figured out yet that this is spin-able. I might find them (literally) hanging out here going around like a merry-go-round on this thing one day, so this thing’s capability will remain a secret. It can actually fit a whole lot more here. Since I don’t have anything other than these things to put here – I’ve had to spread my stuff out so that when you turn it – the spin is a bit more balanced.
And here’s where I hide all the bottled stuff for cooking out of sight but still within reach:) Great for the OCD!
My boy’s favourite spot – the pantry! I keep their (colourful) plates, bowls and cups at the bottom shelves so that my kids can easily access them. My way of delegating – as I can get them to take out their plates to prepare the table for meals.
One of the questions we kept asking ourselves was, should we buy a built-in cooktop? The norm here in Malaysia is to install gas hobs. But after the death of a friend of my mom’s (explosion caused by gas canister in kitchen), we decided to resort to induction (ceramic cooktops drive me crazy with the baked stains – had them in one of our rentals back in Melbourne – drove me crazy!!).
Our contractor however, didn’t know what kind of wiring an induction cooktop should use. We live in the suburbs where nobody really uses an induction or a ceramic cooktop. Gas hobs the game everyone (except us) plays here. But we chose to play safe and sticked to a portable induction cooktop. I know it’s not really classy. But it does the job:) We’ve designed the cabinets to accommodate the cooktop if we ever decide to install it down the road. For now, we’re pretty happy with our portable cooktop.
15 Lessons and Tips that we Learnt
- It’s really easy to over spend when planning your kitchen! Have a budget before you build your kitchen and stick to it!
- The HAGGEBY doors turned out to be awesome. I didn’t have to worry about adding fillers at the exposed sides of the cabinets because they matched the base cabinets really well! It’s cheap and really easy to clean. All you need is a damp cloth, wipe and your done! No need to worry about fingerprints on glossy finishings, or having to oil wood-based doors. Aaaand, they’re white!
- I was worried I might not like the EKBACKEN laminate worktop. But a year and half later, I’m totally loving it! It’s the cheapest worktop in the IKEA worktop range. It’s easy to clean and aesthetically pleasing (for me). And most importantly, minimal maintenance – no oiling required like our eating table!
- Interior fittings were something that we really wanted to splurge on but was beyond our budget. For now, we’ve got shelves for most of our cabinets. But we designed our cabinets to be able to accommodate various interior fittings in the future. Like the one below, we plan to install a deep drawer to replace the 2 bottom shelves in years to come. I think this is the best thing about IKEA being a modular system. You can add things over time.
- Finishings like decorative strips and mouldings and fillers can be rather costly. If you’re on a very limited budget (like me) then it’s a good idea to skip these all together. To avoid using fillers, it’s probably a good idea to choose doors that match the colours of the base cabinets (either white or dark brown). The HAGGEBY doors turned out to match the white base cabinets perfectly. This way we managed to avoid using fillers to cover up the exposed sides of the based cabinets.
- Use the online IKEA kitchen planner. You’ll go crazy just trying to envision your kitchen other ways because there’s gazillions of choices, options and combinations! The kitchen planner pretty much has everything built-in and has a running list of all the parts (big and small!) involved in your build as well as the price.
- Before you start planning grab the kitchen booklets from IKEA’s kitchen showroom. It was definitely useful when comparing prices and finding out all the things that were available.
- Visit IKEA’s kitchen area where the kitchen planner guy hangs out. There they’ll have all the door materials, handles, worktops and cabinet options for you to see, touch, feel and test out. Its different from seeing them on your screen. I would definitely recommend for you to spend time there before finalising your finishing materials and your cabinets.
- Sit down with the kitchen planner at least once. You can plan your kitchen your kitchen on the online kitchen planner all you want but the kitchen guys in IKEA will help you with the finer details that you maybe didn’t know you could include or offer suggestions on what types of cabinets or filler pieces you may need.
- If you live outside KL/Selangor, I recommend to hire an IKEA truck to send to a relative/friends house within KL/Selangor and have another truck waiting to pick the things up. There’s 3 reasons for this, (1) If you’re using IKEA’s delivery service, you don’t need to deal with the hundreds of bits and pieces after paying which is awesome if you have two hyper little boys with you. IKEA will settle it for you in the background (2) if there’s any missing parts (which is totally possible and apparently common) they will be responsible to send it over to you. If you have a truck picking your things up from IKEA then you’ve gotta go back all the way to IKEA to pick up the things (3) It’s way cheaper to do this than depending on IKEA’s delivery service alone if you’re living interstate. IKEA quoted RM1100++ for a trip.
- Sometimes IKEA has a kitchen sale, if you happen to know when that is and you can wait then seriously wait! It’d save you a lot!
- If it’s nearing your birthday month (and there’s no IKEA kitchen sale), then wait for that since you’d get three times the IKEA family bonus points which you can convert to vouchers.
- If your DIY experience is limited to IKEA’s furniture, like us, then know that it’s possible to build your own kitchen with IKEA’s METOD range. But there’s a huge learning curve in terms of using the power tools (an allen key is definitely not enough to build your kitchen) as well as the prepping, levelinh, double checking, heavy lifting and perfecting work involved. So if you have adequate tools, time and a mountain of patience, it’s really possible to install the cabinets yourself.
- It would take a looooong time for the kitchen dude to place your order once it’s confirmed. They have to order every single little thing on the list. So make sure you account for this in your plan if you’re going with your active kids.
- There’s an indescribable amount of satisfaction when you make something, and seeing it turn out well! I love my kitchen not just because it turned out as planned (if not better), but because I knew my husband put in a lot of patience in making this for me. Not to mention, my husband and I actually learnt a lot about each other, and how to work better together in the process of making this kitchen project a success. Who would’ve guessed that IKEA could bring us closer. (Good reason to frequent IKEA right husband?) Hehe
It’s been a year and a half since we built the kitchen, and I’ve been thrilled with it so far. They still look as if it they’re fresh out of the box (on the days when the kids don’t smear stuff on the cabinet doors). Totally, totally, totally recommend it! I hope these posts helped if you’re considering to install the IKEA’s METOD kitchen.
Want to read the whole process?
Have you had any experience building your kitchen? Are you considering to install an IKEA kitchen? Share with me!