Bella is embarrassed for me.
Ikea just delivered us a major league smackdown.
Ikea: "What, you think you can remodel your kitchen and both bathrooms this year on a shoestring budget, and still have it all look good? You fools!"
And, really, I was a fool to start thinking so ambitiously. After our weekend visit to Ikea, it became abundantly clear that a new Ikea kitchen would look like... a new Ikea kitchen, e.g., cheaply made and totally generic. And since nobody else makes cabinetry in the same price range that doesn't look like the flimsiest particleboard you've ever seen, that means that a kitchen is out of reach until next year at the earliest.
I believe my error was not having that cocktail I said I'd have ahead of the trip. Then all the cabinets might have looked a little nicer in person, like they look in the photos. And then I could continue on in my blissful ignorance, believing we could have it all at one time.
Looks can be deceiving
Ikea runs all of these ads on TV and in higher end publications like House Beautiful and Architectural Digest... you would think their products weren't total garbage (at least, not anymore). But the cabinets that I thought I really loved (and which I had seen featured in a very high-end kitchen reno just last week!) look, well... they look cheap. The photograph beautifully, but in person it's just another story. A full on Monet, as they say. For example, the groove that should indicate two slats joining together is actually just a fakey indentation, and the inside of the doors looks like total particleboard.
Even the glass in the upper cabinets feels suspiciously light, and accentuates the cheapiness of the frame
Since Ikea cabinets were really the only way to make a kitchen remodel do-able this year, that now means that we wait a year and pine over something nicer in the meantime.
The pretty Kraftmaid set-up at Home Depot, in the more aspirational than practical range for now
We learned some other useful things from the Ikea trip, for example that a 36" apron-front basin sink is HUGE, and feels a whole lot bigger than a regular 36" sink.
The 24" model is a lot more moderately sized, and really, we never use both sides of the sink so think a single bowl would be plenty, especially if it's really big like this.
The same cabinetry design as the disappointing white is quite pretty and at least appears to be made of actual wood, but is more expensive, and might make our galley kitchen feel a lot more closed in with the darker tones. If only we had some time to ponder the right decision...
Despite all of the bad news, we have decided to choose fairly soon which appliance models we want to upgrade to, and then keep an eye out for sales. Since appliances usually deliver for free, we can just buy those whenever the price is right, start getting use out of them, and then upgrade the cabinets and flooring once we have a little more liquid capital, hopefully about a year from now. Not such a terrible approach.