northstory + co

How to survive planning an IKEA Kitchen renovation – The Beginning

I had this hilarious idea that while we completely gutted and started planning our IKEA kitchen renovation this past March, that I could continue blogging as normal. I was like no problem. I’ll do some Easter crafts, maybe some Spring planter stuff and deep musings about my anger towards Target leaving Canada. But none of that happened. And now all the talented DIY bloggers that may come across this post, are going to read it and be like “Pfft. Rookie.”

Damn straight.

Because let me tell you. Planning an IKEA Kitchen renovation is not for the faint of heart.

To everyone out there who has ever survived a home renovation of epic proportions. To all the DIY bloggers who #buildlikeagirl and make me so proud that my daughters are growing up in a time where they can choose a career in carpentry and no one will think twice about it. To all of you have planned, installed and survived an IKEA kitchen or any kitchen for that matter. To Alex and Wendy at Old Town Home who are seriously my heroes as I can’t even imagine trying to restore an 1880’s row house.

Never mind giving yourself a cookie, have you brought out the 100 year bottle of Whisky and toasted your sanity? Because seriously, you need more than a cookie as a reward for this penance you’ve undergone.

March was insane. And it made me realize why we hired a contractor to finish our basement.

But let me back up a bit to the beginning of February, where once again in the tradition of purchasing stuff from IKEA, we drove to IKEA in a snowstorm to buy our new SEKTION kitchen. We had delayed this kitchen renovation from last year after hearing about how IKEA was discontinuing their AKURUM line to the anger of lots and lots of people. Understandably so. In which case for the obvious ‘that part may be sold out and you’re screwed forever’ reasons, we waited.

We spent over 5 hours in IKEA that day. Which as much as I’d love to tell you is some sort of record, let’s be serious, if you read my blog regularly you know we are candidates for IKEA Family Live at this point and not by choice. We just can’t find anything in Canada in the modern Scandinavian home decor style that we like on an IKEA budget. Thanks again for leaving Canada Target. I’ll deal with you in another post. Thank God for thrift stores.

This is what you get when you arrive to the IKEA Kitchen area. A red carpet. Welcoming you and your credit card to butcher block counter top heaven.

red carpet leading to IKEA's kitchen area

Where you get so many new choices and configurations of IKEA’s SEKTION line.

IKEA SEKTION Kitchens - northstory (1)

IKEA SEKTION Kitchens - northstory (5)

We sat down with a kitchen planner, went over our entire IKEA kitchen that we had made and saved on their Kitchen Planning program and ordered it all.

Then we waited for several hours to get our order. So why not look at all the new SEKTION kitchens and eat some Swedish meatballs in the meantime.

IKEA SEKTION Kitchens - northstory (2)

IKEA SEKTION Kitchens - northstory (3)

IKEA SEKTION Kitchens - northstory (4)


My perfect big giant one bowl sink. I am never going back to a double bowl sink again (I’ll explain that in a future post).

BREDSKAR Sink IKEA - northstory

Half a day later, we get this to put in the back of our truck.

Minus the counter tops and some side panels for the fridge which had to be delivered because they’re so long. Which makes it even more comical now because we didn’t wind up using them and have to return them. Oh yeah and minus 4 prominent drawer fronts. Prominent. Which we are still waiting for since February on back order.

Yes I realize the irony of the “Need It Today?” note in the back of this photo.

our IKEA SEKTION kitchen - northstory


our IKEA SEKTION kitchen boxes - northstory

Then one Saturday morning, our very old, builder grade cracked cabinet kitchen went from this…

kitchen before

To this.

kitchen demolished - northstory

We planned for a lot with this IKEA kitchen in advance. Yet as with anyone who has gone through a major renovation, lots of things have been a learning curve. But the one thing that none of of us were prepared for was the stomach flu, which arrived the same weekend we tore apart the kitchen and pretty much knocked us on our ass. Thank you Kindergarten germs.

It’s now April and if you follow me on Instagram you know a lot of progress has been made but a ton of work still has to get done. We need a back splash tile. Shelves. A magnetic board. A kitchen table. And oh yes the back ordered drawer fronts so I can stop keeping my dishes in storage bins in our living room.

I won’t show a full Before and After on here until it’s all complete or at least makes for a good Before and After. But I will share the process of putting it together because really now, IKEA and their cartoon instructions will cause any sane person to drink. If we can help anyone out with something in advance of their attempts with the SEKTION, we will.

To give you a sneak peak, here is my BREDSKAR sink thanks to the handiwork of my brother in law Paul, who strongly agrees with me that under mount sink is the only way to go. I had a list of must have’s for this and an under mount sink was one of them.

IKEA BREDSKAR sink - undermount in butcher block countertops - northstory

And to those of you who really want to know what it’s like to live through a kitchen reno, here’s my #keepingitreal shot of what our living room looked like for a long, long, long time.

living room during the kitchen reno

And our basement kitchen (the hacked VARDE unit) became our kitchen.

basement during the kitchen reno

Words cannot express how much I missed my dishwasher. And yes I prepared dinner on a subfloor.

Until next time, when I discuss my science experiment that was whether or not to stain to the butcher block counter tops and how to waste unnecessary money on stain products that you don’t wind up using. Alas there are no Easter crafts this year on the blog that you can pin. I may however review all of Costco’s pre-made meals for your future kitchen renovation convenience.

Want to read about the whole process and see the Before and After?

Part 2 of the Kitchen Reno story: Installing your IKEA SEKTION Kitchen

Part 3 of the Kitchen Reno story: Adventures in Staining Butcher Block 

Part 4 of the Kitchen Reno story: The IKEA SEKTION kitchen, Before and After

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  • Reply
    Casey @Waffling
    April 1, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    I really and truly believe I was not built for renovations

    • Reply
      April 1, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Us either. LOL!

  • Reply
    Jeanette @ this dusty house
    April 1, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I’m pretty sure I’ve mostly blocked the details of living through our reno from my memory. It’s hard! But it was worth it!

    • Reply
      April 1, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      I can honestly say that doing this again, I would almost have to do it before moving into the home or we’d have to move out and commute back to the house to get it done. I am half kidding.

  • Reply
    April 1, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    I can TOTALLY relate! We did an ikea kitchen which we started in November and finished in Jan. I got vertigo the first day of our reno. .And we ended up having o rewire our entire 1920s house! Good times my friend good times!

    • Reply
      April 1, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      Vertigo and a kitchen reno? I tip my hat to you. Truly tell that to go hang out with the stomach flu. It’s like “it” knows when to show up so that you don’t have access to all your food and whatnot properly. Rewiring a house too. Damn.

  • Reply
    April 1, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    oh my goodness. We are living through month, who the hell knows anymore, since January of a Reno of our upstairs. Part two of what will be a three part overhaul of the century old farmhouse. Kitchen is last. I’m either moving, going on vacation or headed to the looney bin for that one. I feel your pain. Can’t wait to see the results. Also- I join your angry villagers mob against target leaving. Jerks.

  • Reply
    Virginia Fynes
    April 2, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Can’t wait to see the finished look!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    So excited to see your kitchen. I know it will be great! We still have a few things to finish in our kitchen and we started a year ago. How embarrassing is that?!

    • Reply
      April 9, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      That’s not embarrassing Anu. That will be us too. I feel like every time it’s close to getting done, there’s still something that needs to get done. I love your kitchen! One day when we get a “permanent home” I hope to get custom counter tops like yours.

  • Reply
    April 9, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    This is such perfect timing. We just decided we needed to gut/replace our original (not worth saving) 1950s kitchen in anticipation of selling our house. Please feel free to share any and all of your wisdom on the “Ikea kitchen experience”. I’m already getting the vibe that even experienced DIY renovators consider it a challenge. Paying for a contractor is sounding better and better…

    • Reply
      April 9, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      It’s been, well, interesting. Right now we’re still waiting on a back order of several prominent drawer fronts which means I have drawer cabinets I can’t use so my dishes are in bins in our living room. Hanging them was easy. Sorting out how to use the rail system was a cartoon drawing instruction nightmare that we sorted out AFTER we hung them. I definitely plan to write about that. The cabinets – that is putting them together – once you do one, they’re super easy. The prep of the kitchen (the paint, the floors, the scuff marks on the walls) that took more time than the kitchen. The kitchen itself my husband and brother in law put together in about 2 days. The counter top alone took a day.

  • Reply
    Time With Thea (@TimeWithThea)
    April 12, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Oh what fun being able to follow your kitchen transformation! This is so exciting! I so agree with you that a single sink is the way to go… although I just had a double sink installed in my recent kitchen reno but it is a larger basin with a much smaller basin and it works quite well. I love the photograph of the red carpet! Keep us posted. I am sure it will look awesome in the end.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2015 at 10:13 am

    don’t forget to update;)

  • Reply
    May 23, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    We are in the process of installing our Ikea kitchen (it is never ending!!) and we bought the Ikea Bredskar 1.5 sink. Did yours come with instructions for under mounting?

    • Reply
      May 23, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Alas no instructions. My brother in law did it. I took a ton of photos so when I blog about the behind the scenes mess of hanging it all I’ll show them. Hopefully they’ll help!!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2020 at 9:22 am

    We are looking for side panels from a 2012 kitchen. We are having trouble identifying the color in order to see if anyone has side panels for sale. Any chance you can provide the color? in you photo above (rt to lt) its the 3rd darkest color.

    • Reply
      April 3, 2020 at 4:57 pm

      That looks like the EDSERUM cabinets. A 2012 kitchen would fall under the AKURUM IKEA kitchen line which was replaced by the SEKTION line in 2015. If you visit the online version of the 2012 IKEA Catalogue here, you’ll find the two brown kitchen cabinets they had under the AKURUKM kitchen lines. Page 62-63. Hope that helps!

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