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Budget Reduction – Goodbye Custom Casework. Hello IKEA.

by Chad Ludeman on July 31, 2008 · 9 comments

in budget,Design,Development,kitchen

I guess it should come as no surprise that we are turning to IKEA for budget reductions in the kitchen and possibly bath as well. Maybe I was crazy thinking we could fit a custom, “Urban Kitchen” into the 100K budget or maybe I just wanted another project since I’m not busy enough already. The “Urban Kitchen” idea will live on and we hope to see it in either the 120K House or the M&M 100K Plus House.

Sample IKEA Kithen Image

So how much will switching to IKEA save us? Our rough budget for the custom kitchen was $4K for the casework and $1K for the countertops. We have not chosen the exact IKEA cabinetry we want to go with as of yet, but I think it’s safe to say that we will stay under $2K for cabinets only. I’d like to go with a nice recycled content countertop still, so we’ll leave the countertop budget as is which should afford us $50 – $60 per linear feet. Not a lot, but we should be able to figure something out.

Another source of savings with the IKEA kitchen will be in labor as I intend to assemble and help install myself. Next week we will probably be posting a list of items that we can put our own sweat equity into to reduce the overall cost further. It is important that this list not be too long or require too much expertise in order to make the arguement that other buyers could accomplish the same list in an effort to achieve the $100K target.

IKEA Cabinets in Place of Custom Casework

Total Savings: $2,000

New Construction Total: $109,215

We broke the $110K mark! Our builder and architect met this AM to discuss further cost reduction strategies so hopefully we’ll have more exciting budget reduction posts soon on our way to our final goal.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 calisurf August 1, 2008 at 4:32 am

What type, if any, type of “eco” cabinetry do you have on the east coast? are there any affordable options? manufacturers? I am sure you can’t find them at the IKEA price point but maybe in future designs or at the 120k level? Some of the interesting companies on the west coast that I have looked at are: Humabuilt and small Bay Area companies such as AlterEco. Still pricey.

Is there a US based company manufacturing “affordable” eco friendly cabinets?

2 chad August 1, 2008 at 12:56 pm

I haven’t found a lot that impresses me, but from what I remember we have our pricey options as well. There are not nearly as many as there are on the West Coast.

Using a local shop in Pappajohn Woodworking is much better in my book than a manufacturer somewhere on the east coast. We support local business, reduce transport and increase custom options and materials, all for a very reasonable price.

3 Evelyn August 1, 2008 at 7:04 pm

I have installed 2 Ikea kitchens and have been very happy with both. Easy to build, good quality, and they last. The basic cabinet is the same for all. Go for the best quality face you can afford, and you can’t tell the difference from any other vendor.

4 Martha August 5, 2008 at 10:06 pm

wow. I’ve been checking in for a while, and this one really tugs at my heart strings, being a cabinetmaker myself, and interested in supporting sustainable and affordable design. Yes, so I’m not disinterested, but I find it hard to justify IKEA…is there anything sustainable here?—it’s another big box store, the materials are hardly sustainable, nor is it local. I’ve been thinking about this one for a few days…it strikes me, as calisurf indicated above, that perhaps the budget could not include custom built cabinetry, but what was the actual budget for the kitchen, was it based on IKEA? I’m left in a quandry….if the absolute point is “what can be done for 100K”, maybe this is what you get, but I’d be hard pressed to argue it’s sustainable. Quality, a huge difference, and one that one feels continually.

5 Calisurf August 6, 2008 at 12:21 am

A follow-up to Martha’s question, do people feel that IKEA is a sustainable solution? are you using them in your “green or eco” projects? I am not a big fan of IKEA as I believe they promote the “throw away and buy new” mentality that surrounds us today.

6 Y. Bzerious August 6, 2008 at 10:29 am

I support your decision to go IKEA. It is pragmatic — and at this price point, one HAS to make trade-offs as you’ve consistently and thoughtfully done.

7 Darin August 6, 2008 at 2:59 pm

There is another option. Don’t include a kitchen at all. This is fairly common in a few other countries. People buy fantastically built modular cabinets that they take with them when they move. It might not be the norm in the U.S., but it’s a creative approach that some people may be into. It may also allow the purchaser to ‘stretch’ their creative legs. If you cook, kitchens are extremely personal spaces. Of coarse, if you don’t cook, it doesn’t matter…

8 chad August 6, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Thanks for the comments guys. Just to clarify, we are not claiming in any way that using IKEA cabinets adds to the sustainability features of the house. It does, however, satisfy our modern and affordable requirements.

While the IKEA cabinets will offgass a bit, they will allow us to afford to use low or no-VOC finishes and materials in other areas of the house that will hopefully have a greater overall impact on the indoor air quality.

9 Stanford Gable August 16, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Have you considered the unfinished cabinets sold at Lowes. I’ve used these on several projects and the cost is far less than anything sold at Ikea. Using unfinished requires considerably more labor but it’s not highly skilled work. You could save bigs bucks if you were willing to finish them yourself.

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