Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cover Panels to Match Your Custom Ikea Kitchen on the CHEAP

We have received quite a few emails asking about cover panels for the exposed sides of Ikea boxes.

There are a couple of ways to go about covering up those white boxes -

  1. Once your kitchen is complete, measure the exposed sides of the Ikea boxes and order cabinet doors from Barker of the appropriate size. This gives you the option to match the cover panel to your door style or you can order plank doors to match.
  2. Buy furniture grade plywood to match your new doors and cut it to size on a table saw.
We opted for option 2 because we wanted a plank style cover panel and buying furniture grade plywood saved some serious $$$. A quick look through Ikea's website shows they use 1/2 inch stock for their cover panels.

Stock Ikea Bjorket Cover Panel
For those of you looking for white cover panels, your job is pretty easy. Just head on over to your favorite big box store and pick up some half inch MDF and paint to match your doors. If you are taking advantage of the other wood species offered by Barker Doors sourcing some nice 1/2 inch furniture grade plywood is not too difficult. Head on over to Home Depot Pro Desk and ask them to special order PureBond plywood in your selected species. It might help if you print THIS out for the sales associate or give them the Special Order SKU: 226-917 and Vendor Number: 60069126. Note: PureBond is available as a special order from most Home Depot locations, but if you cannot order it in your state, search for a wholesale distributor.

PureBond plywood was about $90 a sheet in alder when ordered it and matches the alder Barker uses perfectly!

Once you have the plywood cut to size and finished to match your cabinet doors, you are ready to edge band the exposed cut edge to make your new cover panel look like a solid piece of wood. The best way to do this is to use FastCap FastEdge peel & stick edge banding. This stuff is awesome and is way easier to use than the iron on stuff. FastCap sells their edge banding in finished and unfinished real wood veneer, and in a PVC variety to match real wood.

I highly recommend using the PVC variety because it is sooooo much easier to apply. They have 41 different colors in PVC and they will ship you a sample wheel for free. It can be ordered here. We started with the wood veneer edge banding tape and had such rough edges that we grudgingly switched to the PVC stuff. The funny thing was the American Maple PVC color matched our alder cabinets better than the real alder edge banding!

You Tube was helpful to learn how to apply the FastCap edge banding:

Once your cover panels are edge banded and finished to match the cabinet doors they are ready to be attached to the Ikea cabinet boxes. I did this the same way Ikea suggests - by using a 1-inch screw and attaching the cover panel to the box by screwing from inside the box into the cover panel. A few clamps make this process a lot easier!

Installed Custom Ikea Cover Panel

Monday, August 15, 2016

Basement Bathroom Mood Board

While Ross is putting all the finishing touches on our sparkly new kitchen (you guys... just wait til you see it!!), I've moved on to bigger things. Our basement.

As you can see, it may be bigger but definitely not better. Check out that picture from the previous owner. I think it may have been used as the set for That 70's Show. For a while, we embraced the old school. We had bigger things to tackle when we moved in. However, the time has come. We only have one full bathroom and it's a disaster. So in order to gut that one, we need an alternative. We need to install another bathroom. For my sanity.

The good thing about installing a brand new bathroom is that it's a completely blank slate. There aren't really any walls or existing plans to to work around. At least, not now that Ross has started demolition.

This is what I came home to last Friday evening. Hold me.

Our demoed basement in all its disgusting glory

Anyways. I figured if walls were coming out, it was time to get serious about what was going in. We know we needed four distinct spaces in the basement - a large main room, a storage area, a bathroom, and a laundry area. Currently, we're planning to use the basement as a master suite while we continue the renovation on the second floor. Also, because it's cheaper to heat and cool a 56 degree basement. Every dollar counts ya'll. #retirementdreaming

Here's where we stand now with our basement plans.

The aquarium next to the stairs is a nice touch. Thanks babe. #nothappening

We ended up adding a walk-in closet or finished storage area - however we end up using it as well as our original unfinished storage area (for paint, holiday decorations...), laundry, and bathroom.

When we tackled the kitchen/bathroom renovation, we were so bogged down in the details of the kitchen that the half bath was almost an after thought. And shockingly, it's one of my favorite pieces of the house now. So in the spirit of simplicity (and hoping the same bathroom inspiration bug would bite twice) I started pulling together inspiration photos for our basement bathroom.

A walk-in shower was a must. Good for showering, spraying down large pets, my professional singing career... you know, all important things. And I've always had a desire to turn an old piece of furniture into a vanity. So that's where we started. And this is where we've ended up:

The black, white, and wood are reminiscent of our first floor bathroom. In fact, the floor tile will be the exact same $2/sq ft tile we used there. But we'll mix it up by using an old dresser for our vanity and matte black hardware. Currently, we're thinking a nice gray/green shade on the walls. But I'm thinking of changing it. What do you think? Will my husband let me have a pink bathroom? Kidding. Kinda.

Modern bathroom inspiration | bathroom design products | sturdy stainless steel bathroom taps | renovations | interior design | villa design | hotel design | Dutch Designer Brand COCOON:

Monday, February 8, 2016

We are Finally Getting Around to Our Back Splash!

Our kitchen renovation has been in progress for longer than we like to admit. I catch a serious case of procrastination when one of my projects looks OK and becomes usable. I need a good kick in the butt to get around to the finishing touches.

We have hesitated completing all the posts about our kitchen renovation because we want some jaw dropping "after renovation" pictures to share. We are finally getting around to the marble back splash and being able to finally enjoy all of our hard work on the remodel!

Jenn and I have been tiling all weekend long, about 20 hours, to get to the point in the picture you see above. I swear Jenn is going to kill me if I ever tell her I'll probably have a project done by the time she gets home from work on Friday again! Getting straight lines on a crooked wall with 3x6 subway tiles is a lot harder than I thought.

We chose marble subway tile from Lowe's that costs $6 a square foot. The problem with this tile is the color variation is huge. To find the 70 boxes of white tile to match the counter top we needed we had to look through 5-600 boxes of tile. That was a lot of trips to Lowe's all over the city before we could even start. All the rummaging through tile worked out though because our other option was $20 sf online which would have put us at $1500 for our back splash instead of $500 we spent at Lowe's.

Picture of the tile we selected from the Lowe's website showing the color variation if the tile is not sorted.

I started the project on Friday with the help of my parents by pulling the range, removing the cover panels from the cabinet sides, and covering the countertops with cardboard. My dad had a the good idea to draw vertical lines marking the start of each row of tile to make sure we kept the pattern consistent and to account for the wall which was 7/8 of an inch out of square from top to bottom. We marked our first vertical line one tile width away from the most out of square section of the wall then marked two more vertical lines at 1/3 a tile width and 2/3 a tile width. This way we didn't have any small slivers of tiles to get to the edge of our crooked walls.

 Once we got the lines drawn we got to tiling. We started to notice the tiles were going on the wall much much darker than anticipated. I read the details on the Mapei Type I mastic a Lowe's associate had recommended and noticed: "not for natural stone". So we sadly stripped our first three rows of tile, cleaned them, and made a second trip to Lowe's for Mapei Premium Mortar for Tile and Stone. This one had a green top, was $50 for a 3 gallon bucket, and said it was specifically for stone. But based on the day's earlier debacle, we thought it would be a good idea to call the manufacturer to confirm we had the right stuff.

A Mapei representative was super easy to get on the phone by the way. After some disclaimers about what the Marble Institute of America recommends, the rep said he has been laying tile for a long time and said if it were him, he would not use the Premium Mortar for Tile and Stone. He said he was holding a dried sample of it at his desk and though it says it is white in color, it really dries a beige shade that could affect the color of the marble. He recommended we use Mapei Large Tile and Stone Mortar in white.

The mortar works best when mixed 4 parts mortar to 1 1/4 parts water.

It looks like we have another day or two of tiling next weekend, then grout and sealer. The thin set behind the tile is still wet so the tile should dry much whiter than in the pictures in the post. Fingers crossed. We can't wait to share our "after" photos with y'all!

Immediately after grouting   

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Make Stainless Steel Appliances Shine

Jenn's Disclaimer: My husband's Microsoft Paint skills are on point. Prepare to be amazed...

Classy, commercial, and timeless. When we were shopping for appliances for our new kitchen, we couldn't resist upgrading to flashy stainless steel. After they were delivered we were completely smitten... until we peeled the plastic off and realized they track every fingerprint and smudge.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Secrets of Wallpaper Removal

Let's talk about one of the most universally hated things home renovators face. Sure there is the lead paint, stinky carpet, a little asbestos, painted trim (who paints heart pine trim?), but the bane of my personal existence is wall paper.

Our dining room when we first moved in!

Friday, September 25, 2015

How to Poly Cabinet Doors - The Right Way

Finishing cabinet doors is pretty straight forward but there is a lot of bad advice out there. In our kitchen we liked the look of natural wood so we decided to coat our doors with polyurethane to protect them from spills and scrapes.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hinges for Barker Doors on IKEA Sektion

In case you missed it, check out our previous post on combining IKEA Sektion cabinet boxes and Baker doors HERE. This post is meant to explain why the hinges recommended in our last post work so you can order your hinges and doors with confidence.

Recall from the last post that we used Blum's Clip Top Blumotion hinge and hinge plate
     ( is super cheap for the hinges w/ free shipping and we get a small commission)

to connect our custom Barker cabinet doors to the IKEA Sektion cabinet boxes. Since IKEA cabinets are frameless (aka European style) with full overlay doors, we started searching for the correct hinge by focusing on Blum hinges specifically for frameless cabinets.
Traditional Cabinets have a Face Frame - Euro Cabinets are Frameless