Sunday, July 26, 2020

Blue AXSTAD review! - BEST door of 2020!

[picture is an overhead shot; picture shows a designer mood board - BARKABODA walnut herringbone countertop is paired with blue AXSTAD doors along with a sample of pure white countertop from Porcelanosa]

Chaper 1 - Blue AXSTAD Review

Oh hello! I know it has been tough getting into IKEA. I miss those days where I would just stroll in and take up morning residence in the back of IKEA's restaurant with that bottomless coffee for $1 [or FREE if you have IKEA Family card!]...

picture shows a closeup corners of blue AXSTAD door with a pure white Porcelanosa slab on a walnut herringbone countertop BARKABODA 

Chapter 2 - The DOOR

I would love to write up a  long long review outlining all the reasoning behind it, but time is precious! I have some incredible opportunities coming up for me, and I want to make sure that they all go off excellent. 

Here it goes: 

A] You will never regret getting these doors. I thought that I loved the Grey Axstad [which is a quality improvement over the White Axstad; see my YouTube review of White Axstad HERE], but these dark, formal, elegant BLUE Axstad doors take the cake. Obviously they are a particular look and you would need to coordinate everything else around them - it's a very demanding door; because it is so 'high end', they in-turn demand a high-end design and finishes around them. Brass and gold would look amazing paired up with that door - look at WALNUT! Dark, warm, natural woods would be a luxurious pairing - I like natural wood because it is 'pure and unadulterated, just nature' vs. stained, which occasionally I see done badly.

B] They will act like a 'high end door' - they are heavier, thicker and put together with IKEA's new, 'super slim' hinge [you can say good bye to those chunky grey pistons; no savings from IKEA here tho, higher price, which should be lower, but you got to make up your profit margins somewhere right?] they will have a motion of a 'nice, refined doors'. It's hard for me to describe the sound 'ahhh' the first time the doors close on a client. Everyone is impressed - it's such a simple 'elevation'. 

C] DESIGN wise - think of them as a NAVY Uniform - elegant, professional - any finishes that exude those qualities will work - herringbone for floors if you can afford - wood or tile. Dark floors will work particularly well - here is a great, 'cheap option' - I love the look of dark, pre-finished parquet. It is cheaper than strip flooring, it has a 'rich texture' look because of all the little wood pieces [there is varieties of parquet tiles! look into it! you may find one you love!]. I've done tons of high end condos in parquet back in my flooring days. Trim on the wall, any panelling - Yeezus! just open up any fancy magazine, find the pic you love matching the doors and copy the look! 

It's that easy, and the doors are GORGEOUS!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

IKEA and CORONA - a transformation required

Chapter 1 - IKEA, I'm sorry 

IKEA is closed. I'm sad. 

I'm sorry that I did not appreciate you enough. I miss being taken for a ride around your store by self-following arrows while gathering little functional chachkas and putting them in an oversized yellow bag.  I miss being able to quickly switch between different sofas, throwing my body mindlessly around - fun times with children will never be the same. 

IKEA diner was my second office, a home away from home. That bottomless $1 coffee kept me going many mornings while I was designing, drafting and measuring tape in hand, confirming actual dimensions on actual products. It was SUPER fun times. 

I knew the kitchen design team well - their confused faces of always seeing me there working with the planner or looking at doors. 

To be continued...

PS. I think if there is going to be one victim of this Corona virus pandemic it will the AS-IS Section. Yup, I think it is gone for good. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

How to CHOSE TILES for your project.

Picture shows a piece of ceramic flooring found on rocky shores of Lake Ontario, Toronto, Canada. 

Chapter 1 - Change my VIEW: Tiles are the most EXCITING part of any project. 

I think tiles are the most exciting part of any project and I will tell you why. There is only very few tiles that will satisfy the requirements of your particular project. I know that showrooms are full of - what seems to many - endless opportunities to cover your floor or wall or whatever with pretty ceramics in various shapes and sizes and that is the precisely the challenge. 

One of my mentors, a Chinese shop floorman at commercial millwork place I worked at, told me to always start my design process with my most limiting element. In my opinion, the most limiting aspect on any project are the ceramic options. That's right, ceramic options

I think people who just chose tiles for colour or tone are missing out on a great part of their design experience - you can do a LOT, even with large format.  I also consider the colour and tone of my tiles, but another category that I ALWAYS consider is rhythm

Think of it like this - everyone has a different taste in music and all songs have a beat. Sometimes that beat is fast and sometimes that beat is slow. Sometimes songs are energetic and sometimes they are mellow. Now imagine playing a song - or maybe even better yet! a playlist! - and that music bounces off the hard tiled surface and hits yours ears back. Sometimes you want the space to have a busy, useful vibe and sometimes you want calm serenity spa thing going. Theoretically both spaces could use a 'green tile' - but that 'green tile' would be dramatically opposite of each other. An energetic, useful green would have more rhythm to it - like telling your special other to 'hurry up with the dinner because the kids are hungry and you might even step in to help with it'. A spa green would be more like sage and silver and the tile would have to be longer that wider - the psychology of design is quite fun to do!


Always make sure you have enough room to 'develop the pattern'. This is especially true for backsplash tiles! I've seen some really spectacular  [but still tasteful!] little mosaics that just completely capture you - at a $$$$. BUT if you don't have the space - meaning the pattern should be able to repeat itself at least 2, better 3 times - then there is no point purchasing it. Exactly as I just said - you have to be able to repeat 'the pattern' at least 2-3 times for it to look good. ALSO, consider adjacent surfaces - mitering and matching small mosaics will a dramatically LOOOOONG way for it to look spectacular.  My 2cents. 

Have fun with your tiles. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Gray AXSTAD door - REVIEW - a great DESIGNER choice option for kitchens

[picture shows a series of IKEA door in an IKEA showroom, with the NEW Gray Axstad door being pointed out]

I have not been this excited since IKEA introduced the WHITE AXSTAD. I think the Gray AXSTAD is a perfect choice for designer kitchen - add three of these simple [simple, in relation to the kitchen] elements and you have taken your project OUT of the IKEA kitchen planner language [so it doesn't look like every other generic Gray Axstad kitchen]; you retain the amazing 25 year warranty [no more worries about replacement doors or drawer fronts] AND you made it yours AND it looks like a million buck$!

Stay tuned for the video!