Chapter 1 - Confessions of an IKEA hacker - why I love the SEKTION kitchen!
 this is my most popular review, but I got a much more detailed and technical review of SEKTION here.
You should buy an IKEA SEKTION kitchen. I am buying it for my dream kitchen - with few mods, mind you.
Often times people get confused what it means to have a 'custom kitchen' - it's the IKEA vs. Custom dillemma. People feel that they cannot get a good enough of a product going with mass produced. In fact, I am aware of a trend - people disliking the IKEA model perceiving it as cheap, lacking in quality.
This could be farther from the truth when it comes to IKEA's kitchens. IKEA's kitchens are well made, 3/4" construction and are well edged - premium features in my opinion. You can do so much to improve on the original assembly - I offer that service. But you can do an awesome job assembling and installing it yourself. You should get a professional plumber and a licensed electrician if you need any of that work done - plumbing or electrical.
IKEA is amazing at its hardware. Here check out this video from BLUM that I shot at IDS - this is BLUM's premium hardware line -
and this one -
and this one -
The geometry of the boxes is very clever, it allows for any style to be expressed especially when paired up with SEKTION doors - modernist, classic, contemporary. Nobody can beat them on their slab, solid colour doors. That style doors is the staple of any modernist looking kitchen - they do it plenty, they do it well. It is when you get into the wood grains is when you run into trouble - the grain - door-to-door - does not match, it may end-up looking like a patchwork, a wooden quilt. IKEA does best to minimize that with the choice of darker, evened-out, 'shaded' [proper finishing term] tone to their wood grains. As a purist, I have to disagree with IKEA on the wood grain doors - all the finishing completely obscures the grain - in some ways you might as well just paint it.
And this is precisely why I am offering nice matching wood grain slab doors for IKEA SEKTION boxes. I also make matching cover panels for kitchen islands, fridge panels, full length dishwasher panels [IKEA doesn't do that!], and any required fillers - you always need those.
And finally the price. IKEA has the lowest market option. You cannot possibly get a better quality kitchen - some exceptions. It is the economy of scale that lets you purchase one of the most versatile and practical and amazing kitchen system for so little money - it would not have been possible before. From what I have been able to gather at the Toronto Interior Design Show, is that unless you are purchasing a kitchen like Scavolini or Boffi, which I think are bought for their specific, unique design features, IKEA does not have a competitor. All the other exhibitors built well with 3/4" materials, but none offered such a range of interior fittings. True that IKEA uses white powder-coated steel instead of chrome and glass, but IKEA BLUM hardware is essentially 'the best' of BLUM - here -
minus the motorized option - you are still getting the best design on hardware for an incredible price.
And if you think that by paying more - you get something of superior quality, then think about this:
A] this kitchen must have cost tons of money, and it advertised itself as such, but the hardware on it was so utterly impractical. This piece of hardware gets a complete fail grade - look -
How big does your kitchen need to be so that you Kitchen Aid mixer gets its own lower cabinet? That's just an inefficient use of space. I was really unimpressed with the expensive kitchens. Yes, they had tons of detailing, tons - beading and arches, and fancy solid wood countertops that definitely attracted the eye, but were in no way practical - to maintain them and run a normal kitchen would be a nightmare.
SEKTION truly is an amazing system.
SEKTION being so modular, so versatile needs to be properly designed. There are thousands of combinations and thousands of price points. I think first time ever, it will make sense to hire a professional designer - I think this may be the only weakness of the SEKTION system. Look, it almost feels like you need a rocket scientist for the job - you really don't, all you need is me -
Oh, and the plastic legs on the kitchen islands - they never work - wobbly! You have to use my system - I honestly believe it is the best option. It makes the entire IKEA kitchen solid - the electrical and plumbing are easy to do properly.
Tomorrow I am heading straight to IKEA to catch a peek at the kitchens - first thing in the morning.
[EDIT: April 2015]
Want to know how SEKTION is an improvement over the old AKURUM system?
Read my side by side comparison, changes and improvements - here.
*they look good in wardrobes;