Sunday, April 6, 2014

How to install an IKEA kitchen island. Properly.

Chapter 1 - How to install an IKEA kitchen island. PART 1.

[Make sure to to click the 'kitchen island' label found at the bottom of this entry to see all my 'IKEA kitchen island' entries! - enjoy!
EDIT: for detailed drawings click here!]


I had a chance to do a nice install recently. A center piece of which, in my opinion, is the island - 12 cabinets - a combination of lower units [at 24'' depth] back to back with a row of the shorter [12'' deep; 30 3/8'' tall] upper units - IKEA makes it possible to mix and match uppers and lowers. That's really good, smart, very flexible design.*

The client went with a very nicely done IKEA Lidingo Gray - solid grey gloss, 'frame-and-panel' MDF doors. This year, at the Toronto Interior Design Show - which is the most prestigious, non-commercial design show in Canada - IKEA did Lidingo Gray for their booth. I doubt that many of us have the 20' foot heights and the option of doing gold gilded ceiling - but it looked amazing. IKEA splurged [they got the money....] and had a custom made, really nicely detailed marble slab for a countertop and did some fancy trim carpentry. It ended up looking like 'a million bucks'!  

But it did not cost a million bucks

And the island ended up at a reasonable 2200 Canadian dollars + the cost of that nice marble slab. Here - 

That was a really nice kitchen island. 

IKEA instructs that the kitchen island be fixed to the floor and I agree. Kitchen islands are essentially free standing cabinetry. Think about all the the forces that will work against that cabinetry - people leaning on it, pushing on it, sitting on it, standing on it and whatever else. Add to that the weight of the stone slab and a large double sink full of water. You get the picture - it has to be rock solid. It also needs to be dead level - my standard is the rolling marble. 

My practice is to build a sturdy rigid base that is both - easy to fasten to the floor AND super easy to level. The tools required to build such a kick [that's what I will call it from here on] are the same tools that you will need to properly assemble a medium size IKEA kitchen - treat yourself [buy or rent] to a set of cordless drill/driver combo [get the one that will do hammerdrill option - just in case you have to go into concrete] - it will be silly of you to attempt to assemble any IKEA kitchen with a Philips screwdriver. A mitre saw is required to install many mouldings -  rent it at a local Home Depot [there, a plug for Home Depot]. I mention Home Depot, because they will also be able to rip [cut lengthwise] the plywood that you will be using for the base - very convenient. 

Chapter 1 - How to install an IKEA kitchen island. 

The advantage of going with this design is that there is flexibility in setting the height of the countertop surface. In most instances it does not matter if you set the height a 1/4" one way or another - but on this install it did - the client wanted to match the finished height of the stone countertop to a window sill - less than an 1/8" was the only acceptable tolerance. Having a self-leveling laser level is the handiest thing around - it is guaranteed to be off less than 1/8" over a 100 feet. 

I offer a service that I call a 'premium IKEA kitchen install' - I charge the same amount of money that IKEA kitchen installers do. I improve on the assembly of the cabinets and build my own kicks for all the lower units. The services really shines when you got an ambitious plan for your kitchen island. [to be continued...]