Sunday, April 12, 2009

IKEA: Friend or Foe?

I may go blind if I have to decode another cryptic IKEA installation drawing. An attempt to screw in a simple overhead light fixture nearly brought me to my knees. I have taken 9 trips to IKEA in the past two weeks. The blue and yellow army has taken my patoot, asked me if I would like to carry it off in a $1.00 reusable bag that I will undoubtedly forget before my next trip to IKEA, and handed it to me one too many times. Along with the wrong cabinet faces, and leaving out the faucet (just to keep the variety of mishaps interesting) by the time I could actually line my kitchen drawers, I was ready to hire a fleet of strapping lads to put my oils and wax paper away. Such is the typical trajectory of the home renovation; just when the end is in sight, you find that your sanity has been whittled down to a nub.

Thanks to the invaluable efforts of my mom, aunt, and assorted friends, I now have a kitchen-like space; all I need is a plumber.

Now, to be fair, IKEA cabinets are *relatively* easy to set up and install. The assembly becomes intuitive after the first two or three clunky attempts, and they look sort of slick on the wall--especially given the fact that they are made out of factory air, compressed wood, and cheap hardware.

I must admit that the cabinet joints are cleverly engineered! They come with these rubber stoppers that make it virtually impossible for you to slam your doors and drawers shut, potentially shattering the composite wood.

My advice to others who are considering an IKEA kitchen renovation: Beware of splinters. My nail beds are full of 'em. And embrace the fact that you will make from one to eight return trips to IKEA to resolve botched orders. Other than that, I now have a kitchen with ample counter space that feels very functional. IKEA: Adore you or despise you, apparently I can't do without you. I surrender.