Brandon and I bought ourselves an early Christmas gift. Notice anything different?

Yep! Say hello to our new CB2 Movie Sofa in Pool blue. Isn't she lovely? We had been eying this sofa for well over a year and kept saying to ourselves, "Wow, maybe one day." We finally decided to pull the trigger when Brandon went to CB2 one day (yeah, I can't believe he went without me either...) and noticed that the sofa was on sale. Translation - the sofa in the color we wanted was being discontinued. We ending up taking advantage of the offer for free shipping, but we found out two days later (Black Friday) that they were also offering a 15% discount. We called customer service and they immediately obliged us. Not too shabby, huh?

As you can probably tell, she's a little longer than our Cooper sofa (and deeper). Yes, my friends, there are currently NINE pillows on this sofa and plenty more room to spare. It was definitely a good marriage of what Brandon and I wanted in our ideal sofa - deep and comfortable enough for accent pillows (me), long enough to stretch out, lay side by side, and enjoy tv (Brandon). My new mission is to go pillow slipcover shopping, but for now I think she's quite dressed up. Case in point, I'm in love with what's happening on this side of the sofa.

And remember Cooper?

We didn't get rid of him. He's now living in our office. We plan to keep him for when we decide to take the plunge and purchase our first place. Honestly I just couldn't bare to part with him. Remember his amazing story? He'll be in the fam for years to come. Anyhoo, thanks for meeting the new member of our family! I can't wait to make her feel more at home!

Okay, I know it's way too late for this, but I wanted to get this post in at least before the new year rolls around! Here's some highlights from our Thanksgiving spent with my amazing mommy who came down to help us host the holiday.

Aside from being the sous chef, I love coming up with a setting for the table. This year I was inspired by my co-worker Robin to use Honefoss mirrors with Fixa pads underneath as the centerpiece. The napkins are RE from Target (on clearance 4 for $2), the napkin rings are wedding gifts from Bed Bath and Beyond, and the candle holders are an assortment from CB2. I also sprinkled in some Glimma tea light holders.

Here's a close-up

Everyone knows I'm all about cheap, fresh flowers, so there were clusters of daisies all around courtesy of Kroger's manager's special.

15 daisies for 5 dollars... don't mind if I do!

Side note, can you believe that we had the flowers in our coffee table for 2 weeks prior to Thanksgiving? Yeah, me neither.

And of course my hubby was as handsome as ever. 

And for those of you who've yet to meet her, let me cordially introduce you to my mommy!
 Isn't she gorgeous? :)

This message greeted our guests as they walked into the kitchen! :)

 And this year, we remembered to get pictures of the spread.

The Menu - Potato salad, deviled eggs, sweet rolls...

collard greens, mac and cheese, cornbread dressing, spiral cut honey-glazed ham and turkey breast.

And this year my mommy brought her caddy for the dinnerware. Gotta keep it classy!

In short, my Thanksgiving was nothing short of amazing. I'm so thankful for a wonderful life with loving family and friends. Isn't God Good? How was your holiday?
I've been a busy little bee. September and October has been pretty big for kitchens. Change has been sweeping its way through the department, and as always I've been working hard to make sure we present our customers with the best IKEA have to offer! The first challenge came with the redesign of our low price kitchen. Yeah, another low price room. Now I have another one under my belt! Check out my first low price room here.

Originally, our low price kitchen was a small galley style in Applad white, to the tune of around $2,000. But IKEA loves to throw curve balls whenever necessary, you know, to keep it's customers, competition, and even its co-workers on their toes. Gnosjo is our brand-new door style replacing IKEA's Nexus black brown, but also taking Applad white's title as the low-price door in our range. I was pretty skeptical as to how the finish would actually look, but the new door has so much visual and physical texture, that when I saw it installed, I immediately became a fan. Because we were getting rid of Nexus, we collectively made the decision to change out the current Nexus kitchen, save as many pennies as possible, and make a bigger kitchen into the low-price kitchen. 

Here is the old Nexus black brown kitchen

This photo was taken by a fabulous friend of mine who was our previous kitchen designer, and implemented the 2010 Kitchens Remodel.

Immediately I began thinking of how we could bring the price down. What's new? What's now? What's trending? Then I decided, we should totally try open shelves! Not only would open shelving make the space more open and airy, it would be a quarter of the cost of wall cabinets. Our Com-In manager also suggested that I re-work the bar and take out more unnecessary cabinets. We also said goodbye to the stainless steel appliances, which was more than half the cost of the total kitchen. Are you ready for the after?

Okay, I lied. This is the under construction photo! But what a huge difference, right? 
Here's what we did:

  • Switched out the shallow-depth high cabinet for two stacked 30x30" wall cabinets with Rubrik light blue accent doors.
  • Took down the wall cabinets and added Ekby shelves. 
  • Added new Numerar countertop
  • Replaced the wall cabinets behind peninsula with Capita brackets
  • Removed the horizontal cabinets
  • Painted and added new tile

I just wanted to get a good close up of the tile for you. Subway tile is the most classic tile ever. It's beautiful, yet so inexpensive. I specified gray grout for a modern twist. Oh, and after all that, here's the real after:

I tried to keep it pretty simple with very few injections of color. This look is definitely not for the disorganized kitchen owner. Tip: Only purchase kitchenware that you love! Oh, and only keep things out that you use most often so that dust doesn't have much time to accumulate. P.S. Bonus for those who noticed that I added a window!

Because Vurm wine holders are merchandised across from the room, I made the conscious effort to incorporate it back into the room. The blue doors are pretty sweet, huh? Too bad they're getting discontinued in February. Get 'em while you can!

Notice that in the construction photo the countertops are different. In the final hour we switched them to light blue throughout, and a butcher block top for the bar which was stained black brown. Long story short, if you try this at home, pre-cut laminate tops are not great for a bar solution like this. Why? Well, you have to cut down the depth and reattach the laminate edge, which in most cases (even with a highly-trained professional) may not come out as cleanly as you may like. Since we have a huge DIY customer base, we decided not to complicate things, and make the solution as simple as possible. It was unanimous though. The stained butcher block top is so hot! Shout out to our carpenter for being so amazingly awesome!

Oh, and of course it always helps to give the customer a glimpse of who is living in the space. This guy is a musician. The kitchens' staff named him Tonio. :)

Believe it or not, photos and artwork are always my biggest challenge when putting a space together. Even more so in my own place. I think it's because I really want to get it right the first time, so that I can avoid unnecessary holes in the wall. Okay, it's pretty easy to patch the hole and repaint at work, but why waste the time if you don't have to? Finding photos of actual people is pretty hard too because we're only allowed to use free royalty-free images. I had to modify the original elevation I drew in CAD to accommodate artwork I would actually find, and incorporate the addition of a window. As always, a quick sketch never lets me down.

Did I mention we all re-wire our own lighting? Yeah, that takes a while, but totally worth it. I love how these dangly pendants give a nod to the pattern on the window coverings.

Snacks for three.

I'm always excited to add textiles in kitchens because the opportunities are so few and far in between. This music note Margereta fabric was perfect.

 So what do you think? Lighter, brighter, and all under $3,200.

I HUGE shout out to my girl Brandeis for all her help and patience!  Also, Hugo, you are the best! As always readers, stay tuned. There is so much more to come!
Just wanted to stop by with a quick, little update that I did a while back! Besides Kitchens and Dining, I am also responsible for Children's IKEA, which is currently composed of 4 roomsettings. To tell the truth, this area needs a full overhaul, and I've been told to do the bare minimum until I can fully plan a remodel for the area (along with the Com-In manager, my interior design manager, the Children's IKEA manager, and the sales manager). Needless to say, it takes a lot of collaboration before we can begin something like this. Until that glorious day when I can say goodbye to the current roomsettings, I'll continue to make a few small updates here and there. Today's update is a focal wall inspired by the Torva Veggies in R94.

Here's the before:

Yeah, as focal wall, this one is pretty sad. Our team dubbed this room the "princess room" even though it lacked a princess vibe and rocked a veggie motif. This wall had to go.  I had been twitching to get rid of it since I inherited the area.

Here's a quick sketch I made:

Here's the after:

Though not nearly as wonderful as a full remodel, I think it made a dramatic difference. I was racking my brain trying to figure out what to do. Then I figured a garden would be much more fitting for a room that focused on vegetable characters. To update this wall I used Slattahult poppy wall stickers (we actually have the same wall stickers in our kitchen), Fejka artificial grass, Smycka artificial flowers, and birch Ribba Ledges. How's that for a quick pick-me-up?

And of course I had to attach the grass to the shelves. Why, you ask? Because sadly, many of our customers feel the urge to pick up display items whenever they see multiples in a roomset and throw it in their cart - even though displays have a "display only" sticker on the bottom. I also tried to keep the grass out of reach of the children whose parents allow them to use the roomsettings as their personal playground. Overall, I was going for a somewhat 3D wall mural vibe - minus the princess. :)

On the small storage unit I ended up using a bit more grass, a flower indicative of the flower motif in the bedding, and a small carrot instead of the larger one.

I even added a little "awww" to the under-the-bed storage box. Truthfully, this is the only part of the update that didn't live well. The next day, these big veggies got ripped from the box and kidnapped. Yeah, tragic I know. I must say that Children's IKEA is such a challenge - especially when the rooms get torn apart EVERY SINGLE DAY, but I remain optimistic. I can't wait to redesign the area and create more sophisticated roomsettings with more versatile and realistic living situations. We may be a few months off from that, but I'm super excited for a change and an even bigger challenge. Lately I've been working on several kitchen redesigns so I can't wait to share them with you next time! Stay tuned!
At IKEA, constantly revitalizing roomsets is one of the biggest ways to attract repeat customers within our market. Simply put, people visit more often when there is always something new to see! One of our big goals this year is to inject more seasonality into the store, and reflect more of what is actually going on in the daily lives of our customers. Right now, the weather is cooling down, people are coming indoors to relax, and everyone is getting geared up for upcoming holiday celebrations. After receiving my assignment to revitalize a roomsetting using Halloween as inspiration, I decided to turn it out, and create a small whimsical celebration!

Here's some old pics of the roomset before:

And here's the seasonal after:

First of all, let me say that it's amazing what switching out accent doors can do for a kitchen! Don't get me wrong, I was a big fan of the lime green doors, but there's something about the black glass that makes the kitchen more striking and sophisticated. It also doesn't detract as many customers who felt as though the lime green was a bit too overbearing. The black definitely brought that darker Fall look that I was going for. The new bar stools also enhance the look. Not to mention, black is perfect for a little Halloween party!

By far, the most challenging aspect of creating seasonality with our products is that IKEA doesn't sell typical Halloween decorations like our big box competitors. I decided to play up this perceived weakness as a strength by specifying key products that could evoke the feeling of Halloween when used together, but easily transition into their daily lives once the holiday was over. I also had to choose wisely when it came to stock and availability of the products because nothing's worse for the customer than running out of something on display. And I mean NOTHING!

What really brought home the idea of a Halloween party were the inexpensive curtains that I used as faux spider webs. To create the look, I only used one panel from the set. To get the edges to curl, I cut the panel just a bit with scissors and ripped the rest apart until it gave me the effect I wanted. I love creating tips and ideas for the customer! :) On the other side, I set up a little party spread for six.

By far, the biggest positive reactions I've gotten from my co-workers has almost always included a comment about my creation of the term "spooky juice". Gotta love it! While looking for another shot of orange, which I learned is very scarce in the range right now because IKEA is always a year ahead when it comes to color trends, I was a little bit scattered. (Ex: our range was full of orange last year, but coincidentally Tangerine Tango is Pantone's color of the year for 2012) I did however stumble upon meter fabric with a bird and tree motif that evoked the idea of Fall just perfectly.

Because this kitchen was always scarcely propped to reinforce the style expression, I figured a big vase of sticks that reminded me of crow feathers and Beetlejuice really couldn't hurt.

And of course what's Halloween without candy? Thankfully, our Swedish food market sells little candies that are perfectly wrapped to fit the color scheme.

Never forget, Adults like candy too!

So what do you think? Sometimes small changes can make a pretty big impact! I can't wait to implement the next season! 
Our little office space is slowly coming together! A while back I purchased a light fixture from Highland Row Antiques that I simply couldn't pass up because the color story was so perfect! But before I show you how it turned out, allow me to introduce you to the real star of this show - my little Raskog cart.

This little cart has been coveted by people all over the country who have seen it everywhere on the web, the IKEA catalog, and beyond. But alas ... the issue of limited stock has reared its ugly head, and disappointed many. How did I get it? No magic involved. I got the very last one off the shelf after stalking it for months (back in June). The moral of the story? Be aggressive. B-E aggressive! In other news, here's how I dressed her up!

I borrowed some stuff from our Billy Jader to see exactly what Raskog was capable of.

From left to right:
  •  Ice bucket - Crate and Barrel 
  •  My special wine glass that I use for parties (it has rings of color so that I don't have to use a wine glass marker)
  • Michael Graves bar set from Target

  • Lambee - I gave him to Brandon when we were dating
  • Martini recipe glass set - a wedding gift from my maid of honor
  • Martini shaker - CB2
  • Margarita glasses - Pier 1

  • Wine decanter - a wedding gift from a family friend
  • Small drink glasses - CB2
  • Cloth napkins -  Target

And here she is making her office debut.

And in case you were wondering how our vintage the light is suspended, I used an old-school lime green Hemma cord kit. I'm hoping to flatten that cord out eventually. I'm not totally sure if the bar accessories will stay on the cart though. I may end up loading it up with books or miscellaneous items down the road. Initially, I wanted the cart to store my sewing machine and fabrics. That idea went out the window with the curtains I never finished (no pun intended). I'll have you know that I hung them anyway - they're just missing a hem. Maybe I'll get super bored (and super patient) and finish them so that I can share. :) Anyhoo, what do you think of our cute, little office nook?