working girl - R79

October 22, 2012

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!


  1. Hi there!

    Got a simple question for you. I have a whole kitchen with nexus brown/black panels. I'm adding a fan for the stove and wanted to add a fan top cabinet. Unfortunately, the nexus brown/black panels have been discontinued and the panels that I need are available only in a few stores in canada (the closest one is a 4 hour drive from here...). Do you think it would fit if I put Gnosjo black effect panels on the fan top cabinet while the rest of the panels are nexus brown/black?

    Just wondering if I can cheat a little... ;)


  2. Hi Patrick. Thanks for visiting. Honestly, I would just go for it and try the Gnosjo. I was actually pretty surprised with the quality of the doors when we received them. It's not an exact match, but I doubt the difference would be so significant that they wouldn't work together. Also because it's over your range (a natural focal point) the difference in doors could almost seem intentional. I mean, what do you have to lose? There's always that ninety day return policy. :)

  3. This is pretty funny - I have never read your blog before and I was googling "Ikea Gnosjo cabinet" to get an idea of what they look like in a whole kitchen. I was just at the Atlanta store 2 hours ago and took a picture of what I think is this same display, because I liked it so much, as I'm collecting ideas for my eventual redo. It has changed a little though - the counter tops are different. Anyway, curious coincidence! Looking forward to reading the rest of your posts. I think you must have the greatest job in the world! Thanks. :-)

    P.S. Patrick, I think mixing doors would look fine. I plan to do the same - just scored a whole bunch of Nexus Birch doors from As Is, and I plan to use them on top and Gnosjo on the base cabs. I think using something other than your Nexus BB would be fine. You might try a Rubrik with the frosted glass or another dark door with glass inset. I bet it would look very nice and as Rae said, intentional - not "ran out of doors."

  4. Hi Rae,
    A little question for you...
    I have a Faktum kitchen (Nexus brown/black). Since I'm moving, I need a new cabinet and I got one actually (a corner base cabinet) but couldn't find the Nexus door because is now discontinued here (I'm from Italy). I was wondering if Gnosjo is totally the same as the Nexus or the finish is remarkably different...

    1. Hi Lucio,
      The Nexus and the Gnosjo door styles do have a different finish. Nexus has a wood veneer (more brown black), and Gnosjo has a foil finish (more black brown). You may be able to get away with it especially if your original doors haven't been exposed to too much sunlight. I would say go for it, and if you don't like the look, maybe you can mix it up and try some accent doors. Good luck with your kitchen! :)


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