Sometimes I hesitate to vocalize my love and expertise of IKEA kitchens.  There are many out there who see it as an inferior product (to this I simply say *25 year warranty*).  This can sometimes make me feel like perhaps I am less of a designer for being so damn good at using them.  Well, to hell with that!  I have something that I am really, really good at and there’s a market for it.  Imma brag on myself for just a sec.

Long ago, in the year 2005, I left EXPO Design Center (a former Home Depot company) to begin a career at IKEA in Frisco, TX.  While I started in the lighting department, I eventually moved upstairs into kitchens.  Back then, every kitchen had to be ordered piece by piece.  A cabinet frame is it’s own item, as are the legs it stands on, the shelves inside, the hinges for the door, and the door itself.  And that’s just a basic cabinet with a door two shelves and no to kick!  After doing this for a while, you begin to realize the infinite number of ways the pieces can be arranged to create entirely new cabinet combinations.  I kind of love that moment when a customer asks me for something a little bit insane or outside the box, and I just start thinking out loud, with all the different parts whirling around in my head until… “Yes! Ok. Here’s what we can do..”

In 2007, I quit IKEA to stay at home with my daughter.  In 2008, we moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.  While in Charlotte, I went back to IKEA to work part time in their kitchen department.  Things had changed quite a bit in those two years!  They had made great improvements to their online planning tool, which now linked up to their ordering system and made booking a kitchen much easier.  This is another great bit of knowledge that I have.  I know what the sales staff at IKEA need to put through an order quickly and without missing parts.  The planning tool doesn’t always get everything exactly right.  There are always a few things that need to be added manually, and I have a checklist to make sure that happens.

Speaking of the planning tool… have you tried to use it?  Got mad and gave up?  That’s understandable.  It has come a very long way, but it still has it’s quirks.  I know I shouldn’t include unnecessary details in the IHP (IKEA Home Planner) drawings because it will work too hard and bog down.  Sometimes you have to just stop clicking and let it catch up.  Sometimes when it’s going through some major glitches, I should try it out on other browsers, or maybe wait a few hours.  And going back to the infinite amount of cabinet combinations, I know that just because I can’t create it in the IHP doesn’t mean it can’t be done.  Sometimes you have to slap a note on the drawing the let IKEA staff manually adjust the order.  I do it all the time.

So if you’re having a hard time getting your IKEA kitchen design in order, head on over to my contact page and let me help you out.  I am to IKEA kitchens, as Paula Dean is to butter.

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