My closet removal project: 1

This weekend my husband and I did something that many would consider irresponsible, reckless, and just a little crazy.  We took some walls out of our house.  On whim.  With no solid plan in place.  That’s just more or less how we roll.  We’ve been talking about removing both of our entry closets since the day we bought our house.  On Sunday, my husband grabbed a sledge hammer and decided the talking was over.  We’re doing this.  It won’t be fast, and we’ll be doing it all ourselves.  My one and only goal is to get something, anything, accomplished with this project every week.  I’m going to keep a strict tally on how much it costs, and I’ll report back every Wednesday.

Without further ado, here is what we started with and where we’re at now.

This is a panorama from the hallway to the front door.  From left to right, we have the AC door, closet 1 door, and closet 2 door (the one I made into a pocket library).
As you can see, we don’t’ have much of an entry.  This is looking straight on at closet 2 (pocket library).
When you open the front door, you walk right into the side of closet 1.  This is the biggest change that I wanted.  I want the front door to open into a visually appealing space.  Not a wall.

Here is what we’ve done so far.

Closet 1 gone.
All closet walls gone!

Most people would clear the closets out before they start tearing out walls and they would be right to do so.  That’s my goal for this week.  After I get all the stuff cleared out, I’m going to rip up the carpet, then maybe attempt to break up some of the tile.  I’ll tell you next week what my plans are for the space and some of the materials that I want to use.

Week 1 costs: $0.00

My Design Specialty: IKEA Kitchens

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.