IKEA What?-Part III

Dustin has told you about some of our adventures at IKEA along with our purchase of a new dining room table.  Here is a follow-up about the shelf-work station we purchased the same day.  This was also purchased with Christmas money.  I LOVE it!  It is really more for me than for Dustin.

It consists of a wooden shelving unit with sixteen square spaces for storage or display, and a nice wide desk/work area attached.  It is perfect for my new Cricut Expression and sewing machine.  Both fit on the desk, and depending on which one I am working on at a given moment, I can switch positions of the two, so the right one is there before me as I sit at the desk!  And I REALLY LOVE the storage spaces.  I can keep crafting tools, supplies, manuals –everything in them!

Dustin has called the second room the “Woman Cave”!  I can even set up the ironing board and leave it right there for whenever I need it –don’t have to set it up and take it down every time I need it!  I love my little space!

P.S. In case any family/friends are wondering, we have measured it out and placed the furniture in such a way that our queen inflatable mattress still will fit in the room when guests come!  Never fear!  We still have room for you!

My collage wall...decorated with Lindsey's pictures, a calendar, and some Cricut by-products!
Adjacent wall

IKEA What?-Part II

…continued from IKEA What?-Part I

We knew that we wanted to go back to IKEA and look deeper at what we would enjoy having in our home: if we saw something that we liked there, we could get it, and if not, we would at least make a fun day of it.  I was settled on purchasing new bedroom furniture, or possibly new living room furniture; but, we were pretty much open to anything.

We decided that New Year’s Day would be a perfect day to go.  We both had the day off, and they had an annual sale going on that week.  We borrowed a friend’s trusty old Suburban (we weren’t going to try and jam whatever we got into our little Saturn…not that we haven’t done things like that before…), and headed off to the Baltimore suburbs around noon.

During the hour-long drive, we got to talking about what we really wanted.  We began to lean away from the bedroom and living room furniture, and towards a new kitchen table and chairs.  Let’s just say that at the time, our current dining room set had a lot of history behind it; but nothing matched, and it was not the sturdiest thing in the world either.

We arrived at the store, and immediately went to eat at their restaurant.  They had a special where you could get fifteen Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, a cream sauce/gravy, and Lingonberry jam for $3.99, so we both went for that, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Afterwards, we went searching.  We grabbed our pencil, card, and shopping bag, and headed in.  Almost immediately, the first thing that caught our eye was the most interesting and innovative–but simple–tie rack.  My ties usually just end up on very generic tie rack, and overflow onto a bent-out-of-shape hanger.  This one would clean everything up just how we wanted.  One thing about IKEA, which you will find out about more in the next post in this series, is that they are the masters of organization.  We grabbed the information on it and continued on…

My new tie rack

Eventually we came to the kitchen and dining area.  I think that this is one of their most unique and popular parts of the store.  They have a wide selection of kitchen organization solutions, as well as plenty of dining room options.  We looked around–back and forth–for about a half an hour, trying to find something that would fit our needs.  Neither of us had a clue what we wanted exactly in a dining room set.  Their were some very nice sets that were a bit out of our price range, but all together, nothing caught our eye–expensive or inexpensive–like the elegant (did I just write that word?) GRANÅS set of table and chairs.  It gave off a little bit of a modern look, without being way out there where it didn’t feel like home.  It is has a tempered glass tabletop, sitting on a sturdy black steel frame and legs.  One perk is a second lattice style tabletop/shelf underneath the glass that can be used to display decorations without cluttering the eating area (it is kind of difficult to see in the pictures below).  The chairs are made from the same simply constructed black steel, but also have a woven cane seating pad, that promotes comfort and styling–plus made it much easier to match with the rest of our kitchen.  We were extremely happy with our purchase: it is very well built, and looks great in our home.  With the table, we also purchased four place-mats that go well with the set.

We bought a few other things as well, but that will be saved for the last post in the series…

IKEA What?-Part I

Many of you have probably never heard of that funny word–IKEA.  Actually, it’s Swedish: what it means exactly I have no idea.  I guess I could look it up somewhere and give you the definition, but that’s not quite the point of this article!  All I know is that it is a mega furniture store that Andrea and I have this strange and sudden liking of.  You say, “a furniture store?  Why would you care about that?”  That is an honest question!  I still despise furniture stores.  I can remember going to Art Van or Oak Express as a kid with my parents, and just waiting what seemed like days while they picked something out to their liking.  To me, there is nothing more of a bore than furniture shopping–until we found this IKEA place.

After finishing my freshman year in college, I was home for the summer working at Discount Tire in Lansing: my workplace from the time I was in eleventh grade until my last summer at home before graduating from Fairhaven.  I picked up the Lansing State Journal one morning before work, and saw in the Local and State section an article about a huge new furniture store that was having its grand opening that day in the Detroit suburb of Canton.  The description of it sounded interesting, and they were offering free breakfast for all of their customers that day.  I didn’t have much thought about it again until a few months ago…

As a young fairly newly-married couple, Andrea and I love taking little one or two day excursions on our days off.  Sometime last November, we took a trip south into true country-ville (anywhere south of Brogue).  About fifteen minutes past our church is the Mason-Dixon line separating Pennsylvania from Maryland.  We crossed the line, and drove along the Susquehanna River until we came to I-95, reportedly the most traveled highway in America.  South would take us to Baltimore, and north would take us into Wilmington, Delaware.  I thought to myself, “I’ve never been to Delaware.  Let’s go there!”

Don't worry about it, there's not much here.

Well, let me tell you, there is nothing in Delaware.  Nothing beautiful.  Not much in the realm of history–except it being the first state to ratify the Constitution.  No, we just drove around for an hour or more in an out of run down Wilmington neighborhoods.   After getting a bite to eat (without paying any sales tax…one nice thing about Delaware), we left the state, probably never to return!

I felt somewhat defeated.  We drove all of this way to eat at a chain restaurant?  I had to find something else to do before the day was finished.  Out of nowhere, that newspaper article from four years earlier came back to me.  “I wonder if there is one of those IKEA stores somewhere near Baltimore,” I thought.  I found somewhere with internet access, and it looked as if there were one in Aberdeen, Maryland–about 40 minutes from where we were in Delaware.  Off we went–and guess what?  There was no IKEA in Aberdeen; the address we had was probably for their warehouse or something.  I stopped somewhere to ask, just in case.  “No, not here.  It’s in White Marsh: about 30 minutes away!”  Oh well.  Now I was even more defeated.  It’s dark, and here we are 90 minutes from home, not having done much but drive all day, and we couldn’t even find the goofy furniture store!

We hopped back onto I-95, heading into Baltimore, then we would hit I-83 north and go home (I didn’t feel like driving the slightly shorter, but very curvy country-ville roads home).  Then, just before hitting the Baltimore Beltway, we saw it: an exit for White Marsh.  “We’re going to find this place!”

We found her at last, in all her glory!  In huge letters, the word IKEA! It seemed like an oasis in a somewhat wasteland of a day.  We entered, and found one of the most enjoyable shopping experiences I can remember.  If I could sum it up in a phrase, it would be: everything is catered to the customer.  Many stores try this, but very few succeed all of the way.

When you first enter the sprawling store, a rack with pencils, pamphlets, and mesh shopping bags greet you.  The idea is to take all three, and explore the store from there.  The Baltimore store starts out with various living and dining rooms fully set up with all furniture, decorations and accessories.  Each item in these rooms–from the kitchen table or couch, all the way down to the fork or wall hanging–has a price tag on it, giving an item number, name, and description to take note of with your pencil and pamphlet.

You start off with living room sets, then into kitchens, dining rooms, offices, bedrooms, and kids rooms: all down one main corridor meant to move everyone in the same direction–similar to many museums.  This time, for us though, was mostly just looking.  At the end of the displays, a set of stairs takes you down to the marketplace: where you wander around picking up and examining anything you may have written down on your pamphlet, plus exploring different styles and color options.  By the time we reached the end of the store, probably close to an hour after arriving, we had one item–a floor lamp that was on a good sale–$7.97.  Just after the checkout, there is a concession area, where everything is flat priced, including tax.  We could smell cinnamon rolls through the whole store, so we decided to get one for a dollar and split it (they are enormous!).  Since it was getting close to the end of the day, the gentleman offered to give us six of them in a pan for two dollars!  No denying that!  They ended up being our breakfasts for the next couple of days, and are delicious.  We left that day very satisfied, knowing we would come back again soon, maybe even purchasing some furniture from them.  Their prices seemed very reasonable, their quality exceptional, and their style–a little over the top at times, yes; but innovative and right down our line.

The next post in this series of three will tell of our visit to IKEA this New Year’s Day, the deals that we found, and pictures of our new home furnishings.