Drab to FAB; Inspired by the pages Of magazines, Jack and Tracy Ford designed a flatpack Ikea kitchen So beautifully, it belongs in the pages of a mag! ‘ Here’s how

JACK AND TRACY Ford put up with their ‘ “awful” kitchen in their 1960s-style Sydney home until a friend suggested they move to the kitchen to the playroom at the rear of the house. Brilliant! Not only did they get a new kitchen with new furniture, but a new lifestyle. “We use this space all the time, even for relaxing. We select best recliners located near windows with gree space as rest places for our whole family. – it’s everything we’d hoped for and more,” Jack says. Making the move meant additional structural, electrical and plumbing installations, but opting for an Ikea kitchen meant the project was affordable. Jack and Tracy followed these steps to create their DIY kitchen – problem-free!

Renew your old kitchen with Ikea furniture

The old kitchen space: Renew your old kitchen with Ikea furniture


Want to achieve.

What do you want and need from your kitchen and will it work within the space? Study the room: note the pros, cons, traffic areas, where people gather, which kinds of table and chair set, and the best view or light source. If it’s not big enough, too dark or not ideal for entertaining, look at stealing space from adjacent rooms, adding windows, doors or skylights or moving it to another location. If you’re changing location, try to use the old space while the work takes place.

Space for kitchen: stealing space from adjacent rooms, adding windows, doors or skylights

Space for kitchen: stealing space from adjacent rooms, adding windows, doors or skylights



Create a moodbdard to get a feel for how the look of the space will work. If you know what you want, combine images, colours and materials to see how they fit. If you’re finding your look, for inspiration go online for home advisors or recliner reviews (blogs, flickr) or to magazines, friends’ homes and showrooms. “We wanted a lot of white to brighten the whole house and to create a clean and uncluttered space, but with a special feature like our Spanish-tile splashback and red island-bench panels,” Tracy explains.


Your ruler

Before you plan the layout, measure the space as well as the appliances you will keep and the ones you will buy. Measure floor space; door swings; the width and height of walls, windows and doors; the width, height and depth of appliances and furniture; and note where the power and plumbing are if you don’t wish to change these things. Now double-check!

A variety of kitchen furnitures for you to choose

A variety of kitchen furnitures for you to choose


Think about the practical part of your design. What sort of cabinetry do you want? Cupboards vs drawers; set of table and chair, or reclining chairs; pull-out pantry vs walk-in or regular cupboard; freestanding vs built-in appliances; concealed dishwasher vs full-view? Check out the various options on the Ikea website or kitchen brochure.

5. DRAW UP ‘ Your plans

It’s good to have an idea of the layout before hitting the computer or store. Play around with a design on paper and role-play in the space. Is there enough space to move? How is the outlook? Once you’ve worked out your ideal floorplan and know the door finishes or appliances you want, it’s reality time – will it fit? Download the Ikea Home Planner (ikea.com. au/kitchenplanner) and follow the instructions – watch as your kitchen materialises. It can be saved to the Ikea website where, instore, you can go through your plan with a sales assistant.


till you drop

It’s possible to buy your entire kitchen in one go. But you need to physically be there to pick it, pay for it and take it home on the same day. Do a product availability check online before you go to avoid return visits.

fact file

Who cooks here? Jack and Tracy Ford and their daughters Ella, 6, and Hannah, 3

Before This space used to be a playroom. The original kitchen, elsewhere in the house, was from the 1960s and, according to Jack, was “too small, too dark and just awful”.

Wlshllst Island bench, CaesarStone benchtops, good appliances, a large door to open the living space to the backyard, and white cabinets.

The result A light and bright entertaining space that’s clean, simple, easy to use and welcoming. “The kitchen is now more a part of the outdoor entertaining area and backyard,” Jack says.

Kitchen green spaces: The kitchen is now more a part of the outdoor entertaining area and backyard with recliners and coffe table for relaxing

Kitchen green spaces: The kitchen is now more a part of the outdoor entertaining area and backyard with recliners and coffe table for relaxing

Time frame Three weeks from design to installation.

Phone book Joinery Ikea . Electrician Mick Farrugia, Luchman Electricals. Plumber Kevin McNally, Kevin McNally Plumbing. Tiler Mark Monteforte, Mark Monteforte Tiling.



To ensure the smooth running of the installations, have all your items together before work starts – plumbers will need to see taps and sinks, and electricians will need to know what is going where. Once the old kitchen is ripped out, have your plumber and electrician make any adjustments before you tidy up the walls and prime for installation. It can be tricky getting so many different people working on your project at the same time, so be organised. Do as much as you can and have a back-up plan in case delays mean you have no kitchen for longer than expected.


All together

Flatpack furniture has come a long way. It’s simple to assemble and can be done yourself while other works are being completed – providing you have the space to store the built items. There are full instructions available for installing the cabinets, benchtops and sinks yourself, but it does mean specific tools are required and it is much easier if you have a basic knowledge of carpentry. Ikea can recommend installers – the cost is about $1500. For Jack and Tracy the installation took three days. “But the CaesarStone benchtop couldn’t be measured or ordered until the kitchen was in,” Tracy says.

Putting all furniture together for your renewed kitchen

Putting all furniture together for your renewed kitchen


Finishing touch

Once installed, the fun begins! Go ahead and choose your interior fittings, such as pull-out bins and drawer and cupboard organisers. But it pays to live in your kitchen for a while so you can work out exactly what you need. And don’t forget the personal touches that reflect your style.


Kitchen Faktum base cabinets with Abstrakt doors in White and panels in Red; Dormsjo sink and mixer tap; and Marginal wall shelves; all from Ikea, $10,500

Benchtops CaesarStone in Snow, $4500

4 Reclining chairs, $1000

A dining table and chair set $1500

Splashback Spanish porcelain tiles from Earp brothers,$500

Fridge from Winning Appliances , $4500Splas

Duo ovens, gas cooktop & rangehood from Electrolux, $3000

Tiler $400

Electrician $2000

Plumber $2300

Total $ 27,700

top tips

Easy to match If you buy a small cupboard door in the finish of your choice at Ikea you can take it with you to match other decorating aspects outside of Ikea, such as paint colour, splashbacks, benchtops or furniture finishes. It works particularly well with whites as there are so many shades.

Mix it up Don’t be afraid to mix and match. The Fords bought cupboards, sink, tap and benchtops from Ikea, but looked elsewhere for their appliances and splashback tiles. “We bought Spanish porcelain tiles, which are usually used for bathrooms, as they’re different and give the kitchen another dimension,” Jack says.

When project managing Be organised Jack advises. “It pays to organise your time to be available when tradies are around. Ours were incredibly helpful and reliable and explained things simply so decisions could be made quickly and no time was lost.”

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