Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ode to Sweden

I've spent a lot of time at IKEA since it was built here in Austin a few years ago.  At first I showed up because of the novelty factor.  My northern friends repeatedly mentioned this home furnishing mecca when filling their NYC and DC apartments for the first time.  It was always IKEA this or IKEA that, and I felt really left out.  I showed up at the store for the first time for no better reason than gaining frame of reference.  Basically, when my hot-shot, big city dwelling friends mentioned the place, I just wanted to be able to say something like, "Oh yea - IKEA really DOES have the best selection of closet organizers.  And those big yellow bags??  Genius."  So it was nothing beyond the desire to add to conversation that first lured me through its doors.

But once I was in, forget about it.  I was smitten.  You guys - they sell heart-shaped pillows with arms!  And where else on earth can you buy a complete set of fabulous wine glasses for a total of $5?  The brightly patterned pillow coverings seem to somehow go with everything.  And the food.  Don't -NO - do NOT get me started on the food.  Greek salads, pork ribs, CREPES (!), salmon and Swedish meatballs (complete with a Swedish flag emblazoned toothpick) - all in the same cafeteria.  Even the ice from the ice machine is adorable.

I entered the store for the first time, completely certain I'd roll my eyes and walk out.  Now I return again and again because the place makes me so damn happy.  Therefore, when it came to the house and the tricky business of finding affordable kitchen cabinetry, the solution was a no-brainer.  I've been playing around with IKEA's online kitchen design software for months.  On three (ok, five) different occasions I've gone into the store and walked through the fake kitchens, playing with the soft close drawers (FYI - it does not matter how hard you try to slam them, they will only close softly.  Trust me).  I've run my hands over the insanely affordable oak butcher block counters, watched the constantly looping video they play that shows their cabinets withstand fire, drops from buildings and sledgehammers.  I am a Swedish marketing company's target audience.  Sensationalist propaganda mixed with clean lines and sensible solutions?  Sold!

So last night, I was pretty excited to hop in the car with Jeremy and (finally!) head into IKEA to purchase the lusted after and highly researched cabinets.  After a Swedish dinner (complete with a flag toothpick), we left the cafeteria and spent two hours in the kitchen department ordering cabinets and a countertop.  This represented one of the larger credit charges since the build began, but the unexpected 20% discount was a welcome surprise, and the store's ambiance - tinged with Swedish ingenuity - made the general experience quite pleasant.  Unfortunately, our American ingenuity completely failed us last night.  Knowing full well that we may bring merchandise home, we still managed to forget the truck.  We spent a painful 20 minutes on the car ride home separated by a 3' x 6' wooden countertop - Jer's head smashed awkwardly into the driver side window, one eye obstructed by a slab of wood, and my body pushed completely up against the dashboard, face plastered to the windshield, the counter cutting into my back and completely stopping blood flow to my legs.  But, when it comes to Swedish cabinets at a discount price, maybe blood flow's overrated.  Regardless, like Craigslist, IKEA has changed my life.

And speaking of life changers, the porches appear almost complete.  I can't adequately convey the feeling of standing on that porch.  So I won't try.  Instead, I'll just share them in all their glory (along with the port-a-potty). 

1 comment:

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