Fitting an Ikea Kitchen

How do you pronounce Ikea?

Is it Eye Key Ah?

Is it Ick Ay Ah?

That’s the problem with the English language: it mangles pronunciations.  An Irish speaker would be in no doubt whatever that the correct pronunciation is Ick Ay Ah, giving vowels their true values, just as they do in most mainland European countries, except France, thus proving that the French and the Brits are pretty much the same thing and they should just get married.

Give me a language where what you see written down is what you speak.  German is pronounced exactly as it’s spelt.  Its close relatives, Danish, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish are spoken as they are written, and as far as I know, so are all Slavic languages along with Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Greek  and  Czech.  Not so much Portuguese, as far as I know, though I’m open to correction.

Ikea is not as bad as the two-headed Ibiza though.  Why do they pronounce this Eye Beetha?  The first syllable pronounced Britwise and the second in the Spanish way.

Eye Tallian.


Surely it’s either Eye Buys Ah or Ib Eetha?

Be consistent, for fucksake.

Yes, I know that none of this has anything to do with Ikea, but I’ve had a long day, so cut me a little slack if that’s all right.  I’ll get to the point eventually and it’s not as if this post is a matter of life and death.  Heaven forfend.  It’s not as if I’m writing about Glasgow football or anything else so important.

No.  This is just about assembling a flat-pack kitchen.

You see, I agreed to build a kitchen for a friend of mine, and as you know if you’re a long-term visitor, I love to build these things by hand.  I like to make kitchens from scratch, but as the design progressed, it became clear that I’d end up assembling an Ikea flatpack instead.

I’m not proud, and it’s not as if I think of myself as an artist.  I just make things that people like, and so it transpired that I, and my son, Bullet, found ourselves fitting an Ikea kitchen for our friend.

Guess what?  The Ikea system is logical, efficient, well-designed and easy to assemble.  The instructions are clear and everything works as it should.  I’ve assembled fitted kitchens before and I’ve never come across anything as carefully engineered as the Ikea product.

Yes, it’s a flat-pack, off-the-shelf Pot-Noodle sort of furniture, and it can’t match a hand-crafted kitchen, but at  the same time, it’s a million miles away from  the rubbish you might find yourself buying at twice the price.

I enjoyed the hell out of it. What can be so bad about working with your son on an interesting job, going for an all-you-can-eat curry at lunchtime and rounding off the day sharing an ice-cold beer, discussing ridiculous movies, and bad football?



28 thoughts on “Fitting an Ikea Kitchen

  1. the kitchens always look so lovely in the eye-key-ah ads, sugar! i’ve only assembled furniture and that, too, has been easy peasy stuff. xoxoxox

  2. I have this love-hate view of IKEA. Yes, it’s less expensive; yes, it’s very logic and modular. But there tends to be always one little screw, nut, unmentionable little metal or plastic widget missing in the flatpack kits. The other problem I have with them is that if you ever go and live in IKEA-land, everybody’s home looks the same. Same modules, just different order.

  3. Yes, it’s a flat-pack, off-the-shelf Pot-Noodle sort of furniture

    So you just add boiling water to the flat pack and WHOP you got a kitchen? Do you get a cook with that or is that optional? Either way. I want a picture when it’s done.

    And there is no such thing as consistency where language is concerned–especially English.

  4. A linguistically educated friend of mine tells me that modern English isn’t really a proper language as such, but is regarded as a formalised creole. Middle English was a mish-mash of other languages, a kind of pidgin blend of Anglo-Saxon and Norman French.
    Funny enough you can see traces of French in the Gailge too -Seomra=Chambre, being a good example.
    Anyway, he says that IKEA would be pronounced EE-KEE-A in Swedish.
    Fine, but what about LIDL? That one kills me, i pronounce it differently every time i say it -unless i confuse it with ALDI; sometimes i really don’t know what shop I’m in. I hate homogenisation, but i always shop In LidalDi. I prefer interesting antique furniture but when you need a computer desk its off to EEKEEA or whatever the hell you call the place. God, i hate that shop. Good gear, but i hate the look, i feel like I’m walking around in a trendy catalogue of Euro-hipster chic. Fills me with an urge to defecate.

  5. Many moons ago i put together a kitchen from B&Q when tarting up a house…It was easy enough to assemble but the quality of the ingredients was terrible… I’ve made a few bits from EE KEY YAH and found that, not only were they a doddle to assemble, they tended to be made of decent quality materials.

    I’ve drooled @ their 5K kitchen display unit for a while now and may go for it @ some stage soon.

    The only problem I have with them is non standard sizes/fittings, it’s like using a Windows box or a Mac, once they’ve got you to make the initial purchase you have to buy all your trimmings through them.

  6. Well the only reason I have a kitchen, the real boss agrees here, is that it came with the house!

  7. It is EE kee AA – all the Scandi countries prounounce the letter I like the English letter E. However, I’m not so sure that the Norwegians (and for that matter the Swedes and Danes) are so perfect when it comes to speaking their language as its written. I have massive difficulties with almost every single word beginning with K – is it a hard sound or soft sound – and mangle all words beginning with KY. For instance the word for chicken is Kylling – which is sort of pronounced with a hy sound – hyilling. So there you have it.

    On the subject of Ikea kitchens though – you are spot on. They are logical, simple, cheap, and remarkably enduring. I put one in six years ago and nothing has gone wrong with anything.

  8. Daddy-Owe, there are more than traces. Irish words have a lot of French resonances, many through Latin as far as I’m aware, but also Greek. Eaglais -Église (with the same root as Ecclesiastical). Sagart – Sacerdos. Bata – Baton. Garsún – Garcon. Then there’s the strange Asal – Esel connection with German.

    If I had time, I’m sure I could think of dozens more.

  9. Kirk — Sorry, I missed your comment. Yes, that’s how the Ikea system works. You just leave everything in a heap on the floor and pour boiling water over it. Go away for a few beers and when you get back, there’s a kitchen. Bingo!

    Clever old Swedes.

  10. I recently had exactly the same experience. After metaphorically rolling my eyes at the client, groaning at the thought of a all Ikea job – I’m a millwork installer, dammit.
    I proceeded to stare balefully at a large stack of boxes, but to my amazement everything was well made, easy to assemble, fit together as it is supposed to. All mounted level and square, with allowances for slightly out of square walls.
    Job went quick and smooth, client happy, installer happy.
    Just goes to show, as many years as I have been doing this sort of work, I had never worked with Ikea products before, I had no idea how nice they are for relatively small money. y

  11. Daddy-Owe your friend is probably right.A good book on the english langauge is mother tongue by Bill Bryson.It’s a lighthearted look at the at the vagaries of english.It’s a good read and very funny in places without being heavy.

  12. An example from Bill Brysons book is “the cat with nine lives lives next door,it’s totally mad.Now how can any unsuspecting foreigner pick up this lingo,but that is not a very good example.

  13. I have an Ikea house, the only thing that ever stumped me was an elaborate coffee table, and the only thing that has dissapointed has been my current bed. Can’t seem to take the pounding it’s getting (I’m not there when it’s getting pounded, don’t know what she’s doing.

    I am a believer in the church of Ikea, been shopping with them for 20 years even had a little Company which picked it up and built it for people, until…. .. Ikea’s retained lawyers wanted to sue me for using Ikea in my domain name, about 10k

    Vicous bastards

  14. what is a hand crafted kitchen? most modern kitchens are “flat pack” to some extent. All high gloss or laminate type doors are off teh shelf. So why go to the bother of hand crafting the carcass? Ikea are limited with their sizes, but other companies aren’t so. the amount of money some people spend on kitchens is crazy – 20k plus. fucking madness. the stuff behind the doors really doesn’t vary that much from company to company, with the the exception of a few that use shit materials.

  15. A hand-crafted kitchen is one built entirely by hand from raw materials. It doesn’t have carcasses, if you’re referring to the laminated boxes that make up most of the flat-pack kitchen market.

    I’ve built such kitchens and they’re not only beautiful, but carefully tailored in every last detail. A mass-produced kitchen can never meet this standard because it has to be modular. On the other hand, it will be made to very fine tolerances and will probably work in a much more slick sort of way.

    Whatever floats your boat. As you can see from the post, I have nothing against flat-pack systems. Hand-built, bespoke furniture is an entirely different species, and if people choose to buy it, that’s fine. I wish I’d been paid 20k to make one.

  16. Just as a matter of interest, a propos of nothing, etc, Bock, what sort of general money is involved in a hand-crafted kitchen, say for a typical shitty height-of-the-boom-built-in-a-week-sardine-tin type house?

  17. Very hard to say without seeing the layout, but I recommend doing it yourself. It’s not that hard. It would take longer than a flatpack, and you’d need some extra gadgets, but you’d end up with something beautiful. It would meet your requirements exactly and you’d end up with a set of really handy tools that you could use to make more stuff for your home.

  18. The problem is, I suck at DIY (I mean, I really really suck at it) and I’d be genuinely afraid of throwing the money away. Do you remember the spice rack homer made for marge? That’d be me….

  19. but modern doors can’t be hand crafted, they’re factory made.

    What material would use for the carcass Bock?

  20. Peadar — No carcases. You can make a series of frames using simple halving joints and they’ll look fine. Secure them longitudinally with runners to make a skeleton. Then build the floors and walls with planed boards. Doing it this way, you can have a very nice raised look with the kitchen standing on its own legs. You can even hide ropelight under it to emit an attractive glow which you can control with a dimmer switch.

    Here’s an example from an old Bock post.

  21. well then that is the carcass, just cause it’s not melamine chipboard, it’s still a carcass.

    Your example looks very good bock, perfect for a traditional/old style kitchen. But the materials required to make a modern style kitchen, mainly the doors, can’t be diy made

  22. I wouldn’t call that a carcase in the sense that people use the word these days. And you’re right when you say that a traditional kitchen doesn’t look new, but that’s the whole idea. Saying that, I’ve made doors from lamwood that look pretty good.

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