IVAR hack adds storage to this Storybook Cottage Kitchen

ivar pine kitchen cabinet

Can you add pine cabinets to an old-world kitchen? Oh, yes!

Jennifer lives in a 1937 storybook bungalow. Her kitchen oozes with charm. The only downside is the original footprint is what most of us would consider half a kitchen these days. 

The thing that was lacking was any real storage.

She plans to do an actual remodel, some day, but it’s not something she can do right now. 

“I’m in a historic Tudor revival storybook cottage. So, too modern or industrial doesn’t really work,” she said. “And when I do renovate I want to do a historically accurate reno. So it’s going to be more work and expense than just popping in some pre-made stock cabinets.”

Another challenge is the walls which are hollow terracotta block. This makes anchoring any upper cabinets to it impossible unless you’re working with the original kitchen layout where the framework is already provided for structural support.  

“Also,” she added, “when they retrofitted my house for HVAC, they put the register right in the middle of that long wall. So, it either has to be completely re-routed or I have to have something up on feet that will clear it and allow it to heat/cool the room.”

But in the meantime, she was dying with all her kitchen appliances and stuff spread out among the various storage pieces she had in the kitchen, dining room and basement. So she opted for a more “permanent” temporary solution that would immediately solve her kitchen woes.

Her “permanent” temporary solution was the IVAR, on the other side of the wall.

IKEA IVAR pine kitchen cabinet

However, a look around the Internet yielded very few IVAR pine kitchens. So, she documented this for anyone who may want to use the versatile range of solid wood cabinets for a kitchen. 

Laying out the modules

First was to decide on combination of pine kitchen cabinet, shelves and other accessories. She went for an IVAR combination which spanned the length of the wall. She also used two door styles — solid pine and cane.

In the first two modules (from left) she used a combination of IVAR cabinets as base cabinets, topped with shelves to function as a countertop. 

IKEA IVAR pine kitchen cabinet with coffee nook, knife rack and bottle rack

In the first one, she also added a bottle rack and at the base, a pull out storage box.

Module 3 is a niche for her refrigerator. 

refrigerator nook

The last module is a combination of shelves and bottom drawers. Looks like a fabulous pantry cabinet.

IKEA IVAR pine kitchen pantry cabinet
Earlier versions

But it took some time to arrive at this. 

“I started with very different choices. It was originally going to be Kelly green and it had a lot more stained wood. It was trial and error to get it to where I wanted it.”

The worldwide stock shortage didn’t help.

“This was all in progress. I had to wait months to get more than one pair of the cane doors. They were always out of stock. Same with the drawers.”

She adds, “Honestly I took the whole thing apart and put it all back together more than once as I realized what would and wouldn’t work.”

That’s probably the single most wonderful thing about hacking an IVAR pine kitchen compared to conventional kitchen cabinetry. The flexibility to install and re-arrange until it works.

Painting the pine IVAR kitchen cabinets   

She started with a light color, keeping the natural look of pine. But later opted for a darker hue. 

“I started with fancy cabinet paint and it was a mess so I ended up just using spray paint in Coastal Grey.”

The process Jennifer ended with was to first use a spray primer to cover up any knots, then spray on the grey spray paint, and lastly finish with a clear coat spray. 

On the stained pieces she used wood conditioner and then a golden oak stain and clear coat spray finish.

She recommends sanding all the pieces first (which she didn’t!) because the spray paint lifts the grain in the pine wood leaving a less than perfect finish.

Special touches for the coffee station

This is a much needed open spot with a countertop for food prep or the use of small appliances. 

The countertop is a regular IVAR pine shelf. Under the shelf is a new IVAR pine drawer which is great for light, daily use items. 

magnetic knife rack on IVAR hook

There’s a USB rechargeable kitchen light fitted on the top shelf. The magnetic knife rack is just slotted inside of the IVAR hooks.

Hanging the “overhead cabinets”

Now what about the two horizontal cabinets above the coffee station and fridge? In case you are wondering, IKEA does not offer horizontal cabinets for the IVAR range.  

The solution? Hang the door horizontally, across the width of the shelves. 

“The hinges on the doors are just basic hobby hinges and I did buy a couple of arms to attach to hold the door open but I haven’t put them on yet. I used the IVAR hinges in all of the vertical doors but they won’t work if you need to hang the door sideways.”

What is the cost of this IVAR pine kitchen cabinet? 

Around $1000 all in. Talk about affordability for all that storage!

What are some challenges faced installing this kitchen?

My floors are slightly uneven which is tough with drawers and making doors fit perfectly. I used shims where I could and just went with as close to perfect as I could manage.

I think it could be problematic if the IVAR kitchen was near a sink or by the stove getting grease splatter. But you could probably do a heavy polyurethane to help with that.

What do you love most about your hack?

It’s exactly what I needed, but I’m also taller than average. My shorter friends can’t really reach anything important when they’re here.

IKEA IVAR pine kitchen cabinet

~ by Jennifer Lynne

See other IVAR pine kitchen cabinet hacks:

IVAR instant upper kitchen cabinets
Making the kitchen pop with a pegboard IVAR unit