The day after we went under contract on the Center Street condo, we took ourselves waaaaay south to the one and only tourist attraction in Draper, Utah:
I felt like I was going to Costco — a gianter, bluer, particle-boarded Costco. Ah, but how could I not love Ikea? I furnished one-half of a very ghetto Manhattan Chinatown room entirely with the cheapest furnishings Ikea had to offer. (My design sensibility for that particular shopping trip, which was just before I started my second semester of grad school funded entirely by student loans, consisted of how much does it cost?, and, do they have it in stock?) I did a bit of work looking into the deal that Draper, Utah, set up with the retailer in order to lure it and all its sales-tax glory to within city limits. And I watched for months as the crews poured one impossibly large concrete slab after another, coated the exterior with what must have been millions of gallons of blue paint, and expanded the adjacent frontage road all in preparation for the onslaught of grateful, budget-minded clients.
This particular trip was to scout Ikea's kitchen cabinets, the praises of which many, many other reviewers have sung before — here, here and here. In all, it was a pretty successful trip, minus the labyrinth of double-wide baby strollers, two brief power outages inside (no riot — good job, Utah!), and infant-themed bulk justification banners.
Generally, I can't complain about Ikea's philosophy — decent design at ridiculously low prices — but some/most of their stuff ends up looking cheap. Our conclusion was to avoid any cabinet touted as an "effect" of one wood or another. The "effect" is a laminate surface with similarly colored plastic tape along the edges of the cabinets. Looks. Cheap. Really. Really. Cheap. But you know what? It is cheap, so I guess that's OK.
I think that we're going to opt for something in the "abstrakt" line of cabinets — possibly a red, possibly a white. We might throw in some frosted glass with metal frames. We're not really sure because the kitchen in the condo is pretty tight. But we're not crazy about the idea of passing off something as wood that isn't wood, so we will studiously avoid all "effect" products.