Traveling = IKEA

April 13, 2011   //  Posted in: Bathroom, Helping The Economy   //  By: Emily   //  16 responses

Pete + I spent a nice long weekend in D.C. sightseeing and visiting with friends. I did take 255 pictures, although 249 of them were with my iPhone because I was too chicken to carry the Rebel around in case I was jumped (I watch too much Criminal Minds). Fortunately, we brought the slimmer, easier to conceal G12; unfortunately, the battery died after I took one photo at a scenic overlook in Pennsylvania on our very first restroom break. (We stopped at a Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Target in hopes that someone carried a compatible charger… no luck.) So, the iPhone is completely unsatisfactory in comparison, but here are some of the better shots (click to enlarge and see in gallery form to keep this part of the post short and quick):

  • National Botanical Gardens. I take pictures of pretty (unusual) flowers.
  • National Botanical Gardens. I also take pictures of pretty (unusual) cacti.
  • This was in my friend's backyard. No idea what it is, but it's stunning.
  • This too was in my friend's backyard. No idea what it is, but it's stunning.
  • Another picture of a pretty flower at the National Botanical Gardens.
  • Hello Lincoln. Me + Pete at the memorial.
  • First-ever motorcycle (was at the Smithsonian National Air & Space museum).
  • Pete on the steps of the National Gallery of Art. (He is an artist, after all, that's why he's beaming).
  • Pete + I.
  • Starfish in the American Museum of Natural History... because you know how much I like starfish.
  • Turtle in the American Museum of Natural History... because I like turtles... dead or alive.
  • And I like the gems in the American Museum of Natural History too. Stunning.
  • There was a kite flying contest at the Washington Monument. Amazing sight.
  • There was a kite flying contest at the Washington Monument. Amazing sight.
  • We loved this block tile walkway at the Vietnam Memorial.
  • Oh hey, it's Pete + I at the White House.
  • HA, and here I am photo bombing an otherwise nice photo of Pete at the Capitol.
  • Me. With the kite contest in the background.

Of course, this really is a post about seizing the opportunity, and that opportunity is IKEA. We’re often saddened by the fact that we don’t have a nearby IKEA. Burlington, Ontario (Canada) is an option two-some-odd hours away, but in order to bring back anything of substantial value through customs, you have to spend the night (or bring 3 friends along for the ride to claim on any goodies you just needed that exceeded your $150 daily limit, yes it’s really that strict). While living IKEA-free puts a major damper on home decor shopping in Western NY, it makes it all the more exciting to leave the state.

Fortunately for us, the College Park, MD IKEA was right on our way back to NY (with a Starbucks conveniently on our path as well), so I did some planning the night before to plan for buying…

A new bathroom vanity! And lots of other goodies that we didn’t have any business buying on the fly but just because we were there… why not.

Of course, I don’t even think I’ve shown what the current vanity looks like (I’ll save that for another post) but all you need to know is, it’s basic, it’s white, it’s something that was likely found in the cheap-o section of Home Depot 10 years ago. Maybe longer. It’s basic, it’s formulaic, and it wasn’t doing anything to improve the space.

I didn’t have an 2011 IKEA catalogue, so I took photographs of likely candidates (again, with the iPhone, and since it was a computer display please pardon my moire). I really liked the idea of a wall-mounted vanity that still had storage built-in, and these models came in an assortment of depths and lengths to get me close to the <4.5′ long and <22″ deep measurements I desired (and carried around with me on an iPhone measurement list that I’m anal about maintaining). I was even considering doubling up my sink count and making it a double-wide for the hell of it. Note: If you click on these photos, they’ll open up like the above gallery and you’ll be able to see more product detail than you can in these thumbnails.

  • Choice 1. Two drawers, top and bottom.
  • Choice 2. Single drawer.
  • Choice 3. Side by side shelves.

So, post-Starbucks stop, we arrived at the store right as the doors opened. Pete immediately identified his desired man cave. I like.

Pete. Man cave at IKEA. He liked the city art.

And then he vanished in the maze and I was left to my own devices so I gathered enough RIBBA frames to last me until summertime.

Lots of RIBBA frames. And other goodies. Score.

By this time in the excursion, I was still dead set on getting one of the previous mentioned vanities. That, of course, was until I arrived at the bathroom section of the store. And I fell in love. With a sale vanity. And it’s sale partner-in-crime side shelving unit. You all know how rare it is to find a non-damaged legit sale find at IKEA, right? Right.

Sale vanities!The photo shows two sets of sinks, but I only bought 1. Think of it set up with the left-most vanity and sink, with the three drawer cabinet snuggled beside it just like it’s shown here. The measurements are actually 4’long (when the two units are side by side), and only 18″ deep, so it fits perfectly within the maximum parameters I had previously measured. The big vanity was marked down to $79 and the small shelving unit was $69. The sink top itself, which is a mid-depth but looong open dish was a “splurge” although still pretty damn good considering what it is, priced at $129. While I’m still considering wall-mounting, I did buy the aluminum framing to support from underneath (I’d rather have them and not use them than need them and not have them). Oh, and the faucet ($89, but oh, the faucet!):

Twa-laaa! Meet Grundtal. I love him.Yeah, that’s Regis & Kelly in the background. What’s it to ya?

So, yes! I’m starting to prepare for an upcoming bathroom renovation! I’m not exactly sure when it’ll happen (because getting the driveway refinished is a higher priority) but it’s nice to know one big thing has been bought and is ready to go when I am.

More to come on what I’m going to do with 14 million RIBBA frames. No, not making another collage wall.

  • Cait @ Hernando House
    5 years ago - Reply

    Woohoo for Ikea! That vanity and faucet are awesome!

    • Emily
      5 years ago -

      Thanks! Now I need to light a fire under my bum to get some flooring purchased.

  • Meg @ Red & Main
    5 years ago - Reply

    Yay! I’m glad you made it to IKEA. What a haul! Great choice on the sinks- love them.

    • Emily
      5 years ago -

      Thanks Meg!

  • Katrina
    5 years ago - Reply

    Any way we can start a campaign to bring IKEA to upstate NY? The ironic thing is that we lived relatively close to the College Park one when we were in the tiniest apartment ever, so never needed anything, but of course needed a ton of stuff once we moved to Syracuse. Glad you guys had a successful trip!

    • Emily
      5 years ago -

      On more than one occasion I’ve thought that Syracuse would be a great location for an IKEA; more centrally located than Buffalo/Rochester, far enough from Canada’s locations, and if they stick it near Carousel, everyone would flock to it. I’ll keep crossing my fingers.

  • LaLaLand
    5 years ago - Reply

    Our closest IKEA is 6 hours away and up until this past weekend I had never visited the famed mecca of modern for the modest. All I can say is wow. Love. Congrats on the steal of a deal!

    • Emily
      5 years ago -

      First IKEA experience! I hope it was everything you ever imagined. How long did it take you to get through the place?

  • scott
    5 years ago - Reply

    I always thought that a Ikea at the Irondiquoit Mall location would be ideal. that place is defunked and not being used anyway. it has a ideal location, enough infrastructure for parking, right on a network of expressways and would offer the only Ikea in western NY. It could pull from Syracuse to Buffalo and possibly Albany. It would be so cool to have one locally. I used to go to the one in Hamilton Ontario. great stuff for the photo studio. I modified their most famous computer workstation desk so that I can work at the computer standing up. built a base out of MDF with a woodworking friend. Then added 8″ pneumatic casters so that it could be rolled around to different parts of te studio. I could go off road with it but mainly it’s better or my back working on image files all day while standing.

    • Emily
      5 years ago -

      If you want to start a petition, I’ll sign it. I remember your desk – I love the modularity of their products and how they allow such flexibility for customization.

  • Kirin
    5 years ago - Reply

    I recently moved to Buffalo from Boston and I never dreamed how much I would miss the new IKEA in Massachusetts. I’ve been tempted to go to one in Canada, but I wasn’t sure about the rules for bringing stuff back to the States–you mention something about a$150 daily limit? Do you have a link with more information? BTW–just found your blog and love it!

    • Emily
      5 years ago -

      Hi Kirin! Both the Burlington and Toronto IKEAs are reasonably close if your up for a day trip. I do think that the tariff rules are always changing a little, but I always stick to the $150/person for a day trip and $250/person if I’m in Canada overnight. With those rules, I’ve always been safe. If you declare more than that dollar amount when you’re coming back into the USA, you’ll probably get pulled aside and charged extra taxes. By no means is that 100% accurate, I tried to find a straight forward site that explained the limits with no luck. I encourage you to scour the US Border Protection site, or better yet, call and get an answer straight from them. As far as I know, it could change day-to-day.

      If you haven’t been over the border by car before, it can be a little intimidating. Actually, getting back into the states is harder – lots of questions, lots of poking around your car, etc. Just be prepared with all official documentation and you’ll be OK. Good luck!

  • Caro
    5 years ago - Reply

    Hi! I just found you via Apartment Therapy and followed through since I saw you were a Rochestarian. I’m planning to build a bathroom (from scratch out of 2 WICs) and want to use IKEA cabinets/sink, etc. – though I’m nervous now that you mention customs. Hadn’t thought about it for some reason!

    • Emily
      5 years ago -

      Hmmmm, call and see what the extra tariffs are for exceeding the dollar limits. Just guessing here, but it may still only be 10% and still a more efficient choice than driving all the way to Pittsburgh! And if you bring someone with you, just have them buy half of it and you buy the other half of it to distribute those costs out a little bit for each body in the car.

      Good luck!! I still really love the IKEA options when it comes to bathroom pieces… so sleek and generally affordable!

  • Kirin
    4 years ago - Reply

    Hi again. I did some poking around on the CBP site and found this, so I figured I’d share it here along with the link . . .

    “If you are returning from a foreign country other than Mexico and were not there for a total of 48 hours you are entitled to a $200 duty-free exemption and the next $1,000 worth of the goods you purchased is subject to a flat rate of 3%. If the value of your goods exceeds $1,200, the remaining duty will be determined based on duty rates in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.”

    I couldn’t find anything specific to Canada, but next time we go across the border maybe I’ll just ask.

    • Emily
      4 years ago -

      SO HELPFUL Kirin! Thanks for sharing your research finds – we’re going to be doing some international travel this summer, so it’s totally relevant for me beyond just Canadian limits. And wow, $200 sure isn’t much. :)

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