Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ikea, with you every step of the way

This is the new slogan I’ve created for Ikea. It may have already been used by another company before, but it sums up my experiences with them. I had never been to an Ikea in the US because the nearest one was in another state. But when I moved into my first apartment in France (a ridiculously tiny studio with a view of the courtyard, i.e. brick wall) my boyfriend (now husband) took us to that big blue building. And I discovered that feeling of entering a life-size Swedish dollhouse. Dollhouse because I had the impression I was looking in the windows at some idyllic interior scene and the perfect-in-every-way occupants would be coming back soon.

It was a precious little kitchen scene which enticed us to buy our first dining room table, a warm wood half circle with built in storage for plates and such. We took our time and sat at the displayed table in the bright apple-green walled space and imagined ourselves in this little world. My husband even insisted on getting the same cushions for the chair as those on display because it just didn’t seem right otherwise to him.

When I moved to a bigger apartment we bought the same table model to create a larger oval table, and two more chairs. The original cushions weren’t available, so we were forced to mix and match patterns! And when we married and moved to an apartment with a real bedroom, we decided to get a real bed, alllowing the sofa bed to live out its intended purpose in the living room. Again, we chose the same warm wood as the other pieces we have in a style that reminds my husband of Little House on the Prairie. I myself was highly influenced by the crisp white linen on the display bed (successfully resisted temptation to buy said bedding!).

Five years since my first encounter I’m still rather enchanted by observing and touching the little details in the carefully created kitchens and living rooms on display in my local Ikea. This time around it was for baby that I went. I looked around the miniature world for children, with the soft colored walls and rounded edges of the cribs and shelving. To enter this section there is the normal passage and also a child-sized door cut into the wall. There were some parents with their toddlers checking the area out and it was funny to see the kids make themselves immediately at home in the different scenes. I chose a basic white crib and book shelf, part of the Hensvik series if you are curious. The names I can never commit to memory are also part of the Ikea experience.

Now I’m putting together the shelf. Much easier said than done when you have a bowling ball permanently attached to you. It’s also the first Ikea piece I’m assembling myself since my husband usually quickly takes over these “shared projects”. And as he mistakes parts from time to time and gets irritated, it usually ends up being his project as I stomp off in pouts. So far it’s going ok, but we’ll see if I really understood those pictograms well once I have to attach the final pieces together.


Jenenz said...

Ah yes, the Ikea experience! I remember how excited we were when the first Ikea opened up in the East Bay, across San Francisco. Now there is one on our side of the Bay, but still a 40 minute drive. Still, it's fun to visit, the food is good, and the designs enchanting. Swedish meatballs anyone?

Crystal said...

hey there...I just spent a nice moment catching up your blog (and deciding to finally update mine) and I really like this Ikea post. I used to love going to Ikea in Canada not to buy stuff (although I usually ended up doing so) but just to wander around and marvel at how nice the little display rooms look (minus the cat hair, stains, scratches and generally unkeptness that are MY rooms...)

Your blog is so charming. Keep it up and see you at work!!