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Hey, you guys remember that funny little notion of the German Einbauküche?   By “funny,” I don’t mean funny haha. I mean funny peculiar.

Well, last night Travis and I put the finishing touches on our brand spankin’ new kitchen.  It’s now 100% complete – fully functional.

If I do say so myself, it doesn’t look half bad!

For those who might not remember what our kitchen looked like when we moved into our new apartment, it was empty.  No appliances, counters, cupboards, shelves, light fixtures, or curtains.  The room was bare as a baboon’s bum.

On the day we move into our new apartment in Germany, the kitchen is completely bare.

After buying everything we needed from IKEA, we built the cabinets ourselves and hired a contractor to handle the more technical work like the plumbing and electrical.  When the contractor left after a single half day of work, we had a mostly functional kitchen, but one with a handful of projects still to finish.

We’d been planning to have the contractor come back to take care of some of them, like drilling holes in the cupboards for the knobs, but with curtains and light fixtures still to put up, we realized we really couldn’t avoid buying a drill.  In the meantime, Travis draped little pieces of ribbon over the top of each cabinet, taping the ribbon to the inside.  It was a stroke of genius since without the ribbon, we had to use a tool to pry the cupboards open.  Unlike most real wooden cabinets that have the cabinet faces extending over the frame, our IKEA units have in-set doors that are completely flush with the frame when closed.

Turns out, knobs are pretty important.

This is our kitchen after the contractor leaves.  It took us about 8 hours to build all the cabinets, and the contractor installed everything in about 6 hours. The most important thing missing at this point is a way to open the cupboards.

Once we returned from Switzerland with our moving van, Travis bought a drill which we immediately put to good use.  After he showed me which bits were for metal, wood, and concrete, I blitzed through the kitchen in an afternoon, drilling all the holes for the cabinet knobs and handles. The project was done by the time he got home from work.   Though I think he probably guessed I was at home, madly trying to finish it to surprise him, it still felt awesome to git-r-done.

I’d tried to hang a curtain rod in the kitchen before we bought the drill, but it was a no-go.  The walls in our apartment are a ridiculously thin layer of plaster covering thick concrete.  Even tiny nails go in only a few millimeters before bending.

It’s absolutely maddening!

 

With the drill, Trav could finally put up the curtain rod so I could hang a cute little white lace bit I’d found for a few bucks at Sconto. He installed the charcoal filter in our oven hood.  We hung a spice shelf over the oven.  Our knife set from my mom finally has a home again on a magnetic strip on the wall.  I spent several days oiling our birch counter top, something we will only have to do periodically in the future.  Finally, Travis single-handedly hung the heavy wooden glass-front cabinet that we’d bought on eBay.

As of now, the kitchen is the first room that is completely finished.  We have officially drilled our last hole, my friends, at least in one room. We still have to hang curtain rods and rails throughout the house, wait for our mail-order plissees to arrive, hem all the curtains to fit our windows, and buy light fixtures, drill holes for them, and re-wire the electricity to install them.

The good news is that all of that will be easier than our kitchen project.  The hardest part, installing our German Einbauküche, is finished!

Our German Einbauküche is finished.

Our German Einbauküche is, at long last, completely finished!

Cost

  • IKEA (new): 7 white cupboards/cabinets, 9 cabinet knobs, 7 drawer handles, oven, stove top, hood, sink, and faucet, €931
  • eBay (used):  Samsung refrigerator, €195
  • eBay (used): Solid wood 2-piece wooden cupboard unit with glass-front hanging cabinets, €45
  • eBay (used): Microwave, €30
  • Installation (6 hours) + tip: €100

Total: €1301

If you like what you see, keep your peepers peeled.  If the new tenants don’t want to buy it off us when we leave Germany, it’ll be up for sale!

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Anonymous

Things are fine here–too much snow this year for my liking, but we need the water. So, you do the kitchen and the landlord gets to keep everything when you leave???? Sounds like a pretty good deal for them. Love your blog and following you around Europe. Have fun.