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Dream Ikea kitchen renos turn into yearlong nightmare for Gander family

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Tony and Anne-Marie Norman are sitting in a kitchen that should have new glossy white cabinets. They said he ordered new cabinets from IKEA in February 2022, but he still doesn’t have all the items he needs. Also, the company no longer ships large orders to Newfoundland and Labrador. (Heather Gillis/CBC)

The dream of a new kitchen turned into a nightmare for NL’s Gander family after Swedish furniture giant IKEA stopped shipping bulk orders to the state.

In February and March of last year, the Normans ordered two kitchen supplies from the company. About 30 years.

“It’s going to be my dream kitchen,” he says as he sits at a table that should have a new island with glossy white cabinets, a gas range and an in-wall oven planned for the rest of the room. Ann said.

Instead, nearly a year after the first order, the Normans say their lives were turned upside down when IKEA boxes were scattered all over the house that had been tidied up.

A man is standing next to a pile of boxes in the living room.
Tony Norman and his son had to find a place to move these IKEA boxes that had been in the living room for almost nine months to make room for the Christmas tree. (submitted by Tony Norman)

“We live in chaos. It’s like a warehouse. It’s like I moved into a warehouse,” Ann said.

“There’s a box on our dining room table that you face when you’re eating. When you’re sitting on your loveseat and you look out over this corner… a box,” she said.

Tony took on many of the renovations himself.

“You look at the kitchen and what Anne’s dreams were for her kitchen, and I can’t make it happen. I promised her,” Tony said.

There are further signs of stalled progress in the basement where my son is supposed to live. There is no other place to put it, and wood, flooring materials, and lighting materials pile up, making it difficult to move.

The drywall also has a large hole where the new plumbing leads to the sink.

A man pointing to his basement. It's whole inside a gyro, with wires hanging down and building materials scattered about.
Tony Norman points out that there’s some plumbing and electrical work stuck where the second kitchen was supposed to be. (Heather Gillis/CBC)

The new appliances that the couple bought months ago are still in storage at a furniture store, and their campervans are lined up in a friend’s garage to make room for boxes in the garage. increase.

Despite having all the boxes, Norman says he only has three-quarters of the supplies from IKEA to install the kitchen cabinets. It’s missing key parts, like cabinets, that it needs to move forward.

“I got 26 items from the kitchen downstairs. I got 22 items from this kitchen,” Tony said, pointing to the back cupboard.

“I’m glad I went, I’m glad I went, I’m waiting for IKEA,” he said.

He says IKEA told them not to unbox anything until all the products arrived, but almost a year later, there’s no firm date as to when that will be.

Stagnation of progress

The Normans wanted to renovate their kitchen for years, but put it aside until their children graduated from college.

“They are all successful now, and now is our time,” said 57-year-old Anne, who is approaching retirement age. Meanwhile, 61-year-old Tony has already retired from his job as principal.

The couple visited an IKEA store in Halifax during the 2018 holidays to meet the planners who helped create the kitchen design.

Norman says he finally ordered the fixtures for the main floor kitchen in February 2022.

Shortage of old style kitchen cabinets.
Tony and Anne-Marie Norman’s upstairs kitchen is a dead end. (Heather Gillis/CBC)

Tony began remodeling the main floor a few months ago in November 2021, removing the stucco ceiling, painting it, and moving the windows to make room for the kitchen’s new design.

He went as far as he could, leaving the old cupboards and counters in place until the new ones arrived.

When Norman ordered materials for the main floor last February, he was told by the company that most of the items he needed for the cupboards were in stock and the rest would be restocked soon. Ann said she ordered stuff and was told that more of what she needed was available in March, so she ordered that as well.

We also decided to order the ingredients for the second kitchen to create a living space for our son downstairs, and packed it in with the restocked items from the first kitchen, and everything arrived just fine. .

While waiting for the kitchen orders to be completed and the rest of the cupboards to be restocked, Tony began renovating the downstairs, hiring tradesmen to make sure the electrical outlets and plumbing were in place. .

A long, narrow box stored behind the dining room table.
An IKEA box in a Norman dining room. (submitted by Tony Norman)

Work then stopped as the Normans only had about 75% of the items needed to complete the two kitchens.

Tony initially blamed supply chain shortages due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine for the delay.

IKEA said it has a team that monitors inventory levels and will notify you when there is enough to order and ship the next shipment.

“We were advised not to actually ship the item until we reached a certain percentage of inventory,” Tony said, as he would have to pay $199 for each shipment.

By October they were growing uneasy, he said. Ikea then called and Norman expected an update on the remaining status of the order.

“My voice broke and came back and said, ‘That’s why I’m not calling you. I’m calling to tell you that we no longer ship to Newfoundland,'” Tony said.

Mentally exhausting, stressful situations

According to the Normans, the company suggested they go to Halifax to pick up the rest of the cabinets, but the couple say it’s not feasible.

“We are in Gander, so it took us six hours to get to the ferry, overnight travel, overhead, and I don’t have a truck,” said Tony.

But it also contains principles.

“We don’t have to do that. It wasn’t something we agreed to when we started this process,” he said, adding that even if we drove to Halifax, the assurance that we had what we needed in stock. I added that no.

To make matters worse, Tony said he had 10 boxes of damaged products that needed replacement.

A brown box kept in the garage.
IKEA boxes are also piled up in the Norman family garage. One box contains damaged material. (Heather Gillis/CBC)

After checking with the local carrier that delivered the order, Tony discovered that IKEA stopped shipping to the state in the spring, shortly after the first two packages arrived.

By Christmas, with no solution in sight, Tony and his son hauled a four-foot-tall box from the living room into the garage to make room for the Christmas tree.

However, Ann says she didn’t bother to cook her holiday dinner.

“I tried to make the most of Christmas in the chaos,” she said.

I got a call from IKEA on New Year’s Eve and was told I could pick up the rest of the items in Halifax.

“I was really upset and Tony said, ‘You guys ruined my wife’s Christmas. Are you going to ruin her New Year too?'” Ann said.

Tony said he had been calling IKEA employees for help over the past year, but finally got a call in mid-January from the manager of the company’s problem-solving center.

Lumber stocked in the corner.
Unused construction materials in the downstairs of Norman’s house are a sign that progress is stalling. (Heather Gillis/CBC)

He said the company offered to reserve the rest of its inventory, but told Norman that they would have to find a company to ship the remaining $3,000 worth of goods themselves.

He said Purolator would ship the rest of their needs through Ikea, and the company offered to refund them a $700 bill.

But he said only 80% of the items he needs are still in stock and he is reluctant to deal with the hassle of repeatedly ordering, paying and getting refunds when the items become available.

“Absolutely unacceptable. We are not treated fairly by IKEA,” said Tony.

In a statement to CBC News, IKEA Canada said it was “experiencing challenges” with regard to kitchen supply.

The company says it has been unable to ship orders to Atlantic Canada’s pickup locations since May 14 because “local providers have pulled out of the market.”

“To date, we have informed Tony and Anne-Marie that we will support special transportation to deliver the rest of the order once it is in stock. We continue to do so and hope that it can be resolved soon,” said IKEA’s head of public relations Lisa Huey, who read a statement saying that deliveries are limited to FedEx small parcels.

But the Normans say that’s not enough.

Kickboards stacked in the corner and handrails on the wall
An Ikea kickboard and wall railings await in the basement of the Norman house. (submitted by Tony Norman)

“I don’t think anyone can think that it was a good decision to sit here and leave these unpaid orders and tell you that I will no longer ship them to you.

“They could at least have done their duty and said they’ll deliver the rest of your closet to you,” Ann said.

The Normans are still stuck, not knowing when they will be able to get everything they need for their kitchen.

“It was really mentally draining and stressful for both of us. To be honest, I’m baffled as to why IKEA would allow this,” Tony said.

Read more about CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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