November 18th, 2005


The definition of "Easy come, easy go"...

... has to have something to do with buying a house. It is very strange having more money in my bank account than I've ever seen in my life, but nonetheless feeling rather poor. (Since all of that money and then some is going to get spent in very short order...)

Visit to the Monolith of Inexpensive

So last night's entertainment / project was the initial window-shopping expedition to IKEA. We figured (correctly) that a Thursday evening after the initial week wouldn't be quite so loony. (Those not in Boston have been spared our IKEA Madness: the new store has been the main topic on the nightly news for the past month.) As it was, I would describe it as busy, but not unpleasantly crowded. Of course, given how mammoth the store is, "busy" still requires quite a lot of people.

Overall, the place lives up to its billing. (I'd never been to one before.) The furniture is consistently inexpensive while usually managing to not feel cheap. Nothing was quite as nice as the bedroom set that we were really taken with at Jordan's, but almost everything was better than the cheap stuff there.

The variety is good, although not quite as much so as it appears at first glance. Much of the store is made up of showcases -- sample rooms laid out in different ways -- and the same pieces get reused over and over again in them. In particular, the bookcases and storage solutions we were mostly looking for showed up repeatedly, albeit in different colors and combinations.

We looked at a number of different product lines pretty closely. I was mildly disappointed by the Gorm storage systems, which really do feel a tad cheap. (Of course, they're remarkably inexpensive.) The modular desk line (Gentry? something like that) wasn't bad, and we'll need to think about whether it works for the corner of the great room. The big win was the Billy bookcase system, which suits us extremely well: highly modular, with options to fit almost any room, and several different colors that should work for specific places in our house. The main question seems to be how many of these we will buy, and in what combinations.

We grabbed dinner in the IKEA restaurant, which matches the rest of the store: very low prices (just a hair over fast-food level) and not dreadful food. The Swedish meatballs were competent (which is more than I can say for many restaurant meatballs), the gravlax wasn't bad, and the Daim torte rather tasty.

The store is laid out as essentially a giant maze, which you wend your way through from beginning to end; we managed a quick but not rushed skim in about 2 hours. It ends in the warehouse where you pick things up (most of their furniture is packed flat), which is truly monumental -- comparisons to Raiders of the Lost Ark were in order.

Conclusion: nice place to shop. We probably won't buy our key furniture items there (none of the sofas looked even remotely interesting), but it seems like the place to go for much of the ancillary stuff...