Laura Suhr of Suhr Interior Design, Lenexa
How do you feel about Ikea coming to Kansas City? I welcome any new interior store, particularly one that helps Kansas City compete with large-market cities. It gives both designers and their clients more options and gets people excited about design in their own space.
Will Ikea’s modern designs influence the tastes of people in Kansas City, which run toward the traditional? I’m already seeing a shift toward a more “transitional” aesthetic, a blend of modern and traditional, in the Kansas City market. Ikea’s items definitely have a Scandinavian-modern look, but when mixed with more traditional items, can play well to the transitional look and appeal to a much larger customer base.
What are the pros and cons of Ikea products? I don’t personally own any Ikea products, so it’s hard for me to say. I think their niche is smart storage solutions at a low price point. It’s not going to be the right solution for everyone, but it definitely has its place and will especially appeal to people with smaller living spaces in the developing urban core.
Have you used Ikea products in your designs? No. I prefer to see and touch the products that I recommend for my clients.
Keith Wardlaw, founder and lead designer at Plus Modern Design, Kansas City
How do you feel about Ikea coming to Kansas City? I’m excited. Anytime there are new design outlets in Kansas City it’s a good thing. It brings a lot of other businesses to Kansas City, so it helps grow our city as well. A lot of companies like the Container Store often track Ikea, so they’re a big game changer when they open up.
Will Ikea’s modern designs influence the tastes of people in Kansas City, which run toward the traditional? I’m seeing more and more modern already, and if Kansas City has more availability to that kind of design, it will start steering it more toward contemporary and modern designs. Also, our downtown is exploding right now, and that’s where we see a lot of the modern design.
What are the pros and cons of Ikea products? The pros are that it gives modern design aesthetic to a wider range of people, because they can attain it at a wider price range.
The con I would say is having to put the furniture together. It takes a little more time. And it’s maybe not the best-made product, but it’s good for the young buyer or for a second home or condo downtown.
Have you used Ikea products in your designs? Yes. I’ve used the Malm bed in a teen girl’s room, as well as their large floor mirror, and the plastic artichoke light. In a nursery, I used one of its cribs and an Expedit shelving unit.
What’s your favorite Ikea product? I do love the Expedit shelving. It’s great storage, has that clean Swedish-modern look, and it’s ideal for smaller spaces.
Chris Fein of Forward Design and Architecture, Prairie Village
How do you feel about Ikea coming to Kansas City? It’s a good thing. It will provide an outlet for inexpensive contemporary design that we don’t currently have.
Will Ikea’s modern designs influence the tastes of people in Kansas City, which run toward the traditional? It’s more difficult than that. Current trends are leaning toward contemporary and midcentury design and Ikea supports that, and there are a lot of people who want modern but can’t afford it. So it will make it available to those who can’t afford vintage modern design like at Retro Inferno.
A lot of people spend money on the project then don’t have money to put anything in it. That happens a lot when you have middle-income projects.
What are the pros and cons of Ikea products? There are great, designed objects and high-quality items, but they also have stuff that’s cheaply made and not great design, so you have to be strategic about what you buy from them.
Have you used Ikea products in your designs? We’ve used Ikea kitchens, which are well-designed and well-built. But by the time you pay someone to put them together and install them, they’re not a lot less expensive than custom kitchens. But you do get better fit out options for the price for the inside finish.
We’ve done custom cabinets that are basic inside, whereas with Ikea they have all the little trays to hold cups and plates, and you have all the features of a really expensive kitchen without a really expensive kitchen.
What’s your favorite Ikea product? I like the Klippan sofa, because it’s the cheapest, most durable, attractive sofa you can buy. They’re $200, and you can buy a new slipcover for it every year.