To be fair, it wasn't totally out of the blue. As part of the kitchen makeover, I'd been wanting a kitchen cart, but they're so darn expensive and I couldn't find one that felt quite worth the investment. I wanted to use it to replace the table we have, which is great as a table but is uncomfortably low for being used as additional counterspace (which is essentially what we do with it except when we are using it to host a large group each year for Thanksgiving).
As we wrapped up our odyssey through the IKEA showroom and marketplace, I suggested we take a look at the "as-is" section where sometimes you can find good deals on things that aren't quite to quality standards or are missing a piece or something. That's when I spotted this:
The Stenstorp (just rolls off the tongue), marked down from $199 to $99. I inspected it closely, and couldn't figure out exactly why it was so deeply discounted -- maybe a little discoloration on the top (solid oak), but nothing beyond that. I hemmed and hawed since $99 is still more than the $0 it costs to keep our current table in place, but ultimately I reasoned that I was likely to cave at some point down the road so I may as well snag something so high quality while it was on sale (IKEA does sell other kitchen carts for less than $100 full price, but they have always seemed a bit too small or flimsy for me -- this one is a solid oak top with stainless steel shelves).
The next challenge was trying to figure out if it would fit in Zoe's car. As-is items are non-returnable, so if we wheeled it out to the parking lot and it didn't fit, we'd just have to abandon it or something. Or maybe sell it in the parking lot? It's like I've learned nothing in business school.... Of course I hadn't brought my measuring tape since I didn't expect to be buying anything, so I used a highly precise system where I measured the various dimensions using the length of my legs (ie, it's waist high and mid-thigh long), then went out to the car -- while Zoe waited in line -- and contorted my legs all over the various dimensions of the car to see if we could squeeze it through the back door or trunk. It seemed like it would be close, but doable. I was a little apprehensive because I have this habit of buying things that fit within an inch or two of whatever vehicle I happen to have (usually a zipcar), and I wasn't sure if my luck would continue or this would be the time it would finally run out.
Turns out my luck held, but this was the closest call yet -- 1/8th of an inch larger and this would not have fit through the back door. Even so, when we got it home we couldn't get it out one side and had to maneuver it out the side we originally put it in through -- so close a call that a minor discrepancy between the doors on the left vs right side of the car made the difference. Zoe was awesome and a good sport...after all, we'd gone there to get some things for her and ended up lugging home a piece of furniture for me (she also found some of the things she needed, though).
Here's the table we had in place previously:
It's a great table, and we just moved it to the basement for now so we can bring it out when we host large groups and use it in a future home when we have space to use it as a table (as opposed to the current setup where it serves as extra counter space because we can't fit chairs around it).
And here's the cart in its place:
It fits pretty perfectly between the two windows, and is just the right height for food prep. I'm pretty pleased with my IKEA luck!