Friday, 26 June 2015

Ikea-hack for built-in dining room storage...when you have to work around a radiator.

Ikea hack, dining room buit-in storage from billy bookcases and ekby shelve

Have you heard the expression "work will expand to fit the time allowed"? Well I have that problem, except it's stuff that expands around here. Stuff that fills every nook and cranny and falls out of cupboards to hit you in the face when you're already in that delicate pre-coffee stage of the morning and could really do without it.

True story

We used to live in a two bedroom apartment. It was not big. It seemed spacious when we moved in but then we...moved in, and realised there was pretty much no storage. It was like the anti-tardis. 
And while we were a bit cramped as Emilia was growing and the toys were apparently pro-creating while we were asleep, we managed.
The bath in the guest bathroom was full of boxes, but we managed!

So when we moved into our new, four-bedroom house complete with playroom, utility room, attic and shed I was expecting us to be rattling around in practically empty rooms. I thought I'd have to making shopping for ornamental things a priority, I envisioned clearing out the local charity shops, collecting all the lovely decor items I had been eyeing throughout our search for a home in a desperate bid to fill empty space and make the place look lived in....

What actually happened was we moved in, and the day after we unpacked all the kitchen stuff we were back to piles of lidless storage boxes and brightly colored plastic cups exploding out at us every time we opened a door.

Kid plastic - getting it on in your kitchen cupboards at night.

On reflection, our new kitchen doesn't actually have any more cupboard space than our old one did (there goes my dreams of open shelving on top), and now that we actually have enough chairs to have people over for dinner we've bought all the stuff that goes with entertaining, wine glasses, extra plates, side plates....basically just normal kitchen stuff but it's a lot more than the mis-matched mugs and stolen pint glasses that we used to make do with!

So, we needed storage. Specifically storage for the non-everyday items like wine glasses and fancy tea cups that were really only going to be needed every now and again (doing without them was not an option, I'd waited long enough, fancy table-settings would be mine!)

Ikea hack, dining room buit-in storage from billy bookcases and ekby shelve

Ikea hack, dining room buit-in storage from billy bookcases and ekby shelve

The obvious place was this blank wall in the dining area, and it would have been great to just be able to do a full built in, cupboards on the bottom, shelving up to the ceiling, something like this....

Centsational girl

Or this...

But alas, we were working with a radiator on that wall, so we couldn't just stick a few Billy's in there with doors on the bottom and call it done, we were going to have to try and come up with something that disguised the ugly radiator but still left it functional, while adding storage either side and above, but still looking like a built in....easy!

So we figured the best thing to do was try and cover the radiator, add cupboards either side, and put some open shelving above (you can see the post about those shelves here). The idea was to make it look kinda like a modern version of a dresser, but to keep it open by having space either side of the cupboards and around the shelves to stop it taking over the room. The room isn't huge and anything too bulky would have made it look very cramped I think.

So we bought two of these Billy bookcases....

Billy bookcase €15

And the doors to match.....

Oxberg door €20

Luckily there was a radiator cover in the utility room when we moved in,and it was a perfect match for the color of the Billy bookcases, so we started with that. 
*If you aren't lucky enough to have a radiator cover in the perfect shade lying around they're really inexpensive in any good diy store, you can even just buy the front paneling (you won't need the rest for this project) and save even more that way.

Ikea hack, dining room buit-in storage from billy bookcases and ekby shelve

Gavin removed the top and replaced it with a piece of pine board stained to match the shelves. This brought the cover out further than it was originally, bringing it in line with the bookcases.

We (i.e Gavin, I was basically just the idea's-man on this project) then took off the skirting board (a.k.a trim for the American's!) in order to get the whole thing flush against the wall. He also had to cut holes in the sides of the bookcases to make room for the radiator pipes.

Ikea hack, dining room buit-in storage from billy bookcases and ekby shelve

*side note~the trim was grouted to the floor. Whoever built this house first installed it too low for the tiles to fit underneath, and then instead of fixing it just went ahead and laid them right up to it. This is the only wall where this happened. Seeing the shoddy work done by builders in this house makes me really confident that at the very least we can't do any worse ourselves!

So we now had two small Billy's with doors attached and a radiator cover all screwed together and attached to the wall. To make it look like one piece we added a top of stained pine to everything. I didn't varnish the tops as I liked it looking a little bit rough and rustic, and we did two coats of walnut stain on all the pieces.

Ikea hack, dining room buit-in storage from billy bookcases and ekby shelve

We added the same cup pulls as we used on the Rasts we have in the bedroom but they're just doing the job until the ones I ordered arrive. These obviously will be sprayed gold. 

That's just how I roll

T Bar Handles Kitchen/Bedroom/Cupboard Cabinet Door Handles Knobs 64-256mm

We then added the open shelving above, and those were treated the exact same way as the pine tops below.

Ikea hack, dining room buit-in storage from billy bookcases and ekby shelve
Can we just take a second to talk about the fact that I bought fruit specifically to stage a photo? I feel like that must be some kind of a blogger right of passage. 

Ikea hack, dining room buit-in storage from billy bookcases and ekby shelve
Approximately 0.5 seconds after I put the fruit out....

Ikea hack, dining room buit-in storage from billy bookcases and ekby shelve
The cheek! Also, note to self: at some take photo of crazy-haired child with slightly less crazy hair. I do groom her occasionally, honest.

So there you have it. I'm pretty much in love with them, they somehow make the room look bigger, I guess cos the shelves draw your eye up and make the ceiling look higher? I dunno, I'm no expert, I just know that they look great and they store all the ridiculous things I rarely use but MUST have, like dessert glasses and fancy teacups...

The heart wants what the heart wants.

Ikea hack, dining room buit-in storage from billy bookcases and ekby shelve

We do need to move the light on the left now, but that's a small job. We needed to move the table back slightly to center it with the cupboards so now the lighting is slightly off.

So basically what I'm saying is this light is probably going to stay like this for all eternity. Bygones.

Ikea hack, dining room buit-in storage from billy bookcases and ekby shelve
How many plants in one room is too many do you think? It's starting to look a bit like an oxygen farm in here.

Ikea hack, dining room buit-in storage from billy bookcases and ekby shelve

The whole thing ended up costing €160, including the shelves, materials etc, and it's really cut down the amount of things that fall on me in the mornings, so I'm pretty happy with it!

 What do you think? Ever "hacked" anything? Bought fruit for a photo? Been caught in a plastic-cup tsunami? I'd love to hear about it in the comments ;)

Linda xx

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Monday, 15 June 2015

The simplest diy geometric art....or how to fool your toddler into letting you get something done!

easiest diy geometric art

This project was so simple that I wasn't even going to post about it, but then I figured it was so quick and easy and ended up being so effective (I think anyway) that it was worth sharing!

When we finished the dining room storage (post on that coming soon, I promise!) and I had it all styled up I was left with two blank spaces either side of the shelves that were crying out for some decorating.

I had originally planned on adding a display of old silver plates that I had collected from charity shops, but with the items on the shelves, plus the dark wood and gold brackets, I was afraid the whole thing might end up looking a bit too....old-fashioned? and while there are elements of retro/antique style that I love (obviously!) I want them to look intentional, not just like I inherited a house load of stuff from an elderly relative!

So, I thought about it, and I decided that what it needed was something ultra modern and graphic 

as in lines and strong shapes, mind out of the gutter please

I wanted it to be very simple, just black and white, to completely counteract the storage and tie in with the combination of the very classic style table and retro/modern white Eames style chairs in the dining room.

I had a set of three long, thin canvases in my supplies which I though would be perfect, so I dug them out, grabbed a black sharpie marker and a ruler, and just.....started drawing lines.

easiest diy geometric art
ugh...I can only apologise, when I'm in the middle of doing something my photography skills leave a lot to be desired.

easiest diy geometric art
Finished products side by side

Now, this is the point where the I'm going to impart the really valuable information, namely, how to get a very nosy toddler to leave you alone long enough to get this project done.

 These steps may not work for a longer project, but for the thirty minutes I needed to get this done these were the steps I followed....

1. Take out all your supplies and set them out where you want to work.

2. Wait for nosy toddler to come and ask you what you are doing. (this will take approximately 2.5 seconds, and will be timed to coincide with you just being about to get started, they can smell when you are getting ready to do something that they can potentially ruin)

3. Get out toddlers art supplies so that they can work alongside you.

4. Give the toddler paper to draw/paint on, commence your own artwork.....but, and here's the clever bit, this must be a DECOY piece of art. This first attempt must be one you are resigned to losing, so arm yourself with extra materials before even attempting this!

5. Continue with your art, fending off attempts from toddler to "help" until you "give in" and let her have it 
~ it is essential that you really sell it at this point, they can smell insincerity a mile away!

6. Quietly start your own real project while the toddler terror is distracted with her destruction of the decoy.

7. Complete project in record time and put out of her reach as soon as possible.

And in my case....

8. Tell yourself that this was the plan all along, and that you didn't just lose another fight to a two year old! Luckily you had an extra canvas.....

easiest diy geometric art
My lovely assistant

easiest diy geometric art
Her effort - to be honest I've seen worse! fyi I was thinking of filling in random triangles with color before I settled on the black and white. I think this would look good too but it just wasn't right for what I wanted this time.

So, how I actually went about drawing these was to basically draw a lot of random triangles that overlapped. There was no plan! I didn't try to make them both the same or anything.

easiest diy geometric art

I also just stuck them up with blu-tac cos they're so light and I didn't want to waste command strips, those things are expensive!

It was a super quick little art project that I think turned out really well, and they fit in the space exactly how I wanted them to, standing out against the more traditional style of the storage and shelving.

easiest diy geometric art

easiest diy geometric art

So there you have it, ten minutes and €3 (canvases were €1.50 each) later and I have exactly what I wanted for my dining room.

What do you think?

Linda xx

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Ikea Ekby Bjarnum shelves...with a twist!

Ikea Ekby Bjarnum open shelving, gold, industrial

It seems like everywhere I look at the moment there are kitchens that have done away with the upper cupboards and have instead beautifully styled open shelving for storing and displaying those items in the kitchen that are just too pretty to hide away!

I love this look, and I would happily rip out the upper cupboards in mine right now, but alas, I don't think my collection of well used plastic cups and baby bottles would look as good, no matter how I styled them! :P

Also, at the moment we just need every inch of storage we have for food, pots and pans etc, there is no room for pretty displays in this house........or was there?

We had a blank wall behind the dining table that had a radiator on it...

*side note-if I'm ever lucky enough to get to design my own house, top of the list (well, right after the walk-in wardrobe!) will be underfloor heating, so that an ugly radiator never again dictates what furniture I can have!!!!!!

....and we were in need of storage for the "good" glasses and dishes, you know, the ones that you only use when you have people over and you want everything to match ;)

So we came up with a plan, working around the radiator (more on that in another post) and part of that plan was some open shelving.

I had seen the Bjarnum shelves in a lot of my research on pinterest, and I loved the industrial look of them, and also that the brackets were so streamlined that they didn't take away the look of floating shelves. I wanted chunky, clean shelves, and this seemed to fit the bill. So I picked up two sets and gave them the usual coat of gold paint.

Ikea Ekby Bjarnum open shelving, gold, industrial
Gavin really wanted to leave them chrome but I overruled him, maybe I was wrong?!

When it came to the actual shelves I knew I wanted dark, matt wood, to tie in with the dining table but also keep the slight industrial feeling we were going for, but Ikea didn't have anything that fit the bill. All their "wood" effect shelving was much too fake and laminate looking, and not even the right colour, so we decided we'd go to B&Q and pick up a piece of wood that we could cut down.

*the brackets completely cover the ends of whatever wood you're using so it doesn't have to be pretty, in fact I think they'd look amazing if you used some really rough pallet wood with them

Luckily for us B&Q happened to sell basic pine shelves in exactly the size and thickness we were looking for, so that saved us a bit of work.

We (Gavin!) stained them with this.....

Ikea Ekby Bjarnum open shelving, gold, industrial
In all honesty I was merely creative director on this project, Gavin did all the work!

After one coat.....

Ikea Ekby Bjarnum open shelving, gold, industrial

After two coats the edges were roughed up a bit to give them a "lived-in" look.

Ikea Ekby Bjarnum open shelving, gold, industrial

And there they are!

Ikea Ekby Bjarnum open shelving, gold, industrial

Ikea Ekby Bjarnum open shelving, gold, industrial

Ikea Ekby Bjarnum open shelving, gold, industrial

Ikea Ekby Bjarnum open shelving, gold, industrial

 I love, love, LOVE them. I can put all my shiny charity shop finds that I gather, magpie-like, on display, and having shelves high up on that wall really draws your eye up and make the room look taller. It's amazing how sometimes putting something into a room makes it look bigger!

Both shelves cost us €50 total, and now I'm looking for other places I can use them, and maybe let Gavin have his chrome version!

As soon as we finish the last little bit of the rest of the "unit" we've come up with for this wall I'll get a post up on it ;)

Tell me what you think!!

Linda xx

Fizzy Peaches

Monday, 8 June 2015

Easy diy wire quote art

I love quotes.

No wait, that's not quite right. 

I love words.

Words on their own are not special, but in the right hands they can be strung together in such a way as to encourage and inspire people. To make them feel as if they are right there with the writer, sharing the experience.

I have been a devourer of books since I first learned to read, and I would still rather be in bed reading than doing almost anything else in the world.

For real, pre-kindle a big worry for me when packing for a holiday was how many books I could feasibly bring, and would it be enough for the week. 

It was never enough!

So there are books that I love that I read time and again because they remind me of being a kid and staying up way too late in order to finish just one more chapter, or of trying to find a way to prop my book open while I ate, and I hope one day I'll be able to read them to my kids, and that they will love them as much as I have.

 (fyi the solution to that little problem turned out to be pre-cutting everything so I only needed one hand to eat ;)

So maybe I have a little bit of a problem when it comes to using quotes as art for my home, but I can't help it, I like to be reminded of the books, poems, even songs that I love by having little bits of them on display......I am trying to cut back though ;)

Today however, I've given in to the urge and come up with something for the dining room. 

There was a blank space over the entrance to the sitting room that I thought would be just right for some delicate wire lettering. I had been meaning to try this out since I had seen it over at Jones Design Company a while back. It looked like a quick, simple and effective diy for art, and that's what I like!!

I chose a quote from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a book I love. It's from the mad hatter's tea party cos I thought that would be appropriate for the dining room, and also it sums us up pretty well :P

Apologies for the crappy photography, I'm a total novice!

I love how delicate it is, and the glint of gold on the wall (I'm so predictable!)

It was a really simple project to do, and only took about an hour total. All you need is some craft wire (I got mine in Tiger for €2 and used one and a half packs of it, they have other colours too), a pencil and paper.

easy diy gold wire quote art

Then I just wrote out the words in the size I wanted as a guide and followed them with the wire. It's really easy to work with!

easy diy gold wire quote art

It doesn't need to be perfect!

When I came to the end of the word I clipped it off and moved on to the next one.

easy diy gold wire quote art

I wrote each word to pretty much fill an A4 sheet of paper and this kept them approximately the same size. Once the word is finished and clipped off you can adjust it if necessary, the wire doesn't really look any the worse for being shaped and re-shaped.

 In fact, one of my letters got totally mangled by a little girl who shall remain nameless and I re-shaped it with no problems.

easy diy gold wire quote art
The culprit, looking like butter wouldn't melt...

What do you think? Anyone else have a serious quote addiction?!

Check back for more dining room stuff tomorrow!

Linda xx

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

diy velvet upholstered ikea bed

Just a quick update today, I finally got around to finishing off Em's bed!

Isn't it pretty?

velvet upholstered kids ikea single bed