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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  1. Looks great, Linda! I like the wood tops and all the plants! :-)

    1. Thanks! I'd love some like yours eventually, maybe as a library-style area somewhere :)

  2. Haha! Never too many plants. Love the cupboard too, but love plants so I vote to decorate with plants. All you can. I have a house with a lot of ikea too. I live in the boonies so it's expensive to get it here. I've done it twice. Once for the kitchen and once for the living room/TV/books, etc. It's a lot and I won't probably do it again. Unless and until I have a closer relationship with a brick and morter Ikea store, our relationship is on hold....However, what you did is very doable with the basics from any hardware or house repair and remodel store in our small towns. Most carry some form of plain unfinished kitchen cupboards or simple book cases. You have given us all a springboard of ideas to build on. Thanks for posting. Working around existing objects such as your rad, also shows what can be done. I'm pretty good at putting things together, but honestly, I get a lot of my ideas from others, and go from there. It's so good to share. :-)

  3. I LOVE IT! I'm would like to do the same thing. How big are the wood pieces and what size screws did you use to screw the wood tops onto the bookcases? I'm new to this. Thank you so much in advance!

    1. Ehm, I'm afraid my husband is the measurer around here! I do know that we happened to find a piece of pine shelf board that was the exact width of the cupboards and we just cut it to size. If you go to any big diy shop and give them measurements they should be able to cut up some wood for you though.

  4. Looks great Linda, I may try something similar for my small hallway that has an annoying radiator stopping me from using any conventional hallway storage :)
    From another Linda

  5. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. storages in dubai

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