Thursday, September 24, 2015

ikea hacking

Our house has a total of two closets: one attached to our master bathroom and one in the guest bedroom. We have no closets on the main floor... no coat closet, no linen closet, no pantry. Because we have limited options for storage, I am constantly battling against the accumulation of STUFF. Our house is "at capacity," which means that I try to maintain an equilibrium between the amount of stuff coming in vs. going out. I do a pretty good job with most things; the Goodwill near our house is reguarly restocked with DVDs, clothes, and shoes from our shelves. However, I have completely lost the battle in one area: books. This became even more apparent after our trip to the Public Library book sale this summer. The stacks were piling up on top of our already overstuffed bookshelf, and I couldn't convince myself or Dan to toss even one old paperback to free up some space. When Dan referenced the oft-cited study that books in the home mean smarter kids, I knew the battle was over. Time to retreat, regroup, and come back with a different strategy: Instead of less books, we needed smarter storage.

Designing our new bookcase, I had a few goals: shelves to hold all our current books, deep enough space to hold my giant scrapbooks, and spacious hidden storage for things like games and DVDs. Oh, and it had to look pretty, too. I searched high and low for something to fit my requirements and finally settled on a customized (or "hacked") IKEA BESTÅ unit. After mounting two shelf units on top of a TV stand, we added IKEA STUBBARP legs, HANVIKEN doors, FÅGLAVIK handles, and FLODHÄST hinges (I only made one of those up, but you have to figure out which one). For a slightly more custom look, we attached crown molding at the top. I filled the gaps with caulk and wood putty and applied a couple coats of color-matched paint. Finally, I filled in the front row of holes for the adjustable shelves with a tiny bit of light-weight spackle to make them less noticeable (but still easy to drill out if we decided to change the shelf positions in the future). We mounted the whole thing to the wall for safety, especially since our floors are so uneven. The adjustable legs were also very helpful to ensure a stable base.

cozy birdhouse | ikea hacking: our customized ikea besta bookshelf

The new bookcase holds all our board games and most of our DVDs. I plan to rescue our stash of hats and gloves from the Spider Hotel (a.k.a. basement) and store them in the now-empty drawer space in the entry way table.

cozy birdhouse | ikea hacking: our customized ikea besta bookshelf

We moved the old shelf into the family room to replace a boxy IKEA EXPEDIT, which served us well for many years but was too deep for the space. I'll take my time arranging my little treasures and ornaments in my new-old shelf until I'm happy with it. We'll re-home the EXPEDIT in keeping with my "stuff equilibrium" theory: one bookshelf comes in, one bookshelf goes out.

This project only resulted in one late-night meltdown of frustration on my part, while attempting to install the door hinges. I finally took my tear-streaked face to bed, while Dan struggled a bit longer and eventually gave up for the night. The next day, which happened to be our 3-year anniversary, I came home from work, ready but reluctant to have another go at the hinges. Dan greeted me with a huge smile and invited me into the living room, where he had successfully installed the doors and hidden a vase of flowers inside. Best anniversary gift he could have given me!

Now pardon me, I'm going to admire my pretty bookshelf.

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