Friday, June 14, 2013

entrance cupboard with a place for everything...our first ikea hack

Our hallway storage was a mess.  Hats and coats jostled for peg space, a  messy jumble of shoes and a basket stuffed full of school and sports bags  - not a good look at the front door.  Time to make a change.  What do you think of our solution?

The brief:
- narrow space 140cm wide by 40cm deep
- must store: shoes, coats, hats, school bags, handbag, sports bags, hats and keys

The solution
After an intensive few evenings studying the Ikea catalogue (a favourite pastime) I discovered that the PAX cupboard system comes in a narrow 37cm deep version - perfect depth.  It is available in 50cm or 100cm widths.  Our space is 140cm wide so using a 100cm cabinet left us 40cm over.
I consulted the Voice of Reason who agreed we could make floating shelves for the left over space.I decided to put two 50cm cabinets on either side with floating shelves in the middle.  Having the shelves in the center gives the design a more bespoke feel. 
Inside you can see lots and lots of space for shoes, bags, hats and coats.  Outside it would be minimal with baskets for texture and storage, and a display niche for art or flowers.

Installing the cabinets
So far so good.  Off to Ikea to buy the cabinets.  Have you ever noticed that diy's never show how many trips you make to get supplies?  I got all the cabinets but the shoe rack and coat hooks were out of stock.  Another trip will have to be made soon.
The hardest part of shopping for large items at Ikea is getting them onto your trolley and into the car.  Thank you to the kind people who took pity on my feebleness and helped out.

Back home it took a day to assemble the cupboards.  I removed the skirting boards and cut them down to size so that they could be fitted back in once the cabinets were installed.  We attached the cabinets to the walls at the top for extra strength.

Attaching battens for the floating shelves
Here is where the Voice of Reason came up with a very clever trip.  
The problem with Ikea cabinets is they are made of cheap board, often as you screw into them the cabinets rip up a little, not good for build strength or looks.  VOR decided not to screw the battens to the cabinet, but to bolt them to the side using a snap off screw.  Snap off screws are used to attach door knobs to cabinets, available at and good hardware store.

This has several advantages:
- drilling through the cabinet instead of screwing through it is less likely to split the cabinet board
- threading the snap off screw from inside the cabinet leaves the flat head inside, smooth & neat
- tightening the batten to the cabinet with a nut, creates a firm strong base for the shelf
- no pointy bits left over as you snap off the excess screw whatever the thickness of your wood

Note that the battens are shorter than the cabinet width.  They have been measured so that when the shelves are attached the front lip butts up to the cabinet front for a really built in look.  To measure: width of cabinet - width of wood used for lip = length of batten.Making the floating shelves
The Voice of Reason made shelves to fit the space with a lip to create the floating effect.  
There are several ways you could do this but he joined the lip to the shelf with dowels and then filled and sanded the joints for a perfect finish.  With paint the joins are totally invisible.  I could have done this with pocket screws if I had had the Kreg jig (watch this space Kreg jig coming soon).
Finally we attached the shelves to the battens with small wood screws, stood back and admired our handiwork.  I am so delighted with it, it looks custom and expensive and we did it ourselves!
Most satisfying job we have done yet and certainly turned $600 of Ikea cabinetry into an expensive looking bespoke item that totally fills the brief.  Once the interior fittings are back in stock I will be able to show you the soon to be amazingly organised interior, but even without them this project has made a huge difference.  The hall is easy to keep tidy, I can always find my keys, and I spend far less time shouting at the family to tidy up.  


7 comments:

  1. Oh, I love that! /adds to inspiration link folder instantly

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    1. So pleased you like it! I will take some photos of the inside soon. It is helping us be so organised!

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  2. How tall are the cabinet frames?

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    1. They are 236.5cm high, the standard Ikea Pax cupboard height. Plenty of space for all those things that need to get left at the front door.
      I must still take some photos of the interiors!

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  3. It looks fantastic. Where did you find the baskets that fit so snuggly in the cupboard?

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    1. This was a stroke of luck, they are from Freedom Furniture and I already owned all of them. I never met a basket I didn't like!

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  4. very nice post... i hv looked at so many websites to get ideas o products that I need for my hallway but just not happy with any. this post in inspiring. thank u. if u r into food at all, pls do visit my blog www.tastefullyveggie.blogspot.co.uk while i go to ikea!!

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I love all your comments so let me know what you are thinking if you have a moment.