Monday, 31 January 2011

Hacker Help: Varde Base Cabinet into an Breakfast Bar Island

Materials: Varde Base Cabinet, Countertop TBD

I moved into a small apartment and am in need of more storage and counter space. I decided that a kitchen island with storage and 2 overhands would be best so it could double as my kitchen table and desk area.

I am planning on buying the Varde base cabinet: and installing a counter on top.

My question is, since the Verde is not attached to the floor, do you think it could withstand a countertop with an overhang on the back and right side? My concern is that if you are sitting on the long side of the bar that if you put pressure on the overhang that the unit would tip.

Also, do you think the material would make a difference, a lighter formica verse a granite when it comes to tipping?

Above is a rendering, ignore dimensions and drawers. Assume the cabinet/ base is the illusrates the overhangs.

Would love any help!


~ Keara, New York, NY


Hi Keara,
Here is a Varde kitchen island that may give you an idea of what is achieveable. Any input, anyone?

~ Jules

When iMac goes to work

Materials: 1 LACK Wall shelf unit, 1 LACK Wall shelf, 2 CAPITA Bracket, 1 DALFRED Bar Stool

Description: First of all it's necessary an iMac 27"!
If you are looking for a workstation comfortable and elegant, suitable for a small space, this is the solution for you.

You only need a Lack series, especially a wall shelf unit, a wall shelf and brackets.

I choose black version but there are many more..

I worked on the ground to assemble shelfs and brackets. Then I put in vertical and fix to the wall.

At last, I placed very carefully the iMac, mouse, keyboard, hd and I sat on the stool.

It's done!

PS. Ikea garants 3kg for shelf, so I prefer to fix 2 staff under the iMac's shelf.

~ Piritea, Italy

Personalized Kura Bed fit for a Princess with Playhouse Underneath

Materials: Kura Bed, wooden letters, wood cutouts, bunk bed curtain, paint, canopy, SMILA BLOMMA wall lamp

Description: We wanted our 4 year old daughter to have a bed with stairs leading to a loft to sleep and space underneath to use as a playhouse.

We bought a Kura bed, painted it 3 different colors. The trim is painted light pink, the smaller panel in front is fuchsia and the longer end panel is purple with pink slates. We added a princess canopy on top. We attached cutouts on the front panel and added wooden letters to the front panel with the words princess and her name. We made the bottom a playhouse by attaching a bunk bed curtain with working windows, curtains, and doors on the bottom of the bed using double-faced adhesive velcro and placing a pink SMILA BLOMMA wall lamp for her to use when she reads her books is hanging out in her "house" as she calls it.

See more at of the Kura bed with Playhouse.

~ Adrian and Leslie-Ann, Northern Virginia

Mandal Nightstand Hack

Materials: Expedit shelving unit, saw.

Description: If you have ever purchased the IKEA Mandal bed with its really cool storage drawers, you know that they only offer the Mandal wall-mounted headboard combined with the adjustable shelves as a possible nightstand. I prefer a nightstand where I can discretely hide things away.

Step 1) Get the single (1x5) Expedit shelving unit and cut it in half. The cut will be ugly and the inside of the Expedit is cardboard, but this will not be seen in the final result. If this really bothers you, you can purchase wooden veneer tape at a hardware store to cover the bottom cut.

Step 2) Mount each half of your Expedit shelving to each side of the wall next to your Mandal bed. Make sure to use proper wall-mounting brackets that will be screwed into the wall studs or that use drywall anchors. In this case, I also used the Expedit drawers and anchored them to the wall as well.

You can use any of the Expedit accessories that IKEA sells to give your nightstands the storage options you require.

~ Nicholas, Montreal, Canada

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Eye candy: The white kitchen

Minimal hacking but wanted to share Edina's gorgeous white kitchen. Love it. ~ Jules

Materials: LIDING� furniture

Description: The lower cabinets furniture Lindingo run, they were nut-colored sheet. To be a little different so we took them to other handles. We put wallpaper on the wall and glass, stainless steel, took over the stove. The hood and upper shelves of the corner shelf, the whole upper part we have prepared and equipped for it. Became a large and beautiful countryside but modern kitchen.

~ Edina Kukla/Kisflanc, Budapest

Shoe cupboard

Materials: Faktum, Rationell, Abstrakt

Where to do go with all my shoes? We used the empty space underneath the stairs to build a shoe cupboard from kitchen elements, and added a shelf and doors on the top to make space for boots. It holds three pairs of shoes per drawer.

~ Anne Vogt, Zurich, Switzerland

Friday, 28 January 2011

Billy Built-in with a top

Materials: Half Height Billy Bookcases

Description: I love built-ins, I can't afford built-ins so I made my own out of 5 Billy bookcases.
Step 1) Assemble bookcases! Easier said then done.
Step 2) Screw bookcases together, pulling the middle section out 3-4 inches. Creating some interest!

Step 3) Cut MDF into three sections, glue and nail to top
Step 4) Attach chair rail or crown molding to the face (a chair rail is much easier to work with than crown)

Step 5) Fill seams and gaps. Once dry sand
Step 6) Paint, we chose Martha Stewart's Talc color to match the white Billy bookcases, not an exact match but pretty darn close.

See more of the Billy built-in with a top.

~ Ashli c/o Maillardville Manor, Vancouver, BC

Stolmen Entertainment Unit for a flat panel TV

Materials: Stolmen system modified with tv mounting bracket, bolts, screws.

Description: I modified a Stolmen system to accommodate a flat panel TV wall mounting system, one that would normally be used to mount a flat panel TV to a wall, using one of the larger (46") shelves as a panel on which to mount the TV. My goal was to create a stabile support for a flat panel TV while preserving the aesthetics of the Ikea Stolmen system. My theory of Ikea hacking is that the final product should not look overly "hacked" to the casual observer.

My first step was to adapt the Stolmen 46" shelf to support the TV wall mounting bracket. To do this I centered the TV mounting bracket and drilled 6 holes through the shelf as straight as I could (not having a drill press). I ran bolts with washers through the holes in the TV mounting bracket and through the holes I had drilled in the shelf. On the back of the shelf I mounted two metal straps with holes already in them (easy to find at Home Depot, etc.) and secured them with to the bolts with washers and nuts.

My goal here was to create a strong support for a flat panel TV, using a shelf that wouldn't normally be strong enough to support it. Obviously turning the shelf on its side greatly increases its strength. Still, I couldn't simply drill wood screws into the pressed wood and expect it to support much weight. The method I used creates a sort of vise that squeezes tightly on each side of the shelf, as it disburses this pressure across a wide area. It can take a lot of weight, while remaining completely invisible from the front once the TV is mounted.

My next task was to mount the shelf, with TV support bracket now bolted onto it, onto the Stolmen system itself as securely as I could, without using lots of ugly braces and brackets that would destroy the Ikea aesthetics. The bottom corners of the TV mounting panel I had created just fit on the "ears" of the Stolmen shelf supports. To increase support and security I used steel "repair braces" (also easy to find at hardware shops) on each lower corner of the TV panel. The steel braces are already drilled to accommodate a flathead screw or bolt. First I bolted the steel braces to the Stolmen shelf supports, using a flathead bolt on top (so that the panel can rest on top of the bolt without being raised up by a bolt head). I then rested the TV panel on these braces and drilled pilot holes (two on each corner) through holes already in the steel braces. It was then easy to screw wood screws into the pilot holes. This supports the weight of the TV panel, while keeping the panel in place on the shelf supports.

Now that I had the weight supported, my remaining issue was to stabilize the TV panel so that it couldn't fall forward or back. To do this I simply used two Stolmen shelf supports on each side of the panel. (For added stability I left the Stolmen metal support brackets secured to the shelf - the ones that would be screwed onto each side if you were to use it as a normal shelf in the Stolmen system.) By turning the Stolmen shelf supports I was able to fit one "ear" tightly in front and one behind each side of the panel. By using the Stolmen supports this way on each side of the TV panel it becomes very stable.

It was then easy to mount the TV onto the bracket secured to the now stable panel.

Once I had all of my other entertainment components in place, I began the process of hiding cables. My goal here was to preserve the openness of the Stolmen system, while showing as few cables as possible. By keeping the bottom shelves quite close to the floor, I was able to push most of the cables back towards the wall to keep them out of sight. I then simply used a piece of stiff cardboard, which I painted to match my living room walls, as a panel behind my components to hide more cables. Other cables I ran down the back of the Stolmen poles, fixed to the poles with zip ties and Ikea cable management tubing.

I was quite happy with my results. I ended up with a secure system for mounting a flat panel TV, and one that will accommodate the larger TV I hope to get soon. It also preserves the Ikea aesthetic as it doesn't appear overly "hacked" to most observers. In fact, most who see it simply assume the TV panel is an integral part of the system, rather than something I modified myself. That's how I like it.

~ William Davis, Colorado Springs, CO

New Upholstered Headboard with Nailhead Trim

Materials: Hopen Bed, Plywood, Batting, Fabric, NailHead Trim

Description: We wanted to make an upholstered headboard for our Hopen Bed.

First step, after measuring the size of headboard that you want, lay out 3 layers of batting on the floor and cut the measurement leaving about 4 inches on each side to fold over. Staple all the way around pulling as tight as you can.

Second, lay your fabric out and do the same. Cut to size and leave about 4 inches all the way around. Staple onto your plywood. I started at the center and worked my way around. Make sure you pull tight with every staple. I used a leather like material {vinyl} that had a bunch of creases when I unfolded it. Pulling it tight got rid of the creases.

The final step in upholstering the board is the corners. I found that working with the vinyl is a little bit tricky. This material is thick and harder than fabric. I folded the corners in and stapled as cleanly as possible. It took a few tries it ended up coming out just right. The back side does not look great, but nobody is going to see that.

Once the entire board was covered, we sat it on our counter top and we were ready to apply the nailhead trim. I ordered the Nickel Nailhead Trim kit online from DIY Upholstery Supply for about $17.00 plus $13.00 in shipping. I figured this would be much easier than using individual nailheads. Using the nailhead trim, you only have to hammer in every 5 nails. It is also easier to keep a straight line.

As mentioned above we have the Ikea Hopen Bed. The headboard was super easy to take off. My husband just took off the screws that were attached to the bed.

With the extra piece of plywood, my husband used the table saw to cut three boards just under the height of the headboard. We wanted them to reach the floor just for extra anchor. He screwed these in, 4 screws total. Two at the bottom, two at the top of the bed frame.

Next, my husband attached the headboard to the wood slats. He also used 4 screws here. I applied pressure from the front side, while he pushed in the back. We wanted this to be as sturdy as possible.

The headboard rests on the bed frame perfectly.

Cost breakdown:

Vinyl Fabric in Whisper White-Joann's Fabric $20.00 on sale with extra 15% coupon (about 2 yards)

Batting 4oz weight 10 yard roll from Joann Fabrics $6.00 on sale with extra 15% coupon

Plywood scrap wood from Home Depot $4.00

Nailhead trim from DIY Upholstery $30.00 (due to shipping costs)

Total Cost $56.00

Check out my post for full details.

~ J&JHome, Florida

Butcher Block Countertop Kitchen shelving

Materials: NUMERAR countertop, 3/8" threaded rod with assorted hdwre, 1/2 copper tubing lacquered, 1x1 wood stapping cut to length

Description: NUMERAR counter top was ripped in half lengthwise to make above counter kitchen shelving. Threaded rod supporting the outer edge is concealed by copper pipe which has been lacquered to prevent oxidation. Hardware supporting each successive shelf is counter sunk for finished appearance. Threaded rod extends through ceiling and 2x4's laid across joists in attic. Against the wall, are 1x1 wood straps screwed to wall studs. Shelves are affixed to wood straps using the mini "L" brackets that come with the NUMERAR countertops.

~ Sandra Tarbox and Kurt Lazaroff, USA

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Pottery Barn inspired desk transformation

Materials: Effective Desk and wood file cabinets

Description: I was inspired by a desk set at Pottery Barn that I couldn't afford. I used my old (red/brown) Effective Desk and bought two solid oak file cabinets off craigslist for $75.


- I painted the Desk Top and the cabinets Benjamin Moore's Timid White
- I removed the Ikea legs and hardware from the desk and braced the back corner with some braces I fashioned from metal plates and $2 banister inserts from Home Depot. It is solid!
- The Desk Top just rests on the cabinets at either end.

I love how it turned out.

See more of the Effektiv desk transformation.

~ Nicole, BC, Canada

Klimt Lack

Materials: Lack side table

Description: My Lack table was too green for my room,so I decided to add it a little color- painted the top and the sides white in two layers, put a Klimt picture from an old calendar,and secured it with a 4 mm glass. The best thing is that the picture is not glued,so i can change it any time I want.

~ Pera Peric, Kragujevac,Serbia

Ribba with the Dynamic Painting

Materials: RIBBA 50x50, Thinkpad T42, Thick white paper and some pieces of wood.

Description: I used the frame called RIBBA with the size 50x50 cm. There are two models either black or white frame. I selected the black frame for this.

Then as you can see, the inlay have a rectangular cutout and that of course does not fit the laptop screen. To fix this I bought a very heavy paper-sheet (1000g) It's like cardboard, but it's white and stiff 50x70 cm sheet.

The I had an old laptop that I don't use anymore. The battery is completely broken so it can only run if the AC-adapter is always connected. It's an old Thinkpad T42.

Now, we have all the parts lets do it!

I started with installing the latest Ubuntu Desktop (at the time of writing this was Ubuntu 10.04).
  • Updated it fully.
  • Set Ubuntu to login automatically.
  • Disabled the Screen-saver and Power-save functions.
  • Set the wallpaper to a picture.
  • Activated remote desktop (VNC).
  • Installed SSH.
  • Removed all unnecessary stuff from the lower panel and move the rest to the top one and set the top panel to auto hide. Basically I could have just removed both panels, but I want to be able to close down the system using the mouse.
  • Mounted a specific folder from my server using the fstab file (you can also us a local folder on the laptop of course).

Created four small scripts.
  • One for changing to a random wallpaper after a defined amount of time has passed.
  • One for changing to a random wallpaper directly (for manual change).
  • One for turning off the monitor.
  • One for turning on the monitor.
You can download the scripts here.

The script that changes the wallpaper after a defined amount of time also has a one minute delay at start before it changes the picture. This script starts from Startup Applications, so one minute after the automatic login the wallpaper should change. Then you know everything works. :) (Remember to edit the scripts to set your pictures path.)

The script that changes the wallpaper directly I just made a launcher for in the hidden panel to be able to change the picture whenever I want (via VNC).

And the two monitor scripts, I use two cron jobs to run at specific times. One at late evening to turn the monitor off and one in the early morning to turn it on again. I think that's it for the software part...

Now let's disassemble the laptop. :)

You can start with removing the battery. I leave the battery out period for this. The battery is one thing that can happen bad things with, and you really don't need it anyway when you have the machine mounted in the frame. You will need to have it connected to the AC-adapter.

Then remove the hard drive. This you will need later on.

I also removed the CD-Reader. You don't need it any more.

Then turn the computer over.
To be able to turn the screen completely around you need to remove the hinges (and also to fit in the frame all the other screen covering). Basically you need to unscrew all the screws you can find on the underside of the laptop. To be able to figure out later on where each screw should go, I took a photo of the underside of the machine and printed the picture. Then after each unscrewed screw I taped it to the correct place on the picture. Very handy later on.

When all screws are removed (remember, there are hidden screws under small black patches, and don't forget the one on the screen...), turn the computer again and carefully remove each part of the cover. Start with the black list at the top of the keyboard. I will not go through every step, I'm sure you can google it. :)
When I was done, this was what I had removed.

Now cut the paper-sheet to the correct size and measure where the screen should sit.

Then I used double-sided tape to hold the screen in place.

Then I cut small wood parts to hold the laptop in place on top of the screen.
Under each wood part there is a piece of double-sided tape to keep it still.
I also taped the small wires for Bluetooth and WIFI.

Now you will need to make a hole in the backside of the frame. You actually don't need to do this, but if something goes wrong it's quite handy to be able to type or move the mouse. I also made sure that I have a USB connection and just in case a LAN-cable connection on the back. You never know. :) Also I made a small hole for the sleep button. You can see it just above the keyboard to the left. It is this little button the lid presses when you normally close the lid.

Well... Turn it over and start, wait for a minute and you should see your nice picture. :)

There is of course a million things you could add to make it more fancy. But the whole concept of this frame was to give the viewer a "calm" impression. This is why I only change picture every 4th hour. We don't want it to be a slide show that you stand and watch, it should be a "dynamic painting". I also tried a bit with weather information using screenlets. But, then again it should feel like a painting, so I removed them again. :) What I am thinking of is to install some voice activated commands, maybe for changing the picture and so on... But I'm not sure yet. If you are interested in voice commands, the best free software I could find where Simon.

Ps: The computer is quite heavy so I actually added small metallic corners on the backside of the frame. I noticed small gaps appearing in the frame corners some days after I had mounted the painting on the wall. So I decided the re-enforce the corners a little bit.

You can find the whole project documented on my homepage as well.

See more of the Ribba frame with dynamic painting.

~ Erik Pettersson, Enk�ping, Sweden