Remember where we left this off?
I finally got all the doors hung, although I didn’t bother adjusting them until the top was on. Any yes, you’ve guessed it – the TOP is ON!! Here’s how it happened:
We’ve got solid oak worktops in the kitchen (which is the next room along from the conservatory/dining room) and I. LOVE. THEM. Yes, they do require maintenance involving sanding and oiling and stuff, but I wouldn’t have it another way – I simply love to warmth they bring to the kitchen.
Digging this picture out I realise I don’t have any decent photos of the finished kitchen – shame on me! I shall rectify soon as, and put a post together on the kitchen refurb with updated pictures. This was taken while we were still working on it (thus the lack of plinth, handles on the wall units, and extractor hood…) But look at those worktops – aren’t they just gorgeous? They’re saying ‘Hey, come on in, hang a bit, bake on me, everybody’s invited!’.
Where am I going with this? Well, I wanted the top for the sideboard to match the ones in the kitchen, but (surprise, surprise) we didn’t have a ‘solid oak’ type of budget. Solution:
About 10mm thinner than the kitchen worktops, and definitely not oak, but decently priced and I would only need 3 to make the whole top. It’s at times like these I wish I still had my car. Travelling by train with planks of wood is… Challenging?
Anyway, back at home, wood in tow, I once more transformed the kitchen into a workshop.
I had some leftover pieces of the spacers I used when I built the sideboard. I figured these would be perfect to join the planks up and make one large piece of wood, like so:
Once the planks were all joined up, I just had to try them on! Not bad huh?
But, the top still needed a lot of sanding – and it had to be stained to look more like oak. I set up in the garden, but only got a chance to snap this one picture of it before my camera battery died. While it was charging I had to crack on as I only had so much time to get this done. So sorry for the gap in progress pics, but it went from this:
As if by magic!!
It still needs knobs, and the doors need sanding and edging, but for now I’m really happy with it! What do you think?
Oh my god, I’ve been having so much fun with this! As in I-can’t-sleep-at-night-because-I-have-a-million-ideas-about-how-to-make-this-happen-fun!
Obviously I’ve had a little bit of time to dwell on this, as we’ve been thinking about it since Christmas, but I’ve only put this inspiration board together now, to try and keep me (and my tired, idea-riddles mind!) focused. I think it gives a good over-all idea of what we are trying to achieve:
That psychedelic pattern on the right would be my old curtains from TFTSNBM (the flat that shall not be mentioned). Since moving out from there, I don’t need them anymore, so I’ll donate them to this good cause. The Hang On by Normann Copenhagen I’ve also got already. Gumbear lights have been ordered from the States, and the cupcake table (a la homeAnnAway = on a budget!) is drying as I type. The rest of it is still very much work in progress.
I will be repurposing my sofabed, also from TFTSNBM, to give the room a more grown-up feel and the flexibility to fold it out to a double if Bean has a sleep-over. I’m pulling things together from all over the place, and I’m quickly reaching a point where I’m running out of reasons not to tackle the actual room. Watch this space! And Mr Man – roll your sleeves up, I’ll be needing your help on this one!
CCC. Cosyfication is a word. Actually I just looked it up, and it’s not a word. But you understand what I mean, don’t you? So, it’s a word. Like I’ve said before, the conservatory/dining room lack a certain level of cosyness which the rest of the house holds. It’s strange to try and cosyfy a room that is all white and glass, but the layered rugs helped a lot. Now I just needed to add some storage. The house is small, so we need every bit of storage we can get.
In my old flat – TFTSNBM (the flat that shall not be mentioned) – I had 3 of these (yes, 3 – I’m a girl!):
Note that they are only 37cm deep.
Then I moved into my little room at the house (the dirty house!) and could only fit two of my wardrobes into the space. Then I moved again (I know – it’s been a mad year) and my current little flat (which I NEED to blog about, and I will!) was already kitted out with a large wardrobe. I sold two of my wardrobes, but decided to hold on to the third one, with this particular project in mind. See, I really wanted long and practical sideboard in the conservatory/dining room, with heaps of storage. And in my head, the plan looked a little bit like this:
Makes sense, yes? I’d cut the wardrobe horizontally in the middle, and tip the top half to sit “up-side-down” next to the bottom half, and add a top and a couple of knobs, and voila – sideboard! Said and done. I started by cutting all the parts of the dismantled wardrobe in half. As the plinth is 7cm tall, I had to cut an extra 7cm off the top half of the doors to mimic the look of the bottom half. You keeping up?
I worked in the kitchen, on the floor, on top of a green fleece blanket to avoid the floor and/or the sideboard-in-the-making getting scratched. I was working in reindeer slippers. I’m Swedish – don’t judge me.
Working alone means you have to be inventive. In this case, my drill bag doubled as support…
… while I attached the brackets on the other side, to attach the bottom to the sides.
I added these spacers to the top edges of the sideboard for a bit of temporary stability to the whole thing until the top was in place. Once the top would be attached to the cupboards, it would lend a lot of stability to the unit and the spacers would no longer be needed.
At this point I had to stop and laugh. It just looked so silly there on the kitchen floor, like a bug rolled over with its legs in the air…
As I said, this was an IKEA wardrobe, and as much as I love my Swedish heritage, I have to admit that these wardrobes are a little… Flimsy? All the parts, including shelves, are made from particleboard, and a pretty low grade one at that. This means that the shelves bow really easily. As I knew that we’d probably end up keeping tools and bulk bags of cat litter in these cupboards, I figured the bottom shelves (at least) would need to be reinforced somehow. Being frugal, I decided to repurpose those 7cm door cut-offs I mentioned earlier.
Drilling a hole in the centre of the bottom shelf, and into the side of my 7cm scraps, like so:
Attaching the 7cm scrap underneath the bottom shelf should hopefully give enough support to keep it from bowing.
All I had to do next was attach the other side and the back panels to keep the
wardrobe sideboard square. I attached the two halves together for added stability, and hung the doors. Now it’s just waiting for me to find the time to make a top…
In the meantime it sits there, glaring at me and making me feel guilty. I promise, sideboard – I WILL carve out the time to make you a nice top soon!
My life is blessed with the presence of a little girl (or not so little – she’s 11 in August!). She is by far the coolest girl I know and I love spending time with her. Let’s call her Bean. Even though Bean is young, she already has a very clear idea of what her style is, especially when it comes to clothes (oh the arguments we have about this – but that’s a different post altogether) but also what she likes to have around her. Last Christmas she wished for a new room design, and as you can imagine – I was all over it! She had a very specific idea in her mind, namely this:
For anyone out there who don’t spend as much time with the Nickelodeon channel playing in the background as we do, that is iCarly. She’s the main character in a tweeny show appropriately named ‘iCarly’. The room she’s standing in is her ‘new’ bedroom, and Bean LOVES it. Here are another view of the room:
Funky, huh? Take a closer look at that chandelier:
Yeah. Those are gum bears. I’m assuming they have been laminated, before they’ve been strung up individually to make up the shape of a ball. Amazing.
Now, it has to be said that Bean’s room is about 10 times smaller than iCarly’s, but we did look into buying the exact same furniture. We figured we might be able to make it work. They are only available in America, and they are CRAZY expensive. The chandelier alone is close to $6,000, and the cupcake table in the picture above is $3,500.
So, we’ll have to get creative. If Bean wants a funky room, we will give her a funky room, dagnammit! I’ve had some time to think about this, but now’s the time to pull it all together. I have a few ideas. I will fine tune them and get back to you. Project!
Ok, so here goes:
I started with a large Erslev IKEA rug. It’s a flat woven cotton rug, which makes it nice and smooth to paint on.
£21 – oh, the bargain!
Anyway, lay it out flat anywhere around your house where you’ve got room. We were nearly disqualified on this point as we live in a shoebox for fairies. I’ve seen a few projects like these on American blogs, where they have simply painted the rugs in places such as ‘the laundry room’, ‘the spare room’ or ‘the mud room’. In our house ‘spare room’ is like ‘left-over wine’ – we don’t have any and barely know what it is. So, lay the rug out flat, like so:
I put a drop sheet underneath it, just in case, and I’m glad I did as the paint did bleed through in a couple of places. Now, measure the rug and divide the total length by how many stripes you want (in my case, black AND white stripes). I wanted my rug to begin and end with the same colour, so I divided the total length by 9 and got…
… 27.1111111cm. Equals 27cm. Tape off the stripes you want to paint. Remember to subtract the width of the masking tape from the stripes you’re not painting – the edge of the masking tape with be the line between white and black stripes. It’ll make sense in the below picture. Also – use Frogtape. I know, it’s a lot more expensive than regular masking tape, but OH. MY. GOD. THE. DIFFERENCE! Worth every penny. Don’t be cheap, just do it.
Press the tape in properly, like so:
I folded the tape around the edges of the rug just to be sure it would stay in place.
As to not confuse my little brain, I marked the gaps between the masking tape strips that were being painted – just to be sure. I just used a pencil and put large and clear ‘X’s that were easy to spot.
Now it was time to paint! I used a small roller and plain old normal emulsion paint for this, which was absolutely fine. I do wish I had thinned the paint out with a little water, as I struggled to get the paint into all the nooks and crannies of the weave and ended up having to go over it with a paintbrush when I was all done. Nothing too painful, but still.
See how the white lines look smaller? Yeah, that’s what I meant before.
I already knew I was going to love it at this point!
I removed the masking tape as soon as I was finished painting, before the paint dried. Leaving the rug to dry was the hardest part of the entire project, but after 12 hrs I figured it was fine. I took one last snap shot of it resting in the living room:
And that was it! Now it prides the floor of our dining room, and although it is taking a bit of getting used to to lift our chairs a little higher when we’re sitting down or getting up from the table, we LOVE it!
Paint: Already had it, so £0
Roller, tray and paintbrush: Already had it so, £0
Not bad for a completely bespoke rug, huh?
Finished! After battling black-pawed cats and the small size of our living room vs. large rug, I have made it through to the other end of the long and dark tunnel that is rug painting. Actually it wasn’t so bad. Except for the cat part… Luckily I had some white/cream paint on hand, so I could paint right over the paw print. Initially I was contemplating painting the entire rug white first, and then add the black lines. I figured it would make it a bit more wipe-able. And maybe that would have been a good idea. I might just fill in the unpainted stripes with white paint at a later date.
But, onto the before and after! So, dining room before:
During (bonus pic!):
And, drum roll please – AFTER:
I absolutely, positively LOVE it!! (The mouse in the foreground is not real. No animals were injured during this project. Just chased. And maybe shouted at after getting black paw prints all over the house. And not the mouse, just the cats.)
What do you think? You like?
Just one more, for direct comparison:
Love it! Brings it to life a little,huh? And see how the sisal rug blends into the floor even more now? I’ll still keep it there though, I think the layered look adds warmth and softness to the room. So so SO GLAD I went ahead and did this! Process post up next, so soon you’ll know exactly how to do this yourselves. Maybe we can start a trend??
Look! It’s happening! But it’s time consuming, so this is all you’ll get for now. More details on the whole process soon!
While faffing over what type of stripe to paint on the dining room/conservatory rug, I stumbled across a large sisal rug. I dress the window for Princess Alice Hospice home store in Kingston, and happened to be there when this came in. I got it for £8. £8! They are around £100 at IKEA (I do look at/in other furniture stores at times, I promise). It’s huge, and I suppose it does the huge-rug-under-the-dining-table-job really well. It’s just that, it’s almost the same colour as the floor, so it doesn’t really POP much:
So, I think I’ll still go ahead with the paint idea, and just layer it on top of this one…? I know that probably sounds weird, but I really like the thought of it. We added this room to the house almost 3 years ago. My Man had been dreaming of a conservatory for as long as I’d known him, and when we installed double glazing we got the same company to do a conservatory as well. And we like it. It’s just that, we don’t. We like the idea of it, but we hardly ever sit out here – it’s just not as cosy as the rest of the house. So maybe double rugs may just soften things up and cosy-ft it a bit… Worth a shot. Just gotta actually do it now! Scary! Exciting!
I’ve been playing in Illustrator, experimenting a little with this whole idea of painting the Erslev rug for the dining room. I’ve narrowed it down to these two:
Maybe not very exciting or crazy, but it’s the first time I’m tackling applying paint to a rug that isn’t purely accidental – I want to make sure we can live with the results for a long time. And considering I’ve been drooling over that IKEA Stockholm rug perhaps these two options above aren’t that surprising? My Man isn’t keen on the chevron, so we’ll most likely end up with stripes. And let’s face it – anybody should be able to paint stripes onto a rug, right? Right?!