It’s the Little Things

Two frames. That’s all we needed at Ikea . .  two frames. Somehow Ikea suckered us in with five ceramic vases for my roommates baby shower centerpieces, two frames, and a shoe caddy.

And a cup of coffee for Greg since today’s post discusses our inability to do anything without a cup coffee.

Just kidding, it’s about our new shoe cabinet.

Over the summer we visited our nice neighbors’ house and noticed a table in their hallway which we (ok, I) swooned over. The table completed the hall and didn’t over power it in the way I imagined it would. Greg agreed with my table lust but not to same level of enthusiasm.

Just look at the emptiness

Just look at the emptiness

Enter Ikea. We went earlier in the summer to look at shoe cabinets for the ridiculous amounts of shoes I own and needed to corral but the cabinets didn’t fit the measurement of our closet wall. Although, they did fit perfectly in our hallway table search.

We love adding storage to the house and our hall closet needed it due to keeping our hats, scarves, gloves in a yaffa block bin at on the top shelf (yes, the block is from my freshman year of college). By adding drawers in the hallway, cold days won’t involve me digging through a bin and leaving a trail on the stairs.

ikea storageIkea offered us two solutions: 6.75″ deep and 8.75″ deep. This might be one of the few times when smaller is better. For our hallway, two extra inches overpowered the space but it took an afternoon of me walking past with cardboard 8.75″ inches wide taped to the wall. Taping a piece of cardboard might sound silly but we’ve found by taping up the dimensions or depth of something, it truly helps us get a feeling for a project. By doing this, we’ve saved time and money by knowing what does/doesn’t work size wise.

Ikea storageWhich brings us back to the two frames. We went just to look at the cabinets and add one to our Christmas list. As you can clearly see from this post, we couldn’t wait for Christmas (darn you, Ikea!) Fast forward through us trying to locate the Stall cabinet and the hour spent building it to this–

ikea storageA new home for our keys and winter accessories! The depth works perfectly in the hallway, any deeper it would be intrusive. The drawers are dedicated to hats, gloves, and scarves just in time for the predicted bad winter.

ikea storage









Livin’ La Vida Living Room: Billy

Ever see something done so easily online and then attempt to do it yourself to not have it go so easily?  We did with our new friend, Billy.

Billy, the ever versatile bookcase system from IKEA, was to be the key feature in the living room as two built-ins on either side of our living room.  On Ikea Hackers, it looked so easy.


Billy drove us insane and not for the reasons you would think.

Billy does not want to be painted.

Seriously, he repels paint.  But before we get into that, let’s go over how to turn Billy into built-ins.

What you will need:

  • 2 Billy Bookcases
  • 2 Billy extender pieces
  • Nail gun
  • 2 wood nails (2″ long)
  • 8′ of 10″ x 1″ wood
  • Plywood
  • Primer
  • Wall paint
  • Orbital Sander
  • Sanding Block
  • A hate of IKEA

1. Go to IKEA hungry and find out that if you spend $100 or more, your meal is free.

2. Be annoyed you only got one breakfast (Greg).


3. Get lost in IKEA.

4. Find the Billy system.

5. Pick up an fillable Advent calendar for Hazel.

6. Put everything into the Prius


7. Build the bookcases.


8. Sand them.


9. Attempt to paint the backing.

10. Fail.  Google solutions.

11. Flip cardboard over and paint the other side.  Success!!

12. Prime Billy.

13. Resand with a power sander because the paint is still repelling off.

14. Start cursing IKEA

15. Start cursing IKEA more when you can’t get the backing in.

16. Start rethinking this whole process and project.

17. Tape wood to the backing to keep it flat as you slide it in.  Success!!!


Side note: Before we installed Billy, we removed the baseboards (which I will cover in our next post).

18. Place Billy where you want him.

19. Measure the space between the top of Billy and the ceiling.  You need to make sure your crown molding can be mailed to the top of Billy.

20. We failed.

21.  Run to Lowe’s and pick up a 10″x 1″ plank to install at the base.  Have Lowe’s cut it to length since you get two free cuts.

22.  Nail gun it to the base.


23.  Make some gun sounds for fun with the nail gun while Greg moves the bookcase.

Side note: Put the safety on before doing this.

24. Screw into the wall.


25. Repeat step 17- 24 for the second bookcase.


26. Realize you hate how the cardboard looks.

27. Convince yourself for two days it looks fine.

28. Go buy plywood to install because you hate the cardboard.

29. Have Lowe’s cut it.  Go home and recut it because Greg let me measure it.

30. Prime and paint.


31. Nail gun in.

32. Be happy that you made the change.


Now this is not every step with Billy, I’m going to cover the trim, baseboard, and crown molding next.  We went into this thinking Billy was going to be easy like Rizzo from Grease.

He’s more of a Sandy.

My biggest problem was the backing and the coating on the bookcases.  We originally thought that we could paint the wall and attach Billy to the wall, forgoing the cardboard but there is a gap between the wall and where the backing slides in.  Next time we try painting anything from IKEA, I’m going to try a deglazer before priming/painting.  I found we had to sand them down pretty far before paint would stick.  The worst items to paint (as in I had to resand several times) were the bookcase frame and the cabinet doors.

Cabinet doors?

Yes, we have cabinet doors but I will talk about them in a “It’s the little things” post.  They are also the reason we only have plywood backing on the top shelves.

Next up– playing with wood!

A Sneak Peak!

We’ve been working hard and at times, hardly working but we are making progress. This morning Tommy (a family friend of Greg’s) came over to show us how to install crown molding.

Not surprisingly we are running behind but should be good for our furniture delivery date.

*knocks on wood* *prays I didn’t piss off the DIY gods with that estimate*

So now a sneak peak!


Audrey Hepburn Style

Some days Greg and I can be house updating slackers.  My friend Jess doesn’t believe it and refutes it many of our emails.   Never the less, we can be when it comes to the small things.  Sure we can paint a room over the course of a weekend or build an island in less than a month but when it comes to hanging a painting or putting away the final boxes from Greg’s move, we are total slackers.

Take for instance my Audrey Hepburn painting.  A few years ago, I saw this canvas at Ikea which feed right into my Audrey Hepburn obsession (totally obsessed) but did not fit into my budget.

No way was I paying over $60 for something I could do myself for under $10.  In end it was free since I had the canvas and paints.  An afternoon later of freehand sketching from the Ikea picture, I was ready to paint.  The print hung in my apartment hall way for a few years and then sat in Greg’s living room for a few months after I moved in.

Since some of my other artwork was going in the office as well as my Audrey Hepburn calendar (see, I told you I was obsessed), I felt she should go in there.  I brought her up and  asked Greg to place her on the wall.

Even brought up the two nails he needed.  Before you say, “He needs a hammer too,” there is a tool kit in the office closet.

This was several months ago.

We are such slackers.  I can’t even blame him because I work in this room for over eight hours a day.  I could have easily done it during my tea break, instead she sat there sideways.

Finally, I broke out Mr. Level and hung her up only after measuring for the middle of the wall (go me!).  Greg could not contain his excitement, in fact he took a bajillion pictures of me using the level.

One more from his impromptu photoshoot.  My advice to you is not to use a rolling office chair to lean over a bookcase in order to hang a picture especially one that likes to lose a wheel at random moments.  Today’s safety tip is brought you by Breakfast at Tiffany’s, rent it soon.

She reigns over the room in supreme chicness, happy to be back on the wall.

Now we just have to get to those final boxes.

Post script- after posting this picture, I noticed the bookcase needs to move a little more to the right.  Anyone want to bet on how long it will take us?