Cabinet Becomes Hideaway Office

Our hive has three bedrooms. The master, along with two other teeny ones currently awaiting revamps – one of which is more of a glorified cupboard (okay, so I’m exaggerating slightly though you get my drift, they are SMALL).

So anyway, the slightly less small of the two currently holds, amongst many other things, this big free standing TV cabinet (found on eBay for around $100).

Because instead of just a neat little laptop we have a hulking great computer with a massive monitor, printer, sound system, hard-drive back-up, broadband modem, etc, etc, there are a tonne of power cords and lots of poxy black plastic I’d rather hide away than have on show so here’s what’s actually living in that TV cabinet.

I know, I know, not too pretty at the moment – see what I mean about the cords? – though I do have beautification plans.

We’ve been using the computer like this for a while now, though to be honest, not very comfortably. The shelf heights are a bit awkward so you need to lean right over to reach the keyboard and mouse.

Well, I’m pleased to say that’s finally changed thanks to the installation of this rolling shelf.

Again, still awaiting beautification though currently practical if nothing else!

I’ve always found purpose-built computer cabinets can be pricey (and usually lacking in character) so here’s a quick little tute covering the basics of how you can turn any cupboard/cabinet/robe/closet into your own mini hide-away office.

Step 1
Find a cupboard. Almost anything will do. Just make sure it’s big enough to house all your bits and pieces and really deep if you also want to leave a chair hidden in it. Like I already mentioned, my cupboard was originally a TV cabinet I bought off eBay for around $100.

Step 2
Install or remove fittings as required. I was lucky to already have some shelves in place though it’s easy enough to add your own if need be.

Step 3
Install your keyboard shelf. Usually this would be hidden under the monitor shelf though based on the height of the existing shelf in my cupboard it needed to sit on top.

Because my cupboard has recessed sides, I first screwed (counter-sunk) and glued in some timber spacers.

Next I attached the exterior drawer slides.

These are just standard roller drawer brackets you can buy from the hardware store for around $10 a pair.

I then measured the depth, length and height my keyboard shelf needed to be and had a piece of MDF cut to size at the hardware store. I attached my MDF to the interior drawer slides by screwing it in from the bottom. To finish I simply inserted the shelf inside the exterior brackets.

YAY!!! We can finally comfortably reach the components!

Step 4
Make your new home office beautiful (and user-friendly :-)

Okay, I already admitted I’m still yet to complete this step though I do have some plans.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

Enhanced Natural Timber Furniture

Update: Check out how my timber furniture looks in my refreshed farmhouse style master bedroom here.

Before I began my master bedroom revamp I knew I wanted some rustic timber to keep the space warm and grounded, however finding the right pieces to ‘restore’ rather than ‘refurb’ is easier said than done.

We all know how easy and effective slapping a fresh coat of paint on a piece of furniture can be – not only does it completely transform the feel of an item though it can also hide a myriad of sins. So, when you’re planning on paring-back rather than packing-on, a little more care (and/or blind faith!) may be required.

With that in mind I set about sourcing some second-hand timber pieces which would eventually become my bedside tables and finally found these on eBay.

Deco Dresser ($60)

Kauri Pine Cupboard ($50)

Because my bed doesn’t sit centrally on the wall I wanted two pieces with mis-matched proportions to play off the asymmetry. I also needed plenty of storage.

Remember my inspiration board.

I knew I was dreaming when I included that apothecary style cabinet (lower right) though thought I could somehow transform my crappy old deco dresser into something with a similar feel so I got to work.

First I removed the mirror and handles then stripped back the old varnish using my secret weapon; commercial grade graffiti remover. Seriously, this stuff is awesome! You just pour a layer on, leave it for five minutes then remove it with some soapy water and steel wool. It’s soooo much easier and faster than using a conventional paint stripper.

Okay, so admittedly I get mine from a friend in the industry though I’m sure it’s available somewhere for domestic use (sorry I can’t help more).

I next gave the dresser a light all over sand then stained it dark using a combination of walnut and black. I was careful to get the stain into all the imperfections in the timber to create the look of an aged patina. To finish I sealed it with three coats of danish oil then added some library pulls.

The pulls were originally shiny polished brass so I coated them with some old gold Rub ‘n’ Buff to create a tarnished look. I thought it may not stick given how smooth the surface was though it hasn’t budged. For something different, rather than label each pull with a numerical digit I used french written numbers (un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit) which I simply printed off my computer onto regular copy paper. I then stained the paper with a diluted coffee mixture to give the labels an aged appearance.

My original plan with the kauri pine cupboard was to keep it as is though the blonde timber looked too unbalanced against the walnut of the dresser so I decided to stain it dark too which was fast and easy because it was already so bone-dry no stripping or sanding was needed. I simply mixed up some walnut and black timber stain then gave it three good coats. There were heaps of gouges and grooves in the soft timber from years of love (or neglect!) so, as with the dresser, I was careful to let the dark stain penetrate all the imperfections to create an aged-looking, time-worn patina.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

This and That

Firstly, thanks so much to everyone who sent me concerned comments and emails due to my little hiatus over the past few days. You guys are just too sweet :-) I assure you all I’m perfectly fine, just trying to kick a ‘would-rather-be-in-bed’ bug.

Anyways, on a different note, this weekend spells ONE YEAR since this day…

I can’t believe how fast time has flown.

We’re not doing anything much. Just a mystery overnight road trip in our time honoured tradition – we’ve always loved just jumping in the car not knowing where we might end up (even though it has meant a few nights spent in dodgy service station motels eating pretzels and giant choc chip cookies for dinner, but hey, I love those memories!).

And thirdly, for something completely unrelated, just thought I’d share some pics Luke took tonight of some cheeky cockatoos munching on wattle seeds in our front yard.

Have an awesome weekend everyone!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

New Sofas Equals More Changes

We were out window shopping the other day (I swear, I wasn’t going to actually buy anything) when we spotted some sofas on sale. There were two two-seaters in premium waxed leather (mmm, that’s the vintage-looking kind – love) on floor-stock clearance for $1800 (for both!). In top grade leather they are normally over $2000 each!

This is them though our leather is more vintagey.

We have always wanted to up-grade our fabric living room sofas to traditional leather though couldn’t quite justify spending as much on them as a small car so when we saw this deal it turned our heads.

Because our living room is so tiny most of the sofas we’ve liked in the past have been way too big though these were just right. Luke was convinced it was meant to be; that some divine light had guided us to the store that day. I however had one very finicky reservation; I wasn’t 100% keen on the double rolled back. I know, weird and fussy right?

Soooo, after lots of umming and arring, impatient looks from the staff and my eventual realisation the double back would inevitably be covered with a pile of pillows anyway, we headed to the register and made them ours!

Of course, new sofas means (exciting!) new changes for the living room too.

Don’t get me wrong. There was nothing wrong with the room before though the sofas were really compact and kinda uncomfy and I was over cleaning up dirty dog paw prints.

“What? Who me? But look how sweet and innocent I am”.

With the new dark sofas the black coffee table will probably be replaced with something earthy and rustic and maybe a bit outside the box.

It will need to be square or round though so I might have to be a bit patient (oh poo!).

And with more brown in the room some of the timber furniture will probably go white. Like my dining table legs and/or chairs perhaps.

And I have plans for oodles of linen grainsack style pillows too.

Now, just to make it all happen!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

Distressed White Cabinet

Remember this little cabinet from my bedroom reveal?

I reckon this early 1900’s cupboard was originally some kind of kitchen dry store or food safe though I picked it up for $60 off eBay knowing it would be a perfect new house for all our shoes.

This was the simplest of makeovers. I really wanted to retain the chippy, shabby appeal of the finish and although it might look fine as is in the before pic it was actually kinda dirty and cruddy. All I did to enhance its charm was give it a thorough once-over with the palm sander. Easy! I didn’t even bother sealing it. The old paint was worn and flaky so it distressed beautifully.

To finish I simply attached a couple of new el-cheapo tear drop handles from the hardware store.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone