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We say this every time for every room, but we’ll say it again, bedroom, you’ve come a long way! We’ve been using and loving this room with our whole hearts for the last several months, but over the past few weeks, we’ve been dialing it in just so. It’s funny, because we thought our bedroom would be the easiest of the three room trio we began last winter, but shouldn’t we have known better? A simple chimney tear down turned into a full blown re-venting of our first floor furnace (new water heaters, too!), but the effort and floor space gained was worth it. We removed a back door in exchange for a wall of windows (a pre-cursor to our now-in-progress backyard plans), painted the room almost black and carved out a little retreat that we consider to be the coziest room in the house.

Let’s go!
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  • Gretchen - June 28, 2016 - 6:56 AM

    Wow..this looks so amazing! I feel like adding more windows really transformed everything and helped tame the dark walls. I absolutely love this! Great job team!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - June 28, 2016 - 7:44 AM

    Soooooooo gorgeous!! I can only imagine how GOOD this one feels to have knocked off the list. You guys deserve a sanctuary, and this looks like the perfect place to escape from it all. Love it!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 28, 2016 - 9:48 AM

      SO good. Now we actually prefer our bedroom over a hotel! Haha!ReplyCancel

  • Kelli - June 28, 2016 - 9:10 AM

    I love this room! Black is so stunning when used correctly! Do you have a source for the penguin doorstop? :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 28, 2016 - 9:41 AM

      Hi Kelli! I picked it up at West Elm over the holidays, and of course, I couldn’t find it on their site anymore.ReplyCancel

  • Allison H. - June 28, 2016 - 9:12 AM

    Oh my lanta! this looks amazing! you guys did a great job! the space turned out so great! A+ work!ReplyCancel

  • Amy M. - June 28, 2016 - 9:57 AM

    The room looks amazing! I love how moody that color is. I have a question on the closet door handles. I’m looking for a handle to put on a barn door to our master bathroom and any drawer pull I find, even over-sized ones like yours, seem shallow. Do you find you have trouble getting your knuckles under the handle to open the closet doors? If not, I love the clean lines of your handles, I’ll probably go with something similar to match our vanity pulls!ReplyCancel

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Things seem to be busier than ever around here, and yet I’m having a hard time sitting down to write about all the updates – mostly because I don’t even know where to start. Summer is in full swing, and so in-between barbecues and late night gatherings and weddings and nights away and and out-of-towners in, we’re watching the back of our house take shape (siding is up and 95% complete!), we’re sketching plans for a new staircase (who knew we were so picky? Oh. Wait.), and we’re hacking away at the final to-dos of our laundry room.

Which brings us to today!

You’ll remember that we had the best luck with style, sizing and options for our laundry room cabinets from TheRTAStore.com, landing on the Aspen White Shaker for their classic look and clean finish. Two of the upper cabinets fell into backorder right after ordering, but as of Friday, all the boxes found their way to our front door, and so we got to work!

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The plans for our space can be found right here, but basically, the tiny room calls for one wide sink cabinet and three uppers that will go all the way to the ceiling. We chose to use all 24″ deep upper cabinets, knowing that we’d pull the base cabinet about 32″ away from the wall to line up with our (stacked) washer and dryer. The boxes were packed similarly to our favorite Swedish megastore, but we were surprised to find that a large part of each cabinet was put together straight from the box, as in, the doors were already on the hinges and attached to the front face!

Instructions were limited, but as we quickly found out, there was a reason for that – it was as simple as 1, 2, 3. No, really –  not only are the doors already on, but with the exception of a handful of set screws pet cabinet, the majority of the screws were already in place, too. With the cabinet front facing downwards on a table, we clipped in the sides, bottom and back. All the existing screws were tightened, and we finished them off by adding one set screw per clip – more on that in a minute.

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Although the instructions inside the shipping box were sparse, TheRTAStore.com sent us links to videos that helped a lot. Each video was between 5-10 minutes, which is the same amount of time it takes to complete a cabinet!

That said, we couldn’t finish the cabinet building without at least a small glitch; it’s a DIYers rite of passage, after all. One thing we couldn’t find information on were the support braces for the sink base cabinet, so at one point we had to remove the back, install the supports, and slip the support back into place. It only set us back all of two minutes, but along the way, any confusion was resolved with a quick re-watch of a video and, of course, common sense.

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As previously mentioned, every cabinet build begins by placing the front face down, and the sides, back and bottom are all slipped into place and secured with ‘clips’. Below, you can see how they snug together and lock into place. Just one additional screw is needed to ‘clip’ them together, and the rest of the screws just need a quick tightening:

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Soft close hinges came standard with the Aspen White Shaker cabinets, and once they’re hung on the wall, we’ll still have the ability to align them – although they looked pretty good right from the box!

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We couldn’t wait to put them in the room, even though we haven’t had a chance to hang them yet! The two uppers that are currently sitting on the base cabinet will be mounted to the same level as the cabinet above the dryer, all of which will be hung 3-4″ from the ceiling allowing for 18-20″ of space between the countertop and uppers (depending on the thickness of countertop we choose). Eventually, we’ll fill the cabinets with detergent, towels and bed linens, and lesser used seasonal items (kitty litter, too!) will be stored in the highest cabinets. If you squint, you can kind of see how they’ll look once they’re actually on the wall; do you see it?

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We also added trim to the laundry room window, opting to use chunky (but less wide) brick molding since it’s a tight squeeze in the corner. The nail holes have been spackled and all the seams are caulked, but it still needs a quick sanding and one more coat of paint. Even still, what an improvement!

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Besides the obvious need to hang the cabinets, we’ll need to trim them with crown and filler pieces (for a more custom look), install baseboards and door trim, mount a new ceiling fixture (we chose this one after spotting the same in a historic building downtown), choose a countertop, plumb the sink and lay down a tiny rug. Hmm, before I typed that out, I could have sworn we were thisclose to being done – but! Hooray for every small victory!

TheRTAStore.com provided us with cabinets for the laundry room, and all opinions belong to these two. We hope this gives you options for all the flat-packed cabinetry out there!

  • Carol - June 21, 2016 - 7:28 AM

    My running app told me last week ‘Slow progress is still progress!’ I think it was making fun of me, but it’s a good reminder to embrace every small step in the right direction. Can’t wait to hear about the next steps! Thanks :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 21, 2016 - 9:10 AM

      Haha, I like your running app!ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany R - June 21, 2016 - 8:30 AM

    my layout is similar to yours… question: when / if you need to move the washer/dryer, do you have enough clearance? it looks like you would need to remove the window trim?

    Thanks for your guidance!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 21, 2016 - 9:11 AM

      Ooh, good question. The angle is a little funny, but the sill sticks out about 2″, and there’s about 2.5″ to the right of the washer/dryer. Nothing is really set exactly in place yet, so there is wiggle room for placement still!ReplyCancel

  • Josh @ The Kentucky Gent - June 21, 2016 - 11:53 AM

    IKEA should learn a thing or two from these guys and include videos with their products, shew.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 21, 2016 - 5:09 PM

      The videos made it SO easy to understand! Not that there was much to it to begin with…ReplyCancel

  • Tori - June 22, 2016 - 10:21 AM

    Looks great you guys! That’s good to know about an alternative company for flat pack cabinets. My sister needs to put in a skinny pantry, I’ll tell her to check this out!ReplyCancel

  • Tara | ModLifter - June 23, 2016 - 5:30 AM

    I so need to do such redesign for our laundry room. The lack of storage space is strong in our apartment ;dReplyCancel

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I’ve been working from home for several years now, but sometimes, I imagine what it would be like to go back to a bustling office job. When I worked downtown, I loved it. Well, I loved taking the train, grabbing my coffee from the bakery and – for the most part! – I loved the people I worked with. (Not always the work, but you know.) I do enjoy feeding off the energy of others, but over time, I’ve adjusted to home-working, and I’ve got my routine down. I like having a desk and curtains and rug and all the art that I chose, and I like that if I want to, I can take 15 minutes to drink my coffee on the front porch swing. But! I think, if someone offered me a sweet job downtown right now, would I do it? I go back and forth with my secret what if? answer all the time, because doesn’t it always seem like the grass is always greener?

Anyway, all this to say that I tend to start daydreaming more than ever when I’m feeling frazzled. Frazzled, because I start to feel like nothing has a place and the house is a mess (so much pet hair! I think, how long has it been since I’ve vacuumed?), and even though I have my row of paper trays and my desk drawers organized, there are still boxes of camera equipment and paint supplies tucked into closets. That’s not to say we haven’t put any effort into our home studio, but it’s always the first room to become the dumping ground during any renovation, no matter what we’re working on.

I’d like to change that.

We’re in the midst of a big purge as we prep for our annual yard sale, and we’re letting a lot of things go that we’d been saving for different rooms – for example, chairs or benches or ottomans – but as we renovate, sometimes those items don’t make their way in to those rooms, and so, they sit and accumulate dust. We’ve got a big ol’ pile ready to sell, and soon we’ll have a big ol’ mostly empty studio that needs some organization!

Enter our home’s second fauxdenza (but our third overall if you count this one in our old studio). Instead of IKEA’s kitchen cabinets that we’ve used in the past, we found a less expensive option using components from the BESTA line! On our shopping list:

1 – 48″ white BESTA frame
1 – 24″ white BESTA frame
3 – SELSVIKEN high gloss white doors
3 – BESTA suspension rails
1 – 6′ x 20″ pine project panel (found at Lowe’s)

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We wanted to create a fauxdenza (fun fact: a term originally coined by Anna so many years ago!) for the insane amount of storage it offers, its pretty looks and its ability to be wall mounted (so good for our hairy home with pets!). Once I had the frames put together, Scott mounted everything to the wall using the suspension rail system. We found it to be a little tricky at first, but once we got the first double-box hung, the single box was a snap. No big secrets here; we just followed the IKEA man’s instructions, but we did use toggle bolts as an extra precaution where we weren’t able to locate a stud.

For the 24″ frame, we cut off the bottom half of the back for our electrical outlet, and to prevent it from slipping down in its track, Scott used tiny screws in the track to hold it in place:

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We added the doors next and leveled them up, and once everything looked good, we did a final measurement of the overall depth, doors included. The BESTA is a hair more than 16″ from front to back, so we ripped down our project panel using a circular saw, sanded the edges, and stained it in three steps: one coat of wood conditioner + two coats of Special Walnut + two coats of Polycrylic in a satin finish. Tip: An extra coat of wood conditioner on the ends of the project panel will help keep the stain even in color (where it typically wants to go much darker). 

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The next day, we attached it to the top of our BESTA units by using wood screws from underneath and inside the cabinets, and for any electronics, Scott used a 1″ paddle bit for cords to pass through the cabinet to access the outlet!

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We mounted this smart television above and used a behind-the-wall cord kit to keep things mess-free (John did a great tutorial on how this kit works!). It’s off-centered right now, but we have plans to even it out with art. My favorite little Marshall speaker looks a little silly underneath, so we’ll likely be switching that out to a sound bar at some point. Until we get everything sorted, we’ve kept the protective plastic on the television, too! Consider this our starting point:

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The photos below might give you a better idea of where it is in the room. We’re using the entire open space on the second floor for the studio, so this side of the room will ultimately act as a lounge area. We often use the television downstairs as a giant computer screen when we’re in the idea-gathering stage of projects; it will be so nice to do it up here now! When possible, I prefer to keep work and play separate (a necessity for work-from-home-ers, I think!), but I’d still like this work-slash-lounge area to be comfortable.

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Inside, I’ve started grouping office-y things into little bins, and even after organizing camera gear, fabric scraps and lesser used painting supplies, there is still a lot of room to grow. I love a good, empty cabinet. So many possibilities.

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Like I mentioned earlier, we’ve made two floating credenzas in the past using IKEA’s AKURUM (now SEKTION) kitchen cabinets, and while we have no regrets – the functionality and slim design packs a punch! – we wondered why we didn’t gravitate towards the BESTA from the very beginning. Maybe these options weren’t available a few years ago? The BESTA is less expensive ($300 for our dining room fauxdenza vs. $200 for this one) and has in-store top options should you choose to skip the DIY wood panel!

What you don’t see in any of these photos is the massive yard sale pile behind the camera. Once this room is cleared, we’ll have the space we need to start building our laundry cabinetsand then we can really start to plan this space for a proper lounge! That has always been our goal, but it was never a priority. We’re excited to put this room one step closer to the front burner!

  • Trish - June 10, 2016 - 6:57 AM

    First of all, just love you guys. I’m a fellow Chicagoan and it’s fun to watch your house develop!

    What really hit me with this post, besides the fact that I really need a fauxdenza in our playroom/tv room, is that you too have a tidy looking house but angst about the stuff piled up in closets. This year, I purged two main closets. After I purged the first one in our playroom I felt light and free – probably because we are now using that area to hold weights/things the kids use to stay active all winter. Interestingly, after I purged the second area, which was three tall Ikea Billy bookcases with glass cabinets, I literally sat on my couch and cried. Anyway, be prepared for the emotion train. :) Can’t wait to see about your garage sale.

    P.S. Think of you every day when I walk past OTAT on my way to the gym. What a great place!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 10, 2016 - 9:27 AM

      Aw, I love this! We cannot WAIT to get rid of so many things that we thought we’d use. The yard sale is our very favorite every year, as our ‘stuff’ finds its way into new homes with new families, we get to hang out with our block, and at the end of the day, our house is that much lighter! Such a relief.

      Please wave hello to that blue door for us! We need to go back and visit (and play with adoptable dogs!) soon.ReplyCancel

  • E B - June 10, 2016 - 8:57 AM

    Love this post! I am in the midst of trying to mount our Besta system and have been nervous about the process. This has been super helpful and encouraging! I also was trying to figure out the logistics of controlling any hidden cable boxes or other electronics inside the cabinets in a budget-friendly way so the link to YHL’s methods was super helpful! Thank you!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 10, 2016 - 9:07 AM

      Happy to hear! I did just update the post to say that we used toggle bolts to attach to the wall in conjunction with the BESTA suspension rail system. They hold a LOT more weight than a regular wall anchor. Something to keep in mind!ReplyCancel

  • Alexis Payne - June 10, 2016 - 9:31 AM

    Looks awesome! Is the Besta deeper than the kitchen cabinets?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 10, 2016 - 9:35 AM

      Oh, good question! I meant to cover that. The BESTA is about 16 1/8″ deep, whereas the SEKTION cabinets are 15″ deep. So the difference is small! I think when we made our first fauxdenza back in the last home, the upper cabinets were about 12-13″ deep (does anyone else remember?), but when IKEA switched to the SEKTION line, it seems they made them a little deeper.ReplyCancel

  • Shelly - June 10, 2016 - 10:23 AM

    Did the inside shelf come with yours?? We did the same thing but had no shelf. It’s hard to organize without one!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 10, 2016 - 10:29 AM

      Huh, strange. Yes, each unit came with a shelf!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - June 10, 2016 - 10:34 AM

    When is the yard sale?! Would LOVE to stop by!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 10, 2016 - 12:02 PM

      Hi Kelly! Please send us an email if you’d like to know more: team AT yellowbrickhome DOT comReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - June 10, 2016 - 12:12 PM

    Wow, that’s awesome. We’re planning on doing something similar in our office and I have a dumb question. With all the potential options that are out there (even when you narrow it to Ikea, it’s still a lot), how do you guys determine which units to modify into a fauxdenza? I’ve spent so much time analyzing all sorts of types of cabinets and wall units, but I’m always anxious to make a decision because I feel like I don’t know what qualities are important to look for.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 10, 2016 - 12:22 PM

      Definitely the beauty of a fauxdenza is in its simplicity. Our wall that it’s on is 73-ish inches, so we knew we had to be just under that. I think in total, ours BESTA unit comes to just about 71, since the units are a little smaller than 48″ and 24″. For us, we took into account what we would be storing: camera stuff, craft supplies, a few work-related binders and books and surplus (pet) painting supplies. On our way to IKEA, we were set on buying kitchen cabinets, but stumbled across the BESTA (in the media cabinet section of the store) and realized that not only was it cheaper, but it was just as customizable! IKEA has a little BESTA planner you can try out on the computer (just like the kitchen cabinets), and we put together the most basic and simple unit – 3 cabinets with one shelf each. They also had stackable options, glass door options, etc, etc! In the end, simple was best. While we were still at IKEA, we picked up those white and gray bins to make organizing super easy.

      My biggest tip would be start by listing out what you want to store in the cabinet, and have fun choosing the finishes that YOU like the best!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - June 10, 2016 - 2:17 PM

    I’m SOOOOO glad that we’re not the only ones who collect misc bits (furniture, fixtures, etc) for rooms and then they don’t get used. I guess that’s the trick with vintage stuff, right? You have to grab it when you see it lest you suffer buyer’s remorse down the line. We have some stuff that I look at and think “What did we expect to put this.” But I keep reminding myself that we’re not nearly done and time will tell.

    The fauxdenza looks awesome, of course. It’s great to have more separation between working and living. That is SO important!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 10, 2016 - 3:37 PM

      Hold on to those things until you’re done! You’ll regret it if you don’t!ReplyCancel

  • Bridgette - June 13, 2016 - 10:02 AM

    I love this!

    How high off the ground did y’all mount it?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 13, 2016 - 6:47 PM

      It’s 6″ off the ground, and it sits right above our baseboards. :)ReplyCancel

  • Sheila - June 13, 2016 - 4:00 PM

    Love it, especially next to the exposed chimney. You guys always do such a great job on these projects! Can you tell me where you got those white stackable storage bins inside your fauxdenza? They look really practical and elegant.ReplyCancel

  • Debbie Cotton - June 14, 2016 - 11:05 PM

    Looks so good!! Love how this space is coming together!ReplyCancel

    • Judy Woods - June 15, 2016 - 1:35 AM

      This is really nice. Thanks for the information.ReplyCancel

  • Dakwerken - June 17, 2016 - 4:37 AM

    Cool! Even I’m thinking of mounting a besta system in our office. I am more encouraged now after reading your postReplyCancel

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