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Skar Transformed

With all of the changes happening as we transform our former office into the studio, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about storage. Our fauxdenza, while it offers hidden cubbies for shipping boxes and such, it doesn’t offer as much as I need – which is no one’s fault but our stubby 7-foot length of wall. We plan on putting the painting table on the opposite side of the room, which sadly leaves no more space for our filing cabinet. This was a sad, sad realization and something that took us days to admit. We did, however, keep it in the family (passing it along to our friend for her home office), but the sudden lack of storage had us scrambling for new ideas; ideas that would take up the smallest footprint possible.

We’re still working on a wall of open shelving above the task station (as mentioned in posts past), but we needed more nooks to stash the ugly items – such as drop cloths, external hard drives and numerous cables and doo dads. (We also purchased this dolly, which will roll away under the fauxdenza.) And then during one of our many, many trips to the big blue box, we found Skar.

Although its actual intent is to stash your shoes, we had a different idea in mind. At less than 8 inches deep, it was slim enough to mount on any wall, but the height allowed for three glorious drawers. We weren’t a fan of the open top cubby (we’ll have plenty on-display storage above the fauxdenza), and we didn’t like the front feet or drawer pulls.

Picture this, two nuts in Ikea, hovered in secrecy, heavily discussing the dissection of Skar. After asking ourselves things like, can we find better drawer pulls? (yes!), can we cut off the top section? (yes!), and can we nix those legs and make it float? (yes, yes, yes!), we hauled him home and got to work.

The first thing we did (after unpacking the box and accounting for every piece) was find the two long sides and figure out where we needed to make our cuts to eliminate the top.

We knew we wanted to keep the upper shelf, so we attached it on each of the sides, using it as a guide and marked our cuts with a pencil.

Since we would be eliminating the open top, we took that opportunity to customize a new top to cover the particle board cuts and finish the look. Using a piece of poplar we had on hand (leftover from the big, bad media wall), we took what would’ve been the Skar top and traced the outline.

Once everything was marked, we made our cuts on the back porch, then followed the rest of the Ikea instructions until we had our frame:

We used the brackets given to us with Skar to hang it on the wall, but since we didn’t like the look of the legs, we decided to forgo them completely. To mimic the look of our floating fauxdenza, we anchored it about 5 inches off the floor and added our own additional L-brackets (with more anchors) to the bottom.

Since we also passed on the metal pulls, we used blue tape on the drawers for the meantime then popped them into place. A dry fit confirmed that our poplar piece was just right.

During the same time that I stained the oak for the fauxdenza top, I did the same with the poplar using the same method: one coat of wood conditioner, two coats of Minwax Jacobean and three thin coats of Polycrylic. A few screws from underneath keeps it all in place.

At this point, a few weeks had gone by as I scoured the web for the perfect handles (Miranda even noticed our in-progress project in this gallery wall post), but in the end, patience paid off! (Imagine that. Note to self: remember that concept.) We used a tape measure to find our center and a square to measure down from the top.

We made a mark with a fine tipped Sharpie at 1 1/2″ down and 8 3/4″ over (the center point). Found here, we think Skar looks pretty tough with these pulls – appropriately so (think: Simba’s uncle).

The drawers are yet to be stuffed, but considering that Skar is only 8 inches in depth, there’s still a good amount of storage for those miscellaneous office-y items.

We still need to install our chair rail (green tape be damned! And don’t get us started on the crown molding), but we think those lion pulls play nice with our collection of gold frames:

Eventually, we’d like to continue the stained wood top down the sides, but for now, it does tie in with our fauxdenza top. At the same time, the five inch float keeps everything off the floor, making this tiny room feel just the smallest bit less cramped. (You might notice we’ve also added pulls to the task station, found here.)

Although the chair rail is still missing, we did fill our frames with the missing art (not shown in these snaps, obviously), but an update is in order soon. And as previously mentioned, my painting table will sit under the gallery wall, and my grandma’s chair will find a home in here, too.

We’ve also purchased a rug, I’m flip flopping on curtains (velvet? silk? faux-silk? white cotton or prints?), and we’re currently eyeballs deep in wall shelving, paint and wallpaper (oh, tease!). It’s coming together, slowly but surely, and it’s so exciting watching this room come to life.

Have you hacked an Ikea purchase lately?

See more of our studio ideas on our Pinterest board, right here.

  • Jane @ The Borrowed Abode - February 13, 2012 - 9:01 AM

    This is a SUPER slick transformation!!
    I wouldn’t normally think of brassy Lion Head pulls as modern, but when you guys do it. . . it totally works. This is awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Our Humble A{Bowe}d - February 13, 2012 - 9:16 AM

    Oooh, I like Simba’s uncle in there. So much fun. And the pulls on the fauxdenza are awesome. Good thinking, guys! I’m excited to see more!!!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - February 13, 2012 - 9:25 AM

    the lion pulls looks fantastic! and i dig the fauxdenza gold ones too. they tickle my fancy even more in the faraway shot vs. the close-up. (not that I didn’t like them, but I really like them now since i can see the whole shebang) funny how that works! looking beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Jimmy - February 13, 2012 - 10:06 AM

    Looks great. Adding the poplar piece was a nice touch.

    This shelving issue reminded me of a solution I’d found a little while back.M Depending on what you’ve got going on behind the drywall, you might be able to cut some away and “bury” the back end of similar project into the wall. This contractor does a good job breaking down the how-to http://pinterest.com/pin/214624738461599629/

    Most studs go 3.5 inches deep, plus the 1/2 inch drywall on top means you could push something like this Skar shelving unit into the wall by a full four inches.

    Since you’ve already got the unit built, you’re pretty much already there with the project. Figure out where the studs are, then just trace around it on the wall, cut away the drywall along the traced line, then slide the piece on in there, securing it to a stud on either side, then adding a little trim around it to hide the cut drywall.

    This works best on interior walls, as exterior walls tend to have needed insulation or brick behind them that you can’t work through.

    For small spaces you really cant beat it this technique.ReplyCancel

  • Andrea B - February 13, 2012 - 10:13 AM

    Gorgeous! Love the little lion pulls.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 13, 2012 - 10:16 AM

    Thanks, everyone!

    Jimmy, that’s actually a great idea! We hadn’t thought about that, but I think the Skar could actually benefit from that tutorial! Just pinned it.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa // thefauxmartha - February 13, 2012 - 10:24 AM

    Love the “simba’s uncle” drawer pulls. You are an Ikea hack genius!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - February 13, 2012 - 10:47 AM

    I find small rooms so inspiring!
    Looking good!ReplyCancel

  • Penina - February 13, 2012 - 11:14 AM

    Please do not get velvet curtains. You will freak the F out when you realize how much pet hair accumulates on them and we will never hear the end of it!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 13, 2012 - 11:22 AM

    Haha, noted!ReplyCancel

  • kirsten - February 13, 2012 - 11:33 AM

    I am DYING over those pulls – so lovely. The room is coming toether perfectly!!!ReplyCancel

  • emily @ the happy home - February 13, 2012 - 11:49 AM

    oh, oh, oh. i love this. this is the chic-est studio ever! (and i second the no-go on velvet– or anything light in color. i can’t believe how yucky my chow chow has made my white canvas curtains!)ReplyCancel

  • Sam @ Leave the Nest Up to Me - February 13, 2012 - 12:26 PM

    The new drawer pulls are so fun! You’d never know the piece was from Ikea. Great idea!ReplyCancel

  • katie - February 13, 2012 - 1:19 PM

    great solution! and i also like the fun pulls, it really adds to it!

    we’re going to attempt to hack a few ikea kitchen cabinets to fit odd spaces in our kitchen. glad you had so much success!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie - February 13, 2012 - 1:42 PM

    Lurve x a million.ReplyCancel

  • Lily - February 13, 2012 - 2:40 PM

    I agree with others, the lion pulls are freaking awesome! It would be cool to do this hack in an small entry way and still use it for shoes.ReplyCancel

  • Kyley at Painting Pony - February 13, 2012 - 5:13 PM

    The Lion pulls are awesome! Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Annie - February 13, 2012 - 8:19 PM

    Love this! I’ve considered putting something like this in our front hallway where our space is super limited… This is making it look even better! = )ReplyCancel

  • G - February 13, 2012 - 9:13 PM

    Thanks for the inspiration! What a great idea. I am rethinking my entire office and love the ideas I’ve gotten from you! thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Lacy @ downMODERNhome.com - February 13, 2012 - 9:14 PM

    It’s coming along great! Love Ikea and the possibilities- it’s the kind of furniture that is almost more fun to reinvent than leave in it’s original form.ReplyCancel

  • mamaholt - February 13, 2012 - 10:57 PM

    AKK!! Brilliant! I love everything.ReplyCancel

  • Liz - February 14, 2012 - 12:12 PM

    YES! We have the same cabinet in our bathroom and we love it! It holds an amazing amount of stuff! <3ReplyCancel

  • Rachel @ I'm Loving Today - February 14, 2012 - 4:27 PM

    That is one fantastic hack! Seriously, those lions-head pulls are rad beyond belief. That is such a great idea for a “random stuff” organizer!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren L. - February 16, 2012 - 11:44 PM

    Awesome IKEA hack! And the lion pulls? Come on.. it’s amazing! :)ReplyCancel

  • Prettie Little Pittie - March 25, 2012 - 3:55 PM

    Found your site via Two Pitties in the City and i LOVE it!

    This is brilliant! I think I’m going to borrow it for my (teeny tiny) office space. Can’t wait! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - March 26, 2012 - 10:16 AM

    Glad you found us, Prettie!ReplyCancel

  • cheap trick: ikea dresser | Jess Lively - October 15, 2012 - 4:25 PM

    [...] A bit blah for my taste. So we upped the ante with new knobs (first spotted in Kim’s studio). [...]ReplyCancel

  • Adrienne Sieffert - August 13, 2013 - 11:11 AM

    I have been admiring this office and the storage unit for a long time now and never knew the source for the picture. I’m over the moon with excitement because l found the pulls and am moving so it’s time to make this for myself. Thank you so much for sharing this D.I.Y.

    Can l ask where the rug tiles are from? Been hunting for those as well :)

    Cheers! You guys have a beautiful space.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - August 13, 2013 - 12:10 PM

    Hi Adrienne, thank you! The rug tiles are Sophitikat by Flor in cobalt, but sadly, they’ve been discontinued…ReplyCancel

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