When Julia told me they were about to launch a podcast, my immediate thought was yes! Give me all the podcasts!As my go-to girlfriend for all things home (and my texting confidante when torn with design indecision), I told her we’d be the first to subscribe. So when she followed up by asking if Scott and I wouldn’t mind joining in on a low key conversation about our own renovations – and how in the world we handle the snowball effect! – I was all yes, yes! Then we immediately began practicing our least screechy on-air voice.
The first 3 episodes kicked off this week, and I listened to them as I edited photos and painted pets. Hosted by their friend Preston, the podcast feels as if you’re actually sitting in the room with old friends, chatting about your own paint dilemmas and why is it so hard to choose a white paint? The trio feels effortless and upbeat, because they are friends, but they have a way of bringing you into the conversation, too. Personally, I love that Chris and Julia give us a fun peek behind the blogging curtain, but I have just one request – bring on Charly!
You can catch all the episodes on iTunes or Stitcher, and we catch up with them in the third episode! (Bonus points for anyone who picks up on Jack’s cameo.) New episodes air every Monday, so go ahead and get hooked.
The Lowe’s spring makeover wrapped up not that long ago, and today, we’re excited to share the entire story with you! From start to finish, the experience was exciting, exhausting, challenging and celebratory all at once, but isn’t that always the case when something is worth it? We landed late on a Friday evening at the Orange County airport, began our Saturday before the sun was up and called it a wrap with just enough time to watch it set on Sunday evening. We might have slept for a couple of hours in-between.
Our goal was to create a welcoming, relaxing and enjoyable family room for a newly-multi-generational household. Akiyo and her family – husband Brandon, son Bruce and teeny pup Katsu – recently moved in with her dad, back into the home she grew up in. This room is truly the backdrop to their lives; it’s where they sing songs, practice their dance moves and snuggle to a Netflix marathon. It’s where 5-year-old Bruce crafts and colors, and it’s where the family gathers after long work days and equally long commutes. After a quick tour (and coffee and doughnuts!), we wasted no time divvying up the paint cans and brushes, ripping open bags of potting soil, photo framing, spray painting, wood staining and furniture assembling. We had an impressive crew of Lowe’s volunteers, and Akiyo’s friends and sisters popped over to help, too!
We’re slowly chugging along on finishing up the bedroom, while also planning for laundry cabinets and drawing up ideas for the backyard this summer(!). Today, I wanted to share a super simple IKEA hack – with the term hack being used lightly – for a perfectly sized, slim floating vanity using the EKBY ALEX.
Stepping back quickly to our PAX wardrobes, our entire goal was to eliminate the need for a dresser (or two), as we wanted to keep the walls free of any heavy furniture. Instead, I knew I wanted to have a small landing spot for a vanity to hold my equally small stash of makeup and jewelry, and we both agreed it’d be nice if it was long enough to display a few favorite items, too. After debating between countless skinny consoles or DIY, we ultimately landed on the inexpensive EKBY ALEX – with just a few modifications, of course!
The EKBY is meant to be installed using a minimum of two brackets (like this), although three is recommended. We both loved the simple shape and the slim depth, but against our dark walls, we weren’t loving the idea of adding brackets – even if we did go with black. Endless Googling showed variations with legs, wrapped in wood or wallpapered, and although we toyed with the idea of using hunky industrial L-brackets and painting them the same color as the wall, we were determined to keep it looking light. Could we make it float?
Eventually, I turned up this BESTA hack using heavy duty corner braces. If it seems obvious, it’s because it is! Unlike L brackets, corner braces can be completely hidden from the inside and attach on three sides. I bought two packs of these 3″ heavy duty braces, and we were golden. Tip: Always drill a pilot hole before screwing anything into IKEA furniture (or anything, really)! To prevent us from accidentally going through the other side, we flag our drill bit with a piece of blue tape, which tells us when to ‘stop.’
We discarded the back of the unit (which was a thin piece of cardboard, more or less), which allowed us to attach the braces to the wall. In order to gain access, we had to stop short of installing the bottom piece and sliding in the drawers. We were able to hit a stud on one of the braces, and for the other two (we installed three total), we used toggle bolts. This was surely overkill as nothing in this vanity is more than a few ounces on its own, but it’s also nice to know that this thing is strong. Float, float!
With the unit on the wall and the bottom in place, we went to slide in the drawers and hit one small obstacle: IKEA includes thick plastic bolts to attach the sides of the drawer to the back, but the slightly rounded head hits the edge of the corner brace! We removed the bolts and (carefully!) used wood screws instead.
As it turns out, it will float! The vanity is installed along the wall that leads into the bedroom, right next to the laundry room door. The 12″ depth makes it a non-issue, allowing for easy flow between both rooms and back out into the studio.
Inside the drawers, I used a flatware organizer for makeup and small bowls for containing my fancy (ha!) jewelry:
The drawers don’t pull out all the way due to built-in stops (the photos above show the extent of their range if you’re curious), which I thought might be a problem in the beginning but having used the floating vanity for several weeks now, it’s a non issue. The notched out pull is decently sized, so I push my trays to the back of the drawer when they’re not in use, and you can barely (like, baaarely) see them with the drawers closed, which makes me happy.
We also picked up the IKORNNES mirror after seeing how cute it is in Anna’s bedroom, which is such an IKEA gem! We wanted a small-ish mirror that would sit on top since we’ll be hanging art above the vanity. Speaking of which, we’re waiting on a few photo prints, frames and one more sconce to arrive, and soon enough, we’ll be calling this room done!