Sunday, November 17, 2013

IKEA Hacking - The cure for the 'Hidden Designer'?

Chapter 1 Chris said, 'Karol you channel Candice Olson'  'Thank you Chris', I said.

Chris is a smart, first time home buyer. He bought a townhome on a 'six year plan' - he will do some strategic work on the house, let it appreciate a little, and then sell it - upgrading in the process. 

He had the kitchen doors professionally refinished. Changed lighting fixtures himself, and did the backsplash in a nice stone with the help of his father-in-law. Selected a cool grey for the wall colour, paying attention that the paint be easy to maintain. He bought the required linear footage of nice MDF crown moulding and painted it proper white. 

As an ambitious individual, he considered doing an IKEA Billy Hack himself - learning as he went along. It was then he contacted me asking me to come look at his space. The space - his living room - had bulkhead that was 15" deep [and as bulkheads are usually built, with a laser I found that it was waving 'in-and-out' and 'up and down'], which almost matched the depth of the deep Billy bookcase. He had that space filled with IKEA Expedit units in dark brown. In the center there was an electric fireplace. He did not like the look. 

See, what Chris did not know, was that he suffered from an incurable condition - something I call the case of 'a hidden designer'.  My experience is that, often, the client leaves most design decisions to me - they trust me. Chris was different because he paid attention to all details - I felt that I had very little wiggle room. He was very specific about what he liked and required help in realizing his vision. I have to say, that I feel I was successful, as in collaboration we achieved savings [we kept the original fireplace] and were able to nicely expand on the design without raising too much end costs*. 

Instead of creating a wall of Billys [the original image that he showed me**, I believe, is the most widely circulated image of an IKEA Billy hack on the web, I see it all the time], we opted to create some 'voids' in the design. Chris has a plan to put some fancy wallpaper/fabric on the back and accent it with lights. We deleted the fourth Billy on the left, shortening the space to a 24" wide countertop, and thus gaining valuable width for the fireplace and a nice TV.  Chris plans to introduce the paint to the MDF - a matching white - and then do a natural stone arch just above the electric insert. Whoa! I said, that is ambitious!

Chris' favourite part of the built-in  -  that floating panel on the back is removable - makes for cabling upgrade on the TV a breeze. Here:

Chris said, 'Karol you channel Candice Olson'
'Thank you Chris', I said. 

That's right! I am not a interior designer - but the one thing that I do real good is a mean design for built-ins - professional IKEA hacking! Great designs done on a budget!

** Here is the image, it's by this really crafty lady - - and her 'hack', in my opinion is totally legit. If you follow her instructions you will be able to create built in like these. It is a simple hack - base and crown with covered gables. While it does work for this space, odd dimensions would create an awkward look - the covered gables [verticals] would keep getting wider and wider as needed to fill in the width. I am sure someone who attempts this hack will find out exactly what I mean. 

My IKEA hacks are seamless - they become part of a larger design. I hope it shows. I hack IKEA for the combination of functionality and price. All hacks are assembled to commercial millwork standards - my background is in commercial millwork. And I can make them look any way you want - I can do very modern, classic, arts and crafts, shaker, 'fancy french', even bauhaus. My IKEA Hacks are custom millwork - very well priced. 

To my knowledge I am the first professional IKEA hacker. Virtually all my designs and millwork are based on IKEA products - it being so vast and varied. I have developed a system for creating professional looking designs. Some of IKEA product lines are of such high quality that I decided to hack them to create my own line of super-luxe hacks - KingK + QueenT  - a combination of high end manufacturing with some fancy woodworking techniques.

* in the end it came to a vigorous fencing match and a draw, at which point we agreed on one-to-one barter - your workday for my workday. 


Chris painted it!
Here it is! Nice! Ready for Christmas!