Friday, November 2, 2018

IKEA Hacker Says - How to make White GRIMSLOV look best.

---> BIG EDIT: Nov 1, 2021 ---> GRIMSLOV is being discontinued by IKEA. It is recommended that you REPLACE your damaged GRIMSLOV elements: doors, drawer faces, side panels, etc. --->  RIGHT NOW.

---> If you have an 'ON-GOING Design' - many people have; you have spread out your GRIMSLOV purchase over an extended period of time - NOW is the time to hit that PURCHASE button on IKEA's website. Stock is still plentiful but will begin to slowly dwindle down - YOU WANT to complete your design!

OK! Done....

Read on....


[pictured shows a large window with an upholstered bench underneath, flanked by bookcases with lights. This is an IKEA Hack using the Grimslov doors, Sektion box, Billy bookcases, Omlopp puck lights and PAX strip lights. The lighting is controlled using Ansulta remote control - designs like these are a sign of 'Peak Furnishings', according to Karol Kosnik] 

Chapter 1 - White GRIMSLOV Hate

As a designer - so a 'built interior designer', so I won't really accessorize or pick your throw pillows but I will help you set-up solid foundations for it, so built-ins, lighting, storage, organization, pretty furniture - I always strive [my duty! I say, lol] to create pleasant interiors. 

Most often it means selecting something from the IKEA's line-up, and most often it is Sektion or BILLY. I have been avoiding the white GRIMSLOV [so that is SEKTION] because I wasn't able to be successful with it - IKEA doesn't really make any nice 'sides' or mouldings that match that style. GRIMSLOV essentially is an over-sized Shaker, and you can either live with it or you cannot. There is number of specific characteristics that this door possess - some of it is intentional, like the relatively large frame, or the soft radiuses which are by-product of the way the doors are manufactured - thermofoil door - they have to be that way. 

**Most people that go to IKEA get 'trapped in the doors'**

Most people that go to IKEA get 'trapped in the doors', what do I mean by that? IKEA has professionals that make sure that their kitchens look GREAT - optimized and maximized with accessories and lighting and all the other trinkets that you can buy at IKEA - but you have to look past that. 

And the doors are GREAT too - lots of cost effective options to satisfy any budget [I am genuinely mind-boggled that I can buy Ukrainian made HAGGEBY doors for $8 - eight dollars!]. But as more and more people want to utilize the price point in their renovation/decorating project they start looking for more. So we already know that the 'rock-bottom' is captured - but there exists a market just above that, that IKEA wants to capture - that's why the catalogue is 'different' this year! 

Some SEKTION side panels are shared across multiple door styles - it's the colour that unifies them. So as we have a great variety of doors, what IKEA misses are those 'trimmings' that give each kitchen its unique 'flavour'. So I want to say that for 'modernist' kitchens, like the RINGHULT for example, the skinny side panels work - well, because, simplified, that is the 'modernist kitchen'. But the same size panels completely DO NOT WORK for GRIMSLOV! I personally think it is a great clash - that frame is just too oversize and overpowers that skinny edge that is showing! 

PRO TIP ---> Next time you are at IKEA, look BEYOND all the show and glitter, and just focus your attention on the actual box proportions and your preference for functionality. Take notes + pictures. 

This 'Create a BETTER look for GRIMSLOV aesthetic' was particularly challenging on this project - challenging but refreshing too! You know why refreshing? Because I knew that this was no kitchen, I could do anything that I wanted without having to stick to restrictive dimensions and functions, that working with kitchens brings - I LITERALLY just started experimenting. 

I have admit that my 'go to design exercise' is 'designing for myself' - I want to create something that I personally would like to have in my home. AND I am an optimizer! And there is just SOOOO much product - 'the bones' - that IKEA has to offer. No jokes, on this project, it seems, I grabbed a piece from every department! From Kitchens, and Bookcases, and Storage and PAX and Lighting! Of course there are custom touches on it too - my favourite I call 'deep bead board' - I make it that deep to 'unsettle the viewer'; because I've never really seen anyone do bead board in this fashion; it gives an illusion of great depth.

Do you know what the IMPROVED aesthetic for GRISMLOV is?

I just started scaling up the side panels in thickness. I took that move from my custom bookcase- I build them thicker now; I use 1" material. They end up  just looking better, custom. 

And then on the bench, because it is so long [horizontal] in relation to height, I wanted to beef it out even more - and so it came out to 1 1/4". That was a a lamination - glued up and filled edge, before painting - you have to do it, otherwise the edge will have an inferior texture - won't have that smoothness that shows care about details. 

[picture shows SEKTION boxes with white GRIMSLOV doors with custom base and custom, thicker side panels. The side panels are 1" and 1 1/4" think and look great]

**I think every style of panel doors has an optimum side panel - some are good with stock IKEA, and some, like the GRIMSLOV, need a custom solution. **

So, I also got the crown moulding for the GRIMSLOV too - it is just a thick flat [I made mine 6" x 1" for ease of joinery] with a large radius on the underside. This thing floats 3/16" over the top of cabinets/doors and extends about a 1/4" more than it is thick. 


Yea, me too kind of - will upload a pics and drawing -, you will right away see - it is deceptively simple, but a very STRONG detail. AND... and... and I want to say that it is a bit of a trend in the kitchen design world, especially the finer ones. 

The OTHER advantage of this particular design  - detailing for the GRIMSLOV doors - is the fact that it makes the space look taller, much taller - that's the Psychology of Design that I always talk about. If you don't have a tall space and you need to 'make it feel taller' than there are specific things you do when you are decorating.

**Who doesn't love the feeling of sky high ceilings... I do!** 

The next step in elevating your ceiling, in this instance, is to adjust the heights of commonly introduced decorating elements that play a FUNCTIONAL role in design, like clocks for example. 

[picture shows a custom built upper cabinet. It features 1" thick cables and a solid wood glass door; the cabinet is crowned with a floating flat crown moulding]

[picture shows a close-up of the corner of the previously described cabinet - the wood grain flakes from the quarter-sawn white oak solid doors are visible].

Monday, August 6, 2018

IKEA Hacker SAYS - New GRIMSLOV - Gray vs White - which one has better Design Potential?


[picture shows a cut through section of Gray GRIMSLOV doors - a solid birch frame, with a thin particle core panel skinned in, likely, birch veneer; the doors features very crisp, small bevels and is sprayed with a matte lacquer - for hacking purposes the door is re-sprayable!]

[picture shows a cut-away section of White GRIMSLOV doors - a MDF sandwich, that creates illusion of a frame, that has been CNC routed to create generous round-overs that allow for the foil finish to properly stretch over the substrate; this door IS NOT suitable for re-spraying; pictures also the foil being peeled back to expose the MDF - it takes quite a bit of force to peel it back - it is a well made door]

VIDEO REVIEW link - GRAY vs. WHITE - which one has better design potential. 

Chapter 1 - Gray GRIMSLOV review

I made a video but still have to upload it to the channel - I love the new Gray Grimslov! What a nice door - very clean, I think that is what attracted me to it. When I caught the sight of it against all the other doors it was the tight gaps and crisp shadows [CRITICAL ON DOOR DESIGN!] compared to other doors. This is the closest that IKEA has come to 'Shaker Style' - of course Shakers have a rich and long tradition that you can research and even likely to pick up couple of DIY books with plans on how to replicate their very beautiful designs, not to mention building a very quality piece. IKEA's Gray Grimslov is different from Classic shaker. But you know what? - most people will glance at it and it will read Shaker to them [not to purists of course] and that is enough to sell that door. It is very reasonably priced - made in Hungary, sprayed light grey, true frame-N-panel door [solid birch frame with a tiny bevel, looks great and sharp; the panel is a veneered 3/16" [?] particle core with what I will guess is a birch veneer - a proper choice of a close grained wood. 


The white Grismlov is a thermofoil door - an MDF sandwich is made, which is them machined to create small roundovers that will ease with the stretching of the foil over it and DONE! One drawback, of the process is the fact that the round overs don't create sharp shadow lines -instead they are 'smooth, shade, transitions' - some people like that and some don't - so if you were to look at the white GRIMSLOV vs gray GRIMSLOV side by side you would immediately see how much crisper the gray one is. And if you are a keen designer, or a sharp-eyed DIY-selfer than you will spot that difference and then make an informed decision as to which one you prefer. OH! OH! You cannot re-spray white GRIMSLOV! - I mean you can, but I would never give warranty on such doors - spray over foil? - not sure how long that would last, and I, personally, want things that I build to last. 


Monday, May 14, 2018

Maker Fair - DIY, hands on workshop

[picture shows a Studio Kosnik IKEA Hack design - features upper SEKTION boxes floating on a wall combined with custom drawers for spacing, as well as a floating desk and solid wood shelves. This design is not possible to execute using the IKEA planner - if you come to the Maker Fair I will speak about how to get your designs 'out of the IKEA kitchen planner!]

Chapter 1 - Maker Fair;

I applied to show - a ticketed event! If you are curious I will be talking and showing about everything that I do - we will talk Peak Furnishings and IKEA Hacking!

Also, I had to write a sad e-mail today:

...perhaps there was a misunderstanding - I assumed that design was for you personally - and I would be happy to execute it for you. However, I don't work through designers/decorators - I have my own design practice, and I have specific goals that I want to achieve - affordability of design is a big issue for me. I only work directly with the end-client in order to reduce the cost and keep my work affordable and popular - I just run one kijiji ad....
I apologize, but I am unable to help you with this one, I hope you understand,
all best,

Studio Kosnik

You would be shocked how many people I meet - artists/designers - who sign up for representation, and then are unable to get out of the contract. Your creativity, your work forever chained to a master - yes, you are famous, and you are in demand - but you are at a fickle of an individual who can ruin you if you disagree. I thought that was annoying - I am using the Internet to fight that. I believe that given our ability to connect, one should be able to market to people who need your services DIRECTLY. Without the 'middle man'. I think it is more democratic that way AND more affordable.....

just some thoughts.....

Monday, April 9, 2018

DELAKTIG is in! I repeat, DELAKTIG IS IN! - Industriell 2!

CHapter 1 - DELAKTIG has landed! 

With Tom Dixon bragging that this is the first - maybe only - IKEA sanctioned hack, I am excited to announce that I received official e-mail invite from IKEA to check out the collection. Exciting! - and that's a wee-bit understatement. Can't wait to get my hands on that product. 

Side by side, another collection has been launched - INDUSTRIELL. Reading the description had me a bit confused - so it is an 'industrial process that purports to produce hand-made results' - apparently people crave 'hand-made' and thus in order to bring that 'desired hand-made' they have a machine reproduce it.

Hmmm.... oh the tale that the marketing team at IKEA weaves.....

First of all - my understanding of 'hand-made' is 'hand-made', and I am having trouble with how to jump over that hurdle in a logical fashion. My guess is that the production process is likely not perfected - they can't produce flawless 'handmade' - because 'handmade' also has a specific quality - it's not random splatter, uneven brush strokes, or mindless marks on wood - and maybe it is also due to the intrinsic nature of the materials involved. But, given time and experience that process will become perfect [or with adjustable variability of 'hand-made' - so say, you will be able to dial just how much imperfections you can get - from 0 to 100% - and I mean how do you quantify that too!].

But I think the greatest lesson from the INDUSTRIELL collection is that - the robots are coming for our jobs. Automation is here!


Will write  more about it as I go thinking and working about my day.

Monday, March 26, 2018

PAX Reboot - get 10 MORE YEARS out of the closet.

pssst!.... I think a PAX sale is coming up.
Hey! click the PAX label at the bottom to get all my PAX entries!

[picture shows IKEA's PAX wardrobe being hacked - squared and reinforced, glued in and screwed in backs - plywood cross pieces being installed]

 Chapter 1 - A GREAT CLOSET at an amazing PRICE

PAX has been around for awhile now. In fact it has been around long enough that it has gone through some major technical re-designs BUT without changing its overall appearance.

Like what you say? Well, back in the day, PAX was made the old school way, with the IKEA's custom laid-up panels [organic closets! - I used to joke around], cut up, and edged. It was easy to hack back then, because you could easily cut them up into desired dimensions, or 'split them' [I did that!] - I would take the deep PAX and cut it in half, put some custom backs on in and had a 2 sided closet.  

But that was then. Now PAX gables [the verticals] are a high end custom sandwich with cardboard core, particle core strips for strength [where required - so at 'pin locations', tops and bottoms] - you really need to understand how it is manufactured to properly 'hack it'. And I do it. 

But every now and then, I am called to a home where PAX is already installed and has been aging gracefully for 10 years or so. 10 years is that magical number when IKEA's PAX warranty expires and issues start popping up. I want to point out that wear and tear is not covered by IKEA's warranty! The client was so frustrated with her closets that she was ready to throw them out and purchase new ones! I said, 'STOP!', all they need is a little bit of TLC, some hacking, few improvements and they will be as good as new! Of course it helped that the place was going through a total reno and we were able to pull them off the wall, and break them down a bit - but they were totally re-built!

The next post was a long time coming, but I think it will be my most valuable PAX post yet. Warning, it may be long and somewhat technical but it is necessary. If you are thinking of having those PAX closets last longer than 10 years; if you are renovating or new-building and are thinking of doing away with traditional closets and just going with built-in PAX, then this is written for you. I will not be going in to the design aspect of it, simply because that could be a chapter in its own. 

Onto the NEXT POST!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Confessions of an IKEA Hacker - the DELAKTIG Dillema + Ingvar's Passing

Chapter 1 - Ingvar's Passing

Yea I was going to start posting about the DELAKTIG project - but something else happened this weeked. Ingavr Kamprad died - the Great Founder. He is credited with pioneering the concept of 'flat packing' - and thus revolutionizing Furniture Design - I fictionalized that moment here, on this blog, it's at the end of the entry. Wikipiedia - to whom I donate annually, just to perpetuate that liberal, open minded bias - lists him as a 'Swedish Business Magnate' - died peacefully - and no doubt in my mind 'extremely satisfied with what he has accomplished' in his life. 

I said that I will share controversial opinions about design, starting this Design Week that happened [my second Ikea Hacker Convention* - the Practical, Artsy + MoneyMaker]  - it is all about the sales. If anyone tries to convince you that they are doing it for the art OR design, then they are lying - well, rare art/design geniuses exist, but yea, very very rare. AND you know what Ingvar did? He sold. And he sold tons and tons - IKEA today is a leading home furnishing retailer in the world. Its line-up of boxes that real people need for living is unmatched - SEKTION, PAX, Billy and BESTA** - the essential core is manufactured most efficiently - I take advantage of his philosophy every single day! 

IKEA is also is an employment leader - with unmatched loyalty - in today's world with everyone being 'replaceable' - either by outsourcing or automation or AI'ed - IKEA provides stable, predictable, meaningful employment to thousands around the world - people feel connected. Anecdotal evidence will tell you that it is a company with a GIANT heart, where employees feel valued, and money is seen just for what it is - 'money'. Ingvar once gave away all profits from a single day of sales to his employees - all 40 000. There is leading research that suggests that happy, fulfilled people live longer lives - so I think just that metric will tell you something.

I read somewhere - BBC - that he was a billionaire - but I also heard reports that his personal wealth was in the vicinity of $115 million AND he drove an old Volvo 240! Noooo! So a man who makes or influences  'billion dollar decisions', has $114 sitting in a bank or so, DRIVES an old VOLVO!? You know what that is a sign of?  That is a sign of a man who is content with whom he is - AND I think it is a great feat to be such - content with oneself. It takes great wisdom and understanding of human existence to be content with oneself - there was no need to impress others. I have to say that I find his philosophy very inspiring - I too try for optimum solutions. 

If IKEA is any indication of his principles - then it is well positioned to be unstoppable. If a corporation is to successfully exist it must not be a predator that consumes itself - many corporations today are actively shortening their existence [meaning, huge losses and liabilities in the future - oh it's coming, no doubt, the question is just who will be the first one to recognize that? huh? New York state is already said to divest $5bn from fossil fuels and then sue them for environmental damage]. It was most curious when I read - part of my doing research into the DELAKTIG - that head of Sustainability at IKEA said that we've reached 'peak home furnishings' - IKEA's strong growth, in my opinion is an indication of just that phenomenon. If you think about it - the marketing of exclusivity is a game mostly played by the very rich, who have the disposable means to do it. I think, everyone in their life has a moment when they say 'fuck it' and you just stop caring and you buy the product that is most functional for you - the super awesome IKEA price is just a sweet, sweet bonus that IKEA long time recognized to be a great advantage and now pursues it full time. At this year's show I said that 'we are making too many things; and that there are too many designers competing for too little products to design.' Maybe a better option is to start 'designing our own lives, instead of leaving it in the hands of others to design?'. Worth thinking about it. 

Oh and don't sweat it - IKEA's boxes are well made, everyone makes their boxes the same way, and if you want to add some custom pieces to those boxes or you want to make it look like a million buck$ then you need to hire me. Oh, and you HAVE to LIKE IKEA - please don't start off by saying that you hate IKEA, but you like their low price and you want to make it look like a million buck$. So what is it? - YOU LIKE or NO?

*during my first IKEA Hackers Convention I gave away a luxe hack - from my KingK + QueenT collection - it was a table top from AS-IS, clad in very fancy Italian laminate from ABET, and new from IKEA, those black table legs, 'Fancy French' ones. When I asked the woman who won, 'Hey! But how are you going to take it home?' she was surprised, but immediately replied 'I will take off the legs and fit it in my car.' There! That is what I called an 'Ingvar moment'! People don't think about it anymore. 

** I think specifically, the existence of these furniture systems is a sign of 'peak furnishings' - these are optimum solutions - they work for 99% situations - IKEA's ability to satisfy that niche shows its leadership. I love SEKTION!

Monday, January 15, 2018

U [can] 2 official INVITE VIDEO + WILLIAM bookcase reveal!


Here is my official invite video - COME see U[can] 2 - we will learn together!

Chapter 1

Come see the William Bookase reveal [WITH pricing!] - see how affordable such projects are to the average DIY - this design can be scaled up - just imagine....a wall of FANCY looking bookcases - ON A BUDGET! 

[picture shows a picture of a hacked Billy bookcase decorated with fancy mouldings - it is called the William bookcase]

Hello Everyone who is interested in coming to PRACTICAL FRIDAY!

Practical Friday has 2 COMPONENTS:

A] 1PM - NEURODIVERSITY TALK  - Personal reflections on my professional practice - I will be speaking about the neurodiversity movement and how it will revolutionize access to workplaces for those who are NEURODIVERSE!

B] 3:30 PM - SEKTION / BESTA WORKSHOP - this is the workshop portion - I will put together a PDF document that you will be able to download and print - you can take notes right on it! Most convenient!