There is something about a toolbelt. On a man, it can add instant sex appeal (if they know how to use it, that is). On a woman, it is empowering. There’s an immediate sense of capability, creativity, strength, and “Men? We don’t need no stinkin’ men!” Seeing the end result of creating something from bits and pieces of nothing is pretty damned incredible, too. Considering that most of those bits and pieces are junk from out of our shed…well, there’s no other feeling like it.
I blame ikeahackers.net and instructables.com. Not too long ago, my house could pass for an IKEA catalog, but I’m trying to move past that stage of our lives. Now I want cool, funky, different. The beauty of ikeahackers.net is that it shows how to take common IKEA furnishings and turn them into uncommon, but useful, new objects that don’t look so…IKEA-ish. Of course, instructables is really my downfall, as they usually show step by step how to construct or destruct something. All the pictures look so easy! Add in my recent lesson in power tools from the evil one who deserves no name, and we were ready to go.
Our first project was to design a standing desk from an old coffee table/entertainment center by adding legs and casters. The Vika Curry legs do not have holes for casters, so they all had to be pre-drilled. Unlike most men, Aubrey and I mainly use her inexpensive tool set that I bought her for school, and another inexpensive rechargeable screwdriver set that my bff gave us as a housewarming gift (actually, we stole it from him). Yes, we are working with a $15 tool set from Big Lots (it’s on the table in the picture below), a $10 screwdriver set from Harbor Freight, and a $20 Black and Decker drill bit set. Almost all of our hardware is random stuff out of our shed, or recycled from something we’ve destructed. So we used a screwdriver bit that is actually a long, tiny drill bit for pilot holes, made all the pilot holes for the casters, then used casters that we’d taken off another piece of furniture. After the first screw hole, I learned that it was much easier if I made the pilot hole, then screwed in the actual screw, then took the screw out and did the same for the other three holes. THEN the caster was much easier to handle and the screws didn’t slip around so much.
The layer of dust and the mess permeate the entire house.
Aubrey and I both think the standing desk is fabulous, although I haven’t yet bought any stools to use with it. Ron deemed it a useless disaster because it is too high. I had intended to use it anyway, but our second project rather led to the decision to destroy the standing desk and use the table bit of it elsewhere.
Our second project was to use the closet system that was taking up a LOT of space in the shed. We used the headers, standards, and brackets. Because we screwed directly into studs, we didn’t need any anchors or molly bolts (butterfly bolts). Once all the hardware part was installed, we moved on to destructing a cheap white melamine/mdf bookcase that is about $25 at Walmart. That gave us two shelves that are 72 inches long, and 5 shelves that are 30 inches long. Both sets are 12 inches deep. We used the long shelves horizontally above where our little loveseat sits, and used the other shelves vertically from ceiling to floor.
Two sides of a cheap bookshelf make two 72" long shelves!
I had originally planned to paint all the shelves, but then I started to put all my white IKEA boxes and magazine holders on the shelves, and realized it looked like an IKEA idea room. I’ve always wanted something like that, but could never quite get it to look so clean and neat. So quite by accident, I got a look that I never thought I could accomplish. The blue tape on the large KASSETT box is holding it while some Lock-tite cures, as these boxes are so big, they tend to bulge out unattractively.
Of course, while all that sounds super easy, it was actually quite difficult because we didn’t have a drill. We OWN a drill, but the chuck key has been missing for ages. All we had was that tiny pilot hole bit on the small rechargeable screwdriver. Fortunately, we also had self-tapping screws, so once the pilot hole was drilled, we again screwed in the screws, took them out, put up the header/standard/brackets and screwed them back in. Once we had it figured out, we moved pretty quickly.
While we still had a leftover header, four 48 in standards, and three more bookcases to destroy, we didn’t have any brackets left, so we had to stop. Yesterday, we headed to Home Depot to get more brackets, some strips and clips to install in the bathroom cabinet that the evil one started but didn’t finish, and we got another two headers and two more standards. We also wanted to get some simple aprons, so we could each hold screws, a pencil, a screwdriver, and a level without the constant, “Where did I put the…” and “FUCK!” when we dropped screws. We found the perfectly functional $.77 aprons sitting at the bottom of the toolbelt shelf. Talk about slick marketing! Aubrey found a small toolbelt she really liked that fits on a regular belt. I went up a notch and got one with the belt attached that is essentially two of the ones that Aub picked, as well as a single pocket in between, and a holster for a drill/screwdriver/hammer. We did get two of the little aprons as well, for when we’re painting or doing other small projects.
At some point in the near future, we are painting the window trim and the fireplace in the office. Then we are installing more shelves above where Ron’s desk will be. We are taking the casters off the Vika Curry legs, taking the legs off the standing desk, and attaching them to a Vika Amon tabletop that I had picked up on our last IKEA run. I know, that’s an extremely common combination, but it’s what Ron wants for a desk. I’ve decided to use the coffee table/entertainment center that we originally started with, and attach it to the bottom bits of what Ron was using as a desk, because it will be perfect for the printer, scanner, paper, and other office supplies. I’ll use the top from that desk as my desk top, but put it on brackets on the wall. We’re destructing another desk for another 2 72 in horizontal shelves, and the rest for another five shelf vertical sytem that will be above my desk.
Considering we’ve been under a “spend no money” mandate, we’ve accomplished a lot. Of course, we had to spend a little bit, and I need to make another IKEA run, but all in all, I’m super happy with our “use what we have” solutions. Let me know what YOU think!
“I’m not the kind to use a pencil or rule…”