update about the IKEA wall unit hack


Yes, it has been a while indeed. After we had finished the legs on our Lappland combination, we sort of left it at that. Recently, a possibility to move house came up and after careful consideration, we decided to stay put.

This decision has infused the both of us with a newfound enthusiasm about our space and all of its possibilities. So after a few weeks had turned into months, turned into years, we’ve finally picked our IKEA-hack-wall-unit-project’ back up where we left off.

Here’s a little overview of what we’re working with and, more importantly, how we want to use the space.

ikea hack updateAnd this is a really sloppy photoshop visualisation of where we want doors, which parts we want closed and open.ikea hack

IKEA hack: big wall unit to hide television

Our house has very high walls (all that plastering was haaard work!) and to be honest, we haven’t yet made the most of all that vertical space.

ikeadetail2Our living room wall is a good example of what could be done but hasn’t been done. A space and storage creating project was long overdue and therefore I was very happy that a recent trip to my sister’s fuelled our imagination once again. We went to Amsterdam to help my sister, who recently moved, install a very big IKEA Besta wall unit. We hadn’t before considered using any IKEA furniture for our future wall project but seeing how useful a starting point a decent IKEA installation can be, changed our mind.

My one requirement for this project: please hide the TV. Our house is small enough as it is and a big black surface on the wall certainly doesn’t help.

We ended up looking into a tv cabinet variation of IKEA’s Expedit called Lappland. We found a secondhand one online and although smoke stained (as we later found out!) it really was a bargain=more money to spend on the hack.

Impatient as we are, the evening after we picked it up from the other side of Holland, we started assembling it. Only after putting it up against our virginally white wall we were faced with a first hurdle: the entire cabinet was stained! The former owner’s nicotine laden fumes had completely penetrated the outer layer! yuk. I remembered having seen other people try to paint over plasticised IKEA units and so I gave it a go. After a wipe and a light sand obviously.

I used a white polyurethane and to my surprise, it stuck! wooah, that made SUCH a difference…


I don’t know if you can tell from this photo but the difference between the painted and old surface is considerable

We’re planning to use a combination of natural birch ply and white painted ply to turn this Lappland into a wall covering, tv hiding, storage providing masterpiece!


LOVE the combination of ply and white


a triple thickness should approach that of the Lappland / Expedit sides.


That’s where we’re at now


Not sure whether I like the doors inset. Maybe overlay?

Have a look.woodikea ikeadoor detailikea


Here’s my photoshop sketch of what we’d potentially want. Not sure about the combinaton of open and closed yet.


Here’s our old tv cabinet, I’d like to copy these legs onto our new hack.


When in doubt, use a scrap of paper!


laundry drying rack with pulleys

I’m a big fan of cold winters. The colder it gets outside, the warmer and cosier it feels to be inside.

During this winter I’ve noticed another great benefit of having a small home; the house heats up instantly! Hardly any waiting required. Whilst our last flat had all sorts of modern amenities including floor heating, which is supposed to be an energy efficient and high tech way to heat a house, I honestly can’t say I ever really found it convenient. Whenever I adjusted the temperature on the main switch panel, it took ages to feel results. And although I think it’s a frowned-upon-practice, I enjoy drying the occasional hand washed item on the radiator. And there’s no feeling like reaching for that radiator-heated towel straight out the shower. Long story short: I actually like a good old radiator. I don’t find radiators ugly, I think they’re charming. And with so many designs to choose from nowadays, a radiator does no longer have to be a distracting factor in your interior.

Back to the subject of winter: as much as I love the cold, there’s one inconvenience it causes… the laundry drying conundrum so to speak. We don’t own a dryer and so I usually dry all our washing outside. This winter (and autumn at that) just happened to be one of Holland’s wettest ever. Which meant that we frequently had an annoying housemate in the form of a bulky laundry drying rack. It was everywhere, in the office, in the middle of the living room, strutting its wonky limbs, being an annoying trip hazard. Most annoyingly, it took up valuable sparse floor space. Nonetheless, I’m still in love with our small house and so I keep trying to find new ways to make the most of the space we have. A few days ago, I threw the drying rack out and decided to start a new project that would allow us to keep doing laundry regularly without the drying process being a pain in the ass.

I proudly present to you my latest project: the hoistable drying rack!


I had been looking into diy projects of pulley laundry drying systems and found that most of them had a flaw for the space I wanted to make it in as they only used one pulley hoist point per side and thus wouldn’t be able to hoist as close to the ceiling as I wanted it to. Plus, I would have to even out the weight of the laundry or it would wobble a lot from side to side. It seemed too risky to me.



laundry rack

The drying rack, as seen from downstairs

So I decided I wanted to make a drying rack with four pulleys or rings on each corner. To make it lighter to hoist up, I decided to go with a double pulley system, which means the string is attached to the ceiling, then goes down to the first pulley which is attached to the rack and fro that pulley it goes up again, to the second pulley, attached to the ceiling as well. Doing it this way, the total weight is halved, as each pulley counts for a 25% force reduction. I found a lovely Dutch online shop called www.staalkabelstunter.nl  where I managed to find all the hardware I needed. Besides pulleys, ring bolts, nuts and perhaps some washers I needed keychain rings, 4 lengths of wood, a number of thin wooden rods, and string.

To make the frame I decided to use simple 4cm by 4cms and although I initially planned to use string to make the drying surface, James convinced me to use wooden rods. He said it would look nicer and you wouldn’t get the sagginess. I have to say, it does look nice, but I’m still sure some string would’ve done just fine. By the way, using string would make this project easier, since you wouldn’t have to be so accurate in your hole drilling.

I decided to make it to fit the space above our stairs, as is the perfect place to dry laundry, for three reasons:

-it’s a pretty high ceiling so, when hoisted up, laundry won’t bother us at all

-it’s an unused space

-all the hot air in the house rises up the stairs

pulley laundry rack

The string and pulley, both attached to the ceiling

drying rack pulley

I used metal angle brackets in all four corners to give the construction a bit of extra strength.

laundry hanging drying rack pulley

I painted the rack white so when tucked away, it would blend nicely into the colour of the ceiling.

IMG_3389 wasrek_3

pulley laundry hoist rack

I drilled a hole through the angle bracket and wood, put a ringed bolt and nut through and used a keychain ring to attach the pulley


An unexpected extra: when I lower the rack, I can use it to fold the laundry! Another space saving solution as I don’t have to use my desk to do it.

construction diy laundry rack

a close-up of the relatively simple construction, four lengths of wood and a number of long rods. The angle brackets were just me being a bit sloppy with my lengths, haha. I had to add them to make sure my lengths would actually join. 



Some photography: Scandinavia

Lately I’ve been getting back into what once was my one and only passion; photography.

Photography and me, we’re a strange pair. It’s somewhat of a love-hate relationship we have. There are times when I want to crash my computer screen, because my film did not turn out the way I thought it would at all. And there are times when I feel adventurous and courageous enough to pick up the heavy thing, get back in the saddle and try to aim a bit closer to what I want the result to look like. A bit closer than last time.

As I said, lately I’m in one of my ‘up’phases , thanks to the newly found inspiration induced by Kandice Breinholt. Kandice is an amazing wedding photographer who lives in Utah, in the US. The path of my eyes and her photographs first crossed during one of my hour long ‘obsessively-scouring-the-web’ sessions, in search for a photographer for our wedding. I was instantly blown away by the tender and unapologetically raw quality of her images. Kandice photographs couples in an intimate setting, preferably outdoors in forests or mountainous habitats. She uses a lot of toned down whites in her images, which give her photos a triste, melancholic quality. This in combination with mother nature’s textures, leaf filtered sunlight and a stunning couple impeccably dressed for the most important day of their lives equals…. pure bliss!

As a tribute to Kandice I decided to scrape the courage from the soles of an old pair of shoes I hadn’t worn in a while and opened a photo folder on my computer. I finally got to have a proper look at the images I took during our 2015 trip to Scandinavia. On Instagram I discovered a few clues as to the type of presets Kandice might use to get that beautifully sombre colour palette. Inspired by Kandice’s style, here are the images I feel comfortable enough to share on my little corner of the internet.




sweden 2

Sweden 2

Sweden 3

Sweden 3







Sweden 4

Sweden 4

Smogge 2

Smogge 2

Bedroom final result

The other day, I realised I hadn’t yet shared the final result of what our tiny bedroom looks like now. It’s been such a hectic time with the CELTA course, studying, keeping up with things, STILL diy-ing in the house and obviously the whole wedding planning shenanigans.


So here we go, a visual impression of our bedroom. Keywords: white, grey, scandi, airy, light, geometrical shapes and of course lots of handmade wooden accessories!


dark wood bed

this is what the bed originally looked like. Dark wood wasn’t an option for this tiny room. I primed it, painted it off white and I used wall paper on the headboard.

bedroom before

bedroom make over before. A lohot of wall filling and sanding was required.

bedroom wall during

Bedroom wall colour testing. Eventually we went for a very light, matte, powdery grey.

wall paper horrendous

This wall was a complete pain in the ass. I kept filling, sanding, plastering, again and again. In the end I chose to wallpaper the wall and it was the best decision I made for this room by far. Honestly, the wall was still crumbling down as I was smothering it with glue, but you can’t even tell now.