I don’t suppose a Swedish furniture blog would really be complete without at least some reference to IKEA so I thought I’d better add one. I don’t know why but we never seem to have enough cupboard space. We’ve a large apartment and there are only three of us living here, and one of them is only 4 foot tall, but whenever I build a cupboard it seems to full to bursting point within a matter of weeks!
We’ve an awkward little space between our kitchen that over the years has had several pieces of furniture standing in it but none has really been right in my wife opinion. I knew I was in trouble when I saw my wife tear a page out of a home furnishing magazine with a satisfied smile. Sure enough she’d found the inspiration she was looking for to fill the corner and know I just had to work out how to build it!
The plan was to reuse an IKEA cupboard I had taken out when I refurbished our kitchen earlier this year as the basis of the cupboard and to shabby chic it up so it looked as old and lived in as the picture she’d found.
IKEA cabinets usually come with legs and a clip on plinth around the bottom but the choices are fairly limited. Instead I built a simple wooden box to stand the cabinet on and then used profiled moulding around the bottom to give it a more traditional look. Using the standard legs would be simpler but it really doesn’t take many joinery skills to build a simple plinth. At the corner you need to cut each piece at a 45 degree angle using a Mitre block or chop saw if you have one.
IKEA have actually starting making some slightly more traditional looking kitchen doors such as Lidingö which you can paint and distress quite easily, however, in this case I started with their basic white doors and added the details myself. The idea was to recreate a look similar to a traditional panel door like the one below from our apartment. I’ve done this several times now but the first time I did I used masking tape to mark it out first to give me a better idea of the proportions I needed.
I began by cutting a rectangle of 3mm (1/8in) thick hardboard for each of the doors to simulate the central panel so that it left a 160mm (6 1/2 in) boarder around each door. After sanding the edges smooth I then attached this with glue and a panel pin (small nail) in each corner obviously remembering to have the smooth side up to take the paint.
Next I added a second boarder 70mm (2 3/4in) from the edge using a 30mm (1 1/4in) profile moulding and again I used my trusty Mitre block to cut the corners at 45 degrees to get the corners to join. This is actually a lot easier an it sounds/looks and you really don’t need to be too accurate with the angles as you’ll get a bit of play when you place them on the doors. I also used panel pins to attach a length of the same moulding along the edge of the two right hand doors so it would overlap when the doors were closed.
To add a bit of grandeur to the top of the cupboard by making a cornice. The first time I tried to do this I really had no idea how I was going to do it. Then I hit upon the idea of using coving which is usually used at the transition between the wall and ceiling. My local has a dozen or so different styles but the dentil one used here is probably my favourite for furniture. To cut then corner join you’ll need to use a cornice mitre which is similar to the mitre block I linked earlier but specifically for coving. To tell the truth these corners can be a bit tricky to get right at first and I’ve completely messed them up more than once. The good news is that the coving is made of polystyrene so are extremely easy to cut and can be glued at the corner and attached using panel pins.
With all of the actual building out of the way it was time to hang the doors with IKEA hinges and give them and the cabinets a light sanding ready for painting. First step was to under paint the areas I wanted to distress later in black. So this was around the added details and edges on the doors and long the edges of the cabinet. I then used the stub of an old candle to add a layer of wax to all the areas I wanted to show through later as the wax will stop the paint adhering properly. Most sites recommend using bee’s wax but I’ve found a candle works just as well. This is where you get to be creative deciding how shabby you want the final piece to be.
My overcoat was two layers of flat matt white and once this has dried I used a pan scourer to rub it back to the black paint underneath where the wax had been applied. The final stage was then to give the entire thing a coat of liquid bee’s wax to improve the finish and then add the door handles.
Needless to say that within a week it was completely full to bursting point. Thanks for visiting the shabby side of chic.