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I’m not really sure where to start with this post, if I’m honest, it started as a simple idea to give our daughter a bit more space to play, and us a bit more order in the rest of the apartment, by converting the small room next to hers into a play room. The thing is it sort of took on a life of it’s own and before we knew it it was bigger then Ben Hur with a cast of thousands.

It has been one of my most enjoyable and rewarding projects so far and with it being a children’s  room we’ve been able to let out imaginations run wild. As I said in my last post the brief was to create a princess themed cosy corner plus lots of storage for all her toys, books, paints, beads, etc.


The first step was to give the room a bit of colour by painting the walls. After a little discussion in the paint shop we settled on a pink we liked. Actually the conversation went something like this:

“What about this one?” Mrs Shabbyside

“Hmmm, it’s Pink I like it shall we get it?” Mr Shabbyside

“Oooh what about this one. This is nice.” Mrs Shabbyside

“Hmmm, it’s Pink I like it shall we get it?” Mr Shabbyside

“Ahhh this one one is nice what do you think?” Mrs Shabbyside

“Hmmm, it’s Pink I like it shall we get it?” Mr Shabbyside

The one we finally settled on was Fresh Passion and it reminds me of Strawberry Ice Cream. As with other rooms in the house I marked off a 50cm (18 inch) band around the top of the wall which was painted white to match the ceiling.

Shabby update 013The base of the structure was a recycled 100×70  Faktum IKEA Unit. In fact it’s the same unit that almost made it on top of our bedroom hack until we changed our mind about it being too tall. I made an extra high plinth for the unit to stand on from scrap chipboard to give the finished unit some more hight. On the end of the unit I made a book case from left over IKEA cover boards we were no longer using on our old TV unit. This can be seen in the photo below and helped me give the unit a bit more length so our daughter would be able to lie on the daybed when it was finished.

I covered the top of both the unit and the bookcase with a deck made from old cupboard sides to give it a bit more strength and stability. I then added a timber frame to the top surface around the outside edge and attached a decorative moulding to hide it which I had left over from some radiator covers I made several years ago. My wife gets a bit frustrated with all the leftover odds and sods of wood which resides the attic but these things have a tendency to come in useful again if you wait long enough.

Shabby update 014The next stage was to create the tent and I began by making a timber frame. To be honest I didn’t really plan this out in detail I just had a rough idea of what I wanted it to look like and built it. It actually went surprisingly well and my carpentry skills must be getting slightly better as it was more stable then I expected. I attached the frame directly to the wall using screws and rawl plugs (screw anchors).

Shabby update 015In my mind I wanted the front pole supporting the tent to look like something you might see holding up the a canopy at a medieval joust but without access to a lathe I had no idea how to do this. However, the attic came to my rescue again, in the form of two old table legs from a broken table. The legs each had a lug on the top so I cut one off, drilled a hole in it’s place the same size as the other lug, glued them together and cut it to length.

To attach the bottom end I drilled a hole in the timber frame I’d added around the top the same size at the foot of the leg and glued it place then screwed it from below. At the top I simply screwed down through the frame.

Shabby update 003 (3)Making the hardboard roof of the tent was probably the most challenging part of this hack/project. The tricky part was cutting the right shapes to match the frame which in 3D was not a simple as it had looked on paper. In the end I resorted to using cardboard templates which made things much easier. To make the skirt around the bottom of the tent I used a 35mm (1.4 inch) drill to cut holes at regular intervals then a hand saw to cut between the holes to give me a pair of skirts.

In the next instalment I’ll describe how we decorated both the cosy corner and the room in general.

Thanks for reading the shabby side of chic.