10 Built-In Ikea Hacks To Make Your Jaw Drop


1 Ikea Hacks Built In Shelving

By Anna Smith of Annabode.

We’ve all seen them—those gorgeous closets and bookcases that make you do a double take.  They look like they were custom built and cost oodles of money… and, most of the time, that’s 100% the case.  BUT thanks to the wonders of the internet, the talents of fabulous DIY bloggers, and the mecca of affordable design that is Ikea, those aspirational built-ins are actually in reach!  (Cue angelic choir music.)

My family just moved into a new/old house that is crying out for some personality and creative storage solutions.  This is in part to manage the boatload of belongings we lugged across the country but also to help differentiate it from every. other. house. in the neighborhood. Oh, the joys of suburbia.

So of course I was pumped when Ashley asked me to write a post on Ikea hacks and knew immediately the kind I was looking for.  So, without further ado, here are the 10 most beautiful and awe-inspiring built-in Ikea hacks on the planet.

(Quite a build up, huh? Except I’m serious.)

Via Lonny (Hither & Thither: Built-In Ikea Hacks)

1. Irene Edwards had her BILLY bookcases framed with trim and the front pieces painted in a contrasting color—even accommodating baseboard heaters below!

Via Smitten (Hither & Thither: Built-In Ikea Hacks)

2. Sarah Sherman Samuel used Ikea kitchen cabinets to form the base of her built-in living room shelving.

Via Jenna Sue Design (Hither & Thither: Built-In Ikea Hacks)

3. Jenna Sue created a custom-looking pantry with PAX cabinets.

Via Avery Street Design (Hither & Thither: Built-In Ikea Hacks)

4. Laura Irion of Avery Street Design created an entire wall of built-ins from BORGSJO bookcases, adding drywall and trim for a seamless appearance.

Via Home Made by Carona (Hither & Thither: Built-In Ikea Hacks)

5. Ursula Carmona used two Ikea RAST dressers to create this insanely chic wardrobe hack. Now this one made me do a double take! And, okay, so technically this one isn’t built-in… but you could easily make it so.

Via Design Sponge (Hither & Thither: Built-In Ikea Hacks)

6. Amy Azzarito of Design Sponge used this tutorial by Jenny Komenda (of Little Green Notebook) to make these incredible arched library bookcases.

Via Jenna Sue Design (Hither & Thither: Built-In Ikea Hacks)

7. Jenna Sue does it again with these built-in wardrobes from PAX doors. I love the detail she added!

Via Ikea Hackers (Hither & Thither: Built-In Ikea Hacks)

8. This turn-of-the-century-esque built-in was crafted by Shannon George out of two RAST dressers. That bead board, the color… every part of this is perfection.

Via The Makerista (Hither & Thither: Built-In Ikea Hacks)

9. Gwen Hefner needed a more traditional look for her friend Laura’s bookshelves and created this built-in Ikea hack.  She added some killer trim to BILLY bookcases in order to keep the design period-appropriate to the house, and the effect is stunning.

11 Via Jenny Komenda/Little Green Notebook (Hither & Thither: Built-In Ikea Hacks)

10. Last but not least, Jenny Komenda shared this beautiful built-in wardrobe using—what else?—PAX wardrobes.  Painting the wardrobe the same color as the walls makes it appear as if it was part of the wall!

You know I’ll be replicating some of these in our new house! Do you have a favorite Ikea hack in your home? Ashley and I are both big fans.

Thanks, Anna! And best wishes for the new home! 

P.S. My office shelves, made from the Ikea Stolmen closet system; and our bar shelves, made from Ikea countertop.

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The 10 Easiest DIY Wall Hangings


No Weave Wall Hangings

By Anna Smith of Annabode.

Hey! It’s Anna again, from Annabode, here to share with you today a round-up of my all-time favorite DIY wall hangings.  I always ogle the beauty and texture of woven hangings on Pinterest, but all that time spent in front of a loom makes me want to run in the other direction.  I consider myself a pretty lazy DIYer—if I can’t finish it quickly or if it requires a lot of detail work, then I simply leave it to the professionals.  (Like Maryann Moodie—she’s a textile rockstar).

That’s why I’ve gathered the 10 easiest DIY wall hangings from around the web, no weaving required! Each of these bloggers has created something lovely and textural that won’t have you pulling your hair out (admittedly I’ve snuck one of my own in here, too).  Whether it’s a hack of an existing textile or a minimalist yarn creation, I hope these projects inspire you to create something of your own!


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Our Home: Backyard



Having a backyard to spend time outdoors in was most definitely what we were most excited about when it came to moving into a new home in California. And though we had a ton of furniture to buy for inside (coming from a small, studio apartment), we agreed that the number one priority was furnishing and tending to the backyard. We knew that those purchases would go most directly toward making us feel happy about the move from New York, and give us the most dramatic sense of an increased quality of life.

Simply the addition of outdoor space was plenty to be happy about (okay, that, and the bit of trivia that there’s an average of 300 sunny days a year here).  But there was still a lot we wanted to do in the yard.


December at John Der...
Faking it: Door and ...
Happy holiday!
21 Wallpapers for Ki...
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21 Wallpapers for Kids’ rooms


wallpaper for kids

Though wallpaper can be a daunting commitment, I love the way it can dramatically transform a child’s room. And ever since leaving behind Hudson’s mini-crib space (though we took some of the paper along with us), I’ve been wanting to paper an accent wall again.

Top:  Whitby in Lido; 2nd image, clockwise: Habitat / Dogs / Collette / Great Meadow Mural


Our shark swims
Case Study Pots and ...
Happy Birthday, Huds...
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Our Dining Room (& our dining room table search)


I was talking to some friends about our progress moving in and how, a year later (almost to the day), we still feel like there’s a lot to finish. There’s a momentum to furnishing a place and ours has died. That’s okay—I like the idea of taking one’s time rather than rushing through the fun of decorating (to a degree) and there is the practical matter of cash flow to consider, but I do wish we could go back to that early-on momentum and borrow some of it to finish a few spaces.

Right now, the room we keep talking around in circles is our dining room. You see part of the room the minute you walk through the door (that’s the view, above), and I love it! Because we hardly ever sit in there, the most visible bits stay pretty clean—clear of the stuff you typically set down when you walk in the door (that tends to pile, instead, in our kitchen). So I’m pretty happy with this half of the room; all of the natural light makes it bright and inviting and I’m glad our couch from New York has a place to rest. Anyway, I keep hoping to share some after photos of the whole room, but since I don’t know when that will be… let’s move onto the “before.”

The other half is definitely a “Before.” Most of the time, it’s filled with boxes and backpacks and scooters and helmets and strollers and… a whole lot of junk. There are two empty pieces of furniture backed into the corner—because we’re not sure what to do with them. We know we want to install a light fixture that hangs over the table, but what should it look like? And then there’s the dining table. Aron made that leaf for our old one (which we found at a thrift store when we were first living in Los Angeles, ten years ago) and we usually only use it under a table cloth, but I’ve been keeping it in because (a) I don’t mind the two-tone so much and (b) we’ve learned that we like the look of a long table in here (this is roughly 100″).

Finally, the black storage isn’t really right anymore for the style of our new home; it was better suited for our apartment in New York.


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Book City Jackets
Our Home: Backyard
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Faking it: Door and Wall Moulding


Remember the faux-door moulding we created in our New York apartment? We used used a combination of crown moulding and miter cuts to add a little architecture. (You can see the “after” behind Hudson in this photo, and the “before” here.)

R and R Designworks, on Etsy, has created an inexpensive DIY kit that seems like a terrific, alternative solution.

They’ll work with you on walls, too. I’d love to see someone with the proper style of home go all out and do something like this…

P.S. More photos of our NY apartment; and our current bedroom and kitchen.

[Photos from top: HitherandThither/RandRDesignWorks/West Elm/West Elm/Ewering/ArchiExpo]

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Life’s Measuring Stick


Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 2.35.09 PM

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I knew as soon as we moved into our house that I wanted to track Hudson’s growth on a wall or door-frame. But I’m not 100% positive that this will be the home we live in all of the years he’s under our roof. I looked at a lot of options for wall-mounted growth charts, thought of making my own, and landed on Baum-Kuchen’s Life’s Journey Measuring Stick. We’ve tacked it up on the inside of his closet door, so that it hangs vertically, but you could even lay it out on the floor to measure each month or year and then fold it back up to safely store.

Yesterday, when I told Hudson “You’re 21 months old today!” he knew just what to do. I couldn’t believe it! He ran over to the door-frame, backed up against it, and waited for me to place a book on his head. He tried to steal my Sharpie (frightening thought), which made me think I must have let my hand slip. But no, in fact he grew roughly another inch last month!

measuring stick

Slow down, kiddo!

[top photos via Baum-Kuchen; bottom from my iPhone]


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Case Study Pots and Snake plants


We just potted our Snake plant and I love how easy-to-grow and architectural it is. I just saw that West Elm’s blog, Front & Main, featured one the other day.

What are your favorite houseplants? Also, we just picked up these beautiful Case Study planters by Modernica from Room & Board. Does anybody have a good source for straight-sided black and white pots like these (or like these ones by Architectural Pottery)? We keep getting outbid on Ebay—it’s incredible how expensive they can be!


By the way, our Ikea Chair-hack was featured on iVillage!

Have a great weekend!

Gallery Wall
Memory lane: Our fir...
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Alma Allen Sculpture
Natural Wood Frames

Natural Wood Frames


We’re starting to hang more things on the walls. (Very, very slowly. I tend to prefer lean decoration and it takes me a long time to commit.) It would easier if gorgeous, large-scale photographs–like those ones above–weren’t so darned out of reach.

I’ve been noticing a trend toward natural wood frames these past few years; the fashion seems to have gone from black to white to, now, light wood. Have you noticed this, too?


I asked Victoria where she got hers (pictured on those amazing, custom shelves above) and of course Ikea has discontinued them. Anyone know a good source?

[Photos: (top) Chinese Jesus; (bottom left) SF Girl By Bay (bottom right) Apartment Therapy]

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Mini-crib update
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Our Home: Backyard

Quick Ikea Office Chair Hack


Custom Ikea Office Chair

I swore I wasn’t going to buy an Ikea office chair. I was going to scour the web for some vintage Eames beauty or something like that. But darnit if that Ikea siren song didn’t call: “simple, comfortable, modern… affordable…” And you can walk out the door with it the day you need it.

I really do think the Patrik Swivel chair is all of those things. Up top, at least. But its base could look better.

Ikea Office Chair
Custom painting an Office Chair

Rustoleum’s Metallic spray paint in Brass is the best gold. I love how it turned out, and it couldn’t have been easier: because it’s Ikea, the base is already apart from the chair and ready for painting!

I can’t wait to show you how our Vitsoe-inspired office shelves turned out.

P.S. Other home design posts you may have missed: our home tour, a fresh bed, and new lighting.

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21 Wallpapers for Ki...

Alma Allen Sculpture


These amazing side tables at Heath were–sadly–not for sale (as if we could have afforded them anyway). The Walnut pieces are made by Joshua Tree-based artist, Alma Allen, and I am basically in love. Gorgeous, no?

They’re on display at Heath SF. And as if I haven’t mentioned the Heath store in San Francisco enough already (here, here, and here), let me add that their kids’ book section (pictured above) is pretty awesome.

Happy Valentine’s Day! xo

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Los Angeles: Two favorites on Third Street


We used to live in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles, so walking the strip of shops between Fairfax and La Cienega on Third street was a regular routine (in between pancakes at Doughboys or a cheese board at Joan’s). One must-stop is always OK on Third (I hear they now have a location in Silverlake, too); and since we left, one of our musts from Nolita in NY moved in–Haus (oddly enough, not far from an outpost of NY’s Magnolia bakery).

OK Store
8303 West Third Street

Haus Interior
8211 West Third Street

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Garde Los Angeles


A lot had changed since the the last time we were in Los Angeles, but the strip of Beverly between Fairfax and La Brea was still reliably packed with design store gems–Heath, Lawson-fenning, Modernica, Ige… Most are more aspirational than realistic, but at least I can afford the food to be found there, too–BLD, El Coyote, Milk, Buddha’s Belly, Terroni…

A new favorite shop had emerged: In a space once occupied by an electronics repair shop, Scotti Sitz has opened Garde, a carefullly curated selected of home goods and apparel. Everything had a stripped down, natural look–minimal without being cold. It didn’t surprise me to later learn that Sitz once worked for Calvin Klein. We spent a long time browsing; I was trying to bookmark all of the designers’ names in my mind when, thank goodness, she pointed out that everything is online.

We especially fell hard for these flax-rope lighting fixtures. I think they would look so awesome with our headboard, but I’m not sure I’m quite good enough at being neat-and-clean for the coiled rope on the floor to be appreciated as intentional.

Garde, 7418 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles

More favorite Los Angeles shopping stops coming right up… 

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Fresh bed, fresh start


It was a bit of a push, but we began the New Year in crisp, fresh sheets and a brand-new bed. Aron’s parents watched Hudson for a few hours while Aron disasembled and reassembled our old bed in a guest room for our friends, and I ran off to Macy’s to splurge on sheets* for our new one.

It’s been a long-time coming… starting with that headboard we picked out in Bali.

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Garde Los Angeles
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Have a nice weekend!


These photos are from a couple of weeks ago–biking in the Davis arboretum, and hanging out in the backyard with friends who were visiting from New York… in our new chairs! It wasn’t even cold, but we thought the scenario was deserving of a midday fire. Slowly but surely, new furniture is making its way to us. We found these chairs at Room & Board and are really happy with how they look with and without the cushions (especially key since we went with white). And we just learned that the rest of our outdoor furniture is arriving next week! More accurately, it’s arriving at the port of Oakland sometime next week–having made the long, slow boat ride from Bali, where we ordered most of it in August. I’m so excited! We pretty much just showed them photos of what we wanted and, a month or so later, they emailed us photos of a finished chair, table, etc. But it still feels so, well, unknown. On top of that, we had only seen our house once when we made the decisions we did. Fingers crossed!

Here are a few other things I’ve been thinking about lately:

Another anniversary today: Aron and I have been together 11 years as of today. Wowzers! Happy anniversary, love.

It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the Huntington Gardens. These lovely photos have me pining for a return trip.

What a thrilling installation! I wish we could see it in person.

Does anyone recognize this photo from Pinterest? I’d love to know the source.

A gift guide featuring Kids’ toys on Etsy.

Next weekend, San Francisco will play host to the Renegade SF Craft Fair and the Kindred Pop-up shop. If you’re in the area, you should check them out! Here are some photos from Renegade Brooklyn 2012 (and 2010).

Kelly put together her fantasy Christmas dinner–amazing!

Honey Buns. When I was a kid, I used to regularly eat something from the frozen section called Honey Buns by Morton and they have suddenly been on my mind again. Sadly, when I looked them up on BrandlandUSA:

“…There were Morton Pot Pies, Morton Creme Pies, Morton Cinnamon Rolls. But the real star was Morton Honey Buns. Morton Honey Buns came four to a package, and there was so much sugar on each that when you pulled the buns out, the sugar frosting was all over the package and the four came out like a brick. But the brand is gone, nowhere to be found. And since the launch of the BrandlandUSA blog, we have discovered it is one of the top searched for dead brands on our site. People far and wide are searching for Morton, but cannot find it. While we knew Morton’s was a personal favorite, until we launched the blog, we didn’t know how many others loved the brand too. Apparently, they are mostly searching for the Morton Honey Buns, and not so much the Pot Pies, though those get requests too.”

Do you remember them? The closest thing out there? Krispy Kreme donuts, microwaved for about 7 seconds. Now I’m hungry.

Have a good one!


That Island
Hudson's room
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Shopping the Remodelista Market at Heath SF


We drove into San Francisco on Saturday–it was gorgeous there–and headed straight for the new Heath shop to see what was on display for Remodelista’s third annual holiday market. A regular follower of the website, I had a feeling I would like (and covet) a lot of what I saw and of course I was right. There were some fantastic vendors–many of whose wares I recognized from online (often from Pinterest)–and all would be great inspiration for Christmas shopping if you’re a little stuck still. (I’d like some of those Turkish rugs and bright pillows, and some Book/Shop bookends, thank you very much!)

We walked out with Blue Bottle coffees in hand, talking about beautiful everyone there was (and maybe feeling a little nostalgic for city-life). Hudson walked hugging a new Peruvian teddy that looks a little like Chewbacca and that we all agreed was just about the softest thing we’d ever felt.

Pictured from top–Textiles: Virginia Davidson; Linen clothing and dolls: Jess Brown Design; Pillows: Whim and Caprice; Tree stamps: Brendon Farrell for Keeps; Caramel Corn: CC Made; Bookend/stands etc: Book/Shop; Alpaca Teddy Bear: MINT; Floral: Louesa Roebuck; Birdhouses: Studio Chad Wright; Dishtowels: Studiopatro; Ceramic Speakers: Joey Roth; Riding Boots: Steed Fine Hoarding and Tack; Airplant in frame: Airplantman Designs

(Also in attendane/not pictured: Ambatalia, HBGDagmar Daley, Erica Tanov, Heritage Culinary Artifacts, Julia Turner, June Taylor Jams, Le Feu de l’Eau, Lemon Twist,  Maki Yamada, Muhs Home, Parfums DelRae, Plantspeople, Pope Valley Pottery, Richard Carter Studio, Rough Linen, Sara Barner, Small Trade Company.)

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West Elm Market (and some Friday links)


I was too late: I spotted these planters on Design*Sponge last week (don’t they look a lot like the ones I admired at Architectural Pottery?), but they have already sold out. Bah humbug.

Still, the search led me to about a dozen other things worth coveting at West Elm’s new store, West Elm Market, a curated collection of home essentials (planters, pots, dustbins, and the like) from big and small brands. Its selection reminds me a lot of that of a shop I used to love visiting in Williamsburg, Brook Farm General Store. 

Here are just a few other things I’ve been thinking about:

The other best pots I’ve found (like those by Architectural Pottery) are the Case Study Planters at Modernica.
Is there an interesting story behind this sweet photo?
When the time comes to eat oysters in Tomales Bay, I’d like to stay here.
Diane Keaton is SO beautiful. I’ve heard great things about her new book, House.
Nerdy math jokes. 
I’ve worn my beloved AG jeans into the ground and need a new pair. Sort of intrigued by this roll-up version in my favorite cut, Stilt.

Finally, my mighty life list (100 things I want to do) is due today and I’m not finished! Quick, what are a couple of things you would put on a life list?? It’s not as easy as it first seems.

Have a great weekend!

Have a fun weekend!
Ben or Noel?
Happy Thanksgiving!
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Our Dining Room (&am...

The Gardener in Berkeley




We found ourselves back in Berkeley this weekend, drawn toward the Bay in our quest to buy a car. We were successful–hooray!–and since we had to drive home separately anyway, I lingered on Fourth street a little longer than the fellas to browse. The succulents (a current fixation) drew me into The Gardener. Had we not just made one of the largest purchases of our lives, I might have been tempted to buy something, but I instead satisfied my consumer tendencies by snapping photos with my iPhone.













If you’re in the area, it’s definitely one to visit. I recognized a few of the featured vendors from Etsy and Renegade; everything seemed carefully hand-selected.

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