Home Improvement

The IKEA-Hacker v.s. Effektiv Office Furniture

So, a month ago, I went to my not-so-local IKEA to get some file cabinets. When I asked a sales person for assistance in building a custom order, he frowned and told me that IKEA is making some changes to their popular line of Effektiv office furnitures and that what I buy today may not fit the components coming out later in the year.

That was not a problem for me. Because I did not intend to use these file cabinets as the designers at IKEA intended them to be used. See, I am an IKEA-hacker. I buy components from IKEA and build semi-custom furnitures. So I told the sales person that the redesign was not a problem and I welcome a challenge (well, I didn’t really say the second part).

So we went through the order sheets and picked out the components to build four roll front file cabinets. But instead of making file cabinets out of them, I pocket joined them to each other to make a built-in closet wardrobe with roll front doors.

I built a base and frame out of two-by-fours and attached them to the walls like regular cabinets. I drywalled the facade and caulked the seams (of course using GE’s Groov caulk). Papered all the inside corners, mudded and skim coated, primed, and finally painted it all to match the existing wall. The hardest part was lifting the damn thing into the space. The space between the left and right walls were narrower at the front than it was at the back. I thought I had a whole inch of clearance when there was only a 1/4 of an inch for my fingers. Thankfully, I remembered my “Simple Machines” from elementary school science, and used an inclined plane to push the cabinets into place.

This might have been the most broad skill set I had to use on a project as a carpenter, woodworker, drywaller, and painter. I had planned three days for the project (to include drying time) but unfortunately, I fell ill and had to take a couple days off. But I came around and finished the job before a week had passed.

At the end, the project cost was about $450 for materials and 16 actual hours of work. I can see how it would cost a few thousand dollars to have custom closet systems installed. Good thing I didn’t charge by the hour on this project.

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