RESEARCH & ROUGH BEGINNINGS

July 19th, 2011

Like many home fans who browse the internets, I fell in love with Andrea’s Greektown loft many years ago and have off and on toyed with the idea of creating a long minimal storage unit using basic Ikea kitchen cabinets like the one installed in the main living space.

This is such a simple and clever idea that is totally DIY-able and has an exhaustive abundance of variations and customizations that can be applied in any space. Which, really, any great DIY sort of should have a kernel of that customizable component built into the initial design.

I’ve always imagined I would eventually use this idea to build a floating media credenza that would hide all the ugly TV components in a super minimal floating unit that’s both affordable to build and has oodles of hidden storage.

Anna of D16 deemed this type of installation the “fauxdenza”, a newly minted hybrid word describing the floating credenza/wall/storage piece that she built in her pied-à-terre.

Sarah from AT posted a step by step breakdown of how to install one of these bad boys.

Matt of Wood&Faulk applied it to his kitchen remodel with the addition of a beautiful custom wrapped walnut top.

The Zerbey’s, architectural overachievers and DIY champions, took the idea to the extreme and built a floating stair wall and transformed simple Ikea cabinets into a full on built-in buffet with all the custom bells and whistles.

So, this concept is obviously a time-tested, tried and true solution for stylish folks needing minimal + modern + affordable storage.

After the pipe shelving unit was removed, I’ve hunted around for a solution for this long awkward entry wall in the living room. The main issue with the pipe shelving was the lack of hidden storage, and frankly, I just kind of got exhausted looking at the clutter that was always on display.

The ten foot long open space dwarfs most furniture and I knew I didn’t want to use another tall, open shelving unit to replace the previous tall, open shelving that had driven me crazy. After months of resistance and fruitlessly searching to find the right piece, I recently gave into Ikea and bought the requisite components to build my very own simple fauxdenza.

Well, I’ve been working on it and like every other project in this place, have run into some issues. I had lofty ideas of using a live edge slab or creating a brass top, but the costs have been outrageous when it comes to something that needs to span ten feet in length. Eight feet? Not as much of an issue, but somehow those two extra feet have ended up killing all my hopes and dreams.

We removed the non-functioning weird heater thing and patched up the wall since that vent thing is an eyesore and is physically in the way. Unfortunately, all these boring prep details have turned into a bigger hassle than expected. I’ve been looking around for the right kind of top that’s interesting but still affordable and I still need to find a larger than normal floor vent (since we aren’t talented enough to patch the floor) as well as find a chunk of baseboard that matches the vintage baseboard installed throughout the house.

The metal thing is gone, the wall is patched, but all in all it’s still a hot mess.

I bought four Ikea 30 x 18″ AKURUM fan cabinets with white APPLÅD doors and STRECKET handles. Pretty basic stuff that rounded out to cost a bit under $200.

Since the plaster walls are so wavy and uneven, the metal hanging rail had to be shimmed and fussed around with to create some semblance of flush evenness when the cabinets are hung.

Between annoying repairs and shimming, finding and customizing the top as well as trying to get the cabinets to hang without giant gaps, the project has been slow going. Hopefully soon, I’ll have it all up and finished and storing things.

Hopefully.

I have so many things that need to be stored.

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    37 Comments

    1. Dan @ Manhattan Nest on 07/19/2011:

      You’ll get there! It’s always the “simple and easy” DIY projects that take the longest, right? In any case, it’s nice to get that heater thingy out of the way, yeah?

      I think the fauxdenza might happen in my place, too. Such a smart, affordable solution, and they really do hold loads. Fauxdenzas all around!

    2. totally subscribing to the fauxdenza movement.

    3. Susan on 07/19/2011:

      Perfect timing with the ‘fauxdenza’. Our family is moving (movers here this morning) and we plan on anchoring the entire look of the new apartment on these hanging IKEA cabinets. Now I have a name for them!

    4. mike on 07/19/2011:

      yo, I know what you mean about f’d up walls. we bought our house brand new and it’s like they forgot tape measures and levels the day they framed the house. when I build something it’s usually precise and square, and then I bring it inside and instantly start cussing and throwing shit becasue nothing is square or level. you’re fauxdenza’s going to look dope though, matt’s is probably my fav.

    5. Andy on 07/19/2011:

      Have you considered birch or apple ply? It would be really affordable- I used it for the same application in a recent project, and the exposed laminated edge looks great.

      http://orestudios.com/show_and_tell/om_kids_yoga_center/

    6. Lauren @ chezerbey on 07/19/2011:

      Thanks for the shout out! I was thinking about doing a similar faudenza roundup post, but was waiting for you to finish yours first. =)

      Seriously, the countertop seems to be the hardest part of the whole operation. If IKEA was smart they would start selling countertops for their own product hacks. But I know you’ll come up with something genius (I love the live edge idea by the way…maybe get two shorter lengths and put a steel plate (or something) in between to get up to 10′?).

    7. libby on 07/19/2011:

      Andreas’ loft! Also awesome about that loft is that (I think) TV is projected onto the big white wall. My dream since I hate the look of electronics and cords, etc. Lastly, fttch when easy DIY is everything but.

    8. Sasha on 07/19/2011:

      Why not use Ikea butcher block for the top?

      How about a very small, thin piece of trim along the junction to hide the wavy wall gap? It would bend enough to cover the gap, but the wave would probably be imperceptible to the eye.

      I’m going to make one of these in the fall, so I want someone to try these out before I do.

    9. Louize on 07/19/2011:

      I put one of these up too after seeing the idea on D16 – the hardest part was preparing everything – the gaps between cupboards closed up perfectly when I screwed the cupboards together – good luck, I can’t wait to see how you finish it (mine is still “naked”, waiting for inspiration for a suitable top).

    10. Beclu on 07/19/2011:

      If you get 2 4.5′ pieces of slab or brass you could put a cool piece of metal, concrete, wood, tile etc in the middle. An intentional place to put your mail or something. Learn to make your own mold and pour a concrete top with a faux slab look edge. My husband is in the process of doing that right now for a long hearth.

    11. Kat on 07/19/2011:

      You’ve probably thought of this, but you can take a piece of baseboard trim out of a closet to patch your wall. You’d still be missing a piece, but hopefully it will be less noticeable. Also use your fans. Make us work for our mid century modern furniture porn you supply by finding you a new larger than life vent. I don’t mind a little goggling for a good cause.

    12. I applaud your courage in taking this on. I wanted to do this myself, but knowing how difficult it is for me to put a piece of IKEA furniture together without problems, I thought I should avoid combining that with locating studs. Not fun either.

      But I did put together a similar look with IKEA Besta Units. Sixteen feet of low, clean-lined storage. You can check it out here:

      http://thehouseonpennylane.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/img_5593.jpg

      and of course the blog linked above.

      I can’t wait to see what you end up with!

    13. John Hedge on 07/20/2011:

      I was just about to do the same thing in my place, too funny. Yes, I’ve seen it done a lot now with fabulous results. I was going to put it going down my hall where we had a hideous cabinet that we ripped out. I found cheap wall cabinets to put in there now that are tall and kind of sit on the floor. When I upgrade I was going to go with a floating cabinet that look more modern than what I put in there now.

    14. N on 07/20/2011:

      How deep are the Ikea cabinets you bought exactly? The problem with using their kitchen wall cabinets for media consoles is that their standard depth is shy of 13 inches, which is not deep enough for most standard stereo receivers. Ikea sells a deeper cabinet designed to go over refrigerators but it is crazy deep. It would jut out of the wall really far.

    15. Melissa Arnold on 07/20/2011:

      Keep looking, you’ll come up with something totally great and unexpected! Glad you’re back, have really missed reading your blog!

    16. Mo on 07/20/2011:

      I’m so glad to see this post and the reminder of Anna’s project. I just discovered the narrow Ikea Besta units (<8"). I'm going to wall mount them in my hallway for narrow, closed door storage. Thanks for the post, will be showing it to my dad, the project supervisor.

    17. Tamoto on 07/20/2011:

      That’s going to look great…and the storage! Woohoo! Also,I have a neighbor who actually cuts slab and then sells it to places like cut n dried in salona beach.it’s pretty cool,when people hack down awesome trees on their property he swoops in and gets the giant pieces and mills/dries them. I could find out if he would sell directly to you for cheaper.. We are in north county. Just let me know thru the comments.

    18. THE BRICK HOUSE on 07/20/2011:

      Where is north county? I’m always interested in knowing someone who mills slabs…

    19. Tonia on 07/20/2011:

      I love the idea of a fauxdenza.

    20. eileen on 07/21/2011:

      How in the world did you get that old heater out of the wall/floor? I have one that I took a sledgehammer to and it didn’t budge. Are they connected to some bigger piece that is connected to the center of the earth? Please tell.

    21. Rachel Kay on 07/21/2011:

      Really looking forward to seeing the finished project. I know it’s going to look fabulous!

    22. Matt on 07/21/2011:

      This is gonna look great. Can’t wait to see the final plan in place.

    23. Tamoto on 07/24/2011:

      Vista

    24. alexandra keller on 07/25/2011:

      see, i would have given up a while ago and just put in a cabinet that stands on the floor – no need to worry about it being flush with the wall. i’d also be concerned about the weight a wall hanging cabinet could hold, but you’ve probably thought of that. suggestion for the base board – you could find someone to make that piece to match the rest – once painted, no one would know.

    25. Cussot on 07/26/2011:

      Do you have any closets in your house? I can’t remember. That’s where I go looking when I need a piece of matching baseboard.

    26. Olivia on 07/27/2011:

      Do you know the “ikea tag name” of the ikea cabinetry??- i’ve been looking for the exact same thing and can’t seem to find it.. maybe i’m blind..pls help

      thank you!

    27. Nic on 08/01/2011:

      I got a fantastic oversized floor grate here:

      http://www.goantiques.com/search/search_results.jsp?keywords=register+grate&accountNumber=&category=Architectural%2FGarden&sortBy=descDate&catalog=&page=3

      For, like 35 smacks.

      Also, what about some cheapo marble tile from big orange for the top? You’d have visible seams, but you could lay it super tight and not use grout?

    28. Nic on 08/01/2011:

      Or cork? You can buy a roll of cork floor underlayment, glue it to a plywood base, and add a few coats of poly to give it strength and make it wipe-able. They also sell self-adhesive cork shelf liner, but I think it might be too thin…

    29. Nic on 08/01/2011:

      Okay, one more and I’ll stop. Hypertufa? It’s an aggregate that looks like limestone or a porous concrete, but is more lightweight and super DIY-friendly (you can google the recipe). I don’t think you can polish it like concrete, so it might be more rustic than you want… but it might be an interesting contrast?

    30. Liz on 08/02/2011:

      What a great, super inspirational, post! I love this!

    31. jh on 08/04/2011:

      The Ikea butcher block countertop Sasha mentioned. I have one clear-coated in my kitchen, love it, but my style is WAY different from BH. And it’s in a kitchen. But say you super-smoothed it and stained it black? That might look good with your set up.

    32. Andy on 08/09/2011:

      Lovely photography.. Loved each & every dimention of this decor.

    33. Rick on 08/10/2011:

      As far as your wall boards, if worse comes to worse, and in my case it usually does, try removing some from a place like the closet and use the replacement that doesn’t match there. Just a suggestion.
      Can’t wait to see the finale.

    34. Florian on 08/10/2011:

      An acquaintance of mine did his appartment totally minimalist in a John Pawson hommage using the IKEA kitchen units in white, the low ones, about 40 cm high, so one can sit on them. He didn’t do them floating, but pulled them off the wall about 10 cm and installed ligths behind them. Gorgeous. But the look requires one to be super-super neat and tidy.

      Maybe those IKEA cabinets are a lot cheaper in America. I wanted to do a 4,80 m long sideboard with them in my dining room, but it would have cost like 700 EUR so I didn’t.

      Fixing them on a rail is such a great idea! I would have gone totally nuts trying to get them nice and straight just bolting them to the wall directly. So clever!

      Good luck with the top. Maybe something, that’s not usally used as a counter top material (like some kind of building material) will come in greater dimensions at less cost. Maybe you could pour yourself a concrete top.

    35. Soul pretty on 08/11/2011:

      I love the idea of a floating shelf…hum…

    36. Suzanne on 08/19/2011:

      Fabulous ! Looking forward to seeing the finished product!

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