Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DIY $100 Restoration Hardware Bookshelf

Restoration Hardware.  It is seriously so hard to deny oneself of the awesomeness of RH.

What's the snag?

They are just too darn expensive.

So what happens when you really like a bookshelf from RH, but see it as utter madness to dish out $1,000+ for it?

You find an alternative way of making your own, that's what.  And it'll look even better than their's.  Or so you hope.

How about making similar shelving for under $100?

Well, a recent trip to Ikea gave me the tools to do just that!

The Vittsjo is a metal  frame bookcase with glass shelves at Ikea that comes in different sizes - some bigger, some smaller.  Ours is middle-sized and came for $70.

Getting the Wood Shelves: When I got home and we assembled the frame, I noticed that the Ikea shelves left a few millimeters of spare space on each side that looked kind of sloppy.  So I measured them and found how much more I wanted them to be extended (3 millimeters).  The next day, with one of the Vittsjo's shelves tucked under my arm, I went into Home Depot and found a helpful guy in the lumber section and explained that I needed shelving of the same size and thickness (1/2" thick), but 3 mm longer (yeah, we shared a laugh at the extra 3mm).  After looking at several options and weighing costs, he helped me pick out a very nice, smooth plywood (which surprised me, as I'd always pictured all plywood as rough and blotched construction wood).

Home Depot cuts wood for free, so he sawed the pieces for me and I left only $15 poorer and with all 10 fingers.  Just to come clean, I did cheat a bit by using a $25 giftcard I've had.  The original cost was approx. $40 for the plywood, but you can cut 5% off the price if you buy it online through ebates.  Or you can buy at Lowes online through ebates (4%), use their store credit card for another 5% off.  OR if you have a Discover card, redeem your cashback for a $50 gift card by spending only $45.  Just a few ideas.  ;)

Other alternatives would be to look-out for scrap wood on craigslist, or use pallet boards.

Oh, I also decided to not give the shelves an overhang out the sides like the RH for the simple reason of preference, but it also gave the added benefit of helping hide the sides of the plywood a bit better.

Then it was a simple matter of watching the wood shelves sink satisfyingly into their slots, fitting better than even the Ikea shelves had.

One got jinxed though as you can see below.  It needs a few millimeters off.  Bugger.  I'll get around to fixing it someday.

All in the Details: Other than the tip-top shelf needing a shaving, it's in need of some light sanding.  Winter has kicked in, so I'll wait for spring at this rate as it's not very noticeable.

I experimented for some time on different home-made stains (I want to keep it very light, enough to just bring the wood-grain out a bit), but didn't make a concoction that I was satisfied with.  The "wet" you see below is more the color I was shooting for.  Too bad it dried.  I'll worry about it in the spring as well (I'm not gonna kid myself into thinking I'll do it any sooner, hehe).

This is what it looks like to-date.  Still in the process of decorating it, but I like where it's going:

I'm still considering whether to add crown molding to the top of it like the one from RH.  It could add an extra-nice touch.  Perhaps I will keep an eye for scraps on craigslist, but for the time being I'm happy with leaving it the way it is.

So there ya have it.  The Vittsjo gives a nice base to build from for your own style bookcase.  You could Krylon-spraypaint the metal any color, add crown molding to the edges of all the shelves, build a wood base if you don't like the exposed get the gist.  Do share your own build if you decide to try this!

Thanks to all the link-up hosts: allthingswithpurpose, igottacreate, diyshowoff, frugaliciousfriday, notjustahousewife, elizabethandco, savvysouthernstyle, lizmarieblog, uncommondesignsonline, and modvintagelife, thecreativecorner

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Tale of Two Rugs

This past year since we moved, I've been looking for a living room rug.  I had a general idea of the color palate/style we wanted for the room (see mood board here), but dang it was hard to find many that weren't a trellis design, flowery, or striped that was also within budget.  Here's some samples of the rugs that made the semi-finals:

Then at the end of this past summer, I had found the awesome-est rug for the living room.  I mean, it was THE one.  It infused both a traditional and modern style and had a rich color.

West Elm's Hill Block-Printed Cotton Dhurrie - 8x10 (orig $599)

It went on sale for $509, still wasn't quite within our budget of $450 for a rug, especially after shipping and taxes were tacked on.  I was also not 100% sold on it because it was very thin versus plush, and was made of cotton.  I chose to keep an eye on it.

Cotton: is common and therefore usually more economical for your budget.  However, it stains and soils easily, shows wear, and fades.  It also goes through lots of chemical processing; unless it is made with organic cotton, it is treated with phosphorus and chlorine bleaching, artificial fertilizers, and defoliants.

Some more time passed and I decided that I would just have to bite the bullet and make this rug a splurge.  But when I went to the site, I discovered it was being discontinued and the 8x10s were already all sold out.  Arrggh.  Que me kicking myself.

However in retrospect, it was a good thing I missed out on it as something better was just around the corner.  (same thing happened with the first sofa we'd picked earlier this year.  Funny how things work like that, right?)

Until a week ago, I had never been to Crate & Barrel and was recently in the area of one, so I stopped in to take a gander, and struck gold.

Crate & Barrel's Malaga Almond Wool Rug - 8x10 for $499 (orig $900)

If I had solely seen this pic on the website versus the store, it would never have caught my eye.  The pic from the site does no justice whatsoever to the rug, so here's a pic I took of it on-display in the store:

When I went to check out the price, it showed it had been discounted from $900 to $599.  Still over-budget, but being plush wool, not bad either.  I was interested.

Wool: though wool rugs tend to be on the more expensive side of the spectrum, they hold their value and give you more bang for your buck.  The most preferable of products for its thickness, softness, longevity (they can last 50+ years), and durability even in high-traffic areas of the home.  They are processed through less chemicals, if any at all. Wool is also naturally stain-resistant, flame retardant, and get this: they actually help purify your home's air by absorbing contaminants and dust.

I asked a salesman about the length of the sale, and he told me the rug was being discontinued and would remain on sale until sold out.  Ho boy, another "discontinued", and this time I did not want to miss it.  I inquired about any future rug sales or discounts, to which he replied that their store credit card gave 15% off.

Great.  That was no help  (mini rant: why is it stores push their store cards for any discounts annoying).

I took some pix of the rug and went home and showed them to Karl.  He didn't like the rug as much as the WE one, but didn't dislike it.  I made some mood boards based off of it, and he started to warm up to it a bit.  That was approval enough.

Still hesitant to sink $600, I waited until just this past weekend and re-checked the rug online, where to my surprise it had been discounted by another $100, bringing it down to $499!  Looking into it a bit further, I found that I could save the $58 in shipping with their free "ship to store" option.  Rock on. Now we could talk business.

As usual, I went to Ebates and saw that I could get an extra 3% in cash-back through them.  Eh, it was something.  Then I remembered that my credit card was offering 5% cash-back for online purchases through the holidays.  "Up to 8% now, not bad..." I mused. On a whim, I checked out my card's merchant partners, which works much like Ebates, and did some chair dancing when I saw that the card would give me an extra 10% on top of the 5% for C&B.  So, there was my 15%! (take that, dumb C&B store card)

My total for the rug (w/ tax included) was whittled down to $448 (a total savings of $138 from the sale price, and $564 from the original price!).  It should arrive the first week of December!

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