January 20, 2011

Container Store Hack

By now you've probably heard of Ikea Hackers – a site that collects all sorts of projects that people have done taking basic Ikea items and altering them to make them function differently.  Well, we have a Container Store hack in our house that I'm pretty proud of.

So here's the situation…a long time ago, before our son was even a glimmer in our eyes, we rearranged our living room such that it was necessary to find a piece to hold our television and house all of the related electronics that go with it.

My husband and my father-in-law decided to build a custom case so that it would look more like a built-in piece of furniture.

Here's the beautiful cabinet the built way back in the day…

 …complete with trim to match the existing wall trim in the room…

 Once it received a coat of paint to match the trim, it functioned very well for us until one day we had a baby.  For a LONG time, that baby could have cared less about the cabinet and its contents…

 …and then one day, he noticed the fun books that were inside it…

 …and all of the cool buttons he could press and dials he could turn and shelves he could climb…

 …it was a desperate situation.  We needed to figure out a way to put something on the cabinet that would discourage busy baby hands from exploring…but the kicker was that we didn't want glass inserts and it had to be able to allow us to use the remote controls even when the doors were closed! 

There was a lot of brainstorming.  A door with dowels across it like a grate was suggested.  Louvered slats were considered.  And then I remembered some pressed metal sheets with a pattern of holes that my grandfather had used to make a traveling kitty-crate way back when I was a kid.  The die-cut holes would allow the remote signals to go through and it would look more polished than a door with dowels in it.  But where could we get die cut sheet metal?

Then, as I was sitting in my office staring at a pen holder that I purchased at the Container Store, it hit me.  If we could a larger sheet of THAT material, we could potentially use it in the doors we were building for the case!


Lo and behold, the Container Store offers a bulletin board using the same material…and it was the perfect size for us to 'Hack' into our doors!


So my father-in-law came back into town and he and my husband worked all weekend long…taking off the existing trim from the case, designing doors that would fit and installing the die-cut sheet metal panels.

I found a couple of pretty knobs from Anthropologie to use.

 And voila!  Just like that we had a perfect solution for our custom built entertainment center!

 The back of the doors aren't pretty…and totally tell the tale of the former bulletin board pieces…

 …but with a few touch ups to where the old molding used to be, they look like they've been a part of the cabinet since it was built.

 Do you have any non-Ikea hacks to share?


(all photos by Miriam Bradford unless otherwise noted)

3 Responses to “Container Store Hack”

  1. Colleen C Says:
    January 20th, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Love it!  Thank goodness for husbands and FILs right?!  You've inspired me not to hack, but to head right over to the Container store, I love that pattern!

  2. Kristin ~ Bien Living Design Says:
    January 20th, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I love it!  We need a new entertainment system and I am just not too keen on the things that are out there right now.  However, adding something like this to the front could really change everything!
    What a great project :)

  3. Jenna Says:
    January 20th, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Love it!  Its actually nicer than the before version.