Thursday, 23 April 2009

Chess Table

As I'm on here already, I may as well do a double posting as this keeps slipping from my mind: Passing by Redchurch Street in East London (home of the outstanding interiors store Caravan) on the weekend, I passed this somewhat elusive, nameless and closed vintage furniture shop, featuring this in the window ('scuse dodgy phone cam pic):

It's quite literally a chess table, and whilst I have no idea how to play chess and no intention of learning, I still desperately want it. There's something about oversized versions of everyday items that I love, and this really appeals for that very reason and also as I think it'd be quite an easy hack. Well, the tabletop would anyway, with a few black and white tiles (or cream and brown, or indeed any other colour combo you dare to dream up) grouted onto an existing square table. As for the chess pieces, short of whittling down some trees, perhaps these could be substituted with appropriate vintage objet - a perfect excuse to further trawl the charity shops for numerous small, pointless pretty things. Hurrah!

Ikea Hacker blog inspires Independent on Sunday

Fantastic to see crafty topics hitting the weekend supplements once more (yes, I know it's Thursday now - I'm something of a slow reader). In particular, the wonderful Ikea Hacker blog has received an amazing piece of coverage in The Independent on Sunday (Pimp My Ikea: How to 'Bling Up' your Billy Bookcase, 19th April 2009), where several designers (including Michelle Mason, whose doily-esque felt rugs I deeply covet) have been invited to pimp out several Ikea basics, inspired by said blog.

The Ikea Hacker blog is up there with my all-time favourites, and in part inspired me to create my little blog over here too (both in spirit and in partial-name-nickery, but I hope they'll see it as the compliment it's intended as). If you've not visited the site before then get over there now. The premise is simple - members of the general public send in their submissions of Ikea items they've customised. Sometimes, the results are a simple repaint of a table, others are far more heavily pimped - from splicing several items together to create something new and doing 'clever' things involving wiring and lighting, to entire rooms bursting with repurposed, re-envisioned Ikea-ness (check out their top 20 hacks of 2008 to give you a good overview). As the yellow and blue giant's produce is literally everywhere (can you think of a single person who doesn't own at least one bit of Ikea?) the world can surely use a guiding hand in individualising their generic pieces.

The article features Michelle Mason, who customised a Henriksdal dining chair with felt silhouette's of classic British design items, as well as...

...Jamie, Astrid and Phil from Jam Design, who created an individual 'picture frame' tabletop for the Expedit glass-top coffee table (see Rockett St George for another take on this - they supply this fantastic fake lace tape which could be used instead of the frame tape shown here)... a hacked-up Billy bookcase, courtesy of Black and Blum - love the way they've repurposed to create a computer desk with fold-down shelf, instead of just a purely decorative hack. I myself am about to inherit an old Ikea wardrobe which will require serious hacking if it's going to store all my clothes and paraphernalia whilst also (hopefully) look stylish - am feeling inspired by all this designer camaraderie to get cracking once it arrives!  

All pictures courtesy of

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

How-to: Decoupage Wallpaper Canvas Hack

High time for a hack I feel: this time, a simple affair featuring a rather crumpled offcut of some Laura Ashley wallpaper, some snazzy blue paint and a canvas with some previously rather shite artwork emblazoned on it. 

Said canvas had been hanging on my bathroom wall since a previous housemate created it prior to my tenancy, and for some time I've been meaning to do something more exciting with it. Cue a bin rummage at the end of a recent magazine shoot where I salvaged this piece of vintage-tastic Memento wallpaper. Far too pretty to use as just wrapping paper, yet too crumpled to use in its entirety, I decided to liberate the print from its plain cream background. Several hours of cutting and scalpel-ing later, my pattern was freed. I decided to go for a contrasting colour on my canvas so painted over the old artwork in this gorgeous cobalt blue, which really picks out the blue/grey tones of my bathroom wall. I then simply arranged my rose on the canvas and stuck it down with some UHU adhesive, along with a few butterflies also on the original wallpaper. Et Voila!

Simple yet effective I feel. I had intended to go over the slightly dodgy sticky-up corners with more glue but actually liked the extra texture they gave to the piece (plus had already tidied everything away) so decided to keep them as a deliberate feature. 

Stay tuned for more exciting wallpaper-offcut hacks - with the bank holiday almost upon us, a little DIY action seems as inevitable as stuffing my face with cream eggs to the point of feeling sick.