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Chris Metcalf

specialization is for insects

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I’m mostly posting this for the benefit of the folks on the IKEA Hacker blog because they’ll probably get a good kick out of it. I’ve long since moved out of that apartment, but I think the concept is still solid and that somebody else will probably benefit from it.

About a two years ago, I moved into my first post-college apartment with my friend Eli. One of our first steps was to hit up IKEA to pick up furniture, given the fact that we were, A.) Cheap and B.) Cheap.

We took a bunch of measurements and headed off to the store with our tape measures and our credit cards in hand. Little did we know that we’d be struck with the spirit of Martha Stewart herself and end up devising the perfect interior decorating plan.

Eli and I, being of a similarly cheap nature, both owned identical IKEA couches, the Lillberg, if I remember correctly. We also figured out that the Norrebo bookshelf unit was approximately as wide as the windows on the two windows on either side of the corner of our apartment. And “two shelves high” was as high as the higher of the windows. We also discovered a corner TV unit (I believe it was from the “Lack” line but I can’t find it now) was just about the right height and of a matching color to both the Norrebo and the Lillberg units we already had. So we formulated a plan.

  1. Build up a two shelve high bookcase unit against the wall with the taller window.

  2. Put the corner TV unit (obviously) in the corner

  3. Use the remaining third shelve of our Norrebo package to build a window seat against the other window.

But the true genius was realized when we discovered that the remaining cushions for our second (my) Lillberg couch were exactly the proper width and height to put on top of our new window seat.

The results were impressive. Even Eli’s (now-ex) interior designer girlfriend was very satisfied with the results.

The Apartment

Not bad, eh? All it took was a few extra random nuts and bolts scavenged from my toolbox and a little bit of extra time.

Update: There seems to be as much interest in the view from my old apartment as in the actual “hack”. The location is on Alki Ave SW in West Seattle, right at the east end of Alki Beach.


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The body of water you see is southern Puget Sound, and the mountains in the distance are the Olympic Range.

I have more pictures from my time on Alki up in my Flickr photostream.