Work Station

Published on May 18th, 2010 | by Jules IKEAHacker

33

Custom Command Center





Materials: Akrum base cabinets (two 30″ with large drawers, two 18″ with cabinets), two lengths of Langan countertop (96″ and 49″)

Description: As a photographer, designer and artist, I was in need of a desk solution that would accommodate all my computer/camera equipment and peripherals, plus tons of storage for materials and supplies, and with extra room on top to spare so that it could actually be used as a work/craft surface.

While I am lucky to be blessed with the space for an 11-foot desk, sadly no such product seemed to exist. I headed to the Ikea kitchen section for answers. 4 Akrum base cabinets and 2 lengths of Langan wood countertop solved the problem. The cabinets are designed to sit on legs (keeping them flat on the ground would mean the bottom drawers and cabinets would scrape against the floor), but to avoid extra height I decided to forego the legs and instead placed a few pieces of 1/2″ plywood underneath to lift them just enough.

I needed a 132″ top, and decided to create it out of two lengths of the Langan. The pieces were cut, sanded, stained, and waxed; with the excess used along with the set of Capita stainless steel legs to make a shelf. A hole was cut in one of the pieces to allow cords to pass through.

Even without the cabinets sitting on legs the desk is still several inches taller than normal desk height (32″ instead of 28-29″) but an adjustable-height chair solved the problem.

Since the drawer and cabinet faces are not pre-drilled, I was able to choose interesting hardware from another source for the pulls and handles (library card catalog pulls, which I filled with bits from vintage NYC street maps).

~ Steph Goralnick, Brooklyn, NY

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The Author

Jules IKEAHacker

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

33 Responses to Custom Command Center

  1. Julia says:

    Oh, that looks very, VERY nice! I love it. Nice touch with the Kozyndan print. And is that a Blackbird, Fly wallpaper?

  2. joana says:

    really nice, also if i don’t like that door design. i’ll go for a more minimalist one, but i appreciate your work too

  3. Steph says:

    Julia: the computer desktop wallpaper is indeed blackbird fly:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoralnick/sets/72157619311978166/ ;)

    Joana: Yep, you could choose different doors, surface and hardware for a more minimalist or completely different look.

  4. ms-pooka says:

    very nice!

    we tried to grow some plants in those containers and promptly killed them. what kind of plant is that and did you put pebbles in the bottom of your pot?

  5. Steph says:

    the plant in the hanging white ikea ceramic containers on the right is a clump of clover lifted from my backyard, and it’s doing great as it is essentially a weed. there are no pebbles in the bottom since the larger of those containers has a hole in the bottom for drainage (i water it a bit every day with a spray bottle so it doesn’t dribble all over the desk though).

    the plants in the glass terrarium on the left are a mix of succulents, i don’t know what they’re all called, but i am promptly killing them, hah. the ones called “hens and chicks” are doing the best. there is a layer of pebbles and charcoal in that one.

  6. ms-pooka says:

    i didn’t even notice the terrarium at first. it’s beautiful! i love the container. i’ve been wanting to order a terrarium off etsy for awhile now.

    the only thing we have success growing around here is weeds. perhaps i should try transplanting them. i hadn’t considered watering with a spray bottle. i had been fretting over how to control the water leakage.

    thanks!

  7. Jean says:

    wow, this is my favorite ikea hacker project so far! Love the vintage map, handles and the shots of green lives here and there!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful! I wish I had that in my house.

  9. MyFuZZyButtZ says:

    Simply beautiful work!

  10. Allison says:

    You have my most favorite chair in the whole wide world. Did you splurge on that or did you find it cheap somewhere?

  11. Anonymous says:

    How stable are these countertops? Could you take out the two inner cabinets and still put stuff (heavy computer screen, subwoofer, other things) on it?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Another question (I already enquired about the stability), is your countertop this one: http://www.ikea.com/de/de/catalog/products/00145748 ?

    Because yours look quite a bit darker.

  13. Steph says:

    Allison: I must admit, it is actually a knock-off of the chair that you are thinking of. Still a splurge for me though!

    Anonymous: The cabinet units are open at the top but are designed to be physically fastened/attached to the countertops that cover them with screws. So in terms of “stability” they are very stable. Regarding putting thousands of dollars of electronic equipment on a piece of wood that bridges so large a gap, I couldn’t really speak to that. I had actually purchased some 2×4′s thinking that additional support was needed for the gap that I had (30″), but the friends who came over to help me cut/install it (one who happens to be a furniture designer at pigeontail.com and one a fabricator at kontraptionist.com ) told me that it was beyond absurd and that the wood was plenty strong. I had thought that it would bend or warp or somehow crack and break under the weight of my 27″ monitor, but they even going so far as to climb on top of it and jump up and down. But with a 66″ gap, again, I couldn’t say. Personally I wouldn’t trust it without additional support. But then again I was not even prepared to trust 30″.

    Yes, my countertop is the Lagan one you linked to. Mine is quite a bit darker because it was sanded, stained and sealed with wax which (in my opinion, anyway) gives it a more custom/refined look and feel.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much! I will definitely copy your work (too bad I don’t have such beautiful door handles; I will go with the Lindstal ones), but I will go for an “L”-shape.

    I will also use Faktum (that’s the European name for Akurum) cabinets, as well as the Lidingö doors (you did use those, righ?), in white. I will also use the Faktum cabinet for a small fridge.

    For the countertop, that sounds like a lot of work I won’t be able to do. I will see at Ikea itself which one looks better; an alternative would be to go to my local wood market, which, apparently, also sells countertops, but has a lot more models; they also cut the wood to the size you want and, more importantly, connect the two pieces (I’ve forgotten what they’re called, but they drill holes into the pieces, and then you can connect them using some kind of small, well, connecting parts).

    If this doesn’t work out, I will go for the 246cm piece and the 186cm piece. This will make for a huge desk.

    See my crudely drawn pic here. The thing in the middle is this fridge thing (it needs those little 10cm Bestå stands, because it’s only 60cm high). I will also attach three white Vika Curry legs, for increased stability.

    Pic: http://i.imgur.com/OzP9Z.jpg (obviously not to size in the least).

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much! I will definitely copy your work (too bad I don’t have such beautiful door handles; I will go with the Lindstal ones), but I will go for an “L”-shape.

    I will also use Faktum (that’s the European name for Akurum) cabinets, as well as the Lidingö doors (you did use those, righ?), in white. I will also use the Faktum cabinet for a small fridge.

    For the countertop, that sounds like a lot of work I won’t be able to do. I will see at Ikea itself which one looks better; an alternative would be to go to my local wood market, which, apparently, also sells countertops, but has a lot more models; they also cut the wood to the size you want and, more importantly, connect the two pieces (I’ve forgotten what they’re called, but they drill holes into the pieces, and then you can connect them using some kind of small, well, connecting parts).

    If this doesn’t work out, I will go for the 246cm piece and the 186cm piece. This will make for a huge desk.

    See my crudely drawn pic here. The thing in the middle is this fridge thing (it needs those little 10cm Bestå stands, because it’s only 60cm high). I will also attach three white Vika Curry legs, for increased stability.

    Pic: http://i.imgur.com/OzP9Z.jpg (obviously not to size in the least).

  16. jo says:

    i don’t know if the anonymous is talking about a kitchen- or a desktop-cabinet, but in both cases you can evaluate the possibility to cut a hole in the countertop, a bidimensional hole, i mean larger in the superior half and smaller in the bottom side. like that you can use it as a lid, and not having it falling, and putting a waste bin underneath the furniture, or a paper bin

  17. Steph says:

    Anonymous (the most recent one),

    I investigated lots of tabletop options and the pre-made one from ikea was by far the cheapest and easiest. The (light) sanding took all of 10 minutes, and the stain maybe half an hour to apply (then several hours to dry). The wax was probably the most (relatively) difficult, but the the thing was done in an afternoon. If you are just getting “a piece” of wood, I would be worried about using a piece of plywood or something for a desktop as it would very likely bend/warp. Also make sure there is support under the seam or place where two piece are joined. Good luck!

  18. Allison says:

    yeah, but where did you get it? I don’t care if its a knock off. I just love the crisp clean look.

  19. Tonya says:

    I love the soft blue color of the wall. What is this color?
    Thanks

  20. Carole Craig says:

    As a photographer and writer I am so envious….it is a lovely, CLEAN workspace. Thank you for sharing.

  21. Catherine says:

    I have that Kozyndan print! Love it.

  22. leila says:

    where’d you get the owl lamp? i love it…!

  23. As a photographer, sculptor crafter and dabbler in all things creative, I also LOVE this. I’d need it around three walls to fit all my crap in it, but it’s superbly executed. Congratulations :)

  24. Anonymous says:

    It’s awesome, great work. What size plywood (1/2″) did you use under the set? A couple of large pieces or multiple small ones, and what layout did you have them in. Thanks so much and good work.

  25. Katie says:

    I love this – it looks so nice & clean & organized. I was wondering where you got the library card catalog pulls and the one with the little animal on it? I love the look of the library pulls.

  26. madisonxvx says:

    Hello, love the hack. What is the artist’s name of the waves artwork, where the tips turn into rabbits? I have another print but don’t know the artist’s name!

  27. Reedicus says:

    My wife and i love this workspace you created.
    We have a large glass paned door that we are trying to make into a desk top and are wondering what the final height of the cabinet with the legs removed is.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  28. steph says:

    Allison: I actually can’t remember where I got the chair. I literally googled “white modern office chair”, hah.

    Tonya: I believe the blue wall color is called “niagara mist”

    Leila: The owl lamp is from urban outfitters around two years ago.

    Anonymous: The plywood underneath the whole shebang are twelve 5″ squares, not big sheets. I just positioned them at/near the corners of the cabinets.

    Katie: the hardware (card catalog pulls and squirrel coathooks) is from Anthropologie.

    Madisonxvx: The bunny wave print is by kozyndan, you can find it here: http://www.kozyndan.com/shop

    Reedicus: height of the cabinets (which is always noted on the ikea site/catalog/etc) is 30″. height with plywood substitution “feet” and countertop is 32″

  29. Price says:

    How is the coutertop/desktop attached to the cabinets supporting it?

  30. Hedy says:

    I was wondering if you could tell me what the stain color is? I have purchased the same counter top today and really love the color you have on yours. Also, where to find the wax. Thanks so much.

  31. Chris says:

    Oh how I wish I would have seen this post before I bought my desk! I needed something almost exactly like this. Brilliant. If you don’t mind me asking, how much would you say the desk came to (minus stain, handles, etc.)? Thanks so much. Great job!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Wow Thank you soo very much for sharing! Amazing!! My dream home office!

  33. Anonymous says:

    wow great desk love the design of it all. is the countertop fastened with the ikea supplied screws to the cabinets below (or did you have to custom fasten them) or just floating above them?

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