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I have commissioned a loft conversion and at the same time completely remodelled the first floor to make everything work. I needed to relocate the boiler. I also wanted to relocate the washing machine which was in my (Ikea Faktum) kitchen to get extra storage. I placed the boiler in my new bathroom, wall mounted high to give space below for a new heating manifold. Below all the pipe works will be a built-in washing machine. British law requires these electrical connections to be shielded away from splash so my plumber/electrician/builders worked together to box them all in the smallest available footprint at the corner of the bathroom. While they didn’t charge me extra and even gave it the best painted MDF finish they could, it wasn’t a classy finish. So I got to work…

Things to house

  • Wall mounted combi boiler
  • 6 port heating manifold with electrothermic valves driven by:
  • Multi-zone wiring centre wired to individual zone (5) programmable thermostats
  • Standard width (60cm) washing machine
  • Soil stack. Fitted floor to ceiling next to boiler.

Ikea items hacked

  • Ringhult door gloss white 60 x 100cm
  • Ringhult door gloss white 60 x 40cm
  • Ringhult door gloss white 60 x 80cm x2
  • Ringhult door gloss white 20 x 80cm
  • LILLÅNGEN open ended shelf 179cm x1
  • EKBY STÖDIS x2
  • Small basket from an old Rationell pull out cabinet insert
  • Washers and bracket for securing a Billy shelf against the wall
  • A spare piece of padding block from Billy
  • Ikea FIXA felt pad

Other items

  • Pull out slider with soft-close, for 15cm with cabinet
  • Cabinet handles (which you could also get from Ikea)
  • Iron-on edging tape
  • Small right angle brackets
  • Wood screws of various lengths
  • Mosaic tiles, adhesive, grout and anti-moulding silicone

Tools

  • Cordless drill/driver
  • Wood drill bits
  • Right angle try and measure
  • Spirit level
  • Jigsaw and extra fine wood cutting blades

Design

Make the whole thing look less imposing and better finished. Ringhult doors are available in many different sizes at reasonable prices, Ikea does beat the competition hands down when I looked for material. The Lillangen open ended shelf from Ikea’s bathroom range is perfect to soften the box’s corner as well as utilise the empty space in front of the soil pipe. Finding a place to put the toilet roll holder was difficult as the toilet space isn’t very wide, mounting it on the MDF housing will obstruct the elbow. So I made good use of the empty space in front of the soil pipe, again made it in-wall mounted. The space left below the in-wall toilet roll holder is not wasted, I found a cheap pull out bracket that would fit the 18cm or so of space perfectly.

MDF housing made by builders

The Build

One of the 60×80 Ringhult door was cut into multiple strips to form horizontal worktop surfaces, such as the cover for a hidden cistern. The little lip, also cut from the Ringhult door, above the toilet roll holder is mounted against the worktop with right angle brackets. This keeps material cost down. I also used a FIXA felt pad to protect the toilet seat pan from banging against the tiles.

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For the in wall toilet roll holder, I built a small box out of plywood, screw mounted it to a cut out on the MDF wall then tiled it like the rest of the wall. The open end will eventually be covered by a Ringhult door which is mounted on a pull-out slider bracket under the roll holder.

Next, I needed to replace the MDF door that covers the boiler. This requires two Ringhult doors of 100cm and 40cm height. The 100cm door covers the boiler body where as the 40cm door covers the manifold and wiring centre (See how I managed to mount 2 hinges just above and below the wiring centre!). The hinges would require very precise measurement to screw into a supporting wood batten on the wall. Good ruler, spirit level, precise pilot holes drilling and plenty of patience should give a decent result. It is also important to make sure the hinges don’t obstruct the boiler from being able to remove its case for repairs! Lucky my plumber was smart and mounted the boiler with enough clearance.

The picture below shows I have also made a cut out to mount the Lillangen open ended shelf. A circular saw might be better for straight line cut like this, but I only had a jig saw, so I gave it plenty of patience too. However, the mosaic tiles will cover a lot of the imperfections in the cutting.

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The Lillangen shelf is a little too long for my application so I got to work with the jig saw again and cut it down. I then drilled pilot holes to refit the cam studs to mount the end cover to the shortened end.

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To give it base support when mounted, I picked up a couple of great value EKBY STÖDIS bookshelf brackets and made a base support platform. The Lillangen is actually very cleverly designed to use the shelves to cover up screws which would otherwise be exposed. So instead of using brackets to secure it against the MDF wall, I made counter sunk screw holes at each shelf and screwed the edge against the long MDF cutout edge. The end result is good strong mounting with no visible screws!

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Finally for the Lillangen, I wanted to give it more support against twisting movement because only one side is screwed into the MDF wall. In keeping with Ikea Hacking, I took a spare piece of padding block that came in the packaging of a wide Billy bookshelf and screwed it against the wall. It was almost a perfect fit, I only needed 1mm padding which was made up by folding a page out of the Lillangen instruction!

Once the shelf and doors were mounted, I just needed to use edging tape on the MDF edges above and below the boiler doors. No amount of sanding will make a good looking MDF edge, so iron-on melamine edging tape was used to give it a tidy finish. I also have a small wire basket from a Rationell pull out insert. It makes a perfect door mounted storage. All I needed was to find some spacers and washers. What’s better than going through more Ikea spare parts? The little bracket to secure a Billy against a wall comes in handy. Dremel cut it to make two spacers and reuse the washers to screw mount the Rationell rack to the door!

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From the above picture, you should be able to see the washing machine in place with the wire basket mounted. There is actually a gap above the washing machine that will store 8 rolls of toilet paper!

Finally, I moved the washing machine into place and sat it on four vibration absorbing feet and mounted a 60×80 Ringhult door to give it that built-in look. The last 30×80 Ringhult door was then trimmed down with my jigsaw and carefully aligned next to the washing machine door to make a door for the pull out brackets. The finished result is practical and space saving. It is totally bespoke but Ikea parts helps to keep the cost down without getting carpenter/joiner to make me custom doors and shelves. Hopefully, this will give some ideas to those who are looking to utilise space when planning a new bathroom!

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