Archives For design challenge

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the word ‘sofa’? I also hate the words ‘swag’ and ‘sneakers’ in case you are wondering (Apparently, I hate words that start with an ‘s’).

Anyway, the point is there are tables which go behind couches and they are often called ‘sofa tables’, but since I just can’t call them that, I’m going with ‘behind-the-couch table.’ Just go with it.

My living room is long and skinny which makes arranging it interesting. I’ve found that a table behind the couch not only “shortens” the distance between the couch and the rest of the room, but it also gives me a place to display cool stuff. The one I found I wanted was from IKEA and it cost $170 (It is now discontinued). So since I couldn’t afford it at the time I created my very own behind-the-couch table!

I used empty tubs and boxes to create the “table” and then covered it in fabric.

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It was like this for almost a year before I gave it a makeover by adding another layer of tub lids to make it sturdier. I also changed the fabric to a clean white sheet.
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This version lasted another one and a half years. It was always on my to-do list to build or buy something more permanent, but the temporary version worked so nicely it wasn’t a major priority.

But the temp solution definitely wasn’t flawless. Of course, it all comes back to Bob. As you know, Bob sucks. He regularly sits on this “table” meaning it was starting to buckle under his weight. Last week, when he got particularly riled up about a cat/squirrel/mail person he knocked over one of my plants. Thankfully he didn’t break the planter but it looked like this:

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If this were a solid surface I could easily wipe off the dirt, but since it’s a sheet it requires removing all of the things, washing the sheet, and then putting back all of the things. And I’m super lazy. I’m so lazy that I would rather build a table than just wash the sheet. I guess maybe that doesn’t make me lazy, just weird.

So I just did it. I followed a few tutorials (this one and this one). Here is what I bought to make a 75″ long behind-the-couch table to fit behind an IKEA Karlstad couch:

2 – 23″ tall 12″ x 2″ boards

1- 75″ long 12″ x 2″ board

4 – corner braces, size 4″

1 – 15 quantity box of 1.5″ wood screws

4 – 3″ wood screws (I had these on hand)

Honestly the most difficult part of this whole thing was buying and having the lumber cut. It was stressful because I’ve never done it before. Also, loading and unloading the lumber to and from my car and then into my house was a little sweaty.

I connected the “legs” to the main board by using the corner braces. I pre-drilled the holes which made it really simple and fast.

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When I stood the table up (quite a bit more difficult than you would think) it was a bit wobbly. I decided I’d rather lose the smooth top surface for sturdiness, so I drilled four (two on each side) 3″ screws to further stabilize it. Since this step was unplanned, I just used what I had on hand. I was lucky enough to find 4 – 3″ screws but they unfortunately didn’t have a flat profile. Ah well, it wasn’t worth a trip to the store so I have no regrets.

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Next came my least favorite part, painting. I can’t seem to go a weekend without painting something. If I believed in purgatory, I’d venture to say it involved an endless painting project.

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As you can see, I’m so lazy, I didn’t even bother to paint the underside. Future Jasmin may be annoyed at this decision, but present Jasmin is very pleased with the choice.

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I am not the best at being patient so I should have sanded more, should have put on a second coat of primer, should have bought a clear sealer, should have should have should have blah blah blah. You should do all of those things. Do as I say, not as I do.

I tried my hardest to wait a full 48 hours so it would cure, but I only made it about 30 hours. Again, do as I say, not as I do. Seriously.

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A power strip and router are hiding under the table.

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Not bad if I do say so myself!! And the best part is it only cost me $41 and one afternoon. If you are nervous about building a simple piece of furniture like this here’s my public endorsement: You can do it!*

*As long as you have a power drill and a vehicle big enough to transport the wood. Oh, and $41.

Living in an old house can often pose certain design challenges. One of the very first design challenges I had to conquer was the window in the shower.

Not only is there a window in the shower it is on the same side as the shower head so there is full exposure of the chest area up. The guy who lived here before me didn’t have anything over the window but he was a guy and nobody cared if they could see his chest in the shower, but it was kind of an issue for me.

My original idea was to frost the window.

Spray on froster (I actually used this to frost the small windows in my basement and it worked great!).

Window frosting film

Then when I had my home inspection the inspector said… Frosting only provides privacy it doesn’t protect the window from moisture which it will get a lot of since it is in the shower. So on to plan b.

Somehow I had to cover the window but retain the light that the window gives off. So here is the solution I worked up and honestly I don’t know how I came up with it.

First, I added a second shower curtain rod.

Second, I used a semi-translucent shower curtain. It lets the light shine through but keeps my neighbor from seein’ my business.

Third, I cut out the shape of the shelf so that the shower curtain lays flat.

And voila! Design problem solved! At first I felt like I was showering in between clotheslines but it doesn’t bother me any more. The rods have both stayed up fine and feel ‘safe’ from prying eyes.

Have you come across any weird design challenges in your house?