Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Office Brown to Wishing Chair Whimsy

I tend to launch my shopping raids on Ikea in military style, swooping in with my printed out page of catalogue, storming the ramparts of the yellow paths which force you to walk past every single room display, searching in a focused, targeted way, more often than not dragging unhappy children behind me who only came because they thought I might buy them one of those enormous stuffed toys from the children's section.   If I plan carefully, I can do the whole in and out thing in 45 minutes.
  

My distaste for the whole Ikea experience means that if I have gone there to buy something I Will Not Leave Empty Handed.   When the shelves I wanted for my daughter were only available in pale dirt brown (I think they call it Birch), did I sensibly retreat?  No, I allowed a 7 year old girl who wants dinosaurs to come back to life persuade me that it would look fine in her room.  Well you know, it didn't look fine.  It looked terrible. It looked like someone had accidentally dumped a piece of 1970s office furniture in a pink elves' forest. 


So I decided to refurbish it.  

I chose last weekend to do this task, armed in advance with lots of advice from the man from Paint Spot.  Never mind that I had the worst hangover 'food poisoning' I have had since university. (Never, never, ever, drink aged Riesling. I think that was how the Germans managed to overrun Alsace those two times last century.)   



One thing I know now is that it is not easy to paint a veneer.  It needs to be sanded (which I did, lazily), it needs two coats of undercoat, it then needed a further two coats of our chosen paint.  I thought I could get away with two coats in total. I was wrong. 


And then I wallpapered the outside. I know that that is not the usual way, and that people  usually wallpaper the inside of shelves, but that meant that the pattern wouldn't be seen that much given all the books intended for the shelves.


And are you wondering about the green? I was.  It is called Green Thorns.  It looks almost florescent in a darkened room. I confess my idea was to go with pale pink or cream but I felt my daughter should have some say and this is what she chose.   And she was quite adamant so I went with it. 


And here it is all filled up.  I call the dolls on the top the House of Representatives.   They sit in judgment on what goes on in this bedroom.   If you look carefully can see Julia Gillard and Julie Bishop.  


And here is a shot of a sequined basket I found for her a few months back.  I think I like it more than she does! 




A perfect accompaniment to dreams of the Wishing Chair.   Wouldn't mind one of these myself. 


21 comments:

Tina said...

Hi Jane. The bookshelves look FABULOUS! It is amazing that you can transform such an ordinary coloured piece, into something beautiful:) The roses wallpaper is gorgeous and as for the green, our 10 yr old daughter chose a similar shade for her bedroom walls...which we have now inherited:S I bet your daughter LOVES her new bookcase!! Love the little sequined basket too:) Happy first day of Spring to you ~ Tina xx

brismod said...

That looks great Jane. Wallpapering the outside was a great idea. There is little point having it on the inside - you'd never see it when the bookcase was full of books.

A-M said...

Spectacular job... talk about dedication! Ah, the wishing chair... my eldest, when he was 2, asked for 'a wishing chair' for his 3rd birthday (he loved the books).. we put wings on a little mini lounge chair for him... he was beside himself. Happy memories! A-M xx

marian said...

What a transformation! Your daughter must be so happy and lucky with a mom like you!
I have those same shelves, only wider and larger(higher) even(!!!) sitting in my living room. I want them gone but then they hold all the stuff I have no place for elsewhere(books, games, toys, stuff for the kids to do art projects,...) and they are practical for that but, I really want to get rid of them, I really, really, really do! I have no other room than the living room to put it and no, I do not feel like giving it a 'transformation'(that would mean I gave in and it could stay), I just want it to go!

Lizzy said...

I'm exactly the same in Ikea!
You've done a great job on the shelves they look lovely x

JANE said...

Oh, Jane! You crafty girl! I love what you have done. It's inspirational - I might do that with the pixies' bookcase. I adore the careful arranging of the books - we have the same taste, Babar in particular! And as for 'The Wishing Chair', ditto. We have two chapters left of 'The Magic Faraway Tree' to read tonight and 'The Wishing Chair' will soon follow.

Maria said...

You did a great job! And with a hangover um I mean food poisoning!! Super impressed :)

natasha said...

Oh Lordy, Ikea. I invariably leave that place with things I don't need (like you, I have to justify the angst of going there in the first place) and the craps. The only way I can tolerate it is to go first thing in the morning when it opens.

You did a fabulous job on those shelves! And thanks for the tip re aged reisling ;)

Ann said...

Looks fabulous - I like the green with pink - and wallpaper on the outside is a great idea - too pretty to hide... Frightening how little wine i need to get food poisoning these days. A x

Emma said...

Love the shelves! So gorgeous and so pretty, I particularly love the freshness of the green! My 4 year old is obsessed with the Wishing Chair and The Faraway Tree stories (as was I once!).

Amanda said...

It looks AMAZING!! Love the green and love the way you've wallpapered this piece. Great job x

Jenny Schouten Short said...

Thanks for the tip. I will never try to paint my birch IKEA shelves. I just put them in inconspicuous places. Yours are adorable and your daughter will have a warm feeling being around them all the time. I once painted my daughter's furniture and toybox hot pink.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Very clever Jane
Actually that shelving looks like it has good proportions and love the girlish makeover.. very Cath Kidston..

You know I've been know to do Ikea in 20mins before closing.. and still spent over $500... very sad!!! hahaha

Have a great week xxx Julie

count it all joy said...

You should get "food poisoning" more often if this is what you can achieve! You are too funny.

Those shelves are just beautiful. The wallpaper on the outside was inspired. The green...I love it. Your daughter has obviously inherited your well trained eye. Meredy xo.
p.s. the basket is fab. Perfect touch.

Millie said...

So sweet & pretty & sooooo unique Jane! I bet IKEA are getting their Chinese manufacturing agents 'copying' your idea as I write this. It will be in their stores by next week.
Millie ^_^

JMW said...

What a great bookshelf! Cheers to you on such a fine job! Perfect for a little girl's room (and my daughter would adore that sequined basket - it's so great!)

Jacqueline said...

Hi Jane,
Well, I HATE going to Ikea.....short pause for lots of sharp intakes of breath from fellow bloggers !!....I just hate the way they make you walk around the entire store and then to walk through the area where they store everything. The part that I like the best is when we sit down in the cafe and eat gravadlax for lunch !!
I love what you have done with the bookshelves. The green looks great and the wallpaper, a stroke of genius...one thing though.....I wouldn't touch the Reisling anymore (well, not too much of it !!) XXXX

Amanda said...

You did a great job Jane, and I should imagine that with your terrible food poisoning, that green would have been something of a challenge. Looks so nice with that wallpaper. Of course we have no Ikea here, so I guess it is a mixed blessing.

Jacqueline said...

Just a little P.S. Jane.....You are completely right. There is a tree growing at the top of the tower in Lucca.....and, the views were worth the walk up !! XXXX

my favorite and my best said...

cuter than hades!!!!!!!

Vintage Simple said...

It looks fantastic, Jane!! What a lucky little girl you have. I love, love, love it. And I adore the pink she insisted on.

xoox,
-maria

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