modern thrifter

modern thrifter

Thrifter & designer. Blogging about life in our MCM home & living on a budget. I also design things with my husband. You can see our work at The Mahoney Studio

ENJE BLINDS

It only took us three and a half years, but we finally have blinds in the kitchen. We had planned to get the Ikea Enje blinds right after we bought the house, but Ikea recalled them at almost that exact time. The previous version of these had chain cords to roll them up and down which were a strangulation hazard for small children.

Last year (I think) the new version was released that instead has a cordless spring-loaded mechanism. My experience with spring-loaded blinds has been nothing but maddening in the past, so I’ve been really reluctant to try these.

On the other hand, these blinds are extremely budget-friendly. That, combined with a promise from Patrick to be on daily blind-raising duty, won me over in the end.

We were able to customize the sizes with scissors and a hack saw to fit in the windows, which is another reason to love these blinds. The only thing I’m not crazy about is that the hardware that attaches them to the window frames looks really industrial. I’m considering adding a simple piece of painted black wood trim that would go all the way across the top of the windows to cover the tops of the rollers.

I have to admit, it’s nice to finally be able to make coffee first thing in the morning without the whole neighborhood seeing me in my pajamas. Hooray for privacy!

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[ LIVING ROOM UPDATES ]
Ever since we saw the first few “fauxdenzas” pop up in the blogosphere (specifically the ones on The Brick House, and Door Sixteen), we’ve been plotting one of our own. Hosting guests for Christmas seemed like good motivation to make a few improvements to the living room. 

We bought three 30” x 24” Applad/Akurum cabinets from ikea, and picked up some thick birch plywood from a Kerf warehouse sale for under $20. We were really hoping to get some of their walnut plywood, but there weren’t any pieces long enough for the top. For the price, I’m happy to settle for the birch, though if we ever stumble across a long plank of the walnut, we’ll probably make a swap.

The storage capacity of these cabinets is fantastic. We currently have the kid’s board games, some books, toys, and our record player stored away inside. I’m still figuring out what to put on the top, but here is my quick attempt to pull something together with the stuff I already had.

The vintage Anri Form tray was a Christmas gift from my father-in-law. I think it needs a few taller things inside, but for now, it’s a happy new home for my miniature wood dishes that had been residing on top of my refrigerator. I also added these hand-cut crystal candle holders that I’ve been storing in the cupboard. 

We still need to patch up the back wall where the wood panels previously were, and hang some art. Oh, and I still hate the rug that’s in this space. Since everything that I like is around the $2000–$3000 price range, I’m thinking of ordering this super cheap one from Urban Outfitters until I either win the lottery, or some company starts selling huge beautiful rugs for under a grand.

[ LIVING ROOM UPDATES ]

Ever since we saw the first few “fauxdenzas” pop up in the blogosphere (specifically the ones on The Brick House, and Door Sixteen), we’ve been plotting one of our own. Hosting guests for Christmas seemed like good motivation to make a few improvements to the living room. 

image

We bought three 30” x 24” Applad/Akurum cabinets from ikea, and picked up some thick birch plywood from a Kerf warehouse sale for under $20. We were really hoping to get some of their walnut plywood, but there weren’t any pieces long enough for the top. For the price, I’m happy to settle for the birch, though if we ever stumble across a long plank of the walnut, we’ll probably make a swap.

image

The storage capacity of these cabinets is fantastic. We currently have the kid’s board games, some books, toys, and our record player stored away inside. I’m still figuring out what to put on the top, but here is my quick attempt to pull something together with the stuff I already had.

image

The vintage Anri Form tray was a Christmas gift from my father-in-law. I think it needs a few taller things inside, but for now, it’s a happy new home for my miniature wood dishes that had been residing on top of my refrigerator. I also added these hand-cut crystal candle holders that I’ve been storing in the cupboard. 

image

We still need to patch up the back wall where the wood panels previously were, and hang some art. Oh, and I still hate the rug that’s in this space. Since everything that I like is around the $2000–$3000 price range, I’m thinking of ordering this super cheap one from Urban Outfitters until I either win the lottery, or some company starts selling huge beautiful rugs for under a grand.

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[ OPEN SHELVES ]
If you follow me on Pinterest, you might have noticed that I’ve been pinning a lot of photos of kitchens with open shelves lately. Our plan is to (hopefully this summer) tear out most of the upper cabinets in the kitchen and replace them with simple shelves with possibly a short cabinet at the very top.
In the meantime, I’ve been anxious to try out some of the support brackets from Ikea to see if they will be up to the task of holding our dishes. We made the trek to Ikea last Saturday and picked up some wood brackets and a couple of shelves from the As-Is section. All total we spent $16 for this project.
I’m the type of person who would rather have completely bare countertops and surfaces. I had previously been storing my cookbooks and radio on top of my refrigerator, and my counter was starting to get cluttered with various dishes and bowls, so having a nice organized little space for everything makes me quite happy.

These are some of my favorite things in the kitchen: My new Jamie Oliver cookbook that my mom gave me, Meals in Minutes, which I highly recommend (really, this is such a great concept… three or four course meals with the recipes integrated so that everything finishes together), a pile of snack-sized cloth napkins that I’ve been creating out of fabric scraps, my Anri teak bowl, a butter crock that my in-laws gave me for christmas, my new little honey jar, and a cute radio so that I can listen to All Things Considered while I cook dinner.
I’ve mentioned before how much I dislike our travertine counters and backsplash. They have been on the demolition list since we’ve owned the house. When I was editing the photos, I thought I’d take a look at what the counters would look like without the backsplash (this is about a two minute photoshop job, so please don’t judge).

Though I’d still rather redo the entire thing, taking out the backsplash would be a huge improvement.
When it comes time to tearing out the cabinets and putting in the new shelves, I’d like to go with white brackets and thick wood shelves like this: 

Do any of you have open shelves in your kitchen? Do you love or hate them? I’m guessing the top shelf gets a little dusty, but I’m hoping that having a cabinet at the very top will help a little with that.

[ OPEN SHELVES ]

If you follow me on Pinterest, you might have noticed that I’ve been pinning a lot of photos of kitchens with open shelves lately. Our plan is to (hopefully this summer) tear out most of the upper cabinets in the kitchen and replace them with simple shelves with possibly a short cabinet at the very top.

In the meantime, I’ve been anxious to try out some of the support brackets from Ikea to see if they will be up to the task of holding our dishes. We made the trek to Ikea last Saturday and picked up some wood brackets and a couple of shelves from the As-Is section. All total we spent $16 for this project.

I’m the type of person who would rather have completely bare countertops and surfaces. I had previously been storing my cookbooks and radio on top of my refrigerator, and my counter was starting to get cluttered with various dishes and bowls, so having a nice organized little space for everything makes me quite happy.

These are some of my favorite things in the kitchen: My new Jamie Oliver cookbook that my mom gave me, Meals in Minutes, which I highly recommend (really, this is such a great concept… three or four course meals with the recipes integrated so that everything finishes together), a pile of snack-sized cloth napkins that I’ve been creating out of fabric scraps, my Anri teak bowl, a butter crock that my in-laws gave me for christmas, my new little honey jar, and a cute radio so that I can listen to All Things Considered while I cook dinner.

I’ve mentioned before how much I dislike our travertine counters and backsplash. They have been on the demolition list since we’ve owned the house. When I was editing the photos, I thought I’d take a look at what the counters would look like without the backsplash (this is about a two minute photoshop job, so please don’t judge).

Though I’d still rather redo the entire thing, taking out the backsplash would be a huge improvement.

When it comes time to tearing out the cabinets and putting in the new shelves, I’d like to go with white brackets and thick wood shelves like this: 

Do any of you have open shelves in your kitchen? Do you love or hate them? I’m guessing the top shelf gets a little dusty, but I’m hoping that having a cabinet at the very top will help a little with that.

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[ QUICK SHOWER CURTAIN PROJECT ]
I’ve been wanting a new shower curtain for our guest bathroom since we moved in a year ago. I nearly bought one last summer, but I couldn’t find one that I was completely sold on, so I decided to wait. I don’t know why shower curtains have to be so expensive… or ugly. I think I finally found one that I love, but until it goes on sale (like 75% off), I am happy with my newest project.
Last week I bought a queen size duvet cover at Goodwill for $6. It turns out that it is an Ikea textile. It seems like anytime I find a modern patterned piece of fabric at a thrift store, it’s from Ikea. Turning the duvet into a shower curtain was even easier than when I made one into these curtains. It required very little cutting, which was made even easier by a fantastic new pair of sewing scissors that my mom gave me for Christmas, and hemming on three sides. I think I spent about a little over an hour on this project.

P.S. I really need to get a wide angle lens for my camera!

[ QUICK SHOWER CURTAIN PROJECT ]

I’ve been wanting a new shower curtain for our guest bathroom since we moved in a year ago. I nearly bought one last summer, but I couldn’t find one that I was completely sold on, so I decided to wait. I don’t know why shower curtains have to be so expensive… or ugly. I think I finally found one that I love, but until it goes on sale (like 75% off), I am happy with my newest project.

Last week I bought a queen size duvet cover at Goodwill for $6. It turns out that it is an Ikea textile. It seems like anytime I find a modern patterned piece of fabric at a thrift store, it’s from Ikea. Turning the duvet into a shower curtain was even easier than when I made one into these curtains. It required very little cutting, which was made even easier by a fantastic new pair of sewing scissors that my mom gave me for Christmas, and hemming on three sides. I think I spent about a little over an hour on this project.

P.S. I really need to get a wide angle lens for my camera!

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[ MODERN SPACE-SAVING COAT RACK ]
I’ve always wanted a coat rack by my front door, not just the standard iron or wood coat rack with curvy hooks, but something really modern. I love the look of Blu Dot’s Splash Coat Rack, but it’s expensive, and I really don’t want to sacrifice the floor space.

I noticed the Grundtal wall mounted hanger in the bathroom section of the Ikea catalog, and for $7.99, it seemed like a great solution. It was easy to install, and with six hooks, it will hold plenty of scarves, coats, and hats this winter. We also do a lot of entertaining, so with the combination of the hooks and the small coat closet in the entry, we should finally be able to accommodate everyone’s coats and purses.

[ MODERN SPACE-SAVING COAT RACK ]

I’ve always wanted a coat rack by my front door, not just the standard iron or wood coat rack with curvy hooks, but something really modern. I love the look of Blu Dot’s Splash Coat Rack, but it’s expensive, and I really don’t want to sacrifice the floor space.

I noticed the Grundtal wall mounted hanger in the bathroom section of the Ikea catalog, and for $7.99, it seemed like a great solution. It was easy to install, and with six hooks, it will hold plenty of scarves, coats, and hats this winter. We also do a lot of entertaining, so with the combination of the hooks and the small coat closet in the entry, we should finally be able to accommodate everyone’s coats and purses.

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[ FLOS VS. KULLA FLOOR LAMP ]When I can’t afford a piece of furniture that I love—which is most of the time—I try to find something that is similar in design and function that isn’t necessarily an exact “knock-off.” TheKulla floor lamp from Ikea, for example, bears a striking resemblance to the $1300 Flos Spun Floor Lamp, without trying to fool anyone that is the real thing. The top photos are of the Flos—carefully balanced, and beautifully crafted.Here is Ikea’s Kulla lamp, costing a whopping $89.99 (or $20 if you buy it from Goodwill like we did). Though it lacks a bit of the grace exuded by the Flos, it’s still a great lamp that can blend seamlessly with either modern or midcentury decor.The only problem we’ve had with our lamp is finding a 3-way bulb that doesn’t stick out the top of the shade. I’ve rigged it the best I could by adding a spacer under the ring of the shade in order to raise it’s height by an inch, but we still get just the very top of the bulb peeking over. Ikea must have realized this problem, because I’ve noticed the ones in their store are now slightly modified.

[ FLOS VS. KULLA FLOOR LAMP ]When I can’t afford a piece of furniture that I love—which is most of the time—I try to find something that is similar in design and function that isn’t necessarily an exact “knock-off.” TheKulla floor lamp from Ikea, for example, bears a striking resemblance to the $1300 Flos Spun Floor Lamp, without trying to fool anyone that is the real thing. The top photos are of the Flos—carefully balanced, and beautifully crafted.

Here is Ikea’s Kulla lamp, costing a whopping $89.99 (or $20 if you buy it from Goodwill like we did). Though it lacks a bit of the grace exuded by the Flos, it’s still a great lamp that can blend seamlessly with either modern or midcentury decor.


The only problem we’ve had with our lamp is finding a 3-way bulb that doesn’t stick out the top of the shade. I’ve rigged it the best I could by adding a spacer under the ring of the shade in order to raise it’s height by an inch, but we still get just the very top of the bulb peeking over. Ikea must have realized this problem, because I’ve noticed the ones in their store are now slightly modified.

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[ IKEA AT THE THRIFT STORE ]If you live in a city with an Ikea, chances are that you’ll run into a lot of used Ikea items at the thrift store. Nearly every time I’m in the furniture section at a thrift store I come across at least one Lack side table priced anywhere from $12–$20. For the record, Ikea lowered the previous price of the Lack table from $14.99 to $7.99 this year. That price is for a brand new table in your choice of color, without the scratches and rickety legs that accompany the ones at the thrift store.It’s helpful if you have an iPhone (or similar phone) and can look things up on the Ikea website when you are out thrift shopping, that way you know if you are getting a good deal or paying more for something used than you would if you bought it new. Also, Ikea labels all of their products with pretty unique looking bar codes, so look for them on the bottom. A few times I’ve thought I’ve come across a really expensive modern gem only to flip it over and discover it’s just vintage Ikea.One of the other things to be mindful of is the weird hardware, fuses, or light bulbs that Ikea products often need. Thrifted Ikea products may be missing parts or have broken components that can be complicated to fix. It’s not impossible, and sometimes a trip to the as-is section of their warehouse can do the trick, but know what you are getting into.All that said, I’m not at all opposed to purchasing Ikea pieces at the thrift store. I just want to know what I’m purchasing and make sure I’m not paying too much for it. Recently, we actually found a great deal on two Lack wall shelves at Goodwill—ones that we were planning to buy new. They retail for $29/each and we picked them up for $8/each. Here’s a picture of how they look in our playroom:Of course, Most of the items sitting on the shelves are thrifted, as well.

[ IKEA AT THE THRIFT STORE ]If you live in a city with an Ikea, chances are that you’ll run into a lot of used Ikea items at the thrift store. Nearly every time I’m in the furniture section at a thrift store I come across at least one Lack side table priced anywhere from $12–$20. For the record, Ikea lowered the previous price of the Lack table from $14.99 to $7.99 this year. That price is for a brand new table in your choice of color, without the scratches and rickety legs that accompany the ones at the thrift store.

It’s helpful if you have an iPhone (or similar phone) and can look things up on the Ikea website when you are out thrift shopping, that way you know if you are getting a good deal or paying more for something used than you would if you bought it new. Also, Ikea labels all of their products with pretty unique looking bar codes, so look for them on the bottom. A few times I’ve thought I’ve come across a really expensive modern gem only to flip it over and discover it’s just vintage Ikea.

One of the other things to be mindful of is the weird hardware, fuses, or light bulbs that Ikea products often need. Thrifted Ikea products may be missing parts or have broken components that can be complicated to fix. It’s not impossible, and sometimes a trip to the as-is section of their warehouse can do the trick, but know what you are getting into.

All that said, I’m not at all opposed to purchasing Ikea pieces at the thrift store. I just want to know what I’m purchasing and make sure I’m not paying too much for it. Recently, we actually found a great deal on two Lack wall shelves at Goodwill—ones that we were planning to buy new. They retail for $29/each and we picked them up for $8/each. Here’s a picture of how they look in our playroom:


Of course, Most of the items sitting on the shelves are thrifted, as well.

Comments