DIY: Rope Credenza

It’s labor day weekend and we’re making a credenza!

Once upon a time I set my eyes upon a rope credenza at a property that we visit annually on the East Coast. The second I saw it I thought, “I could make that”. And alas, the time has come. Our den walls are plaster so we cannot hide our TV wires within the walls. We will hang a Samsung Frame TV and hide the wires in a credenza. Since I was not originally planning on needing this piece of furniture, I wanted something simple and inexpensive while still appearing high end. I covered the entire IKEA Henmes sideboard in rope. (Naturally!)

Supply List:
1) IKEA Henmes sideboard, light brown, 2) 1,200 feet of 5/16″ Manila Rope, 3) Glue gun and glue sticks, 4) A paintbrush like this, 5) New knobs (optional) and longer screws to fit (rope requires screws to be slightly longer)

Pro Tip: This project took me 14 hours start to finish, so you need a weekend. I’d also recommend a very sharp knife and scissors for cutting the rope.

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IKEA Henmes sideboard: $329

Mecox has some interesting rope covered furniture that serves as a nice inspiration for this project. While I won’t be exactly mimicking this piece, I liked it very much.

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Mecox Pawley Abaca Rope Dresser: $1,875

The rope I am working with is from Knot & Rope supply.

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1,200 feet of 5/18″ rope from Knot & Rope Supply

Beginning with the drawer fronts, work from the outside in to cover them in rope. Do the same with the top of the sideboard. For the drawers, I worked from the center out because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t covering the holes for the drawer pulls, but in retrospect I think this was a harder path. It was harder because I had to measure in from the outer edge to make sure I was starting in the right place.

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Process if you begin in the center, and work out. I found it was easier to work outside in

For the cabinet doors and sides I wrapped the center section first, similar to the top and the drawers, but cut separate strips for the outer border.

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Beginning at the outer edge, wrap to center, then cut strips for sides

I cut the rope with a Global knife that I will be taking to get sharped on Tuesday. Not to say it’s dull now, I’m just expecting that is possible…

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Cut separate strips to cover the border edges
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All the pieces coming together in the living room for assembly

After the credenza was assembled, I glued down the trim pieces.

Ikea Henmes hack, covered in rope

I appreciate that I am did not go into too much detail here, but I am expecting the likelihood of some fellow-crafter following in my footsteps to DIY this piece is somewhere around 0% (rounding). So, please reach out to me if you do want to do this, and I can help guide you through.

Ikea hens hack, covered in rope with Samsung frame tv (waiting on frame)

I will have a piece of glass cut to top this off and help protect from dust. The knobs were replaced with cast iron knobs that I found online for $20. The Samsung frame tv will have a maple frame that is still on it’s way to us.

Stephanie Hier artwork

For the dining room and the den

We came across Stephanie’s work for the first time at an exhibition in Chicago called Note G at Chicago Manual Style. The first piece I saw was in a ceramic frame.

Stephanie Hier, It’s time to pay the fiddler (2018), Oil on canvas with glazed stoneware frame, 15 x 10.5 inches. Chicago Manual Style, Note G Exhibit.

I love this painting and I especially love how technically detailed it is. I thought about the work after the show and almost immediately went down a rabbit hole to find more works by this artist, and learn more about her, and maybe find a piece I could buy. And, I found two! The first is an edition that is really beautiful with unique, hand-applied, temporary tattoos. I got first pick and chose the strawberry and cherry because I just love them! I bought this edition from David Dale Gallery in London.

Stephanie Hier, With a belly full of the classics (2018), Digital print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag, hand finished with temporary tattoo, 69 x 53 cm. Variable edition of 12. Private collection, from David Dale Gallery.

I separately found a stunning piece from Downs & Ross in New York. A perfect fit in the dining room. The second I saw it I knew it was the one. It couldn’t be more perfect for the green room in subject and color and size and depth – I couldn’t love this more.

Stephanie Hier, Step into the light (2017), Oil on linen, 60 x 49 inches. Private collection, from Downs & Ross.

Both pieces have been hung – one in the den and one in the dining room. Both making me happy! 🙂

DIY: A 1930s desk with leather top

Restored

We found a beautiful desk at Father Time Antiques. The desk is from the 1930s and had a green leather top that was in good, but not perfect condition. The desk fit our room perfectly, has a great classic look with history and was on budget at $195.

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Father Time Antiques desk from 1930s with leather top, $195

After doing some research, I decided to replace the leather top myself with a new black leather top with gold tooling. I had a great experience doing this, it was easy, and the results speak for themselves.

My first step was to vacuum and sand out the interior of the desk and drawers. I waxed and polished the wood and lined the drawers with cork. It initially had a musty smell but that completely dissipated after these steps were complete. I am sure it also helped to have the drawers on the floor for a week airing out.

Cork-lined drawers with bakelite handles

When I removed the leather top, I noticed there was water damage on one area of the desk where the wood felt “soft”. I cut this area out with a utility knife and replaced the veneer with a piece I found on Amazon.

I removed water damaged veneer and replaced with a new piece of wood from Amazon

I measured the space with a piece of magazine, and cut the veneer with a pair of kitchen scissors.

New veneer in place and sanded

I glued the new piece of veneer with wood glue and placed heavy books on top. Then, I filled the edges with wood putty and sanded it down when dry.

I ordered the beautiful new leather top from Dave at DCT Leathers. They are based in Canada and did an amazing job!

Leather top from DCT leathers with gold tooling

All I had to do was follow his instructions: brush a layer of wallpaper glue, roll out leather and smooth with cloth. Done!

Cork-lined drawers in place

This desk will live in the den, which is painted dark navy / black Railings by Farrow & Ball.

The den, in process

Railings, by Farrow & Ball

The den has been painted Railings by Farrow & Ball. It is a sophisticated color and makes for a cozy room! A flashback to where we started:

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Remember where we started? The original listing photo was a bright gray bedroom.

And, where we are today. A completely refreshed base for what will be a den.

The choice of color was an easy one, working with the fireplace surround, but I was in suspense leading up to the big reveal and wasn’t disappointed. Walter and his team from Tapia’s Works did an impeccable job.

Den painted Farrow & Ball Railings matches the fireplace surround nicely

You may recall that a prior owner had painted around the mirror, leaving the space beneath a surprising shade of pink! We cleaned that up this time around.

The windows are original curved glass from the late 1980s

The windows are pretty, but are old. I solved for draft with SewSixThree on Etsy draft stoppers that are beautiful and smell great.

We sprayed paint over the fireplace with Farrow & Ball Wimborne White for a beautiful finish

A sprayed finish is the way to go for smooth surfaces like doors, and detailed surfaces like molding, with a brush sprinkled in as needed for more detailed trim. I must say that I am a true Farrow & Ball subscriber after seeing the finish compared to the prior paint.

The bookcase will provide great visible storage once we are in decorating phase
The radiator will be left uncovered. It didn’t look as bad as I was expecting

We still need to identify a good spot to hang a television and make a decision on drapes.

The finished color is so sophisticated relative to the gray we had previously
Cozy plaid draft stoppers filled with balsam pine by SewSixThree on Etsy
The mirror from prior owner is back in place and the perfect fit!

Now that the base is complete I am considering furniture ideas and searching for the perfect plaid rug. Let me know if you have any ideas!

Drafty windows meet Etsy

Many of the windows in this home are drafty because they are old! The den is a great example with curved glass windows from 1897 and the bedrooms all have wooden framed windows that raise and lower on chains. In addition to being energy inefficient, the draft does blow in some dust and debris – yuck – which is not great for the new paint job! I searched solutions and found only a couple that I would consider myself. Now, these are NOT the most energy efficient solutions, but they are the prettiest, so keep that in mind.
First, there is window putty that can be inserted in the gaps. It is pretty discreet, but I couldn’t find it in white, so I gave up.
Second, there is Etsy! Etsy solves so many problems in a chic way. I am loving these Grain Sack Linen-Canvas door and window draft stoppers from Woods & Shore and ordered the beautiful yellow and cream version for the guest.

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Woods & Shore, Grain Sack Linen-Canvas door and window draft stoppers

For the den, I ordered these SixSewThree draft stoppers filled with 100% balsam needles. Apparently the smell is great and I love the look for colder months in our cozy, dark den.

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SixSewThree, 100% balsam needle filled draft stoppers

Hopefully they look as good as I am expecting. I will post a picture when they are in place!

 

 

 

The den, in process

Painting in process

The den is draped in a lovely shade of Wimborne White paint. Walter and his team from Tapia’s Works carefully painted the detailed mantle, trim and ceiling. The den is now ready for a coat of Railings which will be a dramatic update for this space and make it a super cozy place to hang out.

The window boxes and trim have been painted Wimborne White

I’m excited about this room because it will be painted Railings, a softer alternative to black. You may remember what the room looked like before we got started. The brick on the fireplace was the inspiration for the wall color.

Hmm… a pink surprise underneath the mirror…

It is funny to me that the previous owner painted around the mirror, but  not underneath it. The mirror was purchased from the prior owner for $500 and will be re-hung once the painting is finished.

We will not be keeping the pink square!

I am excited to move into an era of paint that is NOT gray. I am tired of the gray paint that I have been enjoying for the last 10 years (aren’t you?!).

The bookcase has been taped off and the door has been separately painted

The finish of Wimborne White on the trim is Estate Eggshell and the walls will be painted Estate Emulsion, a chalky finish.

Original details of the fireplace have so much character

One of the neighboring units did restore their mantle to original wood and it was gorgeous, but out of budget (and time!) for us to restore, so we have kept with white paint and will enjoy the character with fireside drinks with family and friends!

The den, before

I haven’t forgotten you!

I haven’t written much about the den, but it is a room I am really excited about. The den is one of many rooms in this home that are circular, but is unique because all of the window panes are original and curved as well. The windows face Astor Street with great eastern exposure and the room has a wood burning fireplace and a beautiful original wood mantle.

The den is in the back of the house, clustered together with the master bedroom and bathroom, the entirety of which can be separated from the rest of the house by closing a door. Originally, this room was a bedroom but it was less functional without a closet and seemed better suited as a space to relax. The vision for this den is to be cozy and dark, while also warm and inviting. Here is the den today:

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The original fireplace inspired the color of paint

The mirror above the fireplace was purchased from the original homeowner for $500. I think it is a great mirror for the space, is beveled and is the perfect size.

The room will be painted Railings by Farrow & Ball

The walls will be painted Farrow & Ball Railings, a softer alternative to black that complements the fireplace brick.

These windows are original curved glass and have a great view of Astor Street

Similar to the other rooms, the window boxes will be kept Farrow & Ball Wimborne White.