Happy Friday! Hope you're all as excited as I am to say "buh-bye" to this work week and get the weekend started! I thought today would be a good day to mesmerize you all with my crazy IKEA wardrobe story, or as I affectionately named this post, "Fish Van Adventures" since many trips were made from Beverly to IKEA with Erica in her husband's van to piece this wardrobe together. Erica's husband started his own business designing, installing and maintaining custom aquariums. You can read more on his website here: Imagine an Ocean but the shining star of this story is this van below. I know what you're thinking, "Dang, that is one snazzy getaway car..." and I would agree.
I knew that IKEA had a number of wardrobe systems, particularly the PAX system which comes in all different options and sizes. Again, however, even at IKEA prices, the "closet" I had in mind was going to set me back at least $500, which to me, is a lot to spend on a home for your clothes. Never the less, Erica and I took our first IKEA trip in July where we discovered the "as is" section and I scored a pre-assembled PAX wardrobe frame for $50 which is 50% off the regular price. The thing about the "as is" section is that most items are already assembled or in random pieces so you have to be ready to pick through some stuff before you find your treasure, and when you do, you best be ready to haul it out on your own in a vehicle that is large enough for your new prize. Enter the fish van. While I staked out my find in the "as is" section, Erica ran to the van to make sure it would be big enough to fit the wardrobe, then we manged to get it on a cart, through the check-out line, and into the van before going back into IKEA for more shopping.
Since July, this is what the wardrobe looked like in my very "in-progress" closet and office room:
Once the holidays were over, Erica and I embarked on another trip to IKEA, in the fish van of course, where we made a beeline for the "as is" section and I found yet another PAX wardrobe frame that matched the initial frame although it was a little higher and slimmer. It was actually exactly what I wanted because I hoped to have one wide wardrobe and two higher, slimmer wardrobes next to it. I also found two cream-colored doors that are meant for the taller wardrobes for $24 each (regularly $60). Even though I only had found one tall wardrobe in the "as is" section, since the doors matched, I bought them both in hopes that I would eventually return to IKEA to purchase another tall wardrobe.
If you haven't pieced this all together yet, I had a little problem with the color of the wardrobes and the white doors. The base wardrobes are a dark brown color while the doors are white. I actually wanted an all white wardrobe so a light bulb went off in my head that I could paint the frame and base of the dark wardrobes, attach the doors, and no one would know the difference (unless I blogged about it, but there are no secrets here!). So that is exactly what I did. Thankfully, I had this idea before the tall wardrobe was in place, so I laid it on its back and painted 3-4 layers of primer followed by 2 layers of white semi-gloss enamel paint. Since the doors are a little more of an off-white, I added a little yellow to the semi-gloss enamel paint to match the color of the doors. Actually, it's the same exact color I mixed for the file cabinet which I was painting in stages at the same time I painted the wardrobe frames. Smarty pants over here.
The wider wardrobe was not as easy to paint since I already had this one set up with clothes in it. I took the lazy approach and just put some newspaper under the wardrobe and was extra careful not to get paint on my clothes. Like I said, "lazy approach."
Once the frames were painted and dry, I attached the tall door to the taller wardrobe and this is how things were looking by the end of last week.
Over the weekend I was able to use my parents' van to go back to IKEA since I decided it was time to buy two doors for the wider wardrobe. I was kind of bummed that each door would cost me $50, but I figured since I saved so much already, it was worth getting the matching doors and having the whole thing look uniform. Of course I went to the "as is" section first, and wouldn't you know, the Scandinavian gods were looking down on me that day because I found one of the two doors that I needed for $10! That made buying the second door for $50 a bit more bearable (although I did scrounge around looking for another door while Ryan and Carrie watched me in disbelief (or maybe embarrassment)). I was so happy to bring my new doors home and get this wardrobe looking a little less hodgepodge and here is how it looked by the end of the weekend.
From the master bedroom:
From the hallway:
Oh and just to point out since I'm feeling extra honest today, I ended up painting the part of the taller wardrobe that is visible the same color I painted the trim. Again, I took the lazy but effective approach of only painting the part that you can see. I left the rest of the side the normal color since that seemed like a completely unnecessary waste of time.
From the other side of the tall wardrobe you can see the exposed original color but that's okay because I measured out the remaining space and discovered that I can add another tall, skinny wardrobe next to this one which I will buy in white. Since I have another tall door from my second IKEA purchase that I got for $24 all I need is the frame.
NOW, let's get to the fun stuff - the savings breakdown! Here is what all these pieces would have cost me if I did not have the fish van (and my parents' van) and an incredible tolerance for sorting through junk:
And HERE'S what I actually spent on all the pieces to put this together:
That's a 171 dollar savings, almost half of what I would have paid if I bought the pieces at regular price. Of course I will be the first to admit that I got insanely lucky during my many IKEA trips and probably squandered away all that savings on other IKEA items. But I'm pretty proud that I was able to get the wardrobe I wanted at half the price. All it took was a little patience on my end and a lot of patience from my friends and loved ones who dared to accompany me on these journeys. Now all I need is some cute handles or knobs for the doors. Perhaps these bad boys from Anthropologie might do the trick? Umm, yes please!