Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Under the stairs storage

The original plan was to box under the stairs in, and to create a functional storage space within. 

We have deviated from that plan, however we have created a much more functional storage area. Let me show you our progress...

This is what we started with. The bit at the top had been covered by a painted piece of wood, but I had far too eagerly ripped that down before I took this photo.

We had stained the floor under the stairs (if you remember, this is where I started to stain to test the strength of the colour) but there was an area, to the bottom left of the photo below, that we were unable to sand. It was black, and every time we went vaguely near it with the sander it just ripped the paper to shreds instantly. As it wouldn't be seen in the grand plan though, we didn't worry ourselves too much about it.

I started by designing the storage. I loved the ALGOT system by IKEA, and it was so flexible that it could easily meet our needs.  I wanted some hanging space for coats, lots of shoe storage, and space for shopping bags and cycling accessories.  

As a woman, you might assume that all that shoe storage might be 90% for me. Well you would be wrong! It turns out I married a man with more pairs of trainers than there are days in the year!  It also has to be 'easy storage' - I loved the idea of shoe racks so that all the shoes are nicely lined up - but I know if there is any effort above minimal to get the item back to its rightful place, it will just end up in a heap on the floor. The solution for the shoes was three large plastic boxes (two for him, and one for me) in which shoes could be put in with very little effort. Not the neatest/best solution for shoe storage, but it's the solution that gives me the best chance of getting a house not littered with shoes!!

I designed the whole system using CAD on my computer - the benefits of being an engineer!  I tweaked and tweaked it, until it looked just right.

I started by sawing out the cross bar that was installed, as I intended to move it higher up.  I wanted to fit a shelf in here, but also the other criteria was that the ironing board had to fit here too underneath the shelf.  Too make the shelf usable, I needed to move this bar up.

I used some scrap bits of wood I had in the garage to make shelf supports (first checking how high I needed them such that the ironing board would fit under).  I did the same on the other side too.

I made a shelf out of two pieces of scrap wood I had in the garage.  The width of the two boards together was almost perfect, I just had to cut the length of them down slightly.  I also had to do a few cut outs from the ends to fit around all the obstacles at the edges, like cable ducting.  I did this mostly with my circular saw, and then finishing with a hand saw.

I also reinstalled the top covering piece of wood, but I had to trim this as it was much too tall.  Again, another easy job for the circular saw.  I screwed this into place to the wood battons on either side.  I decided not to reinstall the cross baton as the sides were more than chunky enough to screw into (that and I only had one bracket and would have needed two to do the job!).

Here is a close up detail of some of the cut-outs.  You can also see that the wood definitely was scrap as I have gotten stain all over it using it as a resting plank for another project!  A bit of sanding with a coarse piece of sandpaper by hand and it came up a treat (or at least a treat enough to paint!)

I additionally used a piece of plywood to board off the bottom section.  This is because the bunnies like to play hide and seek, particularly in this exciting part of the house.  This is also the part of the house that our mains electric cable comes in to the fuse box at bunny height, so I really don't want them munching on it!

A bit of caulk and paint later, and it's looking much cleaner and fresher:

This detail is on the left hand side of the cupboard as you look at it head on, but you would have to crane your head around the corner to see it.  I'm totally in love with the exposed brickwork though - I might need to get some of this going in my next project!

I also installed the Ikea storage system for coats and shoes.  This was very straightforward - you really can;t go wrong with a set of Ikea instructions.

I think ideally I will have a curtain over the ironing board section in time, but I want to make sure it looks right, so I will take my time to source/make the right one.

I changed my mind about boxing this space in, as I thought that if it was boxed in, it would encourage us to open the door, throw our stuff in, and then close the door.  By keeping it open, it encourages us to keep it tidier.

Total Costs for the project:

Shelving in cupboard - scrap wood already owned £0
Wood for cupboard - part of original cupboard £0
Paint for cupboard - bought as part of hallway project
Ikea ALGOT system and plastic boxes ~£100

Total = ~£100

What is the best way you have found to store all of  your coats and shoes?

1 comment:

  1. I have tried converting the area underneath my stairs for storage purposes but so far I have not managed to do so. This is because there are wires and pipings in there that need to be reorganized into a different setting which I am not so confident of doing yet.