VERY MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE (FROM A BOX MIX!)

April 24, 2017

People absolutely flip for poke cakes. And I think most of the time they don’t realize that the poke cake-ness is what makes what they’re eating so good. And by “good” I mean “moist.” Because a good cake is a moist cake to me, always.

At this point, I barely even bother making a non-poke cake because these are so soft and sweet. My other favorite is wonderfully fluffy & moist coconut one. As for this choco one, one of David’s co-workers said best cake he’s ever eaten!

VERY MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE (FROM A BOX MIX!)VERY MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE (FROM A BOX MIX!)
Serves about 12

1 chocolate cake mix (with ingredients required on box to make cake)
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
13 ounce jar hot fudge sauce
16 ounce whip cream

Prepare cake mix according to package instructions (including baking.) Allow to cool. Poke holes about 50 holes all over cake. I use a chop stick, but a kabob skewer, round utensil handle, or straw could work too. Pour sweetened condensed milk over cake. Warm hot fudge (I did about 45 seconds in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds) and spread over top. Chill overnight. Frost cake with whip cream.

VERY MOIST CHOCOLATE CAKE (FROM A BOX MIX!)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 chocolate cake mix (with ingredients required on box to make cake)
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 13 ounce jar hot fudge sauce
  • 16 ounce whip cream
Instructions
  1. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions (including baking.) Allow to cool.
  2. Poke holes about 50 holes all over cake. I use a chop stick, but a kabob skewer, round utensil handle, or straw could work too.
  3. Pour sweetened condensed milk over cake.
  4. Warm hot fudge (I did about 45 seconds in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds) and spread over top. Chill overnight.
  5. Frost cake with whip cream.

 

MAKING IKEA CABINETS INTO A BUILT IN STANDING DESK

April 20, 2017

We do a lot in our home office. And with young children it will also be a prime place for kid activities to happen. So we wanted our office, converted from a former formal living room, to be ultra big on functionality. Think lots of work zones for an array of different purposes – reading nook, crafting, sewing, gift wrapping, computer work, and eventually even a conference-type table. (Which makes it sound too formal. Just a big work table for children to do things or for us to work and spread out without cluttering the dining table or kitchen island.)

The first order for our home office was to build a custom, built in desk that would run wall to wall along one length of the room. My budget goal was around $1,000, and we ended up around $1,200 which is still a number I feel okay with. (And at some points after getting some quotes for counters that made me freak out, I am pretty proud of that number!)

MAKING IKEA CABINETS INTO A BUILT IN STANDING DESK

The cabinets are from the veddinge line at ikea and purchasing these four units was about $860, by far the biggest single expense of the project. I chose cabinets with lots of drawers, and doing fewer drawers is a big way to save. We also opted for the drawers that close softly on their own, which made our final price $100 more than it could of been. If I really wanted to stay under budget I could have skipped those, but for something that we will use often I thought the much nicer “drawer experience” was worth it. I know this isn’t what a “budget” is supposed to be like. Normally I’m not like this.

The cabinets were only 30 inches tall and we wanted our final standing desk to be 41 inches. You can find your ideal standing desk height by measuring the distance of your elbow to the ground. David and I are quite different in height, so he nicely let us veer toward my ideal size instead of his. Also it is easier to work at a desk that is a little too low than one a little too high.

David accounted for a 2 inch thick counter, which meant for our standing desk, we needed to build a base for the cabinets that was 9 inches tall. We made these out of a nice pine from Home Depot. This wood was about $15 for each 4×8 foot sheet and the second biggest expense on the project.

A BUILT-IN DESK INSTALLATION copy

The cabinet bases got screwed into the floor and wall (moi secure). Then the cabinets themselves were screwed into the wall and cabinet bases. We made some modifications to allow for an air return vent we are partially covering, and cords for the wifi to be nicely hidden in the cabinet. (YES.) And notice the dated, off-white 70s outlets that are gone now!

Other cords (for computer, printer, and shredder) can be tunneled along the bottom of the counter and through some holes we made with a two inch hole saw drill bit. We bought these white cord covers on amazon that fit perfectly. This was for the purpose of conspicuously channeling all cords to either the single outlet on this wall or a surge protector hidden in the desk.

BUILDING A WALL TO WALL BUILT IN DESK-2

Then we added baseboards around the cabinet bases (and the whole room!). When doing our shiplap, I knew we’d need more baseboards when we built this desk, so I always ignored the existing ones in the original room since I planned to replace all of them. Now the baseboards are a white color that matches the walls instead of the old dirty yellow white. I went ahead and painted the baseboards before putting them on since it is so fast and easy to paint them when they are not attached.

To cover some gaps where the back of the cabinets touch the wall we added a little square quarter round detail. That with the baseboards made everything look so polished. I feel like when DIY-ing something like this, the more details of moulding the better for making it look well done. If at one end of the spectrum is just setting a board across two file cabinets to make a desk that will look completely makeshift, then the more millwork the better for making it look well, not that.

BUILDING A WALL TO WALL BUILT IN DESK

For some final caulking, we used backer rod. This is a nifty product that is pretty much just a foam tube you shove in to a gap too large to caulk to fill it out and make it caulk-able. With a combination of this and spackle, we had a nice smooth layer all the way up the wall and for all the many little crevices and seams around the desk.

I painted the cabinets bases in high gloss Ralph Lauren “Chalk White” which is the wall color and quite a good match for the veddinge series.
MAKING IKEA CABINETS INTO A BUILT IN STANDING DESK-2 copyMAKING IKEA CABINETS INTO A BUILT IN STANDING DESK-4 copy

The surprise small thing that I have learned makes me feel really different about our rooms is updating those outlets. Nice fresh white ones compared to the almond-y off white ones make a bigger difference than I realized. Sometimes in other rooms I would paint old plates white, but swapping out the plates and the outlet faces themselves is only about $3 total. And I can buy those nice tamper resistant ones for the kids too. Now I plan to just buy new and fully update these in each room as we tackle it.

Okay, and now I have to do a little progress update with a glimpse back to our before tour, when we first viewed our house before buying.

FIRST FLOOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-11MAKING IKEA CABINETS INTO A BUILT IN STANDING DESK-3 copy

Building our desk seemed to drag a little bit because we were busy with my being in a first trimester. We would go long stretches without working on it, but the combined amount of time it took to put it together was really not too much, maybe 2 weeks. We have never made anything like this before, but it was not too difficult to figure out and execute on our own.

How I DIY-ed the counters (for like, $75!) is its own upcoming post. And your girl needs to find some drawer pulls. I am wavering so hard because it feels like a big decision for the direction of the feel in the room. PLUS shopping around for some extra tall stools to replace these temporaries. Because even standing desk-ers need breaks.

PATTERNED UPHOLSTERY FOR A SOFA

April 17, 2017

Maybe a year or more ago, ikea rolled out their stocksund line and I started screaming. It was the best sofa I have seen ikea design and one of the rarer pieces from them that lends to a more traditional aesthetic. With children, I had made a mental resolve to only allow either slip covered or leather onto the sofas in our main family living area. I want very cleanable materials. Often brands that carry a piece with completely removable slip covered upholstery are pretty expensive, save for ikea. So if the great Swedish superstore ever made a really good sofa I would totally nab it. And then a beautiful, classic, english roll arm sofa with removable covers was available from ikea for $599. Like what? But of course it was too good to be true because they were not offering any colors that would work for my house.

THAT IS OKAY. I told myself. Ikea has bequeathed to us their loveliest sofa to date and I will not turn my nose up at it, but patiently wait for them to release some more colors.

FINDING LIGHT FIXTURES WITH CHARACTER FOR EIGHT FOOT CEILINGS-2 copy

I checked back at their website every several months to see if they had more colors. I always imagined myself buying a solid color couch because a pattern felt too not versatile. As more time passed and I wanted the couch more, I started trying to see the blue and white ticking stripe option with an open mind. We have a similar pattern on the duvet in our bedroom and so I hauled it downstairs and threw it over our old couch to simulate and I instantly loved it.

I drove to ikea. I got my sofa. I ate a cinnamon roll.

PATTERNED UPHOLSTERY FOR A SOFA-3 copyPATTERNED UPHOLSTERY FOR A SOFA2

What I love about it functionally is how deep it is. So good for snuggling (not pictured). And that every single piece of fabric on this thing is removable and machine washable.

Like a good little buyer, I checked my measurements before we purchased, but it does still feel a little low once in the room. Maybe it is not that it is too low, but it just feels off right now because it is a touch lower than the old one? There are some neat websites out there that sell interchangeable legs for ikea furniture, so if I do not get used to it I may swap in some taller legs.

PATTERNED UPHOLSTERY FOR A SOFA-2 copyPATTERNED UPHOLSTERY FOR A SOFA copy

We still have our brown loveseat in the room, but its presence is minimized when it is the only one rather than having a matching sofa AND loveseat that are not my favorite. Also this one in particular does not bother me much because what I will one day replace it with is a leather loveseat, so it is accurately representing a warm brown tone in the room, so I can still decorate with it for an accurate picture of how the finished space will feel.

Because with this purchase I saw just how much the room feels different having such a lighter sofa. Like it really rattled me. Going forward I have different priorities for where I place art or accessories because this side of the room is a lot less heavy. A good reminder to myself to not decorate or make decisions on how things feel with temporary pieces.

PATTERNED UPHOLSTERY FOR A SOFA-3 copy PS

There’s a little photoshop rendering of where this side of the room is headed. I will continue the gallery style art around the room. Right now I have about four pieces, and in total I want nine that circle around the whole living room, in a single row. I am about to buy three more prints, some of them pictured here. As for pillows, I am totally a no fuss person, so on both beds and sofas my favorite thing to do is a single long lumbar or bolster pillow. With only one pillow the whole couch feels styled and chic.

I am thankful ikea did not have a solid color option I liked because I would have pulled bought hastily and not pushed myself to do something a little more daring with a print. This is still a timeless and relatively subtle pattern, so the cautious part of me is appeased. But I love what a little extra pattern does against the rug. I have mentioned before this room will have mostly only blue-green tones for the palette so mixed patterns is exactly what we want to go for.

Copyright © Rachel Schultz 2017