Kristin Purcell spent this past year working from her Florida home and needed a designated space for an office. The creative lead — and chief candle pourer — behind the popular online decor shop, Henro Company, Purcell originally thought she’d use a spare bedroom but decided against that once she realized her formal dining room was actually the perfect spot for what she needed: an underused, quiet first-floor room where she’d also be able to easily keep tabs on her young son. “The space is a great size — 13-feet by 13-feet, has a nice big window, a tray ceiling, and wood floors,” says Purcell. What it didn’t have though: statement-making storage, which Purcell felt like the room needed for practical and aesthetic reasons, particularly with its location right near her home’s entry. “I couldn’t just add a desk and some floating shelves,” she says. “I wanted it to wow people when they walked in.”
A big fan of IKEA hacks, Purcell decided to try one herself here with the HAVSTA series, a lesser-known IKEA product she’d never even seen in person. She ordered four units in total, honing in on a mix of shelf configurations for a more bespoke look. “Two of them had open upper shelves, and the other two had closed upper shelves,” says Purcell. “My thought was I’d simply line them up in a row, attach them to each other, and add some trim pieces around them to give them that built-in look.”
With the lower units in place, Purcell then added a ledge — two pieces of pine that ran the length of the entire wall. “The HAVSTA lower units are deeper than the top units, which creates a really nice look,” she says. After installing the ledge, she turned her attention to the uppers. For the uppers with open shelves, she wanted to create a little visual interest, so she attached a simple beadboard backing. “Swapping out [the particle board backing] for something with a pattern significantly upgraded the look,” Purcell says. “Once my upper units were prepped with their backings attached, I attached the upper units to the lower base and ledge.” She then used primed pine vertically again between the units to connect them.
With the cabinetry all in place, Purcell focused on finishing off the top of the piece. Since her ceilings are tall, she decided to build out another shelf to crown the unit. “I used pine and made some simple boxes using my Kreg jig,” she says. “Don’t let this step scare you. It’s easy, and there are a ton of videos that will show you how to use a Kreg jig and build beautiful boxes for the upper portion.” With the upper shelves in place, she started working on trimming out their outer sides and the top. “I used MDF boards cut to size, so they fit from my cabinet to the wall and secured them,” she says. To finish off the built-ins, Purcell sanded everything down, caulked it, primed it, and then used a paint sprayer to coat the whole thing in the perfect moody blue shade, Valspar’s Relaxed Navy. For a finishing touch, she swapped out the hardware that came with the units for antique brass knurled knobs.
In the end, Purcell was in awe of what she created — again for both its form and function. “There’s so much concealed storage and just enough open shelving to display all my favorite decor pieces,” she says.” It is definitely a stunner. Everyone that walks through my front door looks into my office and says, ‘WOW!’ When I say, ‘I built that’, they are in disbelief.”