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My home office needed extra storage pronto. I wanted something with a glam, slightly French feel that could conceal all my files, hold the mail and double as an inspiration board. Time for some customizing.

Ikea's Aspelund wardrobe is a bargain at $199 and doesn't take up too much floor space, plus the colour makes it a perfect "blank" canvas.

I loved designer Thom Wiggins's clever faux-paneled chalkboard dining room when it was featured waaaay back in H&H 2002.

 

The door panels get a Wiggins-inspired treatment with three coats of blackboard paint. When I get bored I can change the look and scrawl inspirational quotes, or "out of toner."

Is striped grosgrain ribbon ever wrong? Gluing ribbon to the moulding picks up the black and white colour scheme and gives it a little more personality.

Customizing hardware is easy and inexpensive. These ceramic knobs were picked up on a trip to Copenhagen and create a nice symmetry (2 is my lucky number, and my birthday is on the 22nd).

To make inspiration boards for the inside of the doors, I cut a roll of cork to fit inside the panels, applied glue then wrapped them in a toile remnant. Toile de Jouy goes in and out of fashion, but this historic pattern always imparts a French vibe (this one gets bonus points for actually featuring French text). The boards were affixed to the doors with contact cement.

I wanted the inside to look pretty when the doors were open. Just so we’re clear, I don’t advocate the use of wall stickers but this chandelier is a playful, commitment-free way to add depth. (Okay, I’ll admit it was super fun to apply the crystals.) The boxes are all from HomeSense.

I attached a wire basket to the outside of the wardrobe for sorting mail. The rusty finish makes it look like a find from Paris' Clignancourt antique market. Organization labels in a romantic script are the finishing touch.

Photo credits:

1. Ikea
2. House & Home September 2002 issue, photography by Luis Albuquerque
3-8: Wendy Jacob

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