This IKEA hack turns the 5x5 Expedit bookcase into a resting place for both cats and books with an integrated staircase.
Our cats, Mojito and Tequila, love to climb and hide away in our furniture. The biggest piece of furniture in our living room is the 5x5 Expedit. We were inspired by designer Corentin Dombrecht and his Cat-Library made from modular square blocks.
By making the top right half of the case more shallow, we create a set of stairs. Using the leftover wood we make small smaller steps to bridge the height of a full Expedit square.
I started by measuring the original Expedit and modeling it in Sketchup. Sketchup is a wonderful and simple 3D modeling tool. I modeled the original with millimeter accuracy and created the hacked version.
You see the staircase emerging from cutting the horizontal shelves in a particular way. But the real challenge is cutting the horizontal shelf, which is hollow and filled with paper. The top shelf contain two holes to allow the cats to reach their special platform. It protrudes from the case, giving the cats a good view of the room.
You also notice the odd space on the left, this is to house the Philips Docking Speaker DS9000 for our iPhone and iPad. It has an awesome sound.
By carefully modeling the design, I was able to determine the shapes of all the shelves. Sketchup has tools to measure distances, to it was easy to find out how much we need to saw.
An Expedit square is 337mm x 337mm x 392mm, although the inner shelves are a few mm shallower. I decided to give the shallow top right part a depth of 280mm, which is equal to the Billy bookshelf, so still sufficient for books. This leaves 110mm for the stairs and sufficient for our cats. Female British Shorthairs fortunately aren't as fat at the tomcats.
With help from my father-in-law we started cutting, taking special care not to damage the veneer too much.
We cut right through the vertical shelf, exposing the inside. The big shelf is made of two thin plywood boards, some reinforcements and paper filling.
We decided to re-use one length of the reinforcements plus the vineer, which means carefully deconstructing the shelf.
Making space for the reinforcement to fit the cut part.
Next step is to cut the horizontal shelves in the right shape.
The entrance hole is tricky, as the top shelf is also hollow.
Finally all boards have the right shape, per the model.
Putting it back together is as easy as assembling the original. Presto!
Now to test if the cat fits...
There you are!
Using the leftover wood, we made the smaller steps in between the larges ones.
The plywood is still visible from the cutting. We used some veneer and a heated iron to cover it up.
Also the entrance hole is still a mess.
I used some wooden blocks and carpet to cover it up.
And some additional carpet to allow the cats to climb up and down, and to scratch their nails.
And it's done!
The larger space on the left perfectly fits the Philips Docking Station DS9000, even with the iPad docked. It is a high quality piece of equipment, made with wood and packing a very nice oomph.
We have the amazing Philips Hue lighting system in our home. In additional to the bulbs you can also get a Light Strip, which we used to add more color.
And this is the result! Our cats, Mojito and Tequila, love their new place. And being surrounded with books will definitely help their education.