Saturday, 4 March 2017

Creating a versatile bookcase suitable for any room.

Now before you read any further I best let you know I ain't any experienced carpenter who can make fancy furniture (tho wish I could), I am just someone who ain't afraid to try my hands at anything DIY to make my home a better place. But if you have read my IKEA hack blogs, you probably know this already. ;-)

I had posted a few pics on my bookcase online with The BookCase Project with some positive responses & a lot of questions about it, especially the photos of the hall bookcase which will be shown later in the blog. But I'll start at the beginning as to how it all started.

Now I love my books but also love DVDs & both need somewhere to store them, I aint one for eBooks or streaming movies. I so prefer owning them physically & that means I need to find ways to utilise the limited space in my flat. But I found conventional melamine bookcases limited in utilising space & often waste the space needed & fall apart all too soon.

So I decided it was time to build my own, use planks of wood cut to length & screwed together. Nothing fancy or complex, just screws holding it all together as nothing heavy to go in each shelf but goes from floor to ceiling with as many shelves as possible & that's what I did for my first one.

And it worked well, so well I did some more for the bedroom & use some dead space behind the door.

And was going to add more but I then moved to a smaller flat with lower ceiling heights & new storage problems I had to overcome. This meant a complete rethink on how I was going to do the shelving & where. The answer was to utilise the wide space of the hall in the flat & fill one side of the hall with bookcases, problem was it was L shaped so the bookcases I had had to be reconfigured for a lower height & fit around a corner. So out came the designer in me & did some drawings...

So over a period of time I slowly built it like I had before in sections starting with the ones I already had whilst decorating whole of the flat too.

And needed to get flooring redone before the shelving was completed which involved in sealing the concrete & laying laminate flooring.


And slowly over months it came together...

You can see it slowly taking shape as was the rest of the flat...

Then it was time to paint it all. That was fun in a small flat...



It was slow to do but this is the final result that looked fantastic with the rest of the hall...

So now they have been completed, I was pleased with how they went & these are the photos I posted to The Bookcase Project with some amazing feedback for such a simple design. Like I said, just some planks screwed together. lol

Well the following year I had moved again which now posed a new challenge to show how versatile the wooden shelving is. I had a whole wall in the livingroom to use.

So I started again in re-configuring & adapting the existing shelving to go along the wall.

Not much else has been done to it as yet, I do have plans but I have been busy doing the rest of the livingroom 1st that needed more done & the shelving doing well as it is atm tho filled up fast & looking to do some more shelving in another room...


And others have been impressed in my shelving & I have helped build them some too, this one was a fun one to do as it was a Zig Zag design to fit in a very small box room for a young teenager.

A simple design made from planks, but so versatile in how to use them. :)

Monday, 30 January 2017

A letter of complaint to Asda... (updated March 2017)

Note: Updates to the blog are at the bottom if you like to get up to date if you have read the original blog already.

A week ago I sent this complaint to Asda after the bad customer service & bully tactics from 2 member of staff. I have removed names for privacy & added some more photos to illustrate my letter of complaint.

To whom it may concern at Asda,

For near on 4 years since I moved to Colchester I have been a regular customer of the Colchester branch of Asda despite being on the other side of the town & have a Sainsburys practically on my doorstep. I had preferred to go to Asda due to the good facilities, products & prices. I had very lil to complain about other than the occasional driver parking the Asda delivery HGVs with trailer on the shared path & never needed to write directly to head office with a complaint & I was quite happy to keep on visiting & shopping at Asda, right up until last week.

Last Tuesday 17th January 2017 I popped in to collect my new pair of glasses & pleasantly pleased they were ready a week early, they were done with a coating to darken the lenses in sunlight & known as transition coating. They looked OK & as it was dark when I collected the glasses I had to wait until daytime to truly try out the glasses. Unfortunately they proved to be ineffective to use in daylight when I used them on Wednesday as the transition tinting was slow to respond & did not go dark enough in sunlight to make them useful to use, especially when cycling & not like my existing pair I have been using for over 2yrs. So I called the opticians early Thursday Morning to let them know & spoke to a member of staff who was quite good & offered to see what they can do if I drop them in on Friday. I said I would as I have a train to catch at the nearby station & have to be quick about it so not miss the train. So I went to Asda to drop off the glasses for them to be looked at on Friday morning & this is when the issues I really have with this store occurred.

As I had just a few minutes to drop off the glasses before getting the train, I had lil time to mess around so I wheeled in my folding bike with pedals retracted to show I had no intention to cycle it & used it as nothing more than a method to carry my fully loaded panniers like a trolley. I didn't rush in & cause any issues with customers, I went straight to the opticians & asked to speak to the person I spoke to but he was busy so the young lady serving me went to deal with it & took my glasses with her to speak to him. Then I had a Security guard came up to me & requested I leave the premises as cycles are NOT allowed in the store. I asked where this is signposted as I saw no such policy, only one visible on the doors are for Dogs. The security guard refused to say & told me to leave. I said I would as soon as I have finished with the issue with my glasses & wouldn't go until it is sorted. 

The Security guard then exceeded his authority & went to the young lady, took my glasses off her & handed them to me & told me to leave! Again I asked where is this ruling posted as there is no such policy, again he didn't say & said it is company policy & I had to leave. So I requested to speak to the store manager & he escorted me to customer service till by the entrance to discuss this & delaying me. A bloke with no hair or visible name badge then showed up claiming to be the store manager as I asked him if he was the store manager & he said yes & he also told be to leave with the bike as it is private property & is company policy, I asked him where it displaying this policy & again no-one could tell me. 

In the end I had to leave as I had a train to get & been delayed enough by these 2, still have the faulty glasses & I am thoroughly pissed off with these 2 members of your staff for exceeding their authority & treating me like a petty criminal for a bogus policy that is not displayed & lied to by a bloke claiming to be a store manager when it is a female manager! At no time did I give any abuse & asked for evidence of this bogus policy & not once was I treated with respect or as a valued customer or shown any evidence. All they had to do was let me finish dealing with the young lady at the Opticians & then speak to me afterwards, but no they wanted to make an example of me in public by telling me to leave as if I had broken the Law.

So I took this up with the twitter team whilst on the train as @2_Wheeled_Wolf on Twitter & the nonsense I got from them was no better, claiming it was company policy due to Health & Safety & Hygiene. 

Again this is just more lies as there is no policy, has nothing to do with Health & Safety & utter nonsense trying to claim its hygiene issues. After all it is no more unhygienic to wheel in the lil folding bike with panniers on than it is to use a shopping trolley, a pushchair, a wheelchair or even one of your own trolleys. Even the use of Scooters & Heelies are frowned upon by customers but not stopped by your staff for these same claims.

HSE have already had to diss this myth of Health & Safety when Tesco tried it a while back with someone else, see following link: 

& it is clear then when Tesco did this they were in the wrong & admitted it. See link: 

& I also have taken my bikes into stores before elsewhere in Argos at Tollgate & Tesco in Highwoods, the staff at Argos even encourage it.

I don't normally bring my other bikes I use for shopping into the store when at Asda as they are large bikes so to carry the shopping.

But the folding bike is little & as I didn't have time to mess around to unload it, lock it up & carry the heavy bags with a walking stick which I wouldn't have needed to do in the first place if glasses were working correctly.

But this one time I had to wheel it in as I would if it was a trolley & there was no need for staff to lie & treat me as a petty criminal. If I did that myself to a customer, I would be sacked on the spot by my manager.

So on Tuesday 24th January I will be going back to the store again to return the glasses & be requesting a full refund as they do not meet the requirements of the prescription I have paid extra for the transition tinting, I will not give them the chance to correct it as I will not give any more time & money to a Store or company that treats customers like I have been treated. I'd far rather pay the far higher costs to a company that makes the glasses correct first time & give me the time & effort of a pleasant sale, so I be getting my glasses where I got my last pair.

And if this company want my further business or anyone else's that know me, I suggest the REAL store manager see me on Tuesday & speak to me with more respect than I had before & I will see if I am happy with what she says before I decide to continue my custom with Asda. I await your response by email which this complaint will be sent.

Sincerely yours.

And since sending this letter of complaint to head office via email a week ago on the 22nd, I have returned the reading glasses & got a full refund as I am not going to give my earnings to a company who treats their customers like this. As it is the staff in the Optician Dept & Customer Service till at the entrance are all appalled by how the 2 staff I am complaining about treated me & how badly they handled a non-issue; Store Manager is off sick when I went to the store on the 24th so never met up with her, so I have left a copy of the complaint with customer services to give to the real store manager & a copy to the Optician dept so they know the complaint has nothing to do with them. And so far Asda has not got back to me from head office or the store.

Update 11th March 2017

Eventually Asda did reply to my email & said the following:

Of course this is nonsense & I replied with the following email:

Of course I did get a reply which was no better:

Thus my response:

Since then over a month has passed & not heard from them since my last email & I have not heard from the Store Manager. I guess they rather not have my business or address properly the fact they exceeded their authority so I guess bullying customers on bogus rules that aren't displayed anywhere is OK for them.

Meanwhile I have been looking elsewhere of examples, here's a small shop that's happy to let bikes into their shop.

And a shopping centre with a small entrance that can clearly display a sign which Asda can't seem to do on 2 doors around 4x the size of this one.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

IKEA Hack #1 Slim BESTA Entertainment Unit, remodelled 2015 (updated February 2017)

Note: Updates to the blog are at the bottom if you like to get up to date if you have read the original blog already.

So in 2011 I had built this entertainment system which I had submitted this on a site among other ones but only this one was published in December 2011. So I posted it on Blogger in 2012, since then I have moved & got new equipment.

This is the original blog reposted with the remodelling to follow at the end in which I have started in 2014 for a new flat & new equipment. So if you have read it before & don't want a refresher on previous blog then please scroll down...

BESTA, INREDA Pull-out frame, INREDA Shelf insert, SNUDDA, Hole borer drill bit

Main objective was to minimise space of all my entertainment equipment. In previous flat I had metal brackets with cut to size shelves to hold all equipment above TV which worked well on the solid wall.But in new smaller flat, its hollow plasterboard walls & doubtful it could hold all the equipment, so had to be free-standing & I decided to use a Besta Wood effect tall unit. 

I measures the levels where the shelves were to go to give breathing room to equipment, done w/o TV at 1st as was planning more units to hang on wall over TV. I then measure evenly the holes to drill out & big enough to feed a plug through. Then it was a case of fitting the equipment in & wire it all up & put in its place. 

Few months later I found out this wood effect style had been discontinued & couldn't get any more Besta's to match, I decided to put TV inside the unit on a pull out drawer & have it swivel so I can watch TV from the PC desk. I used a plank of wood to sit TV on, the bearing mechanism of a SNUDDA lazy susan to swivel the TV. All bolted/screwed onto the INREDA Shelf insert sitting in the INREDA Pull-out frame. 

The remaining space is for boxes of knick-knacks using PAPPIS cardboard boxes, which 2 fits lovely on each shelf & I was able to fit 4 with room for power supply at the bottom for all the equipment. 

Tho it took a few months to get all of it together, it actually was 2 days work & look great next to the other Besta I was able to get & use as a display cabinet. Next stage is to back light the units & then it will all be finished.


As I have now moved, the layout of the livingroom is very different & the Besta Unit now sits in the corner, TV has also been replaced as previous one died. So I got a bigger Widescreen TV unit & this meant it couldn't fit it inside the unit. So I went back to Ikea & found a matching new design Besta Cabinet Door & reconfigured the whole unit.

Most of the equipment is still above the TV, only the Game consoles aren't as they don't need line of sight for the remote controllers & thus have been moved & sit behind the cupboard door. Also I used the extra space for document storage too thus free up space on other Besta shelves.

You can see I drilled holes in the cupboard door big enough to fit leads through to TV & big enough for scart leads to fit through, then fixed the cables to the door & unit so not to get snagged when opening & closing the cabinet door..

The space below has now been turned into cabinet space & eventually I will light up the shelving system & cabinet with LED lighting. Also there's room for any future equipment now that I have moved them around to house the game consoles behind the cupboard doors.

With its new position & layout, it sits nicely in the new flat & continues with my original idea that has evolved as circumstances changes & no doubt will for many years to come. I'll update as & when this happens..

Update 20th June 2016

As the room evolves when decorating, so does the layout.

And thus so does the design of the BESTA Entertainment Unit, with new tech coming onto the market for watching media I have had to find new ways to incorporate it into the unit & be available to access directly or by remote.

Most what is in the cabinet part is the same, just had a lil move around to get more room to let the devices breathe. What I have added is the Chromecast & Amazon Fire Stick, as they both work on out of sight remote control it was easier to attach them to the cabinet door & have the Chromecast, Fire Stick & PS3 connecting to the HDMI connection of the TV by an auto select HDMI switchover box so whatever I turn on it switches to it & I can then enjoy using it.

All of these are stuck to the cabinet door with Commando Velcro tabs for easy removal if I need to move them, all tidy & hidden when cabinet door is closed. That's about it for now...

Update 20th February 2017

As January sales kicked in & Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket, I bought myself a Soundbar speaker to improve the sound coming from the TV as well as finally fixing the surround sound system cooling fan thus giving me a choice in sound quality. It did mean I had to re-organise the shelving to fit the speakers in place & to feed the extra cables.

Still looks good & tidy & the setup is still versatile as ever.