Do you have Pottery Barn taste but a flea market budget? Kitchen renovations can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars, but you can hack your way to Pinterest-worthy design in a weekend with a few IKEA basics and a little elbow grease. Here are 12 projects to get you started.
1. BILLY BOOKCASE ISLAND
Courtesy Golden Boys & Me
On her blog Golden Boys & Me, DIY genius Courtney Affrunti shares how she turned three IKEA Billy bookcases into a gorgeous kitchen island. She fastened the bookcases together using screws and topped them with a butcher block countertop. Add decorative siding (Affrunti used bead board), molding, or doors to give your new kitchen focal point some personal flavor.
For their IKEA-hacked kitchen island, Minneapolis-based home reno duo JP Strate and Liz Spillman (The Rehab Life) used the Kallax shelf as their base. They then sanded and stained plywood to create a custom base, backboard, and countertop.
A sleek dining table with hairpin legs could cost you nearly $1000 from a trendy furniture store. On her blog Acute Designs, Regina Morrison shows how she made one for herself for under $300 by adding some hairpin legs she bought on Ebay (you can also find them on Etsy) to a $150 IKEA table.
Create a striking accent wall or in-kitchen herb garden by repurposing IKEA’s Rimforsa container holders as planters. The Rimforsa line includes two sizes of holders, a hanging rail, and glass containers. If you want to do some comparison shopping to save a few bucks, you could purchase discount glasses or cups separately to place in your holders.
The cubed Kallax shelf is a favorite of IKEA hackers for a reason—it’s just so versatile!The Kallax’s four cubbies make stylishly displaying your bottles, glasses, and barware simple. The Everygirl’s Alaina Kaczmarski transformed the simple unit into an expensive-looking bar by adding metallic legs (she used the Estelle legs from Pretty Pegs, but you could easily paint simple wooden legs found at any hardware store for a more budget-friendly option). Use wheels instead of legs and add a rail (like the Finrop) and your bar is now a cart.
Combine the Bekväm and Oddvar stools to help your tot safely reach the kitchen counter. The Oddvar doesn’t seem to be available in the U.S., but you can find directions and dimensions for adding your own plywood railing here.
Keep your counters tidy with this space-saving storage unit created using three Rundlig bowls and the Hilver cone-shaped leg. When entertaining, fill each level with different chips or sweets for easy grazing and an eye-catching display.
Sometimes the best hacks come from finding unexpected uses (or places) for common items—no tools required! Move your Leksvik rack from the entryway to the kitchen and you have a great place for storing mugs, teacups, or pots and pans.
The USA Team celebrates their 4-3 victory over Russia in the semi-final of the Ice Hockey event at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York.
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On February 22, 1980, the Soviet War in Afghanistan was almost two months old, making the Cold War as tense as ever. On that same Friday, a hockey team comprised of American college players defeated a dominant Soviet Union group made up of professional athletes—dubiously designated as students, engineers, or soldiers to maintain their then Olympic-required amateur status—in the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Jim McKay, the venerable host of ABC’s Wide World of Sports and its respected Olympic telecast anchor, was tasked to put into words what the viewers had just seen; the 59-year-old settled on, “That may be the greatest upset in sports history.” He added that it was the equivalent of an all-star football team of Canadian college boys beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had just won their fourth Super Bowl in six years. Forty years later, that comparison holds up.
1. The U.S. beat the Russians in a surprise upset in a hockey game 20 years earlier.
Team USA celebrates their 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union in the semi-final Men's Ice Hockey event at the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York on February 22, 1980.
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The Americans won the men’s hockey gold in 1960 thanks to a surprising semifinal win over the defending champion Soviet Union. After that, the Soviets dominated and took home the next four gold medals, going 27-1-1 and outscoring their opponents 175-44, making the 1980 victory a much bigger shock.
2. The U.S. head coach was the last player cut from the 1960 team.
Bill Cleary agreed to join team USA only if his brother Bob could play. The Clearys got their wish, and as a result, there was not enough room for Herb Brooks.Brooks would go on to play at the '64 and '68 Olympics, and he later earned a spot on the Olympic team as head coach after leading the University of Minnesota to three national championships in the 1970s.
3. Herb Brooks kept telling his players that one of the Russians looked like Stan Laurel.
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Insisting that Boris Mikhailov resembled the thin Englishman in the comedy duo Laurel & Hardy was an attempt to get the U.S. players to not take the Soviet Union squad so seriously.
4. The USSR beat the U.S. 10-3 less than two weeks earlier.
In a February 9th exhibition at Madison Square Garden, the Russians expectedly dominated. Combined with the Soviets’ 6-0 victory over a team of NHL All-Stars one year earlier, it looked like a fifth consecutive gold medal was inevitable.
5. The Russian head coach was hospitalized the day before the game.
Viktor Tikhonov had dealt with the flu throughout the Olympics, and was taken to the hospital on February 21st without any of his players knowing. Tikhonov did not believe in antibiotics.
6. The night before, the starting U.S. goalie and one of the Russian players enjoyed an arcade game together.
Jim Craig and Sergei Makarov played Centipede at Lake Placid's Olympic Village video arcade against one another. The two communicated with “nods and laughs.”
7. It was one of Al Michaels’s first times announcing a hockey game.
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Even though he had never called a hockey game before, Michaels got the play-by-play assignment for the 1972 gold medal hockey game on NBC because nobody else wanted to do it. In 1980, doing that one broadcast made him the undisputed hockey veteran at ABC, as well as the only one who knew what offside and icing were.
8. Al Michaels memorized the Russian names by playing table hockey.
He played against his broadcast partner and former NHL goalie Ken Dryden in their hotel room, announcing their contests and naming his little men after the players on whichever team the U.S. was about to face.
9. Ken Dryden had the busiest February 21st of all.
Dryden, who served as color commentator for the game, would later be teased by his children for not coming up with one of the most memorable sports calls of all time like Michaels, but it’s possible that he was a little bit tired. On Thursday afternoon, while Viktor Tikhonov was in a hospital bed, Dryden went up to Toronto to take the Canadian Bar Exam (which he would pass). That night, as the most famous game of Centipede of all time was taking place, he was back in Lake Placid, having dinner with Herb Brooks, answering a slew of questions Brooks had about the Russians. Dryden was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983, and to Canadian Parliament in 2004.
10. The game was shown on tape delay in the United States.
ABC tried desperately to have the opening face-off moved from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. eastern time, and agreed to pay the International Ice Hockey Federation $125,000 to make it happen (even though they considered it extortion). The IIHF, however, couldn’t get the Soviet Union to agree to the time change despite offering them $12,500, because they did not want the game moved from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. Moscow time. Since all of this happened in 1980, the outcome was not known by most Americans when they watched the recorded broadcast that started in primetime. McKay on air was upfront about the game not being live, and said the network received mail from viewers writing that they did not want the ending to be spoiled.
11. Parts of the game were cut out of the original broadcast.
The United States Hockey team competes against the Soviet Union hockey team during a metal round game of the Winter Olympics February 22, 1980 at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, New York.
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ABC had scheduled footage for both the hockey game and men’s slalom from 8:30 to 11, with 8 to 8:30 devoted to the animated special The Pink Panther in: Olym-Pinks. To make room, minutes of the game were dropped.
12. Jamie Farr was the only celebrity in attendance.
Farr played Klinger on M*A*S*H, which was in its eighth season. The 7700 seat Lake Placid Olympic Center was sold out, and tickets with a face value of $67.20 were allegedly scalped for as much as $600.
13. It wasn’t the gold medal game.
The Americans and Soviets advanced to the “medal round” with Finland and Sweden. A win earned a country 2 points, a tie 1 point. Going into the big match, the U.S. had tied Sweden, and the USSR beat Finland. After the U.S. shocked the world, the Russians took out their frustrations on Sweden two days later and beat them 9-2, so if the U.S. lost to Finland in their next and final game, the Soviet Union would have won the Gold again, with 4 points to the Americans’ 3.
14. The starting Soviet goaltender was taken out of the game after the first period—and it shook up the team.
It looked like the USSR was going to finish the first period up 2-1, but a last second score by Mark Johnson gave the U.S. a lot of momentum. This upset Viktor Tikhonov so much that he benched Vladislav Tretiak and replaced him with Vladimir Myshkin, who, after shutting out the Americans in the second period, would allow two goals in the third. The move shocked the Russians at the time—defenseman Sergei Starikov said, “It felt like a big hole had been put in our team.” Tikhonov himself looked back on it and admitted, “It was my worst mistake, my biggest regret."
15. Al Michaels did not rehearse his famous question.
The word “miraculous” was swimming in his mind as the final seconds ticked away, which led to him asking if we believed in miracles. Hours later, after working the Finland/Sweden game that transpired while most of the country watched the game whose nickname he was mostly responsible for on delay, he had forgotten what he said.
16. Some of the Soviet players took the loss in stride.
The first Russian Mark Johnson shook hands with after the game had a smile on his face. When Johnson and Eric Strobel ran into Valeri Kharlamov and Boris “Stan Laurel” Milkhailov in a waiting room before taking a urine test, Milkhailov said, “Nice game.”
17. The U.S. team sang "God Bless America" after winning, but didn’t know all the words.
The United States Hockey team celebrates after they defeated the Soviet Union during a metal round game of the Winter Olympics February 22, 1980 at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, New York.
Focus on Sport/Getty Images
The team got tripped up after “land that I love,” hummed through the lines they didn’t know, and picked it up again for the big finish.
18. Players from both countries later played in the NHL.
Thirteen of the 20 members of the U.S. squad went pro, Including defenseman Ken Morrow, who, after winning the gold medal, joined the New York Islanders and won the Stanley Cup in each of his first four seasons. Jim Craig’s arcade buddy Sergei Makarov was one of five players from the 1980 USSR team to join the National Hockey League in the 1988-90 season. Makarov won the Rookie of the Year award at the age of 31, which led to the league enforcing a rule starting the following season that you had to be 26 or younger to win.
19. There was a made-for-TV movie about the game starring Steve Guttenberg.
The 1981 ABC film Miracle on Ice mixed actual game footage with written scenes. Guttenberg portrayed goalie Jim Craig, Karl Malden played Herb Brooks, and Jessica Walter—known by some today as Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development—played Herb Brooks’ wife, Patti.
In 2004, Disney released the film Miracle, which starred Kurt Russell as Brooks.
20. The Lake Placid Olympic Center Rink was renamed Herb Brooks Arena in 2005.
Brooks returned to lead the 2002 U.S. men's hockey team to a silver medal. One year later, he passed away after a car accident.
When it comes to measurement, we have a lot of words that mean a bunch of stuff or a bit of something, but many of those terms have actual, specific meanings.
Let's learn about a whole barrel full of them.
1. A barrel changes depending on what's in it.
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When you're talking about oil, a barrel is exactly 42 gallons. For beer, a barrel is 31.5 gallons. For dry goods, it's 105 dry quarts. That last one was defined by Congress in 1915.
2. A dash is part of a teaspoon.
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Then there's the dash, as in, "just a dash of salt," which is between 1/16 and 1/8 of a teaspoon.
3. A pinch is part of a dash.
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A pinch is half a dash, or 1/16 of a teaspoon.
4. A Smidgen is a real thing.
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It's a half of a pinch, or 1/32 of a teaspoon.
5. Pats of butter are 1/3 of an ounce.
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Butter is packaged at 48 pats per pound, which means that each pat is 1/3 of an ounce or 1 tablespoon.
6. A drop is 1/480 of a fluid ounce.
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Okay, to be more specific, it's .05 milliliters, which you probably already knew if you're a pharmacist.
7. Australians used to measure rain by points.
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We don't measure rain by drops, but in Australia, they used to measure rain by points. A point was .254 milliliters, so you might say, "We got a hundred points of rain last night!," which sounds like a lot, but isn't.
8. The Jiffy is about 10 milliseconds.
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The jiffy is a unit of time used in computer engineering that has to do with a computer's clock cycle. It's about 10 milliseconds. It means something even faster in physics, where a jiffy is a unit of measurement for the time it takes for light to travel a distance the size of a nucleus.
9. A Shake is 10 nanoseconds.
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Physicists also have the shake, which is used to measure nuclear reactions. A shake takes 10 nanoseconds, or 10 billionths of a second, so the next time you go somewhere for the weekend, you can tell friends you'll be gone for 17,280,000,000,000 shakes.
10. A hogshead was 63 gallons.
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Specifically, 63 gallons of wine. It's a term dating back to at least the 15th century, and it might be a corruption of the term hog's hide, which might make clearer sense for referring to a wine container, but we really don't know how the word came about. The casks are also repurposed to mature whiskey.
11. You can have a double hogshead ...
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It's called a port pipe, and it holds about 145 gallons.
12. ... or a butt.
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A butt holds about 132 gallons, so when someone tells you that they drank a buttload last night, they are either lying or dead.
13. Megadeath is a unit of atomic bomb destruction.
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Megade(a)th is not just the third-greatest heavy metal band of all time. It's also a terrifying unit of measurement. It was coined in the '50s as a unit of atom bomb destruction. One megadeath is equal to one million deaths.
14. A micromort measures the probability of death.
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On the other end of things, we've got the micromort, a unit for measuring the statistical probability of death. One micromort is a one-in-a-million chance of death. So, smoking 1.4 cigarettes, or spending an hour in a coal mine increases your risk of death by precisely one micromort. Going skydiving? Seven micromorts. They're the coolest thing—and also the only cool thing—ever invented by actuaries.
15. manpower is about 1/10th as powerful as horsepower.
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So you've heard of horsepower, but did you know there's also a measurable unit of manpower? It was worked out to somewhere between 1/8 and a 1/10 of a unit of horsepower. Horsepower was based on the fact that the average brewery horse could move something weighing 330 pounds 100 feet in one minute, stop, and repeat for eight hours. And it would take about eight to 10 men to do the same, so your Camaro might have a 300 horsepower engine, but my Chevy Volt has like a 2000 manpower engine.
16. A Darwin is, naturally, a unit of measuring evolution.
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We also measure things using the names of famous people. A Darwin, for instance, is a special ratio for measuring the rate of evolution. Evolution happening at the rate of one Darwin would change something by a factor of about 2.7 over a million years.
17. A Gal measures gravitational acceleration.
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A Galileo or Gal is a unit of measurement used by physicists to talk about gravitational acceleration, but because there's only about a seven Galileo difference between the lowest and highest possible measurements on Earth, calculations are usually done in milli-Galileos.
18. Movements of your computer mouse are measured in Mickeys.
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There's another guy you might have heard of who gave his name to a unit of measurement having to do with your computer mouse. The smallest detectable movement of a computer mouse—somewhere around 1/10 of a millimeter—is called a Mickey.
19. A Half-million twitter followers is a wheaton.
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After half a million people followed Wil Wheaton on Twitter, John Kovalic dubbed that number a Wheaton. The beloved actor and brewmaster got to about six Wheatons on the social site before deactivating his account in 2018.
20. The Length of a Beard-SEcond is in dispute.
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Speaking of great men with facial hair, a beard-second is the average length a man's beard grows in one second, but beard growth experts disagree on what that length actually is. Some say it's 10 nanometers. Some say it's five. Some say, "I can't believe that we're spending our time talking about this."
21. A millihelen is 1/1000th of one helen of troy.
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Helen of Troy's magnificent mug is said to have launched a thousand ships, but what if there's just one ship that needs help getting out of port? Then, you need a millihelen, the amount of beauty required to launch a single ship.
22. A barleycorn is 1/3 of an inch.
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A few hundred years ago in England, small objects were measured in barleycorns, as in grains of barley. A barleycorn was a third of an inch, which means it's barley there at all.
23. A poppyseed is even smaller.
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If you needed something smaller than that, you could measure by poppyseeds, defined as either 1/4 or 1/5 of a barleycorn. In fact, grain is the basis of our whole system of terms for measuring weight.
24. A pound was 5400 or 6750 grains.
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The Roman forerunner to the pound was the libra, which is why the lb. abbreviation stuck. Medieval England takes credit for using a pound (5400 grains) to measure metals and a mercantile pound (6750 grains) for goods.
25. A Bushel changes depending on the foodstuff.
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The USDA has assigned individual bushel measurements to different things we grow in the ground. A bushel of corn is 56 pounds, while a bushel of oats is 32 pounds.
26. A Span is 9 inches.
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A span isn't just a vague term for how long something is, like a bridge or wings or the length of time you can pay attention to something. It originally meant a distance of about 9 inches, or the width of a man's hand with the fingers out.
27. A Hand is now 4 inches.
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Besides the span, we also have the hand, now mostly used for measuring horse height. It's the width of your hand with the fingers closed. But these days, it just means 4 inches no matter how gigantic your hands are.
28. A Finger is the width of your finger.
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Noah Webster measured the breadth of a finger and nailed it down as 3/4 of an inch, but finger has been used a lot as a unit of measurement. Thus, it's not always clear whether we're talking about the width of the finger, like when your bartender pours you two fingers of booze.
29. A Finger can also be 4.5 inches of cloth.
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This unit uses the length of a finger as the basis.
30. A Nail is 1/16 of a yard.
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A nail of cloth, which is based on the length of your finger from the nail to the second joint, is half a finger, or 2.25 inches. That's also 1/16 of a yard.
So, there you have it. There are about seven barleycorns in a nail, two nails in a finger, four fingers on your hand, and three hands in a foot.
31. A Centipawn measures the value of chess positions.
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And now let us discuss centipawns. Chess computer programs can evaluate the value of a particular piece or position in terms of hundredths of a pawn, or centipawns.
32. A Frigorie is a Calorie's nemesis.
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You've heard of the boring old calorie, a unit that measures energy that produces heat. A Big Mac, for instance, has 550 of them. But, what about the energy to cool something? That unit of refrigeration is called a frigorie, which fell out of use in the 1970s.
33. An Oxgang is about 15 acres.
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Also lost to history is the oxgang, a unit for measuring the area of land approximately equivalent to 15 acres—or the amount of land that a farmer could plow with an ox in one season.
34. An Olf is a unit of odor.
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Luckily, we've still got the melodious olf. Olfs are used for measuring the air quality of indoor spaces, like offices. One olf is basically the amount of odor of one standard person. So, what's a standard person? The olf standard is a person with a skin area of 1.8 square meters, who bathes 0.7 times per day, and is seated comfortably in a comfortable temperature. If the person becomes slightly active, it rises to 5 olfs. A heavy smoker gives off 25 olfs while smoking and six while not.
35. A QuasiHemidemisemiquaver is a unit of brief musical time.
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Also known as the 128th note, it lasts for 1/128 of a note. Nice how that works. Beethoven and Bach were fans.
36. You can cut the Quasihemidemisemiquaver in half.
The great news about music is that you can always go smaller: a demisemihemidemisemiquaver is a 256th note, and it's been used in works by Beethoven and Mozart.
In this episode, John Green explains some offbeat units of measurement. You'll be measuring things by fingers in a jiffy.