northstory + co

DIY Fuse Box (Electrical Panel) Cover and Basement decorating

I am convinced there is some unwritten rule that all fuse boxes (electrical panels) must and I repeat must be placed in the most inconvenient spot in your home.  That is when it comes to decorating.

You can be assured that it will be somewhere on a main wall staring at you, mocking you with it all the fuses and wires and sexy metal panel cover. I understand why they’re put there because of various electrical codes which I completely respect because safety is very important, but having to find an electrician every time I need access to my fuse box gets annoying, especially when I’m freaking out after the lights go out in my home and I wander down into the darkness of my basement with a flashlight with the thunderstorm outside like a terrified horror movie victim.

You know exactly what I’m talking about. But they’re still an eyesore.

At first I was all “I am going to make a giant Instagram montage and frame it and Pinterest will love me forever and ever!!!”. Then I started looking at the cost of 34″ x 36″ picture frames and there went that idea. While I was still thinking about what to do, James got up one morning fed up with staring at the gaping hole and went to go play in the garage with his new best friend, the DeWalt Mitre saw that he picked up at his other new best friends house – a.k.a. Lowes. I mean seriously go read their conversations on Twitter. It’s like should I just get a job there so he can get new tools? I’m kidding I love you too Lowe’s.

On the bright side of that, the mitre saw basically allows me to go “Hey honey we need…” and then somehow it appears in our home. “Magic”.

So he made our frame and electrical panel cover out of our leftover floorboard trim. That’s it, nothing fancy. No bead board or new wood to pick up. Just plain old MDF floor board that he painted after he put it together.

This was the before to give an idea, in case you missed the essay of a photo post about our basement reno.

basement before (2)

basement after (2)

DIY electrical panel cover

Just attached it with a long hinge and a small spring roller catch on the other end to secure it to the wall to easily open and close.

electrical panel cover

electrical panel cover (2)

And after that was done we started adding other things.

Like faux wood blinds. Nautical burlap pillows.

fuse panel cover

electrical panel cover

And this awesome white floor lamp that we picked up at HomeSense.

It’s from a company called Grandview Gallery but they absolutely no product photos on their website. You can contact them though.

white floor lamp

I also hemmed IKEA LENDA curtains.

By hemmed I mean I got hemming tape, an iron and my scissors and held my breath to make sure I measured correctly. I have a sewing machine somewhere…la la la….

Just in case anyone’s looking for the LENDA curtains, they have a slight darker line stitching vertically that these photos do absolutely no justice. Our basement is proving to be a nightmare to photograph without a proper lighting studio. Or my old beloved Nikon D80 that needs to be repaired.

Anyone want to send me a spare Nikon? No? Damnit.


IKEA LENDA curtains

And because we do have a whole other untouched section of the basement that is the home of our future wet bar, I just want to say Thank You Dear People of Kijiji. You always seem to have every damn discontinued IKEA piece of furniture that we need.

After spending a grueling Saturday at IKEA (I mean have you tried shopping at an IKEA on a Saturday? Makes me want to go hide in the ball pit.) and spending an hour on their kitchen planner computers, we realized we’d be way better off with a portable island type of unit. Also because the dollar signs started adding up real fast and we haven’t even bought the faucet, the sink and mini bar fridge.

And hello? Liquor and beer.

So we found this discontinued IKEA VARDE cabinet for a great deal on Kijiji in mint condition considering its age. We’re going to put a FYNDIG sink in that.

IKEA VARDE pre hack -

So that’s where we’re at. I need to find a rug and accent colours to prevent this from remaining a giant explosion of neutral shades.

Oh, if I write a post next about why I should never be allowed to paint a laundry room door and floorboard trim again and you’re like “What’s so hard about painting a door?”, you must not be a Type A personality.

I still see paint lines in my head. I mean how many coats of paint does a door need?!

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  • Reply
    Gilit @ Shoes Off Please
    July 25, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    First of all, based on Instagram I thought this would be about a beer tasting. Second, that panel is geeenyus (that’s how it’s spelled to pronounce it in my head) and I love how it’s all turning out- I still can’t believe that you’re managing to make your basement so light and airy. Beer-drinkers secret?

    • Reply
      July 25, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      It’s because it’s a walk out – meaning it’s not underground. So we walk out of our basement into the backyard vs having to up stairs to get to it. And the new window in the back made an insane difference in light. It is a pain to take pictures in though. Gotta work on that.

      Beer yes! HA! I know I really just do a tribute post to Innis and Gunn.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Gorgeous. I’m completely jealous of your husband’s mitre saw talent.

    • Reply
      July 27, 2013 at 11:04 pm

      I’m jealous of his mitre saw talent too. I JUST learned how to use a drill this year and let me tell you that’s better than therapy so I can’t even imagine how much fun a saw is.

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 11:11 am

    GENIUS! (and so beautiful) The man is good with his mitre. Keep him, Alex!

    Why in the world do electricians do the crazy things they do? I have a light switch in the middle of a wall. Like in the exact place I wanted to hang a painting. HELLO! (couldn’t you have put it on the side)
    I believe that every electrician should have a woman working with them. So they can so… ummmm, NO!, that won’t look good. Ha Ha Ha!

    Oh how I wish I had known you needed those curtains. I had 12 packs of them that I ended up giving to goodwill. Seriously… TWELVE packs. I was too lazy to drive 2 hours to return them and held on to them for so long that I was embarrassed to even think about bring them back. Would have LOVED to have sent them to you. Yours look so pretty. I do love Ikea’s curtain panels!

    • Reply
      July 27, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      One day I will convince him that he should make a fence like Richie made you guys. That fence is awesome beyone awesome.

      A light switch in the middle of the wall? We have that. Actually we are the house that does not have enough electrical outlets anywhere.

      I totally should have done some impromptu meet up when we were down in NOLA on vacation and done a curtain swap at the border. 🙂

  • Reply
    Victoria • Restoring our Victorian
    July 26, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I think you need to start calling that something OTHER than a basement. Basements are dark and dingy. NOT someplace you’d actually want to hang out and not leave…

    I suspect once you get the wet bar in, you may quit blogging and we’ll all know exactly what happened to you. (And we’ll be jealous.)

    • Reply
      July 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      Oh you know me so well. If I get lost in the cabinet it’s b/c it’s next to the whisky…

  • Reply
    Kathy Katschilo
    July 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I think you’ve both done a great job on the basement. Can’t wait to see it in person.

    • Reply
      July 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      Thank you! We couldn’t have done it without you!

  • Reply
    July 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    The panel looks so great… Way to go James! As I was reading this, I was thinking how excited I am for you. It’s such a smart solution for what could’ve been a total eyesore. Then I got excited for me because we have a similar hole for a gas valve that we need to maintain access to. We seriously just have a board propped up in front of it. Time to cut that board to size and get a long hinge. Thanks for the brilliant idea!!

    • Reply
      July 27, 2013 at 11:10 pm

      I think everyone secretly has a board propped up against a hole like that. Or a picture or a bookshelf. In our old condo it was so smack in the middle of a wall and it was one of the first things you saw. I mean why people why?? Def make a cover. And use stuff you have to save money.

  • Reply
    Time With Thea
    July 29, 2013 at 10:05 am

    The electrical panel decorative hiding is brilliant! Well done. It is amazing how an extra room like this adds to the home especially as your daughters are getting older ~Thea

  • Reply
    now at home mom
    July 31, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    OK, this is the second comment I’m leaving, I hope you will get it this one! my son keeps moving the mouse and it disappears! ah!
    you know, we have that same electrical panel and hubby did something similar to hide it but ours is very ugly and I don’t want anyone to ever look at it! 🙂 your husband did a great job 🙂 & I’m sure that IKEA cabinet will look great with the sink 🙂 Alex, I also wanted to let you know that because of you (from one of your previous comments), I finally took pictures of my kitchen (finally), I still have to write the post but it’s a good start isn’t it? Thanks for pushing me to do this! btw, is it normal that I don’t know what ‘type’ of kitchen do I have? I can’t describe it! 😉

  • Reply
    September 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I can’t believe I actually found the same Grandview Gallery “64 glossy white turquoise inside” floor lamp, at our local HomeGoods (USA branch of HomeSense?) here in New Hampshire. The reason I’ve come half a world away to write in is, I promptly broke the VERY delicate (as in, onion-skin-thin) white globe after making an ever so gentle turn out the door to deliver this to my daughter’s dorm room, north of here, and soon discovered how the three set screws were barely hanging on to it. Given its five foot length and, where I was holding it near the base (for balance), I was nowhere near to stopping its fateful fall. (Ever drop a fluorescent bulb? Same shard splatter. Ouch.) I did call the Grandview Gallery in Southhaven, MS, but those good ole folks weren’t much help. If you still have yours intact, what IS the “throat” (or ID) globe opening AND the OD of this globe? (For the second, you can stretch a piece of string around the fattest part, unwind and measure it, or use a tailor’s tape.) I’m sure, overall, this is a “standard” globe, but . . . how many times have you heard that one? Thanks!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2014 at 11:27 am

    So a husband comes across this blog, looks at the panel, and says that I can do this too. My biggest question, what depth of screws did he use to put the two boards together? Baseboards are 1/2 inch thick, so I’m assuming he found some screws that were 3/4 thick to get through two boards and not any deeper. Anyhow, if you or he have any insight or tips on how to recreate this, let me know! Thanks!

    • Reply
      April 3, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      I just checked with my husband and he said he did indeed use 3/4 inch screws. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2018 at 8:27 am

    I’ve been searching and I haven’t found a better solution. Definitely doing this for my water and gas shut off access. Simple, clean, easy.

  • Reply
    Dan Kundrat
    April 17, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Hello! Love this. For the panel door, what did you use as the door catch so it stays closed? I am looking to do the same thing over my electrical panel. Thanks!

    • Reply
      April 17, 2019 at 5:17 pm

      We used a roller catch lock. Super easy and discreet. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll get tons of options in different sizes.

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