Saturday, July 23, 2011

turning a chair into a swivel rocker

As promised, I am posting a house project a day until this little one arrives.
Today is Nursery Part II.

See this little rocker?


It has quite the story...

First, let me start by saying that the nursery is very small.
Before we received news of Baby J, it had been our office.

Now our office is in the small nook of our living room:



(You have to get creative with a little house).

Anyway, fitting a crib, dresser and glider in the nursery was proving to be a challenge.
We already had the crib and the dresser, so that left the rocker.
We shopped around A LOT.
First of all, they are expensive!
Secondly, they are almost always HUGE.
Even if we were able to find one we liked for cheap on Craigslist or something, it probably wouldn't fit.
Thirdly, I wanted a white upholstered rocker, (I always want white everything), but I couldn't find one with a slip cover.
I refuse to pay over $500 for a white upholstered rocker that will be ruined if anything ever spills on it, (which is inevitable).

So, what were we to do?
Guess.

That's right.
IKEA.
(I need to become a spokesperson for those people).

I got it in my head that I wanted the Ektorp Jennylund Chair.


The price was right and it matched our other furniture.
It was a smaller version of the chair we already have in our living room (smaller than any rocker or glider we had seen).
And it had a white slipcover.
We love our white chair, couch and ottoman.
Our friends are always scared to eat or drink in our living room but if you get something on them, you wash them, and absolute worst case scenario, if they do get stained, you can replace the slipcovers for super cheap.

There was only one problem.
It wasn't a rocker.
It was a chair.

Still, I wouldn't let it go.
Every time we shopped for gliders, I would say, "Why can't IKEA just sell gliders?"

One Friday afternoon a few weeks ago, Christian called me and said, "Meet me at my office at 3:30 and we'll go to IKEA to buy the chair you want."
I was confused.

 It turns out that after lots of shopping and no luck, he had started researching.
He figured out that we could just buy a swivel rocker base from this website, remove the legs to the chair, screw the base to the bottom of the chair and voilĂ !

So, there we were at 4:00 on a Friday, making the two and a half hour drive to IKEA (again!).
When we arrived, Christian said "let's check the 'As Is' section first." (as we have had some luck there before.)
We walked to that area and I squealed.
There is was, sitting right smack in the front, just for us.


What was wrong with it?
It was missing it's legs.

What are the chances?
We must be the only people in the world who were looking for that chair and planning to take the legs off after we bought it.
And all because of that one "flaw", it was marked at 45% off!


Oh man. 
I am sure you can picture how excited we were.

We rushed it to the register, paid for it and took it out to the car.
We should have left right then.
We had gotten the one thing we came for.
But we didn't.
Of course not. 
We'd driven all that way...

Here I am leaving the store a few hours later:


...and here is our car:
 



We need an IKEA intervention.
 (In all fairness, part of that was a desk we picked up for a friend, but yes, it was ridiculous.)

Two days later, our swivel rocker base arrived on our doorstep!

First, Christian flipped the chair upside down and cut the black fabric off of the bottom.


Next, he cut a piece of 3/4" plywood and a piece of a 1x2, (both left over from our recent kitchen remodel), to fit in the space under the chair.

 

The frame of the chair has a piece of wood across the back and the front, but the piece in the front is lower than the one in the back, so he screwed the 1x2 onto the front side in order to make a level surface for the plywood to sit on.



Next, he screwed the 3/4" plywood right into those two (now level) "support beams" that run across the front and back of the chair. 
(The thicker wood was necessary since there is no beam running across the middle of the chair for support.)

  
It wasn't quite tall enough for the slipcover to clear the ground, so he added two pieces of 2x4.


Finally, he screwed the base into the 2x4s.

 
Tah-dah!


It's the perfect size and super comfy, which is great because I am sure we will be spending lots of time in this chair in the weeks and months to come.

(See more pictures of the nursery here).

_ _ _

The most commonly asked question here on the blog is
Do you still love your DIY rocker?

Simply put, yes.

I wouldn't have done it any other way (except to maybe try a glider base instead of a rocker, but I have no way of knowing if that would have worked because we never tried it).
It still fits perfectly in the room.
It's still comfortable.
It still rocks smoothly after 2.5 years and two babies.
The slip covers are still white (thanks to their ability to be washed) and have never been replaced, despite having coffee (among other things) spilled on the chair.
...Oh! and a little tip for anyone thinking of making one:

Put your slip covers back on about 50% wet.
{They stretch to fit easier that way.}

67 comments:

  1. LOve this! Your house is super cute.

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  2. I love this! I've been shopping for a rocker also and really like this chair from Ikea. How do you like it? Does it rock smoothly?

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  3. Alley,

    We love it. I was hoping for a glider, which would be impossible to make, and all the ones we found were way too big. This was our budget friendly, fits-just-right, visually appealing answer. It does rock smoothly, but it's no glider just to be clear. :) Hope that helps!

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  4. This is amazing! I have a club chair that I'm not really loving anymore, but I'm thinking I could maybe love it as a glider in a nursery! Will you tell us your thoughts on how it works? Does it "glide" like you'd expect a regular glider to? Thanks for sharing!! xoxo

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  5. Anne...I was wondering the same thing as we are considering attempting this project for our nursery.

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  6. Hi girls! Like I told Alley, it does rock smoothly but it is not a glider. I did want a glider but I don't think it's possible to turn a chair into a glider and all of the gliders we looked at were too big or too expensive. It is a swivel rocker so you can turn in it and rock back and forth, just not "swing" like you could in a glider. It definitely serves the purpose we intended it to. I sit in it and nurse him all the time. You really have to play with the rocker base when you put it on to get it just right. It took us three attempts to get it so that the chair wasn't leaning back too far or forward too far and was the right height off the ground. I answered another Allie's questions in the comments section on this page: http://mrswigglebottom.blogspot.com/2011/07/nursery-part-iii.html

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  7. amazing. looks beautiful...
    find more Bedding Sets here nursery glider

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  8. Update! I just did some research and figured out that what I said above is not true. It IS possible to make a glider, (I think!) It is more expensive and looks like it is probably more challenging to install but I wish I would have found this earlier. (Maybe for baby #2?) Check it out:
    http://www.swivel-chair-parts.com/GliderandSwivelGlider.html

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  9. Really like the forever young print. Where did you get it? Definitely looks like an etsy piece but I have not been able to find it.

    Thanks!

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  10. Well, looks like I just needed to read a few more p blog posts of yours, I see that you have posted it. Thanks again!

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  11. It's great! I've been looking for a comfy swivel rocker like this for my office. Where did you get the base?

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  12. The base is from this website: http://www.swivel-chair-parts.com/154RockerSwiveLeg.html

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  13. I LOVE this idea and plan on convincing my husband that we can make our own glider since the other options are so $$$! Which swivel rocker style # did you purchase, the website has three different versions?

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  14. We purchased swivel base #154 on the website that I linked. We also purchased the screws for it (those were only 80 cents. My husband called and told them what we were planning to use it for and this was the one they instructed us to get. The others may be a little stiffer, which could be good because we had to play with it a little to get it in just the right place so that the chair didn't lean too far forward or back. I don't think any of them would be "wrong". :)

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  15. Thank you!! I already had the Jennylund chair, and I really like it. The gliders I have seen aren't attractive and this solves our issue. Ordered the part and done!

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  16. I'm going to use your idea of using the Jennylund chair and converting it into a rocker. After some use, would you say you're still as happy with it? I wanted a glider, too, but still can't justify spending $200 on the chair, plus $200 on the glider parts. The rocker seems like a cheaper alternative.

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    1. Hi there!

      I feel so terrible that it took me SO long to get back to you! That is so unlike me. Bad, bad, bad...
      After lots of use, I definitely still like it a lot. I actually love how narrow the chair is because my son's head can rest on an arm while I am nursing him if I don't have my Boppy pillow near by. The rocker mechanism is nice and smooth. I never even think about the fact that it is not a glider but I will say that the foot stool helps a lot because otherwise I might not be able to touch the ground and rock easily if I was sitting all the way back in the chair. My only complaint is that a couple months ago it started to squeak. Not cool when you are trying to put a baby to sleep. My husband flipped figured out that the metal was rubbing in one area and he used a hammer to fix it. We haven't had problems since. I hope you have the same great luck that we have had! :)

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    2. Thank you for responding! Another question I had was about the height. I know because of the compact size of the chair, the chair back might not be very tall. I'm 5'11"; do you think this would be a problem? Would my shoulders hang too far above to be comfortable?

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    3. Oh, how frustrating! I replied to this question once and just noticed that somehow it never posted! I'm sorry. I feel like it can still work for you but I would definitely sit in it and try it out before buying it. I am about 5'6" and my husband is 5'11" and we both use the chair to rock Henry so I asked him what he thought. He said it wouldn't be a problem, but then, he isn't breastfeeding either. My neck and shoulders were very sore the first couple months after Henry was born but not because of the chair. I was usually sitting in bed to feed him then since he was sleeping in our room. I think it actually got better when I moved to the chair. My husband and I both often use the pillow that is sitting on the chair behind our head and shoulders since the chair is so compact, (the pillow doesn't fall back because the wall is right behind the chair). I highly recommend getting a good pillow for that purpose and definitely think you should try the chair before you buy it but I do think that it can work for you if you use a pillow. Good luck!

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    4. Thank you so much for the great idea. I have been wanting an inexpensive, small rocker with a slip cover for our cottage but didn't want to pay the expensive price. I too couldn't stop thinking about the jennylund. Ikea is crazy not to make a junnylund glider!!! They would sell thousands!! Thanks again!

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  17. That is awesome!!! So much fun getting a deal! I was searching for ideas for a chair glider and saw this blog on Pinterest! I was JUST at Ikea, too!

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  18. Hi there!! Love your tutorial, such a good idea! I found you from Freckles Chick! Actually, I'm so smitten I'm featuring your tutorial over on BabyCenter's blog, where I freelance write. I'll be sure to link back to your post and blog : ) Thanks so much for sharing!

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  19. LOVE that you turned the chair into a glider. I know different slip covers are available but did it come with one or did you have to buy it separately?

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    1. Hi there!
      Okay, so you do purchase the covers separately because some cost more than others. The white one is $29 I believe. BUT when you see the price of the chair, it includes the cost of the least expensive covers (white included).

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  20. I love your blog! Our little one is due at the end of October and Henry is our top boy choice at this point. Your little sweetie definitely suits the name!!

    We are going to purchase the parts for this project and are very excited to get started! Could you tell me what the exact measurements for the wood are? Hubby is out of town this week and I am hoping to hit up Home Depot before he gets back but have no idea where to start! Thank you!

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    1. Okay,
      Here are the measurements! So sorry it took a few days. My husband has been super busy and I needed him to flip the chair over. Good luck! :)

      17.5 inch 1x2
      20in by 17in piece of 3/4in plywood
      2- 17 and 1/4in 2x4's

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  21. Thanks for posting. I am looking to convert our cushiony wingback antique chair to a rocker but I see more glider conversions on the web than rocker. Our chair doesn't have a skirt so I am going to call a local carpenter to see if they can help build rocker frames to the legs. Worse case, I may opt for this idea, I just wish it came with a tan or bright yellow slip cover! Im worried about the white. Has yours held up well and been hard to get stains out? I did find another cheap rocker on Walmart website of all places! With the chair and slipcover, it comes to just over $200. BUT, it has mixed reviews.
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Dorel-Rocking-Chair-Choose-your-Slipcover/13229908

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  22. I think the white has held up great. I have only had to wash it once and it washes easily. There are other colors, but you are right, not bright yellow and not plain tan. Good luck with your antique chair. That sounds so pretty!

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  23. So I just transformed one of my two Jennylund chairs into a rocker, and I absolutely love it! I bought a used swivel rocker at a garage sale for $10 just for the base and my husband and I used some scrap wood we had at home. It's perfect in the living room so I can rock baby down there instead of always going into the nursery. Thanks so much for the idea!
    p.s Also have the white ektorp couch and chairs, and I love being able to throw the covers in the laundry!

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  24. Thank you so much for this tutorial, I've seen it several places. I was lucky enough to find a barely used, old rocker at a resale shop for $20 and an "as-is" Jennylund chair for $98 (it was a display). With the cover and scrap wood, this project will have only cost us around $150. Sure beats paying $700 for an un-washable version! Thank you so very much!

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  25. So many comments! Another question... where did you get the little foot stool?

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    1. Hi Erica! Loving the comments!!! :) The foot stool came from my husband's grandmother. It was dusty and old and we just cleaned it up and stapled some fabric over it. We have already changed the fabric. SO easy! I am going to post an update on Henry's room some day soon and I will take a picture of the bottom of it to show how we stapled. Check just about any thrift store! So glad you stopped by!

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  26. hahaha brilliant idea! you can be a good furniture maker :)

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  27. Love your post. I came across it looking for swivel rocker bases. I'm helping a friend with her nursery. my questiois directed towards the crib skirting. can you tell me how long the base is from the floor to the bottom of the crib mattress?

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    1. Hi Carolyn,

      This question is tricky for me to answer because you will move the mattress down closer to the ground as baby grows. I have no idea how "real" crib skirts work, (like if you were to buy one in a store), and I also didn't google a tutorial with real measurements and directions (but I am sure there are tons out there!). I just made mine out of a long, wide piece of fabric so it is only two sided (not all the way around) and I made sure each side had enough fabric to almost hit the ground when the mattress was in the highest position, (but I don't have that measurement because we have since moved the mattress down). When we moved it down, I just folded the extra fabric in on itself under the mattress. :/ Sorry I can't be more helpful. I am certainly no expert on crib skirts and mine is definitely not "right". Good luck!

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  28. Great idea! Okay, so in order to convince my husband to try this - I have a question. Do you feel like the chair is sturdy and safe? My husband is a designer and believes that form follows function (in other words, if it wasn't designed to be a rocking chair, it may not be as safe if you transform it into one) and wonders if it would be safe - for instance, if our 4 and 3 year old got wild in the chair (which will surely happen when I'm not sitting in it nursing their little sister). Anyway, if you have a moment to comment on how it's held up and it's sturdiness, that would be great! Thanks so much and great job! My email is: tysha_denae@yahoo.com or you can find me at http://tyshaandjacob.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Tysha!
      It's definitely sturdy and safe. Our almost two year old has gotten wild and crazy in it many times and I feel like it is just as sturdy as when we first put it together! I emailed you...

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  29. This is so cool! I sent the link to my handy, but very elderly and skeptical father. He was concerned that the chair isn't level and I might get sea-sick rocking the baby. I'm pretty certain the first picture is just a tad crooked ;) hehehe. Thanks for this! I'm so pumped to be able to afford a rocker/glider!

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    1. Totally possible that the first picture is crooked. Like I said in the post, we had to take it off, move it a few inches, screw it back in and test it a couple different times to get it just perfect but now it's great and I definitely don't get sea sick! :)

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  30. I found myself in the same predicament and came across this post. Thanks for the inspiration! I also really wanted a glider and thought I'd give you the update that it can be done! We used the glider parts from the same website and the Jennylund chair and it worked out beautifully! Now if only Ikea would get with the program and start making an upholstered glider for us! Here's my post about the swivel glider. Thanks again for the inspiration!

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    1. Thank you for letting me/us know, Jillian! I wish we would have done it! :)

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  31. Thank you so much for this post! My hubby is handy and so we are totally going to do this. Being in Canada its super expensive to ship the base part here and we thought maybe we could get a cheap older rocker and just take the base off. Well we found one for $10!!!! Now we just have to get the ikea chair and attach it. The pics you provided are great and I can't wait to se how ours will turn out. Thanks again for the great idea!!

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    1. I hope it turns out perfectly! Way to be super resourceful and find a rocker base for $10!

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  32. Thanks for sharing, you have just confirmed what I long suspected to be possible with the Jennylund but I never actually got around to trying. Inspired by you, I will definitely now give this a go! Strange question perhaps - how do you think this would work as an office chair at my desk? I hate standard office chairs and would love something comfier. Glad I stumbled on your blog, it is really great. I love the font you use, it looks really like my handwriting, do you mind me asking what is it called?

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    1. Hi there!

      I think it would make an awesome office chair. I've been sitting in this chair for over an hour now and my back is aching. I totally wish I was sitting in that rocker right now!

      Also, the font is Homemade Apple. You can find it for free at fontspace.com

      :)

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  33. Thank you! My husband made this chair for our nursery. I've been using it for 3 1/2 months and am completely in love with it.

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  34. What are the deminsions of the piece of plywood?

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  35. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  36. Our range of Relax At Eeze swivel reclining chairs offer superb levels of comfort and support. Available in a range of leather, fabric or PU materials, our swiveling chair collection offer something for every taste and budget. Furthermore, our prices can not be beaten, plus you get free next working day swivel chair delivery on all stock items ordered before midday, reclining swivel leather chairs.

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  37. Our range of Relax At Eeze swivel reclining chairs offer superb levels of comfort and support. Available in a range of leather, fabric or PU materials, our swiveling chair collection offer something for every taste and budget. Furthermore, our prices can not be beaten, plus you get free next working day swivel chair delivery on all stock items ordered before midday, swivel recliners.

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  38. I have to thank you for sharing the details of how you put together this gem of a chair! I spent countless hours trying to find an upholstered rocker exactly or similar to this one. Unfortunately, all I could find were very expensive ones! I was over the moon happy when I stumbled across your blog! My husband and I put together our chair and we absolutely love it! I found this website that explains how to install the rocker base and by following the directions, we nailed it on the first mount. http://www.swivel-chair-parts.com/Tips/rockerSwivelInstall.html
    Thanks again! :)

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  40. The frame of the chair has pieces of wood across the back and the front, but the piece in the front was lower than the one in the back, so we screwed the 1x2 onto the front side in order to make a level surface for the plywood to sit on.



    Office Chair

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  41. Great to find such an amazing blog. I was looking for something like this.

    Discount office furniture

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  42. For the "1x2" piece of wood on the front of the chair, I was trying to get more specific specs on that piece You indicated "17.5 inch 1x2". Did you use the 3/4'' plywood for that piece as well? Are the specs 1 inch wide, 2 ft long, and 3/4'' thick? Thanks.

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    1. Andrew,

      I am sorry. My husband and I turned the chair over and tried to measure the piece you are talking about but it is way down in there and we couldn't get to it. Basically, you just have to come up with something that works to hold the base on and it doesn't have to be exactly the way we did it. In fact, I am guessing there is less bulky way (using less or different wood). I hope you figured it out!

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  43. Hi I want to buy that Rod Stewart song for my Grand daughters wall! You see my son who is 25 I sang that to him and played it for him his life. When he left for Iraq I played it and when he was there I played it for him too. Forever Young. He is married now and last year he played it for me. They have a baby girl. Her room is gray and pink, I need that sign made too please Mandtlentz@hotmail.com Maureen Lentz

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  44. Thank you for providing the details regarding brownish set chair.You provided me a very reliable details.I fully read your blog,it has very exciting details,i really experienced it.Really wonderful.


    Executive Chair

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  45. Thanks for the process. it seems to me easy. I think these chairs can also be used as Executive Chairs also. I will definitely try this. These seem to me so comfortable.

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  46. It's very unique and I think every person who sit will be comfortable.
    Thanks.

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  47. Hello, I have the Karlstad chair from Ikea at home, and was wondering if you think this would work with the base of the rocker? Our Karlstad looks to be much deeper and possible shorter then the Ektorp, but wondering if you still think it would work. We bought the Karlstad a few years ago and we barely use it; and would love to be able to use this instead of having to buy something else for our nursery. Any help would be great!!

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    1. Hi! The problem with the karlstad is that it doesn't have a skirt at the bottom so you would be able to see the ugly metal rocker base, you know? I wonder if you could make a skirt some how?

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  48. Hi i have read and see this photo your tutorial style is so simple
    Thank for sharing
    Drehhocker PU

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  49. Love the chair and plan to make one for myself. BUT I also really like the desk you have were did you get it?

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  50. Love this chair. I know this is an older blog but I wanted to ask if you might share the paint color in this room, its beautiful with the white. Thank you.

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  51. This article is very nice.thanks for our sharing.we also provide Office Furniture Solutions is female owned and operated. We have a combined 41 years experience selling office furniture and workstations in the South Florida market. Our client list includes top corporate businesses, the local business owner and the homeowner looking for an office desk and chair

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