Monthly Archives: June 2015

Cupboard under the stairs

Cupboard under the stairs

In the house we renovated there was a large cavity under the staircase that I filled with a storage cupboard.

The space wouldn’t be used because it was narrow and deep, so I drew up some plans and built a giant cupboard into the space under the stairs. It had two rear facing doors with tall cupboards and three large doors that opened out to reveal shelves.

The end cupboard was great for ironing boards and tall items. We put boxes into the shelves to add even more storage room. The first cupboard was quite small, but was enough to house the wi-fi router and board games.

The cupboard was built to fit into the space as much as possible, but still to have room to display items on the top. It was painted the same colour as the wall to ensure it blended in with the room. Carpet was then laid around the cupboard and it became a hidden feature of the room.

It was made out of very thick mdf boards and then painted a dark chocolate brown in the inside, but the same colour as the wall on the outside.

Overall it gave the small townhouse a new level storage that it previously lacked while utilising the wasted space that was currently there.

Here are some pictures of the finished product.

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Posted by on June 12, 2015 in Home Renovations


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Raspberry Pi out of the box

Raspberry Pi out of the box

I finally bought a Raspberry Pi (2) – this is how I set it up from out of the box.

First of all I guess I should explain what a Raspberry Pi is. In short, its basically a computer that is the size of a credit card. It was primarily invented to help people learn about computers and electronics. And the price? About $60. Not bad for a computer, right?

The reason I bought one was primarily to use as a media centre for my TV and also to see what else I could do with it. It was really easy to set up out of the box and really cheap. Here’s how I did it.

I purchased the Raspberry Pi 2 (model B) from Little Bird Electronics –¬† – it sells for $62 (at time of writing) with a little bit on top for freight (about $7 from memory). You can order them from different places, but I went with Little Bird because I know first hand that they do a lot to help out local maker communities and I believe you should support small businesses like that.

One of the reasons that the Raspberry Pi is so cheap is because it doesn’t come with anything. You have to supply your own monitor or TV (but it has a HDMI slot), keyboard and mouse (but it has USB slot for a wireless connection to a keyboard and mouse), power cord (but you can use a micro USB phone charger cable), operating system/software (but it has a slot for a micro SD card that you can load it on) and hard drive (but you can use an externally powered USB hard drive).

For me this wasn’t a problem because I already had all these things. You can but a kit with the extras included if you wish.

Before I start with the pictures, it’s important to point out that if you’re going to take photos of your Raspberry Pi, don’t use the flash – it can actually damage the board!

Okay, I received the package and took it out of the wrapping.


Just seeing this box got me excited, but what was in it was even better!


The box that the Raspberry Pi comes in is about the size of a deck of cards. Little Bird even included a little sticker!


Opening the box, you find the instruction manual and a bag with the board itself inside. That’s it. So much power for such a little thing.


Above is a close of the Raspberry Pi itself. You can see it has four USB slots on the right hand side, next to an Ethernet cable slot. From the front left hand side there is a slot for the micro USB power cord and then the HDMI slot. Underneath is the slot for the micro SD card.


Speaking of the SD card, you need to load it up with the NOOBS software. NOOBS stands for New Out Of the Box Software (or something like that). You can download it for free from the Raspberry Pi website. There are also instructions on how to load it onto the card. It’s pretty straight forward and the URL and screen shot is below. I needed to use the adapter as my Mac has an SD card slot so it plugs straight into the computer to write the software.


Once you’ve loaded the software on the card, insert the card into the slot.

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Once the card is in, you’ll next need to connect the keyboard and mouse. I had one lying around so I just put the USB dongle into the USB slot.

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You’ll need to be able to see what you’re doing, so the next step is to plug in a HDMI cord into the HDMI slot and the other end into your TV.


One of the cool things about the Raspberry Pi is that it doesn’t use a lot of power. You can plug in the micro USB power cord into the Pi and the other end into the TV. This means that when you turn the TV on, the Raspberry Pi powers up!


The final step is to plug the Ethernet cable in to give it access to the internet. You can use wireless, but my router is next to my TV so it’s easier just to connect it straight to the router.


Here’s a shot of everything connected up ready to go.


Once everything is connected up, you can turn the TV on and follow the instructions from the Raspberry Pi web site to get it working.



So much fun. So much potential. But this is just the beginning…..


Posted by on June 1, 2015 in Raspberry Pi


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