ISSUE 23  |  Summer Color

Steal This Look: Low-Cost Roof Deck, with Planters Made from Filing Cabinets

June 06, 2012 3:00 PM

BY Alexa Hotz

We’re in awe of this patio above a garage, complete with planter boxes made from metal filing cabinets, that Venice, CA-based designer Faye McAuliffe created for herself–for $70.

With power tools in hand, McAuliffe built an entire cedar-slatted fence and overhauled a few old filing cabinets. Then she added outdoor furniture from Ikea, and topped it all off with a few rice paper lanterns to light up the night. See McAuliffe’s instructions on the DIY cabinet-planter project, and a few added sources to complete the look.

Photography from You Are the River (except where noted).


Above: Looking to build a fence of your own? An 18 Pack of Cedar Wood Slats is $18.80 from Cedar Brook Saunas.


Above: This roadside filing cabinet planter, spotted on Houzz, inspired McAuliffe.


Above: Using pieces of wood cut to fit, McAuliffe filled the open cabinet bottoms. Then she drilled holes in the wood to drain water.


Above: She painted the planters white before settling on dark gray instead, for a dose of color.

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”8701″,”attributes”:{“alt”:”Benjamin Moore’s Westcott Navy”,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”383″,”width”:”700″}}]]

Above: Consider a dark gray paint color like Benjamin Moore’s Westcott Navy; it’s $9.95 per quart from ePaint Store.

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”8703″,”attributes”:{“alt”:”White Paper Lanterns”,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”432″,”width”:”700″}}]]

Above: Crate & Barrel’s White Paper Lanterns are $3.95 each.


Above: The juxtaposition of bright portulaca grandiflora and old metal cabinets (saved from their landfill fate).

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”8707″,”attributes”:{“alt”:”Falster Table & Benches”,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”472″,”width”:”700″}}]]

Above: The Falster Table in gray is $175 and accompanying Falster Benches are $75 each from Ikea.


Above: Sunlight fills the upper deck. (N.B.: To see more of McAuliffe’s work, see Designer Visit: Faye McAuliffe in Venice, LA.)