Wednesday, July 6, 2011

our home, improved

Preface: While this little project was completed two weekends ago, there's no way I'd let myself continue posting without recounting the tale of my first home improvement project. It's like the semi-adult equivalent of Baby's First Christmas or something. Plus I think if you squint a little you could technically file this under "crafty," a topic which is seriously lacking in representation on this blog. So hey, that's reason enough to share.


You know you've really hit a benchmark on the road to domesticity when you find yourself at Home Depot at 8:30 on a Sunday morning (I suppose when it's midnight and, mid-project, your partner in crime asks, Can you lookup what time Home Depot opens on my phone?, this shouldn't come as a huge surprise.)

A few weekends ago Jason and I decided to refinish our bedroom furniture. Now, when I say "we decided" let it be known that it was more like we talked about it twice in a wouldnt-that-be-cool kind of way and next thing I knew it was a Saturday morning and I was holding a power sander. (Sidenote: This is a shining example of the nature of my lovely boyfriend - while the world is swimming with thinkers and dreamers and wouldnt-it-be-coolers, he manages to be a thinker, a dreamer, and what's better, a doer. He does things. Thankfully most of them don't involve power sanding, but still, I strongly believe it is the root of his success and it is one of a slew of qualities with which he inspires me.) 

Anyway, Jason's mom gave him a beautiful, quality set of bedroom furniture some years ago. Now while we can certainly appreciate the gorgeous maple wood and the deep cherry stain, there wasn't much about the furniture that said...well..."us." Jason's style is pretty minimal and modern, while mine is a more "homey" version of modern I guess, but either way we love clean lines and simple design. Cherry wood and big wooden knobs don't exactly fit the bill. And we're not really in a position to be buying new sets of bedroom furniture. So we figured, why not just refinish them. Easy enough right? After seeing a beautiful piece in our local West Elm (my official favorite home store of the moment) and for some ungodly reason thinking we could replicate the look, we decided a nice gray, translucent stain was what we wanted on our bedroom furniture. When we saw the piece it was like a no brainer. We both agreed it looked amazing and it would go perfectly in our room. (Yes, perfectly. THAT piece. Designed and manufactured by professionals.) 

Now I don't know how those sneaky West Elm people did it, but whatever technique they used was certainly not what we attempted (see photo.) It was a minor (read: major) detour in our little project - one that we would pay for with many additional hours of sanding. (Sidenote: I'd like to add that I'm thoroughly convinced an angel above - somewhat resembling David Bromstad to give you a visual - took Jason's style and my style and somehow perfectly combined them, thus creating the almighty West Elm.)

Well, I'll spare you the dusty details (literally, a film of old dusty wood finish blanketed our entire garage for a few days), but it took three people (thanks Kim), two power sanders, 12 hours of sanding, one wrong stain color on one ugly nightstand, six more hours of sanding aforementioned ugly nightstand, two hours of polyurethaning, and one attention-starved dog to complete this project. I will say that if you're wondering whether you're compatible with someone, might I suggest refinishing some bedroom furniture. Exhaustion from physical labor and lack of sleep + finding middle ground on what the final product should look like + differing opinions on seemingly trivial details like drying times or number of coats needed = the ultimate exercise in patience and compromise. So...The family that sands together, stays together? No? Okay. 

Check out the pictures below and let me know what you think. After the great stain debacle we actually decided we were in love with the natural maple, so we went with the "naked" look. Just two coats of polyurethane is all she needed. And I love the modern chrome pulls. Only problem now, my doer of a bf has decided we need to "finish" the room. Home Depot, old friend, it's safe to say I'll be seeing you shortly. 

No comments:

Post a Comment