DIY Pinterest Challenge (it actually happened)

Back in my undergrad, I lived with a few girls in the dorms and as sophomores, we finally had more than the 10×10 shared quarters that the freshman dorms had provided. The four of us had two bedrooms AND a living room. Plus an odd bathroom setup where there was a shower and sink room and then also a toilet and sink room, but for four women it worked out well. What we didn’t have, coming from the freshman digs, was a lot of furniture. So we decided to buy a 3×3 cubby style storage bookshelf sorta thing to hold up our 20″ TV. I will admit, and I am sure anyone who has had the pleasure of rooming with me will agree, I am probably a terrible roommate, so when these great girls just wanted to go four ways on a $30-40 piece of put-it-together-yourself-Target-furniture, I of course refused because I knew at the end of the year we would argue over who it belonged to – or who had to take it with them, depending on how much we had grown to enjoy it – and instead I paid the full amount myself and claimed it as my own on moving day.

Since then, it has always been one of the hand-me-down-type pieces that I have consistently felt ho-hum about. I appreciate the storage it provides, but also loath its appearance. That is, until now.

I found this IKEA hack a while back, and suddenly, there was hope. There was this faint brightness in the distance and I knew when I received the push I needed, I would one day head towards that light. Kisha, of Chronicled, who hosted a Pinterest challenge, was indeed that push.

IKEA hack inspiration:

ikea-hack-storage

Certainly, if you follow this blog, you have noticed it has taken me a while to get to this post and perhaps you have even read my super complain-y post about the many layers of paint it has needed, but I do kinda love it. The IKEA hack version does work better, I think it is because it has more boxes, but I do like mine and how it turned out. I didn’t end up going with the leather handles I mentioned in my initial post, but that was only because I had some unused, ready-to-go black IKEA ones. I might just stick with it though, because I do kinda love their black glossiness. If, at a later date, I decide to go with the leather ones, I will definitely paint the door white as well. Anyway, I consider this a success.

Untitled-1

Here are the steps I followed:

Gather the materials – for me this was only the piece of wood, white paint, and door hinges (but I had the unit, primer, rollers, paintbrush, wood stain, and the cabinet handle on hand)

Reassemble the 3×3 – None of us were pre-med or rocket science majors and it is probably a good guess we were most likely drinking while assembling (sorry Mom). So, as it turns out, this thing has been sitting pretty (ugly) while having been put together incorrectly, for years. Finally everything is facing the right way and right-side up.

Clean, sand, then wipe down the piece – Besides some light dusting and maybe a slight rub down pre and post moves, this piece doesn’t get a lot of cleaning love, and it mostly has been hiding in a corner its whole life. It needed it, especially since I was about to paint a piece of faux wood furniture.

Prime – Maybe I didn’t need this step, but I really wanted this paint to stick, so I did it anyway. Two coats. But then it was grey, which made it harder to cover with the (cheap) white paint which would follow.

Paint – SO MANY COATS! Ugh. I actually don’t mind painting walls, but this piece got to me. Dislike. But at least it looks good.

Stain ‘door’ – I got a light, cheap piece of wood to cover four of the nine cubbies. I had some stain laying around from another project. I may add another layer of stain or two down the line.

Attach door and handle – Pretty straight forward, but challenging when you don’t actually own a drill. Whoops.

Now to style it (better than done above).. oh boy.

AND! Remember to check out the other awesome gals doing this challenge with me:

Amy of Love on Sunday : http://loveonsunday.com/

Donna of Soul Pretty : http://soulpretty.blogspot.com/

Renee of Typewritten Bubbles : http://www.typewrittenbubbles.com/

Kisha of Chronicled : http://www.chronicled-blog.com/

a little less PURPLE, a little more DESK

So, my computer was all like “Yo, Ryann, I am feeling like I am really ready to commit and settle down in one location, the life of a drifting laptop is getting a bit old.”

To which I naturally responded, “I hear ya, let me see what I can do, because I’m just that nice.”

I had thought of making a pipe shelving unit/desk, a la, The Brick House, but let’s be honest, I was too lazy. Instead we went with a much more simple DIY:

IKEA VIKA ALEX storage unit, white $50

IKEA LAGAN kitchen countertop 1″ x 25″ x 49″, beech $39

IKEA EKBY VIKTOR shelf 29″, white $6 (2)

IKEA EKBY STODIS shelf brackets, black $.50 (4)

Home Depot heavy-duty shelving brackets in white, $9 ea (2)

Screws, long and short

Screwdriver

Total Cost: $121

The challenge was the limited amount of space for the “office” in our apartment. In our previous place we had a whole second bedroom, but even there we never had a proper setup. With my classes I have been very excited to have my own space, a devoted area to do homework, and a much better spot to focus on my work rather than the couch or in the bed.

We needed something small for the very awkward, approximately 4′ deep space off the bedroom by the closet. Here is a before photo (please note again the purple):

First I painted over that yucky purple, which was the last of it – paint me a happy lady.

Secondly, I put together the storage unit. I am really happy with it and seems very sturdy. I also like that it is finished on the back, so there isn’t a bad angle for it to be seen from.

From here Alex and I went on a super duper fun wild goose chase – turns out Alex and I haven’t really ever bought any wood or been to a lumber yard — it also turns out a 1″ x 2′ x 4′ piece of wood isn’t something too easy to come by, at least in the South Bay. Everything is planks or thin pressed wood sheets. Maybe this is something most people know, but we didn’t and it was slightly embarrassing asking some workers who clearly thought this was common knowledge, that no, they didn’t have anything like that. So since we had already bought and put together the storage unit and had our plan, we didn’t want to back out and still wanted to find a way to make this work. As you can see from the supplies list above, we did find a solution, and while the dimensions were not perfect, I actually love it more than I thought. The IKEA countertop is great, it has a nice thickness and seems like good quality wood. I lightly sanded the countertop, cleaned it off with Murphy’s Soap and gave it some Teak Oil love and it came out looking perdy.

Once we had everything we needed, the rest was very easy. We put the storage unit up against the wall, marked the height and screwed in the heavy-duty L-brackets. Once the brackets were in the wall, we balanced the countertop on them and the storage unit, ensured that the placement was straight, and used small screws to attach the brackets to the countertop from underneath.

After then hanging a couple shelves, our make-shift office was turning out to be a nice little computer nook. It isn’t fully styled yet, but I am loving it so far. So is my computer. And Jenny. She is very pleased to be my fuzzy foot rest under this nice desk-cave we have seemingly built for her.

All we need now is to be on the lookout for a sweet office chair.

Waterproofing

Alright people, look alive — this one is exciting.

My Problem:  No dining room.  No outdoor furniture.  Small outdoor “patio.”  Left over dining table and chairs from previous apartment, which was much bigger (but also less glamourous – and if you know me, I basically ooze glamour.)

My Solution:  Waterproof that shiz!

Well if there ever was going to be a simple tutorial this is it…

SUPPLIES – Murphy’s Soap, Wilco’s Teak Oil, sandpaper, paper towels, rags, Waterproofing Finish, and item to be waterproofed

Step (1) sand any trouble spots–  I started with a cheap, plain wooden IKEA table that had been bumped and bruised a bit over the years, so I only sanded those  spots that needed a little love.  ONLY SAND IN THE DIRECTION OF THE GRAIN.  YES, I AM YELLING, and NO, I WONT STOP UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND THE SEVERITY OF THIS STATEMENT.

Step (2) clean —  I used Murphy’s Oil Soap, because it is the best, but feel free to use a lesser soap if you like being less awesome.  Try to get any little wood dust from the sanding and make it a fresh base for our next steps.

Step (3) rub oil all over it —  I used Wilco’s Teak Oil, which you need to be very careful with, but looks super duper beautiful.  Basic rule is to obviously follow the directions on whatever oil treatment you use, but here I simply took a rag covered in the oil and rubbed it on pretty generously.  Allow for this to sit for about ten minutes then rub off any access.  Depending on how much came off, consider doing a second coat.  The chairs only really wanted to drink up one coat and the table was a bit more thirsty and took two.  Generally, when you rub off the excess, if you have a lot come off, you were probably generous enough with the first coat and don’t need a second.  Naturally, the reverse is true, if you don’t have much rub off go ahead and do a second coat and repeat until your furniture appears to not be soaking up much more.

Step (4) waterproof — once your furniture feels dry and your excess oil has been rubbed off, use a waterproofing sealant to lock in all that hard work and beauty.  Be careful when purchasing a waterproofing finish, as most are tinted, for the look I wanted I selected a transparent solution because I wanted the color of the table to remain unchanged.  I used Behr’s transparent waterproof stain.  Mostly because I haven’t had horrible luck with Behr and it was the smallest available can.  It worked great and am very happy with how it turned out.

Unfortunately I didn’t take before pictures, mostly because I thought it would look the same, but afterwords I was kicking myself because the oil step really made the table shine and just look yummy.

Here are some after photos – yay!  Now come over, we will eat dinner, outside, whilst watching the sun set over the ocean!  Sorry to be such a snooty-puss about my view, but I still can’t get over it.  Too bad that Jenny’s legs are too short for her to see the view, she has no idea why we moved into this little box.

 

In other news, last week, about a couple weeks in, at 3 AM in the morning Alex and I were woken up by what sounded like raccoons fighting.  We run to the door, look outside, and there, in the pond right outside our door, were three soaking wet real-life RACCOONS…. FIGHTING.  It was pretty fascinating, but very loud so Alex told them to “get outtahar!”

In other, other news, I have primed the bedroom and living room and bought my paint.  Only took me about a month to prime, at this rate all the projects I have planned for the place will take me approximately seven years.  I suppose that highlights one pro about the apartment being barely bigger than 500 sq ft… at least there is only potential for about 500 sq ft of projects.

More photos and posts to come, lovelies.

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