Thursday, February 14, 2013

Nightstand Nightmares

I am sorry to report that this post does not contain the Big Reveal of our finished foyer, which you may remember from such posts as "Wallpaper Hell" and "Getting Plastered".  Why, you ask?  Because faced with the task of building a scaffold on the stairway to get at the last little bits of cemented on wallpaper that are waaaaay up there, we opted to just walk away and ignore the whole thing.  On a side note, if anyone wants to climb a ladder precariously perched on a stairway to scrape wallpaper, give us a call.

So, this left us with plenty of time to start a new (ie easier) project.  We finally got a new bed and mattress that has a little more room for us and the felines (who refuse to sleep in their own beds), but were desperately needing new nightstands.  As it turns out, nightstands are really expensive- like $100 for a basic, Plain Jane piece of furniture.  So we decided this was the perfect opportunity for a new project and on a cold Saturday in January we headed down to Janesville to peruse re-sale stores.  Seriously, Janesville is a great place to look for used furniture.  Aaaannnnddd at the end of the day, we returned from our excursion with:  0 nightstands, 1 aluminum Christmas tree, 1 pair of pants, a rug, and 9 bottles of wine.  Nightstands or not, I still consider it a very successful trip, but that might be the wine talking.

Fast forward to a week later and I get a text at work from Lance, who is on one of his Friday afternoon treasure hunts at the Habitat ReStore in Madison.  A nightstand for $25!!? Yes, please!

It had some dings and scratches, but with some paint it had some potential.  It's very sturdy (ie heavy) and made from particle board with a good quality wood veneer.

As with any painting project, the prep work is 90% of the battle, and in this case we're talking about a battle of Gettysburg proportions.  

1. First, I sanded the whole thing with 220 grit (fine) sandpaper.  This is when I first started to think all of the fancy little trim pieces with all of their tiny little grooves might be a problem.

2. There was a good-sized ding on the front edge, which had to be remedied with some wood filler.

3.  For primer, I just used some Zinsser 1-2-3 Water-based stuff we had leftover from working on the house.  I've seen articles that recommend using an oil-based primer for furniture, mainly because it cures faster, but I don't think it makes THAT much difference.  However, I did let the first coat of primer cure for a full week because the veneer was still pretty smooth and I wanted to make sure the primer adhered as much as possible.

4. Then came MORE sanding to get all of the little imperfections out, and a second coat of primer, which I did not sand, mainly due to laziness.  

5. Finally! Time to paint!!! We opted for a gray color (Silvered Stone by Dutch Boy) with white trim.  The white was (you guessed it) leftover from the trim in our dining room, and we actually had to make a run to Menard's for a quart of the gray stuff.  You would think with all the paint we have around here, we would have some gray, but surprisingly, that's one color we didn't have. Yet.

The painting was a huge pain because I was doing 2 colors, so I had to tape off all of the trim, and then wait for the paint to fully dry before re-taping to do the second color.  I ended up doing 2 coats total.  I probably could have done 1 more, but by this point I was getting sick of sitting in our freezing cold basement and since this piece is just for our own use and not one that we're selling, my quality control standards were pretty lax.  

6. What? There's a step SIX?  What could possibly come after the paint!?  Varnish, that's what.  Because the nightstand is likely to be cluttered with glasses of water and tv remotes, and used as a jungle gym by hyperactive stumpy-tailed felines, it needed a protective coating (because I do NOT want to end up re-painting this stupid thing again!).  So I applied a thin coat of clear polyurethane and gave that a couple of days to dry.  I SHOULD have sanded and then applied another coat or two, but I am just too lazy for that nonsense.  So I added a new drawer pull- a vintage style black glass one we found on ebay.

And this brings be to the final result of all this madness:

DONE!  And now we must select the next project from our ever-growing stash of random furniture pieces.  Or, maybe we should get back to work on that foyer.......

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