Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What We're Making: A Bench You Can't Sit On

Earlier this month, we completed the gallery wall project we had slated for our recently renovated master bedroom. But pretty much as soon as we hung the final frame on the wall, I started thinking the room looked unbalanced. #neversatisfied Though the wall looked sharp, we pretty much had a bowling lane running down the east side of the room. If I didn't find a way to break up the space and balance the heavy bed and couch on the west side of the room, I was going to have to start wearing an eye patch every time I walked in the room so I'd only see one side at a time. And nobody wanted that.

I decided a bench on the gallery wall would solve the problem, so I spent many an evening researching options on All Modern, Overstock, Crate & Barrel, Wayfair, Dot and Bo....and on and on. (Follow me on Pinterest and you can track the madness.) Unfortunately, nothing I found was the dimension I was seeking—I needed something long and shallow. And on top of that, the stuff I really liked was pricey. So I did what any self-sufficient DIYer would do: I asked Mr. W for help. 

I set him to task, cutting me a nice long bench base from one of our discarded closet doors, then I ordered some cool mid-century-esque bench legs from Home Depot. I had some foam left over from a previous bench project we'd done in the guest room, so all I needed was some nice fabric and a few coverable buttons. Easy peasy. Right.

I hit Joann Fabrics over the weekend and found some awesome, toothy navy blue upholstery fabric and went to work Sunday afternoon thinking I could bang out the project in a couple hours. Instead, it took five. Here's a time lapse of the first few steps before I got burnt out and was cussing too much to stop and take pictures:

Staining the legs with walnut stain.

Piecing together some old and new pieces of foam for the cushion.

Covering the whole thing with batting. And yes, I got a blister from using the staple gun so much.

My little helper. Not really helping.

Covering in my snazzy fabric. Pardon all the cat hair...
After this, the wheels sort of fell off. Covering the buttons was harder than I thought it would be and actually installing the buttons was super hard because I'm not sure I had the right kind of needle. It's a good thing we don't have kids and a curse jar at our house because that thing would have been filled with dollar bills.

Once I got the buttons placed, I hot glued fabric to the bottom and installed the legs. I was quite proud of how it looked when I was finished. However, when I tried to sit on it lightly, the wood began to bow. It is possible to sit on the corner where the legs add strength, but trying to rest on the middle of it would likely snap it in half.

So it becomes another piece of art on the gallery wall. Fashion before function, my friends.

I know, I know. The corners need some work.

One more peek at the before:

And the after:

The room is so much more balanced now, don't you think?!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Rewards and Punishment in the Bedroom

I've gotten into kind of a bad habit of blurting out inappropriate phrases when Mr. W tells me he's making progress on one of my top priority house/renovation projects.

Like when he said he was going to install the shower backer-board that had been leaning against the wall of our master bedroom for weeks, I think I yelled "Take off your pants!" Or when he said he was going to clean up all the scrap wood from the backyard, I turned to the cat and said, "Your daddy's gonna get lucky tonight!"

On the flipside, however, when he flubs it on something that matters to me, I punish him royally. Like when I casually mentioned 8,000 times that I thought the bedroom would look so much more finished if we could get the window moldings up. He bought the molding; I primed and painted it; and as he was hanging it around the doorway inside the closet he informed me he didn't have enough to go around the windows. He would have to go buy more. Later.

Completely calmly, I said, "Why in all that's great and holy would you install molding INSIDE the closet before you put it on the windows that I have to look at every day? No one looks at the inside of the closet!" Then my head exploded and I had to take an Advil. Punishment exacted. A few minutes later, without an ounce of murder in his voice, he advised, "Maybe if you'd get off your $%*#@*$ a$$ and help me once in awhile, this stuff wouldn't happen!"

And now we get to add the molding fight to our long list of benign, but extremely heated lovers' quarrels. 

It's funny what makes you feel delighted and/or enraged you when you're working on a house...

Now here's a little reveal of one of the happier projects we knocked out in the bedroom: the gallery wall.

Worry not, dear reader, I will be DIYing a bench to balance the big empty space at the bottom there.

Mr. W likes to do things very scientifically, so he busted out his 2-way laser level to get everything lined up just right on the wall.

That's not a big, red bald spot on his head, by the way. The laser is hitting him back there. And yes, his brain is level.

If you're wondering where we got the awesome grapevine, Mr. W found it outside the local recycling center in Solvang and brought it home. Unfortunately it had some sort of burrowing creature living inside of it that withstood a bug bomb inside a trashbag and had to be doused in Raid twice before dying. I'm sure we'll probably wake up with antlers or tails or something one morning because that thing is off-gassing insecticide in our room now...

The final product made me immensely happy, though. It was exactly what I had envisioned—a cool symbol of wine country surrounded by Mr. W's awesome photography. The pictures showcase some of our favorite places we've visited together—Santa Ynez Valley, Monterey, Capri, and Provence. 

And you didn't hear it from me, but Mr. W may have been rewarded handsomely for his efforts on this one...