Mar 12, 2008

Cheap Ugly Furniture, Part I

As part of our recent furniture shuffling madness, the furniture from our master bedroom ended up in the guestroom, except for the table our TV sits on. I should mention our bedroom TV is big enough that you could watch it from space and thus nobody wanted to risk a hernia by moving it. And besides, it sorta matched the new furniture we moved in. And did I mention the TV is big enough that I can watch it over Morley's feet?

Since the TV furniture did not make the trip to the guestroom, we had nothing to hold the guestroom's (normal size) TV. As a temporary measure I used a small luggage rack, but clearly a more permanent solution was in order. What I needed was a piece of furniture of a certain size, a certain height, and a certain price (read: cheap). And where does one look for such a piece of furniture? Two words: yard sales.

Carol and I went hunting and gathering, and for a mere $18.01 (about that penny--I didn't ask and they didn't say) I bought this beauty that fits the requirements perfectly.

It was perfect except it was butt ugly, a piece of furniture only a cheap-skate mother like me could love. I knew all it needed was some paint and uhmmm...some decorating love, so I headed to Lowe's where I bought a little paint, a little polyurethane, and a little can of primer.

While I was at it I picked up two pieces of wood rope trim to add personality to my cheap, ugly furniture. This trip caused the total cost of the cheap, ugly piece of furniture to jump by $45.

Adding the rope trim required math and power tools, both of which happen to be the specialties of my Manly Man who never turns down the chance to use power tools. Or math. After he expertly measured, cut and attached the trim, he brought out his electric sander and sanded off the old finish so the primer would go on smoothly. And then he started brushing on the primer.

Apparently this had become a joint project.

Soon thereafter the first coat of paint went on--a soft, elegant sage green that makes me think of the beach, but then almost anything makes me think of the beach.

Note: although these photos seem to imply that Morley is doing all the work, do not be deceived for I am both working on the project and photographing the project.

Finally the paint was finished and I dry-brushed a subtle honey color over the rope trim to add a little dimension and some pizzaz. Morley attached the brushed pewter handles and we were done. Or "mostly done" to be more precise. We were in the home stretch anyway.

And this is what we had created thus far. Who would have guessed this beautiful thing had begun that very morning as a cheap, ugly piece of furniture?

And then we turned our attention to the question of what to do with the top. Originally there had been a fake leather inlay but we wanted to do something a little more contemporary and a lot more beachy. A trip to Lowe's for inspiration was in order, and I invited my Manly Man along even though I was worried about his ability to stick to my budget of "cheap". I was worried about this because his track record in this area is not so good.

When we walked thru Lowe's we came across this gorgeous, luscious, perfect tile:

This tile is perfect in almost every way: the perfect color palette, the perfect beachy design of seashell fossils, but not so perfect in price. Morley was struck by the sheer perfection of this tile and put
a box of it in our shopping cart. The price of my (previously) cheap and (previously) ugly furniture had just skyrocketed by another $85.

Back in the garage, alterations to the inset were needed since the tile was thicker than the fake leather it was replacing. I'm not sure what he did or how he did it, but he managed to deepen the inset by the necessary 1/4th inch and he used clamps and power tools to do it with. I am unclear as to the exact details of this process so I might have wandered off while this was taking place.

After the new deeper inset was installed we covered everything in plastic to protect the paint from the upcoming frenzy of tile adhesive and grout.

...and that's what we were doing when our neighbors dropped by for a visit. And they stayed for a very long time, and then it was time for dinner, and then we went to bed. And so we'll return to our project tomorrow and I'll tell you all about it.

More to follow.

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