This shelving unit….AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!! Now that I have that out of the way I’ll let you know the painful, yet productive, transformation. I would like to pretend that I’m able to leave the emotional frustration out of it, but alas, I am just one
man woman, and cannot contain the resentment any longer.
This unit was a pretty big mess when I got it, but Brittney saw its potential and so did I. It was dirty and had gouges, holes and scratches, but we both were able to see past those. It also had the uncanny ability to sway as though it were in gale force winds whenever you walked past it. Here are some before shots…
Brittney didn’t seem to have any huge demands; in fact she just wanted it painted white. Of course I removed every random nail and bracket, cleaned all of the glue and tape off it and finally sanded the whole thing down. Even with all of that out of the way, this huge dude still swayed. PLUS there were boards that were so warped (notice the picture above left) that the nails were starting to show because the ends of the boards were curling so badly. It was just showing its age and it seemed homemade because it was done 100% with nails. No screws. No brackets. And of course, no brackets means it was super unsteady and wasn’t going to stop swaying until it got some MAJOR metal support. But first, I decided to break it down in order to build it back up.
After breaking it down to its base, I put in metal brackets for stability. I also decided that I didn’t want to use all of the wood again because it was warped, so I opted for wooden spindles, thinking they may be fun. I also decided to take the wooden curved brackets that usually hold up shelves and screw them to the wood, like built-in book ends. I decided it would be better than putting worn wood back on.
So finally a couple days later I had it assembled, and even more days later I had two coats of paint on it. As you can see, I definitely worked past dark more than once.
BUT, but but but, always a freakin’ but. When I texted Brittney the photo, she hated it. She didn’t say “I hate it, what the hell?” But I could tell. Her husband wasn’t a fan of the spindles and she didn’t like how I reconfigured it. Honestly, I knew both were a risk. She wanted “beach cottage” and I knew the spindles were more “English cottage,” but I had to find a warped wood replacement. Also, I knew the configuration would be a stretch, but the previous one had so many cute little cubbies and I didn’t want it to lose that, so I tried to make them. I think it just looked awkward and bulky to her and I can’t say I disagreed with her. But the real pain in the but 🙂 was that I had to remove a structural item at the very base of the piece. You know what that means, right?
It means YOU HAVE TO SCRAP IT AND START THE WHOLE THING OVER.
After a few sips of whiskey I was ready to tackle this big galoot.
I also decided to forgo the wood filler (which can get crumbly in large amounts) and go right for the wall paste. Not only did I have to reconfigure the shelves, but I had to mask all evidence of my previous screws. (That’s right, no wood nails here.) Plus there were several other scrapes and gashes that had accumulated over centuries (OK, maybe it wasn’t THAT old) that had to be glossed over.
Finally, once the patch mix dried, I did the obligatory sanding and cleaning. Next came two cans of spray primer and three coats of Arm and Hammer mold-killng paint (because there were some questionable marks on some of the boards). I was going to finally apply poly but I decided it would be better without it. Brittney wanted a beach cottage feel, which does not include a glossy finish. Plus, if I were to finish this with smooth, shiny surfaces, every new scrape or bump would draw attention immediately; whereas now it’ll just add to the cottage charm.
So, without further ado (because I don’t know how much more ado my liver can take) feast your eyes on Brittney’s finished piece.