Lazy Sunday

Just kidding, not really! But it was a good excuse to reference a very funny SNL skit.

Actually, this morning did start out fairly lazy – I slept in, and did a bit of work before lunch. I planned to go out to the house in the early afternoon to put another coat of stain on the dresser that I bought to convert into our master vanity. I started thinking about this project over a month ago, but had some trouble finding a good candidate dresser – it had to be the right size, sturdy, and relatively simple in design (both because I prefer that aesthetic, and because I didn’t want to lose my sanity trying to sand and stain something super ornate).

Of course I turned to my good buddy Craig and his most excellent list. After much repeated checking (i.e., stalking) the for-sale furniture section, I found a dresser that looked perfect. My ever-tolerant husband accompanied me on the nearly hour drive to the north side of Detroit to snag the $80 dresser. I was apparently so excited to start sanding that I yanked all of the drawers out before remembering to snap some “before” photos. So here it is drawer-less:

And here is what the original drawers looked like, complete with retro liner paper:

The plan was to sand it down and stain the whole thing a rich, dark chocolate brown a la this gorgeous vanity I found on Pinterest. Here are the drawers all lined up, knobs removed, and ready to be sanded:

The two little drawers at left in the pic above live behind the cabinet door in the middle section of the dresser. If you are observant you will notice there is one drawer missing – it was the recalcitrant one that I couldn’t get the knob off of. Brandon eventually got it off by getting all aggro on it and busting it into many pieces – luckily I was planning on getting new knobs anyway.

I used 80-grit sandpaper to start, and then finished everything with 220 so it is all nice and smooth. (Luckily the dresser top and drawer fronts are all solid wood. The sides of the dresser are veneer, but the veneer itself is really thick so I wasn’t too worried about sanding, and it all went fine.) Because we are low on storage space at the moment, I stuck the sanded drawers back in the unsanded dresser after I ran out of time on the first day.

(mmm, Jimmy Johns)

The one feature of the dresser that we (OK, Steven) didn’t like was the trim piece at the bottom. He thought it would look much better if it sat against the ground (like baseboard) rather than having the decorative cut-out section. After much grumbling I had to admit he was right (as usual), so Brandon did some minor surgery:

…which had the intended consequence (see ya, offending trim piece)…

…as well as some unintended casualties. Ouch.

Fortunately that section will be covered by the new trim piece, once we get the new trim piece.

The staining process has taken me several visits, since I put two coats of stain on everything. It is nearly impossible to get a good picture of the stain color (MinWax ebony), because when the drawers are inside the boat house I have to use a flash:

And when they are outside there is too much glare:

Alas! The color is exactly what I wanted after two coats, but I am a bit concerned that I put too much stain on the drawers. I wiped the excess off with a rag but I may have left it on too long, because there are still shiny patches on the drawers, a week after they have been stained. It isn’t wet or tacky anymore, and I can’t wipe anything off with a rag, so maybe it isn’t a problem. I plan to polyurethane the whole thing anyway since it will live in a bathroom and be subject to moisture – does anyone with more staining experience than me want to weigh in? Think I can poly it, or should I try to wipe off some of the excess stain with paint thinner/mineral spirits/etc.? Let me know what you think, oh helpful interwebs!

Anyway, this all brings us up to today (ha! faked you out with a super long preamble). I was going to head to the house after lunch to finish staining the dresser. When I got there, though, the extremely hardworking drywall crew was back at it, finishing up sanding the drywall, and told me they would be cleaning up shortly. This caused the synapses of my brain to rewire into a giant pulsating paint can. After a quick call to Brandon, I realized that I had barely an hour to drive back to our rental, pick up my wallet and the shop vac, drive back to Turtle House, drop the shop vac to the drywall crew (who said it would be a big help with clean-up), and drive to Ann Arbor before the paint store closed at 2pm. I got it all done though, through sheer determination and willful disregard of posted speed limits. I returned to the house with a bunch of primer for the bathrooms, pans and rollers, and four sample colors (one each that I picked as starting points for the living room, guest room, and both bathrooms). Whew!

Unfortunately, the drywall crew was still hard at work cleaning up. Our GC had sent us an email indicating that they would be done at “e pm” which made us laugh super hard. Given that e=2.718, we thought that meant they should be done somewhat before 2:45, but apparently this was not the case. Indeed, they were still going strong after I put another coat of stain on the vanity and left the house (around 4:30 pm). So, perhaps no priming today… but now we’re ready to go!


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