Sunday, October 23, 2011

Built from scratch

Just a quick post to show off Brian's latest woodworking project: a second bookshelf for the living room, to accommodate our inexorably expanding collection of books (and some of our videos). Like the one next to it, this one is designed to fit a particular set of specifications:
  1. to maximize the use of space, it has mostly small shelves that will just fit a paperback book (or a video), with one big shelf on top for bigger books;
  2. the top shelf is within my reach (not much over six feet); and
  3. the bottom is specially designed to fit over the baseboard heater without blocking it. (This is the main reason we had to custom-make these bookcases instead of just buying a Billy the Bookcase from IKEA.)
This adds one more item to our ever-growing list of furniture pieces we own that have been either built from scratch or modified in some way. In fact, I once went through and figured out that pretty much every room in our house contains at least one item we've built, refinished, or fixed up in some way:
  • In the living room, we have these two bookcases and the futon frame (bought unfinished), plus the shelves that hold our media computer and the computer itself. Also, a little bracket that Brian built to hold the curtain pull-cord when the original bracket it came with broke.
  • In the office, we have my desk (basically a plywood top rigged to sit atop a yard-sale-purchased cabinet at one end and a small chest, originally a nightstand, at the other), as well as our nifty homemade cat scratching post and a little track-thingy (the technical term) that Brian made to hold the sliding doors, because they kept popping out of the original track-thingy.
  • In the back room, there are a couple of wooden crates we bought at Michael's and refinished to hold our recycling. (These are sitting on a beautiful homemade table we got from my father-in-law, originally built to fit into a specific spot in our old apartment's kitchen where it effectively doubled our counter space, but that piece doesn't count since we didn't make it ourselves.)
  • In the kitchen, we have our spiffy new rolling pantry shelves, a couple of other shelves we added to various cabinets, a rolling cart from Ikea that we bought unfinished, and a spiffy glassware rack that Brian made. Also, all the cabinets themselves, which we refinished, and the little tilt-out drawer Brian installed under the sink.
  • In the upstairs bathroom, there's the vanity, which we redid from top to bottom, refinishing the wood parts, replacing the hardware, and painting the countertop. (I take a particular pride in this piece since it's the only one I did mostly myself.)
  • In the big downstairs room (which we still don't have a good name for), Brian constructed all the windowsills and window jambs from scratch, as well as refinishing the shelf that sits alongside the stairs (which you can see in the picture at the top of this blog page). We also installed the paper floor, and in one corner there's the modified corner shelf from IKEA that Brian adjusted to fit over the baseboard heater.
  • And in the downstairs bath, there's the new vanity, the refinished mirror that we stripped off the old medicine chest, the repainted corner cabinet, and the covers Brian built for the heaters. Not to mention all the other pieces we installed ourselves, even if we didn't build them from scratch: the new sink and toilet, the tile floor, the repaired and repainted walls, the exhaust fan, and all the lighting fixtures. Basically, there's hardly a part of this room we haven't altered.
That leaves only the bedroom with nothing in it of our own device. (Now, what could we add to rectify that situation? Maybe I should learn to quilt.)
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