All Hung Up: An Apartment Update

And now, without further ado, the most impressive thing I’ve ever done:

Shelf and Mirror Apartment Update

No, I’m not talking about taking this picture on my totally awesome new iPhone. I’m talking about getting the mirror and shelf finally done and up on my wall. What’s so impressive about this, you ask? Well, they started like this:

Ikea Drawers Pre-Hack
(The mirror is hiding in the bottom right corner of this picture.)

After reading a million “Before and Afters” on DesignSponge (not to mention Manhattan Nest and Door Sixteen), I decided to rescue some old furniture from my parents’ house and make it my very own. What I’ve learned is that fixing up old furniture is way harder than it looks on the internet but exactly as satisfying.

The shelf/drawers were some discontinued Ikea line that we broke one of the brackets for, and was subsequently sitting on top of another shelving unit in my bedroom at my parents’ house.

First thing’s first, it was one-drawer width too long for the wall I wanted to put it on. I tried to cut the wood with a little children’s carpentry hobby kit. It didn’t go so well (mostly, I just couldn’t cut the wood). So, I walked the drawers 20-ish blocks to the very helpful folks at Tarzian True Value Hardware in Park Slope, where they cut a drawer off for me for something like $2.

Unfortunately, the drawers were not constructed with deconstruction in mind. The wood piece that acted as the drawer end was not actually attached to the top and bottom on the cut end. So, I bought wood glue and clamps, and glued the thing together. This would come back to be a problem later. But at the time, I thought things were going well.

Drawers Glued

Next,  came many coats of wood stain and sealant. I think the color was Minwax Wood Finish Jacobian, but I don’t remember for sure. I think this is three coats of stain and two coats of sealant, but again I was at this stage of the project in October. I do know that I referred to Not Martha’s Shoe Rack project many times for advice/instructions on wood staining.

Wood Drawers being Stained

Then, in what I thought was the last step, I drilled holes in the drawers for handles.

Drilling a Hole

Originally the drawers had little notches in the front by which to open them. I turned them around and used the back for the front, so that I could put these Anthropologie knobs on them.

Drawer with Anthropologie Red Lucky Number Knob

Here’s where the wood glue becomes a problem: when I glued and clamped the open end of the drawer shut, it seems I made the drawer-cubby hole space smaller, so that the drawer no longer fit in it. Since I already put so much work in, I was not giving up. I was going to sand the drawer down until it fit! (I only got it most of the way. You can see in the picture that the right drawer doesn’t close all the way.)

The mirror was a way easier project. I taped, taped, taped the mirror part like crazy. Then, I attacked the hideous gold part with high gloss white spray paint.

Gold Mirror Mirror Painted

Lastly, I had my parents over for brunch and had my dad hang everything up on the wall. The drawers are resting on Ikea Ekby Hall brackets that were left here by the previous tenant.

And, because that first picture makes the whole setup look Stepford-clean, here’s a much more accurate reflection of why I needed a shelf and drawers:

Mirror and Shelf

(And if you’re just here for the ice cream, there’s already been a new batch made and consumed to be blogged about next week.)

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