Wednesday, January 18, 2012

the one where we build a bed!

So for our anniversary weekend....we BUILT A BED. I still can't believe it! We have never done anything like this before and so it was a bit of a leap to try but I'm so glad we did. It was incredibly fun to do a big project like this together and learn everything together. And I cannot describe the feeling of accomplishment at the end of it... it makes all the work worth it!

Here's a little teaser...
we BUILT this.

First step to build a bed:: find some plans. we got ours from Ana White and adjusted the plans to fit our needs and work for us. We also found some tips from Katie Bower. And then we just talked it out, planned it, and checked it with a friend of ours who forreal builds stuff (thanks Brian!). 

In case you didn't know, Rob gave me this project for my birthday. I really wanted a bed and I wanted us to build it (to save money) but we had "decided" we would wait until after we bought a house so I totally forgot about it. And then on my birthday, he surprised me with this huge gift! All of that is to say that the funding for this project came from my man. He actually secretly has been saving up money and earning some money on the side to pay for this project. Seriously   - he's the best.

So, with our sketchy wad of cash in hand, we headed to Lowe's to get our materials on Saturday morning. We decided to start off "easy" by getting our screws not so easy. We found two of the sizes we needed but they don't really sell 4 1/2" screws at Lowe's so we were stumped. We decided to try 4" ones and hope for the best (it worked out fine!)

Then we headed to the lumber section. Man I've always wanted to be in this section and be cool enough to buy wood and I finally made it :) We found a really nice Lowe's employee named George who knows a ton about wood, building, etc so he helped us pick out our wood and cut most of it for us! Score! He also taught us a lot about how to pick good wood, check for flaws, etc.

Rob checking out our wood to make sure it's straight

George, being awesome and cutting most of our wood for us!

With all of our beautiful wood! most of it already cut and ready to go

Back of the pilot pretty full :)

Barely fit in there :)

And then we just started building! I'm not gonna lie - for this part, I didn't get to do that much. I instructed and looked for details and strategized...but Rob did all of the hard labor - drilling, cutting, etc. all I did was glue and plan and oh yeah...lay out screws in a pretty pattern :)

Macho macho man!

Our footboard all assembled and built!

Once we had everything cut (Rob used a circular saw! so cool!), we took it home so we could do the rest of the prep and finishing from the comfort of our own home. That was definitely awesome - not having to drive back and forth working on it. However, our apartment definitely turned into a disaster zone, as you'll see below. We may or may not still don't have our furniture all over the place and planks of wood all over the floor. Oops. You do what you can.

We called it a day after assembling most everything on Saturday. We were really tired but so excited about our progress.

On Sunday, I got to filling all the screw holes with wood filling. It was really fun until I realized there were 9000 holes :) Just kidding - there were only 68. But that's a lot! While I was filling, Rob was finishing adding the trim to the top of our headboard and footboard.

Filling all the live long day

Fake smile

Then it was time to sand down the filling once it was dry - Rob did that. And I got to priming! Yay! Priming is definitely worth it in case you ever think about skipping - it saves on paint and it's definitely a necessary step!
Footboard - being primed

About mid way through the day Sunday we took a milkshake break. So necessary...backs were sore, legs were tired, morale was low. Oh what a boost some chocolate and the office can bring!

Thennnn we got back to priming!

Primed headboard. Also terrible lighting :)

Evidence of disaster zone a la Shields! Mattress takeover, power tools, etc.

Piles of wood...

Vacuumed floor (yay!) but everywhere that was not prepped for the bed was covered in clothes, bedding, etc.

This is a before picture if I ever saw one.

We finished priming and got one coat of the paint on a couple pieces before tucking in on night two. We celebrated by going to the Angus Barn for our anniversary! Amazing: cheese, crackers, water, wine, STEAK, stuffed potato, bread.... thank you AB. I smell an anniversary tradition :)

Day 3 - Monday. Woke up and got to painting! We were definitely tiring of painting but we saw the finish line in sight so we pushed through. 
Tentative smile.

We (Rob) sanded between each coat for a smooth finish with "between coats" sandpaper. (Highly recommend)

Looking more like a finished headboard! And oh yeah...goodbye sink for two days :)

After we painted everything and were waiting for it to dry, Rob went through each plank of the headboard and footboard and outlined each individual one by "chiseling" with a flathead screwdriver. We saw this tip from Ana White and were very very pleased with the results. We really wanted the rustic/farmhouse look and this really helped us achieve that, I think.

We started assembling right around dinner time Monday night. We were starving but we knew we wanted to come back to a complete bed after dinner so we pushed through :) 

Of course we took an edamame break though!

We assembled for about 1.5 hours (it was tedious) but we.finished. AH! And we are so so so so happy. We still can't believe it. Check it out!

We are so happy and relieved and happy! :)

This is just some quick staging/decorating..we are still figuring out how we want to arrange everything but I am just in love with this bed!

Price breakdown? We spent $200 on materials (tools, paint, wood, sandpaper, drop cloth, etc.) this bed (pretty much exactly) sells at Pottery Barn for $ we saved $1200 :) And as my sweet friend, Courtney, pointed out - we love it even more because we built it ourselves!

Time breakdown? 3 days - 18 hours total. Ana White suggested it would take 10-20 hours so it was right on. We would have been SUPER depressed if it took more than 20 :)

Here are some practical lessons we learned from building this bed...some are specific to this project (or one like it) and some are just general building lessons::
1. The wood measurements aren't exact. 1x10s are not exactly 10" across. So make sure you account for actual size, not nominal size.
2. Work with what you have. We used our metal bed frame we already had and built it into the bed to save on wood cost.
3. If you chisel out the lines between wood - use a putty knife first and follow with a flathead screwdriver.
4. Make sure everything is level and square before you drill. It's worth the time.
5. If you assemble a piece outside your home, make sure you can fit it in your car! :) Oops.
6. Play to your strengths. Do what you are good at it. I am more detail oriented so I focused on painting and details while Rob did more of the muscle-demanding, hard labor things.
7. Ask someone nice at Lowe's to cut as much wood as possible for you. They are really fast at it and if they are good, it saves you lots of time.
8. Start with small victories and build your confidence. (i.e. buying screws first)
9. Take a break if you need it. 
10. Drink water! haha We went the whole day saturday with nothing and we were so dehydrated for the next two days :)
11. If you prime well, you can save on a coat of paint.
12. Strategize and plan ahead to maximize your use of time. 

It was a lot of work and time but it was so worth it! We are smitten with our new bed.

Congrats if you made it all the way through that post! :)

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  1. Ok, I seriously thought the first picture in the post was from a magazine showing us what you hoped to recreate. Congratulations on a job well-done (and in not having RD in any of the pictures - or even present!!!)! Love you! S

  2. I love it!! Looks awesome, Ryan will be so proud of you!

  3. I wish there were like buttons on blogs! Love it!

  4. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Amazing. You are the most accomplished DIYer that I know in real life.

  5. NICOLE!!!!!! Seriously? Seriously. This is amazing!!!! I can't believe you guys built this from scratch. I'm inspired.

  6. wow! thanks everyone!! :) it was so fun! if we did it, you can do it too! :)


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