Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Bed That Satan Made

A few months ago, I was drooling over this bed and was willing to sell my soul for something like it:


Sell my soul I did.

I happened upon a listing of an identical bed posted on Craigslist. The bed had matching lines and curves of the black vision seen above. I was giddy with the possibility of owning a similar piece. I debated the purchase for about 4.3 seconds and by the time second 5.5 rolled around, I was driving to pick it up. Satan was living in Litchfield at the time; the mileage was not a deterrent. I would have driven to Quebec at that point. Upon viewing the bed up close, I was heartbroken. The head board and foot board were two different colors of varnish (who uses varnish anymore?) and applied thicker than necessary, which had resulted in many clumpy, drippy areas. Undeterred, I set aside my disappointment and loaded the bed in my truck; I had already driven a bazillion miles and would not leave empty handed.

The bed sat in my garage for a few months. Asher was still sleeping in his crib, so I wasn't in any hurry to set it up. I was debating painting the piece or leaving it in it's current state: drippy brown goo.

Goo Bed

More Goo

I had no qualms about painting it. I've painted plenty of furniture, and this would be a breeze. But Satan doesn't do breezes. They're more like tornadoes.

I choose to paint the bed white. I wanted a color that I wouldn't have to repaint in the future. I love the sleekness of the black bed, but Asher's room is loosely based on a vintage alphabet theme. Black seemed a bit severe for that.

I rarely prime or sand any furniture before I paint it. This bed would be no different. I purchased a quart of satin white paint and got to work. I started on a spindle, but it proved to be a challenge as it was very awkward to paint. It took about an hour to paint one spindle, and I noted that the bed would probably need 3-4 coats. After waiting a few hours for the paint to dry, I began to apply the second coat, and as I brushed it on, I noticed my brush was tearing off my first coat of paint. The first coat wasn't adhering to the wood. I threw a mini tantrum, wiped off all the paint with a damp rag, and decided to prime.

After priming the entire head board, I started painting only the flat parts. I painted and painted and painted, and after I painted on about the 5th coat, the bed still looked like crap. I did a little research online and decided to shell out a few more dollars for a quart of Dunn Edwards paint. The clerk at the store promised me that the bed would look great after two coats. 3 more coats later, I threw my brush towards the heavens and stomped off to sulk and reassess the crap fest that was this bed. It sat unfinished in my dining room for a good two weeks. Each time I passed it, my hatred for it grew. But by this time, I had already invested too much time and money to give up.

I eventually decided to strip the bed of both it's paint and varnish layers, and hopefully discover that the natural wood would look decent enough on it's own. I applied stripper to a flat part of the wood. After it started to bubble, I gently started to scrape off the paint. I got a few good strokes in and was able to take off a lot of paint, but I knew I wouldn't have the patience to apply stripper, scrape, and repeat, which is what it needed. I found a guy that strips furniture professionally. I warned him of the disaster he would be seeing. As I pulled it out of the truck, he laughed. And laughed. And laughed. He apologized and explained that he had never seen so many different botched attempts on one piece of furniture. After a few days, I got a call from the laugher. Something went wrong while trying to strip the bed. The molding on top of the foot board was primarily made of plastic, and while it was soaking in the stripper tank, it melted off.


And as if that wasn't enough, the bed seemed to be made of two different types of wood, meaning the color of the head board and foot board didn't match. I think I consumed about a shaker full of salt that day.


Clint took some type of saw (who can keep track of all the names) and lopped off the top of the footboard. After some sanding, it almost (and I use that term loosely) looked passable. As far as the two different colored boards were concerned, it seemed the only coarse of action would be to paint the wood. It would be much easier now that I was starting with bare wood. I settled on painting the bed the same green that I painted Asher's nightstand. Fearing the time I would spend painting the spindles, I wised up and borrowed a paint sprayer. I purchased a quart of paint with the primer already mixed in, set up my spraying area in the backyard, and loaded up the hopper. As I was standing over the bed with my finger on the trigger, I couldn't find the nerve to start. It seemed like such a waste to paint beautiful wood. The pieces I've painted in the past all started out looking like they'd been marinated in cow manure. So, I chickened out and cleaned up my mess. While drowning my sorrows in a tub of T.J.'s pico and everything bagel chips, I devised a new plan. I would use the head board for now and store the foot board away until I was ready to paint the entire bed when Asher was older and in need of new decor. This plan required me to purchase a bed frame, and Clint figured out a way to secure the headboard to the wall. After setting it up and seeing the end result, I hated it. I hated that the end of the bed was visible while a beautiful foot board was sitting in the garage. It just looked so bare. I'm sure anyone else viewing it wouldn't think so, but I knew it's potential. I devised a new plan of attack: since the foot board had a red tone, I would stain the lighter-colored headboard mahogany, and would only apply a coat of poly to the foot board. After MANY MANY hours of sanding, I was pleased with my initial testing of stain:


We're nearing the home stretch people. After the bed was good and dry, we set it up in Asher's room. The bed comes with two rails that hook into each board. Clint layed the box spring on the railings. Turns out the minions in Satan's wood working shop thought it would be humorous to space the railings apart two inches wider than a normal bed frame. When we placed the box spring on the rails, it just fell onto the ground. I hated the bed. I wanted to chop off one of my arms just so I had something to throw at it. Clint went back to Lowes and purchased a piece of plywood the length and width of the bed, which the box spring now rests on.


And, here is Asher's bed today -


I'm pleased beyond belief with how it turned out, but with a bit more searching, I could have found something similar that wouldn't have required as much effort and money. It's my most expensive second-hand piece of furniture yet. Here's the rundown -

Bed - $40
Quart of white satin paint - $15ish
Quart of Dunn Edwards paint - $20ish
Professional stripping - $80
Quart of green paint - $15ish
Twin bed frame - $30ish
Stain - $5
Plywood - $20ish

Lesson learned.


proud parents said...

Very nice indeed. You are a brave, talented, amazing woman. I would have left off with the drooling--but then I wouldn't have a sweet bed. Kudos to you for your perseverance and end result.

Gina said...

Oh make me laugh. I could just envision you in despair and not admitting defeat. Look what you got out of it because you refused to lay down and die. Awesome bed. Now, Asher is going to destroy it. You do know that right? I'll shut up now.

Flying Princess said...

I LOVE your outlet cover that is hiding behind the bed. It looks so architectural.

And you are one of the most entertaining writers I know.

Heather said...

well, alls well that ends well right?! it looks great!

Let's cross our fingers that once he learns to write his name he doesn't decide to carve it into the bed.

Rachael said...

I hate that when you think you will spend less if you fix it up yourself and then with the time and money you ended up spending it would have been easier to just buy new! Anyways-it looks great!

H said...

I'm still laughing that the footboard was made of plastic! That stripper guy is probably still laughing as well. Stripper? You know a professional stripper? And he melted your bed.

Bridget said...

Its Gorgeous! Whether it took forever or not. Just know its gorgeous! Sorry it took so much but just think, that piece would have gone to the dump and now its in your house being gorgeous!