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Mpls, MN, United States

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Friday, July 13, 2007

"If I could, I surely would..."

Recently, I've been seized with the desire to build furniture. This is ironic, to say the least, as I've never actually built any furniture, don't own a drill or proper saw, and lost my hammer when I accidentally packed it in my carry-on luggage the Christmas I received it and had to leave it at security. (I did replace it at some point; maybe when I used it to rip out my Bowling Green kitchen countertops?)

These visions started with a bookshelf. My neighbors, whose apartment mirrors mine, built themselves beautiful, tall bookshelves (and then filled them with the sort of books that only two liberal arts graduate students can amass). They claim that building them was ridiculously easy, which, coupled with the desire to house my own overflowing books, I find terribly inspiring. I did some measuring and drawing and looked at wood (and drill) prices online, but that's where I got discouraged. Somehow, it looked like making the shelves myself would be more expensive than buying them at Ikea. Doesn't anyone sell just laminated particle board? Home Depots and stores of that ilk are hidden in the suburbs; I'll still swing by one and do some in-person pricing when I'm on a teaching run.

Next--wandering around the Ikea website?--I thought about how nice it would be to have a real bed. Right now, my bed is an air mattress resting on plywood balanced on four dining room chairs. It is functional, but a real bed would be awfully nice too. I did more measuring, drew more plans, and wondered whether there were enough 2x4s in the basement to make a sturdy frame. Apprehension of spiders and other basement nastiness have so far kept me from exploring that option (and, of course, having to actually start the project).

Most recently, I've been thinking about living room furniture. Today I finally sorted (read: moved to the other room) the multitudes of classroom books that have been cluttering my apartment for the past five weeks, and can once again see my living room floor. My new chair is in a sort of decorational purgatory right now, as the corner it should live in is currently occupied by a bookcase. Nonetheless, it is inspiring me, and I was thinking how cozy the room would be with an ottoman or some sort of bench seat under the windows. And, what do you know? The internet is full of ideas for DIY ottomans!

Given my discoveries regarding the price of wood, however, as well as of foam (it looks like a 7" deep 20 x 20" piece to replace the chair's missing back cushion will be around $30!), I thought maybe I'd find a piece of furniture at the thrift store that could be modified appropriately. I did not find one--at least one that fit my budget. As I was on my bike at the time, it was pretty much a reconnaissance mission, anyway.

What I did find, though, were the tiny curling iron I'd been looking for ($1.99!) and a pair of practically new Anne Klein tan leather mary janes ($6.99!). Sweet action.


Ellen said...

For the shelves I'd look into using MDF (medium density fiberboard). It's strong, paints and cuts well, and is, possibly, cheaper then wood.

utenzi said...

Your friends are right. Building bookshelves is quite easy, Cerise. I've made all of mine and I'm not all that handy. However the final cost isn't less than just buying something in a store. The big advantage of building yourself is you can fit the bookshelf exactly to the space you have.

Daniel said...

You have opened my eyes.

I have never heard of that shoe as mary jane before. Thank you.

Voth said...

One of my friends built bookshelves that were stackable box like things. It looked nice, not that the way I'm describing them is nice, but anyway...

It was easy to pack up and move though, as the boxes were handy for packing the books. I've been wanting to make some for myself, but my current house is very small.

I like the ladder type bookcases. Those would be fun to make too.

See what you started? Punk.

Cerise said...

Ellen, where would I buy MDF? Utenzi and Wendy, thanks for the encouragement. And Daniel, did you do a Google image search or something?

Ellen said...

Home Depot/Lowes

Ellen said...

or you could scavenge wood from dumpsters, it wouldn't be hard during the construction season.