The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind because we've been so busy with projects, family, friends, projects, projects, projects...I've got one to show you though! Are you ready?
Since we finally painted the office, I decided we had to do something about the window/blinds situation. We're renting our house from Nick's parents, so there's not much we can do with them in that sense. I'd hate to buy blinds specifically cut to a window that I can't use in a few years when we buy our own home. I could take them down, but I like having the option of blocking the sunlight if need be - ya know, 'cuz I'm a control freak like that - and I don't want to buy black-out drapes at this junction in the room makeovers (read: that shizzz expensive!), so they stay.
Naturally I forgot to take a picture of what it looked like before, but we've got a few other windows with the same mistreatment so here is a pic of pretty much what it looked like:
The blinds themselves aren't bad, but that plastic strip at the top kills me. I kept thinking, I would really like to cover that up, so I did.
The bar that held the blinds was about 53" long, so I figured a 56" long cornice board would give me enough clearance on either side without having too much overhang. When all was said and done, the inside diamater (after attaching the end pieces to meet the wall, which are about 3/4" thick) would be 54.5", so there would be a 3/4" of play on either side. I also measured to see how wide a board I wanted to use, and figured 9-9.5" would be perfect, so I knew I needed a 1x10 (which measures about 9.25-9.5") To clear the bar AND the blinds when they're open (because they're wider than the bar) I needed my side pieces to be 4.5" wide. After getting all my measurements I took myself down to the hardware store and got the 1x10 and brackets to put everything together and attach to the wall. I also picked up eight packages of nickel-colored nail heads (you'll see why below). I actually had the store make the cuts for me (which I never do as they're not known for accuracy) but I figured I could sand out any minor issues. The guy was spot on though, so that saved me some time and cleanup.
Here's the shelf assembled:
I decided to give it the same Dark Walnut treatment that I used on my Creuset shelf as it is also the same stain that I'll be using when I eventually build our new office desk.
Because I used pine, which is a soft wood, I used wood conditioner BEFORE the stain to help the stain go on more evenly. I just followed the directions on the can - I rubbed it on with a clean rag, let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then wiped it off, and applied the stain within two hours.
After I got the stain on (I did two coats for deep, rich color) I brushed on the Safecoat Acrylacq with a QUALITY brush, doing two thin coats.
While everything was drying, I was busy making a template on my computer for the nail head design that I was going to put on it. I had some trouble coming up with a design that wasn't too angular or too swoopy (that's a technical term, by the way), something in the middle - a soft geometric pattern, if you will. I just couldn't get everything matched up between creating a geometric pattern, space between nail heads, evenly tiled pattern, or without using a gazillion nail heads (they were the most expensive part of this project). Finally, I made one up, placing each dot individually on one of the circle/squares, then copying and pasting and stitching together until it was the same length as my board:
I cropped the design so that I had 5-6 pieces that would print out on my 8.5x11 sheets of paper and taped them together which was then taped to the board. Because my board was 9.25 inches wide and the paper was 8.5 inches, the very top and very bottom dots got cut off but I was able to freehand those. The top design used about 216 nail heads, so I ended up needing 10 packs of 25 nail heads (I didn't count how many were on the sides).
I used a hammer. I think the proper tool would be a rubber mallet, but I didn't have one, so a hammer it was. I don't think the surface of the nail head was marred at all, but if you're the better-safe-than-sorry type (which I usually am, but I was tired of running to the hardware store) than use a mallet.
Here's a pic after I had already gotten one sheet done. My process was hit each nail so that it was secure in the wood until every dot had a nail. Rip the paper out. Finish pounding the nail completely into the wood. The process was actually very cathartic, it was like winning Whack-A-Mole every single time.
This is why you don't want to nail the nail heads in all the way before ripping the paper away:
You get paper stuck under the nail heads. I don't even know how I did this. I had a plan before I even started, and then a hammer was in my hands and I got all excited and this occurred. I was able to fix it by gently prying those nail heads up and tearing the paper away. It wasn't fun, so tear the paper away BEFORE you nail them ALL THE WAY IN.
I didn't take a picture of the sides, but because there's half a circle on either side on the front, I printed out a sheet with a full circle on it, then cut off the part I had already completed on the front of the cornice board and went from there so it wrapped around. I hope that made sense.
I ended up just taking off that plastic piece off the front of the blinds (it just clips on the front of the bar) and stuck it in our storage shed so that when we move we can just clip it back up. I miraculously was able to hang this sucker all by myself without messing it up, all while I had one child crying and trying to pry his way between my legs because I wouldn't let him play with the screwdriver and another fencing everybody with the stick thing (another technical term) that opens and closes the blinds. What is that called anyway?? [edit: my wonderful mother has since informed me it is a "wand" - duh! Why couldn't I think of that? Anyway, thanks Mom!]
So now that I've walked you through, step by grueling step, I guess it's only fair to show you what it looks like. Are you ready? Heeeeere we goooooooooo! Cue the music!
Why yes, that is Right Said Fred you hear.
The wood cost me $8, the nail heads $14, and brackets $10. For under $35, I think it made a huge improvement to the room, and I no longer scratch at my neck in disgust.
What do you think? Improvement, no?
Have you done anything to "fix up" something you couldn't change? I'd love to hear about it!