Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nursery Room - Biggest Build Yet!

Chris and I have been working on our latest biggest project for the past three weekends.  It's that big.  And it took that much work.

We're obviously not making Kalia's crib (for safety reasons), and I have no idea how we'd make a glider (which my super sweet hubs and mother-in-law got me for my bday!!), so the last big/main thing we need, besides decorations of course, is a changing table.

But I didn't really want a changing table...Kalia's room has space for a dresser, and part of my goal when designing this nursery was to design it in such a way that the room would grow with her.  So I scoured craigslist to try to find one that I liked to redo...and I failed.  The cheapest one I could find that was solid wood was $150.

I, of course, went looking at Ana White's website to see if she had any plans for a dresser.  And she did!  I told Chris we could just build one, and to my complete surprise, instead of telling me I was crazy, he said "sounds good!".  Woohoo!!

We followed Ana's plans to the T to build the frame of the dresser.  Instead of having Home Depot cut all of our wood for us, we just had them cut the full sheets of plywood down to 1x16 boards, and then we did all of the rest of our cuts ourselves.  We knew how important it would be to keep the entire thing square, so we wanted to make sure our cuts were as close to perfect as possible.

We glued, wood filled, and used a square to make sure we were level on both sides in-between each step.  We also sanded in-between almost each step, which is unusual for us.  We took our time building this in hopes that it would all turn out well.

After about an eight hour day of building, gluing, nailing, and sanding, we had this :

Isn't she a beauty?!?!

After this, everything got a whole lot more tricky.  We wanted to make drawers with metal drawer glides.  Because this is going in Kalia's room, and will get lots and lots of wear and tear, our thoughts were that the drawer glides would hold up longer and be easier to use than just having the wood slide against the wood.

We went to Home Depot, bought 5 sets of metal drawer glides for about 7$ a piece, and installed them to the frame of the drawer opening.

These drawer glides came with instructions on how to measure your drawer to account for the width of the actual drawer glides themselves, and the height of the back, to account for the fact that the wheel on your drawer is going to go up over top of the glide wheel in your dresser.  Easy peasy, right?  Wrong.  They were off on these measurements by about 1/8" total (1/16th on either side), which may seem small, but being exact with drawers matters.

After figuring all of this out, sanding, sanding, sanding, and finally just taking apart and rebuilding one of the drawers, we finally got a system figured out.  We made sure to use our square for each drawer we were building.

After all of the drawers were built, I rubbed two coats of polyurethane on the insides and sides of the drawers (we had yet to put the faces on)...

Ah yes, I'm looking quite large in in charge these days!  Nothing like building a dresser at 7 1/2 months pregnant!
While Chris ran the sander, for the millionth time, along the body of the dresser.

Next up was the finishing work...putting the actual faces on the dresser!  I applied a bead of glue to the outside where the face was going to attach.

For the top drawers, to keep everything even, we wanted to leave 1/8" gap around each edge of the face.  We searched all over the garage and came up with stacking two of our paint supply plastic stick thingies (I use them when I'm trimming the baseboards on the wood floor, but I have no idea what they're actually called), and using that to hold the bottom of the drawer level.  Then Chris used the nail gun to shoot the face to the actual drawer base.

There was a lot of holding our breath during this nerve wracking!!  Minus taking this picture, my face was peering in the back of the dresser telling Chris "you got it!!  The nail didn't go into the dresser...woot!"

Once the bottom was nailed in, we pulled out the drawer, and Chris pushed the nail gun as tight as he could to the face and attached it.

Then we stood back and admired our down, four to go!

The bottom drawers actually had almost 1/4'' spacing on either side.  Most boards measure about 1/2'' smaller than what they, for example, a 1x2 is really 1 inch by 1.5 inches.  A 1x6 board is really 1 inch by 5 1/2 inches.  Well, apparently once you get to a 1x8 board, they start measuring 3/4'' off.  It's due to the drying / shrinking when they actually cut the lumber (google it if you're really interested!!), but initially we thought we had bought bad 1x8 boards from Home Depot.  Nope!  Our spacing around our larger drawers was just slightly bigger.  We actually used our old tile spacers to hold those up and nail them in place.

And wala!  A fully built dresser!

There's actually one drawer on here that slipped (top left) while we were nailing it in.  After this was all together, I sanded and sanded and sanded till I was happy with the outcome (with the drawer faces in, after applying wood filler to all of our nail holes). 

Here's our new pretty drawers :

You can tell that the inside and sides are finished with the rubbed on poly, but the faces are not.  We're actually painting this piece to match Kalia's closet, so you don't get the actual full reveal just yet!  I can't even wait to see how it turns out once it's all finished...anyone want to come over and paint it for me?!?!  I know it's a really pretty piece as just wood, but it just doesn't go in the nursery without being painted, and I'm excited about the visions I have in my head for this piece!

Now if I could just keep my belly out of my paint...hmmm.

Hope everyone's having a great week so far!  Happy Wednesday!
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  1. HOW IMPRESSIVE. Everything you guys have done is impressive! Now, can you make my nursery furniture?? :)

  2. Wow! Look at you guys! I love Ana's plans. My husband built a desk for me based on her plans and it's amazing. I haven't finished painting it yet, but I'm so excited about having this project done on the cheap! =]

  3. You did such a great job! I can't wait to see it painted.

  4. Oh wow! Amazing! Didn't really expect anything less from you all.

  5. You never cease to amaze me. And it will be so cool to be able to tell Kalia when she's older that you and daddy MADE her dresser, etc.

  6. No amount of money could buy a dresser this special... Made with love by Mommy and Daddy! I can't wait to see how you finish it:-)

  7. that looks great so far, and the drawer gliders were a genius move! LOVE it!

  8. You guys are *amazing*! Can't wait to see the full reveal :)

  9. Wow...I LOVE it! It's so gorgeous. You guys never cease to amaze me!

  10. Ok, so I had to go back and look at your impressive, beautiful work again! I'm so proud of you for the patience this piece requires! I don't remember my college Kara friend ever having this kind of patience. You didn't even have it to bake a cake back then. Hehe! Can't wait to see it in person this weekend!!! Woot woot :-)

  11. This is so cool! and you look "cute" and large and in charge :)

  12. This looks amazing! I'm super impressed that you built your own dresser. Can't wait to see what it looks like when finished.

  13. Amazing job guys! Looks forward to seeing it painted. I'm new to your blog, but will look around. My DD1 is expecting too - a little boy the middle of August.
    Dropping by from Furniture Feature Friday. Hope you'll drop by to see my chairs.


  14. wow! so much work. Such a beautiful piece of furniture. I'm your newest follower. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous projects! meagan @

  15. OMG! This is gorgeous. Really, really cool.

  16. What kind of engr are y'all? I'm an ME. Just curious.
    oh - and love the dresser. I don't think I have the patience to build something like that from scratch, because the measurements have to be so precise! That rocks, and i love the crib too!

  17. Wow! That is amazing! I love Ana White, she makes her plan sheets so easy to follow. You guys did an incredible job! Inset drawers are so hard to get centered, and yours are gorgeous! Can't wait to see her all painted out. Thanks for sharing.

    I'm hosting a Throwback Thursdays Party, and would love it if you swung by and linked up something you made/bought/did from before blogging. I can't wait to see what you bring.

  18. My husband and I made the same dresser from Ana's Blog. It is almost done. I just have to finish sanding it and paint it. It has been sitting in my garage for 2 months.:) Your dresser looks great!

  19. You have done a wonderful job with this. Bet it would look great in the nursery. Can't wait for the finished product, definitely staying tuned for that.

  20. Fantastic job! I don't think I 'm brave enough to do that!!!!

  21. Glad to find another Ana lover. I've built lots of her pieces and modified quite a few to fit certain spaces. She's the best and I love seeing others use her plans. Your dresser is truly a labor of love (next to the baby of course).

  22. This is fantastic. It seems like a complicated build, but you made it look easy! I love your method for the drawer faces. A great trick!


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