Huh, I guess I am crafty

Hi everyone!

Niva here, and Karin got me to be her guest blogger for this week. It began with her asking if I was “craftily inclined,” to which I snorted out loud, because when I think “crafty,” I tend to think about things like scrapbooking, knitting, or those small things that you can sell at a craft fair; all things at which I utterly suck at. However, Karin said it could be anything I’m into doing, so here we go.

I’m a recovering attorney, and full time mom to three boys (17, 12, and 9 ½). In my spare time (ha), I have a tendency to take on my own home/furniture/decor projects. My latest one has involved taking everything out of my kitchen cabinets in order to paint them, to the utter consternation of my family. It also wound up involving some carpentry and cabinet repairs, but since I’m not done with the project yet, I’ll regale you all with that at some other date. Instead, I’d like to share the project I finished last month.

When we first moved into this house, we were only a family of three, so a small kitchen table not only made sense, but worked incredibly well for us.

Small table, with small child. You can tell it’s an old picture by the Blackberry!
Forgive the food spam, but I didn’t think to take “before” pictures and had to find old ones.

However, as our family grew, the boys started sitting at the counter, and if all five of us ate together, we ate at the dining room table anyway. The kitchen table, instead, became my de-facto office, with a mess of papers everywhere. To make matters worse, my kitchen is really old and in desperate need of a complete reno, but that isn’t happening any time soon (hence my painting project), and I also really need more (and actually functional) storage.

So, I decided it was time for out with the old, and in with the new. I took apart the table, decided to build myself a desk/fauxdenza on that little half wall.

It began with two Ikea kitchen wall cabinets.

I went with shorter wall cabinets, instead of base cabinets, because I still wanted the top to be about table height, and Ikea’s base cabinets are all 31” high, before you add a top. Definitely too tall. I put the cabinets together by myself, measured, marked, found the studs, but then needed hubby’s help to mount them. Ikea has a handy dandy suspension rail, but still, it helped having another set of hands.

And there it sat for a month, while I tried to decide what doors/color I wanted, whether I wanted to try to make my own doors, or order from one of the many new companies that offer upgraded door and drawer fronts specifically for Ikea kitchens. In the end, however, I went with Ikea’s Laxarby, and I love it!

And then, it sat for a while, again, while I tried to figure out what top to use. I’d decided on wood, but Ikea’s butcher block, just below my beautiful mahogany countertop was going to look ridiculous. I researched the hell out of mahogany countertops, and all of them came back too expensive for this project, even when I priced them unfinished. Then, I decided to go to a local lumberyard and see what they had. My big concern, however, was finding a piece wide enough, but not too wide (since I only have a circular saw, not a table saw, which makes rip cuts harder.) Lo and behold, they were having a closeout on 1” thick, African Mahogany planks. Luck was with me that day, and I found a 20 foot long, 19” wide plank…for about $90. Yes, you read that right.

Then began the process of cutting to size, sanding, staining, and finishing the top.

This was after the first coat of stain.

The rough work and staining was done in the garage, but when I needed to do the polyurethane, I moved it into the house because of the dust in our garage. I moved it into the playroom/office/computer room, much to my childrens’ unhappiness, as they were banished from gaming for a few days. I cannot stress to you the apparent horror of this in their world. In any event, the project was fast approaching Passover, and I was having 20 people over for the holiday. I needed it done! On the night before, we were able to install it (and the door handles I’d bought a month earlier in optimistic anticipation of a quick job.)

Ta da!

I was a bit nervous to have so many people around my freshly finished tabletop, and I knew that the polyurethane needed three days to fully cure hard, so I made a point of not allowing hot plates on the surface, etc. Still, a bit of the finish did get a bit messed up, so a few days later, I had to do some light sanding, and redo a couple coats of polyurethane. I then put anyone under pain of death of touching it for three days, and then finally, finally, it was really done.

Karin and I met through a mutual love of reading and writing, so it’s only fair that she would ask me to include a bit about what I’m currently reading. I’m honestly in between books right now, but I do plan to begin my reread of the Wheel of Time series, by Robert Jordan. My twelve year old has begun reading them, and I thought it would be fun for us to read them “together,” so to speak. I haven’t started them yet, because I tend to find them all consuming, and I wanted to finish my current kitchen project first.

I hope you enjoyed my little journey, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

3 thoughts on “Huh, I guess I am crafty

  1. Thanks so much for being my guest, Niva! I have to admit, I’m a little jealous of your mad skills. I love how the cabinet/tabletop came out.

    Ah yes, the Wheel of Time series. You and Jennifer got me hooked on that one. And I believe that I ended up finishing it before either of you did lol. Still, a hell of a world to lose yourself in. I love it.


  2. maleficentknits

    What a beautiful job! I never thought myself as crafty in home remodeling until my husband bought a foreclosure and with thanks to YouTube, I too, learned the craftiness of tiling and remodeling with IKEA-hacks. We made their bookcases look like they were built-ins and my fire engine red kitchen looked straight out of the 50s.

    Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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