I am seriously having a love affair with a piece of furniture.
The backstory here is decorating a house is hard. And I've got my mind spinning a bit trying to get everything "right" in this new place. It's a tricky thing - the house was built in 1961 and it totally has a mid-century vibe. I want to go there and take advantage of all the rad mid-century vintage and vintage-inspired pieces that are currently popular and available. But I also so badly DO NOT want the house to look like something from the set of Mad Men. It's got to be modern and "us" with healthy dose of mid-century.
That said, I have been looking for a new TV stand/media cabinet for the past few months. For the past few years, we have been keeping the TV on an antique white trunk, which I loved but what didn't really make sense in the main room of our new space (it's in the bedroom now). It was too bulky, didn't provide enough contrast and lacked easy access storage for DVDs and the normal TV clutter.
So I was looking for something with drawers or cupboards. I entertained a lot of low profile vintage dresser ideas. I thought about lots of different wood finishes. I hemmed and hawed and sent emails and screenshots to Paul (almost daily! yikes!) but nothing clicked. Not even a little bit.
And then I saw IT. The media cabinet of my dreams on the instagram feed of @ascotfriday. (Here's her cute blog.) I sent a screenshot of that to Paul and then started trying to figure out how I could recreate the look (because surely something that rad would be hard to find and expensive, right?) I loved the contrast of the white and real stained wood and I loved the idea of something SUPER clean and low-profile that the TV could sit off center on.
I found this white media cabinet at Ikea and knew that starting with that as a pre-made base would be infinately better than starting from scratch. After a quick trip to Ikea I learned that that exact storage system is actually purchased in six pieces (two small cabinets at $50 each and then four hinged doors at $5 each). The total length of two units side by side is 94.5 inches and the depth is almost (but not quite) 16 inches.
So then I went to Lowe's and found out that they sold 3/4 inch thick solid pine that was 96" long and 16" wide. This was perfect. My plan was to add the wood on both sides and at 3/4 inches thick it would make the total unit length 96". If my board on top was 96" long, it would cover the entire cabinet and the extra wood on the sides perfectly. It was totally meant to be.
I sent another screenshot and an outline of my plan to my dad and this past weekend, after picking up the supplies, we set to work. Our first and only snag was hit early when we realized that the 96" pine that we bought was really a tiny bit short (closer to 95.75") which meant the sides stuck out a tiny bit longer than the top. I wanted so badly to just deal with it but this was one of those minimal projects where if the details are off the whole thing is just lame. So back to Lowe's we went and I found some pine that was slightly thinner (21/32" instead of 3/4") for the sides of the cabinet. We had the wood for the sides (that was already 16" wide) cut to 15.25" long.
My dad stained all the (correctly-sized) pine with Minwax English Chesnut wood stain. He went over the top of each piece and the sides that would show with two coats and then let that dry for several hours and went over everything again twice with Minwax clear semi-gloss polyurethane to give it a great sheen. While the stain set we built the white cabinets, attached them together and added the doors.
When everything was completely dry and ready to roll, we used guerilla glue to secure the pine to the cabinet and again waited several hours before drilling holes and screwing the whole thing together. We used just six screws to connect the top to the base. Two in the middle and one close to each corner. Once the top was secure, we were able to push the stained wood sides up flush with the top and drill and screw them into place against the white cabinet (with a screw in each corner).
It was tedious work because as mentioned we wanted it perfect. Both my dad and I are far from perfectionists, but this cabinet deserved it. Overall, I would say the process was not too time-consuming considering how much other stuff we accomplished last weekend. And it was relatively inexpensive if you figure we got a custom cabinet that fits our house and our style. Here's the material and price break down:
- Ikea BESTA cabinet system - $120
- 3/4 x 16 x 96 stain grade pine - $28.92
- 21/32 x 16 x 36 paint grade pine (cut into two 21/32 x 16 x 15.25 pieces) - $7.95
- Minwax English Chestnut wood stain - $5.82
- Minwax clear semi-gloss polyurethane - $5.82
- box of 100 1 1/2 inch dark screws - $5.58
TOTAL - $174.33.
It was far cheaper than any other system or piece I considered and makes me infinitely happier because it's just right. I told Paul the last night that it's going to raise the bar in all the other rooms of the house which is exactly what a good piece of furniture should do. Huge, huge thanks to my Dad for helping me build something so fantastic.
My potential long-term plan is to hang a gallery wall of some sort behind the TV, but I am going to live with it awhile to see what makes sense.
other relevant products and projects shown : DIY hairpin leg coffee table, DIY ampersand string art, small plant is a donkey tail succulent, large plant is a snake plant (both from Lowe's), planter basket is Ikea, ceramic planter is from Anthropologie, art print is by Siiso, frame is from Target, rug is 30 years old and belonged to my parents, wood and leather chair was found on Craigslist. we use a mac mini for watching TV and movies via the Internet instead of cable, hence the mouse and keyboard on the coffee table.