Consider this the gateway hack

I’ve been working on updating our master bedroom for a couple of years now.

It started with bedding.  Then we took the plunge and bought a real dresser.  While nary a scrap of my own clothing is organized within its deep and generous drawers, I love this dresser.    I’ve long admired the mid-century modern influence; even before Jon Hamm became its ultimate accessory.  And while this dresser’s clean lines are a clear nod to the movement, the natural finish and walnut grain make it feel smart and casual.  When we bought the long dresser, we also considered purchasing its three-drawer younger brother.  Alas, I didn’t have any organs to sell that weren’t being used at the time, so we waited.

Until I needed a project.  While researching the hardware for my little necklace display project, I wandered through the dresser section of Ikea’s online site.

And found the unfinished Tarva.  My goal was to find something I could stain to go with the long dresser while keeping the budget low.  At about $80, this baby had potential.

The morning went we to pick this guy up I had TD set the stopwatch on his phone.  We were in and out of Ikea in 23 minutes.  And that included a trip to every floor to pick up some other odds and ends.    Of course it took me another 2 1/2 hours to build the dresser–which was fine with me since I happen to love building Ikea furniture.  No really, give me a box of wood…or wood-like parts, an alan wrench and one of those graphic novels they call instruction booklets and I’m pretty much in heaven.

It had been about 20 years since I stained my last piece of furniture, so I did quite a bit of research in advance.  I used Centsational Girl’s tutorial on the X base table they built from scratch (ridiculous!) and her tutorial on refinishing this table as my template.   Because the wood on the dresser was unfinished, I lightly sanded, wiped-down and then applied a wood conditioner.  This was followed by two super thin coats of Minwax wood stain in special walnut.  My goal was to enhance the grain rather than hide it.  I finished the staining with two coats of clear wood finish (sanding lightly in between).  I wanted a natural finish but some protection from wear and tear, so just a couple of coats was the trick.  Finally, I swapped-out the wooden knobs for some stainless knobs similar to the ones on the long dresser.

In the top drawer I laid down some anti-slip liner and filled it with night-stand type stuff.  You know, lip balm, hair bands, extra furry mice for the Kitchen Gods.  I also threaded the cord of a charger through the back and now have a hidden charging area for my ipad and phone.  The rest of the dresser is filled with TDs stuff.  This is in addition to the giant dresser, his custom closet, the storage bench at the end of the bed and a couple of shelves in my closet.  The dude may have a problem.

While this addition isn’t a perfect match to the Room and Board dresser, it wasn’t meant to be.  I like a room that feels like it belongs together but doesn’t match exactly.

And now that I’ve broken the seal with our orbital sander attachment and the wood stain, I have at last two more projects in the works for the near future.

Right after we have the bedroom painted.

And the carpet replaced.

And the gallery wall installed…

2 thoughts on “Consider this the gateway hack”

  1. I think I would be especially good at putting together IKEA furniture in Paris. I’d even bring my own alan wrench.

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