Alewood Furniture Co / blog

Mar
01

Dresser Re-Do: Concrete and Metal

Adam picked up a dresser from the trash over a year ago and we’ve always had the intention to make it over, but it stayed like this for way too long.

Trash Dresser

We wanted to get a little crazy and take a risk on this redo, so we decided to go with a bold color.  Our first idea was to paint the whole dresser orange for a nice pop of color in our relatively neutral room.  So, we Adam got to sanding.

Sanding DresserThen, we primed, painted with enamel…

Primer

Orange Dresser

…aaand realized that we got a little too crazy with the bold color choice.  It looked like a fluorescent traffic cone. We dragged it up to our room to see if it would read more toned down inside, but that it did not.  However, we actually liked the gray color that we primed it with and we came up with a creative idea to keep the pop of orange while toning down the crazy.  Only the sides remained painted orange and we painted the rest of the dresser with the gray primer. We introduced a little metal to give some texture and interest, which was another great idea by my other half.  Sometimes I wish I was as creative as he is!

We bought metal sheets with a union jack pattern, cut them to size and attached them to the sides of the dresser with glue and nails. Attaching them was actually the last thing we did, but we held it up to the side so we could see what it would look like.  I am in love with the effect the union jack pattern has with the orange paint.

Much classier than the traffic cone look already!

Our cute cat Lola enjoyed the dresser renovation because it gave her a fun new place to hang out.

Lola in dresser

Anyways, for the top of the dresser, we removed the existing fake wood completely and replaced it with a concrete top. This was our second time using concrete and we used a counter top mix again, like we did in this project.  To make the concrete top, we built a form out of melamine. I measured, then Adam cut and assembled.

Measuring the Melamine

Cutting the Melamine

Then, we taped around the sides to prepare for caulk.  Putting tape in straight lines one the bottom and sides of the form creates a perfect line, so the caulk dries perfectly and doesn’t create imperfections in the concrete once it is poured.

Melamine Form

After the caulk is squeezed into the edges of the form, you just smooth it over with your finger and then peel the tape off.  Then, you’re ready to mix up the concrete! Follow the instructions on the bag. It takes some patience and quite a bit of muscle too.

Caulking the Melamine

Mixing Concrete

Once it has the right consistency, just pour it on into that melamine form. “Just pour” it in is actually misleading. The concrete is very heavy, so we used that handy red shovel you see in the picture to transport it.  As you transfer the concrete, you can pat it down and smooth it out, as you can see below.

Smoothing the Concrete

Since we didn’t have gloves, we got thrifty and used plastic bags to protect our hands. We’re professional like that.  Somewhere around the middle of the form, we placed some wire for support,  then filled the rest of the way up with concrete.

Wire

Concrete DryingIt’s a little bit hard to tell, but we wrote our initials and the year in the concrete and then waited for it to dry.  We mixed it with a little bit too much water this time and our concrete took longer than usual to set it, but once it did, we were so pleased! We brought it inside right away to see how it looked on our orange dresser.

Concrete on Dresser

The last thing we needed to figure out was what to do with the hardware.  We painted the original handles orange and we like them for now, but if we get tired of them, at least they are very easy to change out.  We’re happy with the way it turned out. It successfully brightened the room without looking tacky.

After

It’s always fun to see the before and after comparison, so here it is:

Trash Dresser

After

These iPhone photos really don’t do it justice.  We also need to put some extra nails along the side of the union jack metal sheet to make it lay more flat against the side and we will get around to fixing that one day!  I am going to work on taking better photos with my real camera, but hopefully you get the idea.

Feb
23

DIY Kitchen Island

After a bit of a blog hiatus, we are back! We have plenty of projects to share, but I’m going to start with one of our favorite and most useful.  We moved into a new townhouse in May.  It has a very open floor plan, which we love.

942017_10100306411750642_1901059378_n copyYou can see from the blurry iPhone picture taken without any furniture that our kitchen consists of countertop space and cabinetry that spans one wall.  After living there for several months, we were really feeling the need for more kitchen storage and countertop space.  So, Adam’s brilliant, furniture-genius mind starting churning out kitchen island ideas.

Kitchen Island

Our final product is a steel topped island with wooden shelves. It also has a copper bar attached and two industrial bar stools. Not only do we love the look of the island, but it has made our kitchen more functional too, so it’s the best of both worlds. Extra counter space to work on? Check.

Kitchen Island Countertop

Extra storage space? Check.

Kitchen Island Storage Shelves

Extra seating space for eating? Check.

Kitchen Island Breakfast Bar

Please ignore the mess in the background of all of these pictures. I was going to clean everything up, but instead just decided to keep it real!

The whole island is on wheels, so it’s movable if we need to clear the space for any reason and it’ll be much easier to lug around whenever we move to a new home. Also, the bar addition is removable in case we move to a place with an already existing breakfast bar. The final design works so perfectly for us, but it’s a far cry from the original plan that Adam hatched, which looked a little something like this.

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The final product only came to be after many iterations of trying different things. As you may or may not be able to tell from the fancy iPad drawing above, pallets and an old door were pieces that didn’t make the cut to the final design.

Kitchen Island Door

Pallet AcquisitionDon’t worry-even though they didn’t get used in the island, you’ll see them make an appearance in future posts!

Adam came up with the idea to build a frame out of aluminum rails and rail fittings.  We cut pieces of wood to create the shelves and added the steel top.

Kitchen Island in Progress

We stained the wood using Minwax Espresso then sealed with poly. We added wheels and then Adam built out a frame for the breakfast bar. We decided to create a copper bar top since we really liked working with copper in this project. We get our copper here and we went with 10 mil copper sheet because it’s bendable enough to form around the bar top, but strong enough to hold up for a long time.

copper sheets

In general, copper can be a little bit difficult to work with, but we like how it looks and how it changes over time. You’ll notice that the copper on our bar isn’t 100% smooth and that’s because we’re not perfect and we’re ok with that.  Even though it’s not perfect, the best way we have found so far to create a copper finish is using dowel rods.

Attaching the melamine shelves

We got some melamine shelves and attached them together for a larger bar top.

Dowel Rods Prep for Copper

Then, we prepped them with dowel rods and glued on our copper sheet, using a roller to smooth over the edges.

Copper Sheet

There is a good tutorial on how to attach copper to wood here.

Once that was done, we realized that we needed some barstools.  We ordered stools similar to these, but wanted to stain and paint them to look like they were meant to go with our island.

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We spray painted the metal and sanded, stained and sealed the wood components before putting the stools together.

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Our new kitchen island was definitely a hit and we’re getting tons of use out of it. I think it is safe to say that this turned out to be one of our favorite projects to date.

Kitchen Island

Jun
16

DIY Headboard Project

Ever since we moved into our new townhome over a month ago, I’ve been wanting to build a headboard and we finally did it this weekend.  We absolutely love the way it turned out. It really transforms the bedroom!

Bedroom Before

Bedroom After

When I look at the before picture now, it looks like something is missing. I think it looks so much better now! Here’s how we did it:

First, we went to a lumber yard that is open to the public to pick out the wood we were going to use. We were able to walk out into the lumber yard and see the different choices and we ended up getting pine 1 x 10 boards. They were originally 16 feet long, so we had them cut in half so they would fit in our car.

Getting the Wood in the Car

They were still too big for the car, so Adam had to lay in the back and hold the door shut.  It was pretty comical to watch!

Driving the Wood Home

Luckily, we don’t live far from the lumber yard, so we didn’t have too far to go with Adam laying in the back like that. We got home and got started right away. We had measured the space between the windows in our bedroom and knew we would need to cut the wood down a little bit. I got to work measuring and making the marks for Adam to cut the wood.

Measuring the Wood

Drawing the Straight Line

I’ve talked about this before, but the Angle Square is one of my favorite tools to use. It makes drawing straight lines so much easier! After I had all the lines drawn, Adam cut all the wood with his circular saw.

Cutting the Wood

And then sanded each piece.

Sanding the Wood

After Adam cut and sanded the wood, I stained each one. We used  a dark walnut stain.

Staining the Wood

After all the wood was cut, sanded and stained, we made some grilled cheese sandwiches and got some cold beer and sat back and admired our work–a very critical step in the process.

Grilled Cheese

Cold Beer

Boards Done

With the boards done, we were ready to put the headboard together! To do that, we lined up our wood planks and then added pieces of wood to the back.

Putting the Blanks Together

Screwing in the Planks

Since the headboard was pretty heavy, we decided to add two more boards in the middle for extra stability.

Adding More Support

While Adam was screwing the boards into the headboard, I was using our stamping kit, to make our mark on this project.

Wood Stamping

Once we were done putting it together, we picked it up to make sure everything looked ok. This picture gives you a good idea of just how big this headboard is. It’s insanely large!

Headboard Together

Since it’s so heavy and bulky, Adam decided that it needed extra support and stability, so we attached some strut channels to the back.

Strut Channels

Adding Strut Channels

Adding More Strut Channels

In the end, here is what the back looked like:

Back of the Headboard

It’s extremely stable now! Our next challenge was to actually get the headboard up two flights of stairs, which was not an easy task.  The headboard is almost 8 feet long and is very heavy.  Just picture trying to get the monstrous thing around the corner and up these stairs:

Stairs

I think it took us about an hour to finally get it up to the 3rd floor, but we did it! It took us a long time to figure out how to attach the headboard to the bed, but we came up with the plan to add a piece of wood to the bed frame to hold the headboard in. You can see Adam attaching it here.

Making Frame for Headboard

Then we placed the headboard in front of the wood and attached it to the piece that you see sticking up in the picture above.  Adam drilled holes in the wood support piece and then used screws to attach the headboard to it.

Attaching the Headboard

Attaching the Headboard

We did it to the other side of the bed and we had ourselves a stable headboard!

Finished Headboard

We love the way it looks and I’m so glad we got this project done.

Finished Headboard Up Close

Jun
05

DIY Concrete Table/Island

We love to try working with different materials and Adam came up with the idea to make a concrete table. We did some research and took inspiration from this gorgeous table.  We loved the look of it and decided to make a smaller version.

Concrete Table Inspiration

(http://www.etsy.com/listing/121371652/custom-concrete-and-wood-modern-rustic?ref=market)

Once we had our inspiration, we set out figuring out how to make it a reality. As you’ll see (if you make it to the end of this post), the project changed drastically from our original plan. We started by building a form for the concrete out of melamine, which we bought at Lowe’s. We measured, cut and nailed pieces together to make our concrete form.

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Oct
19

Before and After: Coffee Table Re-Do

Our friend Lacey had a coffee table that she wanted us to redo.  She had already given the table a makeover with chalk paint and it looked great.  Unfortunately, it had water damage on the top which caused the wood to bubble up and the table actually had a mold spot underneath.  She liked the way our rustic coffee table looked like, so we created a similar design for her!

Here, you can see the water damage to the original table top.  We were excited to get started making a new top for the table!

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Oct
02

Ikea Rug Makeover: Painted Moroccan Pattern

I saw  some tutorials on pinterest on painting Ikea rugs with patterns and I decided to try one out! I picked up a rug from Ikea and decided to do a Moroccan pattern.

The rug I picked was the Morum rug in dark gray.  I wanted a flat woven rug so that my cat wouldn’t tear it up and I chose gray because I have a gray and white theme going in my room.  Once I had the rug, I got started right away.  I found a great stencil for the Moroccan pattern so I cut it out and got painting!

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Sep
17

Kitchen Table and Chairs Rustic Makeover

This is the first ever furniture project that we took on and it’s the reason we’re now addicted to redoing anything we can! This table was being discarded when people moved out of their apartment so we decided to pick it up. Unfortunately, I don’t have a full picture of the table, but you can see the base above.  The top of the table was the same color that you see above, but it had lots of bubbles and damage from water. Actually, we think the damage was from beer because the whole table reeked of it!  After we cleaned it up, took it apart, sanded, painted the bottom and stained the top, we had ourselves a beautiful, modern yet rustic table and we both absolutely love it!

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Sep
09

DIY Cat Litter Box Furniture

I can’t wait to share this DIY project with you because it is the most practical project we have ever done. I know not everyone is a cat lover, but if you do have a cat, this post is a must-read!

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Sep
06

Before & After: Hammered Copper Bedside Table

For a long time, Adam and I have wanted to try using copper in one of our furniture redos.  We decided to try it on Adam’s old bedside table.  We love the result of the hammered copper finish!

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Sep
03

Before & After: Bold, Painted Herringbone Coffee Table

We found a coffee table that was being thrown away and it was in pretty bad shape, but we knew we could do something fun with it.  I came up with the plan of painting a bold herringbone pattern on the table top and we chose white and gray for the paint colors because those were colors we already had.  I love the way the table turned out!

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