Shelf Life

After much ado and maybe even more fanfare, I give you: Baby's first wood-based building project. Buckle up, this is gonna be a long one.

Never have I ever gone to a store where they sell wood lumber yard (see?), purchased wood*, and built something. I'm talking screws and measurements and 2x4's and the whole thing. Katie from Bower Power was my total inspiration for finally pulling the trigger on this project, and I followed her instructions you can see here. If a pregnant mom of two little boys can do it, dang it, so can I.

First, the focus:
Remember the 90's? They were all about low, lounge-y family rooms with giant, box-shaped, 300 pound televisions placed inches above the floor for your viewing pleasure. We're lucky enough to have a built-in all set up and ready for one of those dinosaurs... Too bad it's the age of lightweight flat screens. A little context of where this awkward collector of random objects lives:
Our tv rests above this area in a arched nook above the mantle.
I decided to start with the part I was least afraid of: Making the wood the right color.
Conditioner (so stinky!), stain, and satin-finish polyurethane.
Stain coat #1
Stain coat #2
Next, I decided after all that work, I really only wanted one shelf instead of the materials for two I'd prepped. Sigh. Back on track, it was time to make my 'innards' that would be attached to the studs in the wall and the 'pretty parts' attached on top of.
I didn't say my set-up was attractive. Make it work.
Then, after quite a bit of sweat and maybe a few not-so-ladylike verbs... I broke the drill bit.
I broke steel. It was going well. After trying to do it by hand with a good ol' fashioned Phillips head, I knew that it was a two person job. You know you married the right guy when he doesn't rub your whole 'I am woman, hear me roar' bit in your face after you break his power tool. Onward!
After the innards were fully attached to the studs, we placed the pretties on top and screwed them down. Katie used glue in her plans, but we found some of the boards we chose weren't very true, and screwing the top down cranked them up to level.
My staining mistake - Fixed in a jiff with a small brush and extra stain.
Now that the hard work was done, I took over once again to add my extra flare: Tin tile. I found a fabulously affordable and attractive option of faux tin tile made of styrofoam (I'll tell you more about this awesome stuff next week), so an x-acto knife, double-stick tape, and a lot of measuring was all it took.
"Tin" tiled!
A terrible quality of photo, and yet the awesomeness shines through.
I grabbed whatever randomness was at hand to "stock" the new shelf for this photo, so even though you may think you've flashed back to 1996 with the basket of VHS tapes... no. To be styled for real (and for real use) later, I was just too excited to show you to wait for perfection!

And there you have it. A shelf, almost built by me. I may brush on some pewter paint to blend in the outlet covers, but other than that and the styling, this guy is complete. Love it like crazy, and so ready to take a break from building. A long one.

*That was a long way to scroll for this asterisk, I know. But did YOU know that places like Home Depot will cut your wood for you? We don't have a table saw, so brought in our measurements and amounts, chose our wood, and a worker cut every piece for free. For free!! Awesome.

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