Thursday, December 8, 2011

Barnyard My Kitchen

Every winter, my landlords go on vacation to Costa Rica. In their stead, it is left to me to watch their fish, ducks (Fred and Wilma), Corgi, plants and power tools. So maybe it is not such a sad situation for me after all. Actually, I love it. Many of you may remember this farmhouse table a certain friend and I built a while back, well that was during the last Costa Rica house sitting extravaganza. This time around, we took it upon ourselves to build a barnyard bench to cover up the hideous pile that used to be my recycling corner. In my Black Friday extravaganza, which took place at Good Will, I purchased three milk crates to house our recycling items. The boyfriend was amenable to a construction project,  and I knew it would be a lost cause to hold out for a bench or bookcase to hold the crates, so we jumped right in.

And boom, we were done. Just kidding. This may be a long post, so you are allowed to skim ahead and look at the pictures. 

We designed the table from scratch according to the dimensions of the milk crates, but then had to adapt the plan so that we could use the scrap wood that my landlords left for us. Sorry, I didn't really take many process pictures, but if you want to build a bench, or anything else for that matter, I highly recommend Ana White's website. We used her schematics for the table and loved it.

Originally, I wanted to stain the bench the same shade as the kitchen table. However, we messed up while trying to get the legs balanced, so then we had to use some wood filler to cover up our screw holes. With my a $0 project hopes dashed, we trotted out to pick up some red paint. As is my habit, we checked out the "oops paint" section first, even though that successfully backfired last time. But we found a pint of paint that looked to match a candy apple red that we liked. Bingo bango bongo. I love discounted paint.

After sanding and priming, we were ready for some red glory.

It took three coats of paint for the pink-ish color to go away, but the paint is still pretty streaky and that doesn't look to be corrected by additional coats. Glidden paint fail. Still, you can't beat cheap paint and we think the uneven paint enhances the barn look.

Not too bad, eh?

As you can see, we put her right to work. It is certainly more sightly than Recycle Mountain over in the corner. For $7, it certainly makes my frugal heart happy.

Lessons learned:

1) Sanding forgives a multitude of sins. For instance, if you foolishly decide to plane a few uneven boards. With the aid of a power sander, you can prep your surface in a semi-reasonable amount of time. Even though sanding may take a long time, it will be well worth your effort. It is also worthwhile to do a light sanding with fine grit paper after each coat of paint. Between coat sanding is necessary to correct mistakes and remove stray lint or dog hair. Most people will tell you to sand between coats so that the paint sticks to itself. This is true, it just isn't the primary reason we sanded.

I cannot understate this. Sand your pants off and then sand some more. When I first started reading DIY blogs I did not believe people when they told me to sand projects. From one skeptic to another: sand sand sand!

2) Paint with a sponge brush. This compensates for the time you spent sanding. Not only you do you minimize streaking, but I found that it is much easier to control the amount of paint you apply.

3) Expect the rule of thirds. One third of your time will be spent building, one third will be spent sanding, and one third of the project time will be spent painting.

And that, friends, is the story of the barnyard bench.


  1. So fun! Now that we have moved, I am starting to get a "painting bug" myself, and I'm itching to give all of our old, hand-me-down pieces a fresh coat in an updated color. Thanks for the inspiration! Not looking forward to all the sanding, though...

  2. You're so cute! I love the bench, and definitely the red!