I always had some sort of fitted wardrobes in mind for this wall. The two wardrobes we brought with us when we moved to our seaside weren’t of the highest quality and didn’t survive being manhandled by the removals team very well. They still featured in the future plans, just not in their original form.
After the decision not to move the bed to the front of the chimney breast was made and a new “Headboard” installed instead, the scenarios in my mind were pretty endless until the wardrobe pieces I bought from marketplace turned out to be solid pine and then the thoughts became a little more organised and the usual “Progressive planning” began.
A little manoeuvring of the bedroom was needed to make space to work with, but the bedroom is pretty big, and Hubby is usually quite patient at the beginning of a project. He doesn’t see the world the same as me, to be fair not many people do, but he’s more or less learned to trust that even though I always make things look worse to start with, they usually look better when I’ve finished.
I spruced up the three biggest pieces of pine with the sander, the two outside panels of the pine wardrobe and the dividing upright piece from inside. Then I set about removing bits of coving from the ceiling and attacking bits of skirting board with the crowbar to make space for them. The crowbar is almost as much fun as the sledgehammer, but even I thought the sledgehammer might be a bit of an overkill this time.
With the panels sanded, screwed to the wall and supported by the half panels below, my thoughts turned to the front of the chimney breast. The top and bottom panels from the old wardrobe were good quality pine too, the top would easily turn upside down and become a desktop/dressing table, and the bottom panel lent itself well to shelves.
I planned to use the very bottom of the wardrobe, the kickboard I would call it, against the ceiling, giving the impression of an old kitchen dresser.
By cutting the desktop to the same depth, front to back, as the computer desk, I had a nice piece left for one of the dvd shelves. Then by cutting the other dvd shelf, and a slightly wider TV shelf out of the base, I had a spare shelf leftover. I considered sanding the wood and saving a couple of brackets incase I wanted them for an extra shelf at a later date, but then I had the idea of putting a light underneath the TV shelf to shine onto the desk, and instead I cut two more “kickboard” pieces out to finish off the desk/dresser nicely.
I laid everything out to make sure I had all the pieces I needed, then put away my jigsaw ready to spend the next day with the electric sander.
I’ve been sharing pictures of my latest game with my Dad as he’s not too well at the moment and unable to play with his own toys. He said it looked like it was all cut to plan and asked where my plans were. I don’t have any plans as such, I have a picture in my head, and a couple of pencil lines drawn on the wall, and the rest? I’m making it up as I go along.
I called on Hubby for a little help to put the next bit together. I didn’t have enough hands to hold the brackets in place while I pre-drilled holes for the brackets and the conversion of the kick-board to a pelmet. This is where my pencil lines, which had been drawn with my spirit level, came into play. With the brackets screwed firmly in place, the shelves sat perfectly level on top.
Once the two top shelves were up, I asked Hubby if he had any opinions. A risky thing to do because he doesn’t have as much access to the pictures in my head as I do, but I was quite pleased when he said it looked like a Welsh dresser, because that’s the effect I was aiming for.
The next shelf was to be the TV shelf, but first I’d bought a singing and dancing bracket to fix the TV to the wall. A lot more measuring and pencil lines balanced with the spirit level later, and I had my marks to drill two holes to bolt the bracket into the right place. Needless to say, the holes I drilled weren’t perfect but after a slight correction the bracket passed inspection.
Unfortunately the TV didn’t hang quite right, and there didn’t seem to be any way of adjusting it so the bracket was abandoned in favour of putting the TV on the shelf.
Hubby was of the opinion that my shelves were too long and were going to warp. I don’t listen to him very often, and I wasn’t too sure about his feelings towards the top two shelves, but as for the TV shelf and the desktop, I had to agree.
The TV shelf was given the added support of a piece of wood hidden at the back underneath, and the desk, instead of just two brackets for support, was to have solid panels of pine at either end, and one slightly further in to incorporate some sort of shelves or drawer unit underneath on the right. That was until I priced the panels and found that the two pieces of pine I would need would cost more than I’d already paid for the whole caboodle so far… Off I went back to the drawing board.
Actually, off I went back to Facebook marketplace and found this … .
The measurements I’d been given were correct, but I hadn’t taken into account the big round feet which were included in the height so the two side panels came up a little short. I puzzled for a while and ended up building a plynth for each end panel to stand on.
After a couple of weeks of just building the shelves in my head while visiting, I ordered a few extra bits I would need for the finishing touches from online to arrive when I got home and spent an hour like a child at Christmas when all the gadgets and gizmos I’d ordered all arrived together.
With most of the main pieces made and fitting nicely in place, I stripped the dresser back down to the two side panels and set about the chimney breast with a little pollyfiller and a couple of coats of cream paint. Unfortunately I had to settle for the imperfect blocking up of the fireplace as redoing it really wasn’t an option.
This was the most difficult part so far… Not the painting around the edges, or the three coats it took until I was satisfied with the coverage… But quite literally, the waiting for the paint to dry. Finally, it dried and I was able to put my puzzle back together with added long screws into the shelves to secure everything in place.
The next stage was to make the desk …
Of course, the electric saw and sander fearured heavily in this next part, but I had a great time with one of the new gadgets I’d bought, a circular saw to fix onto my drill. I cut big holes at the two back corners of the desktop, and another three in the shelf, and middle panel support underneath. These are for passing electrical plugs through, and when not in use, they’re filled with ingenious little covers which twist open and closed.
Once the last of the puzzle pieces were in place, I set about the whole caboodle with a screwdriver and a few extra long screws to pull everything securely into place. This turned out to be no small feat in itself and I found the tiny 2.5mm drill bit to be more than worth it’s weight in gold as I drilled guide holes for more and more screws.
All I have left to do now is transfer the computer and the rest of its rigmarole into place. This is just a temporary measure as the old computer is really struggling along day to day and is due to be replaced by a more up-to-date laptop instead. The laptop will generate less wires, and a new short extension block will make the wires safer, and more respectable looking. The desk/dresser can just do its thing for the next month while I rest the extra aches I’ve acquired during the making of it.
My wardrobe, a large three-door unit itself, looks quite small in comparison when pushed tightly up to the dresser where it will wait for its turn for a remodel. Hubby’s wardrobe is next though, at present it’s staying where it is, sticking out into the room, precariously supported by one corner which has been jammed up against the wall, I have a feeling it won’t be moving away from its holding position in one piece.
More from before : “Finishing and fixing“.