Wardrobe Unframed

          Hubby knows that when I’m busy playing with the house, things always look worse before they look better, but I generally make the mess when he’s not there. I choose a weekend while he’s away at a comp, or at least a weekend while he’s working. However covid finally caught up with him and he had quite a hefty dose of the virus so he was off work and pretty much confined to the house for a few weeks and I needed to crack on before the confidence dipped so I came home from work on a Saturday and set about the next bit of my plan for the bedroom … with a crowbar …

         … Ooops! ….

          I think horrified is a pretty good description of the look on his face when he came upstairs and saw what I was doing and I think the most repeatable comments went somewhere along the lines of “demolition work” and “breaking the house”.

          I pushed on as quickly as my body allows me to now, and had all of the demolishing and clearing up done during my day’s off, finishing off with a liberal spraying of a PVA and water mix to seal in the old wall bits and to allow the dust to settle and be cleared away.

          The next stage after the knocking down was to start building up again. I didn’t want an actual frame around the doorway, just a framed hole to use as a cupboard. I bought some rough timber and started to hammer it into the bricks with masonry nails … bad idea, the wall wasn’t going to take being hit with the hammer and started to crumble. Being a member of the “old school”, I really wasn’t too keen, but I decided to use “No nails” to stick the battens to the inside of the doorway. I wouldn’t say I was confident, but I was definitely amazed at the result of this new acquaintance.

          My plan was to put our chest of drawers into the bottom of the hole and, as Hubby’s uniform is usually hung on the doorframe, to create an extra wardrobe for his uniform to hang inside on the top.

          Of course, nothing is ever quite that simple, our old, pine fronted chest of drawers was too wide to just place into the hole. It would need a bit of breaking and fixing to make it fit … More mess … I took the chest apart and stacked the drawers in the bay window area, then used the sides, complete with runners attached, to line the inside of the hole. Adding one of the original mdf shelves they’d used in the cupboard gave me a lid and made a box to work with.

          I hit a bit of a confidence issue here, but making the drawers fit into the hole turned out to be a lot easier than I had originally thought. I took the fronts off, cut down the base and sides, and built each drawer back into a box, screwing the old draw sides on the outside to slide in and out of the old runners. The drawers were quite a bit narrower than the fronts, but I decided not to cut them. I screwed the front back on centrally, and put the draw knobs through both thicknesses of wood with longer bolts.

          I used some strips of pine wood to fill the frame into the corner, and added a curved piece to the left side to just leave a skirting board effect against the wall. Again I made use of the “No-nails” but with not quite amazing results this time. It did what it said on the tin, it stuck the wood to the walls without nails, but my wood had warped slightly, and I don’t know why I imagined the wall would ever be square or even, so I had a lot of gaps to fill when it was dry.

          Enter another newby for me … I had a go at filling the gaps with wood filler.

          Before the varnish the filler looked OK from a distance, but after the stained varnish it doesn’t stand up to my close perfectionist scrutiny.

          The perfectionist in me can see lots of bits I would do differently next time. But with the three doors from the original solid pine wardrobe fixed in place, two on the uniform cupboard, and the third, carrying a full-length mirror on the wall next to the wardrobe it doesn’t look too bad.

          For the moment, I’m just going to have to accept it as it is because the only way to bring it nearer to perfection is to sand the three coats of varnish off and do it again … We’ll wait and see.

          There is a slight change of plan for the fixing of doors over the top box, it’s to stay open with the straight top frame replaced by a dresser shape, then a few nice cream linen boxes with lids will slide in and out on the shelf.

          In the meantime, my wobbly three-door, pine-fronted wardrobe no longer stands on the right of the dresser. It’s already be dismantled and is beginning to form the last part of my fitted wardrobes up to the bay window.

          More “Fixings and finishings” on the new house.

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