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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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Hubby’s wardrobe

          Moving on from the “Pine dresser” I found my time and energy occupied by a number of visits and visitors, but I did eventually get back to the fitted wardrobes in the bedroom. My first piece of the puzzle involved building a box, both strong enough to support further building, and cosy enough to house two of the pine drawers from the four drawer chest I’d bought for the side panels of the desk.

          I think this was by far the most difficult bit of the bedroom furnishings so far, but it eventually came together around the drawers and, despite the lack of a square corner on the walls, and with a little help from some good old fashioned soap on the wooden runners, the drawers will open and shut well enough so as not to be frustrating.

          The drilling of holes in the wall is not a strong point of mine. However, I have recently found a new friend for my drill… “No nails” … I don’t trust it completely, so I drill the holes in the wall best as I can, and then combine the two, the no-nails and the screws.

          With the uprights in place and the top shelf of the wardrobe thoroughly supported to take the weight of a clothes rail, I was ready to build and attach the front frame.

          With the need for an ongoing supply of matching timber for this part, I was drawn back to the local D. I. Y. store, and was to be seen making the medium length walk from there to my house on more than a few occasions with lengths of timber of varying shapes and sizes propped over my shoulder.

          If my plan had been to paint the whole caboodle when finished, I could have just screwed the front straight onto the framework I had built and disguised the screws with my good friend the pollyfiller before painting, but the plan to stain the wood and possibly varnish it after meant a lot of hidden fixing was involved… The drilling and screwing of bits of batten, first this way and that, onto the inside made me appreciative of the pre-installed hidden fixings in flat-packed furnature.

          I installed a clothes rail, (a black metal one to match the black hinges I’d bought) , then added the first door from Hubby’s old wardrobe and the first support for the front of the top shelf. It was nice to see my creation finally looking vaguely like a wardrobe.

          Next came a little consulting with Hubby, which clothes he was planning to hang where, what would he use the rest of the space for etc.

          I built in a box shelf to the left two thirds, and left the right third open top to bottom for the possibility of longer items, suit covers and the likes of.

          Once it was ready to fill, however. Hubby exercised what is usually a woman’s perogative and changed his mind as to where he hung his clothes, completely missing the point of our consultation. But once the doors are closed I can no longer see that my personalised design feature inside is in the wrong place, and instead of smiling at the success of my design, I shall just roll my eyes and smile because Hubby is Hubby.

          With the top part of the frame fitted, Hubby’s wardrobe is ready for use. The doors for the top box will follow when I eventually reach the top of my wardrobe too and I’m a little more sure of the right size.

          In the meantime. I’ve got a chest of drawers and some shelves, and a clothes rail to fit into the cupboard on the left next.

          … And of course, to make the top half of the cupboard complete, I have the doors from the “Pine wardrobe” which started this all moving.

          More “Fixings and finishings” on the new house.

Patchwork headboard

          The “Headboard” in our room is nearing completion. The patchwork cover has been ready for a couple of months.

          I cut out a sheet of amazon packing paper to the same size as the panel in the middle of the pine headboard and used that as a template for the shape I needed.

          You can see how the patchwork progressed in my post about “W. I. P” (work in progress. The process of cutting both card and material to the two size hexagon shapes, tacking the material around the card to form the shape, then sewing the shapes together by hand, is surprisingly relaxing. But there is an immense wave of satisfaction when the card templates are finally removed to reveal the completed pattern.

          Below you can see the three stages of the patchwork in one picture …

          Next I added a backing of plain lining material and trimmed it to the shape of my template. With a border of bias binding and a few strategically placed loops the headboard cover was ready.

          My plan was always to cut a wooden panel, add a piece of sponge, wrap that in some wadding, and then cover the whole caboodle with the patchwork before fixing it onto the front of the headboard by screwing through from the back.

          I was advised to treat the patchwork with a spray protector, it took me a while to find one, I looked around locally but ended up buying it from an online supplier, then I had to wait for the weather so that I could spray it outside. I’m glad I waited, the smell and fumes! Well, they filled the kitchen when, fearing rain, I brought it inside to finish drying. Hubby lit the grill and I could smell the fumes burning, so a few candles lit here and there eventually finished off the job.

          I’ve had the foam and wadding sitting around since before Christmas, we went to our usual visit to “Norwich” for Hubby’s sports comp, and I bought it on one of the market stalls there. I do love Norwich Market, its always so friendly, and I wasn’t disappointed when the foam seller measured out half inch bigger than my template as requested, and then proceeded to cut the foam to size and shape for me.

          The plan seemed to be going pretty well until I started to put it together. I had made my patchwork cover bigger than my template but then I had cut my wood to the same size as my foam. Not ideal, instead of nestling inside the foam when pressed, the wood became the frame.

          I toyed with the idea of undoing the binding on my patchwork and making it bigger, but once I laid everything out on the floor I could see that it was still big enough… just.

          My whole plan had been based around making the patchwork cover removable so that I could wash it if it needed freshening up. The plan of threading string through the binding and simply pulling it tight didn’t work, it didn’t pull tight enough and left too many crinkles on the front. Eventually I ended up making a whole web of string on the back to pull it tight on the front.

          Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I have plenty of patches left and so will make up another headboard cover for (hopefully) many moons away when this one needs replacing. But next time, I’ll just make it bigger and pull it tightly over the foam and wadding, attaching it with upholstery tacks straight onto the back.

          Meanwhile, the covered panel is standing up against the wardrobe, pretending to be an odly shaped surfboard while my hands and wrists recover from my attempt at upholstery.

          More from before: A little peek further into the world that I’ve “Created“.