Monday, October 31, 2011

DIY X-Desk

Since I'm now working out of our house for the ad agency, I needed a desk. We knew we wanted to build one, and we did! Many of you may have seen the unstained version of our desk on the MYU facebook page when we finished building it last week. Eight days, three coats of stain, and three coats of polyurethane later, this bad boy is finally complete! 

I had seen a version of Ana White's X-Table (basically built like a picnic table) on Pinterest, so that served as the basis of the idea, but we did our own measurements and plan from scratch. We wanted/needed the legs to come off easily, so we used 5/8x6" hex bolts to mount the legs into the sides of the table top frame. It was pretty sturdy once these were tightened down, but we wanted it to be SUPER sturdy. We toyed with the idea of a cross-beam, but I personally didn't want to worry about hitting my shins on a big beam in the middle (because I would...), so we set off to a local "everything" shop, The Yard, located just east of downtown Wichita. I'm not joking and their web site isn't lying, they have EVERYTHING. We had fun just browsing the aisles for an hour or so. It was like DIY heaven for us DIY nerds!

Anyway...we found these awesome turnbuckles and, when I saw them, my wheels immediately started turning. I knew if we could find a way to attach them, we would be in business.

We ended up using pipe straps. No, we didn't use the turnbuckles or the pipe straps for what they were made for, but we ended up with a really.awesome.desk. The hardware completely makes this piece. This is what happens when you think outside of the box!

The best part is that the ends of the turnbuckles have a smaller bolt running through them, so we only need to unscrew these bolts, slip them out of the pipe straps and remove the large bolts mounting the tops of the legs into the bottom of the table (eight bolts total) and everything can be taken apart (it's not going through any doorways otherwise!). We don't have to unscrew anything out of the table itself (which could eventually cause the wood to wear away and fittings to become loose), just hardware from hardware.

The top is a collection of five 6-foot 2x6 boards, nailed into a frame made of 2x4s. Glorious top, delicious dark walnut still my heart!

 These two pictures give you a better idea of the legs. They're two 2x4s nailed together from the back (so you don't see any nail heads from the outside of the table, giving it a more finished, sleek and professional look).

Obviously, you can see that one portion of the 'X' is solid, while the other is two pieces. The inside is done the same exact way, but opposite, so each of the cut pieces are nailed into a solid, full-length board. (Make sense??)

Final dimensions are 72" long x 27.5" deep x 31" tall. While it's not quite deep enough to make a good dining room table, the design could easily be widened by incorporating an additional 2x6 or two on the top.

It's not a far cry from either of these Pottery Barn dining tables either....
Pottery Barn Toscana Dining Table ($799-$1,499)
Pottery Barn Benchwright Dining Table ($999-$1,699)

The cost of ours? Let me break it down:

  • Lumber: $24.18 (we used whitewood)
  • Polyurethane (matte finish): $10.20 for a pint...I used less than a quarter, so I'll count the cost as $2.55
  • 1 lb. box of finish nails: $2.92
  • Hardware: $25.96
    • 5/8-inch flat washers x 4: $1.64
    • 5/8-inch lock washers x4: $0.36
    • 5/8x6 hex bolts x 4: $11.64
    • 3/8-inch pipe straps x 4: $0.76
    • Screws for pipe straps x 4: $1.66
    • Turnbuckles x 2: $9.90
  • Stain: $24.09 for a gallon...I definitely used less than a fifth (it took WAY less than I thought it would!), so I'll count the cost as $4.82
  • TOTAL COST: $60.43
$60.43!? $60.43!!

Sorry, I think I just impressed myself! 

Now taking orders for the My Yellow Umbrella furniture company!

P.S. Remember the banker's desk chair I found at Goodwill for $24.99? Restoration Hardware's version is available for a mere $495. So, for my total desk set-up, we spent $85.92 on what we could have spent thousands on, just by thrifting and building ourselves. Seriously...go take one more glance at the Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware prices above. It's worth the time spent!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Four Weeks in 800 Words or Less

Whew! Starting to get back on track; not quite into a groove yet, but the post-move crazies are starting to settle just in time for wedding planning to ramp back up! We've been up to a lot in October already, so I thought I'd share a slew of pictures from the cell (as that's the best representation I have!). Forgive me for the poor picture quality, but 1) I have no idea where my camera is right now (haven't seen it nor gone looking for it since before the move), and 2) I know the batteries are dead, so there's no use in me trying to find it right now!

I literally filled my car to the brim...front to back, side to side and top to bottom...three weekends in a row. You're looking at the front seat looking back!
 Aaand, we STILL had the entire trailer full last weekend! (And Cowboy even took a load in his truck at the end of September!) Holy Moses, where did all of this stuff come from?!

But, we eventually got the entire apartment cleared out. Looks pretty different than it did from the apartment tour last month, doesn't it?

Before I left KC, I went to a "see you later" dinner at Buca di Beppo on the Plaza with some of my girlfriends. As we were walking into the restaurant, I saw this:

If you don't recognize that car, you probably don't understand why I stopped and took a picture of it!

At the beginning of October, my mom and I (and her friend, Lisa!) drove up to Hesston for the bi-annual barn sale. All I can say is...awesome. I came home with a vintage suitcase, a vintage serving plate, a necklace, two bars of handmade soap, two vintage tins (I will be re-purposing them...deets coming soon!), a pair of earrings and more...for $38! It was all handmade or thrifted, it was beautiful and it was really exciting to meet some local vendors!
 Then, the following weekend (back in Wichita again), these little munchkins (these belong to my soon to be sister-in-law Nicole) showed up at my house...
 ...while their dad (Jacob, Cowboy's brother) and Cowboy were hanging our newly-built porch swing. He (Jacob) built this by hand as a wedding present for us. Amazing, right?! Just wait until you realize it has cup holders!

 Also, in important news...I found this rug here for 75% off at one of the Target stores in KC (which means I paid $87 for the original $350 price!). Actually, my awesome friend Erin tipped me off. She's amazing! And the rug is also amazing in our living room.
 And, now that the move is finally complete, I've been able to do a few small projects around the house! I made a fall wreath for a few bucks since I've been whining for fall decor. Oh! And that's the vintage suitcase I picked up at the barn sale. $12 bucks...crazy cheap, right? It's in perfect condition, too, which makes this girl elated. It's sitting in front of the door because the front door closes itself. I needed a doorstop and immediately remembered a sailor's knot doorstop I saw on Pinterest and pinned a while back... I made it! Tutorial and pictures coming soon!

I've also created a small terrarium...

 Cooper's realized he belongs in windowsills...
 I made new curtains for the back door (the old ones had geese on them...and were really, really, really dirty. They crunched when I took them off of the back door. Um...gross.)

 Which brings us to this past weekend--our official first weekend in Wichita! I carved "J&A" and Cowboy carved a a pumpkin shape into his pumpkin. His creativity astounds me! I later found out that's what he carved last year too--hahaha!! Love him.
 And, since I'm now working remotely for the agency, I am in need of a desk! So, last Saturday night, we built a desk. It's a chunky, heavy, big-hardware, solid desk and I feel like it's something we could have paid thousands for from Restoration Hardware. We spent around $70! It's currently in the garage awaiting its third coat of stain and a coat of poly. As soon as it's cured and in the house, I'll be posting final pictures and a tutorial for the desk as well!

Whew! And that's how you give a month-long update in under 800 words!

P.S. if you saw the MYU facebook post today, we're only 51 days away from the wedding. Go check out how we're counting down "officially" here at the house!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I'm Here and I'm Alive!

The first time I typed my title, I typed, "I'm Here and I'm Alice!" So, just call me Alice today! ;)

We've been doing so much that I feel completely disoriented. I'm so used to traveling on the weekends that, after moving this weekend, I felt like it was time to drive home to Kansas City. What a strange feeling to stay! Since I was off yesterday and today, I feel like maybe I'm just staying for an extra couple of days before driving "home." So weird...

But, I'm happy to report that our move went smoothly, everything is here, and almost everything is put away. We have some really, really super awesome friends (Alex & Krissy!) that helped us move. Lauren's parents were moving (across town) this weekend too, so her and Tyler were already here. Since I had previously moved everything but the last few bits of furniture, it only took about 30 or 45 minutes to unload once my stuff we got here. We then found out that Lauren's family was quickly approaching their deadline to be out of their old house and they were only halfway done, so Alex, Krissy, Cowboy and I drove over there to help. It was a looooong day, to say the least. Sunday, we all slept in, had a big breakfast and just hung around until everyone left mid-afternoon for KC.

As far as the new house, we are loving it! Furniture is in place, for the most part, and I've been doing the small 5-minute projects here and there so that I feel like I'm accomplishing something! I'll be taking pictures for a preliminary house tour and updating you with the small projects I've been doing this week. I hung the first item on the walls tonight (a mirror in the entry way) and can I just say that I am not a fan of plaster walls? HOLY.COW.

Anyway--more to come this week...can't wait to show you the new digs!

P.S. Is everyone done decorating for fall? I'm so ready to start mine, but I'm afraid it will be time to decorate for Christmas by the time I get settled, lol! Oh well, bring on the Christmas trees!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Moving Update!


*Lets out big breath*

I've been running around like a crazy person for the last two weeks. May I just remind each and every one of you how much fun moving is...not? Cowboy took a load of furniture down two weekends ago, I took all of the decor/pillows/books/dining chairs/random crap down last weekend and this weekend I took everything in the kitchen, bathroom, hall closet, my closet and some other random boxes. The sad news is that I'm literally living in an empty white box. I had to pack a bag to come back to Kansas City for the week, which was a really strange feeling! The good/awesome news is that, with the help of Cowboy and our cousin Britt, every single bit of the new house is cleaned and things are put away. What an awesome feeling! Next weekend is the final move, so I'll be getting the apartment cleaned and ready to move out of this week and then all we have left to move is two dressers, my bed and nightstand, the couch and the washer/dryer! It's been a lot of hard work, but I'm so grateful for the help everyone has offered and proud/excited about how much progress we've made! Next weekend should be pretty simple. In the meantime, I have five days left in the office before I transition to working from home in our new city and plans every night this week with my beloved KC girlfriends!

I did finally also get around to posting the apartment tour page with links to projects--sorry about the delay there! I'm hoping to get some more posts out this week about the backlog of projects I've done in the last six weeks, but I make no promises. :) I'm also hoping to return to a normal schedule again once the move is over (and we won't be traveling every weekend anymore!) because I REALLY want to decorate for fall--I feel like I'm missing it! However, I also know that once the move is over, it will be time to start focusing on the wedding again, since I've put planning and projects on hold until after the move. Only two months and one week left now! We've had two of the four showers people are so graciously planning for us, but the whole "getting married" thing didn't hit me and feel "real" until we were moving stuff into the house last weekend. I remember standing in the living room looking around and seeing items that belonged to both of the same the same house. I looked at Cowboy and said, "WHOA...we're going to be living together! There's like...boy stuff and girl stuff in here!" It sounds funny, and we were definitely laughing, but I got so giddy and excited! He won't move into the house until after we get married, but since that's so close and since we've been living in separate cities for all but three weeks of our engagement, it was the first time it really felt real. SO exciting!

Seriously, so excited and thankful about where we are in life right now. We are blessed and I'll be relishing in that this week as one chapter closes and another begins!