This week’s Prompt For The Promptless is about DIY:
Do it yourself (DIY) is the method of building, modifying, or repairing something without the aid of experts or professionals.
This is an incredibly timely prompt since I am in the process of moving from a 110 square foot room (10.22 square meters) to a 600 square foot room (55.74 square meters).
110 square feet isn’t a lot. It is 10 feet by 11 feet to be precise. My bed takes up nearly a third of that at a whopping 33.3 square feet. The rest of the available acreage is squatted on by bookshelves, which I use as a closet, a place to feed the cat where the dog can’t get to it, a desk, an entertainment center, a vanity, storage, and well, bookshelves. Everyone who saw my room was amazed at how much functionality I was able to cram in there while not having to walk sideways.
The new bedroom has almost six times the space. Included in that are a massive walk-in closet and its own gigantic bathroom with a built-in vanity. Just the new bathroom and walk-in closet together are bigger than my entire current bedroom. I won’t need to use a single bookshelf to get ready in the morning at all anymore. I can use my bookshelves for books.
When I still lived in Detroit, I had a two-story furnished house. When I moved to Boston, I couldn’t take a lot of that stuff with me. Then when I moved from Boston to California, I could take even less stuff since everything I had needed to fit inside a small U-Haul trailer since I had a small car. You try fitting everything you own in this and see how much you end up keeping:
I moved zero furniture with me to California, not even a bed. Before I moved into my current house, I lived in a tiny studio apartment. The studio was not quite twice the size of my current room, which is still significantly smaller than the new room. I fit an entire apartment in less space than just my new bedroom, not including the rest of the house, which has a kitchen, dining room and living room. Because I had so little space for so long, I don’t have a lot of stuff. Not having a lot of stuff is pretty damn awesome, but it makes it difficult to furnish a house.
I have five full-size bookcases and a couple of half-size ones. I have one small couch and one small chair. I have a bed and a couple of night stands. I have lamps galore. I have books, clothes, shoes, and somehow, a monstrous amount of kitchen ware. I moved bin after bin of kitchen stuff. That’s not enough to furnish a 600 square foot room, let alone a whole house. I don’t even have a television stand or a desk.
For the last month, or since I knew I was moving, I have been trolling thrift stores looking for furniture type things. I scored a solid wood coffee table that looks something like this, only with a lot more wear and tear, and not as intricately carved:
I paid a whopping $12 for it. The top was all scratched up and there was a large burn as if someone just set a cigarette on it and let it burn out, which is probably exactly what happened. But it was $12!
I am handy. I can use tools. I own tools. I can build things. My father is a craftsman who had no sons, so he showed his daughters everything he knew, which was a lot. I have built brick walls. I’ve set concrete. I have replaced walls and even roofs. I have caulked every house I’ve ever lived in. I replaced the toilet and the plumbing under the sink in the house I live in and it doesn’t leak. I can do pretty much any home improvement project, except decorate. I really suck at decorating.
So, I’ve got my $12 coffee table that needs work. Since my room is all colorful and I didn’t know how deep that burn went, instead of refinishing it, I decided to paint it. This is the color palette I’m working with and one wall in my new room is that owl blue color you see there:
Just last night, I put the first coat of white paint on the top. It will need at least one more coat of white and then a coat of sealer, but it’s getting there. So, now my $12 table–that has actually cost roughly $30, including the paint, sandpaper and wood filler, most of which is reusable elsewhere–is white and purple. I stood there looking at my handy work last night and was actually proud of myself for doing what my dad never would have done. He would have refinished it and made it look like a million bucks. I took it and made it look like a hundred bucks, but it is so much more “me” than a dour looking wood table.
I’ve never really used spray paint before. Well, not in a legal manner anyway. It’s fun! It’s also way less work than regular paint. Yeah, you have to use more coats, but I can apply a coat in less than ten minutes, whereas using regular paint would take upwards of an hour.
Even though my dad would not approve of spray painting a solid wood table, I think he’d be happy that I tried something new. He gave me the confidence in my craftsman abilities to even attempt such a thing. So, thanks for that, dad.
I already forgot to take a before picture, but if I remember, I’ll take pictures of the finished product. I’ve also got a $20 television stand and a $15 desk waiting in the wings for some TLC. By the way, that wood table by Brookstone up there? It’s selling for $285.99. Mine cost $30 and has way more purpley goodness. Suck it, Brookstone!