Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Latest Project: Reclaimed Wood Bench

Hey friends, how are things!? I hope everything is going well. Sooo, it looks like we're almost into spring! Although, I must say...this winter was kind of a drag since we haven't had much snow. I'm holding tight to the thought that we may still get some, but there will come a point when I will make the switch from "snowshoeing. snowshoeing. snowshoeing." to "canoeing. canoeing. canoeing." I'm willing to give it a little more time.

Anywaaay. I just finished a project that I'm excited to show you! So I've had this photo of a really sweet wood floor in my inspiration folder for quite some time now. It's made up of all these random scraps of wood and it looks really cool. I kept telling myself that I'd have a floor like that some day, but I slowly accepted the fact that new floors are way way waaaay at the bottom of my to do list. So I put the thought aside and moved along. 

I was zinging around my basement one day last month and thought "wow, i have a lot of art pieces that have been just sitting here...i should probably do something with those." I remember going back upstairs to brush my teeth which is when I came up with an idea that I thought was pretty stellar. 
I've been wanting a quilt for my bed for a long, long time now...stay with me here...because I just like the way all the blocks of color look together. But since sewing is not a skill I have, because who the hell has patience for scissors and thread when you can just use saws and nails, I decided I could use all of my wood scraps for something like a quilt, resembling the floor I was after. I thought it would be really cool to just have a huge panel to hang on my living room wall. Like a gigantic panel. And then it hit me...instead of constructing a hardly functional art piece, I could use all these scraps for a bench! I would kill like 5 birds with one stone [my sling shot makes things do loop-de-loops] and it would be the coolest.

There's an odd recess in our dining area that I've wanted to fill since we moved in. It's an area that's grated my eyes since August 2009 and I've gone back and forth around various solutions, without ever settling on one. For awhile I thought I wanted a long row of sleek cabinets screwed to the wall at bar height. But let's face it- we have way more storage than we need and we rarely have guests over AND, worst of all, I would have to spend a LOT of $$$ on liquor to bring it up to the swank factor I'd be going for. So I reset my idea to the thought of a bench...but didn't have the $$$ for one that I'd like. And I wasn't about to build a "nice" bench, because doing so would make me crazy. And so, like with many things, my frustration swarmed and rested again and again.

And so, when I came up with this idea that only took me 2.5 years, I got to work right away. I only had to purchase 2 things for it- a 2x4 and a 4x4. Of course, that meant I had to go to the hardware store for wood, which I always hate doing because since I don't have a dong I must be helpless, but I warded that douche bag off quite nicely. Help is one thing, condescending tone is another. Don't worry, I was nice about it. Anyway. I spent a couple of late nights in the back room of my basement. The whole time I was building it I kept thinking "gosh, if we lived in madison, i would never have a huge workspace like this." See, I'm trying to convince myself that living close to BFE is cool. And it is...until I want to do late night things with friends in Madison.
So I cut and spray painted and block printed and assembled until my heart was content. I have to say- this is the first project I've ever done without getting frustrated, angry, or annoyed. I was excited to be working on it and didn't dread it one bit. No hammers were thrown and no knuckles were bloodied. I think I only dropped the f-bomb 2 times. Basically what I'm trying to say is that it was fun. And the reason it was fun was because it didn't have to be perfect. Since I was using imperfect materials, it could look as raw and edgy and quirky as I'd like. This is the loophole to my sanity. Works like a charm.

Of course, I had to include a secret compartment as well. I offloaded all of the toys I've been collecting over the years. Most of these are toys that I've found on the ground or under a restaurant table when I used to waitress. A couple of the things were toys from my childhood. I got the Micro Machines for my 6th birthday. The Daffy Duck is from Great America when I was about 4 or 5. The little green camera was for my 18th birthday. The bench itself was a gift to myself for my 27th birthday. I finished it the day of.

Here it is, a shot from above. I finished it with yardsticks. The blue one was given to me by a friend. It's my favorite one. I'm going to get some cushions and pillows so I can rest against the wall and read and attempt to admire my backyard. The picture rail is only temporary. I framed some prints I've had forever but I have a few more to do yet, and once they're finished, I'll hang everything on the wall in a grid pattern. 

We're looking for a farmhouse table and then we'll finish the ceiling and the lighting. But for now, I'm finally content with the space....and I have moved my frustrations to my bedroom layout. It's the next project on my list, and I'm trying to decide if demolishing the 2 closets is a good idea or a terrible idea. I am leaning towards good idea...because then I could get a sweet armoire and have my wall of windows looking over the back yard. Maybe I'll even make a quilt for my bed. That would be huge...


Serena said...

So beautiful. Seriously. You'd better be careful, or you'll have people like me beating down your door looking for a commissioned piece ;-)

Shona~ LALA dex press said...


I am crazy in love with this piece! You go away and THIS is what you resurface with?!?!?!

Shilpa said...

OMG! I am your new fan!!! You are amazing. Your work is so inspiring! LOve it, love it, love it!!!:) Good luck with everything!

Lia said...

I love this bench! It's so freaking cute! And I love your art! Good luck with your show!