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    Hey there! I'm Amanda and I'll be your co-pilot today. Along with my handy husband, Ben, we're remodeling our second house. We're avid DIY-ers, tackling large and small projects while raising two rambunctious boys. Thanks for following along on this wild journey!
    Photo by Jana Graham Photography

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    When you're OCD, happiness is freshly labeled spice jars in tidy rows, organized by frequency of use. A little more #halloween decorating. The boys helped me toss creepy things on a platter as a table centerpiece. Their favorite is the candy eyeballs in the mortar and pestle, naturally. In a survival situation, I'm nearly certain I wouldn't be able to make a fire-I can barely make one in our fireplace. Even then I think I go through a box of matches. To hopefully help, I picked up a box of extra long matches. Popped in a cut wine bottle, I think they'll come in handy on the mantel.

King Bed Build Plan

When you’re on a budget and have something specific in mind, DIY is such a good option, allowing customization and a lower price point than most store options.  That’s how our king sized bed came to be, and cost less than $200 for every last supply.


Fortunately, this wasn’t our first bed building experience-we made a captains bed for our smaller bedroom at our last house and a bed for each of the boys about two years ago.


In fact, the process for creating our bed was very similar to the steps we used to make a set of twin beds.  First, we cut a 4 by 4 post into 16 inch lengths, then running the sides through the table saw to create a 3 1/4 inch square, just to take the rounded edges off, looking less like dimensional lumber.  With a sander, I angled the tops of each post an eighth of an inch, just to ease the seam.  Here’s a normal post next to a finished one for comparison.


To securely fasten the side rails into the posts, we measured 1 1/2 inches and 6 1/2 inches down from the top of the post.  For the head and foot rails, we measured 2 inches and 6 inches down.  Staggering the screws is a very important step because the screws are going in perpendicular and you don’t want them to hit.  It’s easiest to place the post in the corner and mark 3/4 of an inch in from the edge where the rail will go in.  Pre drill holes through the post, keeping the drill as plumb as possible to avoid the screws going in wonky.


For a beefier, well proportioned bed we used 2 by 10 boards for the rails, with a half strip of 2 by 4 nailed along the base.  Again, we ran each through the table saw to cut away the rounded corner.


Large beds are difficult to maneuver, getting around corners and through doors, so we built each side to come apart easily.  For even easier disassembly/moving, Ben attached spacers to the side rails, leaving enough room for a vertical 2 by 4 between each.  These keep the mattress cross supports in place without nails, meaning the supports are removable without tools!


Along the head and foot rails, we secured a 2 by 4, to give the OSB a ledge to rest on, keeping it flush with rest of the cross supports.


Below, the rails are ready for the corner posts.



On a level surface, lay all the pieces out upside down, which keeps the tops of the rails and posts flush.  Then drive a 6 inch long screw through the post and into each rail.


While still in the garage, we assembled the bed to make sure everything fit, then took the side rails apart, leaving the legs attached to the head and foot sections before staining.


Our finishing cap that covers the posts and rails is also a 2 by 4, but planed down to a 1 inch thickness and cut to match the post width of 3 1/4 inches.


Mitered corners on the foot end, but a square-cut at the head end to tuck under the headboard.


Once stained, oiled, and dry, we hauled the pieces up and put it back together, just like Humpty Dumpty.  In go the cross supports, spaced 16 inches on center.  Ben builds everything to allow a large pachyderm to be able to use it, so no creaking, squeaking, or wobble going on here.


Then the OSB sheeting.


The headboard is a sheet of OSB cut two inches narrower than the frame, then the edges are thickened up with a half strip of 2 by 4.  I wrapped batting, then the velvet over, stapling to the underside of the 2 by 4 edge.  Once the upholstery was done, we nailed a 1 inch wide wood strip around the sides to finish it off.


Two by six sections run vertically, screwing into the back side of the head rail to attach the headboard.  Overall, the bed took us about 6 or 8 hours to build and finish from scratch.  And in those hours, we saved roughly 1600 dollars, which is far more than my hourly pay rate of nothing.

A Bed Frame Fit for a King

Well, it took three years, but our room now boasts a legitimate, 100% finished bed frame and headboard.  I veered away from the original plan for a white painted bed, opting for a stain with a linseed oil finish.  If perhaps down the road we prefer a painted bed, it’s much easier to go from stained to painted than the other way around.


We followed a similar style to the Sierra bed from Crate and Barrel, replacing the angled wood headboard for a colorful upholstered head.

Because the bed sits directly beneath the window, I worried about the green velvet fading with sun exposure.  To prevent uneven coloring, I pitched the idea to Ben of wrapping the headboard with a wood band.



The headboard frame is the same width and thickness as the border around the bed base.



With the wider frame edge, we extended the headboard to the edges, leaving three inches exposed on either side.



Adding that dose of color to our otherwise neutral room is exactly what I was looking for.



Colorful, but not obnoxiously so and looks great against the white wall.


I’m working on the building plans and step by step process to share soon.  Meanwhile, I’m brainstorming bench options for the base of our bed.  With all the wood in here now, I’m leaning toward a metal base with an upholstered top.

Bed Plans

When I left off with the bedroom changes-painting the accent wall white, updating the art and lighting situation-I mentioned needing a new bed.  Since moving in this house, we’ve severely lacked a real bed.  Immediately after moving in, we used a metal frame with the headboard from our old guest room, which was a slight step above a poor college student mattress on the floor look.  For crying out loud, we didn’t even have a bed skirt to hide the box spring.


After getting sick of the wobbly headboard, we quickly built a platform frame with a built-in bench at the end.  Neither of us really loved it, so we never finished it off with an upholstered seat and headboard.


It stayed this way until this spring when we hacked off the bench in an attempt to salvage the frame.


So that’s where we are today, with a half-finished frame neither Ben or I like.  Instead, I have plans for a new frame.  Something simple, with an upholstered headboard.  I really like the clean, simple look of this West Elm bed frame:

I’m just not sure I want that much space between the floor and the bottom of the rails, because I think our king bed would look like it’s floating.  On the other hand, I think this beautiful Restoration Hardware bed is a touch too close to the floor, which would make it nearly impossible to vacuüm/clean under.  Yet again, those simple lines are what I’m after.

Then there’s this Crate and Barrel beauty:

The proportions are great, and I love the thicker cap surrounding the mattress, but I wouldn’t get the soft fabric headboard I’m dreaming about.  Oh yeah, and I’m entirely too cheap to spend $1,800 on a bed frame.  To save oodles of money and get exactly what we want, we’re planning a DIY build, a modified version of the beds we built for the boys’ room.


The legs and frame will look similar, but we’ll add a cap over the legs to beef up the frame.  Also, the head and foot of the frame will look the same, but we’ll attach an upholstered headboard to differentiate between the two.


Instead of sealed wood, I’m leaning toward white paint, to help blend in with the wall and allow the headboard to be the star.  Though a dark stained wood to match the nightstand could look nice, too.


Regardless, it’ll be nice to finally have a finished bed to complete the room.  What’s that lingering thing looming over your head?  Not that there’s only one, in fact, I’d safely say there’s one thing in each room of our house.

Mirror Makeover

When I found this dresser for a friend, it also came with a matching mirror.  The kind that attach to the back of the piece on stilts.  You can kind of see it sticking out the top, reflecting another chest of drawers.


Luckily for me, she didn’t want it as a set, and I loved the look and size, but not the speckled finish or the color.


A few areas of the veneer started to bubble, so my first step was fixing those by applying glue under and clamping it until dried.


Then, to remove the stain, I generously spread Citristrip over everything, letting it work its magic.


Just like scraping off popcorn ceilings, the process is satisfying and oddly similar.  Instead of using a wide metal spatula, I used a narrow plastic tool to gently remove the old finish.


One thing I really dislike about using a paint stripper is the clean up.  But, with such a small area, I didn’t have the option to sand instead.  To clean the residue, I brushed on a little paint thinner, then scrubbed the grooves with an old toothbrush.  Flat areas are easier to clean with an old rag.  After all that, I had my clean slate.


For a little color and protection, I rubbed on two coats of Dark Walnut tinted Danish Oil.  The coloring isn’t as strong as a stain, and can be applied as needed.  I wasn’t looking for a new mirror, but I swapped the one in the main bathroom for this handsome fella because I like him so much.  The mirror already had hooks on the back, so we strung 100 pound picture wire to hang it. To accommodate the slightly taller size, we did raised the two wall screws a few inches.


Adding that small dose of natural wood brought in so much warmth and texture, making the once white space feel layered and earthy.

Our Humble Abode Blog Main Bathroom Vanity This frame is two inches narrower and three taller than the old frame, so it makes the ceilings feel a bit higher.


A serendipitous change for the main bathroom, that just proves changes are always taking place, even when unplanned.  That white mirror will be saved for the basement or pool house half bath, so it won’t go to waste either.

Dresser to Impress Her

Remember that 80’s Drexel dresser I recently snagged for a friend?  The stain wasn’t my favorite and it had several chipped areas in the veneer, but that hardware.  Oh the hardware!  Brass flip handles that recessed completely into the fronts, with corner brackets.


The coloring is a little off in both the above and below photos, but the worst part was the speckled, wavy finish.


Usually I prefer to completely refinish wooden furniture, but the missing parts of veneer just wouldn’t allow a new stain finish.  Instead, I sanded everything down with 120 grit to prepare for paint.  Sadly, the unstained wood grain was really pretty and made me wish there was a way to keep it natural.


Instead, I filled the missing areas, knowing the dresser would also look amazing with a simple white finish.  To prevent any stains from seeping through, I applied two coats of Kilz primer.


For a durable, satin sheen, I rolled on three coats of Sherwin Williams Pro Classic paint in Snowbound.


Overall, transforming this dresser took about 8 hours, but it shines like the gem it is now.  Look at that hardware; it’s not all wall flower blending in, rather standing out, demanding the attention it deserves.



Those corners add just enough detail to keep the frame interesting.


Fortunately, my friend also loves the new look and will pick it up soon.  In the mean time, I photoshopped it into our bedroom, just to see what it would look like.

White-Painted-Dresser-OverallI’m kicking around some ideas to put the area at the foot of the bed to use.  Stay tuned for more on that soon.



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