Sunday, March 15, 2009

SNAFU Is Not Always a Bad Thing

Many of you have been keeping up on the progress of our entertainment center which began back in November of last year with the idea that we could create just about anything out of free materials, one just had to know how to find them. For anyone who has not been following along I encourage you to check out Matt’s updates: Part I is here, Part II here.

This weekend would mark the installation of the entire unit, now that the paint was fully cured and feet were attached, including Matt attaching the doors with hidden hinges and drilling through the doors to secure the hardware. What ended up happening was installation of the unit itself, a whole bunch of swearing and an entirely new plan for an even better base to the unit. Let me explain.

I finished painting the piece and its associated parts this past week. The deep chocolate brown color we chose is modern yet sleek enough to last even after the trend of this color goes out of fashion and due to the sheer size of the furniture it would make a really bold statement (read: the focal piece in our home). We purchased a drill bit (total cost for the entire piece is at the end of this post) so Matt could attach hardware and he got to work placing the doors at about four yesterday afternoon.

It was too quiet in the office for the couple hours I spent reading my library book so I knew something was dreadfully wrong.

Upon a check in I found Matt on the office floor with a screwdriver in his hand, a scowl on his face and sweat on his brow. Not to mention it was six and only two of the four doors were even attached. Clearly, the doors were not working out. My heart sank as I envisioned us living another week with all this stuff scattered about the house and I wondered what the number was to the local mental hospital.

Matt is one of those people who is so dedicated to complete something correctly he will not allow himself to redirect even after it becomes clear he must. Both a blessing and a curse I assure you. So, since I am a person who likes things to keep moving no matter how many detours I have to take to get there, I suggested we just install it anyway. You know, just to get an idea what it looks like in its home. He begrudgingly obliged and we made the swap from mish-mosh, college style, eclectic hand me downs to the center. The doors were showing all kinds of gapping, did not completely close and also the two bottom center ones kinda, sorta, got in each other’s way when opening. I blame the engineering, not the Engineer, but this would mean our pull out shelves were no longer viable and realistically the entire base unit was just for show.

I must give Matt credit -- no tears were shed or tools thrown although there were many moments of self depreciation which I figuratively smacked him for by reminding him this was built from scrap material and the single largest & most complicated piece of furniture he had ever constructed, there were bound to be a few snags.

We finally agreed to just hook up all the components (another fun challenge as always!) and take the doors off completely for now until we devised a solution that would make them work. Here is Matt during the initial install (he is 5’-9” so it should give a good idea how tall this baby is!)

From this angle the doors look great but in person, well off they came! We began filling it with everything intended for the unit from video tapes to cd’s to dvd’s to components and more and finally crashed at about eleven last night to recuperate from the efforts. As we both sat there looking at our full, streamlined, gorgeous piece of hand crafted furniture I had an epiphany.

Two large doors for the base that open out would alleviate all of the hinge/slide shelf issues. Yes they would be large but they would also give the base a grounding substance.

The more we both looked at it the more we actually liked the top without doors because just by residing in one piece everything instantly looked less cluttered. So it was settled that we would be returning the hardware we had purchased (pulls and hinges for six doors now only needs to be for two) and using that money to acquire the lumber required to create the two new doors that will finally and functionally complete this piece.

Neither of us are unhappy with the development because sometimes you just never know until you try and there are a lot of lessons we both learned this time around that will stick with us for future projects.

So far total dollars spent is about $75 because we made use of so much scrap material, gift certificates, store credits and exchanges that we have managed to pay only for the hinges (approximately $58), the paint (approximately $15) and the drill bit (the final $3). We hope that the exchange for lumber is a wash and I have plenty of paint left over to complete the doors, no problem. In the meantime, it might still have a slightly cluttery look but neither of us are complaining about the total transformation of our space.



That's what I'm talking about!


Karen said...

Wow! That really is a beautiful piece of furniture! It's great as is, even without doors, but we all know that doors can hide a myriad of items ;) Matt did a wonderful job and congrats on the use of materials that would otherwise be destroyed!

Bridgete said...

It's beautiful, and it totally transformed the room. Great job Matt!

TheresaJ said...

I think it looks great. Quite a room transformation! I do think the doors on the bottom are a great idea.

High Desert Diva said...

Ah. Very, very nice. Even without the doors. Bravo.

wylde otse said...


donno if one guy can withstand so many kudos. ( i can see a weekly t.v. show comming up, Matt )

ginger said...

i like it! i love the color and the design and i think that you should be aware of how much farther you've gotten than most people would have before they began to wonder about the mental the way, you don't have to check in to your own room at the sanitarium...i will share mine with you. :)

Matt S said...

Thank you all! I don't see a TV show coming around the corner, but I do enjoy the peaceful concentration of woodworking. A little creativity can go a long way towards helping our little blue marble in space, and our personal space, too!

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Looks fabulous even without doors, can't wait to see it in person! Great work, you two. Hugs, Mum/Judi