I finished it. The bookcase. The last project I had planned for the room that would tie it all together. It was quite a journey and it took me almost a week. There were a lot of tense moments where I was wondering if I would have to scrap the bookcase and just go buy a new one. I really didn't want to do that. Not only did I not want to spend the money, but this bookcase has sentimental value to me. It was mine when I was a kid and it has followed me through life (except for a stint it did in my sister's room).
The reason I wanted to paint it is that the boys' room has very dark wood in it and it was a honey-oak color. It really stood out in the room in a mismatching sort of way. About a year ago, I made a deal with myself about furniture. I was done buying anything that was good-enough-for-now-basic-boring-conservative. I am an architect and I have opinions about design. So, I bought some crazy scandinavian-mod dining chairs. I'll get back to my ideas about design and the related constraints in the post about the boys' room as a whole. For now, I will leave it just by saying that my new found deal caused me to go bold with the bookcase: apple green. I LOVE this color. When I brought home the paint and opened it up (way back in May, I think it was) I knew I had to do this project, scary or not. I waited all summer. I was nervous. I didn't want to destroy the bookcase and I had never attempted anything like this before.
Well, a couple things happened. I was inspired by a friend's post about finishing her kids' room AND I realized that I had about one week left of warm/dry summer weather before the rains come. I don't have a garage or a basement, so I was going to have to do this project outside on the deck (6'x8') and I needed good weather. It was now or never.
So last Tuesday night, I took a deep breath and began. I put down the primer. It of course looked terrible. On the sides of the bookcase, I decided to use magnetic primer. If you've never used it before, just note that while it says 3 layers should work, plan for at least 5. Just the magnetic primer took me the better part of two evenings. Coat after coat after coat - testing after each. I knew it had to be strong because I was going to paint over it. Have I mentioned that magnetic primer is nasty, stinky, awful stuff? It is.
On Thursday night, I laid down my first layer of green paint. DISASTER. Wow. I was worried. The vertical surfaces had dripped downward and dried with lots of gloppy streaks. Thankfully I started on the inside of the bookcase so this was not the end of the world. I learned from this that when painting furniture, paint only horizontal surfaces. This meant the whole thing would go a lot slower, but it was worth it. The other thing I learned on green paint day #1 was that foam brushes are the worst possible tool to paint with. I couldn't get an even or smooth coat no matter what I did. I also realized I was going to run out of paint long before I was done. So, on Friday the boys and I headed back to Home Depot for another quart and some better painting implements. I then took Friday night off after talking to a furniture-painting-expert-friend who reassured me that I was doing okay and of course it would take more than one coat. On Saturday I got to work once again after some sanding and using my new smooth, small roller. Wow! What a difference! I was reinvigorated. I felt like I could do it. I could finish this. And I did. Today, the following Monday, I carried it back into the boys' room.
It's not perfect - far from it. I learned a lot in the process, though, and I know that if I ever tackle this kind of project again, I'll be able to do a much better job. I love how the green bookcase looks in the room! It really does tie the whole thing together.
Here's a "before" shot that I took almost 2 years ago when the room was overflowing with stuff after we moved Austin in with Nathan: