The Middle Third

Since last I've posted, a trip to Springfield has been taken. Mahjong was learned. An art fair has inspired. An oil pastel painting, sketched. A baby took her first three steps. A friend's engagement was celebrated. The next step in Ryan's fight for services, accomplished. Five songs have been sung at church. And three of the four pieces of this black built-in have been repurposed and nearly finished. 

Let's take a look at the middle third. But first, here is where we began and here is what motivated me to do away with it. Keep in mind these pictures are of the piece at its saddest point. Its not well arranged, unenthused state. Its pile-everything-on-without-thinking condition. So cut it some slack. It looked great the day it went in five years ago. Since then, however, I've become sorely disillusioned with bead board. Also, never knew what to do in that little cubby above the TV. Then, there was the way too wavy glass paned doors. And don't get me started on the drawer pulls. They're terrible. 

So after four-ish years, I decided to paint it hoping the face-lift would be significant enough to renew my love. I was obsessing over this Red Earth Farrow & Ball color that I found in a magazine years ago. F&B paints are super expensive though. So I took a shot at matching it from this screen image below. 
Clearly, I failed. I used "FAME ORANGE" from Sherwin Williams. Before I continued on and painted all the doors, I filled up some of the shelves again to see if what was on the shelves would ground this very pastel color that I went with.

I wasn't convinced. But whatever. This project was dragging on so I went ahead and kept with the color. 

**Notice here how close the couch sits to the TV. This is because we don't have a couch wall. The layout of the apartment is such that there are no wall lengths long enough to fit a couch. They are all interrupted by a door. So the couch has always had to float. Yet another reason I wanted to yank the built-in. 

So what do you know, I laboriously paint the doors and get within an hour of finishing this piece, when I gave up. I was so tired of trying to make it work and trying to convince myself that I liked it, that that night, a few hours before John's gig, we started ripping it off the wall. That's when one piece became four.

 And as you've already seen, this is the wall we left behind.

But, back to the journey of the middle third of this entertainment center. It was built to be sandwiched between the two side bookshelves. So neither edge was finished.

We measured the ends of all these new stand alone pieces and bought plywood at Home Depot to cap them. They were patient enough to make all of the cuts for us. 

Then, while watching the Voice last week, I kilzed each piece.

Once dry, we liquid nailed the boards AND used finishing nails. The top got hard core sanded because a ridge was left where the TV unit once sat. And well, everything got sanded. Then tacky clothed to remove all of the dust before painting. 

We broke out the Fame Orange paint once more. 

High gloss paint takes a good minute to dry so a day or two passed between coat. (I simultaneously painted the two bookshelves...more on that later.) 

Anyway, here we are today:

To put it into perspective, I took this shot from the hallway with our front door open. This 'middle third' is now the first thing you see when you come home. 

Just for reference, you used to see this when you walked in the door. And I loved that look, but it's nice to have the desk oriented back to office related things in lieu of being an entry console. It was also short enough to where Annie would pull everything off. Too fun.

So we're excited for the change.

And I ought to mention that I had four leftover pulls from our kitchen that I was able to use on these repurposed drawers instead. I was thrilled because by the grace of God the pull hardware fit squarely in the existing holes. They sit slightly lower than I'd normally have them, but I'm good with it if it means less work. 

I bought them online months ago from Chinese Brass Hardware.

Annie is all about them. They chime a little when you pull them. And let's be honest. She's really all about them because they allow her access to her toys. We knew she'd one day pull that drawer open no matter what was in it, so to avoid a constant battle, we filled that (and every other low lying drawer and cabinet) with kid-friendly contents.

But I can't let myself fully deceive you. This project is not entirely done. I lack a miter saw so the crown that ought to wrap each side and cover the gap between the two wood pieces is missing. One of these days I'm going to track down someone with one of these dandy saws, make my two small cuts and finally get to call it a day! One of these days...

And there's the part where we have a rug hanging on our wall like a pair of hippies. It's our temporary solution to covering all the exposed wiring and torn up drywall while we patiently wait for our electrician and drywaller to pencil us in. 

So that's the long winded version of how we got from this:

to this:

Oh, how I'm glad we went down this path! 


  1. I just stumbled upon your post and love your giant printed photography. Where did you get the large wooden framed photo of your dog? And also the large matted silver frame of the newborn in your entry way? Love them both. Thanks.

  2. The large frame of our dog was from Ikea - but SADLY they discontinued that color frame! It was from the Ribba collection and they only sell it in white, black and dark brown. The frame broke during our last move, and I actually just bought some supplies yesterday to try to salvage it! The silver frame - also not sold in that same size anymore :( - is from Pottery Barn.


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