Saturday, May 02, 2009

Color Correction

One of the pieces of furniture I most cherish in my home is the armoire my father made for me almost 20 years ago. This poor thing has been through 10 moves (I counted!) and served as everything from media cabinet to extra kitchen storage. It's currently doing a tour in my bedroom as a home for foldy clothes.

I was fortunate, a year or so ago, to find an enormous mission-style mirror at a consignment shop for dirt cheap (given the size of the glass) that echoes the wood tone perfectly. The mirror creates almost a third window in the bedroom and opens everything up tremendously.

So that just leaves the bed. The incredibly useful, hideous, unfinished pine Ikea platform storage bed with the black(?!) drawers. I like the structure of the bed just fine...and the storage has been really useful...and the lack of headboard means it doesn't take up too much space. Clearly, it has some real positives...and one pronounced negative:

That is a serious jolt of ugly amid all those lovely wood tones in the room.

I decided when I got it that I'd make an effort to stain it to match the rest of the pieces in the room...and possibly replace the black(?!) plastic(???) drawer fronts with a nice wood that would take the new color and do something interesting with it. The only problem with this plan (other than the fact that I do not own, nor have ever used a jigsaw) is that I've never stained anything I wasn't sure where to start.

My parents were here for the Monkey's Spring Break, so I thought I'd ask them to lend an assist. I figured since my dad built the armoire, he'd be perfectly qualified to help me pick out the matching stain. He couldn't remember the name of the color he originally used, but thought we could find it. We all studied the piece for a mom proclaimed it "kind of golden"...and off we went to Home Depot.

In the stain aisle, I was skeptical of their insistence that "golden oak" was the color we needed. Granted, the bed is pine and the armoire is maple and...something else...but as I looked at the sample of "golden oak" on pine, it just didn't seem like the same color. I kind of thought that "gunstock" seemed more appropriate...but Mom and Dad were pretty certain. Not knowing how intense stain will get on wood, I went along with them. We bought the $5 tester and came home to check it out on some scrap wood.

...not even close. My parents were sheepish and apologetic. It was really cute.

I was back at Home Depot last weekend with a friend (picking granite for her kitchen! Yay for new countertops!) and picked up a canister of the Gunstock on the way out. I finally got around to testing it today...

...turns out my visual memory isn't terrible after all! It's not exact, but it's reasonably close...and I don't need everything to be perfectly matchy-matchy in the room anyway. So now it's off to read a few articles on the internet about how to stain stuff and then look for a good opportunity to do the deed (probably this summer when the Monkey is off on his two week adventure).

I love it when a plan comes together!


Jason said...

After you sand off whatever the finish is (probably varnish), make sure you use a pre-treatment for soft woods before you stain. Pine will suck up the stain all willy-nilly without the pre-treatment, and your finish will look blotchy and uneven. And, as I'm sure I don't need to tell you, nothing makes guests more uncomfortable than a blotchy, uneven bed frame.

"Foldy" clothes - hee.

present&accounted4 said...