My former student, Emily, asked me to build her a nightstand for her newly redecorated bedroom. Emily is in college, so she needed a piece of furniture that was fresh and young.

I sent her at least 15 pictures of nightstand options and made her answer just a few (hundreds)  questions. Needless to say, I think I overwhelmed her.

In the end, Emily decided on this design.

donny-nightstand-feature

When I priced the build for this nightstand, it was expensive. I was sure that Emily would rather spend her hard-earned part-time job money on something a little more exciting than the recommended Purebond Maple Plywood (though I love the stuff) and bun feet (even though I really like those too), so I made a couple of changes to make the design a little bit more affordable:

-I substituted the Maple Purebond for some less expensive hardwood plywood at Home Depot.

-I extended the vertical trim pieces on the front, side, and back to make legs instead of using bun feet.

-I eliminated the extra molding pieces. (This was less of a cost issue and more of a design issue.)

-Instead of using plywood for the top, I ripped and cut 1x6s and joined them together like a tabletop.

So basically I completely changed the design.

The build went something like this:

I cut some wood and drilled some holes.

I posted this on Twitter with the caption, "Keeping it square," which I thought was hilarious. No one laughed.
I posted this on Twitter with the caption, “Keeping it square,” which I thought was hilarious. No one laughed.

Then I attached some side trim.

Extending the trim to make legs.
Extending the trim to make legs.

Then I attached trim to the front.

Face trim turns a piece from "blah" to "wow."
Face trim turns a piece from “blah” to “wow.”

Next was the drawer. I have never built a really successful, working drawer…until now. Yay!

drawer

Yeah that drawer works!

drawer 2

 

The drawer looked so bare without a face though.

face frame
Quality photography by Honeysuckle and Pine.

Now here’s where it all gets a little bad. I stained it Espresso. It looked good when I was doing it. It also looked good as I put two coats of Polyurethane on it.

But something wasn’t making me love it.

So naturally, I procrastinated. Instead of sanding it down and restaining right away, I cleaned a shed full of old barnwood!

The best time to clean reclaimed wood is when you are procrastinating.
The best time to clean reclaimed wood is when you are procrastinating.

The next day, I did what I was supposed to do. I sanded the polyurethane, but left most of the Espresso. I then added several coats of Red Mahogany. This really toned down the awful yellow shades in the pine. I finished it up with a coat of Jacobean to add some depth.

I let that dry. A while. A long, long while. You know, just to be sure.

Then I finished with many coats of wipe-on polyurethane, sanding between coats with 320. That made it really nice.

Then I waited a while, and assembled all of the pieces.

Here it is!

Emily chose some lovely hardware.
Emily chose some lovely hardware.

 

Another quality photograph courtesy of Honeysuckle and Pine Professional Photography Services.
Another quality photograph courtesy of Honeysuckle and Pine Professional Photography Services.

And I actually tried with this photograph. Well, I added decorations.

An old-fashioned (broken) clock and a mason jar floral arrangement: essential decor for a dorm room.
An old-fashioned (broken) clock and a mason jar floral arrangement: essential decor for a dorm room.

I know that all college students are really into rustic nightstands. I am, after all, hip.

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