I hate painting furniture.
I really do.
I am addicted to before and afters, so I do it, but the process brings me very little joy. This became particularly clear to me recently...
Peter and I have been talking lately about how we want to move the kids from their mattress on the floor into bunk beds. We just hadn't decided which ones to get.
Then this happened.
I was just driving to Trader Joe's, minding my own business, when I saw this pile of bed in front of a local McMansions. A quick survey showed me that it was indeed a dismembered bunk bed which appeared to have all the pieces and assembly hardware. SCORE.
So, I did the natural thing and asked my little sister, to drive over my dad's 1979 Ford pickup truck—"Big Country"—and help me haul it home. I am from Arkansas, after all, and that's what we do there... Being the nice sister that she is, she drove over and helped me load it up and drive it back home.
I built the bed at home—in my living room, actually— to make sure it had all the pieces and was structurally stable. It needed a couple of bolts and some minor repairs, but nothing major, so we decided to keep it. Controversial as it may be, we also decided to keep the mattresses. I wasn't so sure at first, but we inspected them for any signs of bedbugs, and bought vinyl zippered mattress bags for them which completely encased them. Kind of like a ziploc for your bed. They seem to be quite sanitary now.
We didn't have a chance to paint them for a week or so, and it was really annoying to have them taking up space in my townhouse. That's one of the downsides of finding free furniture. Actually, it's usually the furniture that finds me...
The kid's room is very colorful, with light aqua walls, and primary color accents. I was going to just paint the bed white, but it seemed kind of boring, so I thought it'd be fun to do something unexpected and paint it a bright, happy blue, with hints of teal and peacock. The color was inspired by E's little owl backpack.
I took the backpack to the paint store, and found a swatch that was similar. I was feeling decisive, so I told them to go ahead and mix a quart. None of that hanging different swatches on the bed for two weeks for me...
We started painting on Saturday morning. We didn't finish the last coat until after dark that night. It was insane. One coat of blue tinted primer. Two coats of paint.
Did I mention that each of the four headboard/footboard panels has ten slats? If you do the math, then that means we painted slats 120 times.
My one consolation was that I didn't have to sand. Thankfully, I found a really great primer that doesn't require sanding—plus the previous black paint on the bunk beds had a matte finish. All things considered, the paint went on very smoothly. I found this awesome little roller and tray kit at Walmart for $2, which was a lifesaver. It made painting so much easier. Isn't it cute?
Once we finished painting, we let the beds sit outside overnight. We used Benjamin Moore Advance paint, so thankfully the fumes weren't too bad. The next night we moved the beds into the kid's room. This part nearly killed us. Maybe it was because we were all tired and cranky from a weekend of painting, but it took us hours to get that thing up the stairs and rebuilt. Our poor kids didn't get to go to bed until like 11. It was insane.
And guess what? Once we moved it into the room, it became very obvious that I picked the wrong color. Yep. We'll have to repaint all forty of those slats. Hopefully only two coats this time.
For the time being, we're counting our blessings that the bed fits super well in the new space—even leaving room for the kid's Expedit shelf at the foot. And the best part is that the kids love it, and are even making progress with their frequent night-waking. We have schooled them extensively on bunk bed safety, and haven't had had any incidents yet.
By the way, the color looks better in the photos than it does in real life... It really is pretty clashy. When we are ready to repaint, we are just going to move the kids out of their room for a couple nights, open the windows, and paint it in place...
So, the moral of this story is this: if you see a set of free bunk beds by the side of the road, just keep on driving. Unless, of course, you are dying for some insanity...