Laurel's Vanity: Finished!

I previously alluded to this project taking longer than anticipated. Well, it didn't take this long. Laurel's been primping at her vanity for the past couple of months. I blame True Detective, Game of Thrones, and every crime-based drama on Netflix (also, my overall dislike for editing photos) for delaying this follow up post. I promise it won't be a constant theme with this blog. (It may be a constant theme). 

So here's what happened:

Common sense dictated I should paint the walls gold, tape everything off, then paint white over it all. Upon removing the tape I would uncover my crisp gold lines zigging and zagging across a smooth white background. Instead, however, I convinced myself that conventional wisdom need not be heeded in this situation. In fact, it would actually be best to paint the lines by hand – as an attempt to more closely achieve the imperfections visible in the inspiration wallpaper. 

After removing and patching the holes left from the original lower closet rod I applied two coats of Valspar Signature paint in Gilded Endive then started taping off some guidelines to follow.

The paint color for the gold lines was called Camel Ride and I added in some Valspar Paint Crystals to try to give it a slight metallic sheen. 

Attempt 1:

The idea, albeit faulty, was to simultaneously paint each line while slowly removing the tape. This was obviously tedious and mid-way through I went rogue and just started eye-balling it. The end-result landed somewhere between the cover art for No Doubt Rock Steady and an unintentional mural of bamboo shoots.  

Attempt 2:

Not yet ready to accept defeat I determined I simply needed to paint another coat over the lines. To help combat an unsteady hand my solution was to tape around the existing lines and paint within the tape.  WHAAA? What was I thinking?! 

Attempts 3, 4, 5, and 6:

I quickly gave up on the notion of taping around the lines and convinced myself that what I really needed to do was carefully use a small brush to repaint every.single.line. This would help them get that solid look they were missing. 

Over the course of the next two weeks in every spare moment before and after work I returned to that closet and painstakingly painted those lines coat after coat, hour after hour, attempting to redeem my efforts up to that point. With each coat the lines did get darker; they also got wider and increasingly dissimilar to the inspiration wallpaper. When thin spots and bad coverage were still visible after my fourth attempt I was finally ready to concede defeat. 

Attempt 7:

 I did what I should have done from the beginning:

It worked. Touch ups were still necessary, but this was the closest I'd gotten to achieving the vision! 

During any down-time when I wasn't at Laurel's painting those forsaken lines (and concurrently cursing my tedious concept) I worked at home preparing the other components of the space. Using some leftover 2x4s from a previous project, and a hacksaw (it's all I had!) I created some, ahem, "rustic" sconces. 

My method was simple: Hold saw at angle and attempt to manually create a mitered cut. Attach (surprisingly acceptable) newly mitered piece to a separate non-mitered piece by applying copious amounts of wood glue. Affix masking tape to hold newly glued pieces together (after googling "how to keep freshly glued wood together if I don't have clamps?"). Allow ample dry time, then secure with two screws (just to be safe).  

I also wanted to incorporate a desktop that fit the entire width of the space. Inspired by this post, I purchased an edge-glued panel from Lowes–no hacksaw necessary. I applied four coats of stain and two of polyurethane to the sconces and desktop. My dining room table looked like this for a really long time:

After the painting and staining were complete it was time for the fun part. All the various wares I'd been hoarding for this project could finally be installed.

I'm really happy with how Laurel's vanity turned out! It was a fun exercise in conceptualizing and executing a design for a (no-pressure) client and helped me gain some experience and a little more confidence.

Parting Before/After Shot: