Snow flurries fell all day Saturday but it gave me the perfect opportunity to finish the last bit of painting in our living room. After checking that room redo off my mental list that evening (yahoo), of course I didn't waste any time moving on to another project. When I suggested the idea that has been on my mind for... oh, the last six months... to Justus, he actually grabbed a pen and paper to start drawing up some ideas. So yesterday afternoon we braved the cold (although it really wasn't too bad) and dug into the pile of old barn wood we've had sitting on our deck to make a little shelving unit for one wall in our kitchen.
I promised Justus all he would have to do was cut the wood, hang it and I would do the rest. You know, he would do everything but sand! Sound fair?
He just loves when I take pictures of him for my blog!
We moved the wood around for a while before deciding on a design and what wood we would use where. I'm not exactly sure how old this wood is, but I imagine around 100 years... as you can see,
some most of it was extremely weathered.
After this, I sanded...and sanded...and sanded. The piece on the left is what this 2x4 originally looked like and the piece on the right is what it looked like after sanding. Basically I sanded until it was as smooth to the touch as I could get it.
After sanding each piece from every angle, I applied a coat of butcher block oil (I love this food-safe oil from Watco). Once it dried (pretend I waited the amount of time it says on the back), I gave it another light sanding and brought all the pieces inside. I made sure they were clean before Justus hung them. Once he finished, I applied another light coat of oil. I allowed it to dry overnight and applied one more light coat this morning.
I knew the piece would look rustic, but my hope was that I could preserve its character while giving it a nice, finished look. I wanted it to match our reclaimed wood butcher block countertops, both in color and design. When Justus first hung the shelves, it took me a little time to get used to its rugged look. I know this look isn't for everyone, but I have to say that I really love how they turned out. I think they might just be the perfect fit for our not-perfect farmhouse (smile).
I knew the minute I saw these old planks they would be perfect for shelves, because they are so wide and thick. We used the very weathered 2x4s as brackets for the shelves. There were two of them, bolted together, so you can actually see some of the holes.
The dark streaks visible in the wood are a result of the type of saw used back then when it was cut into lumber.
Justus had the idea of using the more narrow planks for the back of the unit. He cut the bottom planks at an angle to give the shelving unit a more finished look.
One thing I love about old, hard wood is that it's not necessary to stain... allow the wood to soak in a little oil and it really shows its beautiful, natural color.
I could hardly wait to put all my pretty dishes on the shelves. I filled the shelves with my white Mikasa dishes and some vintage pieces and they looked beautiful... but then my practical side kicked in and I kept looking to the side of our kitchen where my most-used cookbooks sit on precious countertop space.
In the end practicality won... some of the white dishes went back in the dining room, but there was plenty of room for a little pretty and functional! (And, actually, I do find cookbooks pretty too.)
Sometime this spring my farm table will be moved (and oh, how I will miss it), and we'll have another countertop here and cabinet underneath. It will be wonderful to have some additional countertop space... needless to say, I'm anxious to start the second phase of our kitchen renovation!
Speaking of... this weekend I also discovered original hardwood floors in our kitchen, but Justus is definitely pretending like he doesn't hear me when I suggest tearing out our current floor! Do you feel sorry for Justus being married to me? Yes, me too!
Have a great week!