So at the beginning of the week I shared the first part of our Tv unit build, it ended with our unit fully built and looking like this.
The second half of last week was spent painting and finishing up, basically just making it pretty. As solid as the 3/4″ MDF was, it certainly wasn’t pretty.
Before painting could begin, I got out the builders calk. I LOVE this stuff, its for filling gaps, and I wanted the unit to be seamless.
Once the Calk was dry, I gave the calked bits a light sand to smooth out any rough parts, before starting on the painting. Now, I love painting, but even for me painting this unit was tedious, it took three coats of Homebase Eggshell in brilliant white.
To get a pristine finish I had to follow a very specific routine. Painting in sections, I used a large roller, then painted the gaps with a paintbrush, before using a mini roller to blend the brush strokes with the part that had been rollered. The fantastic thing about this paint is that firstly, its quick drying time, it says 2-3 hours on the tin, but I found it was touch dry within half an hour and completely ready for a new coat within an hour. Also its a low Voc paint, this means the fumes were minimal, so I wasn’t being gassed out. Lastly, it is incredibly hard wearing. I highly recommend this paint if your doing a project that requires furniture or anything metal to be painted white.
I managed to get the first two coats up in one day, the last (by which point I had completely had enough of white paint) finished the day after.
You’ll notice that I haven’t painted the top lip of the unit, thats where the next part came in. Adding the top panel. This is what will join the cabinet to the ceiling and also hold the lights. We bought some beautiful wall lights from Ikea, I didn’t want to have to start faffing around getting electricians in, so we went for plug in wall lights as opposed to the ones that are connected to the mains. We created a gap at the bottom of the top panel, threading the wire under before attaching the panel to the unit.
From there the panel could be painted, before fixing the lamps to the brackets and attaching the brackets to the panel.
Last on the list was the cupboard doors, which meant bringing out the white paint again. These needed three coats on both sides, before they could go on.
There’s a little bit of push from the doors, they will fit flush one the new magnet thingys (I have absolutely no idea of the real name) have arrived and been fixed on.
We found our handles on Ebay, I think they’re a perfect mixture of old and new, they have an slight industrial nod, that ties in with the brackets holding the wall lamps, but in a real traditional way. They’re perfect.
All that was left to do was stand back and admire our work. I am absolutely in love with the new unit, it gives the room more space but gives us more storage as well. It’s been designed and made with our life in mind, meaning it fits and works perfectly, with the added bonus of it being SO beautiful.
Cost breakdown of Phase two:
Eggshell paint in brilliant white – £30 (for two, although i’ve still got 2/3 of the second tin left.)
Ikea Wall lamps – £36 (for both)
Cast iron handles -£16.18 (for 6)
Coax wire – £4.50 (needed to extend the virgin media box from it original place to the other side of the room)
Total cost – £86.68.
Phase one – £182.38
Phase two – £86.68.
Total project cost – £269.06 ( it would have been £40 cheaper if I hadn’t have made the mistake with measurements back at the start)
It seems like quite a lot, but actually we’ve done really well with the cost, our old Tv unit, (bought in German Ikea 4 years ago) cost us roughly £500 and its tiny compared to this one.
So, if any of you are thinking of tackling a big build like this, here’s a few things I learnt.
–Re-measure, and then again… and then ask someone to go over your measurements. And just before you go to buy your materials, remeasure one last time. Luckily my mistake didn’t cost too much to fix, but having only one measurement wrong could cost you a fortune in materials you can’t use.
–Remember practicalities. There is no back to the bottom set of drawers, this is how we climb through to behind the unit should wires need changing or replacing. The tiny circles in the back of the shelves, above the cupboards – they’re positioned exactly at the plug socket switches, so they can be turned on and off. I wasn’t happy about drilling a hole in the perfect- white shelf unit, but I would be more un-happy should my house set on fire from having plug sockets switched on constantly.
–If in doubt, ASK! Savoy (where we bought our MDF from) were fantastic. The unit originally was 33cm deep, one of the guys went over my plans and pointed out we’d save a fortune if we made them 30cm deep. He was right, those big sheets (which you have to buy whole, you can’t just buy what you need) cut perfectly into four lots of 30cm sheets. They also pointed out any potential flaws, meaning we could resolve them before it was built and realised it needed changing.
–Be open to changes. The cupboards were originally drawers, but this would A) cost more and B) take much longer to make. So we decided to make them into cupboards, something I am more than happy with now. The shelves, were originally split down the middle to make two sets of two either side the Tv. We realised this would make them closed in and so took out that middle leaving them wide.
So thats it, my lovely built in unit is finished, its been worth all the long hours of labour. There are some finishing touches to add, i’ll be on the lookout for pretty bits to adorn the new shelves, and my Instagram feed will no doubt become littered with Shelfies. But all the hard work is done, and i’m so ridiculously happy with the results. I catch myself just standing and staring at it every now and again, marvelling at the fact that in the space of a week it has come from an image in my mind to real life.
The little woman pretends.