July 25, 2011

#52-I Built a Couch!

Yep, you read that right.  And it felt so good to say that I'll say it again- I built a couch! Not just any couch, but a sectional that could sit at least 6 people.  All thanks to the super amazing Ana White.  Haven't been to Ana-White.com yet?  She's a mom and a home maker from Alaska that began building her own furniture because all the beautiful, designer furniture she loved was way out of her price range.  (Sounds familiar.)  Now she not only shares her work, but she provides step by step instructions for hundreds of different pieces, including materials lists, cut lists and full diagrams.  The minute I saw this post for her take on the West Elm Wood Slat Sectional, I knew I needed it in our screened in porch like the Hubs needs his remote for his new toilet.

I mean, just take a look at how beautiful it looks in West Elm's catalog.  Seriously, its like design porn:

My first major task, getting all the wood purchased and to my home.  The materials list was easy to follow, and after adding up all my pieces, I discovered that I needed (36) 8'x1"x4"s.  That's a lot of sticks of wood.  To top it off I ran to the store over my lunch hour, so it must have been pretty hilarious to watch a girl in a business skirt and heels try to load up and push a flat bed cart full of wood up to the check out. The good news is that (36) 1 x 4s cost me just $67, (of course they were on sale, don't you know me at all?) and building a sectional that seats 6 for $67 feels like stealing.  That evening after the boys went to bed I decided to cut and build the first piece.  I figured it was best to start with the first one, and build it to completion, just to make sure I understood all the instructions and didn't have any problems.   I figured that if all went well I could mass produce the rest the next couple of days.  It went pretty well, and I'm not going to walk you through how to build this step by step, because Ana's got all that covered and then some with her tutorial.  I will share with you a few suggestions as you follow her plan though.

1. Read through all the instructions before you start dummy.  Yep, that's like the #1 rule for pretty much everything, but of course I thought I was too smart for that.  So when I got to step #3 that said, "Do this step prior to doing steps 1 & 2 if you are using a Kreg Jig, I pretty much threw my hammer.

2. If you can, use a Kreg Jig.  Haven't heard of that before?  It's a sweet little tool that allows you to connect 2 boards perpendicularly without any screws showing.  The pocket screw this jig creates not only looks better, but holds your 2 boards together much more securely.  A Kreg Jig will run you about $99, but if you plan to build any other furniture projects any time in the future, it will pretty much pay for itself.

3. If you're going to use a Kreg Jig, make sure to build Ana's template for a center (armless) piece first.  She has lots of suggestions in that tutorial for using the Kreg that aren't included in the corner piece tutorial, probably because it would be redundant.  I unfortunately built a corner piece first, so I definitely had a few live and learn moments.  (Which is to say I cursed like a sailor at a pile of wood before my neighbors walked by with their baby.  I blame them for walking a baby at 9:30 at night.) 

So after night one, I cleaned up my mess, (well, sort of), and was left with this:

P.S.- That board hanging off the top of the back rest is not connected and is not supposed to be there.  I just was too lazy to remove it before snapping the picture.  It was after midnight on a work night, give a girl a break. 
Not too bad for one evenings work.  Building the first piece probably took me 2.5 hours all in, mostly because I had to go back a few times and redo my work.  But I was feeling pretty good about it when all was said and done, and ready to take on the rest of it.  Not that evening though, I try to save my crazy for the weekend.  And that my friends, is tomorrow's story.  But until then, what do you think?  Build anything lately?  Anyone else shopped for outdoor furniture lately?  Not only is it really tough to find something clean and modern, but it's so incredibly expensive!


  1. Wow, wow, wow. I can't wait to see how the rest of the couch turns out. I haven't attempted to build outdoor furniture yet but I am eyeing an Adirondack Chair pattern...

  2. Alana S-RJuly 25, 2011

    You are unequivocally my new role model. Fanfreakingtastic!!