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I have figured out how the “before and after” makeover shows work. The reveal is brief, the remodel long. I know why the reveal is brief. The makeover looks good but they want to get you off the scene and out of the pictures before it ceases to work and starts to fall apart.

I have spent days sanding, painting and building two lingerie chests for us. Finding a chest that is not more than 16 1/2 inches wide but is deeper than 10 inches and taller than 26 inches is not easy. I had to find two. Our Cruise Ship bedroom is 8 feet wide, a total of 96 inches. To accommodate two adults and a dog, we found a queen size bed the length of a regular bed so we could get it into the room and still walk by. We have a tiny closet. We needed chests to put our undies and socks and t-shirts in.

One of the unfortunate things about shopping on the internet is that you can actually know how many things you looked at before you settled on yours. The page says, 1 of 683 and I looked at each one of them. I honestly looked at thousands of items online. Soon I was cycling back to the same  101 chests none of which was the right size or cost over $200 which I was not willing to spend. Finally I found some chests on ebay that were the perfect size. They were tall enough to be useful but not so tall as to keep you from reaching up and dropping your book as you drifted off to sleep. They were exactly 16 1/2″ wide, 15 5/8″ deep and 39 1/2 ” high. We could have two for under $140. They were X-mart particle board and plastic seconds but they were furniture. Of sorts.

I knew I could make them look better. They were pretty yucky. I remember the time when we were young that I would have saved for months and treasured my particle board chest in favor of a card board one I retired. Now I am retired and particle board is about the same level as card board. I know it is ungrateful to be snooty, particularly because of losing everything to the wildfire that burned our house.

The Cruise Ship is a sort of social experiments. Can two older adults live in 390 square feet with a 50 pound dog and 50 workers pounding on the walls above. We all have to learn to ignore each other and get on with our respective tasks. I told our contractor he would not see hide nor hair of us except one of our hands extended from the Cruise Ship door holding an exquisite cup of coffee for him when he tromped in each morning from his crew cab truck to work in my living room. I think of us as a Drive Thru coffee stand. We are here if you need us but otherwise we are just part of the landscape.

We shall see how well that works.

I do imagine that after working on it so hard to have the Cruise Ship ready for us to move in, people will want to see what the Cruise Ship looks like. Enter my drawers. They had to be functional but they have to look nice too. Nice for us and nice so we can properly show off when the people who built our Ship come to respectfully ogle how it looks decorated. Frankly, at 390 square feet I figured things had to work and be aesthetically pleasing or the construction workers would arrive one morning only to find that there had been some reconstruction during the night.

In order to make it snappy and to help balance our chimney shaped rooms that are 8 feet by 7 feet rooms with10 feet ceilings I decided to make things on the lower part of the room black and the upper part cream. For example, the base kitchen cabinet (there is only one) is black and the wall cabinet (only one here too) is cream. In the bedroom I extended the black over the bed to make it like a headboard with book shelves rising almost to the ceiling. The black chests go there.

Making over two small chests seemed a simple enough task. The handwriting was on the wall, though. I just did not pay attention. Paint plastic covered particle board in an unheated garage in January in Montana. Not a pretty picture. They are painted but I am not sure for how long. There are places where the paint just rolls off like museum putty. I put polyurethane over the paint and it made a poly-crackle finish. I sanded that down and painted again with black and it is holding well on the drawers and pretty much on the top. The sides are another story. They will be hidden. I am not going to think about it.

5 drawer chestblack chest of drawers by fireplace, clock on chest, flowers on fireplace mantel



Which leads me to why the reveals are so short. You can get it to look they way they do in the “five easy steps” shows but you cannot get it to work like that. My black chests are makeover poster children. My drawer knobs were 6 for 99 cents in the sale bin. I paid $6 for paint. I paid $67 for each chest. I cannot open the drawers.

We decided tonight that the home and garden shows are useful but should not be taken literally. Watch. No one ever opens the drawers of those “in 5 easy steps” projects. No one ever opens them because no one can. Our project is “in 6 easy steps.” We made the last step up. We are going to take a sander to the particle board and fix that pesky drawer problem.