Once upon a time, I built a shelf with my dad.
I was sharing a 400 square foot apartment back then, so a nice tall shelf with a tiny little footprint was a great way to get a lot of storage in a small space. My dad's the king of cheap and sturdy design, so the whole thing was only about $30 worth of 2x4's, heavy plywood, and sixteen 4" carriage bolts. The shelf is unbelievably strong. I think it would survive a nuclear holocaust. At the end of time, it'll be this shelf, and cockroaches, and Twinkies (assuming an optimistic outcome for Hostess).
The apartment was a really low-rent place with old brown carpet, minimal windows, and dank brown brick walls that occasionally sprouted tufts of mysterious black mold. I figured that staining/varnishing the shelf with the warmest, happiest, nature-loviest color I could find would bring a little sunshine into that dank apartmentcave.
I chose "Fruitwood." Little did I know that "Fruitwood" would be so orange. Like the worst self-tanning mistake of my early adolescence. Like an Ode to Oompa Loompa, rendered in furniture.
For 10 years, "Fruitwood" has been punishing me with its surprising, regrettable orangeness. For 10 years, I've kept that shelf in a dim room because it has a weird radioactive glow in full light.
I'm also secretly kind of worried that I lack the style. (I mean this the nicest way possible, but if there's an anti-aesthetic gene, my parents unapologetically have it. Assuming autosomal dominance and Mendelian inheritance, that means I'm basically screwed.) What if I tackled the project and made things go from bad to worse? ...or orange to worse, in this case. My deepest fear of the project outcome is generally shown here:
- Home Depot for a quart of Glidden paint in White Muslin, a 1/2" bristle brush, and a 6" roller
- Blue tarp dropcloth I found at the bottom of my sleeping bag stuff sack. It originally came from a 2-pack of tarps, the other of which was used to make a gigantic kite two summers ago.
- I free-handed the outline of the branches and leaves then painted everything else white, so the tree itself is still the original Fruitwood peeking through. Fruitwood turns out to be a nice color in small doses.
I'm pleased to report the entire project is 100% free of twinkle lights, maribou feathers, pink tinsel, or strategically-placed snowman heads. Therein lies the real victory!