BEFORE WE START, WE WERE ABLE TO MAKE THIS UNIT FOR UNDER $400 BECAUSE OF THE PIECES WE WERE ABLE TO GET, AND THE STUFF WE ALREADY HAD TO HAND. YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO SOURCE STUFF QUITE AS CHEAP, OR MAYBE EVEN CHEAPER! THE POINT IS, CREATING CUSTOM FURNITURE IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK!
For the longest time, the corner of our lounge room was kind of a dead zone. We all have a deadzone in our houses, that spot where nothing really looks right, and it usually ends up being the dumping ground for random flotsam. To make matters worse, ours was immediately seen from the front door, and a focal point of our main living area. Bummer. It also housed our disused TV, now don’t get me wrong, we’re screen fiends, but we were never able to watch our TV during the day because it upset our eldest son, and at night, our radar ear youngest, wouldn’t sleep because he strained to hear every morsel of sound. Enter, a deadzone.
I knew the design I wanted, a Hamptons style, white, hutch kinda deal. I found some online for the bargin price of $2800. Yeah, nah. I will say, US peeps will likely have a better time finding cheaper units ready made, sadly the Hamptons style is harder to find in OZ. Boo.
I scoured Facebook Marketplace, my new favourite place to find stuff (like eBay USED to be!), and let me tell you, this wasn’t a 5 minute process. I checked every day or so for nearly a month until I found the right pieces.
First off the rank, the Filing Cabinet Drawers. These were brilliant. I wanted filing cabinet drawers, as I wanted to store files in them (which since Covid-19 hit, includes homeschooling stuff!), and we wanted and NEEDED solid pine, as our eldest son is something of a wreaking ball.
FYI, if you have a kid that breaks walls, Melomine is the shizzzle. I digress.
We painted them with a brilliant undercoat, Dulux Precision Surface Prepare, that is designed to cover pretty much anything, including slick surfaces, and since I don’t have the drive to sand multiple square metres of wood, I was planning to paint straight over lacquer. Absolutely perfect coverage. Highly recommend. Its about $40 a litre though, so thankfully we already had some, as it goes a LONG way.
Next buy was the Hutch. An absolute fluke, I managed to find a 2.2 metre Cedar Pine, hutch only. And it WAS a fluke, as so many hutches are made standard to 1200mm or 1800mm at maximum, so it was a stroke of absolute luck to find one almost the right size, and so CHEAP! What worked in our favour here was that hutches are so 1980’s, everyone has one, and no one really wants one. They take up heaps of space, and only hold the plates your parents got as an engagement present 40 years ago. The other boon, absolutely no one wants one 2.2 metres. In fact the seller clarified that I understood the measurements! It was in basically perfect condition, and the seller was even able to deliver it for us. Win.
At this point, we’ve now undercoated and painted about 6 square metres, 5 times. We watched the entire Pirates of the Caribbean series while painting this hutch. There IS nothing you cannot achieve with Pirates of the Caribbean music in the background.
The one thing I just could NOT track down, was a length of timber or bench. I had my eye out for kitchen benchtops (as I knew that what ever we used, would have to survive pencils at the very least). We settled on a truly stunning piece of Ash wood, which we bought brand new, and was the most expensive piece of the whole thing, especially as its 2.4 metres long! We coated the bench with Cabots Benchtop Clear, which is great for sealing wood, and its even food safe (which is good because I have kids and kids are weirdos), which I also didn’t count, as we already had that too, but its about $45 a litre, so make sure you need it for a few projects, or borrow some from a friend! There was also 3 coats of that, with sanding in between. You gotta really want to NOT part with money for this sort of thing!
We assembled the hutch (fun fact, its waaay taller than me, so lifting the hutch onto the bench was equal parts funny and scary. Definitely glad my husband is strong or I would have been chasing tweety birds!) A few thick brackets on the back to hold it all together and stop it from tipping, and boom! Done!
We have since also added some locks on some of the drawers and doors to keep out eldest monkey out, which we already had (yes, in case you are wondering, my husband is a Tradie, and has TWO sheds. We have it, what ever it is, we have it. He even has a box of single door knobs from his days at Hudsons. We have it)
So the costs were:
- Hutch: $100 (including $20 delivery)
- Filing Cabinet Drawers: $100 (we picked them up)
- Ash Benchtop: $173 (we borrowed the free Bunnings trailer to pick it up)
- sundry others pieces which we already had not counted, but If we had to buy the paint and bits and pieces, it would have added about $150.
Total for the build: AU$373, which is AMAZING, especially considering the ones we looked at STARTED at $2800. Now as I said, depending on what’s available where you are, or what you have lying around, this could costs you less or more than it did us.
Key take aways from this project:
- Facebook Marketplace is awesome
- It does actually pay to save things (don’t tell my husband I said that, it will only encourage him)
- I’m short. Like almost to the point of injury
- With Pirates of the Caribbean, anything is possible
- It pays to be a cheapskate.
Links in this blog are NOT affiliate. They are just helpful links to the stuff we used. I was not paid or recompensed in anyway for this post. Wouldn’t that be nice!