Tuesday, May 21, 2013

That time I ran a bunch and refinished dressers

This weekend I was busy. Like really busy.

I woke up early Saturday to beat the heat for my long run and then was instantly mesmerized like a child while watching a huge helicopter remove and replace AC units on a building near mine. As a result, the run was delayed 45 minutes. But it was totally worth it!

I ended up running 14 miles in 2 hours- one of my longest runs this year. It was hot. But felt really good to sweat. The path was crowded but not too bad. I took one salt tab around mile 7 and water from the fountains. Gu/carb loading are seriously overrated. (In my opinion). Try running long without carb loading the night before or try not taking any GU during a long run. See what happens, I dare you.

Totem waaaay north of my place.

When I returned from my run, I had one major goal: to refinish my new ikea dressers

I had put the 3 "Rast" dressers together the night before.

After getting a super yummy iced mocha drink from Caribou post run, it was refinish all the dressers time!

my basket of dresser refinishing supplies- Cheesecloth for applying stain, ebony stain, gloves, brushes for the polyurethane, sandpaper, tact cloth for removing debris and paint thinner.

The stain went on easy. It was just time consuming for the 3 dressers and 9 drawers.

After 1 coat.

Every 2 hours I would put another coat of stain on, for a grand total of 3 coats.

after 3 coats

Then I was exhausted. And it was time to let the stain dry over night before applying the polyurethane.

Sunday I took the CB dog on a run. It was hot and we ran/walked. He was enjoying himself immensely. I love seeing my little man so happy!

After our run it was time to finish the dresser project. I had to sand the dressers/drawers and then use the tact cloth to get all the dust/debris off of the surface before applying the polyurethane.

CB passed out and I was jealous.

After applying one coat, I let it sit for a while. Once it was dry, I decided one coat was enough. (Mainly because it looked nice and because I was done with this project!)

The finished product!!

I bought some stainless steel knobs (also from Ikea) to complete the look. But, I didn't buy enough (thought there was one knob per drawer instead of 2) so the final 4 drawers will get their knobs this week when the extra ones arrive.

All in all it was a good project for a weekend. I am very happy with how the dressers came out and am already thinking about more projects like this to do in the future. While this project wasn't difficult at all, it was very time consuming.

Overall cost:

$35 per dresser at Ikea
$60 worth of supplies to refinish them.
$5 per 2 knobs from ikea
Priceless- my time.

The average cost per dresser ended up being around $70.

I wanted these to be simple- dark stain to match our other furniture and better knobs than the stock knobs that came with the set.

There are loads of pages on the Internet devoted to "Ikea Hacks" which show you how to take boring Ikea furniture and turn it into something amazing, if you're into doing a project like this.

- xaar


  1. I'm with you on the minimal approach to long runs. I think half of it is mental, thinking you need to do X,Y, and Z to do it. When its usually just steady breathing and maybe lip balm. Granted in the heat, I do cave to some hydration.

    1. YES. I do think a lot of it is mental. I use GU in longer races, but for training, I go pretty minimal. And lip balm is ALWAYS a necessity!

  2. What a packed weekend! I love the rest shots of you and CB between the coats. LOL! What a great outcome! You are so thrifty. I love how they turned out :)

    Wouldn't it be cool if your job was to move AC units by helicopter? Okay, it's probably not as cool as it sounds, but I'd be hooked to watching it too ;)

    When I was lighter this winter I could go further sans GU, but I really struggle running more than 12 without something to eat. My body needs the fuel during the run. A few summers ago, that was my big issue - getting hungry on runs! That is why I started taking real food with me, for the longer-ish ones.

  3. Dressers look awesome! Nice job. I always start things like that and end up with a half stained piece of furniture with no knobs. No follow through over here. Random question- what salt tabs do you use? I am a super sweaty runner and know you have recommended these before for those of us who excel at sweating. I would like to try these and see if I can keep it together better during the last miles of my long runs.

    1. Thanks! While I was refinishing them I wanted to quit and never do it again. Now im thinking about more things I could do :)

      Try Salt Stick. They might change your life.

  4. I think CB needs to be a model for Ikea! It was nice of him to pose in the before & after pictures for you.

    Hmmm, I wonder if we may have crossed paths on Saturday? I was out between Fullerton and somewhere south of Buckingham Fountain between 9 and 11. And that helicopter was changing out a/c units? Wow! I never even considered that's how it would be done in taller buildings.

    1. hehe thanks :) CBs a cutie, when he actually looks at the camera!

      I finished around 10am by Roosevelt so we might have crossed paths :) I had run north from the aquarium 6 miles and back.

      It was a spectacle when a helicopter replaced the antenna on the willis tower last year. I watched it non stop for 1.5 hours!

    2. I think Erin and I turned around near Roosevelt at around 10, so you probably passed us at some point! I was probably dumping water all over myself or something :)

      We should meet up on Saturday! My corral doesn't start until 7:30, but my husband needs to be there at 6:45, so I'll be down there pretty early with him...

  5. That time you posted a totem pic that reminded me of the "Nootka" and gourds painted blue like whales. Did you ever know that one meaning of that word is "circling about"? Kinda apropos, staring at a helicopter...or reminiscing. The Japanese word to use here is "natsukashii" (spoken aloud as an exclamation) which basically means "that's nostalgic" minus having any longing to go back. Keep up the projects and the positivity :) !!!

    As always, happy thoughts for ya,


  6. I love weekends like those where you can have fun but still accomplish a lot. Dressers look great, the price of knobs/handles always floors me!

  7. Aww, pictures of your runner/dog make me so happy! I wish my little guy could run. But he is coming to work with me tomorrow, so that should be hilarious an slightly frightening.

  8. Yes! That totem pole is definitely north! Congrats on your long run - and your dresser project. I need to start more DIY type projects - but I just get too lazy!

  9. Are they sturdy? Do the drawers go all the way to the back?

  10. Whoa, impressive on all the work you put into those dressers! Nice job!

    I would probably watch that helicopter work on the AC units too lol

    Awesome on going to Lolla last year! I've always wanted to go to that, hopefully I make it over there sometime. That's cool that you saw Amadou & Mariam too, I saw them play at Coachella 2006 my first year - awesome times. Florence & the Machine is also great live.