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Monday, July 23, 2012

We built a bed! DIY Wooden Headboard

Last weekend a friend called and asked what we were up to.
My reply, "Building a bed."
Really?  Can you do that?   
"Sure.  Why not?"

I feel like I always get a similar response to people when we're working on a project.  Especially the guys that work at the hardware store.  Why do they always assume I don't know what I'm doing?  It is so frustrating.  And annoying.  I'll be looking at nail guns or sorting through pieces of lumber and they'll come up and ask me what I need.  I'll say something like, "I'm building a bed" or "I'm making a wood counter top for my kitchen island" or "I'm creating a bathroom vanity out of a dresser," and they start explaining to me why I can't do whatever it is I want to do.  

I've got new for you people : Yes, I can and will.  
I don't mean to sound "know-it-all-y," and I do know that there are things that I actually can not do (at this point in time... until I google it and figure it out, that is). 
Oh, and when I say "I" I really mean "we" - as you can see Mike has really expanded my repertoire of skills.  

I feel like this mind-set is what sets people apart from others- in everything, not just furniture building and home improvement projects, of course.

I also used to run into this problem a lot when I was a wedding planner - I would have a vision for something, like how the reception space should be set up.  The event space coordinator would say things like, "We usually do it this way" or "Um... well, we have never done it that way" and they would get this really nervous look on their face like, "You're going to take me out of my comfort zone and make me actually think today, aren't you?"  Yes.  Yes, I am.

Even when I worked at my 'real' job at an advertising agency before leaving to start my own business, when I would go to my supervisors and suggest implementing a creative new system would making things more efficient and easier, I would be met with a, "Well we've always done it this way- maybe we should just keep doing it the same way we've always done it" response that sent my mind spinning into an Office Space type of moment. 

I just wanted to stand and up and shout at them, "You are crazy."  But then I would've been the one that looked crazy.  All is well in the end, because when I told them I was going to quit to start my own business, they, of course, looked at me like I was crazy.  The lesson : You can't help the vision-less.  There are those of us that have it.  And those of that don't.  Feel bad for them.  Don't yell at them and tell them they are crazy.  

Clearly I was in desperate need of a more creative outlet if I was spending my days thinking of new fancy excel sheets to make my day more exciting.

Actually, I love spreadsheets.  In fact, I spend a lot of time maintaining my spreadsheets for my business, parties, projects, our home and our savings.  I just want to be clear- I'm not insulting spreadsheets or those of you who work with them all day long.  Creativity comes in many ways.

Maybe someday I'll share all of the spreadsheets that I've designed?  They make me smile.  What could I categorize them under?  My Life?  Home? 

It seems that this post has gotten a little off-topic.  Or has it?  The moral of the story is to open yourself to do something you think you can't do.

Push yourself.  You might end up with something beautiful.  Be it spreadsheet or bed.  

This bed was inspired by the Sommerset Bed from Pottery Barn that is no longer available (in a Queen size).  So, I did a little research and found plans for building this bed at my new favorite site, Anna White.  If this post hasn't been enough inspiration for you to push your carpentry limits, her easy to follow projects will.  

We built the headboard first, and plan to build the base/frame later this month.  I used the following combination to achieve the finish (I'm including this so when we go back to make the bed base I won't forget) : 

1st : Sand, Sand & Sand
2nd : Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (Minwax)
3rd : Stain mixed in equal parts : Special Walnut, Provencal & Golden Pecan (Mixwax), brushed on and left on
4th : Special Walnut & Weathered Oak (Minwax), brushed on, then wiped off
5th : Light sand & buff
6th : Danish Oil rubbed on.
7th : Light sand & buff.


  1. Anonymous11:13 AM


  2. I think your headboard looks terrific. Why buy them when you can take pride in doing it yourself (so long as it looks good in the end).

  3. Gorgeous! Love Ana White. I get that same reaction at Lowes every time. Just this weekend I was getting nails for my nail gun (MY nail gun) and the guy says, " Oh I'll be right over, I KNOW you're gonna need some help." So insulting. I just said, "Nope, thanks, I'll be fine, just need some 2.5" 16 gauge finish nails."

  4. What a lovely project...and I also like the 'moral' behind your story - something I think many people (myself included) can benefit from being reminded of every now and then...

  5. Gorgeous! I love reading your blog and always enjoy hearing about your latest project.

  6. Turned out lovely! and my question was going to be "How much sanding did it require?" (which I hate doing) and you answered it in your list at the end before I could ask!

  7. Love the bed! But, I especially loved the moral of the story. I actually just got a promotion at my "real" job. It's great. I'm thankful for the opportunity. I love to learning new things & I absolutely LOVE change & shaking things up a bit, unlike most in an office, who like to do it the way its always been done. I still find myself sitting in my cubicle day dreaming of creative ways I could make a living outside of the "norm". One day I know I will do it! Not sure just how...or what it will look like exactly...but I know that it will eventually happen. For now I love reading your blog before I head off to my "real" job. Thanks for sharing this post:) Carrie

  8. EmilyH10:45 AM

    Looks wonderful! Well done!

  9. Gutsy move! It looks fabulous, you must be thrilled. We've done a lot of our own upgrades too.. thankfully my husband has Enginering background!


  10. Well done!! Such a tasteful headboard ..... I love the classic look.

  11. I love this, Jenny! You two are so talented!

  12. Great job! Love your design!
    When we built our home (we didn't do the building, but we did do lots of work like insulating, etc.) We sanded, stained, and finished all the pine boards for all the floors in our house. We used Danish Oil too. It looked great and held up well. But, I almost set the house on fire when I left the Danish Oil rags in a pile on a piece of cardboard in the center of the great room when we left for dinner. We came back to the house with a burning smell and charred cardboard. I think it was only moments before disaster. Lesson learned...always always dump the rags in a bucket of water.
    Can't wait to see what else you've got a vision for!!!

  13. That headboard is gorgeous! I love the clean lines of it, as well as the lovely wood stain colour. Your words are very inspiring, too. You're making me want to get off my bum and make something! :)

  14. This is so fab!! PB would charge $900 for headboard like that. Kudos to you & Mike and thanks for sharing your amazing ideas! I making the ottoman for my great room.

  15. Well done! This headboard is beautiful...and I love your bed linens, too, by the way. :-)

  16. What a fantastic job you've both done. I understand exactly what you are saying about people not having faith in your ideas etc, I have always come across that and even now with my blog I have people saying but you spend so much time and it's not bringing in much. I say, you have to start small and sew the seed and if you feed it well then it will grow and blossom. My little blog has gone from just family reading it one year ago to over 11,000 page views a month now.

    I would love to link up this project with your blog. I often share the wonderful diy or recipes you post.

    Thank you for sharing this idea today, I am sure it will inspire many to realise that you can do things yourself, you don't have to always buy.

    Lee ☺

  17. Jenny Steffens Hobick6:49 PM

    Thanks everyone!

    Lee Caroline - I'd love for you to link it - thanks!

    Kim Grey - Go for it!

    Diane - OMG... thanks for the warning! I had no idea it was that flammable. Your floors are gorgeous!

    Carrie - I remember feeling the same way. You'll find your out someday!

  18. Love it. Where did you purchase the lamps shown? I love them.

  19. www.beforenomore.blogspot,com
    Looks Awesome! I would love to try and make one.

  20. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone! Love the bed!

  21. Turned out beautiful. I love the molding. I am an avid follower of Ana White, so many modifiable plans! Be sure to check out Georgia's page too, she is super handy with a 2x4 and inspired quite a few of my projects.

  22. I love it,but do you have a DIY. I would love to make this for my room.

  23. COuld you give more detailed info on what moulding you used? I love it but neither Ana White's plans nor this blog is particularly clear about the molding


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