Why my DIY project is DOA (or when to give up and move on)

I bought this pair amazing early-80's nightstands for $20.00 from Craigslist WAY back in July (!) with the intention of giving them a complete overhaul.

These are good pieces... very heavy. Solid wood. Manufactured by a well-known furniture maker.

The intention was to wood fill and sand the weird lined texture, then paint the wood areas a bright white. I'd use Rub 'n Buff to give the bright brass trim a more weathered, aged gold look. And finally, I'd find a cool bar pull as a handle. Easy enough, right?

Well, not so much. This veneered drawer front proved to be way more difficult to work with than I ever thought possible. When I was finished sanding them down, they looked like this:

I used wood fill to try to fill in the gaps.

The result was HILARIOUS. And frustrating.

I thought of a new tactic. I purchased thin sheets of plywood that I planned to jigsaw down to size then glue to the drawer front.

And it worked. So I bought paint and primer with the intention of starting the project any day now. This was in November. NOVEMBER. More than two months after starting the project in earnest and more than SEVEN months after buying the pieces, I STILL haven't finished... or even really started... this makeover. And after running the situation past Ali, I finally made a decision. I'm abandoning this project.

For a DIY/home design blogger and lover of refinishing furniture, this is an odd choice to make. After all, the whole idea of DIY is to create unique and inexpensive items that funnel creativity into something useful. This was the ultimate DIY in all the ways that count. But I realized that sometimes it's not enough. Dreading any home design project... having to FORCE yourself to do it is completely counter-intuitive to the DIY mission. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN! When it stops being fun, it starts becoming work. Also, the heaviness and size of the tables made them incredibly difficult to maneuver, making it a project that I'd have some help with. Not always possible for someone who lives alone with an unpredictable work schedule to arrange.

So I decided that even after all cash I'd already spent--a $70.00 total investment, the sweat equity I'd still have to put into it to finish was worth more to me on a different project. And taking it off my to-do list felt awesome.

Come Wednesday morning, these pieces I'd planned on so lovingly making over will be perched on the curb, awaiting the scavengers to come and pick their bones. I hope that someone out there will see the same potential I did and choose to finish the project. 

In the end, it's not just about knowing when to give up but understanding why sometimes you need to. Having the balls to admit that you've lost interest in seeing a project to fruition or aren't actually capable of finishing it (be it beyond your skill of physical strength) is a powerful thing. I can't wait to spend the time and energy that I would've spent on this project on something else more worthwhile.

R.I.P. Tracey's nightstand project. 2014-2015.