Category Archives: Carpentry

Southwestern Spindle Side Tables



I’m prepping for Market Days this Saturday, and needed a few more pieces to fill up the booth. I had some 15″ wood rounds I bought from Lowe’s ages ago, hoping to use them for the Tractor Seat Stools. I didn’t need them then, but they sure are looking great now!



All it took to build this table was a 15″ round and three stair spindles. I had a large stash to pull from since a friend gave me a bunch that she found on the side of the road, I believe. I cut each spindle on a 5″ bevel on both ends, parallel, and set them for a 24″ height. Then I just countersunk holes from the top and used glue and 2″ screws to attach the legs. 20 minutes later, I had two very cute stools!



Instead of my typical staining action, I decided to get a little fun with the finish. I painted them coral and teal, thinking I was going to do a beach theme and paint a sand dollar and starfish on the tops. Then I looked at the color combo a little more closely and realized how similar it was to my Southwestern Faux Transom Window.



See what I mean? Exact match! So I decided to use that design in the center pane and give the tops a decorative look.



I really love how shapely these legs are. It makes the table a bit fancier than the rustic look I tend to favor.




I’m really excited to see how these fare in the booth! Fingers crossed they sell quickly so I can go shopping 😉


Reclaimed Railroad Tie Outdoor Coffee Table


After putting the porch on the back burner for several months, one night we finally kicked ourselves into gear and made a coffee table. The rustic look fits in well with the vibe we have going on out here.



We had all the materials on hand, but they’re not too hard to source. You can buy railroad ties at McCoys for about $10.50 per 8 foot stick. Which means the materials for this table will cost less than $30.



Our table is a bit on the smaller side, measuring 36″ long, 24″ wide and 14″ tall. The ties we had were already cut at three feet, so that was our jumping off point. Here’s how we did it:

2 – 6x8x8 railroad ties or dimensional cedar if you don’t like chemicals
8 – 10″ lag bolts, washers and nuts
4 pack of L brackets

4 – 6×8 @ 36″ (top)
2 – 6×8 @ 22″ (legs)
2 – 2×4 @ 20″ (support)




As far as construction, it was very straightforward. We cut a 2×4 at 20″ long and drilled 4 pocket holes to attach it to the leg piece (set 6″ long and 8″ high). This gave us something to drill the bolts in through.



Each hole was pre-drilled with a 1/4″ paddle bit, then the bolts were hammered through. Once they made it past the 2×4, place the washers and nuts on and tighten.



The L-brackets keep the legs from wobbling. This table is super sturdy and very, very heavy. It was built in place so we wouldn’t have to pick it up.

PLEASE NOTE: Railroad ties are often treated in creosote as well as other chemicals. They are strictly for outdoor use. If you like the look but want something indoors, you can purchase dimensional lumber (like red cedar) at a higher rate. I would not recommend using ties for anything you would eat off of or have regular skin contact with. This is a good spot to place a drink or kick up your feet. Plus it gives a functional new use to old lumber, which is always a win in my book!


Wedding Guest Book: Modified Fancy X Bench



I was honored this past March to be Matron of Honor in one of my best friend’s wedding, and as a gift to the happy couple I made them a guest book bench. I wanted this one to look extra special. I started out with Ana White’s Fancy X Bench plans and made a couple of modifications. I reduced the overall length to 54″ to sit at the foot of a bed or under a table, and used only 2 pedestals instead of 3. To make the top better for signing, I decided to substitute the planked 2×6’s for a flat “hobby board” that was 15″ wide, purchased at Lowes. I framed it out with some 1×2’s to make it look chunkier.



Once it was built I gave it three coats of white semi-gloss latex, and then drew up the art for the center. It’s the same font used on the wedding invitations. I wish I had thought to take a photo of the signed bench at the wedding! But I was a little bit busier at the moment. I’m really proud of this pretty little bench. As I received in one of the messages on my own wedding bench, I hope it sees the butts of many friends for years to come!


Laundry Platform with Rolling Drawers



While I love my high-efficiency laundry machines, they aren’t that easy on the back. I’ve seen several versions of DIY pedestals for them, but didn’t really see what I was looking for. I didn’t want open storage for baskets as I thought that would set them up just a bit too high. And while drawers are great, the plan was to use the hidden storage for things like extra cat litter and dog food, which would be pretty heavy on slides. So, why not make a basic platform out of scrap stud-grade wood, and face it with pretty trim and rolling drawers? Sounds like a great solution to me!



I made the drawers with scrap plywood and castors screwed into the bottom. The face is 1/2″ plywood painted white, set up from the ground about an eighth of an inch so it doesn’t scratch the floors.



I used a couple of L brackets to keep it in place, which was a quick and easy solution. I didn’t want to mess around with filling holes or lining up nails, hoping it would hit the plywood behind it. I simply screwed the brackets into the base first, then held the drawer up in place and marked where the brackets needed to go.



As far as the platform, here’s the construction method I chose. I apologize for not taking process shots, I had a slim window to build it after Charlie’s bed time so I wanted to knock it out as quickly as possible.


Rustic Cover for an Old Mini Fridge for $25



Let’s face it, mini refrigerators are ugly. Especially those from the college years that are covered in old stickers and permanent marker, which was the case with our little porch fridge. My husband actually won it at a house party in college, and it saved us later on when our big refrigerator went out when Charlie was a baby and I needed it for bottles! So of course now we’re going to keep it around as a just-in-case measure, and because it’s nice to not need to let the a/c out of the house when you’re hanging out on the porch and need to refresh your beverage.



Ahhhhh, so much better than the giant BENGI!!! and Lone Star stickers. Here’s how I made the cover:


Reclaimed Wall Mirrors

Reclaimed Wood Wall Mirror

I’m pretty bad about cycling through furniture and decor. I used to have a large IKEA wall mirror, but I sold it when we moved to our Corkwood house and didn’t have a place for it. I’ve done this a lot, sold things I couldn’t find a use for at the moment, then kicked myself later when I finally have a spot for it again! But that’s okay. When you build, you can always make something better! That’s how I feel about this wall mirror I made using reclaimed wood from my dad’s barn. The mirror itself is just a $5 over-the-door mirror from Lowes. I simply laid it out in the sunshine to melt the hot glue holding it to the frame, then used a carpet knife to loosen it and pulled it off.


Once the mirror glass was free, I took measurements to make my frame. I decided on a super simple construction for this first one. As the boards were only a 1/2 inch thick, pocket holes wouldn’t work well. My stapler was also a bit too hefty. So I went all old-school on it and simply cut some scrap 1×4 and screwed them into each corner with 1″ screws.


Once the frame was ready, I used a 6-pack of

Old Table, New Leaf : Updating My Dining Area

A few weeks ago, you may remember me posting some updated kitchen/dining/living room photos along with asking some advice on my current dining set. I’d purchased the set at a consignment shop and painted it and reupholstered the seats. I loved it, without a doubt. But I wasn’t too sure I was in love with it in this space.

With some great input from you guys (seriously, thank you!) I decided to go ahead and sell it in favor of a solid wood table. When I offered to build my sister a new dining table, I had ulterior motives in mind. I wanted hers. It was a hand-me-down from my parents that we actually used growing up, so there was sentimental value. Plus, I loved that it was a solid wood, honey-toned oak pedestal table. The problem? It looked like this.

A 4 seater. Considering we’re currently a family of 3, working on our 4th, and regularly have my family over to eat, I wanted a 6-seater table. Yet there was hide nor hair of that leaf anywhere! It must have gotten lost in one of its several moves. No worries though, but I”ll get to that later. Lets focus on the damage, shall we?

Cup rings, dry splotches, and gunk. I saw one of those Pinterest tips about restoring wood with vinegar and olive oil, and figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a shot. Can I just say, WOW! What a massive difference it made. I used 1/4 C olive oil and 3/4 C white vinegar, and applied it with a rag. I let the first application dry, then repeated it two more times for a total of three passes. It really hydrated the wood with absolutely no chemicals, horrible smells, or messy work. Just a rag and some pantry items in 5 minutes passes.

Wow, right? And as a spoiler, this is an image of the table with the new leaf. The original section is on the far right. Barely a ring or dry spot to be seen. Now, lets get to the good stuff, the leaf!

I pulled out the table and measured the maximum amount of space I could spread the top before it started getting unstable. I decided on 24″. Then I measured the table diameter, which was 47″.

Rustic Ladder Photo Display

Hey guys! Miss me yet? I’ve been running around like crazy getting projects done for the house and nursery. Nesting has hit me in full force pretty early, and I’m determined to have the whole house “finished” by the time baby Caroline arrives this October. Honestly at this rate I bet I’ll be done before summer! I saw this rustic ladder display idea on Pinterest, and have been meaning to make one for a while now. When I finally settled on a furniture arrangement in the nursery, the perfect spot for it showed up.

This was a super quick and easy project, and the ladder itself was completely free. I know you’ll be shocked, but my dad had a small pile of bark-on fence posts (like these from McCoys) and I asked if I could use three of them.

I measured the height I wanted them to be in the room, which was about 80ish inches. These posts are 8 feet, or 96″. I wanted the rungs to be 15″ long, so I just cut 15″ off the top of two posts, then cut three more 15″ segments from the third post.

These are pretty thick, so I pre-drilled holes with my countersink bit, measuring 40.5″ for the center rung, then 10″ and 25″ in from each end for the others. I attached the rungs using 3 1/2″ screws. As this is just for display, not climbing or use, it’s sturdy enough to hold. The bark keeps Charlie from wanting to explore climbing on it. It’s just too rough on her little hands, and she’s kind of a Miss Priss.

Once it was assembled, I set it in place in the room. It fit just right. For the photo display, I picked up four 8×10 photo frame matting sheets from Hobby Lobby for $3 each. I cut some scrapbook paper to size and taped down the sides and bottom. Once I have some newborn photos to display, it will be simple to change them up by just slipping them in and out of my paper casing.

I also grabbed a roll of wide burlap ribbon for the runner. I stapled it onto the ladder, then attached some binder clips I had on hand by running thick thread into the holes of the burlap and tying it in place.

Now it’s really easy to remove the mats and change up the photos!

It’s a very cute, very simple, rustic addition to this “Farm Fresh” themed nursery. Honestly, it would look great anywhere! I’ve seen people throw blankets on the rungs, but unless you want some splinters while you snuggle, it might be best to keep whatever’s on the ladder as display-only. The bark sure is charming, but it’s really rough!

With this ladder finished (as well as a floral monogram and a seating/feeding area which I’ll share soon!) I only have a couple of projects left in this room. It’s really really exciting! I can’t wait to do a comparison with my mood board. I think it’s so close to my original vision, and it’s really, really cute!




Farm Style Corrugated Tin Closet Doors with PureBond

Do you remember Charlie’s Chalkboard French Style Closet Doors? Well I used the same method for the nursery closet, but decided to give it a barn-style twist! Since my theme is “Farm Fresh” I wanted a trough-like or barn feel for the doors. I found these sheets of corrugated tin at Home Depot and they are perfect! I think it’s a really fun way to liven up the space. And at only $9.20 per sheet, I spent less than $140 on materials for both doors.

Like the chalkboard doors, I used a hasp closure and installed it high enough for little hands to keep out. And should we ever get tired of the shiny metal look, the tin is simply screwed in and held in place by the trim, so I can easily take off the trim, remove the tin, and do something else over the plywood. Want to see how easy these are to make? Here it is!

I started by pre-measuring my opening and getting the Home Depot associates to cut my plywood down to size. I laid the tin sheets down on the plywood and cut them to length with some tin snips my dad had. I planned on installing trim over the tin to keep in in place, but you can cut it down so the trim doesn’t fit over the tin, but around it, and glue the tin down so your trim boards are all flush. Mine bow out slightly due to the corrugated parts of the metal.

I started by cutting my side trim to fit, using 1×4 cedar boards to match my floor trim. I used 1 1/4″ screws to attach it to the ply.

Once those were down, I measured the top and bottom trim, then had Jacob stand on it while I screwed them into place to push down the tin so both ends are flush with the side trim. It bows slightly in the center, but I don’t mind the rounded look. If it bothers you, just cut the tin shorter so it fits above the trim instead of beneath it and either screw or glue the tin to the plywood to keep it in place.

That’s it! Seriously, 3 easy steps to some fun and unique doors. You could even use mirror or flat flashing instead of corrugated tin for a flat, reflective surface much cheaper than those mirrored sliding doors. When you DIY, you truly can customize everything to suit your taste. And since PureBond is formaldehyde free, I don’t have to worry about off-gassing in the baby’s room.

I hung them using three gate hinges on each side, it’s very simple and straightforward, and took about 10 minutes. Once I pick up a little more steam, I’d like to do these interior closet door organizers from Ana White in both rooms. This closet doesn’t have any organization just yet, right now it’s kind of a dumping ground with the old changing table acting as storage.

Here’s my little lady inspecting my work. Oh, did I mention that the bonus here is that the doors are magnetic? Charlie decided to add a few of her letter magnets for kicks.

In other quick nursery updates, I painted the dresser/hutch combo we’re using as a changing table with a weathered yellow finish. My mom also scored the Pottery Barn Play Kitchen on a huge discount at our local PB Outlet, so those have found a home in here as well.

I’m still trying to pull everything together, but right now I’m completely exhausted. So please excuse the mess. Charlie still enjoys waking up at 3am to yell at us for a bit, just so we all know that since she’s awake, we need to be too. I think today will feature some Family Nap Time!

I’m expecting the rug to arrive next week, and have been working on all the art. I’m not sure what I’ll do over the crib yet, but I’m thinking it will involve sunflowers. It’s getting there! I have roughly 4 more months to pull it all together. Here’s hoping we all get some more rest and I have the energy to get back to work!

X Base Pedestal Table from Ana White

A few weeks ago, my sister mentioned that she wanted to upgrade her hand-me-down round oak table she’d had since she graduated college. She wanted a “real” table that she picked herself, but the ones in stores were insanely expensive and nothing she was really looking for. So I offered to build her a table that was exactly what she wanted.

The Un-Built-In Desk: Or How to Put a Desktop on End Tables and Make It Look Awesome

So, remember when I talked about making Charlie’s Chalkboard Closet Doors, and I mentioned I had a lot of scrap material left from the PureBond sheets? After cutting down the door pieces, I had two sections that were about 15″ wide and eight feet long. When we were brainstorming ideas for the guest/playroom, Jacob said he wanted a double desk area for office space for us, and homework space down the road when our munchkin(s) are older. Well, obviously those scraps would make the perfect desk top! But what to use for the base? I could always build something, but sometimes I get nervous about filling our house with too much of the same look since my hand built furniture definitely has a specific style. So I had a harebrained idea. What if I found some old end tables for the base? They are usually made from solid wood, have exquisite details, and would give me the storage I’m looking for. So I hit up my favorite new resale shop and hit the jackpot. Two matching magazine-style end tables and a bookcase type one that had a matching finish and only $80 for all three. Huzzah! That’s equal to or less than what I’d spend on lumber to build something, AND I didn’t have to put in any work! Then it was on to the crazy part. The mockup.


I unloaded my tables and set them into the space. The first problem was the the bookcase style table was taller than the other set. When Jacob came home from work and saw this, he gave me a pretty strong side-eye. I’ll admit, even I was a bit nervous at this point. But I plowed ahead anyway, and made him help me cut the scraps to length. Hubs may have a good side-eye, but I’ve got my strong-arm techniques down pat.


Once the top was cut down, it looked much better, more like a real desk. I added a scrap piece of lumber to the front of the center portion where the bookcase table sat, as it was not only taller but deeper than the other two. I really like this arrangement, it gives definition to both spaces. Once the measurements were finished, we attached the three pieces together with scrap wood braces then trimmed it out with 1×3’s. Since I didn’t want to lock myself in to this desk forever, I decided not to drill into the tables. We just made some “supports” with scraps to level out the top, and the trim keeps the top snugly in place.


Where the two tops meet, and the jut-out portion got attached together into one piece. Oh, that shiny stuff? Just ignore it. My first attempt was to cover the top in metallic wrapping paper and I was going to use a bar coat epoxy over it, but the paper looked like flaming dog poo so I ripped it off in a fury. True story.

For each end, we stacked 1.5″ thick pieces of scrap lumber and topped it with plywood scrap to make up the difference in height. It works perfectly! Everything is level.


After my shiny wrapping paper debacle I sanded the top down as best as I could and picked up some Rustoleum Hammered paint in silver. It’s really cool stuff! The top would have looked even better if I had spent more time sanding and used putty to fill the seams, but I was tired and cranky at that point and just wanted to finish. Even so, I think it looks great (at least, it looks better when there aren’t drywall and sawdust particles all over it – need to get to cleaning!) I used two coats and followed it up with three coats of poly to give it a wipeable finish. I may top it off with a few more just so I’ll be able to scrub it should crayon or marker decorations happen down the road!


While the desk itself was looking good, the space still needed a little something. I had planned on some shelves, but then it hit me. Why not pegboard? I’d never worked with it before, but it was surprisingly easy to install. I purchased two 4×4′ sheets for each desk side, a wall mount for our tv, and a 2×4′ section of pegboard for the center beneath the tv. It was a great fit. I had never worked with pegboard before, but after a quick google search I learned that you needed to install a framework first with 3/4″ thick boards to give space for the pegs. I raided our trim scrap stash and got to work, then gave the pegboard two coats of the same hammered paint. I also hung the tv! It was a pretty productive day. Once Jacob came home from work I asked him to help me hang the boards, and voila! Beauty on a wall. It was an added bonus that the tv wires fit along the framework behind the pegboard, so I didn’t have to do anything fancy to hide them.


Don’t you just love my turtle placemat?! Ha! I threw it there to hide my ugly seams that I didn’t fill. I’m on the search for a good re-usable monthly calendar, one that’s laminated that I can dry-erase marker on. We had planned on using that IKEA rail and bucket in our kitchen beneath the sink before I goofed up on our measurements there and we didn’t need it. Now it’s got a handy spot wrangling all our pens! No more scrambling around searching for a writing tool. I snagged the baskets from my 6 cube shelf in the kitchen (they never fit well anyway) and they house my chargers, to-do paperwork, art supplies for Charlie and a wire basket holds wii-motes.


This is my favorite section! Those hanging bottles with the twine were actually old IV dispensers from a hospital that my dad found for 50 cents and gave to me. The ornament is from our cruise last summer, the map hearts are from Charlie’s old nursery (they have both of our birth places on them), and my mom gave me the chalkboard Anthropologie jars for Christmas this past year. I found the N at a boutique, and I’m either going to paint the inside a fun color or make it a succulent planter. But the best part? Finally having a place to stash all the dvd’s so they actually look decent! We’ve had them crammed in a tiny bookshelf that was awful for the job. You couldn’t ever find what you were looking for. Now it’s a breeze.


I also used a basket on some 6″ shelf hooks to store my camera and lenses so Charlie can’t get to them and throw them around like she enjoys doing. I also hung my weekly planner on a hook, and added an engagement picture.

I can’t tell you just how happy I am to have this desk area finished. It’s one of the last big projects for the house, and I’ve been getting very overwhelmed lately over finishing things up before Caroline comes in October. Now I have about four months to take my time on her nursery and finish up the last few small projects on my list. That’s a very good feeling! Plus its just nice to have all the toys and baby things stashed in the closet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we find another really cool door at this Saturday’s market day!

Chalkboard French-Style Closet Doors

In preparation for Charlie’s little sister this fall, we are getting her big girl room ready for sleeping in. One of the last tasks (other than bolting all the furniture to the walls because I’m a paranoid freak) was to add some closet doors. Originally I hadn’t planned on any. Then one day while admiring the built-ins I made in there, I realized that they looked exactly like ladders. Ladders of DEATH! So it was time to seal in the closet until she’s old enough to understand that closet shelves aren’t for climbing.

See what I mean? Perfect for climbing. I did a quick poll among friends to ask what their favorite style of closet doors was, and hands down it was French style. So I took some measurements, hooked up the trailer, and set off for Home Depot to pick up the only plywood I trust, PureBond. (for those of you who haven’t heard my schpiel on it yet, it’s formaldehyde free, ethically sourced hardwood plywood from the good ol’ USofA. I got me some standards now when it comes to my lumber!) I had the associates cut the doors exactly to size right there for me, so these were a cinch to install.

I took them home, gave them two coats of rolled-on chalkboard paint, then measured for 1×4 cedar trim to match the rest of the room. My little helper watched me screw them into the plywood, and then the doors were ready to hang. Really, it was that easy!

I used three gate hinges on each door, and a hasp for the closure so it would be easy for an adult but too high and difficult for a toddler to open alone.

They fit in well with the room, and I’m happy I went with this style! If she ever gets bored with the chalkboard, we can always cover one side in cork or flashing for magnetic or push pin decorating. You could also cover it with batting and fabric for an upholstered look. There really are a million options here.

It’s still easy to access the closet, and now I can close it up when I don’t want a little gremlin in there pulling things off shelves and throwing shoes around. Winning for everybody! So if you’re looking for a unique (and affordable!) option for doors, this may be a good fit for you too. Two sheets of PureBond runs about $100, with enough scrap leftover for a desk, you know, if you need one 😉 Maybe even a bookcase! Or you may get lucky and only need one sheet of wood. But it’s still cheaper than those hollow bi-fold doors, and looks a dozen times better. Plus, you get to decorate them!! I found a cute design on Pinterest for the Charlie stats, and snagged an excerpt from Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone for my first artwork. I’m excited to leave her sweet messages and pictures as she grows up. Memories in the making people!


Rolling Modern Porch Gate

Well after four thousand, five hundred and sixty-five arguments on execution (as in, how to implement rather than offing each other – though I’m sure it crossed both our minds at some point!) we *finally* have a rolling gate for our back porch! It’s so amazing to be able to shut this sucker off and keep the dogs’ muddy paws off the furniture and give Charlie a safe space to color with chalk.

Building the gate was actually very basic. I measured the opening and added a few inches, cut the top and bottom pieces at 72″, chose 2″ fixed-wheel castors then figured out my necessary height (31″) for the two side pieces. They needed to fit just below the top brace of the railing.

Attaching the panel was different on the gate than on the railing. For the railing, it’s sandwiched between two 1×2’s. On the gate, I couldn’t fit the panel on the slim inch and a half of the wood. So we used some 3/8″ two-hole brackets for the corners for stability, then regular old fencing staples for the interior. You can see my pajama munchkin there, chalk in hand. And pop-tart on face 😉

As far as the latch, I kept it simple. It’s just a hook and eye catch like the kind you see in public restrooms. It’s high enough for little fingers not to reach and not quite easy enough for her to figure out yet.

For the catch side of the gate, we used metal deck (I think?) brackets my dad had on hand. Let me preface this section by saying I am exactly like my father in this respect. We’ll look at a random stash of supplies and brainstorm until we come up with some MacGuiver’d way of solving our problem. This drives my husband absolutely insane. But luckily, this worked so well! The top is a U-shaped bracket fed between the 2×4’s and screwed into place to stop the gate at just the right spot. The bottom is an L bracket with holes that we used to anchor bolts into the concrete and serves as a guide as well as a stopper to keep the gate from slipping out sideways. It’s not a conventional method by any means, but when you’re working with concrete your options are limited. Jacob was wanting to use sliding gate hardware that’s used for barn doors and just run it across the bottom. This would be great on a wooden deck that you can carve out space. Here, I just see myself carrying my toddler while massively pregnant and tripping over the slide, plunging head first down the stairs and breaking all our necks. No bueno. So brackets it is!

For the sliding side of the gate, we used two more L shaped brackets for the top, and one on the bottom at the closed portion of the gate. This keeps it all in line, and again prevents the gate from being pushed sideways. The fixed-wheel castors are great, but you can still make them slip sideways with a good hard shove. For the back side of the lower half, we just anchored in two concrete bolts to keep the gate in line and in place when opened. So far, so good! Everything lines up well, and it’s an easy way to roll the gate open and closed.

Plus it’s pretty minimal when its open, though it does stay shut most of the time. It’s so convenient to just open the doors from the house and let Charlie run in and out, looking for the cows and drawing with her chalk.

Plus its very effective at toddler wrangling. Now I can feed the chickens in the morning without the nagging worry that she’ll try to go up and down the stairs fifteen times and crash down them. I’m really pleased with how minimal the brackets are aesthetically. You hardly notice them when viewing the whole porch area.

Please excuse the mess. We’re in the process of leveling out the dirt for our brick patio, and will eventually mount that lattice for my grapes and blackberries. My dream is to have them grow up the panel as well.

So there you have it! I hope this helps someone out there looking for a rolling/sliding gate option on a concrete porch. I searched for ages and ages looking for an online tutorial and found nothing suitable. Now we have a simple (even if it wasn’t easy coming up with the idea!) solution with an easily operating gate. Just in time for summer too!



Saltbox Chicken Coop, Run, and Planter

Keeping chickens has recently benefitted from a huge resurgence. It’s not just a farm thing anymore, many people are choosing to raise chickens for eggs and meat in urban and suburban areas too. Recently I was browsing a major retailer’s website for furniture ideas and saw a beautifully designed coop, run and planter, all-in-one! But with retail prices above $1600 before shipping, it’s not a feasible cost for many. So we decided to put our spin on the idea and build it ourselves! This is the perfect coop for an urban space. At only five feet by five feet, it has a small impact on available space. It’s also lightweight enough to move around the yard so you can fertilize different sections and not risk yard burnout. However you could only support about 2-4 chickens at a time if you keep them penned, but if you allow them yard access you could keep a larger flock. We plan on starting small and allowing them out during the day so long as our dogs leave them alone, but if they don’t we can build a larger run off the gated side should we like to keep more hens.

The inspiration for the coop design comes from the classic Saltbox houses of New England. I spent my childhood in Massachusetts and now the style brings back very fond memories. It’s a very easy shape to build too! About 75% of the “upstairs” consists of the coop, with a small section for a planter box. Over the weekend I set in some pickling cucumber seeds, and will be tacking on some chicken wire to the side once they sprout for a green wall trellis. It’s going to be so pretty!

The front of the coop features an open gate for access as well as ventilation. We also included two dowels for roosting.

As for nest access, the roof hinges to allow you to easily harvest the eggs.

We used scraps from the siding and roof to partition off the boxes.

I’m so excited to start seeing some green in the planter, and of course pick up some hens! First I need to whip up a quick ladder from a spare picket so they can get from the run into the coop.

Now for the tutorial. I’ll warn you, it’s one of my more complicated ones. I did my best to take detailed photos and note my cuts, but it may get a bit confusing. Feel free to leave me any questions in the comments or email me. Here we go!

Supply List:

Modern Porch Railing: A How-To (kinda)

With the weather warming up (at least in some parts of the globe!) we were getting antsy to move away from all the indoor stuff and start working outside. I’ve seen these amazing modern style railings in magazines and online, and knew it would be perfect for us! It had the right style, rustic yet simple. The problem? We had no clue how to execute it.

I searched online, but couldn’t find a tutorial explaining how this concept of cedar (or treated wood) and cattle panel came together in a sturdy railing. So though this isn’t an exact step-by-step tutorial I usually put together (I spent a lot of time resting inside with the kiddo while Jacob did all the hard work, hence the missing photos), but it does show how we made it happen. Here we go!

The first problem to overcome was how to add the posts. On a deck, you sink them into the ground. But on a concrete porch, you can either sink them into the ground next to the concrete and risk shifting or use one of these post brackets to secure it. Jacob started by marking the holes and pre-drilling the concrete. The brackets were actually slightly too small for the cedar posts, so he used a hand planer my neighbor had to shave off the edges until it slid into the bracket. Then he bolted everything down.


Next he measured a 2×4 to the height of the top of the post to the top of the bracket and screwed it into the post.


Next it was time for the top railing! With a 2×4 brace on all the posts (including the two large ones included in the original porch design), he measured the distance and cut the 2×4 railings. Then they were screwed directly into the posts and supports.


Once the tops were on, he measured for the bottom rail, also for a 2×4. Once those were screwed in, he measured the interior space for a 1×2 frame. The cattle panel is cut to size, fit into the front frame, then secured by stapling it to the first frame and adding in the back frame behind it.

Above you can see one frame on the left, and to the right the finished panel.

Ta da! We didn’t need much panel, and were able to use what was left over around the property. I love the sleek look it has. It totally fits in with the rest of the house.

And can I just say how incredibly nice it is now to have stairs? We had been hopping up and down the slab for ages, and Charlie loves that she can get around herself (with assistance, of course). There’s still some work to do. Jacob plans to face out the back of the steps so you don’t see through the gap, and we’re currently brainstorming ideas for the gate. I’d love one that slides. We also need a railing. We both like the idea of galvanized pipe for that. But we’ll see! For now we’re taking a breather and enjoying it in its current state. Like this fabulous seating area:

And our last minute addition, a bar area!

I do a lot of crawling around in my dad’s barn salvaging supplies, and found this amazing live-edge chunk of wood. I have no clue what type it is. I don’t think it started out as a live-edge cut either, it looks like it just weathered over time. So we cut off a straight edge on the end and notched out a spot on the left to fit around the post. And voila! Outdoor dining!

We added two braces to support it, and will also be bolting it down into the top railing below. I tossed in two of my Vintage Barstools for kicks, but they’ll be in my booth this April. We plan to add a rock patio later for our main dining area, with a larger table for family and friends. So this is mostly for casual dinners or just hanging out on a nice summer evening. I’m so excited for the weather to finally warm up so we can do that!

Slim 6 Cube Bookcase: A How-To

A friend of mine is expecting her first baby next month, and I asked her if she needed any furniture for the nursery. She asked for an Expedit style bookcase, very slim lined and white. She sent over the dimensions of the space, and I got to work!

I started with a sheet of Purebond, and had them rip it down into 15″ strips. Then I made my cuts, drilled a few pocket holes, and had this sucker built in no time.

At first I was sad to paint over the beautiful birch grain, but the white is a nice choice. There’s more than enough space for baskets and storage, and it’s a great height to take a seat! Plus with cost of materials under $60, this is a bargain considering its made from chemical free, hardwood plywood farmed here in America. Only the best for baby! Want to know how to make your own? Here’s how I did it:


Rustic Tractor Seat Bar Stools

Back when we were brainstorming ideas for the house, I knew I wanted tractor seat stools for the island. But I had absolutely no idea how to get there. While I focused my energy on getting the kitchen installed, trim up, and all that other important stuff, my dad was busy figuring out how to make this stool thing possible. We tried out three different concepts before he landed on this one. It’s chunky, rustic, and super simple to do. Plus, they’re 100% made from recycled materials!

I also want to take a moment to apologize for my filthy floors. Someday I will get around to mopping. After my next nap maybe. Anyway, as you can see, the base is made from an old tire rim. The stand is a chunky log of mesquite cut down from our property and aged over time. If you’re making one yourself, you can use pretty much any stump for this. Just make sure your cuts are straight.

My dad simply set the rim on top of the stump, and screwed directly into it. Then he flipped it over and did the same with the tractor seat at the top.

He hammered them down a bit so they’re easy on the tush. I have to admit, the stools are really comfortable.

Oh, and along the bottom he added a bit of bike tire tubing so they wouldn’t scratch the floor. He really thought of everything, didn’t he? I’m really happy with the stools. They turned out a bit chunkier and wider than I thought they wood, so I think once we get a grill and bar setup outside they will migrate there. There are 3 more in production, so we’ll have a total of 5 stools, completely recycled! I’m really, really happy about that. I love when you take something bound (or found!) for the trash heap and turn it into something useful and attractive. Upcycling at its best!

As my island is counter height, not bar height, the stools measure 24″ from bottom to seat. It’s just the right height. I’m very grateful for my dad’s hard work and ingenuity, and can’t wait to show them off!


Reclaimed Wood Industrial Vanity

When we were brainstorming ideas for our master bathroom vanity, I wanted something a little out of the ordinary. Wish so much storage in our double medicine cabinet, we didn’t need a lot of concealed space for all the junk that usually gets tossed into a bathroom cabinet. In fact, that was one thing that bugged me the most in our last bathroom. We just had piles of stuff we couldn’t really reach, and no space for towels! So I came up with a simple idea for open storage that wouldn’t break the bank. The pipe materials cost $100, and we had the tongue-and-groove 2×6 boards in my dad’s barn, just screaming to get used! There’s a lot of space here too. At 72″ long and 26″ wide, the top has ample room to spread out toiletries and hair dryers and all that sort of thing. And at 31″ tall with two extra shelves, I plan to pack in our towels along with a basket or two for hair tools.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how we did it: