Category Archives: DIY

Barn Wood Accent Wall for the Fireplace

Rustic Wood and Stone Fireplace

 

What is it when one area of your home is seeing improvement that makes you feel the urge to spruce up everything else? With our landscaping already looking so fabulous, I was staring at the plain drywall on the upper half of the fireplace dreaming of something better.

fireplace-before

 

See what I mean? Just kind of bland. Plus I hated those outlets with a passion. Why would you stick the phone jack right there? Or perhaps place the plug on the side of the wall instead of front and center? I don’t know. As my mom would say, “A man designed this.” Or just somebody not nearly as nitpicky as she is 😉 When I woke up Friday and saw the rain pouring down, I was bummed out that it meant we wouldn’t have landscaping work done that day. We’d only made it to the dirt spreading phase and were supposed to see gravel, mulch and plants. Instead of pouting, I got to work! I had a wild hair to try the barn wood look.

Flip Top Storage Coffee Table: A How-To

upholstered-storage-coffee-table

 

I think it’s pretty obvious by now that I don’t keep to a blogging schedule. I post when I get a project finished or have something interesting to share. So wouldn’t you know that after a week of not posting I finally have a really exciting plan to show you, and there’s a 24 hour internet outage in my area! Ah, well. It will be just as good today. Anyway, on to the point. A couple of weeks ago my husband told me he really needed a recliner in our living room. In fact, he’d been pushing for one for some time now. I didn’t really see the point, our couch has a chaise! But then he reminded me of all those nights he rocked Charlie to sleep when she was a newborn and that very soon we’ll have another little one to soothe. So I relented. My parents had a very nice, worn-in leather rocking recliner they weren’t using anymore, and generously gave it to us. I tied it in to the room by adding a 9×12 jute rug I scored for a song at the PB/West Elm outlet ($170 for this huge, natural fiber rug!) and it greatly increased the size of the space in front of the couch. I decided it was time to add a coffee table.

flip-top-storage-coffee-tableI had some pretty specific requirements for this table. I adored our Apothecary Trundle Table I built last year, but when Charlie was learning to walk and get on and off the couch she bumped her head countless times. Which meant requirement #1 was a soft, cushioned top. Check. Next, Charlie is now really into blocks and trains. So I needed a table with a solid surface for play. Solution? Make the top flip over!

flip-top-storage-coffee-table-play-surface

 

Play surface? Check! Now where to stash all those toys?

flip-top-storage-coffee-table-storage

 

Inside the table of course! And of course, if you don’t have young children in your house but still like the storage and the flip top, you can always just leave the flat surface for drinks and snacks.

flip-top-storage-coffee-table-hard-surface

 

This table is so much more affordable and durable than anything you can buy. Made from PureBond plywood (you know the kind that’s formaldehyde free and sustainably harvested in the USA?) and cedar or pine 1×2’s, this is solid wood construction. Plus it only cost $100! That’s a steal compared to furniture store prices. I picked up my plywood at Home Depot, and the very patient associate not only made all 10 cuts for me, he did it with absolute precision. I love getting plywood cut in-store since their panel saw gives accurate, straight cuts and the pieces are small enough to load into my SUV. So are you ready to see how to build your own? Here we go!

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Laundry Shelf Unit from Stud 2×4’s

laundry-shelf-unit

 

The last laundry project I posted left an awkward gap between the washer/dryer and the freezer with a hideous litterbox in full view.

laundry-room-progress

 

We have a long-term goal for the laundry room, but for now I needed something there to hide that litterbox and give me a bit of storage for soaps and scentsy waxes.

laundry-shelf

 

 

In an effort to save money and use what I had on hand, this entire small shelf unit is built out of old 2×4 studs. I put together a quick tutorial in case you’re looking for something similar, and it would actually be a very pretty unit with nicer (and straighter) boards as well as some stain.

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Simple 5 Room Dollhouse for $25 : A How-To

simple-5-room-dollhouse

 

Wow, is it Friday already? This week flew by. I’ve been on a light posting schedule lately (even more than usual) since I’ve had a few minor complications with this pregnancy and have been told to take it easy for a few weeks. That’s no easy feat with a busy toddler and a serious case of nesting! So I decided to keep it simple and do a few smaller projects. Today I have a cute and super simple dollhouse I made for Charlie’s second birthday this month. It turned out super cute, and I’m really excited to share it!

dollhouse-kitchen

 

It all started with the Peg People. I wanted to make a dollhouse that would fit these small peg people I painted to look like our family. Here I am (M is for Mama) in the kitchen, apparently only washing invisible dishes because we’re low on kitchen furniture at the moment.

dollhouse-diningCharlie and her Dad are hanging out in the dining room, probably starving from lack of food. I had so much fun painting our little people.

dollhouse-bedroom

 

Baby Caroline (in a purple onesie) is hanging out in bed. I left her hair and eyes unpainted and the doll unsealed until we know what she’ll look like once she gets here in October.

dollhouse-bathroom

 

Each room features luxurious solid wood flooring (thanks to some stain on the pine boards), painted walls (leftover house paint) and an accent wallpapered wall (raided from my mom’s scrapbook paper stash). Over time I may try to get fancier and add some paper windows or little paintings. But for my super happy almost-two-year-old, this dollhouse is the best toy ever.

dollhouse-loft

 

I even cut up little rugs she can move from room to room from scrapbook paper. These two people are supposed to be my mom and dad, though my dad is wearing a cap, not a weird gray headband. The ball cap idea didn’t translate so well.

charlie-dollhouse

 

The supplies are minimal and the price is just right! All you need are two 1×8 boards, an optional 1/4 sheet of 1/4″ plywood and whatever you want to decorate it with, be it paint, or paper, or stain. I’ve even used diluted RIT dye for a non-toxic finish. The build took an hour from start to finish, so if you have your own little one’s birthday coming up, or are prepping for Christmas, this is a great project to tackle! Here’s the tutorial:

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Southwestern Spindle Side Tables

blue-southwestern-table

 

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!

southwestern-spindle-end-tables

 

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!

red-southwestern-table

 

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.

faux-southwestern-stained-glass

 

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

spindle-table-legs

 

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

spindle-legs

 

 

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

reclaimed-railroad-tie-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.

deck-seating-area

 

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.

railroad-tie-coffee-table

 

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:

Supplies:
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

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

railroad-tie-table-construction

 

 

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.

reclaimed-tie-top

 

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.

railroad-tie-l-brackets

 

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

x-bench-progress

 

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.

wedding-x-bench

 

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

laundry-pedestal-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!

rolling-drawers-under-pedestal

 

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.

rolling-drawer-construction

 

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.

base-construction

 

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.

Supplies:

Rustic Cover for an Old Mini Fridge for $25

rustic-minifridge-cover

 

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.

rustic-minifridge-cover-open

 

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

Supplies

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.

reclaimed-mirror-step1

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.

reclaimed-mirror-step2

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

Caroline’s Farm Fresh Nursery

rustic-ladder-in-nursery-killerbdesigns

 

With just over three months until Caroline’s due date, her nursery is set up and ready to go! It didn’t take me long at all once I put together an inspiration board:

Farm Fresh Nursery Inspiration Board

 

I think I came pretty darn close to my inspiration!

farm-fresh-nursery-dresser

 

I used a crackled medium to paint the dresser and distressed it, then gave it some really cute butterfly drawer pulls. The animals are hiding the tether I put into the stud to keep the hutch from toppling over during changes.

farm-fresh-nursery-changing-dresser

 

I got the pink gingham oilcloth changing pad cover at Wimberley Market Days where I’m a vendor. I like that it’s easy to wipe down and won’t stain.

farm-fresh-nursery-changing-pad

 

And of course I’m stocked with Charlie Banana cloth diapers, since I’m all earth-friendly now!

farm-fresh-nursery-diapersMy mom gifted her with this sweet cross .

farm-fresh-nursery-cross

 

I picked up a wicker chair at Lowes, and spray painted it white. Then I made it a cushion for some added comfort with flannel pink ticking.

farm-fresh-nursery-chair

 

The gallery wall is full of farm-themed prints and photos. The homestead with the wind energy may just be my favorite, since that’s my dream goal 😉

farm-fresh-nursery-frames

 

And of course no nursery is complete without a bucket ottoman! I made this one using the same method as Charlie’s, but found a sweet little orchard basket for the base and used the same ticking as the chair. I’m planning to use it for toys and blankets.

farm-fresh-nursery-orchard-ottoman

 

Next to the chair I topped an old milk jug I scored at an estate sale a couple of years ago with a 15″ wood round from Lowes that I painted grey. I secured the top with hot glue to keep it from tipping, and it’s the perfect spot for the sound machine and bottles during those late night feedings.

farm-fresh-nursery-milk-jug-table

 

I’m using the same crib Charlie used, which I found at a thrift store. The sheet and skirt are from the Pottery Barn outlet.

farm-fresh-nursery-ladder

 

I always smile when I see the sunflower monogram. It’s just so happy!

farm-fresh-nursery-monogramAnd of course the ladder display. I can’t wait to add photos of the little miss once she gets here.

farm-fresh-nursery-ladder-displayThis little horse rocker gives Charlie a good time

farm-fresh-nursery-horse

It will be replaced with the Mamaroo once Caroline is here. Charlie barely slept outside of her swing for the first six or so months, it was a life saver.

mamaroo-nursery

 

I’ll have to get a surge protector this time, as our last swing was sadly fried when our home was hit by lightning. Let that be a reminder, folks! Plug important things in to surge protectors, or you’ll be like us and lose a lot of electronics in a storm surge.

farm-fresh-nursery-window

 

Charlie and I both adore this PB Kids play kitchen my mom bought for her. It may seem strange to have it in a nursery, but it will keep her entertained during endless feedings and changes!

farm-fresh-nursery-kitchen

 

For the lone window, I bought two yards of burlap and sewed it directly over a blackout shade for a little more fun. The tieback is a simple grosgrain ribbon I put two buttonholes in, and a $1 hook from Lowes.

farm-fresh-nursery-burlap-curtain

 

I found the old window at an antiques shop in Gruene, and plan to fill it with cute newborn photos.

farm-fresh-nursery-window-displayIt came with the hooks already in the frame, so I just popped in two anchors and screws to hold it firmly in place. Don’t want it falling on little heads!

farm-fresh-nursery-doors

 

I’m still totally enamored with these tin doors. The texture is so fun! And Charlie enjoys sticking magnets on them.

farm-fresh-nursery-tin-doors

 

And then to complete our “around the world” room tour, the tower of books!

cedar gallery book ledges

 

This room quickly became one of my favorites in the house. I love it. Despite having only one window, it’s bright and cheery and a lot of fun. I was unsure of the bright, sherbet green when the room was empty, but now that I have everything in it, I can’t imagine it being any other color. And with all the country details, there’s a clear farm theme without being overly kitschy.

 

Sources:
Paint: Sherwin Williams Green Vibes
Rug:

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″.

DIY Faux Sunflower Monogram

Sunflowers are one of the happiest flowers, and have that farmer’s market feel to them. So what better flower to use on a giant monogram in this farm-themed nursery than these? My mother had a lot of these left over from the

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!