Master Closet Remodel

I’m working on my remodeling my master closet these last few weeks. The original plan was to build everything from scratch, but I nixed that and made a road trip to Ikea last weekend and bought a couple of Malm dressers. Today I’m spending a lot of time procrastinating the painting of this book shelf that will be converted to a shoe organizer. I guess I need to dive in now!


Dining Room/Home Office {Styled Bookshelves}

I kind of never finished up the Dining Room/Home Office posts when I got busy and dropped off the face of the blogging world for awhile.  I do have the shelves all stylized now–even though there are sections that are not too decorative and more utilitarian (that will change in the future).  This is how this area looks a decent amount of the time.  I did pull off a camera and a Valentine box of candy to take these pictures.

Dining Room Built-ins Full Room ViewThe desk chair is obviously going to have a replacement.  The plan is that the new table will be set up with 6-8 wooden chairs for everyday, and there will be an upholstered dining room chair at this desk and another one at the desk in the family room that will both get pulled in here to the ends of the table when we have company.

Dining Room Built-Ins Left side viewYou can see that the bottom right shelf is all my teacher stuff–the files are things I need to go through in the very near future and then they go back to school again, so I don’t really put those away anywhere.  Just keeping it real–or being too lazy to pull them off for these pictures, you choose!

Dining Room Built-Ins Right side viewI haven’t decided yet on whether to paint the wall behind the computer white to match the cabinets.  What do you think?  I had a friend suggest possibly stenciling a design back there, which is what I am favoring right now.  The wall is going to change color though, once I have a rug picked out for in here, so that is all on the back burner until I move forward on the table and rug.

I absolutely love this built-in desk.  It was a ton of work, but so worth it in the end!

Other posts in this series:

Dining Room Built Ins {The Before Pictures}

Dining Room/Home Office {The Plans}

Dining Room/Home Office {Drawer Glides}

Dining Room/Home Office {Drawer Fronts}

Dining Room/Home Office {The Reveal}

Dining Room/ Home Office {How to make a Desktop or Countertop}

Dining Room/ Home Office {How to make a hanging file drawer with a Dremel}

Dining Room/ Home Office {How to Install Inset Door Hinges}

Dining Room/ Home Office {Make a pencil drawer}

Craft Room Transformation Post 2: Desks

I was really afraid that after not building for over a year, it would take some time to get back in the groove.  Luckily that didn’t happen!  This first phase went together really fast–I built 3 cabinets for 2 desks for the Craft Room in a little over a week and that included building 14 drawers and installing the drawer glides as well.  It all just clicked–and since this Craft Room is located in an area of the house that doesn’t see visitors, it was easy to not get too worked up over things that did not go perfectly.  And there were a few imperfect things…as there always is!

Craft Room desk_left view of room

I am trying to keep the cost down on this room, so the first thing to go was face frames.  I usually buy select 1x2s for the frames, and even in pine it jacks up the price.  This is my first time using edge banding and it went far, far better than my first attempt at using it a couple of years ago.  I had problems with the trimmer that I bought back then, but this time I found a video by the Wood Whisperer that worked perfectly and I didn’t have to buy any fancy gizmo or use a router. Just a box cutter and scrap wood.  I am so glad to have edge banding as an option when I tackle my walk in closet this summer!

Here are some progress pics during the build.

Craft room cabinet carcase

Cabinet carcases.  I did have some spare 1x2s in my scrap pile that I used for the front.  If I hadn’t have had those I would have just cut some 3/4″ ply into 1.5″ strips and used that.  I assembled them with glue, the Kreg Jig, and pocket holes.

Craft Room desk drawer assembly

Assembling the drawers.  This was a quick way to get them square.  I just glued and nailed these with 18 gauge 1.25″ nails.

Craft Room desk drawers

I thought that putting the topcoat on without the bottoms would make it easier to sand them down between coats.  It probably made it slightly easier–I don’t know if I’ll do it that way again or not.  I only put on two coats and then attached the bottoms and finished them with two coats of Polycrylic.

Craft Room desk stack of drawers

Ready for attaching the bottoms!

Craft Room Desk drawer glides

Drawer glides.  Uggh.  This time attaching wasn’t too bad, but figuring out the spacing was apparently beyond my capabilities the first time around.  I ended up having to move more of the glides than I care to remember at this point.  It shouldn’t be that hard!!  I always drill pilot holes and then hand screw them in.  The notches on those glide screws are ridiculously shallow–I always picture the designer as an oily man twisting his mustache and cackling an evil laugh every time my screwdriver slips off and the screw goes flying.  Fourteen drawers worth!

Craft Room desk drawers installedFinally all drawers installed.  I was feeling pretty good at this point–the hardest part was done!  Except for the painting part.  I always forget how much time that part takes.  Notice that the edge banding is applied to the fronts of the cabinet sides

Craft Room desk drawer frontsI also saved money on this part too–with my cheater drawer fronts.  I used 1/2″ ply and 1/4″ poplar hobby boards glued and pinned on with my nail gun for the drawer frame.  Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but it worked just fine!  Here I am attaching the 1/2″ ply fronts.  I used 2 sided carpet tape between the drawer and the drawer front to hold them in place, and 2 nickels taped together as spacers for 1/8″ spacing.  I generally use 1/16″ space on inset drawers and doors, but this time I didn’t feel like messing around with exact spacing to that small of a gap.  If I had realized this prior to installing these, I would have used a paint stirrer as the 1/8″ spacer.  Live and learn…

Craft Room desk drawer handlesI used a paper template to drill the holes for the drawer handles.  Drawer handles are expensive!!!  I had to go with the cheapest option I could, (without actually buying a style I hated) since I had so many drawers, and planned on using the handles on future cabinet builds as well.  I really wanted some bar pulls, but they were almost twice as much.

I plan on adding a pencil drawer, but not at this point since I’m not for sure on the spacing for it yet.  The desktop was an awesome deal my mom found for me.  If you live in NW Ohio and you build, you need to stop by the Sauder outlet.  She picked up the desktops for $10 a piece!  I had her get 3 for me and I love them.  I couldn’t have gotten anything that cheap and these look really nice too!  They have drawer glides, cabinet handles, casters, and many other DIY options for a steal.

Now I said I built 3 cabinets and I’ve only shown you two.  And I suppose you wondered where all the junk went also–it’s all still there, just shoved to the opposite part of the room!  I’ve paired the drawers I built with a 2 drawer filing cabinet, that will receive a makeover in the future.

Craft Room desk_right side of the roomSo there’s phase 1!  Still a long way to go before it is officially a transformation, but I’m headed in the right direction.  I’ve got general ideas for the rest of the room, but I’m working in phases because I think my plans will change as I get each part installed.

This project was built using PureBond plywood because I care about the air quality in my home.  It’s the only plywood I have ever used since I began building–even before the PureBond Pledge.  I had done research on formaldehyde-free plywood and I was thrilled to find PureBond, and even better–I could get it locally.


Craft Room Transformation: Before Pictures

Craft room transformation seems like a lofty title, but I assure you that this will be a huge transformation of this space in my house!!  I am not a naturally neat person, my natural inclination is to organize in piles, I have a hard time letting go of even the most inconsequential drawing(s) that my children have completed since they could hold a crayon, and I am a pack rat for items I think I could use in the future.  Add to that mix the fact that I went back to school in 2009 to complete my bachelor’s degree and then got a job and had zero time to organize anything, and my craft room became a dumping ground for anything that quickly needed hidden from view.  For 5 years.

Before picture 1These pictures were actually taken in 2012, so there is 2 more years worth of crap that I didn’t get a picture of because I knew I already had some pretty good (bad?) examples of my packratness.  There was just less room in the middle to even get around in there.

Craft room before picture 2

This may be overkill for the before pictures, but I really enjoy going back and seeing the change, especially once I’ve gotten used to the new way the room looks and how bad it was in the beginning isn’t as sharp a memory.

Craft room before picture 3

The Hubs thinks this room qualified for the Extreme Hoarder show on cable.  But since I could limit hoarding to (mostly) one room in the house, I don’t think they would have bothered with me :)  My closet gets bad at times, but I want to transform that this summer!

Craft Room before picture 4

I got fed up with the mess over our school’s winter break, and spent a TON of hours in here weeding things out.  We took a couple of loads to our local thrift store, recycled a LOT of school papers and miscellaneous things I kept from the kids over the years, and I gave away some stuff to family who could use it.  It felt really good!

Craft Room before picture 5

The existing desk units I have in here came from my mom’s office who auctioned there old stuff when they bought new.  For $35 I got all the metal cabinets and desktops in the before pictures.  I plan on making some improvements to them aesthetically this summer when I can spray paint them outside.  I’ve had those for probably 10 years now.

Craft Room before picture 6Holy cow is it bad in these pictures!  Just makes the “after” pictures that much sweeter :)

Phase 1 is done–I’ll post the results in a few days!

So maybe I lied in my last post…


Cabinet abd drawers

But this time I promise I am actually going to complete a project! I can say this because today I am sanding and painting it. I said in my last post that I was working in my master closet,  and I would have loved to have done that project, but it’s on the back burner for (hopefully) the summer. This is going in my craft room. You’re not going to believe how much better that room looks after a few weeks of decluttering and now some cabinet storage drawers!

I must be getting faster at the planning and building part too–I bought the supplies on January 17 and I’m going to wrap it up in the next few days.  Granted I took some short cuts since its going in a room guests never see,  but I’m good with how they turned out :)

Had you guys given up on me?  I can’t believe I only posted ONCE in all of 2014!! It sure was a busy year but sheesh!

Here we go again!

What started out as cleaning out a craft room closet has ended with a tape measure and a drill in my master walk in closet. Oops! Hubs doesn’t even know yet and he’s in the basement watching tv as I type this. It looks like my closet threw up in my bedroom right now and I’m about to make a mess. Here we go again… I’ve been waiting on this one for awhile though and I’m super excited to finally have an organized place for my clothes! You are going to have to be patient with this project. I have nothing drawn up and you know how I am about the plans. Takes me forever. Maybe it won’t this time. Positive thoughts! Boy it’s


good to have the tools back out!

Dining Room/ Home Office {Make a pencil drawer}

I mentioned before that I wasn’t sure I was going to add a pencil drawer drawer to the Dining Room built-ins.  Luckily I didn’t have to decide until the very end, and I wasn’t so sick of this project that I scrapped the idea altogether by that point!  I really like this addition to the desk portion.  Not only does it add a usable feature, but I like the look of the desk with it in there.  I built it to look like part of the face frame, so you really don’t know there is a drawer in there.

Finished pencil drawer

Up until now I have not owned a table saw but you might recall that right before I started on this project, I got one for my birthday.  I decided to try my hand at using it to construct this drawer.

The bottom’s dimensions are the depth of the drawer glide plus 1/4″ (in this case it is 14″ plus 1/4″) and 1″ shorter than the width of the drawer opening (to compensate for the space for the drawer glides–1/2″ for each side).  The sides of the drawer are 3/4″ plywood, because I used some scrap I had.

Bottom of the pencil drawer

I attached the sides to the back of the drawer and then glued and nailed them onto the bottom through the bottom 1/4″ ply.  There’s a 1/4″ lip I left on the bottom that will slide into a dado I cut into the front of the drawer

Make a pencil drawerThe front is 3/4″ ply as well because you only really see the front.  I made sure to sand the top and sides well, so it still looks nice.  I cut the dado the depth that the lip sticks out.  The width of the dado is the thickness of the 1/4″ ply.  I had to make two passes to get it right.  Truthfully more than that, but I’m still learning ;)

Close up of drawer assembly The little bit of wood at the bottom under the dado cut provides a place for me to be able to pull open the drawer since I’m not attaching a handle.

To attach the glides to the cabinets, I pulled out my double sided tape again–love that stuff!  You’ll recall that I used it to attach the inset door hinges and it works like a charm to hold the glides in place while you try to work with those horribly tiny screws that come with drawer glides.  I positioned the glide with my Kreg drawer glide jig to get it squared up with the face frames on the cabinets.  I had to lower it quite a bit than it looks in this picture because I used european glides and you have to be able to get the drawer glide wheel over the cabinet glide wheel and that ain’t gonna happen with it this close to the top!  This was wishful thinking in this picture.

Double sided tape to attach drawer glide

Insert the drawer into its spot so that you can attach the front and get it positioned just right.  I put glue in the dado and then just nailed into the sides through the front.  This is a tiny drawer and won’t get much abuse so that should hold it just fine.

Drawer without drawer front attached

Drawer front attached

Fill the holes with wood filler, sand, prime, paint and topcoat!

DIY pencil drawer open

This drawer took much less time to build than it took to wrap those headphones!  That was a Pinterest-inspired project that took a LONG time to finish.  This drawer was pretty simple to assemble and I’m glad I took the time to complete it!

Dining Room Home Office built ins full view

Dining Room/ Home Office {How to Install Inset Door Hinges}

I’ve installed inset door hinges on a number of my projects now, and I’ve finally come up with a way to do it easily.  And by myself.  Sometimes it seems like you need about 7 pairs of hands to keep things where you want them when you are building, and with this method all I needed was my own set.

This is the magic ingredient for only needing two hands to install hinges.

Carpet tape to install hinges Read More…

Dining Room/ Home Office {Drawer Fronts}

It seems that every time I build something, I modify how I went about making various parts.  I have built drawer fronts for cabinets using a few different methods now, and this time I am very happy with how they came out.  I don’t know if my level of skill has increased or if the Greek gods who oversee straight boards were pleased with me, but every one of these drawer fronts came out flat and square and just the right size.  Love it when that happens–probably because it is a rare thing ;)

I used the same method as I did on my DIY closet organizer but in this post I’ll show you how I clamped it all together and pinned the plywood backs in.

Rule Number 1.  Use. straight. boards.

Rule Number 2.  Straight boards.  Use them.

Rule Number 3.  See Rule #1 and #2.

Off topic, I shot a video during this build where I talk about picking straight boards because I think it could be a difficult thing for a beginner, and because sometimes you can get away with boards that aren’t straight, but only when they are warped certain ways (depending on what you are using them for).  Would anyone find that helpful or are my readers past that point in skill level?  Don’t want to waste time editing a video nobody wants to see…please chime in in the comment section!

I used two options to assemble: one was a combination square to hold the corners square.  This works, but it isn’t my preferred method.

Use a combination square  to assemble drawer fronts

I also used a face clamp over the joint where I was driving the screws to keep it flat, but I didn’t take the picture with that on there in order to simplify what you are seeing.

Read More…

Dining Room/ Home Office {How to make a hanging file drawer with a Dremel}

I love hanging files, so when turning the Dining room into a Home Office space, hanging file drawers were a must.  I played around with my own design and measured existing file drawers in our house to come up with a plan.  I pinned some things I could purchase to attach to the drawer, but I wanted two drawers and I was looking at about $30, which was more than I wanted to spend.  And then Sandra over at rescued me and published a post about how she made some file drawers and it was cheap.  That was the way I wanted to go, but the problem was that Sandra used a table saw to make hers.  And my table saw was still in a really big and heavy box in our garage at the time.

Dremel sent me some of their tools awhile back to try out and I decided to use the Multi-Max to make my hanging file drawer instead of the table saw.

Dremel multi-max

My drawers are going in horizontally so the files go from side-to-side rather than front to back.  The drawer dimensions are 14″ deep by 19″ wide (exterior dimensions).  If my cabinets were deeper, I would have made the file drawer deeper because getting them in and out works, but I can’t take them straight up and out because it would hit the drawer above it.  You can see that it sits right under the drawer above when fully extended.

DIY hanging file drawer installed

So here’s how I went about it.  Take your hanging file and mark where you should cut. Read More…


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