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Dining Room/Home Office {The Reveal}

I knew turning the dining room into a home office/dining room was going to be a big project, I just didn’t know it was going to be a big, BIG project.  Ignorance was bliss, until I was in it too far to turn back!  I don’t know that I will ever take on a project this big again (thankfully there aren’t that many this size on the to-do list!).  But here I am 2.5 months, 14 door and drawer fronts, 16 hinges, 1 gallon of primer, 1.75 quarts of polycrylic and 5 days where I thought “this is the day that I will finish” only to end the day “not finished” I am finally on the “done” side of the build.  And I’m happy.  REALLY happy!  All of the “what ifs” and unknowns are neatly tied up in a bow and all I have to do is fill up the cabinets and style the bookshelves.

Dining Room Home Office built ins full view

The biggest stress for me throughout the entire build was that inside corner where the two units meet.  I just couldn’t visualize what would look the best for that spot until I actually had most of it constructed.  And even then I wasn’t sure.  I’m really pleased with the end result.

Dining Room Home Office built ins desk view

The middle part of the desk that looks like a face frame is actually a pencil drawer.  I hadn’t decided whether I was including that until the very last part of the project, but I’m glad I did.  I’ll show you how I made the drawer in another post.

Dining Room Home Office built ins shelf view

The right cabinet under the shelves has a charging station in it that I am loving also.  I’ll show more details in a later post.  Couldn’t wait to get the reveal up, so the detail shots will have to wait!

Dining Room Home Office Built Ins left side

I’m a file-drawer junkie, so the two bottom drawers are both hanging file drawers.  Lot of room for organizing, gotta love that!

Dining Room Home Office right side

Dining Room Home Office built ins full view

If you recall, we don’t have much time to sit back and enjoy the fact that this is finished this year–I’ve got one graduating this spring, eek!  I’ve already moved on to trying to pick out a table, chairs, and rug for this room to really finish it up…and move on to the next project ;)

More posts on this build will be churned out!


As always, I only use PureBond plywood in my builds because the air quality in my home matters to me.  I have used this plywood since the very beginning of my woodworking adventure and I love it.


How to build a simple, scrap wood upholstered footstool

An upholstered footstool is one of the gifts that I made for Pip for Christmas this year, in my quest to have one room in this house completely finished up.  This is part of how I made it–I say part, because I think I deleted the building part of the pictures…oops!  It is so simple though, you really don’t need anything but a picture to put it together.  And I used scrap plywood and miscellaneous supplies from my sewing room, so it was free.

Scrap plywood upholstered footstool

See what I mean?  This was a very easy project.  I had put together the bench part before I started on the living room built-in, but I finished the rest of this in the midst of my general-Christmas-madness-combined-with-starting-a-major-project brilliance.  I will once again beg all of you to remind me that I should not start major projects during the holiday season next year!

I left the edges of the plywood unfinished–I just filled some spots where there were little voids in the ply with wood putty and sanded really well.  Two coats of primer and 1 coat of my white.  I did do two thin coats of polycrylic since I had it out already for the living room built in.  I really like the smooth finish I end up with when I use it.

Here are the steps I used to upholster the top.

Upholstered footstool supplies needed Read More…

Living Room Built-In {post 3: The Reveal}

First we had a flurry of activity around here to get the Living Room built-in finished before Christmas hit, and now I’m settled in by the computer with a flurry of snow accumulation happening outside, as I write up the reveal post for the Living Room built-in (we think about 6-7″ right now and it’s still falling).  I’m breaking from my regular format and doing the reveal before all of my write ups on the process this time, for no other reason than I want to :)  My goal was to have everything done but the doors before we had Christmas at our house, and it ended up that the entire thing was done!  Yay!

Befores and afters:

Whole room before picture--living room side

Built In--whole room picture living room side

Read More…

Scrap wood heart collage

I’m getting closer and closer to having ONE room in this house that is completely and truly done!!!! I can’t wait for that day :) Pip is really liking her desk hutch, but the project I am writing about today is one of her favorites for her room and it turned out a lot easier than I imagined. And it used up a lot of scrap plywood I had been accumulating–high fives all around! Here is the scrap wood DIY heart collage I put up on one of her walls:

Scrap wood heart collage

Scrap wood heart collage

I started this back in the summer and then procrastination hit…sometimes it is the silliest things that throw me off the finish line for a project. Picking out the pictures is what did it this time! I had a niggling of a feeling of wanting to do the picture-picking-out last weekend so I jumped on it, and now the project’s got a check mark next to it on my to-do list.

This used up a surprising amount of scrap 3/4″ and 1/2″ plywood. I wanted both sizes because I thought it would add some visual interest to the picture collage.  Most of them are 4 x 6, but a few were smaller because it was what I had left. Read More…

Adding a hutch to a desk {The Reveal}

If all I had done was add a hutch to a desk, then the reveal post would have come about much sooner.  But before I could add the hutch, I had to paint the desk:

Desk and chair before painting

The desk was a dirty, yellowy, whitish color and the handles and horizontal metal inserts were a brassy, gold color with worn, white parts on them.

I didn’t sand the desk down.  I bought some bonding primer at Lowes (hope I don’t regret not getting the Sherwin Williams version I’ve heard others use–I was already at Lowes and got lazy…).  I also skipped the polycrylic topcoat I’m fond of using and bought a semi-gloss finish in the paint instead.  I didn’t get the really smooth finish I’ve come to love, but I did get done with the project a little quicker, which I also love.

Repair a chair.  Paint the chair.  Recover the chair seat.  Spray the chair bright pink.  Discover bright pink doesn’t work.  Repaint chair white.

Repair a chair

The chair needed help in two different spots. It was pretty wobbly before I put in the pocket hole screws, but now it’s solid. I had to put the pocket holes on the outside because of the funky assembly on the inside.

And spray paint the handles and horizontal metal inserts a nice, brushed nickel.

Desk hardware ready to spray paint

I washed the hardware with some soap and water, dried it well, and primed it with some Rustoleum regular primer in gray (because I accidentally grabbed gray). I used Krylon in brushed nickle as the color and I left off the topcoat for this project.

But now it is all done and in her room!  Here’s  a before photo to refresh your memory about how the room looked, well…before!  I didn’t purposely take such awful before shots, I wanted the Hubs to take the desk down so I could paint it, but I needed before photos…and it was at night.  Flash photos + no natural light =no good

 How to add a hutch to a dresser

  Desk before photo

 Desk and Hutch from the front

I love the brushed nickle spray paint!  Look at the difference in the hardware.

Desk drawer hardware collage

It’s coming along in there.  I’m working on a couple more projects for her room right now that I’m hoping to have done by the weekend.  Now that I’ve said that out loud it’ll get jinxed somehow :)

Here are all the posts in the series:

Adding a hutch to a desk

Adding a hutch to a desk {post 1}

Adding a hutch to a desk {post 2}

You might notice that the drawers in the plans didn’t make it into the hutch.  That is a sore spot for me at the moment, since I did some incorrect math in my head…I was dreading going out in that garage in the cold, I procrastinated for a few days over the long weekend, finally went out and got it done, took it up to her room, and discovered they weren’t going to work as is.  Sigh.

If you’re ever in need of feeling better about how your own projects are going, you know you can always depend on me for a mistake or two!

**This project (and all my plywood projects on here to date) are made using PureBond Plywood because I’m concerned about the air quality in my home.


DIY Ruler Growth Chart

My nephew turned one last July, and his mommy had discovered that generally, by the time you get to child #2, you have all the toys you will ever need without getting more! And she had recently discovered Pinterest and its plethora of great ideas, which resulted in a request for a growth chart similar to the ones floating around in cyberspace. I looked around and found a good tutorial and then like any good aunt, got right on it–4 months later.  Just so you don’t think I should be locked up for nephew neglect, I did have some gifts for him to open on his actual big day!  Not that he really noticed through all the icing and cake he had smeared all over :)

I am really happy with how it turned out:

I did change a few things from the original tutorial.  I made two short lines at 1.5″ and then a longer line at 2″ (so 1.5, 1.5, 2, 1.5, 1.5, 2″ and so on) and then each number line I marked at 2.75″.  I also printed the font (I used Book Antiqua) at 300.  I used the tutorial’s transfer technique and I also used a black Sharpie to make the lines and fill in the numbers.

The stain was a custom mix of two stains I had in the basement–which one was already a custom stain to begin with, so I can’t even tell you what the two are to reproduce mine.  I didn’t topcoat it with anything because my sister wanted it to look worn.  I prefer that look on it as well.  Keep in mind that if you are using it for an actual growth chart that you will write on, you will need to be able to mark over the top of your topcoat if you choose that route.  If you use a wax, that may present problems.

And in the interest of full disclosure, not only was it 4 months late, but I finished it at their house while visiting last weekend.  That actually does border on nephew neglect.  Wonder when I’ll get around to sending out Christmas cards this year…would it be inappropriate in May?

How to Build a Closet Organizer {The Reveal!}

Woohoo the reveal!  I love. love. love this closet organizer.  I couldn’t be happier with it.  More importantly Pip is happy with it and she is excited that she can find all her stuff in there now!

The viking hat got a place of honor :)

Dress up jewelry for now!

What do you think?  Was it worth the effort?  Got a spot for one in your house?  I want to do ALL the closets in our house now!

Other posts in this series:

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 1} The Plans

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 2} Shelf Pins

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 3} Building Drawers

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 4} Drawer Glides

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 5} Drawer Fronts

How to Build a Closet Organizer {Post 6} Assembling It All

Linking up to:

Oganized on a Budget at

Show Us Your House (closet edition) at Thrifty Decor Chick


A little while ago I saw these crates on a blog post by Kit at DIY Diva and I loved them.  She made hers from pallets.  I did not for a few reasons.

  • 1.  I’d have to find some pallets
  • 2.  I’d have to take apart said pallets.
  • 3.  Pallets scare me.  I’m pretty sure that most of them are saturated in all sorts of things to keep the wood from rotting, none of which I want inside or to breathe while I’m cutting, sanding,etc.  Read the comments in the DIY Diva post for safety measures you can take.

So I went to Lowes to the furring strip department and searched for really-beat-up-but-straight-as-I-could-find boards.  Really beat up?  Easy.  Straight as I could find?  Not so much.  I could find furring strips for the 1x3s and 1x4s, but the 1x2s were impossible, so I used Top Choice for those.

6—1x3x8 furring strips

3—1x4x8 furring strips

1—1x2x8 and 1—1x2x6 Top Choice boards (they only had a few at 8’—there was enough wood for 3 with these figures)

For a grand total of $21.24.  Much, much, much cheaper than the large baskets I was eyeballing at Target 2 weeks ago.  I could have spent $50-$60 dollars on 3 baskets!  Sheesh.  Here’s my version:

For the ends cut: Read More…

Pottery Barn Stratton knock off #2

You’ve heard the wise advice, measure twice, cut once.  It is good advice that should always be followed when woodworking.  Especially before you even buy the wood.  Go measure the space you’ve got, to make sure your project will fit in given space.

You know I am working on my second storage bed for one of my boys.  There is currently a twin in there, which gave me false confidence about the space I had for the bed.  Actually that sentence implies that I actually had a thought in the first place about spacing.  I, in fact, did not.  Not even an inkling of a thought.

Luckily the Heavens were smiling on me as my oldest was carrying the bed up with My Man, saying “Wonder if the door is gonna close once this is in there?” .  It does close.  Barely.

It’s all because of this:

I’m sure that there are some “heating duct rules to live by” that I am oblivious to, but when a room has a shortage of blank walls to put furniture in front of, it is eternally frustrating when one has a heating duct in front of it.  This room has the door into the room, two huge closet doors and 3 windows.  This very small space between the windows in one of 3 blank areas I’ve got to work with.  Oh well, the door does actually close, so disaster was averted.

And the bed is in the room!

Before (and I am so embarrassed about the dust ruffle being ripped–especially because it’s been that way for years):

Pottery Barn Stratton knock off #2

Read More…

Four legs + trim + paint = brand “new” dresser

I am so happy with how Pip’s dresser turned out!  I didn’t do anything too drastic to it, but I think that the difference is dramatic.  Let’s see if you feel the same.  Before:

And now:

Remember that I mentioned going to the Pottery Barn site to be inspired by some of their options.  This is the dresser that I felt I could somewhat replicate:

Potter Barn Caroline dresser

I considered adding some trim to the drawers as well, but in the end decided to skip that detail.  I also considered keeping the original knobs which are just like the Pottery Barn version, but the new drawer pulls match the storage bed hardware.  And I liked the contrast of color they add.

Here’s the process. Read More…


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