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    We're two avid DIY-ers raising two rambunctious boys while tackling large and small projects, living to share our tale. All with the hope to inspire and encourage others.

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    A new window for the living room. Bling for the dining room. @westelm #mywestelm Olive browsing @schoolhouse and drooling over all the amazing items. Stopped when I saw the nearly identical green wool blanket I bought at a consignment shop for $30. Totally patting myself on the back for saving $165. A new plant for the DIY stand. I guess my aloe didn't like this spot. Oh well, bigger and better snake plant!

Marble Topped Box

Everyone has ugly things that are necessary for life.  Feet, cords and wires, and remotes, to name a few.  Hiding feet is an easy change.  We still (going on two years now!) have to build doors to hide the cords in the entertainment center, but that’s a different project for another day.  That leaves us with remote controls.  Perhaps your situation is different.  Maybe you’ve got a fancy universal remote.  We don’t.  Nope, there’s one for the tv, another for the receiver, and the controller for the Play Station (our dvd player).  Before this, the three squished together in a too small open tray on the coffee table.

Two-Tone-Wooden-Box-Finished-Outside

To give those ugly necessities a home, I built another recessed lid box.  With a twist.  I paired a 1/2 inch MDF base with a marble tile top.

Marble-Topped-Remote-Box-for-Remoted

Following the same process, I crafted the simple box, using our remotes as a dimension guide.  Two coats of Tate Olive inside and out for a touch of color.  Then, Ben cut a 12 inch square tile (left over from the master bathroom shower) to size for me and drilled a hole in the center.

Marble-Topped-Remote-Box-Above

A semi creepy pull from Hobby Lobby is a fun accent.  Kind of looks like bird claws, no?

Marble-Topped-Remote-Box-Detail

Hobby Lobby knobs come with the bolt attached to the pull.  Sometimes it’s nice, when turning knobs into towel hooks, but other times, it just adds another step.

Marble-Topped-Remote-Box-Knob-Bolt-to-Cut-Off

After securing the knob with the washer and nut, I used a hacksaw to cut off the rest of the bolt.  Voila, a chic remote house.

Green = Green: Free Stump Coffee Table

You may be right!  I may be crazy.  But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.  To quote my longtime BFF (not really) Billy Joel.

Often times, I’m not actively searching for specific items.  However, if I see something that I can’t stop thinking about, I feel compelled to get it.  Such is the case of this giant slice of starting to rot cottonwood.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Sanded

At 43 inches in diameter and 12 inches tall, this thing is massive, not to mention heavy.  Ben thought I was crazy, but loaded the beast up for me.

The affair started innocently, as I drove past the chopped up remains of a 25 foot tall dead trunk.  After a few days, I decided to ask by leaving a note with my name and number.  Instead of being the crazy woman knocking on the door, demanding a piece of wood.  A few hours later, a sweet gal called me back saying I could definitely take what I wanted.  Sa-weet.  I dropped by to pick out the piece and chatted for another one and a half hours.  I guess she didn’t think I was crazy.

Back to the wood.  This old cottonwood had died years ago.  The stump finally fell over.  Which means this thing has real character.  After a thorough sanding to get the surface splinter free and as flat as possible, I dug sawdust out of the bug trails.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Bug-Trails

To get all dust and debris off and out of cracks, I lugged out the air compressor and a spray gun.  Worked like a charm to get the gunk out.  Then I gave the sides one coat of polycrylic.  For added smoothness, I applied three coats to the top, sanding between layers.  Sanding between coats is always important, but even more so on an unfinished piece of wood.

At 12 inches tall and somewhat uneven (notice a raised chunk toward the front in the photo below), I attached three steel casters.  Not only do the casters add a few inches in height, it makes this two hundred pound slab mobile.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Three-Casters

I bought four, but after talking it over with Ben and looking at the base, three worked better.  Despite an uneven base, after flipping it over, the top was almost perfectly level.  As the old saying goes, “Almost only counts in horseshoes and casters.”  Under $6.00 each at Home Depot, these 300 pound rated wheels are heavy-duty.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Casters-at-Home-Depot

Four 2 1/2 inch long screws and washers keep the wheels in place.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Casters-Attached

With the piece sanded, clean, sealed, and wheeled, all we had left was to bring it inside.  Basically I made a heaftier version of this stump and put it inside my house.  Feast your eyes on our new, rustic meets industrial coffee table.

Stump-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room-Toward-Doors

Adding the heavy (both in weight and appearance) table has helped ground the room.

Stump-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room

I’m keeping the old table.  Because I love it and it could work well in our bedroom seating area.

Faux-Marble-Table-Top-in-Family-Room

This hulking piece was fun to work on and now has a fun story.

Stump-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room-Toward-Fireplace

And character in spades.

Stump-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room-Toward-Stairs

One side has a giant crack along with a woodpecker hole.

Stump-Coffee-Table-in-Family-Room-Toward-Cabinets

Stump-Coffee-Table-Cracked-Side-Detail

Some of the chainsaw marks are still noticeable on the top.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Top-Detail

Despite several rounds of sanding with 50 grit paper, the top isn’t completely smooth.  I mean, you won’t get slivers if you run our hand across the top.  Though it is far from your typical glossy mahogany furniture.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Top

You can feel bumps, divots, and a few rough patches.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Top-Bug-Hole-Detail

Stump-Coffee-Table-Top-Detail-Toward-Stairs

For a hot second, we considered screwing the crack back together.  Clearly, we decided against that.  It could have worked.  Or it could have made the split even bigger.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Large-Crack-Detail

Overall, this was a quick, easy, and inexpensive project.  Free stump + a few hours of sanding + 1 quart of polycrylic + three steel casters = my love in coffee table form.

Stump-Coffee-Table-Edge-Detail

Based on the 17 photos, some very similar, in this post, I think it’s safe to say I’m smitten.  What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of cool furniture?

Big Ass Benches

We’ve got scrap piles for days.  Seemingly of anything and everything.  Including a few beams we didn’t use for our deck, walkways, or stairs.  To use a few up, Ben built what we’ve dubbed ‘Big Ass Benches.’

Big-Ass-Benches-by-Waterfall

They’re huge at 8 feet long and weigh at least 150 pounds each.  Two fill in the space by the waterfall, around the fire pit.

Big-Ass-Bench-by-Waterfall

To build these behemoths, Ben cut an 8 foot piece for the seat and two 3 foot tall sections for arms.  Scraps of 2 by 4 work as cleats and 2 by 6 boards for the backs.

Big-Ass-Bench-End-Detail

Long screws go through the sides and into the seat.

Big-Ass-Bench-Screw-Detail

Back boards connect to a small chunk of wood.

Big-Ass-Bench-Back-Attachment-Detail

Along with the two in the back, we’ve got another on the front landing.

Big-Ass-Bench-on-Front-Landing

It functions as a bench (duh!) and a railing, keeping people away from the far edge and steep drop to the driveway.

Caddy Shack

Time for an intervention, folks.  I’m addicted to using old cedar planks.  It started innocently.  First, I used a few to create a slim entry shelf.  More recently, we planked one wall in our bedroom.  And now, our bathroom is rocking a new cedar tub shelf/caddy thingy.  What am I going to do when I run out?  Ahhh!

Cedar-Tub-Shelf-Detail

The process couldn’t have been easier, either.  I measured from outside edge to outside edge of the tub (29 inches) and added two more inches for overhang.  Then I measured the inside of the tub (24 inches).  I cut an extra piece of cedar down to 31 inches and made two 1 1/2 inch wide strips.  On the back side of my wood, I marked 3 1/2 inches (the difference between my outside and inside measurements) from either side to attach my small strips.

Cedar-Tub-Shelf-Cleats

Setting a flat board would certainly work, but I wanted the cleats to keep the shelf in place if it got bumped.  It can only move about 1/2 inch before it hits the other side of the tub so it can’t crash down.  To attach the strips, I used two screws in each and flipped it back over.  With a fine grit sand paper, I smoothed out the rough edges.

Cedar-Tub-Shelf-Edge-Detail

After sanding, I applied a light coat of teak oil to seal everything.  Took maybe 20 minutes to make.  And I’ve got a place to set a book or whatever while relaxing.

Cedar-Tub-Shelf

I considered making a walnut board, but I thought the darker color would draw more attention.  This way, light color blends in and allows other elements to shine.

Cedar-Tub-Shelf-in-Bathroom

Cedar is also more naturally water-resistant, so it should handle splashes better.  Crazy simple and totally functional.  Feels a little fancy-pants, too.

Master Mood

As I shared Monday, we’ve gotten started revamping our ugly bedroom.

Cedar-Planked-Wall-Finished-Overall

Until now, our room has seen minimal attention in the form of white curtain panels and a coat of grayed green paint.  I didn’t love the color while painting and it still hasn’t grown on me.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay as a color.  For the room?  It doesn’t add anything, but it was better than the electric blue.

New-House-Master-Bedroom-Front-April-13-2012

Before we can get to the fun, big impact stuff, I have some tedious work ahead of me.  The two inside walls have orange peel texture, but the previous owner did a bang up job with some patches:

Master-Bedroom-Texture-and-Patches

So I’ll have to address those areas as well as the popcorn ceiling.  We’ll have guests here this weekend, so I won’t be able to get started as soon as I’d like.  Once the guest room is free, we can move our stuff out of the room and I can get going.  I’m aiming for a mix of sleek and modern with warm and rustic to play off each other.  Here’s what I have in mind:

Master-Bedroom-Mood-Board-2

 

1.  Cedar Planks, we might plank the other window wall, too.  Only after replacing the window with a sliding door.  Then I’ll put on a matte clear coat to seal everything that could be potentially hazardous to have indoors.

2.  Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron in flat finish on the remaining two walls, to tie into the master bathroom.

3.  We want to build a new bed, somewhat similar to CB2’s Dondra Bed.  The basic, open platform base is the part I love.  A light gray painted frame and simple upholstered headboard would off set all the wood going on in the room.  Wood wall + hardwood floors + wood bed frame might be too much for one area.

4.  While discussing replacement night stands, I mentioned floating shelves.  Something like our entry console, but deeper with a drawer.  This Slice Grey Wall Mounted Storage Shelf is close to our idea, though the dimensions would be different.  Also, we’ll use cedar to build the boxes.  That way, we can leave them natural to blend in with the wall.  Or I might paint them to add more contrast.  It depends on how it feels once installed.

5.  Back when I made our curtains, my goal was to create something to close for privacy.  Foolishly, I didn’t sew the panels long enough to raise when we changed the windows and trim.  So, these panels will go in the basement and I’ll sew two new sets.  The linen panels I made for the master bathroom have worked so well, I’m going to sew another set.  This time in white, similar to these White Linen Curtain Panels.

6.  To up the cozy factor, we need a rug.  This Allen + Roth Rectangular Cream Solid Wool Rug looks so plush and soft, and it’s a great price for 100% wool.  Unlike other rooms, our bedroom doesn’t get heavy foot traffic or dirt, so we can get away with a lighter rug.

7.  There are two large mirrors in this house, both in awkward places.  One in the laundry room and another at the end of the hall in the basement.  I’ve wanted to frame one out to lean ever since.  Creating a cedar frame similar to this Salvaged Wood Leaning Mirror is the perfect solution.  It would bring the cedar to another area and add function.

8.  Along either side of our bed, a Faux Sheepskin is nice and soft.

9.  DIY Isosceles Lamps  on the night stands.  ‘Nuff said.

10.  To add in some color, I want a few green accents.  Nothing crazy, but this green wool blanket, the edges of our engineer prints, and a pillow or two.

Across from the bed, we’d like to add a small tv to create a little seating area in the currently unused, open space.  Using the mid-century bench as a small sofa, maybe a chair, and a slim console.  Those elements are still up in the air.  Regardless, I’m excited to get started!

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