Finished DIY Redwood Craftsman Gate

After the gate was built, the next steps are to hang it, install hardware and then stain/seal it.   Here is the finished gate after all of these steps.  We are very excited with how it turned out!  Please check out the previous post to see how the gate was made.

Redwood Craftsman gate

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Designing and Building A Redwood Craftsman Gate (for under $200)

After our fence and driveway project (which was completed 4 years ago), we had planned to build a nice gate.  In that previous post, the following line appears:

Chris has plans to build a nice gate, but that project probably won’t get done for a little while.

So here we are “a little while” later and after some gentle nudging from Shirley, I (Chris) am finally going to make the gate.  I had been planning for the gate for quite awhile, including figuring out the design and buying tools, so when it came time to actually build the gate, it didn’t take too much time at all.  Overall, it took about 1 week or so (maybe ~20 hours of actual work) to build the gate.

Here are the finished two gates that will span the narrow driveway, sitting on our back deck.

building redwood craftsman gate

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DIY Card Catalog from IKEA Rast

As a bibliophile, Shirley is very nostalgic for the library card catalog and had been looking on ebay and etsy for card catalogs.  Chris tried to talk some sense into her pointing out that card catalogs are not very useful pieces of furniture.  “What can you put in a card catalog?”

Then she came across some examples of DIY card catalogs (and similar projects for apothecary cabinets), which were made from dressers.  She was inspired to “try and build one”, which is code for seeing if Chris could do it.

Of course he can. . . 

Here’s the finished product, built using an IKEA Rast dresser.

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Ruler Growth Chart

We wanted to make a growth chart to keep track of the heights of the kids over time.  Shirley’s internet/pinterest browsing eventually came up with a brilliant, but well used idea: a growth chart that looks like a ruler.

We bought a 6 foot tall cedar fence board for $5, and then sanded, and stained using the vinegar/iron treatment described in our farmhouse table post. We thought about how to create the gradation lines and the numbers.  At first we thought about using stencils but figured it would be easier to just use a framing square to draw the various lines to the right length with a black Sharpie marker.

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IKEA Hack 2: Besta Built-In Family Room TV Bookshelf

We love our latest IKEA built-in hack in the great room! (See the built-in IKEA Besta/Pax hack in the living room we finished a year before.) In the great room, we’d had a dark IKEA shelving unit on the TV wall. We decided to replace that shelving unit with a full wall of built-in shelves with lower cabinets, using IKEA Besta shelves, with a few creative touches thrown in. “We” (loosely used; here, meaning 95% Chris, 5% Shirley) probably spent a few hours a day for the better part of a week on this project.

Here’s the result:


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Backyard improvements (Sod)

For the longest time the area in the very back of the yard was left untouched (about 1 yr). Chris covered it with plastic and weed barrier to keep the weeds and blackberries from taking over the area again. We decided that we would put some grass there as a place for the kids to play. This describes the 3 week project of putting grass in the back are (about 400 sq ft).

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DIY: Built-ins using IKEA Besta shelves and Pax wardrobes

Here is our IKEA built-in shelf/closet project in our living room!! Read on to see how we got here…

Also see our latest IKEA built-in project. . .

IKEA built-in shelves

The latest project is one that we’ve seen on HGTV and online (like here and here): to take premade bookshelves and cabinets and add molding and baseboards to make it look built-in. We especially wanted to try this on the first floor because Shirley has a lot of books and there’s not a single closet on this floor. We started with the living room, in part because we wanted some place to put the vacuum cleaner. Continue reading “DIY: Built-ins using IKEA Besta shelves and Pax wardrobes”


Building a planter box and planting fruits and veggies

Since we moved to the new house, the yard hasn’t been in the best of shape and we haven’t been able to grow any food, like we did at our old place.  So Chris decided to build a planter box in the back yard.  After a couple of trips to Home Depot for redwood 2x6s, it was a quick job, cutting and screwing together the planter box.

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DIY – Building a Farmhouse Table and Bench

When Shirley mentioned she liked farmhouse tables, the wheels in Chris’s head started turning and he decided he would try to build one.

Research phase:

There are a number of examples online of people building some great tables online (e.g. here and here). Also there were also some great ideas of making new wood look like old, aged barnwood, which involved dissolving steel wool in vinegar and wiping the wood with a mixture of the solution and tea to “weather” the wood. This causes a reaction between the dissolved iron and the tannic acid in the wood (and the tea) to create a greyish color that mimics weathered wood.

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