Some Quick & Extremely Functional Laundry Closet Shelves

Some Quick & Extremely Functional Laundry Closet Shelves

We mentioned on our podcast a few weeks ago that we had to quickly implement some storage systems in our new house just so we had a spot to unpack everything. Like there was a point on Day 3 or 4 of unpacking where we were faced with the reality that nothing else could get put away until we added some shelves to the narrow hall closet next to the bathroom and this laundry closet.

As soon as these shelves & our new counter were up, we were amazed by how much we could store. This closet is a complete workhorse (and dare I say a showhorse? I mean look at those bottle brush trees). And since many of you asked for the DIY details, we’re going to cover why & how we built these shelves. Anyone can tackle this. It’s extremely doable and your home improvement store might even be able to cut things for you so you can just go home and screw them right into your studs.

Continue reading Some Quick & Extremely Functional Laundry Closet Shelves at Young House Love.

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#180: Decorating In The Era Of Zoom

#180: Decorating In The Era Of Zoom

The sudden boom of video conferencing in all of our lives is giving us a new window through which to view our homes (and the homes of others – from coworkers to celebrities and news correspondents). So what does your Zoom background say about you? And what lengths will we go to when it comes to altering them to make sure nothing weird gets seen by everyone else on the call? We also realized in hindsight that a family trip earlier this year had a pretty major effect on our decision to move to Florida. Plus we explain the big shiny object on our kitchen counter – and Sherry divulges an embarrassing story from her NYC days that she might never live down.

You can also find this episode on your favorite podcast listening app, like Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, TuneIn Radio, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Continue reading #180: Decorating In The Era Of Zoom at Young House Love.

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Postponing The Grand Opening

It is with great disappointment that I’m announcing that I have to postpone my Grand Opening event for the Hill Country Wood Shed due to Covid-19. 

The virus is increasing in an unsafe measure in Texas and I don’t feel comfortable or responsible having an event in this situation. Furthermore, the Texas Governor just announced that large gatherings are cancelled. 

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your coming and how much I was looking forward to celebrating with all of you that have followed along with my journey. Hopefully we can hold a celebration sometime in the future. 

Thank you so very much for your support. Stay tuned…


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Making A Live Edge Bench

This week I took the very first slab I ever milled up on my bandsaw mill and turned it into these two pieces of furniture. One is a little end table for my friend and videographer, Justin, and the other is a small bench for myself.

That’s a great thing about this project is one great length of slab can make multiple items. Or If you have a short spare piece that’s too beautiful or sentimental to throw away, then this is something easy but functional to use it for.

Let me show you the process. 

I had traveled to Nashville to help my friend Greg Pennington with a porch project. And while I was loading down the vehicle with tools, I threw in a slab of mesquite since Greg mentioned he had never seen it before. I figured if he was going to be working on something after hours, I’ll pack myself a slab to work along with him. For me, I have been holding onto the very first slab to ever come off my giant bandsaw mill, which is a piece of pecan. 

Now I already knew what I wanted to make with it, because since first going to Greg’s on my first chair making course, I fell in love with these cute live edge benches used all around his shop. I wanted one of those benches, so I started by first picking the section of slab to make my seat from and also Justin’s top from then cutting it to length.

Next was to plane the faces down. Justin’s went pretty typical where the majority of marks were removed on both faces.

However on mine, after removing most of the marks on one face Greg suggested we stop or it would make the board too thin. So in the center I have marks remaining but I don’t mind as it’s the first marks I ever made with my bandsaw mill. Then on the bottom it’s completely left rough. 

Moving into the workshop area, I had my two pieces where I started laying out the leg position (three legs on Justin’s end table and four on my bench), Greg also was laying his four legs out on the piece of mesquite. 

To give you a little back story, I went to Nashville to help Greg build a porch but the first day was nothing but rain, so we were keeping ourselves busy with this project. He went through the process to build a mesquite bench, and I followed along but with my Pecan. 

First step is to drill the holes which is at a compound angle I used Greg’s very savvy but simple, two part laser set up to get these angles drill in correctly, and look at how hard this pecan is….there was so much heat and smoke! Makes for some pretty shots and I thought some really nice smells. 

Once the holes were drilled, now I could perfect them to their actual size and correct taper with a remming tool. See the drill bit make a nice even and straight hole but the goal is to have the leg’s tenon fit snugly into this hole and the tenon on the leg has a small taper. This remming tool cuts in that taper on the seat, perfectly. You just need to have your legs to test fit or in this case, since Greg is a chair maker and has lots of spindles around, a sample spindle to test fit. As long as the tenon is correct, then that’s all you need. You’re looking for it to punch out through the bottom, or actually what will be the top. 

Next we started working on cleaning up some of the edges and profiles. I decided to leave the live edge bark on mine. It will eventually fall off, but I’ll apply some epoxy to it when I get back to Texas to preserve it as long as possible. Greg scrapped his off.

So he had all four edges to refine and shape but I only had my two exposed ends and I just wanted something that would feel nicer than a sharp 90 when I sit down and put my hands on it. So I tackled it at first with a mallet and chisel and just tried knocking the top off.

It didn’t work all that well because pecan is so hard….so next I switched to a drawknife and created an easy chamfer on both the top and bottom. To do that, pick a dimension (I just eyeballed it) then use your finger as a fence against the edge of your wood and drag it along to make a mark on two perpendicular faces. Now you have a visual reference to use a drawknife or any other wood removing tool of your choice, to take that material away and come out with an even and nice looking bevel.

Now since I have bandsaw marks on the center of my slab, I moved to cleaning those up a little bit. The goal here wasn’t to take them away because I love them, but to soften the feel of them slightly as they were quite rough. I did this with a travisher. After it was all said and done, I think the marks blend in so nicely with the bark inclusions and natural knots in the slab. And I love the story they tell. 

Ok leg turning time. Well not just legs, stretchers too.

For mine, I have four legs and three stretchers then for Justin’s he needs three legs and two two stretchers. I am not an experienced turner. I can do it, but I’m very slow and often my pieces come out looking like newborn baby chubby arms. But still, I of course wanted to tackle my parts but Greg volunteered to do Justin’s. It’s worth noting he got both his set, Justin’s set, and cleaned his entire shop, in the time it took me to make mine. But hey, it’s not a race, it’s about having fun making sawdust.

For my parts, Greg already had a lot of dried maple blanks so that’s what I pulled from. The reason you want to use something dried is so you can assemble it and it not move drastically in size on you. If you used something wet, then as it dried it would shrink and your joints would become lose. 

I went for a simple shape, something called a cigar leg, while Greg got a little fancy for Justin’s and did what’s called a double bobin leg. Annnd he also made his from Cherry, which turned out looking stunning.

After test fitting the legs into place, we got out the log drill bit and started punching some holes. These holes will receive the stretchers and make a rock solid base once things are connected. 

After the holes in the legs are punched then a hole needs to be drilled in the short or short(s) stretcher. This step always fascinates me. The hole needs to be drilled perfectly perpendicular to the stretcher and to achieve that chair makers use a mirror technique where they will set up a mirror to face them.

They will also have a 90 degree square in sight so that in the mirror as a person drilling, you can set the square where it can be used as an indicator on how straight your drill bit is. If this is where the square is, and this is your drill bit, and you start leaning one way or the other, you’ll be able to very easily tell that you’re tilting.

Alright, and now it was assembly time.

If you’re building a piece of furniture then hide glue is a great choice. It not only has a long open time but it’s also reversible should you ever need to replace a part or refinish the entire thing. It’s at this point where it starts coming together very quickly, one piece at a time.

Now don’t freak out if you flip it over and a leg isn’t touching the bench….the legs are left a little long at the start so that there is room to level them up after they are wedged into place. 

For wedges you can go with just about any choice of wood but I wanted walnut so that they would contrast with my light body and base.

These also go in with hide glue, but if you ever wedge something then only apply glue to one face and not both. Then if you use a ball pin hammer, it won’t provide as much bounce back when you drive these home. 

Ok now we can take care of that let that is higher than the others. There is a very simple tool that, holds a pencil, will reference the top of a workbench and can be set to any set amount. So once you figure out how much height needs to be removed from the bench to drop it to the height desired, then you can set this tool and mark all the legs so you know where to chop them off.

After making all four marks, I used a pull saw to slice and dice, which made my bench sit nice and flat. 

Last thing to do while at Greg’s at least, was to move to the top and use a small flush trim saw to cut off the excess leg tenon and the wedges.

Ooh, I love it. I love the pecan coloring. I love the character these specific pieces have it in them. I love making something with my first slab. And I love the day full of so much relaxing fun building it with two close friends.

It’s always a special time in Greg’s shop because he has a magical place there. I’ve left you links down below to the other projects I’ve had the pleasure of building in Greg’s shop as well as his current class schedule if you’re interested in joining in on some of the fun. 

As for their final homes, my bench lives in my living room and serves as a place for me to sit and put on my shoes.

Justin uses his as an end table on his balcony and he says it does a fabulous job at holding whiskey. 

I hope you enjoyed this video and maybe even learned something. If you have a live edge piece of wood then I certainly recommend tackling this project. I know I plan to again in the future, I mean the sizes of these benches are just too perfect. I’ll see you on my next project. 

Other projects with Greg:

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign up at the top of this page for my newsletter so you don’t miss new projects!

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Breathing Life Back Into Our Quirky Outdoor Shower

Breathing Life Back Into Our Quirky Outdoor Shower

Our Cape Charles beach house quickly taught us the value of an outdoor shower. By giving people a spot to rinse off before coming inside, it keeps sand off your floors and out of your plumbing. It took us a couple of summers to get that outdoor shower fully enclosed and functional (you can see it here in this post), so it was a nice perk that our new Florida house already had one ready to go. Well, if you consider non-functioning plumbing and grime-covered walls “ready to go.”

This space kind of baffled us at first. It looked like some sort of open-air sauna thing. And maybe it was just all of the dirt and leaves, but neither of us could imagine wanting to spend a lot of time in there. So we basically instructed our contractors to leave it alone during the initial renovation and focus their energy (and our money) basically everywhere else (more on our big outdoor makeover here).

Continue reading Breathing Life Back Into Our Quirky Outdoor Shower at Young House Love.

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#179: A Funny Byproduct Of Having To Buy Fewer Products

#179: A Funny Byproduct Of Having To Buy Fewer Products

The perks of downsizing continue to show themselves, including a recent realization we had while shopping for curtains and blinds. It was a pretty dramatic contrast of how shopping for this house is different than our previous ones, and it highlighted some exciting freedoms that come along with that. We also take a look at how pandemics of the past have shaped the way our homes look today, including the origin of things like powder rooms, white kitchens, and higher bed frames. Plus, what we really think of our fancy new Frame TV – and can your birthday really help you pick the right plants?

You can also find this episode on your favorite podcast listening app, like Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, TuneIn Radio, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Continue reading #179: A Funny Byproduct Of Having To Buy Fewer Products at Young House Love.

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DIY Folding Adirondack Chair!

It is officially summer time and I’m needing some outdoor chairs. It’s crazy how expensive Adirondack chairs are. So in this video, I am going to show you how you can make your own with a special feature!

What I really love about this design is that it has a folding feature to make it low profile when stowing it away during the winter time.

I’ve created a set of templates to make building this one (or multiples) quick and easy! You can find those here:

I also think a set of these chairs would make a great present for anyone on pretty much any occasion.

If you are interested in outdoor furniture, I also have templates for a porch swing and as well as templates for a rocking chair.

Definitely check out the video for this project for all of the details and the tutorial. You can find that video here:

I hope you have a blast making your own outdoor furniture! I’ll see you on my next project.

Things I Used in This Project:

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign up at the top of this page for my newsletter so you don’t miss new projects!

(Most of the links listed above are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for supporting me in this way.)

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Our Upstairs Family Room, Four Weeks In

Our Upstairs Family Room, Four Weeks In

Last week we showed you how things landed in our kitchen, just using the furniture and things that we already own. And this week we’re sharing how it’s looking upstairs. This is quickly becoming one of our favorite rooms because it has windows on ALL FOUR SIDES. Not only does it get tons of great light, but it also gives us views of the greenery outside at virtually every turn.

We knew we wanted this room to be a nice big shared family space that we could all spend lots of time in together (instead of breaking it up into a bedroom/bathroom for us or two bedrooms/bathroom for the kids) and it has been working so well as a family room + workspace. We also didn’t love the idea of the kids having to go upstairs or downstairs to get us in the middle of the night if they needed us, because that still happens sometimes, so us all sleeping on the same floor and having this awesome light filled space upstairs to spend time in during the day and into the evening has been great.

Continue reading Our Upstairs Family Room, Four Weeks In at Young House Love.

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#178: Settling Into Our New House: Expectation Vs. Reality

#178: Settling Into Our New House: Expectation Vs. Reality

We’ve been in our new house for one whole month, and there are definitely some things that are shaping up differently than we had pictured. So today we’re sharing why some house projects have been easier than expected, but getting settled in a few other ways took some turns we didn’t anticipate. We’re also diving into the history of three popular and persistent design trends – like the true origins of subway tile and why the fiddle-leaf fig isn’t a recent phenomenon. Plus, a curtain hack that Sherry secretly tested out for an entire year, and what happens when Alexa commands get lost in translation.

You can also find this episode on your favorite podcast listening app, like Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, TuneIn Radio, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Continue reading #178: Settling Into Our New House: Expectation Vs. Reality at Young House Love.

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Our Florida Kitchen, Three Weeks In

Our Florida Kitchen, Three Weeks In

Well, we’ve almost been in this house for a month. How crazy is that?! We moved on the 14th of last month and this Sunday is the 14th again! The pod is all unpacked and picked up (you can listen in here about what the heck we overpacked & then donated when we got here). It’s so crazy that a single pod of stuff can be too much – but then again, John was a pod-packing champion. Like too good at it. And going from 14 rooms to 6 (and 3150 square feet to 1400) is not a small challenge. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. This was a multiple month long undertaking. But it was SO WORTH IT.

In a nutshell: we don’t miss anything that we don’t have anymore and we’re feeling so much lighter and loving it. Highly recommend. Ten stars. My biggest advice for anyone else who is majorly downsizing = get rid of even more than you think you need to on the front end, because you never miss it on the back end.

Continue reading Our Florida Kitchen, Three Weeks In at Young House Love.

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