Showing posts with label DIY projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DIY projects. Show all posts

Thursday, March 21, 2019

DIY Pallet Book Nook - Part One

Pallet Wood Feature Wall and Window Seat
When I purchased my current country home, many of the features that most appealed to me were the quirky, whimsical touches that made it so unlike all of the other cookie-cutter properties.  After moving in, though, I discovered a few things that were just a little too different for my taste.  Still, in renovating those oddities, I wanted to remain true to what had drawn me to this house in the first place: the use of character wood (weathered wood that captures your imagination).

In today's post, I am sharing part one of a two-part series focused on creating a DIY pallet book nook from a previously unused space in my upstairs bedroom.  We will start with the woodworking elements of the project and then finish with handcrafted decorating touches (a homemade cushion, pillows, rug, and other decor to cozy up the space).

Because I have poured so much of myself into my master bedroom renovations, it has become my favorite room in the entire house.  One last improvement remained to make this space visually and functionally cohesive.  There was a funky "hallway" in the room that housed my exercise bike (because it didn't lend itself to much else).  The thing that really bugged me about that long, narrow space was a weird, uneven application of drywall.  I couldn't knock that wall down because it housed my closet and was most likely structural (helping support the roof).  And, hanging, mudding, texturizing, and painting new sheetrock just wasn't on my bucket list.  Been there, done that.  Not my idea of a good time.  So, what to do?

Funky Drywall Before Renovation
Recycled pallets are the answer to most of the truly pressing needs in my world.  Seriously.  Pallet wood can right most wrongs.  It just requires a little—well, okay, a lot—of elbow grease.  I'm good with that.  The finished product has always proven worth it.  We'll just skip over the less than scintillating details of finding, hauling, deconstructing (pulling a massive number of ornery nails), and refinishing (cutting, sizing, planing, and sanding) a tall pile of pallets.  On to step eight.

Tape Marks Studs Where Planks Will Be Nailed
With the feature wall pallet planks ready for installation, I prepped the wall by finding and marking the studs.

Leveling Wall Sections With Lath
Next, I applied thin strips of wood lath to level the two sections of drywall, which will provide a more solid backing when nailing in the pallet planks.  The wainscoting pictured above consists of three framed pieces of corrugated metal topped by a chair rail.  It provides a nice contrasting texture, as well as adding a reflective surface to lighten up the space.

Oh the Tales This Wall Could Tell
When I nailed in the rows of pallet wood, I decided to alternate different widths and colors.  I left all of the wood in its natural state, as the original saw blade marks, nail holes, knots, and checking is what adds personality.  As I started working on this step, I got the inspiration to separate rows of planks with horizontally placed strips of recycled lath removed from inside the plaster walls of an old ranch house.  The definition of the chiseled edges of lath created an effect similar to the chinking seen between bricks.  Really, though, it is the history of that lath, and the story it tells, that adds so much value and interest to the feature wall.

Rustic Pallet Window Seat 
No book nook would be complete without a window seat.  Again, I used rustic pallet parts, purposely choosing planks with nail streaks, and then trimming the bench with pallet skids.  Where there was fresh wood from making the cuts, I applied chalkboard spray paint, and then sanded off most of it to blend the color with that of the naturally weathered surfaces.

Books Feed and Seed the Mind
Above the window, I created a decorative king post truss trim that matches the actual support truss on the front of my house.  I like the way it ties everything together.  While working on this truss, I happened to find the metal  Feed & Seed sign at Tractor Supply Co.  It seemed like the perfect message for my new space, as books certainly do feed and seed our minds.  When I got home with the sign, I was amazed that it fit exactly in place between the truss and the window.  That never happens.  I knew then that it was meant to be.

My Nook is Ready for Accessorizing
With the construction work done, I am now in the process of accessorizing my new nook.  I have selected fabrics and will soon start sewing the window seat cushion and pillows.  Stay tuned for part two of this DIY series when I post the final reveal.  So, what do you think?  Could you see yourself curled up with a book in this sunny space?













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Friday, February 22, 2019

DIY Upcycled Drawer Pet Bed

Grizzly was quick to call dibs on this new drawer daybed.
One of the ways I express love for my animals is by making them things.  I'm always on the lookout for fun DIY projects for my kittens and pups.  While cruising Pinterest for inspiration, I came across something I could not wait to try: making a cozy pet bed by upcycling a drawer.  At the time I didn't have any old drawers, but then, like it was meant to be, I came upon a dresser that someone had abandoned.  Just like that I had four oak drawers that needed to be saved from a premature trip to wherever unloved drawers go.  I'd like to share with you how I took those vintage discarded drawers and gave them a new purpose in life. This is a simple weekend project that anyone can enjoy.


First, pick up a used drawer that will fit your pet.  You may find one at a garage sale or thrift store.  Since my pups are too big for a drawer, I'm making these beds for my kitties.   Given that they sleep most of the time—well, except for my wild child, Minnie—a custom bed is the gift they will use more than anything else.


Next, remove the hardware and sand the surfaces in preparation for your choice of finish.  At the moment, I'm in love with chalkboard paint, so I primed my drawer with it (Tip: Use the spray paint.  It goes on much smoother.).  Though a chalky soft black color may seem like an odd choice, I knew that I wanted to cover it with a white paint that would give it a stylish grunge look.  The nice thing about a dark primer is that it immediately enhanced the drawer's imperfections.


Now it's time to use your imagination to come up with a unique twist on decorating your pet bed.  When I came upon this cute mini trellis at Dollar Tree, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  It became the muse for a kitten daybed.  On the same shopping trip, I found these fluted glass candle holders.  They gave me the idea for an unusual set of legs for the daybed.  This is my MO as a maker: using things in unexpected ways.  Never one to be a copycat, I get my thrills from coming up with something really different.


Here's where sizing adjustments happen.  After determining the desired height of the daybed ends, I used my cordless Dremel with the cut-off wheel to shorten the trellis.  If you don't have a Dremel, you can use a hacksaw for this step.  I tried it both ways and the Dremel is definitely the easier and faster method.


Time to drill some holes to insert the trellis into the drawer's side panels.  I used a 1/8th inch bit to drill holes that are 3 1/2 inches deep.  This step required some care, as the wood panels are pretty narrow (about 1/4th inch wide).  I didn't want to accidentally drill through the side of the drawer.  By taking it slowly, I kept the holes where I wanted them to be.


So, let's get back to those glass candle holder/wannabe legs I mentioned earlier.  After spray painting them with chalkboard paint, I used white chalk to highlight the fluted edges, creating a kind of pinstriping.  An important last step is to spray the containers with a clear matte sealer to keep the chalk from smearing or wearing off.


At this point, I needed to screw lids for the jar legs onto the bottom of the drawer.  I replaced the candle holder insert with a regular mouth canning jar lid.  Because drawer bottoms are very thin, I bolstered the thickness by attaching strips of wood lath.  This ensured that the sharp points of the screws wouldn't poke through inside the drawer and pose a hazard to my kitten.  Once the lids were in place, it was just a matter of attaching the fluted legs.


The final steps included creating a name plaque for my kitten and placing luxurious bedding inside the drawer.  I chose a silky faux fur rug for the mattress.  It will be easy to clean by just tossing it in the washer.  As for the pillows, I simply rolled up a comfy fleece blanket.  Easy peasy.


I was anxious to get up this morning to see who might be snuggled up in the drawer daybed.  Though I created the bed for Minnie Pearl, the kitten I rescued last August, I didn't think I would find her snoozing.  I haven't actually ever seen her sleep.  She is way too busy with her kitten shenanigans.  I was very happy to find my senior cat, Grizzly Girl (aka Miz Grizz), curled up in Minnie's place.


All throughout the day, my girls have been vying for a spot in the new bed.  Mission accomplished.  My heart is full.  I decided I better get a head start on converting another drawer.  While I was working on it this afternoon, Sugar Bear was "helping" me.


This bed has a cathedral theme.  I found a gothic garden fence for the headboard, which reminds me of stained glass windows, and experimented with an antique crackle finish for the front of the drawer.  I'm actually using plant hangers for the legs.  Go figure!  I invite you to stop back by for updates and additional photos, as I still have two more drawers to go (and two more lovely felines to feature).  Crazy cat lady?  Nah.  I'm still one cat short of crazy.










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