Posted by John on December 16th, 2014
In this post, you’ll learn:
- How to organizer your office cables with inexpensive hardware
– Tips for using a hole saw for large diameter holes
Now that we’ve actually been using our new home office for a few weeks, we’re starting to really enjoy the space. On top of that, we’ve noticed a few areas that aren’t quite as functional as we’d like them and in this post, you’ll see how we fixed those issues.
Office Cable Management
Let’s start with the biggest issue so far: cable clutter.
There’s a simple reason for this mess: the closest outlet for the computer, printer and paper shredder is inside the cabinets. There’s an outlet in each one, so we have to run the cables into the cabinets from the front.
The outlet locations were intentional. I wanted to make sure they were inside the cabinet and not under the desk. If they were under the desk, then I’d have cables more visible from the room entrance and I didn’t think that would be very attractive. I also didn’t want to loop the cables from under the desk onto the top of it.
So here’s what we did.
I pulled out my 2-1/8″ hole saw and drilled some holes.
If you’ve never used a hole saw, I recommend the ones where there’s a longer center drill bit in the middle. It allows you to locate your hole more accurately without the bit wandering around as these bits tend to do.
When you use a hole saw bit, it helps if you try to wobble the drill a little as you push down.
Once the hole is drilled, I’ll pop in one of these desktop cable organizers (affiliate link). Actually called a grommet.
The grommet gets held in place with a little adhesive caulk, but if I used a 2″ sized hole saw like I should have, it wouldn’t need the glue. It would fit snuggly without it.
After the hole is drilled, the hole saw will look like this:
You’ll have a wood plug in the drill that you’ll need to remove. The hole saw actually has these small slits in the side where you can stick a flat head screw driver and pop the plug out from behind. You can also run the drill in reverse and tap on the side of the bit. Either works.
In addition to the grommet in the desktop, I added one to the side of each built-in cabinet.
These side grommets will allow me to run my desktop cable into the cabinet. It’s also perfect for our paper shredder.
Inside the cabinet, I mounted a power strip with a built-in surge protector.
So now our office cable situation is under control.
Much, much better.
Thanks for reading. If you like our office remodel series, including this post, please share on social media. Later this week I’m going to give you the details for what we have in store for 2015.
Posted in DIY Projects,Garage and Tools. Tagged in ,cables, hole saw, organization
Posted by John on December 4th, 2014
This time of the year is gift buying season and boy do I have a gift for you.
RIDGID Drill and Driver Combo Giveaway
The folks from RIDGID have hooked us up with their newest drill and driver combo and I’m giving away one set to one of our newsletter subscribers.
Here are the contest details.
Giving away one R9000K ($99 at Home Depot) which consists of:
- 12 Volt Drill/Driver
– High-Torque Impact Driver
– 4 ah Lithium-Ion Battery
– 2 ah Lithium-Ion battery
– LEDs on both drivers
– Carry bag
What impresses me most about this RIDGID product is the free lifetime service. Once you register your product online, any future repairs or part replacement is 100% free. Can’t beat that!
RIDGID provided me with my own set to review. Here are my un-biased thoughts. My main drill/driver is a 12 year old DeWalt and as much as I love it, it’s nearing the end of its useful life. The RIDGID drill is lightweight, supremely comfortable to hold and well balanced. It’s going to make a great addition to my tool set. The impact driver has a crazy amount of torque. When you squeeze the trigger, it practically turns your hand over. Loads of power.
While I don’t want to get ahead of myself regarding our upcoming project schedule, there is a good chance I’m going to start framing out our basement sometime during the next calendar year and both the impact driver and the drill/driver are going to get a ton of use. Really excited about these tools.
Here’s how to enter the giveaway.
1. You need to be a subscriber to our free newsletter.
2. Newsletter subscribers must leave a comment in this post telling me what project you’ll be working with these drills. I’d love to hear what you are planning or currently building.
The contest winner will be chosen at random. I’m not picking a winner based on the content of your comments. I will check to see if your email address is on my newsletter list. The contest will close on 11:59pm 15 December 2014, which gives me enough time to ship the drill set to the winner before Christmas. Only US postal addresses are eligible.
Not a newsletter subscriber?
How to sign-up for the newsletter: Enter your name and email address into any of the opt-in boxes on our site.
Why sign-up: You’ll get free access to our woodworking plans/tutorials. You’ll be part of our growing DIY and home improvement community.
Even if you already have a perfectly fine set of cordless drills, these RIDGID models will make a perfect holiday gift for the DIYer in your life.
Posted by John on December 2nd, 2014
Well it’s been a while, but our latest set of woodworking are now available. If you are a newsletter subscriber, you can download this tutorial from our plans page.
The media center plans includes:
- A complete shopping list
– Cut sheets for all the plywood components
– Cut list for all the hardwood parts
– Illustrated instructions
The plans are based on our Custom Media Cabinet series.
Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,media center, plans, tv stand, woodworking
Posted by John on November 25th, 2014
In this post you’ll learn about
- Our favorite hardwood floor cleaner
- How you can save $3 on your next Bona product purchase
This is a sponsored post by Bona. You can read about our sponsored post policy here.
With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday fast approaching, Lisa and I will be in a near constant state of house cleaning. If you have hardwood floors, then you know what a challenge it is to keep them looking shiny and clean. We have two little kids that walk around all day spilling milk and snacks on our floors. Add to that a dog with frequently wet paws and you can pretty much guarantee our floors are usually pretty dirty.
Over the past few years, Lisa and I have tried a few floor cleaning products and while there are a couple we like, our favorite by far is Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner. We like Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner because it’s lightweight, environmentally friendly, dries without a residue and leaves our floor clean and shiny.
When we were asked to participate in a sponsored post opportunity with Bona, we jumped at the chance.
Here’s how we use it.
We start by giving the hardwood a quick vacuum. You can see our floor is usually covered with dried milk and subtle smudges. Even when we clean up large spills with paper towels and baby wipes, it almost always leaves a film.
Here’s the Bona hardwood floor products we own. There’s the Hardwood Floor Cleaner, which comes in a spray bottle. The mop comes with a washable pad that attaches to the mop with velcro. There’s also an upgraded mop with a built-in spray container available.
To use it, we just spray the floor with a light mist and then wipe it clean with the mop. We usually spray it in small sections and then work our way through the house. It’s become our go-to product before AND after we have company.
We love this product so much we actually started using Bona as a verb. “When you get home from work, would you Bona the floor?”
The After Photo. Additional Light Not Included
Now for the best part. This holiday season, Bona is giving away a $3 coupon good for your next Bona Hardwood Floor Cleaner purchase.
Here’s how to get your coupon.
Goto this link and sign up for their email list. That’s it. Pretty easy. The offer is available until December 9th, 2014.
Posted in Flooring,Giveaways. Tagged in ,giveaway, hardwood floor
Posted by John on November 24th, 2014
With the year-long office remodel project behind us, I decided to take last week off from house stuff. As much as I enjoy working on adding value to my home, it’s important to have some meaningful down time, especially when the project is fairly large. You don’t want to get burned out with home projects or it sucks all the fun out of it.
Over this past weekend we welcomed a new addition to our family. My wife, Lisa, gave birth to our third child. We are blessed to now have three little girls. Life is great.
Now that I’ll be busy with a newborn and the other two little ones for the time being, this is a perfect opportunity to reflect on some of our past projects, think about the road ahead and most importantly, help you with YOUR home projects.
***To discuss your projects, sign up for a free user account by filling out the form on our Join Us page. Once you get a confirmation email, you can start using our Forums. This is a whole different system than our Newsletter. I suggest you sign up for both if you haven’t already. ***
In today’s post, I want to take a quick look back on the home office project and discuss some things I would’ve done differently. If you are considering some of the elements of our office in your home, then this post will shed some light on the tougher elements of the room.
Reflections on the Home Office Remodel
The Coffered Ceiling
This is my favorite feature of our new office. It was also a giant PIA. In our coffered ceiling design post, we discussed a couple different approaches to getting this look. The first is constructed from 1x (pronounced “one by”) the other is from framing lumber wrapped in drywall. Since I preferred the look of the drywall, that’s the approach we chose. It looks great, but it ended up being a lot of weight and a ton more finishing work. The drywall needed to be cut, installed, corner bead added and then three or four coats of joint compound were applied. Then it got primed. THEN I had to install the crown molding and paint it again.
If I had to do it all over, I would just use the 1x approach. The wood can be pre-assembled into box channels, pre-primed and pre-painted before installation. Once it’s up, the crown still needs to be added, but since it’s getting fastened to a wood box, installation should actually be easier.
In a few years, I’m planning on adding a coffered ceiling to our family room and kitchen. If I did it with drywall like our office it would take WAY WAY too long. The 1x method seems to be the way to go if you have a time crunch. On the other hand, if you’re building a home and the house isn’t drywalled yet or a whole room is being re-drywalled, then a coffered ceiling from drywall is probably much more manageable.
The Built-In Cabinets
If I had to do the cabinet over again, I wouldn’t change too much. I love the beaded face frames and the shaker doors. These aren’t the first cabinets I’ve built before, so I’ve been able to incorporate some previous lessons learned from those earlier projects. I skipped a full sized back piece and instead left the back of the cabinet open to the wall. The cabinet was significantly lighter because of that change. Since I ended up scribing the right side cabinets, I probably should’ve added a wider stile to account for that scribe. I ended up adding it after the fact.
My biggest regret is not building these ahead of time. I think it may have been easier to make these before the coffered ceiling. I also took a few weeks to make my larger table saw station, which slowed the office progress down, but it made the cabinet build loads easier. Oh and those darn screw heads on the upper cabinet are too noticeable.
The counters look great and are smooth to the touch. To hide the plywood edge, I nailed on a piece of red oak hardwood. Pretty standard practice, but the seam is noticeable. For this project I wanted to try something different and it just didn’t work. I wanted to cut the plywood edge and the hardwood at a 45 degree angle so when put together the seam would be on the corner and therefore nearly invisible. Unfortunately, my table saw would only go as far as 42 or 43 degrees. It’s supposed to goto 45, but it would bind up before it got there. I actually found that out when was trying to cut my notches for the beaded face frame. Before I used the notching router bit, my intention was to make the cut on the table saw. Should I get a new saw? Yes, but that’s not a good enough reason right now.
There are four overhead lights: one over the workstation and three evenly spaced throughout the room. We really could’ve used one more. The room is perfectly lit in the functional sections of the room, but it’s a bit darker near the door. Not really a regret, just an observation.
That’s probably the only real feedback I’d give myself on this project. I don’t want to sound like a whiny perfectionist since the room REALLY pictures well and looks damn near perfect. I think it’s helpful to do a look back because there’s always some room for improvement and you may find it useful on your next project.
Later this week I’m run in a discount giveaway with our favorite hardwood flooring cleaner, Bona. Stay tuned for details. Next week I have a power tool giveaway. Good times.
What home improvement stage are YOU in? Did you just finish a major project, are you in the middle of one or are you planning your next big effort?
Anyone buying tools on Black Friday?
Posted in DIY Projects,Lessons Learned. Tagged in ,DIY projects, home office, lessons learned
Posted by John on November 12th, 2014
Well, the time has finally arrived. We’ve crossed the finish line and are now ready to give you a tour of our home office. It’s been nearly a year since we first started and boy has this room changed. Even though we’re saying it’s done, the room still needs to be dressed up with some decor, but we’ll get to that later. For now, here’s our home office remodeled.
We’ll start our tour with a quick flashback to what the room looked like LAST November.
After ripping out the carpet, we installed some new hardwood flooring and tied it into the hardwood in the foyer without a transition. It looks like it was installed when the house was built.
With the new floor down, I shifted gears and started on the coffered ceiling. The ceiling ended up being the most time consuming part of the job, but it was totally worth it.
After the ceiling was done and the crown molding installed, I started building the cabinets. There are three cabinets in total: two built-ins and a single filing cabinet. The center desk section is just a large piece of stained oak plywood. It’s large enough for two people to work side by side, but for now we only have the one chair.
Let’s get to the finished photos…
Here’s a picture of the room from the very same angle as the Before photo.
The filing cabinet:
The left built-in:
The center desk:
The right side built-in:
Here’s a closer look at the molding on the wall and ceiling…
We also added some recessed lights. There are three overhead and a single light over the work desk.
I’ll be sharing some of the more minor upgrades we still have planned for this room. I think you’ll like our ideas.
Since no room overhaul would be complete without a project list, here’s the complete run down of all the steps/posts we shared in completion this project from start to finish. If you’re interested in renovating a room in your own home and would like results similar to what you are seeing here, then this list of posts will walk you through exactly how I remodeled this room. You may also find my Custom TV Stand Recap post helpful if you are interested in designing cabinets for yourself.
1. The Before
2. Brainstorming Home Office Ideas
3. Hardwood Floor Installation
4. The Home Remodeling Process
5. Layout Options
6. Coffered Ceiling Concept Design
7. Home Office Detail Design
8. Coffered Ceiling Framing
9. Wiring for the Office Lights
10. Tips for Hanging Drywall
11. How to Finish Drywall (Video)
12. How to Install Recessed Lights
13. 5 Tips for Better Crown Molding Installation
14. 6 Cabinet Building Challenges
15. Cabinet Painting 101
16. How to Scribe a Cabinet
17. My Countertop Approach
18. How to Build Your Own Shaker Doors (Video)
19. Making Built-in Cabinets (Video)
20. How to Install Cabinet Hardware without a Jig
21. Hinges and Drawer Slides (Video)
Thanks for reading and if you think this office came out awesome, please share it on Facebook, Twitter and pin the living crap out of it for me. That would really help! Thanks!
Posted in DIY Projects,House Tour. Tagged in ,built-ins, cabinets, office
Posted by John on November 9th, 2014
In this post, you’ll learn all about
- Cabinet door hinges
- Cabinet drawer slides
- What you need to consider when selecting this type of hardware
After nearly a year of part time work, our home office remodel is finally finished. Stop back on Wednesday and you’ll get a close up of our newly remodeled space. In the meantime, today’s post is about cabinet hinges and drawer slides. During our recent series on cabinet building a received a few emails asking about the hardware I’ve selected so I thought I’d put together a helpful reference post to help you select the best hinges and drawer slides for your next project.
The easiest way to explain all of this is in a video. Can I talk about hinges, drawer slides and drawer boxes for 20 minutes? What do you think?
(If you can’t see the video, click on this link to be taken directly to YouTube)
Let’s recap the most important aspects of the video.
To select a hinge for your project, you first need to know what type of cabinet and cabinet door you have. Cabinets are either frameless (European) like Ikea cabinets or have face frames, which is typical for most American made cabinets. Next you’ll need to determine if the door is full overlay, partial overlay or inset. My kitchen cabinet doors are full overlay, but our office cabinet doors are inset. Generally, most kitchen cabinet doors on the market today are full overlay. Inset doors are more labor intensive and therefore are higher in cost and tend to be associated with custom and higher end cabinets. Partial overlay doors were more common in the 50’s and 60’s, but you can still occasionally catch them on some other pieces.
Once you know the cabinet type and the door type, you just need to determine if you want the hinges to be hidden or decorative.
I prefer Blum hinges since they are high quality. There is a planning tool on Blum’s website that will help you plan the doors and the hardware. I used the tool for the Clip Top Hinges with face frame.
For our home office project, I used Blum Tandem drawer slides. They install with some rear brackets and side mounting blocks. They are a little more expensive than the basic European or epoxy slides, but they work great. Blum also has a Tandem drawer planning tool on the same page as the hinge tool. The big difference between drawer slides is usually the length. You can use the planning tool to get a recommendation on the slide hardware as well as the drawer box dimensions.
I hope this video helps give you a better understanding of cabinet door hinges and drawer slides.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,Videos. Tagged in ,blum, cabinet hardware, door hinges, drawer slides
Posted by John on November 2nd, 2014
Great news! The newest addition to our website is now LIVE! It’s the DIY forums and it’s waiting for you!
Let me answer a few questions you may have…
What are the DIY forums?
The DIY forums are a brand new area of this website where you can ask questions about your home projects, discuss projects from other people and show off your finished work. More than that though, it’s a first step towards building a community of like-minded home improvers and DIYers.
Is it Free, what’s the catch?
Yes, it’s 100% free. No catch. Well, the catch is people need to actually use the forums in order for it to be successful.
How do I sign up?
I’m already a newsletter subscriber, is this different?
Yes, this is separate from the newsletter. You’ll need to register and create an account even if you are already a newsletter subscriber.
Ok, sounds good. What do I do once I’m registered?
There is a New Members Intro discussion started. Tell everyone a little bit about yourself. You will also be able to build a social network-like profile complete with a description of yourself and a photo. You’ll be able to add friends, chat, share status, etc.
What can I talk about on the forums?
Pretty much anything home improvement related. Have a question about electrical, landscape, woodworking, cabinet building or general DIY? Ask away.
I hope that answers any questions you may have! Now go register!
Posted by John on October 27th, 2014
In this post, you’ll learn:
- a simple method for installing cabinet hardware
It seems that the closer I get to finishing this home office project, more small tasks keep popping up and they’re taking much longer than I anticipated. Case in point: the cabinet hardware. It took me a good two and a half hours to get two cabinets done. Killer. Still have to add the hardware to the filing cabinet. At this rate, our office should be completely done by the time our 3 year old heads to college.
Let’s talk cabinet hardware for a second. Lisa picked our gear out. I was completely hands off on this one, although I let her know which ones I definitely didn’t like. It’s pretty much the exact same conversation we have when we’re trying to pick a restaurant for dinner, except slightly more expensive. Although.. you can return hardware if you don’t like it even after you’ve taken it home. Can’t do that at a restaurant.
We were originally thinking some shell pulls, but we didn’t see any we liked. We ended up with a basic 3.5″ nickel pull from Lowes. Instead of using a jig for this job, like the one I made for our Large Built-in cabinet, I went old-school and just drew some lines and drilled some holes. Not quite as fast, but just as effective. Here’s how it went.
How to Install Cabinet Hardware without a Jig
Here’s the cabinet before we got started.
I started by applying some blue painters tape across the drawer front. I roughly aimed for the middle, but it wasn’t terribly important at this point. Once the tape was on, I measured down from the top of the drawer edge to the middle of the drawer front. I did that on both sides of the drawer front and used a straight edge to connect the dots. I now had a straight line across the drawer front that marked the center line.
I also applied some painters tape vertically to coincide with the center of the doors below. I marked those vertical tape pieces at the same dimension as half the width of the door.
Now I was ready to use my hardware for the next step.
I lined up the hardware on the center line of the drawer front and positioned it over the mark for the door centers. That way the screw holes will both be in the same line and the middle of the piece will be directly over the middle of the door. If this sounds confusing, just take a look at the pictures, it’s a bit cumbersome to describe.
While I was holding the hardware in place, I traced around the hardware where it sat against the drawer front.
Now I had my drill marks.
The first hole I drilled was a small pilot hole just to get through the drawer. I then went up to a drill bit diameter that was slightly larger than the screw for the drawer pull. I repeated this same basic process for the door pulls. Just tape it, draw a center line and then position it where you want it. Drill twice and you’re done. The painters tape helps keep the wood from tearing and you can draw right on it without having to worry about touching up your cabinet’s paint job.
We were originally going to go with just one pull on the drawer fronts, but I think it looks more substantial with the two.
Here’s what’s left for this room:
1. Paint the new baseboards, window sills and inside of the door.
2. Install quarter round trim
3. Clean up and touch up
4. New window shades
5. Drill some access holes for computer power cord, printer cable, etc.
6. Finish decor and wall hangings
Oh and I’m also repairing a few nail pops, because you know… I didn’t have enough to do in here already.
Later this week I’m going to be starting to configure our new forum section. Keep your fingers crossed! Hoping to setup an area on our site where everyone can share their own projects, show off their results and ask for help with home projects! I’ve also commissioned a new blog theme, so our look is going to dramatically change. Hoping to get that in place before the holidays. I won’t be coding it myself this time, so it should go fairly quick. We have some big, big changes headed your way over the next few months… if this office doesn’t kill me first.
Posted in DIY Projects,Kitchen. Tagged in ,cabinet hardware, cabinets, hardware, office
Posted by John on October 20th, 2014
In today’s post, you’ll learn:
- How to make built-in cabinets
- How to make a beaded face frame
- What the build process for a cabinet looks like
After spending the better part of a week and a half painting our home office, I’m finally down to the last couple of detail jobs. Although the office isn’t officially finished quite yet, it’s done enough to take our video camera in there and film some shots of the new furniture. I also managed to film all of the important aspects of the cabinet build, so you get to see both the (mostly) finished project and the how-to’s that go along with it.
Here’s the video:
If you don’t see the video window, you can click this link to be redirected to YouTube.
Just to be clear, this isn’t a “reveal” post. Once the room is totally finished with all the bells and whistles, we’ll share a ton of photos with you.
There’s a lot to talk about after building these cabinets, but I realize the video is pretty long (~19 minutes), so I’d rather circle back with you in a follow-up post to discuss more lessons learned. For now, just check out the video. If you make it to the end, you can catch my wife and I goofing off.
Here are the router bits (affiliate links) I used in the video:
If you have any questions about anything you see in the video, or if you think I’ve totally botched it up, please fire away in the comments!