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Your Home from Scratch #1: Pottery Barn Inspired Media Console

Posted by on April 7th, 2014

While things have been going really well in our home office improvement project, I’ve been slacking on the blog lately.  Mudding the walls three nights a week will do that to you.  Since I’m too busy (and sore) to write a new post, I thought this would be a great opportunity to roll out a new series I’ve been planning on starting for some time.  It’s called YOUR Home from Scratch.  This is an opportunity for our friends, readers, subscribers and other bloggers to share their home improvement projects.

For our first edition, I’m excited to have Katie from Addicted 2 DIY.  Her and her husband recently completed work on a beautiful media console using plans from Anna White.  They modified the plans to make the console more appropriately sized for their space.  I used this post as an opportunity to ask Katie some questions to get some more details about her project.

Media Console

Q1. Beautiful piece.  Nice work.  You used plans from Ana White, but resized them for your own space.  Was that difficult?  How did you go about modifying plans?

Thank you.  Yes, we had to modify the plans to not only fit our space, but also because we used rough cut lumber.  Modifying the plans was not too hard.  I basically took the original plans and determined which cuts needed to be lengthened and wrote down my own cut list.  The hardest part was remembering to take into account that the larger wood dimensions would also affect the cut measurements.

rough cut lumber

Q2. You used rough cut lumber instead of S4S from your local big hardware store.  Was this the first time you worked with rough cut lumber?  How did you like it?

This was our first time using rough cut lumber for an entire project.  I used rough cut lumber to make a butcher block top for a kitchen island I built for my mother (http://addicted2diy.com/2013/11/21/how-to-build-your-own-butcher-block/), but it is entirely different to build an entire piece with it.  It was definitely a little more work for us, because we ripped all of the boards down ourselves, but I definitely love the look so much more.  Not only is the wood from a lumber store completely dry (therefore alleviating any shrinkage of the wood), but it just has so much more substance.  I love the larger dimension to it.

Q3. I’ve never worked with Alder.  How was it?  Looks similar to Pine or Poplar.  You needed to use the pre-stain conditioner?

Alder is awesome to work with.  It’s harder than pine, so we didn’t have to worry as much about dings and knicks if we accidentally dropped a piece or a tool on it.  Knotty alder is also very affordable and it takes stain very much like pine.  I did use wood conditioner on it as I do on all staining projects.  The color looks no different than the farmhouse table we built in our dining room (http://addicted2diy.com/2013/11/04/diy-farmhouse-table-with-extensions/).  We are definitely hooked on this species of wood and plan to use it for many other furniture projects in the future.

breadboard top

Q4. Love the breadboard top.  Any reason why you went with that look instead of the standard plywood with hardwood wrap?

We wanted the whole console to look as much like the original console I fell in love with in the Pottery Barn catalog.  The breadboard top also coordinates with the farmhouse and entry console tables we built.  We have an open floor plan, so you see all three of those pieces at the same time and we wanted to have a cohesive look.

Q5. It’s a substantial piece of furniture.  Is it a 2-person lift?

Yes!  It is definitely heavy.  I was actually a bit shocked at the weight, but my husband and I didn’t have too difficult of a time getting it into the house.

Q6. The original Pottery Barn piece is $1300.  How much did you end up saving by building this yourself?

We saved about $900 building this ourselves.  That includes all of the hardware and we splurged on the bubbled glass for the cabinet doors. Definitely a huge savings when you consider the size of the console and the wood we used.

Q7. Are you planning on building any other projects soon?  What’s in store for your home/blog?

I’m definitely planning other projects soon.  I really want to build some nice bedroom furniture for both of my boys.  Our house is always a work in progress and we’ve got plans to remodel our master bathroom hopefully in the near future.  I’ll definitely be sharing all of my tutorials and experiences on my blog.

Big thanks to Katie from Addicted 2 DIY for sharing her experience with this awesome furniture build.

If you are interested in sharing your own home improvement project, shoot me an email using the contact form with your project or idea.  You don’t need to be a blogger.

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,Your Home from Scratch. Tagged in ,,

Free Built-In Cabinet Plans

Posted by on January 10th, 2014

Well, we’ve had another busy week.  Fortunately for you, we’ve been busy working on our next set of free woodworking plans.


These plans took FOREVER! I kinda went a little overboard too.  They’re more like an ebook than plans.  Complete with a material and tool list, step by step instructions, etc.  It’s more than 30 pages long!  The plans were based on our built-in cabinet series we made last year.

So how do you get access to these free built-in plans?  You subscribe to our free newsletter, that’s how.  The signup form is just to the left of this post.  Within minutes of signing up, you’ll get an email with a link to our plans page.  Sound good?

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,, , ,

Free Mobile Workbench Plans

Posted by on December 9th, 2013

We are excited to finally make some woodworking plans available.  We’re starting with our Mobile Workbench.  The plans include a complete material list  as well as detailed, graphic instructions.  The workbench plans are absolutely free to our newsletter subscribers.  You may have seen our How-To post on this workbench on our DIY Projects page.  The actual woodworking plans contain all the info you need to get started building your own.


To subscribe and get access to the plans, just fill out the form after this post or the one in the sidebar to the left.  Once you subscribe, you’ll receive a confirmation email as well as a link to our new ‘Plans’ page.  We’re going to be slowly adding in additional plans over the coming weeks and months.

Interested in plans for a project you’ve seen on our site?  Tell us in the comments which project you’d like to see made into detailed plans next.

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,,

Custom Media Cabinet: Complete Wrap Up

Posted by on November 24th, 2013

The TV stand is finally done.  During the week I wrapped the bottom of the cabinet with some baseboard molding using the same procedure we used on our first built-in.  The only thing I may still do to the cabinet is re-coat the top and shelves with some cabinet grade enamel paint.  The latex paint doesn’t seem to be holding up quite as well as it does on the built-in.  Latex paint isn’t designed for cabinets and it lifted up somewhat after I rested my camera tripod on it.  No biggie.  Here’s what it looks like now.

white tv stand

The baseboard molding seems to give the cabinet a fuller look.  Big fan.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the features…

The baseboard trim ties into the wall and the seam where the cabinet meets the wall has a thin bead of painters caulk to make the cabinet look fully “built-in.”  It only sticks out from the wall about 18″ to match the depth of the other piece in the room.


From the front you can see the open center section is just wide enough for our PS3 and a DVD player.  I measured some of the electronics in our family room to make sure that they would all fit.  All three sections feature a plethora of shelf pins for adjusting the shelf height.  The cabinet hides all the outlets on the wall as planned.


Lisa is thrilled to have some more toy storage.  She moved the shelf on the left side up to accommodate a larger plastic bin she bought from Target.

inside tv stand

Here’s a little trick I learned from Norm Abram back when he was on New Yankee Workshop: the bottom plywood shelf sits a little higher than the face frame.  It acts as a door stop.  The cabinet has a door stop device on the top, but this beats adding a second.

cabinet door stop

So let’s do a quick recap.

build a tv stand

1.  Design the overall look of the cabinet and rough dimensions
2.  Design the face frames
3.  Design the cabinet box
4.  Draw our cut sheets
5.  Buy our lumber and plywood
6.  Face frame construction
7.  Cut the plywood
8.  Add dados
9.  Build our shaker doors
10.  Assemble our cabinets
11. Cabinet Installation

I hope this post inspires you to not only build something from scratch, but to build something that meets the needs of the space.

*** UPDATE:  Forgot to mention the cost.  The total for the cabinet was around $155.  Not too shabby.***

So what’s up next?  Well, these two cabinets may be done, but the sitting room isn’t even close.  We picked out some paint and lighting and we’ll be dressing this space up later this week.  Stick around.


Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,, ,

Custom Media Cabinet Part 11: Cabinet Installed

Posted by on November 18th, 2013

So I was going to make another video of the cabinet installation, since we were already at that point.  Then I realized, I’d be showing a 30 second long clip of me screwing the cabinet to the wall.  (I just secured the cabinet to the wall with a couple of 2″ drywall screws.  The screws went into the backstrap that runs along the back of the cabinet and into a stud in the wall.)  I don’t think you need to see that.

Let’s go ahead and skip that video and get right to the good stuff.. the pictures.

Here’s what our TV wall in the sitting room looked like just a couple of hours ago..

tv on wall

And here’s how it looked with the new cabinet installed…

diy cabinet 2

Much better…

Looks pretty close to that concept drawing we made a few weeks ago.

50 inch side view

Here’s a front view…

diy cabinet

And that front view concept drawing…

50 inch finished

So that’s it for this tutorial series.  The only thing we have left to do is wrap the bottom of the cabinet in some baseboard trim to tie it into the wall and do a bit of caulking and touch up paint.  If you’re interested in learning how to apply molding to cabinets*, you can check out the tutorial we did when we built the bigger unit.  It’s the exact same process.

Next time you see this cabinet, it will be completely finished… and the walls may be painted too.  We’ll see.

*Lisa actually really liked the look of the cabinet without the baseboard molding and was reluctant to add it.  Then she saw the baseboard molding on the cabinet and thinks it looks even better.

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,, ,