Category Archives: DIY Projects

The Bar Stool Journey Ends

When I first posted about my bar stool dilemma I had a new plan in mind, but had yet to put it into action.  Well, shortly after writing that post I went to work and built the new stools.  My confidence in these new stools was so high I actually built both of them at the same time.  That might possibly be a first for me.  I tend to be a bit wishy-washy when committing to furniture that needs to be built in duplicate.  Thankfully my confidence was not misplaced.  I love them and the kids do too.

Our new counter height bar stools…

diy bar stools

I built them using this plan from Ana-White’s site.   Fairly easy to build with the only exception being all the angle cuts which will give you a headache if you’re not careful.  I just had to remind myself to be patient and not try to rush to the finish.  The stain is in Espresso from Minwax.  My current favorite color of all time.  I did two coats to get a nice dark finish and then topped that with two coats of a poly in semi-gloss.

top of diy barstools


I covered them with some thick leather-look vinyl I found at JoAnn’s as I wasn’t willing to commit to the real thing with both of  my kids climbing all over them daily.  I used 4″ thick foam for the cushions (which I already had from a previous project) and upholstery tacks to hold it all in place.  I found a great tutorial for covering the seats  here.

diy bar stoolsThings I would do differently… The building plan is straightforward and easy to follow, so no changes there.  Now when it comes to covering the seats there  a couple of things I would change.  One, go slower when tapping in the upholstery tacks.  Why? The end result would be a neater more even line of tacks around the seat.  Also, the tacks don’t pull out easily and most become useless once pulled out.  It’s okay to lose one or two, but having to buy another box of these little suckers because of my impatience is a little silly.  Another minor change would be to glue the foam down to the top of the seats to ensure it stays put.  When I covered the stools, I pulled the vinyl super tight, but with the kids bouncing up and down on them every day I’ve noticed the foam will shift a little to one side or the other.

diy bar stool2

Things we love about the stools… The seats are super comfortable, both kids commented on that the moment they sat down.  They look good.  My son has dubbed them the “fancy stools”.  Of course, compared to what he was sitting on for all the months prior to their completion they truly are fancy.  The style is timeless.  Whatever style direction I take the kitchen I know these little stools will fit right in.

So there ends the bar stool journey on a happy note.


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Desk and Bookcases – Bedroom Makeover Pt 3

I can’t lie.  This unit has been done for months now.  I worked on it right after I finished up the bed (you can see it here).  But I ran into a problem with cords, lots and lots of cords.  They were all just hanging there under the desk.  After all my hard work to create a desk and a space for my daughter to display all of her knick-knacks and photos, it was a little frustrating to be so let down by a jumble of cords.  Which is why I walked away from it for awhile and then a few weeks later the solution hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was one of those “DUH.  Why didn’t you think of that before?” moments.  What was the brilliant solution you ask…add a modesty panel.

finished desk and shelvesAfter my realization I added the modesty panel you can see in front of her chair and viola! all the cords disappeared.   Well, it wasn’t really that easy.  It did take some additional steps to properly organize everything behind the panel.   To start the clean up I used some little cup hooks screwed into the underside of the desk to hold all the longer cords up behind the panel.  I also added a couple screws to the wall, so that I could hang the 6 plug outlet too.  I would have preferred to make the panel a little shorter, but the cable jack sits low on the wall so it seemed silly to cover everything else and leave that showing.  An adult can still sit at the desk without any knees bumping, so all is good in my book. *And, no it doesn’t usually look this neat and organized.  There are usually things scattered everywhere from the desk down, but my daughter is gone visiting family this summer which made this the perfect opportunity to do a little cleanup and snap some photos.

shelf unit 1
I used two different plans to come up with this configuration.  The bottom is based off the narrow mod-bookcase shelves from Ana-White and the top is based off this shelving unit from Sawdust Girl.  I made a boo-boo on the top bookshelf measurements that I didn’t realize until it was way too late to correct.  Like putting all the pieces together in her room too late.  The top bookshelf is the same measurement as the the entire width of the base unit, instead of the width of bottom unit minus the trim.  That mistake makes the top shelf a couple inches wider than it should be.  It’s not something that someone who didn’t know about it would really notice and my daughter could care less, but it irks me every time I look at the unit full on.

shelf unit 2The entire unit stands at 6′ feet tall and 7′ feet long.  The desk is a little over 17″ inches deep, so she has plenty of room to draw, play dolls, make bracelets and her new favorite – put on makeup (why do they want to grow up so fast?!).  The desk top is stained in my new favorite stain ‘Espresso’ from Minwax.  I so love the rich dark brown.  To protect the stain I put 3 coats of poly in a semi-gloss finish (also from minwax).

And, that leaves her room pretty much done.  Although, I do think I want to add a narrow line of cubbies along the back of the desk between the two bookcases.  She has tons of different colors, markers, stencils, beads and other smaller artsy crafty stuff that she needs to be able to store, but still have easy access too. If I can get the rest of the room cleaned up, I may even do a full room reveal.  I have a  couple weeks left before she comes home, so we’ll see if the urge to clean strikes before my little tornado returns.

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