Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Review - The Handbuilt Home

Not my normal post today, but I wanted to share with you a book that arrived this week that was written by my favorite builder, Ana White.  I've had The Builder use or modify several of her plans now, and they are always well written and accurate.  If you've ever downloaded plans online before, or bought a woodworking magazine because of a project, you may know that this is a rarity in the woodworking world.  My dad (the original builder!!) has an extensive catalog of woodworking magazines and books and very rarely, was he ever able to complete a project as written.  That might not be a problem if you're experienced like him (or The Builder!) but for the average person wanting to complete the project they see in the photo, its extremely irritating.

Source: ana-white.com via Elona on Pinterest

This is the book we're talking about today.  I don't know where to begin on all the projects from it that I want to do!!!  So let's break this down by chapter.  I love that she did the chapters based on the room the projects were for.  The first two chapters are for beginners, going over where to start and what tools you should have (and none of the super expensive, tools-you-will-not-have are in this book) as well as some great tips.  My dad has been a woodworker for years and I was always in the garage with him, but there were a few pointers that I found to be useful! The next chapters cover projects for The Entryway, The Family Room, The Dining Room, The Kitchen & Bath, Office & Craft Space (finally someone recognizes the importance of craft space, not necessarily a room!!), Bedrooms, Children's Room, and Outdoor Furnishings.

The projects are broken down step by step.  There is a scale for difficulty and cost so you know what to expect before you start. She also provides you with not only a tools and materials list, but a cut list as well.  Many big box home improvement stores Home Depot/Lowes will do the cuts for you if you have a cut list.  That's not usually an issue with The Builder, but for someone just starting, this is a great tool so you don't have to hope and pray that your math skills aren't a little rusty!  Not only are there step by step line drawings for each project, but she's asked blog builders from all over to build the actual project and there is a beautiful color photo of the completed project (and I LOVE that she gave credit to the person who built the project!!!).  

So I have a couple of projects that are getting move onto The Builders list for me:
  • Project 12 - Hutch - I need  this for my dining room.  I have one that is too small and I'd love to move it into the kitchen  for storage for my baking supplies, but I'm not about to store my good china in the land of no return garage.  This project also requires Project 3 - Console Table, to complete it, but I like that I can do them in stages for affordability.  Also, because they're two pieces, they'll move easier if ever move again (not that I have any desire to do that ever again!)
  • Project 5 - Lego Coffee Table - yes, that's what it says.  And you know why?  Because the top has a removable panel.  OMG, where was this when my boys were smaller and I wanted to pick up Lego's quickly before I went to bed so I wouldn't kill myself stepping on one in the dark?!  While I admit to not having much a need for one for Lego's now, being able to put away my plethora of magazines as well as store remote controls easily has definite appeal!
  • Project 14- Step Stool - so I made a step stool in my first woodworking class in Jr. High.  I got a 92 on it, and to this day, we still use it.  Woodworking isn't offered in Middle School here, and I would love The Builder to work with each of our kids to complete one.  Then they would have something special to share with their kids one day.
  • Project 15 - Wall Storage - So I have this spot above my bathtub in our master bedroom that has been screaming for storage once I saw this photo:
Source: bhg.com via Elona on Pinterest

Project 15 is smaller, but I would be able to take it with me if we ever moved (yikes, I said those words again - I swear, I'm not moving!!!).  Also, it would allow for more storage of all my...stuff.  I'm a girl.  I have stuff. 
  • Project 19 - Project Table - Oh. My.  LOVE this one.  No clue where I'd put it, but I definitely want it!
  • Project 24 - oh, this one I don't need The Builder to build for me because HE ALREADY DID!  I love these bedside tables and they are the perfect size!!  
  • Project 33 - Picnic Table - I've wanted one forever.  My parents still have the redwood picnic table that was my grandparents.  We spent many a summer evening at that table having dinner, after dad had barbecued something wonderful.  These days the big box stores sell cheap ones that the benches are attached to.  Not what I want.  I want this one to go in my sun room so that my family can spend lazy summer evenings together too. :)
I really can not say enough good things about this book.  While I could have easily used similar plans on her web site (they're all free!) to do some of these projects, I really feel it's important to support such a talented builder and designer.  I feel this book is an excellent investment and more than worth what I paid for it!

PS - Ana White was here in Houston today, literally 5 minutes from my work!!  I'm SO sad I had outstanding obligations that prevented me from being able to go and have her sign my book... :(

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Catching Up

This time of year is always crazy busy for me.  You'd think with the kids back in school, I would have a little more free time.  Let me clear up that misconception!  School activities definitely take some creative schedule coordinating when you have four kids!

But today The Builder is working and I'm fairly certain I can squeeze in one or two small projects while I attempt to conquer Mt. Washmore (aka, laundry for a family of 6!)  Here are two of my inspirations:

I love apothecary jars!!  I could have them multiple rooms, but since I have boys, and things "accidently" get broken fairly easy, I've limited them to the kitchen...

And the slightly more ambitious project:

I have everything I need for the wreath! I love that it's different than anything I've hung on my door before.  I think I'm going to need a second storage box for my fall decor after this year...

My other goal is to finish the table runner I started two weeks ago.  Yep, super ambitious if you could actually see the size of Mt. Washmore...