Hello new friends! I’m so excited to be blogging over here on How Joyful. Thanks so much for having me! My name is Brooke, and I’m the one-woman show behind the blog Killer B. Designs. You may also recognize me as Mrs. Sand Dollar from Weddingbee, if any of you followed Mrs. Poodle over here. I’m also the proud new mama of a beautiful baby girl, who we like to call Charlie. Today I’m chatting about how I was bitten by the carpentry bug, and why you should get infected too.
It all started just over a year ago. Well, that’s not entirely true. I dabbled in it back in ’08, when I needed to furnish my brand-spankin’ new bachelorette pad in Dallas. I hit up the typical cheap-o furniture stores, looking for style on a dime. And though I absolutely adored that place, I can tell you one thing: all I have left furniture-wise are the two bookcases I built myself. And you know why? Because I made them! Duh! Just kidding. The real reason is because when you build for yourself, you have the option to use 100% real wood, and build it so sturdy that you know it will stand the test of time. It’s true. A friend joked that I could probably store car engines on those bookcases, and trust me, they weigh enough that I think he’s right! Want to see them?
Do they look familiar? If you’re an IKEAphile, you’ll recognize them as Lack knockoffs. I grabbed the dimensions online, and drew up some plans for my version. Oh, and the best part? They’re less than half the price of the fake stuff! I built TWO bookcases for $80, when the price of 1 IKEA particle board bookcase is $130. Now that’s a bargain. “But wait,” you may be thinking, “that’s all fine and dandy for you handy people, but I’m just a girl who doesn’t own a single tool and never set foot down the lumber aisle at Lowe’s!” Well, I’ve been there. And you want to know a secret? Lowe’s and Home Depot offer a service to cut the lumber for you! True story! So, all you really need are your two hands, a hammer and nails (or screw gun and screws) and a little determination. In no particular order, here’s a quick list of my favorite projects, and why they made the cut:
You just saw the photo, now you get the story behind it. As a newly single gal in the Big D, I really wanted to have a place that was 100% “Me”. I dyed my couches purple, I spray-painted furniture bright silver, and I built my first pieces of functional art. It was the dawning of a new era for me. It took a few tries to get them just right, and even now they’re still not perfect. But they don’t have to be. When I look at these bookcases, I remember just how amazing I felt when I put them into place and filled them with my tried-and-true friends, my books. I built them with my own two hands! It felt amazing! During a time filled with insecurity and doubt, I began to believe in myself again. And building these babies totally helped me do that.
This was my very first “big” build. I had recently discovered the goddess that is Ana White, and downloaded her free plans for this Pottery Barn knockoff Farmhouse Bed. Plans in tow, I drove down to my parents’ place for a weekend visit and told my dad about my harebrained idea to build my own bed. He was all over it! We trekked down to his barn, pulled out all the wood I needed, and cut it up that day. He even helped me load all of it into my Honda Civic sedan. Yes, people, I loaded lumber for a queen size bed in my 30 mpg car. Now that’s dedication! I hauled it all back to Waco, where my husband (fiancé at the time) helped me put it all together. Now we have an heirloom that’s solid as a rock, and has sweet memories to boot. Oh, and it only cost $16 bucks for the screws and a couple of 2×4’s. Gotta love that!
My husband and I just moved into our very first home this past July. I was eight months pregnant, and eager to make the place our own. We ran into a bit of a hitch when we realized that the master suite didn’t have a door between the bedroom and bath! Well, that can get awkward fast, especially with a giant preggo needing to use the toilet every 15 minutes. After a quick brainstorming session with my husband (and quite a few peeks at interior barn doors on Pinterest!) we hit up the hardware store and picked up all the supplies we needed. It was one of our first projects that we tackled together in our new place, and it has certainly made this house feel more like our home.
I think this may be the winner in my favorite builds category. I used Ana White‘s Rustic Bench plan, and coated it with some glossy white paint. Then I added our wedding logo, and used it for our guests to sign at our wedding last September. I love reading all the well wishes. It now sits at the foot of our bed, safely protected in layers of Mod Podge. To give it even more emotional zing, I enlisted all my bridesmaids to help me build it before the big day. So we’ve got lots of girl power built into this sucker, and so many fun memories of building it together. Trust me, nothing says “bonding time” like a jigsaw and power tools. Trust me.
After seeing an inspiration image of a galvanized bucket turned into an ottoman, I knew I had to have one. But with a $200+ price tag to purchase one, I was certain I could make one for much cheaper. I had a bucket in the yard, some scrap mdf, and fabric. All I had to do was head over to Hobby Lobby armed with a coupon for some foam. This is one of my most popular projects to date, and I still totally love it. Not only is it great-looking toy storage, it matches the reupholstered rocker that was passed down to us from my husband’s grandmother.
Ok, so I’m totally talking your ear off. Sorry about that, I just start talking about all this building and I just can’t seem to stop! I have over 40 projects on my Carpentry page, with more added every week. It’s an addiction, but it’s a great one. Not only do you have the satisfaction of knowing you built it yourself, you get to know exactly what materials are used in the piece, the price is a fraction of what retail would be, you can customize your finishes/designs/dimensions to completely fit your taste and space, and you get so many amazing memories built right into them. When people ask me about my projects, I get to tell them a story. How many people can say that about something bought at IKEA or Target? And I promise you, this is not a hard skill to learn. I’m just a regular girl who never picked up a drill until a few years ago. And now I’m over 9 months pregnant, juggling saws and wood glue and nails with no sign of stopping. So head on over to www.Ana-White.com and pick out a project to get started on for your own home! I promise there’s something there you can tackle. And if you ever need a little inspiration, feel free to stop on over at Killer B. and say hello!
This post totally inspired me to build more =] If I could only take furniture in my suitcase hehe – Thank you so much Brooke for showing us your projects and check out the DIY page on her blog, where she list a lot of simple and creative ideas so spice up your house, and dont forget to check her facebook page – I hope you all enjoyed another joyful guest! I will see you all next week with some live post from sunny California (hopefully it is still sunny!)