design on a dime while you were out trading spaces

A few years back, for my mother-in-law’s big 6-0, my wife gathered the troops and planned a master bedroom makeover. She worked out the design scheme, coordinated efforts, and made the presentation itself the gift. (We really wanted Mom gone and to come home to her makeover, but we all agreed that she’d want some input, and to take part in the fun… despite the planned diversion of going to a baseball game in Texas for the weekend).

I volunteered to do this carpentry project for two reasons… I knew she really wanted a window seat (though she’d have to find a new home for the ironing board) and I didn’t feel like being on paint detail. (Enough time hadn’t yet passed since we bought our nearly 2000 SF home and painted all the walls and ceilings in one insane weekend.)

This project came pretty much off the shelf from the Home Depot, Birch ply and various mouldings. Just the ticket for a novice like me. The plans came from Fine Homebuilding (Oct/Nov 2003 if you’re keeping score). I just posted more photos, sans model, at Lumberjocks

I had a fairly easy go of it, despite dealing with corners that were significantly out of square – something I’m used to dealing with in our 1880’s home… wasn’t expected in a 1980’s home. Apart from doing all the rip cuts with my circular saw and straight edge, I did all the mitering by hand – the moldings on the front, as well as the banding on all the exposed plywood edges.

It took me longer than planned… partly because I was using hand tools, partly because I was being careful, making sure everything came out just right. Perhaps I should have tackled the painting afterall… but the crew of 6 or 7 knocked it all out in a few hours, leaving me to make sawdust in peace.

Still, 3 years later, I’m still pleased with the results.


2 thoughts on “design on a dime while you were out trading spaces

  1. I was wondering if you had the plans that you could send me? I have been looking for a set of window bench plans for some time now, and I finally saw a bench tjat i like.

  2. Eric – I built that straight out of a 3-4 year old issue of Fine Homebuilding. Check their site ( meanwhile I’ll see if I can’t scare up that issue and at least post the dimensions. It’s basically a plywood box embellished with some molding. The back and sides are attached to the wall resting on a level cleat under the bottom of the chest.

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