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Posted by on Jan 3, 2012 | 1 comment

Before & After: Alley Cast-Off Becomes Functional Kitchen Island

Before & After: Alley Cast-Off Becomes Functional Kitchen Island

For the past seven years I’ve been living with two feet of counter space in my kitchen. I have only myself to blame for this. We renovated the 1950s galley kitchen after we moved in in 2004 but we made some poor decisions. I won’t bore you with the details but it’s the result of new homeowner ignorance + lack of HGTV inspiration + financial limitations. I recently decided it was time to make a change and get a real kitchen workspace. If we ever decided to sell, our “kitchenette” would surely scare off buyers. The plan was to add a built-in peninsula using the same cabinets and countertop in the existing kitchen. I went to Home Depot and drew up plans with a super-friendly kitchen designer (really, she was super nice!). But to my utter horror, my master plan was going to cost nearly $2000. Not in the cards. Days later while taking the trash out to the alley something piqued my attention — a wood desk and...

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Posted by on Nov 16, 2011 | 2 comments

Free Stuff Around Every Corner

Free Stuff Around Every Corner

I’m always amazed by the amount of free stuff you can find in your neighborhood. No, I don’t troll the streets of Del Ray rummaging through the trash, I usually just stumble upon things sitting on the curb practically screaming “take me home! fix me!” It’s great when you want to try out a new DIY project but don’t want to risk messing up something valuable. Like this chair I saw while walking my son to school. It needed a new seat, but otherwise was stable. I had seen a chair made from old belts and knew this would be perfect for that project. And it was.    Or these lovely dining chairs I found in the alley (Leslie sent me a tip earlier in the day that they were there). Again, in great condition, just needed a new seat. A reader sent in the story of her metal pail turned garden hose organizer, found in the garbage as well. Nature is also a great source of free stuff....

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Posted by on Oct 11, 2011 | 5 comments

A DIY Tree Stump Table: The Reveal

A DIY Tree Stump Table: The Reveal

You may recall my post Need a Tree Stump End Table: No Problem! from a few weeks ago? Quick recap: I shopped online for an occasional or end table, saw a tree stump table ($199) in a retail store, and decided to make one myself. The post tells how Katie and I found a stump and hauled it home. Here’s the photo of the stump, bark and all, sitting in my house. Here’s what happened next. The stump sat for a few weeks to dry out. I moved it outside so I could start scraping off the bark with a small prybar. This step took a very long time, but was fun to reveal the beautiful smooth cedar wood underneath. I even used a small saw to cut off the ends of a couple of branches poking out from the side. Next, I used rough sandpaper to smooth out the edges and sides, and especially around the knobs and inside groves. In between sanding, I wiped the entire stump down with...

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Posted by on Aug 22, 2011 | 2 comments

Reader Submission: Metal Pail Turned Garden Hose Organizer

Reader Submission: Metal Pail Turned Garden Hose Organizer

Kudos to local resident Terry Rowe for her ingenuity in turning a metal pail found in the trash into a spool for holding her garden hose and nozzles. Terry needed something to corral her garden hose. On trash day, she happened upon an old metal pail someone no longer needed and thought she could use it like a spool to hold the hose. Her husband drilled holes in the bottom and used a piece of scrap wood as a brace to attach the pail to their side porch railing. As you can see from the pictures, it works nicely to hold the hose. An added bonus, they can store the nozzles and a small sprinkler inside the pail. They decided against painting the pail because they liked its patina. The cost was nothing as the pail came from the trash and they used scrap wood and a couple of screws. Thanks Terry for submitting your project! If you have a project you’d like to share, send to diydelray[at]yahoo.com. Posted...

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