These days the internet is full of places to find incredible, detailed plans and tutorials for people who want to build or fix something themselves. And just so we’re clear… this is not one of those places.
I do occasionally document my projects, and I am very good at building shit (in a scrappy, beer-drinking, never-wears-safety-glasses kind of way.) And before YouTube was a thing, I used to write slightly more comprehensive “how to” posts. You can see some of those projects below.
But the value of the stories on this website isn’t in the “how to’s”, I don’t know exactly where it is, to be honest, but I think it’s more in the “how the fuck did this single woman who installed one floor and patched a little bit of drywall decide, okay yep, got it, I can build a house now, and then go do it?” (True story. You can read those posts below too.)
Let me be clear, I am not particularly special, and that’s the point. You don’t have to build a house. Or swap out light fixtures. Or patch your own drywall. But (and here’s the important part) you goddamn can, if you want to.
Is it a pain in the ass to build things without someone to hold the other end of the tape measure? Sure. But difficult does not mean impossible.
Things I Build When I’m Not Building Houses
Pottery Barn Inspired Vanity – Plan and instructions for building a $1400 Pottery Barn vanity for $400.
Quick & Fun Wood Toolboxes – Because you can never have too many tools, or places to store them.
Moonshine Bottles Turned Lamps – How to drill a hole in a glass jug and wire it up to be a lamp.
Paper Filing Crate From Pallets – Make rustic paper filing crates from old wood on the cheap.
Rustic Wood Wall Art – Made from some weathered door jambs in the scrap wood pile and a wood stain marker.
Picnic Table with Detached Benches – Plan and tips for a great little picnic table with detached benches (for maximum flexibility) and no exposed fasteners on top.
Raised Cedar Garden Beds – 4×8′ raised garden beds built with rough-sawn cedar.
DIY Spice Jar Labels – Pretty much just what it sounds like, includes downloadable PDF and InDesign file.
Pottery Barn Inspired Pinboard – Plans and instructions for building a PB inspired pinboard with sliding chalkboard.
Things About Building Houses
In 2009 I decided to give up “renovation” projects and go for broke by DIY a 900 square foot addition to my house while living in a garage with two cats and an engineer. Crazy? Yes. But I sure learned a lot.
DIY House Addition: Building a House From The Ground Up – A high-level overview of house-building basics.
DIY House Addition: House Plans – Save your sanity (for a little bit longer) and hire an architect.
DIY House Addition: Building Permits – Hint: They aren’t optional.
DIY House Addition: Foundation
DIY House Addition: Framing – It’s like linkin logs, only bigger and with more rules.
How to Properly Flash & Trim Windows – Teamwork is killer key.
For a month-by-month account of DIYing the house addition, check out these posts:
DIY House Addition: Month 1 Wrap-up
DIY House Addition: Month 3 Wrap-up
DIY House Addition: Month 4 Wrap-up
DIY House Addition: Month 6 Wrap-up
DIY House Addition: Month 7 Wrap-up
DIY House Addition: Month 8 Wrap-up
DIY House Addition: Month 9 Wrap-up
DIY House Addition: Month 11 Wrap-Up
DIY House Addition: Month 14 Wrap-Up
How To: Around the Home
How to Cope Crown Molding Using a Dremmel
How to Install a Tongue-and-groove Wood Ceiling
How to Replace a Sink Disposal
Drywall 101: Hanging Wallboard by Yourself
Drywall 101: Finishing Drywall Joints (Tips From a Pro)
Drywall 101: Using Joint Compound for a Stucco Wall Finish
How to Make a Sink Base out of a Regular Cabinet
Tile 101: The Basics of DIY Tiling (Any kind, anywhere)
Tile 101: How to Lay Floor Tile
Tile 101: How to Lay Wall Tile
Tile 101: How to Build and Tile Counters
How to Install a Woven Wire Fence
Build a Badass Pergola – I haven’t condensed this into a succinct post yet, but you can see the end result by clicking that link, or read the story from the beginning by starting here.
How to Patch Mortar Joints– Alternatively titled “Making Masons Cringe.”
How to Keep People Out (By Changing Door Hardware)