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DIY | Manolo for the Home - Part 3
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The House of Scrap

Yesterday, I showed you the DIY mudroom bench – today, it’s the $7 house. Am I kidding? Nope! It’s not a big house or a fancy one, but it is a livable house. Created by a group of students in Buxton, NC as a challenge to themselves, and I’d say the exterior looks pretty good!

It’s amazing what you can do with salvaged materials and what’s otherwise considered waste!

Every day after class I’d get in my decrepit ’84 Landcruiser and make my rounds. The town dump, local job sites, etc. I’d find lumber, sinks, doors, windows, etc. The dump had my cell number on speed-dial and would call me if they had something.

The waste was amazing. I once climbed in the dumpster of a local Mcmansion being built and found 27 8′ 2X6’s. Uncut, tag still on them, not warped. They had literally been bought, delivered, and thrown away. Some windows were old, some were new, for example two of the windows were last year’s display models used by the window companies. I found tile, wiring, siding, etc. It only took 2 months to be in the dry, and within 4 months it was essentially done.

While not 100% complete, it’s certainly livable at this point. It’s dry, warm, has power, etc. While the labor is a huge factor, it’s amazing how much can be done for so little money.

The best part about the house, according to one of the creators, is that walking into it, you’d never know it was built for less than ten dollars. Of course, it’s not actually finished yet. And there haven’t been any updates to the blog since September. When last updated, the interior of the Scrap House looked like this:

Could you live in a wee little house? What if it only cost you $7? And you designed it yourself?

The $3 Hall Tree? Yup!

For some reason, really cool, really cheap DIY projects using scavenged materials keep showing up in my inbox. Okay, the reason is you perfectly wonderful people! This find came to me via the lovely Leane:

Looks good, no? The handy folks at The Corner Lot put together an entire hall tree or entryway bench or whatever you want to call it using old door jambs and real beadboard. Stuff from their basement, too. What cost $3? The wood dowels that make a perfect drying rack for wet mittens and socks.

All that’s left to do is finish it, and I hope that there’s a new post on The Corner Lot when they do. Don’t leave us hanging!

What have you done on the cheap lately?

An Antidote to That Boring Ceiling Fan

Yesterday’s post about patterned ceilings apparently did not satisfy my enthusiasm for interesting ceilings. Why this new obsession? Turns out, our bedroom renovation is done, and now it’s time for me to paint and decorate, and I’m considering all kinds of interesting ceiling stuff. Today, I happened to spot some sweet decorated ceiling fans that prove that your ceiling fan doesn’t have to be boring. (And that having an eye-catching ceiling fan doesn’t have to mean choosing one with blades that look like leaves.)

Aren’t these ceiling fans fun? Most ceiling fans have removable blades, so you can get as creative as you want to with paint and stencils or Mod Podge and craft paper of fabric. And whipping up a DIY project like this is super easy and super fast – maybe even one of the fastest things you can do to spruce up your bedroom!

Images via Dittle Dattle; In My Own Style; The Mother Huddle (all with tutorials or links to tutorials)

The Art of the Popsicle Stick

About a gazillion years ago, the lovely Gina sent me a link to a photo spread in the L.A. Times about David Hrobowski and his RiffStick Furniture. But while Hrobowski’s solo MorYork Gallery exhibit has come and gone, I think the idea is evergreen. Or as evergreen as popsicle sticks can be. Because, you see, that is Hrobowski’s chosen medium: the humble popsicle stick.

My guess is that very few among us can’t look back to childhood and to the creation of a popsicle stick picture frame or dream catcher. Maybe even a little house or a trivet. But my guess is that nothing we made came even close to the somethings that Hrobowski makes.

I don’t know about you, but my afternoons at summer camp were not spent making Shoji screens… coffee tables… chairs that can support the weight of a man. Amazingly, though, Hrobowski made his first popsicle stick lamp when he was only 9, even if he abandoned the medium for a few decades thereafter before returning to it.

Doesn’t seeing this sort of thing make you ask yourself what you could do with a little hot glue and some time?

The Tools Every Homeowner Needs

Since my tools tend to end up all over the house, and half of my basement is currently stuffed to the brim with baby gear due to the renovations finally underway, it’s hard to take a true inventory of our household tools. We seldom encounter a simple project that requires us to go out and buy tools, but there’s this part of me that is always a little worried that we’re missing something vital. It may just be that my dad is basically a low-key version of that fellow on Home Improvement or that I’m always worried about something – either way, it’s nice to give the ol’ toolchest a once over every now and then.

Luckily, if you’re only tackling the basics, according to the NY Times, you don’t need much. Sure, we talked a lot about redoing the upstairs ourselves, but when we started reading about drywall lift rentals, our zest for DIYing the second floor went right out the window. So for now, we need to make holes, fill holes, change what’s in holes, and maybe loosen and tighten this or that. Nothing major. The NY Times list is right up our alley – here’s the gist:

To start off, you need a hammer.

Buy a multihead screwdriver…, said Mr. Stone of M.I.T. It should have at least two different size bits for slotted and Phillips screws, as well as Robertson (square) and Torx bits.

Mr. Ball, of Pulte Group, actually recommends a cordless hammer drill, which is twice as expensive as a standard drill. “That really opens up the ability of the tool,” he said. “And it’ll last you a lifetime.”

He also recommends a one-inch-wide, 25-foot-long tape measure with a lock.

Finally, crown your arsenal with Mole-Grip pliers, commonly known as Vise-Grips.

Next, wrenches. You’ll need one adjustable wrench and a set of standard and metric wrenches.

A set of socket wrenches — metric and standard — also helps in the age of unassembled furniture.

A level and an electronic stud finder.

A footlong wrecking bar is essential, especially one with a nicely tapered edge so you can slip it beneath existing wood.

A handsaw small enough to fit in your toolbox.

Toss in a small assortment of screws, drywall fasteners and eight-penny nails, a small notebook (for recording dimensions) and a carpenter’s pencil, and you’re set.

I see I’m missing a few things I really ought to have – not many, though. How about you? Where are the gaps in your tool collection?

Crafty Manolo

Manolo says, allow the Manolo to present to you to the latest addition to the Manolosphere: Crafty Manolo!

The long time friends of the Manolo, will immediately recognize the editor of this new venture. It is our own beloved friend, the Twistie, whose enthusiasm for the matters crafting and do it yourself should be the inspiration to all.

So, please, go now and visit the Crafty Manolo.

Droolworthy DIY: Card Catalog Style

It’s probably not often than one comes into possession of a full-sized card catalog cabinet, but it happens now and then, as it did to the Lentine Family of Dream Book Design. And, oh my gosh, I just cannot believe how they spruced that bad boy up. Seriously, I am salivating over here.



Curious as to how they did it? I was, too. Luckily, the Lentines are sweethearts and posted a pretty specific tutorial that includes the supplies they used and how they used them. You know, just in case you end up with a card catalog on your hands.

Images via Dream Book Design

P.S. – Happy birthday to me!

NtB Loves: Vintage Suitcase End Tables

Steamer trunk coffee tables? Yes, please. And vintage suitcases as end tables? I am so all over that, too. What do you think? Is this one of those played out, immature ideas that’s too much like Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Or is luggage as furniture still cute?

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