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It looks better. It feels better.

It is better. 2009:

We h.l.Ve great news. l\lorkbench now has an

all· editorial fonnat. From cover to cover, every single page is packed with the great information about improving and enhancing your home that you've come to expect from Workbench magazine. There are no ads to interrupt ~ 1t tories. This change is the nat great step in the path Workbench has been on for some time now, What ~1:arted as "woodworking around the home- evolved into practical improvements for your home. You can see the changes in these covers from the last few years, Now that evolution continues, Inspiration - Just like always, we'll continue to bring you clever ideas and great.looking projects that you can use to make your home reflect your personality anJ your life, And because lives are busier and budgets are tighter than ever before, we'll make sure all the ideas arc ones YOII can

Integration - In addition to delivering ideas that fit your personality and your life, we'll offer more help than ever before on how to make it all work with your style, That means you'll find everything from tips on coordinating colors and arranging rooms successfully to defining your style ilnd accessorizing effectively, You'll find this information sprinkled throughout the magazine, and in our brand new "Resources" dePilrtment (page 63). There you can find out which paint colors we used, where to buy products, and more. Upgril.des- To top it all off, the pages are brighter, whiter,

and thicker than ever before, which we think you'll really like. It makes the photos and illustrations better looking, the words ea.~ier to

read, and the magazine more durable, so it's ready to

go from living room to work room to wherever you need it to help you enhance and improve your home. So, Aip through the pages of this new issue of WQrk~nch. It mily look and feel a bit different, but the ideas,


and instruction YOII expect are all still thefe, Our commit· ment to helping you succeed remains the same,

achieve without having to invest too much of your valuable time or money, Instruction - Of course, we'll still deliver this informa· tion with the hands.on, how·to approach you've come to expect, Our friendly writing style, clear photos and illustra' tions, and helpful tips guarantee that you can take on home projects with confidence ilnd the certainty that you'll he able to make them happen succes~ful1y every time.



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Survival Guide Home improvement projects can be stressful for everyo ne in the house. Here are a few tips to help keep your family sa ne.

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Solve Tough Paint Problems Few things are quite as satisfying as standing back and admiring a freshly painted surface. But that satisfaction can quickly turn to disappointment when the paint doesn't hold up to its environment. Problems such as blistering, flaking, mildew, and wrinkled paint can make your surface look aged and neglected. Fortunately, the Rohm and Haas Paint Q]Jality Institute ( has identified some of the mo~t common paint problems. Here's their advice for fixing these problems and for preventing them in the future.





PROBLEM: The paint no longer sticks to the surface, which c<Iuses it to "blister."This can be caused by moisture escaping through the walls. SOLUTION: If the blisters reach the substrate, fix the moisture problem first. If they don't, you can simply scrape, sand, prime, and repaint the surface .

Cracking & Flaking PROBLEM: The paint shows hairline cracks, and later begins flaking off the surface. You may have


this problem if you spread the paint too thin. SOLUTION: If the paint is well-adhered, lightly feather it at the edges, and then prime and paint over it. If not, remove ali of the paint and start over.



PROBLEM: Your surface is showing signs of fungus growth. You can increase your chances of this prob¡ lem oy applying paint coats tllat are too thin. SOLUTION: If the spots disappear when you apply bleach and rinse them, then they're mildew. Remove the rest of them, and then prime and paint.





PROBLEM: The paint forms a "skin" resulting in a rough, wrinkled appearance. You may have this problem if you applied overly thick paint (oaK SOLUTION: Scrape or sand the surface to remove the wrinkled portions, Then repaint, making sure each coat is dry before you apply another.


Appliance Strategies When you're looking for ways to trim your budget, appliances can actually help you reduce expensive habits. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers ( has come up with a list of five appliances that can cut common expenses. 1] Cotfeemakcn - Pick up a coffeemaker fo r the price of just a few ·gourmet~ coffee drinks for fast savings. 2 ] Fn::c.,;crs -A larger freezer will allow you to stock up on froun foods the Ile"t time they're on sale. 3] Water Filters -A refrigerator with a water filter can take the place of expensive bottled wa ter - and help reduce landfill waste. 4] Portable Ele!O:tric HeatersPlace portable heaters in frequently used rooms, and you can turn down your thermostat. S J Electric Ovens - The mo re you cook at home, the more moneyyou' \1 save. Acco rding to AHAM, an electric oven co~b 24 Cl;':nts to run for;m hour at 3S0 degrees,

Plumbing Problems AIR l OCK: The blockage of liquid that's caused by an air bubble in the pipe, no..



HARD WATER: Water that contains a large amount of dissolved minerals, which creates buildup on fixtures. This may be solved with water soheners_ WAI rl HAt.


valve that decreases water pressure to help with problems such as water hammer. ".tLAL

Sometimes even the simplest changes to your habits, $uch as replacing bottled water with your own filtered water, can make a huge difference to your budget.

Pick the Best Pruning Pro Mature trt ~s dfl u' ually $€t to your pro~ ·ty. But if those II ~rer prop ~rly tl immel, yOi. 'ould bE ir store for some se ious damage to your roof, WindOWS, and gutters For larger trees, pruning probably isn't a DIY job, Factor in the height. heavy limbs, and proximity to other structures and power line~, and trimming becomes dangerous, That's when it'~ time to leave the pruning to the pros.. When you're searching for a tr~ service, your neighbor's. recommendations are a good starting point, As WI h any major home Improvement project, though, you should get $eW'ral estimatl"s up front. Makl'" sure the compan €os SPPClfy exactly ..mat's included in the price Once you feei comfortable committing to a company, get a detailed contract that spelifies the costs and all service. that ofe included in the package, Take $omelime to review Ih! details, and don't be lfraid to ask questions if you run across wm thing you don't under< lnd, you sk ? the -fine print,

A trei' service professional will bE' able to safely trim your trei' in a way that will make it look better and keep it healthy. you could miss additional charges or conditions, And lee this can be a hazardous job, make sure that the company you choo~' is fully insured, Ask to '(' proo of Insur, n( 's well as workl r s compensation for rnp ~ye s





Smooth Running Sliders Q My s/idingzlass patio door dmgs, making it V( ry difficult to open and dose. How do J fix it? Bob Reynolds Tempc,AZ

A: This is a common problem, and it gives sliding glass doors

.1 bad rap. People just assume these doors inevitably become difficult to operate. But fixing a stubborn slider is actually easy. First, you need to understand how a sliding door works. The door rides on rollers that strJ.ddle a track on the

door threshold. At the top, the door is usually captured between the door frame and a removable stop. Over time, the rollers can become dirty and fall out of adjustment. To get the door sliding smoothly again, first try adjusting the rollers. They're accessed through holes in the door's bottom rail. They are located under trim caps that may be on the inside or outside of the door. Insert a screwdriver or hex "'"Tench (depending on the door), and turn it (Illustration, above left). Turni ng one way pushes the

WE HAVE ANSWERS! Include your full name, address, and daytime phone number. You'l! receive a free one-year subscription 10 Workb ench (or a one-ycaf exremion to your current Sub5uiption) if we publish your question.



rollers down, which will raise the door and prevent it from dragging. If that doesn't cure the problem, then you need to remove the door panel and service the rollers. First remove the stop molding at the top of the door (Illustration, above rniddh). Then tilt the door inward, and lift it off the bottom track. Now remove the roller assemblies (Illustration, above righl). If they're dirty, dean them and reinstall them. If the rollers are worn, replace them with new ones. You can get replacements at most home centers.

HOW TO SEND YOUR QUESTIONS: Email: Forums: Mail: Ask Workbench, 2200 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312


Tired Trigger Finger Q: I'm dobtg 0 bUlleh oj spray paillting, atld though I hate 10 Qdmlt it, my finger gets sort. Got atly gnat hps that will makt It less pa;/ljul? Mary j}icbltSO/l Spencer, 1A

A, Don't be emburassed by getting a tender trigger finger when spraying ~nt , Anyone who hilS sprayed for an extended time hu felt the same thing. In bet, some paint manuf.u:turen; are even developing cans with mort ergonomic design.~ to try to relieve the finger strain, You can eliminate sore trigger finger problems easily with any spray can, though, by using a snap-on spray tr igger, You'll find them with the painting accessor ies at the home center for just a few dollars, Just snap it on the can, ~d you can spray with better control and without finger fatigue (Photo, abovt right), The triggers are reusable, too. By the way, if you're doing a lot of spray painting, invest in a respirator. Even in a weB-ventilated area, you're bound to inhale fumes, and aerosol p"'ints arc full of stuff you really

Get profe~siOl'lal results whE'n spray painting by using a snilpon trIgger, It gives bener control Without fatigue Protect your lung!, to WIth a r ,pirate th In fated for the ,lOb. don't want in your lungs. A simple ¡particulate- mask won't do. You need a respirator with an OSHA/NIOSH rating of 95 or 100. That rating ensures the filters wi1l take out the harmful fumes you Wllnt til avoid. You can get one wherever paints are sold for about $40.

Vexing Voltage?

The actual voltage at your home's outlets can vary from 110 to 12S volts, but don't worry. Electrical devices will handle the variation.

Keeping Cabinet Knobs Tight

WHAT' S THE OIFFERENCE? LINE VOLTAGE VS. LOW VOLTAGE The~e terms aTp used a lot WIth undr-r-ubinet and closet lighting kit'

Q My cabinet knobs {(Instantly come IOtm, How do I kup them tight? Jot Marllnet l.os Angeit$, CA

line voltage simply means they run on standard nou'\ehold voltage of 120 volt~ law-vohaqe lights, on the other and use a transrormer to step the 'lOwit line 'IOttage down to a much lower atmg, usually 12 or 2. volts.. hf' big~t advantag~ot low vo'tage ghts Is thit th~ lower voltage makes them much sa~ to work With, ~pe<lall)' if you don't have a lot of e)(penen[e with electricity. That makes them DIY fnendly. T"e downSide s that you t1 have to find a poace for the triWlSformer: and you'l haw to buy ipe<ific bulbs to fit thE' fidul'M.


Loose knobs are one of those little that we tend to d~ with occa¡ sionally rather than fixing perm.anently. ~noyances

But fixing the problem for good is easy. If the knobs are made of wood, try putting it few drops of super glue in the screw hole, Then quicldy remstall the screw, For metal knobs, 1 prefer to u.~e a thread locker, available in home centen: or auto parts stores, Just look closely when you purchase it - there are perma' nent and semi. permanent lockers. You want the semi-permanent type in case you ever want to get the knobs off again. Just coat the SHew thwilds ( Photo), tighten the knob, and you're done,

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Pathway Lights Q:

I installed a string oj law-voltage path lights. They look good but aren't as bright as I'd hoped, Is thcr~ a way to make them brighter? Bradle), Mi1fIin Lansing, MI

A: You may be able to pump up the light output ot your outdoor set by installing higher-wattage bulbs, But before you do, there are a few things you'll need to check, First, check the wattage of the bulbs in the fixtures, Many path lights come with 4-, 10- or II-watt bulbs, You'll find replacements as high as J 8 watt~, but those are usually intended for spotlights, not path lights, Second, check the maximum wattage rating for the fixtures, and be sure you don't exceed it. You don't want the fixture to overheat. Third, check the wattage rating of the power supply. It needs to be high enough to handle the total wattage of every light on the string. To determine that, just add up the wattage of each bulb connected to the supply (Illustration, right). If the current power supply doesn't have enough capacity, consider swapping it with a higherwattage modeL

In a low-voltage landscape lighting system, the totdl wattage )f the lights cannot exceed the wattage rating of the power supply.

Roller Repair Q

The rollers on my garage door are worn and rljsly. Can I replace them myself? George Beasley Roanoke, VA




Rollers are easy to replace, as long as you heed a bit of caution. If you have a door with ton;ion springs, you shO\lldn't replace the bottom rollers. Usually the cables are mounted here, and the spring they're attached to is under a tremendous amount of pressure. If you remove the bottom hinge, the spring will unwind and send the hinge flying. It can aho unbalance the door enough to cause it to slam shut. 'That said, for any of the other rollefs, the process is ea.~y. With the door closed, just remove the hinge that the roller is attached to. Then take the roller to the home center and get a replacement of the same size, You can find metal like the original equipment ones (above lcft) or nylon rollers that tend to run more quietly (above right). Just grease the shaft, reinstall the roller and hinge, and you're all set.



What percentage of the average home's electricity is consumed by the television and its related accessories? Source: CNET! P;o.cinc G. , & EI.ctric Coonp~ny


Q.- I'm working on a project that uses Plexiglas. Can I cut this stuff myself, or do I need to have it cutforme: Mark Harrold Roston, MA

A: Plexiglas (generically known as acrylic)


Spade Bit Blow-out U$( spad~ bits a lot to drill big holrs, but I can't stem to keep from ttaring cut tht back sidt of the board no matter Irow careful I am. Even ntw bits don't sum to ht/p. Whatam I d()ing wrong? Jeremy R()thschild Omaha,NE

Q: 1

can be cut, drilled, and even routed. So you can definitely work with it yourself. C\ltting can be a challenge, though, as ordinary saw blades tend to either chip and splinter the material or melt it as you cut. For straight cuts, I cut acrylic using a 200-tooth blade made for cutting plywood. The good news is that this type ofbJade isn't expensive. In fact, it's one of the least-expensive types of saw blades around. You'll find them in siU's for both circular saws and table saws. For curved cuts, you can find jigsaw blades specifically made for cutting acrylic.


You aren't doing anything wrong. With their wide paddle shape, spade bits exert a lot of force on the wood. Because of that, they just tend to tear out the wood as they exit on the back side of the workpiece. If you need a dean hole on both sides, that's a problem. Thankfully, there's an easy cure: Start drilling your hole from one side, and drill until the point of the bit's center spur comes through the board (Top Photo, above). Then, to complete the hole, drill from the other side, using this hole to center the bit (Bottom Ph()fo, above). You'll get a dean hole every time.




Cabinet Doors Stash two items that commonly clutter up counters spice jars and shopping lists - inside cabinet doors, Space is alway~ at a premium in the kitchen. It seems no matter how many cabinets you have, they fill up quickly. That's why we were excited to see this creative idea from Mary Echegoyen of Centreville, Virginia. It take5 two items that commonly clutter up kitchen counters - spice jars and shopping lists - and stores them in a place you may not have considered: the inside of cabinet doors. Sim p le Spic.:e R ack - Both ideas are simple to create in a matter of minutes. For the spice storage rack, simply cut a thin sheet of galvanized sheet metal to fit the inside of your cabinet door (Inset Photo), and then



stick it in place with a few strips of double-sided t ape. You can purchase as many magnetic spice tins as you need (they're JvailJble for just $3 per tin from and sticK the tins to the sheet. Clever Chalkb oar d - As for the shopping list side of t he door, that's a I!l¡ plywood panel covered with a few coats of ch.dkhoard paint, which is readily aVililable at any home center. After you paint the panci, you can also attach it to the cahinet door with double-sided tape. Just keep the chalk and an eraser tucked JWJy in one corner of the cabinet to eaSily make and erase lists as needed.

Trim the metal carefully with shears, and then hammer the cut edge flat.

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Storage & Organization When Cynthia Zembryki of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania, is working on a craft project with a lot of small parts and pieces, she uses an old egg carton to hold them. It has 12 computments that are perfect for sorting, and it can be dosed securely when she needs to tilke a break.


PAINT PROBLEM-SOLVER Glad makes a plastic wrap called Press'n Seal t hat's good for more than keeping food fresh. If Ronald HawllC'y of Spanaway, Was hington, net'ds to take a break from painting, he just seals the end of the brush in a piece of PresS'n Seal. It keeps the bristles moist and fresh until it's time fo r the next coat of paint.

If you're tired of getting blisters from shovel and wheelbarrow handles, Mike Belfield of Idaho Falls, Idaho, recommends investing in a roll of hockey tape. Available at sporting goods stores, this tape has texture and is even a bit sticky, making it easier to grip handles and keep them from slipping.

Quick& Easy Tips Put up Some Pegboard. If you plan to finish your garage, Ryan Baller of lincoln, Nebraska, recommends using pegboard for one of the walls instead of drywall. It provides great hanging storage for shop tools, and its perforated surface makes it easy to see the studs behind it for installation.

Your Best Painter's Tool. Rather theln trying to tape off every surface in a room where you don't want paint, Wade Mears of Urbandale, Iowa, recommends P<linting with a wet rag in one hand and a brush in the other. As long as you catch any runs or drips while they're fresh, they'll clean right up.

Cheap Drawer Glides. On older furniture, the drawers have a frustrating tendency to drag as you open them. To fix this, Joshua Shirey of York, Penn¡ sylvania, presses thumbtacks Into the face frame just below the drawer front. Thi s al!ows the drawer to ride smoothly over the tacks as you open and close it.




Tame a Tight Door Got a door that scrapes in its opening? Brad Nick of Fort Myers, Florida, recommends putting a thin piece of cardboard under the hinge that's opposite the location where the door is scraping. In many cases, this will reposition the door correctly in the opening to stop the scraping.





Kristi Mailloux, president of Molly Maid, has a few tips for cleaning the areas of your home that often get left out of your weekly rounds: • To clean window sen-ens, remove them from the windows, and wash them with V. cup of all-purpose cleaner mixed with a bucket of warm water usi ng a soft bristle brush. Then rinse them with a hose, and hang them back up after theydry.

CREATE YOUR OWN NO-MAR CLAMPS Though newer clamps usually come with soft protective pads over the jaws, many older damps and (-damps don·t. And that means they can damage wood and other soft parts when you clamp them. Turning these clamps into "non-marring" clamps is easy, though, says Jmeph Young of Dexter, Maine.Just buy a set of self-adhesive felt furniture pads and stick them to the clamp jaws.

• Window blinds in the bathroom get dirty because of all the hairspray and powder flying around. But you can clean them by soaking them in the bathtub in all-purpose cleaning solution and water. Just keep the hanging mechanism away from the solution. • Before cleaning the Inside of a microwave, boil a dish afwater in it for a few minutes to break loose any baked-on grime. Then clean with soap and wa ter. • Use dish soap in water and a soft cloth tode·grease the fronts of kitchen cabinets every spring. • To C\.It down on dusting, choose enclosed shelves and cabinets with glass fronts instead of open shelves to display knickknacks. • Always clean from left to right and top to bottom to avoid having to repeat your work.



Stick Around Many new cordless drill / drivers have a magnet built into the base to hold bits and screws. It's a good idea, and you can stilt make use of It even jf }'OU have an older drill/ driver, sa~ Joshua Shirey of York, Pennsylvania. Just epoxy a magnet to the base of yuur older drill to create your own screw and bit holder.

SIMPLE SHOWER SAVER If your showerhead Is nOI working property, it might be clogged with calcium and other minerals. Charles Smith of MeKico, Missouri, fills a plastic bag with whIte vinegar, places it over the showerhead, and holds It In place overnigh t with a rubber band. By morning. the clog is usually dissolved.

EASY DISC FIX To fi~ a ~kipping CO or OVO, Kyle S<humaker of KnOKville, Iowa, buffs out Ihe scratches using toothpaste. Just apply a bit with your finger, rubbing it in with a circular motion. Then fun it under waler, and dry it with a clean cloth. It should be as good as new.

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Worry-Free Watering Keeping the lawn and garden watered can be a task that never seems to end. But when you have great watering tools, you can keep your landscaping healthy without the hassle.


hen the weather is nice, most of \15 are wbhing for quick, eilSY lawn and garden maintenance. That's why watering gear like this digital watering timer (1) is so handy. The timrr keeps track of your wiltering schedule, so you don't have to. Digital gadgets won't help you if your hose isn't properly, though. A hose saver (2) prevents kinks that occur at the connection with the faucet. And a hose mender (3) helps you repair a leaking hose instead of throwing it away. Hoses may be susceptible to damage, but your plants are even more delicate. Hose gUides (4) get staked into the ground and act as a barrier to keep hoses from sliding into the flowerbeds, Sometimes watering alone isn't enough for plants. 'Ihis plant food sprayer (5) hooks to your hose to make feeding plants as easy as watering, Now you won't need to trek back to an inconveniently placed faucet, either, Faucet extensions (6) can be staked in easily accessible locations. A portable sprinkler .~ystem (7) is another easy and surprisingly affordable watering solution. It offers many of the heneJits of a custom-installed system - even adjustable spray patterns - but also gives you the fl~xibility to mov~ it when your watering needs chang~. Of course, you can upgrade the hose YOll already have with a convenient watering wand attachment (8). If you have hanging baskets or othE'! hard·to· reach plantings, it will help you direct the water.

11 Aqlla limer, $28, !.\eloor; (ll H~S.l\'~r, $11, Green 100mb: (3) tz Clamp Ho~ Meooer, $3. Green Thumb; (4) Mosaic Hose Guide, $10, "om Targ~t: (5) Liqu,;Fffi! Starter ~il, $20, Mir~de·Gr(l: (0) 0' fallut htenlion, $15, Gilmtlur; (7) Port A Rdm System, $10, from TIle HMTIe D~oot; IS) S"Turre! Wand, $1~ C. Sun Male. We Nge63.

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Sleeperplus storage Almost any room can benefit f>om ext" >eating and increased storage space. This unique sofa offers both. It has a generously sized seating area where you can kick back and relax. Plus, it has three big drawers hidden behind the back cushions that offer loads of extra storage. And, if that's not enough, this sofa hides one more unique feature: The base is actually a twin mattress that slides out easily to serve as an extra bed when guests arrive.



lhose features are great, but they don't tell the whole sto ry of this sofa. For starters, as the Photos above show, those features come wrapped in a one-of-a-kind style that you can't get from a store. The frame - built from plywood and poplar - has sleek, clean lines, and can be painted to match any decor. Finally, this sofa sleeper is surprisingly easy to build. We'll show you how on the next few pages, and even offer tips to help you integrate the sofa into your own personal style.



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NOTE:You can download complete builde(~ plans that include the dirrH!nslom of every p.lrt of this project at

spans between the sofa ('rtd pal"\â&#x201A;¬"ls and creates a di~play ~helf plus space for three big drawero;

WtOE ARMS add c~tra comfort 3nd

unique style to th ~ sofa






at bdck edge of sofa ~nd~ allow th~ b~k panel to be fastened securely

poSit ion drawer un" on W i d ~nu~ Sofa Bilek Pallel


turns a standard twin mattress into a sofa when tucked in place SOFA END PANELS

and a spare bed when rolled aut

are glued up from two layers of pI)'Wood 3 1ld then shaped with 3 jigsaw and a router


rests an cleats and then get5 attached to sofa ends from inside to hide screws


are made from plywood for strer>gth artd assembled with glue and snews to keep construction simple


l 20

DrawerUnil: Support



get COVNed with uphalst~ry foam 31ld fabric to provide padded backrests for the sofa (seepa~ }4)



he best way to start the sofa is by building the end panels. Like most parts of this project, they're made from plywood (we used birch). Each panel consists of two layers, as shown in the Construction View at left. To get detailed builder's plans

with all the dimensions you 'II need to build the sofa, log on to Note that one layer is smaller than the other one. When assembled, this size difference will create a ¥." notch that will capt ure the sofa's back panel when it's install..'1l1atcr. After cutting the panels, you can glue them together in pairs.. First lay the larger piece on a work surface with the best·looking (ace down. Then mask off the notch .llong what will become the panel's back edge. Spread glue on the panel using a disposable trowel (Photo, right), H; plenty of glue on hand, by the way. Each end assembly takes about four ounces. Next, lay the smaller panel down on the glue with its best face up. Then align the front, top, and bottom edges. Clamp the panels together, and then remove the tape Onset Photo, right). Repeat this process to join the other pair of panels, and then let the glue dry. Then use a jigsaw to cut each end panel to fina l shape (Photo, below). Now equip your router with a ~· round over bit to ease the sharp edge~ on the end panels. Rout all the edges except where the anns will get attached. Add Arms - A pair of arm~, ru;; well a~ supports that hold them, come next. They're all cut to size from poplar. Just sand all the exposed edges to ease the sharp corners, drill holes for mounting screws, and then glue and screw the arms and supports in place.

To complete the end panels, cut two cleats to si:re from a 2x4 and secure them to the inside face of each end p anel. These will support the drawer un it. Bring On the Back - Now cut a plywood back panel to size. Then lay out the radius at each top corner, and cut those with a jigsaw. To complete the back, round over the upper inside edge using the router and -MI" roundover b it. Build the Drawer Unit - Next comes the drawer unit that spans between the end panels (IllU5tration, Itft). Start by cutting the drawer unit top and bottom, as well as four dividers, from ¥4" plywood. You'll also need to cui a pair of drawer unit ~'Upports from 2x4s. You can now drill holes for screws that will secure the dividers. When you look at the builder's plans, you'll see that the outer dividers are set in lAO from the ends. That makes it easier to draw the drawer unit tightly agaillst the sofa's end panels dur ing assembly. Layout the screw hole poSitions on one panel. Then lay both panels together and drill all the 'wOIythrough them. That way, the holes will be aligned.

Now you can assemble the drawer unit. Start by gluing the drawer unit support~ to the bottom paneL Use damps to hold each support in place while you drill holes and drive in mounting screws. Set the top and bottom panels on their back edges, put glue on the dividers, and then clamp the assembly together. Use the holes in the top and bottom to extend pilot holes into the dividers. Then drive in the screws to hold the unit together. Add the Drawt'u -lhe storage drawers are big and need to be sturdy. So they're built from~· plywood, too, and assembled with glue and screws. Start by cutting the drawer parts to sire. lhen set a drawer bottom on your work surface; glue the sides, front, and back to it; and damp them in place. Drill holes for ~crews, and t hen drive them in. Then remove the damps and move on to the next drawer. To make the drawers operate easily, I mounted them on heavy-duty drawer slides. They're easy to install following the manufacturer's instructions.


NOTE: You can download complete builder's plans that include tr.e dimens.ions

SURFACE BOLTS top edge of fr~me lock ~eat platform if\to sofa end panels


of ~ery part of thi~ project at Worklx'n<

....- -_/ Mal1 ress


Fram e Rail


Platform Fr~me

6" lawn



ride in U..shaped Iflal gel




HOlJSing ~


Platform Frame End

Add a Seat Platform - The seat platform has s~v~ral parts, but it's easy to build. It starts with a frame made from solid wood. A plywood platform supports the mattress, and four large wheels allow the bed to roll easily (Illustration, above). Start by cutting frame rails and ends. Then glue and screw them together.


attached to the

platform frame



""~endsScrews secure frame

and wheel housiag

The platform rolls on inexpensive 6" lawn Illowerwheels that get mounted in U.shaped housings (Whed Detail). To make them, cut four housing sides and two tops. Pair up the Sides, and drill holes for the axles. It's a two¡step process. First, drill a W'-deep counterbore using a 1" spade bit. Use the center to align a 1Ji" bit, and then drill through both pieces (Photo, left). Next, glue and screw each wheel housing together, and then imtal1 the wheels. That done, mount the wheel housings to the assembled frame. To complete the platform, cut a pair of mattress support deats. Then drill all the screw holes, and glue and screw the cleats in place. Finally, cut and install a plywood mattress support. Tool' to Paint-At this pOint, the sofa is essentially complete. But before you can move it in place and put it together, it's time to paint. Before you paint, conceal any gaps in the plywood edges using wood filler. Then sand the filler smooth. Now you can apply primer and paint. You can do this ,,;ith a brush and roiler, or use an airless sprayer.

While the paint dries, go ahead and make the cushions for the couch back, as shown on page 24. Set Up the Sofa - Now you can have an assistant help you move the sofa in and assemble it. First stand the panels up and position the back panel so it sits in the rabbet at the back of each end paneL Then driB countersunk holes through the back panel, and screw it to the sofa ends. Next, set the drawer unit in place ben'l'een the end panels so it rests on the deats. Then screw the unit to the sofa ends from inside. With that done, you can simply roll the scat platform into place. To keep it from rolling unn:pectedly, add a pair of surface bolts on the top edge of the bed rail. Screw them on, and then mark when:¡ the bolts hit the sofa ends. Then drill holes for the bolts to slip into. To wrap it all up, you can slide in the drawers and screw on the padded drawer fronts . ..,... Written by David Stone, illustrated by Erich Lagt, project deSigned by James


R. Downing


coordinated colors bring it all together... The impressive fun ctionality of this sofa sleeper

also means it hlS an impressive size. At 71ft feet tong and 3¥l. feet deep, it could dominate a room. To prevent that, we workeJ to integrate it into the space instead. The proct.'Ss is fun and easy. We started by painting the couch a neutral color and choosing a navy blue cover for the seating area. These choices help the sofa seem more petite, without disguising its one-of-akind style. Plus, the white ilod blue provide a great starting point for bringing in hright, bold accessories. And it was one accessory in particular - the pillows - that guided the styling of the entire room. You can see how it happened below, and check out page 63 to learn where all these cool items came from.

• • • • •

SOFA SOLUTIONS White p.ilint m<tke$ the sof(l ilppear ~ma\ler,

while the 5O \id navy cover


the seating <tre<t.

PILLOWS ADD POP The org<tnlc pattern In the pillo-M complement~


~tr<tight line~

of the

sofa. Their green color inspired the wall.

A BOLD WALL COLOR UN IFIES The green w<tll (010' wa~ blended to m<ttch the pillows. It's bright fresh, <tOO m,,){fs the loom f~ l<trger.

ACCESSORIES TIE ITTOGETHER F,om the v<tses to the lamp to the rug. the accesso,ies bring harmonious sty1e to the room. Red <l(cents prevent the green Irom becoming overpowering.

STORAGE ADDS ITS OWN STYLE A storage ottOlTliln, doth closet bins in

a bright white organizer. and magazine holden all


coordinated hUf's.

www.WorkbenchM a gazirH.!.com



MAKE YOUR OWN SOFA COVER You don't need sewing experience to create an eye-catching couch cover. Whether you're making one for the sofa sleeper on page 18 or for another project, we'll show you techniques that make the process oh-sew-easy.


PhOISrel"Y is a job usually left to professIonals. But

you don't need to pay:. pro

to crn n. a cover for a simple project like the sofa sleeper on page 18. In fact, our methods for coycring the sofa require you to ~ew only one straight seam and to staple fabric over

foam to (;re<lte the backrest cushions. This is possible because the entire couch cover is made trom a storebought duvet cover. A duvet cover works great because It has a buttoned opening near one end, so the mattress slips right in. For our pruject, we used a queen-si7.ed duvel because it offered enough cItra Il'Llteri"llo cut otf and usc to make the padded b.ckrest cushions, as well. Besides the duve! cover, you'll need a few other supplies. A sewing machine makes it to stitch the cover dosed after it's cut 10 si'lc, but If you don't hav"e one, you could sew this by hand. From the fabric store, you'll also need enough 2" -th ick high-dcnsity foam 10 make three cu~hions (ours



meas ured l r I 25¼t"), plus marking chalk, straight pins, and sharp scissors, A staple gun makes quick work of attaching the batting and fabnc, We used an electric model that cost len than $30. At the home center we also grabbed a can of spray adhesive and a 4-ft.long Ixl bo;u:d. It's used to pull the fabric taut a.~ you wrap it around the loam. Before tacklillg those cushions, though, it's time to cover the mattress, Do the Duvet - To get started, decidl' which edge of the duvet cover willlx- visible at the front of the sofa, slip the mattress into the cover, and ~ide it against that edge. Now cut the excess material off the other edge (Fig. 1). Next, pull up the loose fab ric, and pin it tigh tly dosed ~ong the length of the mattress (fig, 2). Removc the cover, turn it inside o ut, and use a sewing ma.chine to close the seam (Fig. J). Create the Cushions - Now you can gather up your extra material and supplies, and make the backrest cu.~h­ iOllS. Making them im'Olves nothing mo re than attaching foam to a plywood

backe r, and then fol ding batting and fabric over the fOJm and stapling it to the plywood. The process IS shown in detail in the llIu.strallOn.~ at right. POSitiOn the (over against one long side of the mattress, so the excess fabric e)(tends from the opposite side. Use marking chalk to make a line that's about 6" away from the mattress and runs paraliel to it Cut along the line. and save the extra fabric to use for the padded cushior"l5.


ONE: Center <ushion

To start, you'll need to cut the plywood backers. In the case of the sofa sleeper, we made three (each :Y." x 12"x 25ÂĽ4") that get attached to the drawers. Now cut pie<:es of foam to match the backers. An electric carving knife worh well for this. Once cuI, you can attach each piece of foam to a backer using spray adhesive. When the adhesive dries, draw layout lines on the back face of the plywood. Ooe line is Ill" from each edge; the other is \ " from the edge. lhese lines guide where the batting and b.brie get attached and help you keep the fabric straight. Now you can cut the excess duve! fabric into three oversize pieces (ours were 28" x 42"), and cut three pieces of batting to match. To cover each cushion, first lay a piece of fahric facedown on a work surface, m;J;king sure the fabric is smooth, and then lay a piece of batting directly on top of it. Now lay a cushion

â&#x20AC;˘ Next, set the mattress on its edge with the cut you just made facing up. Pull up the 6" of loose fabric, and pin it tightly closed along the entire length of the mattress. Now you can slide the duvet cover off and turn it inside out, so it's ready for the seam to be stitched.


Now use a sewing machine to close the seam. If you don't have access to one, this could easily be whip-stitched by hand. The seam doe5n't have to be perfect ~ause it won't show. Turn the cover right-side out, and it's done. Now you can slip it back over the mattress.


foam side down on the fabriC, making sure it's centered. Fold the batting oyer one long edge of the cushion, and align it with the Lh" guideline. Then sta ple it in place. Here's where that4-tt.long Ixl comes in handy. If you try to pull the opposite side of the batting by hand, it can pucker and wrinkle. To prevent that, staple the batting to the !xl stick. Roll the batting: around the stick and puJl it tightly around the opposite edge of the cushion. Then hold thr batting in place and staple it along the other L h" guide line. Trim off the excess batting, and remove the extra batting from the stick. To attach the remaining sides, first trim off the excess at each corner. Then staple buth short sides in place using the same process as the long sides. Now you can attach the duvet fabric. There are only two differences in this process. First, you'll staple the fabric at tht! inner layout lines. Second, you won't cut the cornrrs. Just fold the excess under to create clean corners. ~

THREE; St.Jple oth~r~~of

battfogtoa IXI


FOUR: Pull baning ti9hlly aroundfClam

, '-- Plywood


SIX: Cut batting off


EIG HT:Wrap and attMh fabric, ~t.uting with the long sides


- WritUn by Louist Ritchhart, iIIllstrated by Matt Scott

comers under, thefl staple mds to complete Lhe cover


www.WorkbenchM ag uine.(om





_~ I-

", -__L-_ ,


Coat Rack â&#x20AC;˘

Open new doors of creativity with this unusual twist on the common coat rack" f you've ever been to an architectural salvage store, you've probably seen a lot of unique old doors. The only problem is unless you have the right spot, there's usually not much you can do with them. But what jf you took that old door and transformed it into something else entirely? 'lhat's the inspiration behind this coat rack project, which at its core is a painted door and some antique knobs. With a littl .. inspiration, yo u could create a similar project with any old door of your chOOsing. We found the perfect door for our coat rack at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. After bringing it back to the shop, we c1ean..d it with soap aud water, but we didn't repaint it. The original paint contributed to the charm and appeal of the project. Add the Boards -The door had two panels, which we thought would be perfect to turn into a corkboard and a chalkboard. The corkboard panels were available in 12" x 12" squares at a local craft store. We just cut two of them to size with a utility kn ife to fit the panel and mounted them with spray adhesive (Fig. 1). To create the chalkboard, we sanded down the other panel and taped it


off. Then W~ brushed in the edges and rolled on two coats of chalkboard paint using a foam roller (Fig. 2). Put all Knobs - We needed a creative lVay to hang coats from the doof, and then it dawned on us - why not jmt use door knobs? So we headed back to the salvage store, where we found cool old knobs for $5 apiece. We spaced them evenly along the door, drilled holes) and mounted them on carriage bolts. Some knobs wouldn't fit on the threads of the bolts, so we just secured them in place with epoxy (Fig. 3). Mount the Rack - That just left hanging the rack on the wall. We put ours in.l mud room, but any home entry would work just as well. To hang the dooT, we used a pair of Hangman picture hangers (page 63), These hvo¡part hangers mount to your object and to the wall, and then they lock together for a ~ecure, ~tahle connection. We also ran a screw near the lower edge of the door for extra security. After that, it was just a matter of putting a few push pins in the corkboard, adding some chalk and an eraser for the chalkhoard, and the coat rack was home-ready. , . .



sleek and When it comes

to desk lighting, style doesn't have




desk lamp

to take a backseat to function. You can make your own eye-catching lamp from an LED under-cabinet fixture and simple materials such as aluminum tubes and a poplar base.

The role of a desk lamp seems simple on the surface : It must adequately illuminate your work area. But many interior designers will tell you that lighting is one of a room's most overlooked features. If you purchase a boring, run-of-themill desk lamp, you're cheating yourself of an opportunity to add a creative edge to your decor. LED desk lamps are emerging as a way to get bright lighting that offers a sleek, saphhtkated look you just can't get from lamps with conventional bulbs. But you could easily pay $100 or more far some LED models. That's why we've created this contemporary lamp for DIYers who aren't content to settle for expensive off.the.shelflamps. Ifyou've never worked with lighting before, you couldn't find a much easier introduction. Since the project calls for a bright LED fixture from the home center (UtiliTech, n8874!), the difficult wiring is done for you. Plus, the base and structure are easy to Jssemble from poplar Jnd aluminum tubes. \Ve used two types of tubes: I" squJre tubing and l;l" round tubing. Both are available in various lengths at the hardware stoIe or home center. You'll just need a jigsaw to cut a squ;tre hole in the base, and a hacksaw or miter saw to cut through the aluminum. If you have access to a drill press, it will make quick work of drilling straight holes through aluminum. If not, you could also use a portable drill guide to help yO\1 make the holes. Alter that, it's just a m;tttcr of cutting the low-voltage fixture's power cord, feeding it through the ahlminum tubes, and splicing it back together with the help of heat-shrink tubing.



r- -I

Mm is madl'of 18"-lony. W -di<l.


t6 x I?" Poln Head She!! Mellli Screw

alum inum tubing that ~Iides through a hok! in th~ lamp body


t6. ". Pan H.-ad Sheet Met,,1 Screw



,. t


1 •

LED Fixture (Utili te<h, .HSS74 1) !l~ts ~rewed to the <l11ll to

¥.t" vacuum hO!>e ~hps

provide a simple light \.Qulel'

O'oCf cord and Ihruugh ~" hoIes

In the arm and body

-NOTE: You an download completl' bUilder's pI.lnS ilt Wor.

CREATE THE BASE First, cut the lamp's b,lSe out of poplar. Eventually you'll cut the base to 7" long, but fo r now start with a piece that ii at leasl 12" long. That extra length will allow you to clamp the board in place while you're cutting out the hole to holLl the !>quare tubing. When the base is cut, you're ready to cut out the square hole. Lay it out, ,:Inti tllt'n drill a.;J" hole inside the square. This hole will provide a place to in~crt )'ll Ur jigsaw blade, so you can cut out the rest of the square (Pho to, pag~ 30). Once you've created the hole) test·fit the square tube, and sand or file the opening ru; needed to get a snug fit. Then cut the base 107" long.


,.. "


80dy IS made of 16 '-long, " ~uarl! IUbfo rh(J19tlS a!tached to the base with epoxy

Base Ism.KIeof W

poplar. 5W .

Cord gets CUI ne~l lIansf()fmer, threaded through tubing, and spliced back toqether (seepage 3 1)


•• YI'-dia. Stkk-on Feel


Cut ' " ~quare hole centered on width 01 ba~

Supply List: -l/lI'ltKl'I 1288741 UD I,gt.1 _W round aluminum tube. la"1ong • 1- loqu;,<ellumlnum tube.. 16' 10"9 5¥.· poplar · \21 t6x \<O. !l'>Ht meYl Kf~ . (1) 16 x 1'1" $heet ml!tal K~


' ~· vicuYmhose.I ·ft.lon!il

heilt-stlrlnk tubing • [41 \'t' d ian-If·tel stodl.-onfeet • Paiol ·5pr~onlJ<;:~ ..... . )1,"


www.Work~n(hMa9axine .(om


PREPARE THE LAMP'S BODY Now that tne base is cut, turn to the square aluminum tube that will serve as the "bodyM of the lamp. You'll want to make sure that your cut line is straight and clean on this piece since the bottom of the tube will be Hush with the bottom of the base. That's easy to accomplish with a miter saw. You could also use a square to mark all the way around the body, and then cut it carefully with a hacksaw. Once the body h35 been cut to length, you're ready to drill a hole through it to accommodate the 1/2" round tubing that will ;'Ict as the ~arm" of the lamp. 111i5 is probably the trickiest step of the project, because the holes on opposite sides of the body

must align perfectly. If they don't, the ann will be tilted. Even this step isn't that hard, though, if you use the right tools and techniques. First, mark the location of the hole on the lamp's body. Then use <l drill pre% to create the hole through the body as shown in the Photo below. Another option is to use a drill guide, which you can purchase through retailers like Lee Valley (LeeVa! or RockIer ( Next, drill two more holes in the body to accommodate the LEO light's power cord. You'll only need to drill these holes into aile side instead of drilling them aU the way through the tube. One of the holes is below the arm

hole, aod thl' other is near the bottom. Then turn the body, and drill a l/S" hole into the side. 1his hole will accom· modate a ~crew to secure the arm to the body later. CONNECT THE BODY AND BASE Since all of the holes are now drilled in the lamp's body, you can polish it with 4OO·grit sandpaper. For a shiny finish, coat the body with spray-on lacquer and allow it to dry before moving on to the next step. Once the lacquer is dry, attach the hody in its hole in the base with quick-set epoxy (Photo, left). To keep the epory from getting on your other prajl'ct parts, tape them off before you adhere them. The epory sets qUickly, so you \...-on't have a lot of time to align the body and the base. Make sure the lamp's body is positioned square with the base immediately.


A drill press (left) makes it easy to drill aligned holes in the body. Masking tape keeps epoxy off your project parts when joining them together (above).



At this pOint, you can cut the V:z' round tube to length, so it can serve as the lamp's arm. Next, mark mounting holes for the LEO fixture. Drawing a straight line on a round tube can be difficult, $0 we came up with a trick that helped us get the holes aligned. Just use a permanent marker to draw a 7"·long

You can align the mounting holes for the LED light by marking a straight line on the lamp's arm. Simply hold the arm steady, lay a permanent marker flat on your work surface, and slide the marker along the tube for a perfectly parallel line. Then mark the mounting holes on that line.

hne running parallel to the arm (Photo, abovt). Position the LED light so that the mounting holes are on the line, and use them as guides to mark their loca· tions on the ann. Then drill the holes into the arm. It's much easier to screw the LED fixture to the lamp'~ arm if you create threads in the holes that you just drilled. You can do this by turning a 11'6 x 1/4· sheet metal screw into a hole until you can't turn it further, backing it out, and then turning it into the hole a bit more. Repeat this process until the holes are threaded ......Vhen you're finished, mark and drill the hole that the LED fixture's cord will fit through on the il.Tm. ATTACH THE ARM Once all of the holes are drilled in the ann, you're almost ready to attach it to the body. But first, sand the arm with 400'srit sandpaper and coat it with spray·on lacquer, just as you did with the lamp's body. When the lacquer is dry, attach the LED fixture to the arm with ".6 x 1/. " sheet metal screws. Then slide the arm thrNlgh the Ih" hole in the body. Turn the ,lfm until the LED future is parallel with your work surface. When thl.' light is in placl.', use the 1,-1" hole in the body as a guide to drill a %z· hole into the arm. Then use a 116 x lh" sheet metal screw to secure the arm. Now that the bmp is assembled, you can sand and paint the base. Just be sure to tape off the lamp body first, so you won't get any paint on it. When the paint is dry, add stick·on feet to the

bottom of the basI.' to protect your desk from scratches. INSTALL THEWIRING With the hase, body, and arm connected, you just need to thread the LED fitture's powl.'r cord through the arm and body. You obviou~ly can't thread the cord through the arm and body when it's still attached to the transformer, so you'll have 10 use wire cutters to cut the cord a few inches from the transformer. Later, you'll splice the cord back together as shown in the Sidebar at right. But first, you'll need a ..,ray to protect the cord from damage at the point~ where it threads through holes in the aluminum. The solution is to slip pieces of 3;\.6" vacuum hose, which you can purchase at an auto parts store, over the cord in those places. This tubing will keep the cord from fraying. Once the first section of vacuum hose b in place, thread the cut end of the cord through the hole in thl.' arm and out the other end. Continue slipping pil.'cl.'s of vacuum hosl.' over the cord and threading it through each hole as shown in the Illustration on page 57. After the cord has gone through thl.' lamp body, splice it back togl.'ther with the cord that's connected to the transformer as shown at right. Then you're ready to use your bright, stylish desk lamp. . , .

- Written by Alyssa McNab, illustrated by Maff Swlt, project designed by fame .. R. Downmg

splicing wires 101

1] Slit the two wire~ as shown, and then cut them apart so they are offset. That way, you won't havt' both wires spliced sldt'·by·side. Then strip the wires until Y.!" of each one is exposed. Slip a piece of heat-shrink tubing onto the cord, and then twist the wires back together.

21 Now you can move the heat-shrink tubing into place over the splice. Be<:ause the fixture is low·voltage, no soldering is needed.

3] Finally, use a kitchen match to heat the tubing, seturing it permanently over the cord to mend the tut.


Any home can look great from the outside. To prove it, we found three ordinary-looking homes and let the Workbench design team show you how to boost their ...

_ur -

".,.".rrrF.N BY Wy~tI MY""


They always say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Luckily, that isn't true when it comes to your home. Even houses with outdated or ordinary exteriors have a chance to look great. The trick is to amp lip their front entries with simple changes in paint, hardware, and landscaping. To prove it, we found three common homes; a '90s suburban house, a trad itional ranch, and a 19505 split-level. We took ~beforen photos of each, and then lei the design teams at {V(Jrkbenrh and Garden Gate magazine go to work on ideas for how the homeowners could change the front entry of each home and the yard around it. What th~ came up with are some dramatic maKcovcrs to the original designs. Reg;olfdless of your own h ouse style, many of these ideas should feel right at home on your own front entry. Pick and choose among them based on your own budget or ambition level. Whichever projects you select, you're guaranteed to get a big boost to your home's appear,mce and value.





I /,,I \J


ell /\ J

There's really nothing wrong with the entry to Izaak Myers' Johnston, Iowa, home. It's a fairly typical style for a 1990s suburban house. But like many homes of that period, it looks almost identical to every other one in the neighborhood, As Workbench project designer Mike Donovan began taking a closer look, he realized Izaak could make the home stand out from the pack with just a few minor alterations to the design. His trick was taking out some " buiJder's special" features and replacing them with custom touches. That started with the front walkway. Mike wanted the porch and walk to be more welcoming than the concrete sidewalk that was currently there, so he replaced it with a wider path comprised of paving stones for a more inviting feel. The new path actually butts right up against the drilleway to provide

multiple entry points for visitors to the home. Around the new pathway, a mixture of natural grasses and low¡ growing ground cover, paired with IS" limestone blocks, provide an organic but contemporary flair. The house number is also mounted on limestone blocks with bolts and epoxy, Garden Gale designers suggested a small tree by the picture window to soften the comer of the house. And some containers placed near the porch for color and interest round out the landscaping. (For more complete planting guides for all the houses, visit,) To add to the more inviting feel, the front door is now a "full"view" door. And the generiC gold light fixtures got replaced with bolder, (rahsman"insplred choices (see -Sources,~ page 63). The final change was to the "builder's beige" paint wlor. Mike selected a Colonial blue that stands out from the neighbors' houses yet still gives the home a refined, elegant look.

Ata Glance ReplK~ Pum~

the S4dew.l~ .... ,1" 01 ""der 0'"1011' I wtt"

p.l""" p;.lt>o..l),

up Ihl' I<Ind~uplng around the path with liml!<;t~ blQ(:Q. rt~tural

g.a»~, and low-growing ground (Ov.!1" • Softened the houSf' corner ....,Ih a ~man tr~ <SOd added coot"iners by the

porch for


splash of color

• Repillced Ihe bldnd fron! door wilh a more .... elcom ing full· ... 'ew door • Swapped tOegefleflt: gold Iic}ht fiXtUfe1 for CratHman-in~piled choices. • Covered the "bullde-r's beige' pa inl wIth iI Colonia l bl u!'.

www.WorkbenchMaguln • .wm


Look up "ranch homt-" in the dictionary, and you'lt see a picture of Des Moines, Iowa, nalive Doug Appleby's home. While It has a lot of atlracti\l@rall(:h teaturt-s, thll' plnk·and·rPd paint schll'mf' and dated froot railing and column left Doug in need of an entry updatll'. PrOIfl'(t designer Kent Welsh took the torch on this home, and his first order of business was rll'stonng some features that made this ranch such an appealing home In the first place. That mcluded midcE'ntvry hardware, such as an Art Deco doorbell, mailbox. and porch light. For the outdated steel column and railing at the front of the porch. Kent'S



simple solution was to remove the railing and cvt out the ornate metal· work in the center of the column. In its place, he added an Art Deco--inspired steel plate with the house nvmbe-r cut into it. Any metal shop could easily fabrkate svch a pifl'(e for jvst a few hundred dollars. To complete the look, KMt addE'd a few other custom metal pieces: steel Hscr~s"that frame the windows and lend a bit of ASian flair to the overall design. Then he finished things off With a tan-and-yellow paint combina· tion that was more complementary to the traditional look of the home. The existing sidewalk also got a coat of coocrete stain. Since the metal screens created an Asian theme, Garden Gate (Clrried thClt

Idea Into the yard. Asymetry is one of the keys to Japanese gardening, and that was accomplished here with a leafy Japanl'!>f! maple at one corner and lowgrowing annuals at the other corner. large· leafed hostas rest in front of the maple and beside the stoop to fill out the landscaping. To the left of the stoop, pruned junipers that almost look like large "bonsai" trees continue the Japanese flair of the garden, They're further complemented with a sprinkling of daylilies planted among th@m. The crowning touch to the garden is a water feature by the sidewalk, complete with smooth river roch. A unique plant calied "liriope-that mimics the flowing water got planted among the roclu.

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At a Glance ,,,)t~lIed an Art Deco-msplred doorbell, rTIiIilbox, and porch light

Removed the railing dnd inner metalwork in Itle column; repliKed it wIth a CUstom Art Dec.o-msplr~d hou~ number.



windows for

metal·s(tei!ns· around the

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of ASian naif.

• Painted the home a tan ~nd yellow combination that better comp1emE'nted th@harm! • Stairle(l the Sidewalk with corKfl!te stain,

Added plants and Ianci5GIp"'9 to carry out the Asian themf'. such as 11 Japanese maple. pruned junipe.). hostas, ilnd ewn it Willer tealUre with smooth ri~c, rockS.

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Split-level homes were popular from the 1950~ into the earty '80s, and you can find whole neighborhoods of them in the Inner suburban ring~ of virtually every American city. Like many splitlevel dwellers, John Doyle of Ankeny,

Iowa, was at a loss for how to add a little pUfI(h to the exterior of his home. One thing John did know was that

he was a big fan of the Craftsman style. So much so that he devoted much of

the interior of his horne to Craftsmaninspired furniture piec~. But while that style might work on the exterior of (ertain homes, John didn't think it had a

a pegola that covers the front entry to give it a more welcoming feel, and four knee braces under the roof line that make the home look like a bungalow. In addition to the pergola, the front stoop is finished off with a pair of columns that support the pergola posts. These are also sided with shakes and painted gray. That same look carries over to a window box mounted under the first floor window. It also has two smaller knee braces under it to lend support and complete the overall Craftsman feel of the home. Since the pergola draws more attention to the front door. Gorden Gate wanted to do tht! same with their landscaping ideas. That was accomplished by creating a~¡ ~hape- taller plants at the corners, funneling down

place on his split-level.

Knowing John's love for all things Craftsman, project designer James R.

Downing redesigned John's front entry with that in mind. What he came up with is a unique design that retains

the original flavor of the house but highlights it with some Craftsmaninspired touche$, $uch as faux ced.u shake siding, Arts & Crafts-impired light fixtures, and muntin strip<; on the door and windows to add decorative flair. These mips, by the way, are just PVC pieces thai are wt to length, painted, and then applied carefully to the inside imd outside of the door and windows with automotive trim tape. Other change$ that enhance the Craftsman theme are the two tones of green on the e:cterior. James chose fibercement siding that's available pre-finished in these colors. but you could get the same look for less with paint. White paint on the door and window trim provide5 contrast with these green shades. That white paint was also carried over to two new features on the home:






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to shorter ones near the door. The low-mounted window 10 the left of the front door presented a design challenge, but low-growing carpet roses filled the space nkety. while their thorns provide some se<urily against inlruders. Finally, the straight i replaced by a sharp lines of the hoose.

At a Glance ~ Installe<l Arts & Crafts-inspired tight'ng ~nd an entry door. ~ Added a per9<J1a around the front stoop, with IMge columns supporting the pergola posts. â&#x20AC;˘ Built it window bo~ und.., the first-floor Window.

Added knee brace'S under the 'oof Iii'll" and window box.

Sided the home w,th pre-finished sh~ke and lap fibercement s.ding in Iwo tones of grei'n. â&#x20AC;˘ Painted Ihe the trim, pergola, and kneo! bra(es wilh white, and the columns and window box with gray. U:;ed plantings to create a"V ' shape that draws atlention to the porch, S\ol,ling with taller plants at the corners and shorter ones flear the door

~ Filled the area below the low Window with carpet roses ~nd

Ihe window box with olnnuals.

Replaced the straight sidewalk With a curve<.! pathway.

Instead of buying a set of wind chimes, you can gIVe yourhomea unique look and style by making them yourself. See how easy it is!




Wind Chill1es Few thing.~ delight the ears like a nice set of wind chimes, But the eyes usually say, "J've seen wind chimes like these before - at the neighbor's house." That's not a problem with this chime. It's made of unusual items to create a one-of-a-kind style and sound. Best of all, you can make it in a few hours for around $20. Or take the basic idea, and use it a... inspiration for your own chime design. The top of the wind chime is an inverted flower pot. To start, tum the pot upside-down,;rnd drill two holes in the bottom with a masonry bit (Fig. J). The rest of the project components are connected with masonry line threaded through these two holes. The fiTht item to add is a washer that you'll use to hang the pot (Fig. 2), If you have trouble thre.1ding the line through the holes, tie a knot in the end of the line and form a makeshift needle from a paper dip to pull it through (I1lSit Photo). That just leaves the chimes themselves. These are strands of glass shells strung together on monofilament line and tied to a wire hoop beneath t he pot. Make the h oop by twisting floral wire arO\md itself for strength. Then secure it with two more pieces of masonry line that are each threaded up through one h ole and down through the other (Fig. 3). Each strand of shells is made by tying a knot in one end of the monofilament line, and then threading one of the glass shells onto the other end (Fig. 4). Repeat the process for each shell you add, tying knots where de~ired in th e line to establish the spacing between the shells. ~

- Written II}' Wyatt Myers, project deSigned by Mih Donovan

Drill the Holes Layout two holes so they're evenly spaced around the center. Then drill the holes with a masonry bit. Drill slowly to avoid cracking the delicate ceramic.

For strength, thread line down and up through the holes twice, wrapping it around the washer after each pass. Then tie it securely With a strong knot.

SUPPLY LIST: From the Home Center: • Ceramic Pot • 'I." Masonry Drill Bit • Masonry Line • large Fender Washer

Thread the Lines Thread two more pieces of line through the holes, and se<Ufe the hoop with knots. Then slip the shells onto the monofilament line.

From the Hobby Shop: • Rainbow Shell Connectors • Floral Wire • Monofilament Line



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have experienced the rustration of trying to track down perfect art pieces to hang on their walls. It can be a timeconsuming, aggravating, and expensive pursuit that leaves them wishing for the artistic talent to milke their own art. The good news is that you don't have to be artistically inclined to create wall art that brings your personality into the room. In fact, if you can fold fabric and use a staple gun or a glue gun, you already have the skills you need to creale wall panels like the ones you see in the Photo at left. Vve started with 112" birch plywood and some polyester batting from the fabric store. Then we chose fabric to com plement our de.::or and wrapped it ovcr the plywood along with the batting. After we added simple edge

treatments such a~ \Ipholstery nails and frames made from molding, we had art with a high-end look and a low price. It's not hard to find new fabric prints to use as wall art. Or the project can offer the penect opportunity to repurpose your old fabric items that would otherwise go to waste. Curtains, pillows, and fabric remnants nn all get new lives on your walls. In addition to your diverse fabric choices, you also have nearly limitless possibilities for embellishing and framing the panels (right). And you can make your art any size you need by simply cutting the plywood, batting, and fabric to fit the wall space. Over the next few pages, we'll show you how to create your own custom wall panels. We'll also offer some style options so you can see how to person¡ alize the project for your own home.

Finding Fabrics Fabric store~ offer wall art-worthy fabric!; like the two option~ on the right. You could alro repurpose other fab ric items such as curtains or the pillows shown here. Use items that you already have, or che<k your favorite home store's clearance se<tion for bargains.

Select Your Edg ing When it comes to edge treatments, your options are nearly as diverse as your fabric choices. Flat trim can be painted and then anached around the perimeter of the panel (AI, or you can choose decorative molding and attach it right to the top (BI, Upholstery nails are just one of the many options you'll find at the fabric store (C). If you can't bring yourself to cover your fabric, you can leave the edges elegant and plain 1DI,

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Prepare the Fabric It's important to pick out your fabric lirst, especially if you're using a repurposed item, For example, we used decoTiltive pillows for some of our wall art pieces, ~o we had to cut our backing board to fit the pillow fabric, The next step is to prepare the fabric. This wHi lequire different actions depending on the fabric or item you're using, If you're using a pillow, you'll need to remove the front panel. Gently pull at the halves of the pillow, so you can see the ~titches at the seam, The easiest Wily to pull out the stitches is with a seam ripper (5ÂŤ page 4 J), which you can purchase at any fabric store. Once you've cut the front panel free, pull out all of the loose threads and lay it flat. No matter what fabric you choose, you'll need to iron out any wrinkles and creases.

Create a Base With the fabric ready, you'll need a piece of plywood to serve as the base. You can cut this piece to size yourself from a larger ~heet (download a free article

about cutting sheet goods at WorkbenchMagal.ine,com) or purchase smaller pre-cut panels at the home cenler. You won't get as much plywood for your money if you buy the pre-cut panels, but you'll have the convenience of panels that you can easily haul in the trunk of your car. The panels thai we purchased were lh"-Ihick, 2' .12' birch plywood, which we cut down to l' xl' panels. Of course, fora small fee you can get panels cut to size at the home center, too.

Size the Fabric You'll need enough fabric to cover the panel and get secured with glue or staples on the back, For Ih,"-thick plywood like we used, you should have at least 2" of fabric overhanging the panel's edges. Next, cut the batting to size, (You can purchase batting in rolled sheets at the fabric store,) We used 1/." -thick batting. First, cut the fabric to size, set it on top of the batting, and cut around it so the batting matches its size. ihey don't have to line up perfectly, though, since they'll just be

The tool that you choose to attach the fabric and batting to the plywood will depend on the fabric's thickness. For thick fabrics, it's best to use a staple gun like the one shown here. You can find electric models that cost $30 or less, and they're useful for a variety of proJects, For thinner fabrics, a hot glue gun will provide a secure connection, Just be sure to position the fabric immediately after applying the bead of glue.



glued or stapled to the back of your panel,

Attach the Fabric Now lay your fabric facedown on your work surface, and place the batting over it, Position the plywood panel over the batting and fabric so that an equal amount overlaps on all sides. If you're working with patterned fabric, check to make sure the pattern lines up with your paneL Then you're ready to begin attaching the batting and fabric to the back as shown below.

An electric staple gun works best for attaching thick fabric. But we found that when we used lightweight fabriC, we could just use a hot glue gun to adhere both the batting and the fabric to the plywood, It's easiest to attach the the batting first, and then the fabric, You don't need to worry too much about how the batting looks since it will be covered. It is important to get it as flat as pos.~ible over the edges and corners, though, so the fabric will fit over it smoothly,

Now glue or st a pl~ one edge o f the fabric to the plywood. ]( you use a ho t glue gun, wait u ntil the gl ued fabric is no longer w.arm to the touch before you fold .and atUch the opposite edge. Pull the fabric taut a.~ )"ou work, b ut be careful not to pull it loose. Then you're ready to fold on~ of the adjaant comers. To get:l clean-looking fold at tht' comer, you Illay hay!:: to cut off some excess fabric. Pinch a small am ount offabric, ~nd then luck it in and fold the edge over as shown in Fig. I. Using a staple gun or a glue gun, secure the folded corner. Fini~h the panel by fo lr.hng and attJchi ng the remaining edges and comers.

Construct the Frame Now t hat the fubric and batting are .lttachcd to the plywood p:lnel, you're ready to embellish it. One inexpensive option for dresslIlg

up the panel h to frame it with molding. You'll first need to measure you r panel and decide if you'd like yo ur molding frame to sit on to p o f the panel or around the perimeter ofthe panel (sa page 41). Then measure and mark the molding piece~. lhe next step is to cut the fam e to size. We used an ineJ:pensive miter box and ~w to cut our5 (Fig. 2). Tht' mitt'r box guides your saw blade to hrlp you make your cut at the correct angle. Once all of your pieces are (ut, test-fit them, and make adj ustments a~ n eeded. If you plan to paint or stain the trim before you attach it, do this now, and allow it to d ry. Next, lay the frame pieces Ollt on )"our work sumce. Apply hot glue to the cut ends of the molding pieces, and press tht'm together to complete the frame. Whe n the pieces are all connected , tllm the frame over, and apply a genero us bead of hot

glue around the back. Press the frame down firmly In place on tbe panel (fig. 3).

Get Creative The edge treJtment pos.sib tlitics fo r your wall art don't end wit h a frame. You can lea\"e the fab ric edges plain, or hammer elegant up holstery nails around them

instead. Visit a fabric store for ribbon or other edge treatments that will express yo ur personal style. Once the edges are finished â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘lttach the hanger of your choice to the back of the panel (Fig. 4), and hang your ne ...â&#x20AC;˘ custom art. ...... -

Writte-M by Alys.5Il McNab


When faced with a predicament, DIYers olten joke, "111at's nothing a coat of paint can't 6.x.~ Now, however, there's more truth to that statement than you


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might imagine. vVhether it's slippery steps, rusty railings, worn painted Aoors, mildewed basement walls, scratched Jppliances, or waterstained ceilings, there's

a paint specifically formulated to come to the rescuc.ln fact, even

jobs that were formerly reserved for professionals, such as repairing a chipped porcelain sink, can now be remedied by

a DIYer, We'll tell you how it's done.

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can solve just about anything with a coat of paint. The right paint can mean the difference between having to replace a pricey product or surface and bringing it back to life. Here are 10 of the best specialty paint~ available for mastering those p roblem surfaces that crop up around every borne. For purchasing information, see page 63. OU

PORCH AND FLOOR ENAMEL Painted floors and porches always take a beating from foot traffic, and if you don't choose a paint that's made for that purpose, it will soon fail. Paints in this category are all formulated to provide excellent adhesion and protection from wear and water damage. But there are some differences between them. Valspar's Lllex Porch & Floor Enamel is a lowsheen acrylic coating that gives floors long-lasting protection. If you're painting an interior floor, you'll like its low odor, fast dry time, and easy water cleanup, If you prefer a high-gloss finish, Va[spar's Oil Porch & Floor Paint is po[yurethanefortified to resist scuffing and abrasion. Porch & Floor Enamel from Rust-Oleum has an acrylic formula that protects ag.1inst fading and mildew. Behr's Premium Plus Porch & Floor Paint has a low-luster sheen and is available in three pre-mixed colors and three tintable bases. APPLIANCE TOUCH-UP PAINT Major appliances are a major investment, so you want to keep them looking good. Fortunately, it's easy to spot-repair those inevitable scratches and dings with touch-up products that blend with the manufacturer's fini~h. For the most accurate color match and for hard-to-lind colors, check your appliance manufacturer's Web site to see if they offer a touch-up product. Many do, includiog Frigidaire, Whirlpool, and CE. If your appliances don't require special co]ormatching, try Homax




Products' Appliance Touch-Up Enamel (in white, black, and almond); Rust-Oleum's Appliance Touch-Up Paint (in white, black, almond, or biscuit); or Krylon's 2-Way Appliance Touch-Up Paint (in white, bisque, and almond) that comes with two handy applicators.

Appliance touchup paints repair scratches. They are formulated to resist grime and stand up to household cleaners.

MOLD- AND MILDEW-PROOF PA[NT Mold and mildew can attack interior and exterior surfaces and will soon eat through a traditional coat of paint. If you need to paint mildewed surfaces, be sure to use a paint that's formulated for this purpose. But remember that these paints won't kill mold: Before you paint, you'll need to thoroughly remove any existing mold or mildew according to the manufacturer's instructions. Perma-White Mold & Mildew-Proof Paint by Zinsser is guaranteed to prevent the growth of mold and mildew for at least five years. '!he interior formula is water-based, low-odor, scruhbable, and can be used in high-humidity areas like basements. Penna-White's exterior mildew-proof formula is guaranteed against fading, cracking, peeling, and blistering for IS years.

Even the grungiest basement wal! can be restored if the mildew is removed and then a specialfzed mildew·proof paint is applied.


...10·. •


Sometimes you don't wan t paint to last, like when you're trying to see how a new walkway will lay oue Temporary lands(ape marking sprays help you make good decisions before you start digging.

LANDSCAPE MARKING SPRAY Have you ever wrestled with garden hoses in an attempt to visualize how your planned fences, planting beds, or patios will look? Take a tip from the landscape pros and try a marking spray. MarkIt Inverted Spray hy Red Devil is deSigned to mark grass, dirt, gravel, or concrete. Its spray-through cap allows the can to be used with inverted applicators, so it's easy to make clean, crisp lines. Rust-Oleum'~ environmentally friendly Landscape Chalk Spray makes lines that will last for 15 to 30 days when exposed to t raffic and weather. HEAT-RESISTANT PAINT It might seem impossihle to give barhe<jue grills and wood stoves a facelift with paint, but certain products can take the heat. Rust-Oleum's High Heat Spray (in hlack, green, white, Silver, and almond) and Krylon's BBQ& Stove Paint (in red, black, and aluminum) can withstand up to 1,200degree temperatures intermittently. Uyou're looking for high-heat paint in a wide variety of colors, check out Thunnalox Stove Paint from Dampney Company. Its 22 color choices include hunter green, warm brown, sapphire blue, antique ruby, and metAllic charcoal (a full color chart can be found at

Paints formulated for high-heat uses (an take tempera-

tures up to 1,200 degrees without loss of color or sheen. U~e them on grills, wood stoves, stove pipe, furnaces, and fireplace equipment.

STAIN- AND ODOR-BLOCKING PRIMERS If a room has stains caused by smoke or water, or odors that have permeated the walls, you'll need to seal them in before you paint. SpeCialty primers like KI LZ from Masterchem Industries Inc. and Bull's Eye 1¡2-3 from Zinsserwill do the job. These primers can even be applied to floors if the floor will be covered by carpet or tile. KJLZ now offers several different formulas, including Original, Odorless, General Purpose, Latex, Premium, and Exterior. If you're not sure which formula would best meet your needs, visit It will walk you through several questions about your stain and the surface you're painting, and then recommend a specific product. Zinsser's B-l-N Primer is the original pigmented shellac-based product for sealing in stains, odors, smoke damage, and wood knots. Bull's Eye 1-2-3 is Zinsser's universal water-based, low-odor, interior/exterior primer. WATERPROOFING PAINT Waterproofing paints are formulated for use on below-grade surfaces like basement walls, retaining wal ls, and foundatioIlS. They seal the surface to belp keep water and radon gas out. Damplock Concrete v'laterproofing Paint from Seal-Krete is a low-odor, water-based product that dries to a hright white or can be tinted. \VaterTite Waterproofing Paint from Zinsser has a unique oil-based formula t hat combines waterproofing



prevent further nlst formation. Then spray on an en~mel topcoat in YOUT choice of color for added protection. Use the same brand as the primer. Rust Bullet has bragging rights for devtloping the only rust-control product thafs been awarded two U.S. Patents fo r New Technologies. As it cures, it rt'leases caroon dioxide gas that dehydrates the rust and forms an air-tight, annor-like shidd over the app lication surface. Rust Bullet paint resists scratches, chips, and 'hemicais, and i~ guaranteed to stop rust fo r 10 years. It's only aWlilable in gray, but an enamel topcoat can be applied .liter 48 hours. Use it on chain link fences, metal sheds, and wrought-iron fencing and fixtures.

resin with portland cement. It can even be applied 10 damp or wet surfaces. Before applymg any waterproofing paint, scrape olfloose paint and patch holes or cracks with a fa.~t-~etting hydraulic cement. Use a bru.~h or roller to work the waterproofing paint into the surface. A spot application may be needed after the first coat dries to fill any pinholes that are still open_ Never di lute waterproofing paint or apply it at a greater spread rate than is recommended.

NON-SKID PAINT You might not think that paint could help you avoid slips and falls. But several non-skid coatings are ,wailable that add pfOtection and extra tmction to all kinds of surfaces that get walked on, including metal and concrete. Quikrete Anti-Skid Textured Coaling from Valspar is made with heavy-duty resil1S to withstand heavy foot traffic, so you can apply it to pool decks, ramps, or steps. Krylon aha makes a spray Non-Skid Coating that's durable in high-traffic areas and improves traction on surfaces lib walkways, st.1ir treads, ladders, and boat decks.

TOUCH-UP PAINT FOR PORCElAIN If you've eyer managed to chip a new .~ ink or tub o r scratch a prized tile bachplash, you 'll be glad to know that minor damage to ceramic and pon:dain can easily be concealed. Rust-Oleum offers a two-part Tub & Tile Touch-Up system that quickly repa irs nicks and scratches and offers good perfurmance even on these tough-to.painl's available in white. Porc-a-Fix Porcelain Touch-Up Glaze from KJT Industries Inc. takes porcelain repair to a new level with 30 pre-mixed colors tnat are formulated to match the fixtures sold by major kitchen and bath manufacturers. J ust go to the company's Web site, Porc-a-Fix.nct, and select your manufacturer from a pull-down menu. If you don't know your manuflcturer, simply use the chart provided to find th e color that best matches yo ur fixture.. For touch-ups on porcela.m stoves, use the High Heat Porc¡a-Fix Porcelain Touch-Up Kit . . . - Wrrttel! by Louise Ritchhart

A pair of products from Rust,Oleum work together to give rust d onetwo punch. Rust

Reformer converts ell.isting rust into a paintable primer Then it topcoat of

Protective Enamel can be applied in the color and sheen you choose.

RUST-FIGHTING PRIMER AND ENAM EL Rust i§ one of the most common surface problems that homeowners encounter. Rust Fix from Keylon and Rust Reformer from Rust-Oleum chemically convert existing rust into a waterproof primer. Spray these directly on the affected area to

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HAT THE HE K o 0 THALL FTH '- - '" T FF?


Is your closet an embarrassmenH Do you start the day frantically digging through

orphaned shoes and wrinkled shirts? A customized closet system can provide a great solution to your clothes storage problems. But if you don't want to spend thousands of dollars for a system created by a niche closet outlet, it can be tough to figure out what you need. Fortunately, there's a wide variety of DIY closet organizers available in various styles, materials, and

price ranges, so anyone can get great results for a lot less money. To help you get started, here

are 10 important questions to ponder before you purchase any closet components and attempt to install them. That way, you'll bring home the system and accessories that can forever banish clothes chaos from your closet, and your life.





Surveys show that most of us want to be better organized,

and a great first step In that direction 15 organiZIng your

cll»et. It may seem like it daunting task, but with some careful planning and a well deslQned closet organizing §)'!item. a neat closet 15 weU Wlthm your reach. So throw

open your d~ doors and take a good. hard look. Do you see pants that haven't fit in years? Fashion dinosaurs7

Gifts you have never worn? If so, you should do some (ullrll9 before you shop for a new closet system.

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0: What do you really need to store in that closet?

A: Even the roomiest closet outfitted with the snazziest new rods and shelves won't solve your ~toragc issues if you

don't manage your wardrobe sensibly. So take the time to invl'ntorywhat's in your doset Tight now. Do you see

colll'ge-era relles? Impulse purchases? Ugly holiday i'1Weater~? If so, rid your closet of dead ..... l'ight before you tackle

a new storage system. It isn't hard, even if you're organizationally challenged. Just evaluate each item in your doset by

asking, -Do I feel good in this and it at leut once a read" if you an:.wer - RO,H donate

that item


charity, take

it to a consignment shop, sell it at a

garage SOlie, or pilch it. Also, if you live in 3 region that req uires seasonal ..... ardrobe changes, consider fold ing up off-season clothes and Moring them in plastk containers in the basement, attic, or garnge. What's left in your closet arc the items. you acce~s on a regular basis and will need yom new stornge system to accommodate. Note approxima tely how many items you ovm in each of these categories: short hanging (shirt~, blouses), long hanging (pants, dresses, robes), folded (sweaters, T-shirts, pajamas), hats, purses, and shoes. Understanding how your wardrobe bre.alcs down wlll help you deddt which closet system components. will meet your individual stOr:lge needs. Ai<;o take stock or what's workmg for you now. If that beat-up cardboard shoe cubby does a good job of holding all your foo twe:u-, an upgl":'lded version in the same size might be all you need. Conversely, if your shelves <lre overflowing with purses even <lftCT your sorting enrcise, you'll want to expand your closet's capacity to store those.



0: Do you have a walk-in or reach-in closet?


There are three basic kinds of DIY closet storage systems; wire, Jilminated, and combinations oCthe two. Trimmer wire systems generally work best in Te<lch·in dosch, where space is often at a premium. For example, With a wire system, it's a snap to add a second clothes rod below the top one and

Rubberm'lld wire systems are available In satin nickel (above) or white finish. Slide ·out tie racb (left) make -declslon time" e,!I§ler, while the tight-mesh wire shelving helps organize folded clothe5 and small accessorie5.

double the numbt:r of hanging clothes your closet c."In accommodate. Even in a tiny closet, a well·designed wire system will allow you to stOTe many morE' items ami then find them when you ne.::d them. With ·walk-in closets, you have the luxury of chOOSing from all three o ptions. Laminate systems based on ~towers," lik.e those by Rubbermaid and CJosetMaid, are ideal for wmk-in closets. Laminate islands are also a popular option in walk-in closets sineI'! they add stor.age and provide useful Mcounter space." Laminate system~ can be mounted to the ""ll1s, so you can easily clean underneath them, or

attached to the Aoor to enhance the built-in look and avoid wall damage, Of course, laminate systems can also be used in reach-in closets if that's your preference, You'll just find that the components themselves, especially towers, take up quite a bit of space,

Q: Which matters more to you - appearance or affordability?

A: Laminate systems cost more up front, but their furniture -quality appearance lends elegance to closets and can add value to your home, Laminate systems provide an attractive alternative to wire systems if you want your closet to coordinate with other bedroom furnishings, They're available in crisp white melamine and a variety of wood tones, including maple, cherry, mahogany, and alder, If you're trying to stick to a budget, you'll probably lean toward a wire system. But don't think of this as a second-daS5 choice: Today's wire systems are available with trendy options like slide-out wicker baskets. If you don't find white wire appealing, Rubbermaid offers a wire s),stem in an attractive satin nickel finish. Wire systems are now designed better than ever, too, with features lik.e free-sliding dothes rods that allow hangers to move easily along the rod, and shelves with tightly spaced wires t hat provide a more stable surface for small belongings, And remember, you can alwa)'s integrate individual laminate unit5, like drawers or shoe shelves, into a wire syrtem if you choose, If necessary, just fasten the ends of the wire componenu to the sides of the laminate uniu instead of the wall.

ClosetMaid's Suitt! Symphony line (abo~) beautifully blends with an elegant master suite and accommodates plenty of clothes and personal Items, laminate shoe cubbies (left) provide a sturdy rolulion for storing lots of footwear.

Q: How much work are you willing to do?

A: If you're inclined toward DIY projects, installing a wile closet system shouldn¡t be more than you can handle, Some comp;lllies have tried to Simplify the installation proce~s even further. For example, the Ru b bem1aid Configurations system eliminates metal cutting with telescoping clothes ro ds and expanding shelves. Still, installing any wire system will require some patient measuring and marking, plus dealing with .l variet), of puts like hanging rails, uprighu, shelf brac1tcts, back dips, support braces,

rod spacers, joiner plates, and miscellaneous hardware, If that parts list just struck fear in )'our heart, you might want to consider hiring someone with experience installing doset systems to help you out, Laminate closet systems provide a slightly different challenge. If you've ever assembled a laminate chest or media stand, you what it's like to work with heavy, ready-to-assemble products. Just be prepared to follow directions carefully and to tighten a lot of panel and cam connectors. If pOSSible, enlist a friend or family member 10 help hold pieces while you f.lstell them together. For the ClosetMaid and Rubbermaid laminate systems that reqUire the assembly of tall towers, you'll definitely appreciate help when pOSitioning the finished units. But the actual assembly process is straightforward and requires nothing outside the skill sel of a weekend DIYer,


Q : Do you need a system that's portable?


If you plan to be in your home for some time, feel free to con~ider either kind of system. But if you know that a move might ht! on your horizon, keep in mind that wire sy~tems require considerably more drilling into walls and can leave quitt! a mcss when they're removed. Be prepared to fill holes, sand, and repaint the doset if you plan to take a wife system wIth you. Modular laminate systems, like those from Sauder Closets, are an attractive option (or an on-the-mo\'e person or family. With these, multiple components are st.lCked and then fa~'tencd together to create a single solid unil. If necessary, they can be broken back down inlO individual components, so they're simple to tr.msport if yOIl move. And in must cases, the staw don't have to be attached to wails, so there's no need to find studs or drill holes. One exception: Tall stacks of drawers or open units in walk¡in do~ets must be secured to a wall with small brack.ets to avoid toppling.

Q : Do you want a simple setup, or one with lots of bells and whistles?

A: This is where you can stick to a m()(lest b~I{lgct, or go for broke. A lw-ebones doset storage system will include clothes rods, long shelves, open s10rage units, and shoe ~helves. It doelin't cost much more to enhance a basic system ..... ith wire or wicker baskets, or to add belt racks that pull out for ea~-y acces:s.. You can upgrade a laminate closet system by adding doors to the open storage units, so ~tacks of folded



Sauder's Home Visions line (above) is availa ble in white, maple, and cherry fi nish. Customize units with doors, drawers, and baskets (left).

clothes are concealed. R\lbbenn;tjd offers doors in three styles: flat panel, raised panel, and raised panel with glass inserts. Laminate drawer \iIlits from ClosctMaid let you choose either deep or shallow drawers. If you want to splurge on some custom touches, consider a rolling hamper to keep your laundry nut of sigbt, an extendable val",t rod to help you plan your wardrobe for the next day, or a fold-out ironing board for quick touch-ups. Rubberm.lId offers velour-lined jewelcy drawers to hold your prized possessions, and Closet¡ Maid has fabric drawers covered in faux tiger and snow leopard prints. For wood-look laminate systems in wa1k¡in closets, you can even purchase coordinated base molding, crown molding, and kick plates to add the look of fine millwork.

Q: Do you want a system that's easy to modify?


A!; your family grows and your storage needs change, the doset system that once worked great may need an overhauL Unfortunately, many wire closet systems are difficult to reconfigull." without lots of unfastening, patching, drilling. and refastening. Rubbcrrnaid addresses that problem with its flexible FastTrack system ~a horimntal rail system that suspends vertical brac..k.ets, so shelves can easily be reconfigured as storage needs evolve. Also, any l.:uninate closet system that:~ comprised of stackable modular units, like thost' from Sauder, can be rearrangl!d within a closet or moved from one room to another without requiring repair to the clo~et wa!1s.

Standard dimensions are the same for walk-in and reach-In closets. Measuring up from the !loor, the top shelf should be mounted at 84", the top clothes rod at 68", and the lower clothes rod at 42'. Additional shelves can be installed at 54%:' and 26'1.1~ with shoe shelves mounted 3112".

0 :How much p'lanning help do you nee"?

home computer. O r you can print out the Sauder PDP Planner and arrange a layout on grid paper.


Q : Do you want to add

Some people can walk into the home center, look over the array of choices in the closet systems aisle, and stroll out with a cart full of products that wi ll fit perfectly in their closet and solve all of their clot hes storage problems. But most of us mortals need to do some serious planning first. Fortunately, there's no shortage of planning resources available. Rubbermaid's online Closet Designer Tool helps you identify the configurations that will optimize your closet space. The ClosetMaid Web site offers a live chat with a closet des igner and a ~Visual Storage Planner," so you can tryout different closet layouts. If you have access to Microsoft's Visia software, which helps users visualize information, you can download the Sauder Closets Template and explore various doset configurations on your

coming off their trach. A ~winging door gives you the best access, and can also be used for extnl storage, but might obstnl~t the room's traffic !low. You'n have to figure out which option will work best in your situation.

other closet enhancements?

A: Lighting is an obvious need in a walk-in doset, but it makes a lot of sense in a reach-in closet, too. Just make sure to u~ a cool LED or fluorescent fixture if space is tight to prevent a fire hazard. Also, if the door to your walk-in closet is often dosed, consider adding a fan: Closed doors reduce air now and increase the risk of mold and mildew problems. While you're improving the inside of your closet, you might want to upgrade the door, too. Some people find that reach-in closets with sliding doors are frustrating to access, since you can anI)" see half of the d05et at one time. Hi-fold doors aff a popular choice for closets but ale famous for

0 : Do you understand closet anatomy?


For a closet to function as best it can, components mwt be mounted in a speCific way and in a speCific place. So) while there are many different ways to configure a closet system, you still need to understand closet an,Homy to maximize the utility of the space. Thankfully, the measurements listed above have become standardized based on what worb best for mo~t people. Simply follow these guidelines when setting up your own cloliet to ensure easy access to all your clothes and accessories. ~ - Written by LeuiSf Ritchhart


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[1] Shirt Saver H.mgers eliminate the problem of misshapen 5hirts and sweaters. Their innovative design allows you to slip your ~hirts easily on and off the hangers without stretching their collars. [2] Twirl-A-Tie may not be a fancy motorized organizer, hut if you're up to the challenge of turning your own tie rack, the Twirl-A-Tie will hold up to 20 lies for just a fraction of the price - no batteries reqUired. [3] Cap Racks will keep eight hats neatly contained behind your doo r. At such a low price, it might be worth picking up a few of them if you have a big collection. [4J IO-Hole Scarf Hangers provide an alternative to draping scarves over standard hangers (and finding them at the bottom of the closet after a couple of days). [5 J Round-A-Belt features .t creative wa~)' design that allows it to separate the rings that hold your belts. The rings are clamped shut, so you won't have to worry about belts sliding off. You could even use the rings to organize the belts by color or style. [6] Garment Organiur Tags are the perfect solution for keeping your hanging clothes sorted. They just slip over your closet rod, so you can organize your cl05et into sections. [7] Cedar Hang-Ups also slip over your closet rod and provide an economical way to get the scent of a cedar-lined closet.


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[8] 9-Pair Shoe R,l(:ks address a universal shoe storage problem: Shoes take up a lot offloor space. The racks letyoll store your shoes upright, which saves valuable closet rC.1i estate. Plus, the open design keeps your shoes ventilated. (9) Double-Hang Closet Rods by Whitmor effectively double the hanging space in your closet. Place the rod over your e:dsting closet rod, and you can hang another row of clothing below to take advantage of space that often geb wasted. [10] Plastic Shue Boxes arc a great way to take advantage of a profe~sional organizer tip: Keep shoes in clear containers, so you can lind them easily. These durable shoe boxes provide that visibility, whkh hclp~ you kcep your shoe.~ neatly organized but still acces~ible. [II J Over-theDoor Garment Valets will be a big asset to small spaces. They work great for holding clothes and towels for drying. Then, when you're not using them, the r;'leks ean be folded up to take up less space. [12] Hanging Hampers are a handy take on an essential closet item. It's easy to find lanndry hampers, but many of them arc bulky and waste space. This compact hamper has a convenient hanger that keeps the basket off the floor and close at hand when you're putting la undry away. [13] Wonder Hangers wcre made famous by TV infomercials, and the}' really are as handy as they look. Just hang clothing on the Wonder Hanger as shown in the Photo, and then unhook the front hook so the h;'lngers are all attached to just the back hook. That way, the clothes take up less space on the rod, and you'll be able to fit more in your closet.



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[14] Tri Fold Cosmetic Cues would be perfect for traveling.. but they're abo appe. ling for everyday usc. In addition to their convenient carrying handles, they have hooks, so they can be stored in closets. [15 J Hanging Handbag Organizers provide a series of hooks for hanging bulky purses on the bilCk of a door. [I6J Slide 'N' Sta:&: Clothing Organbcrs are unique among closet shelf divider products because they surround Slacked clothes for extra stability. [17] Hanging Sweater Organizers by Richards Homewares stand out from other hanging organizer5 because they take advantage of storage potential on the sides. The mesh pockets arc perfect for stu ring your favorite magazines. [ 18) Vinyl Stocking Organizers have clear pockets that keep stockings visible, so you won't have to dig through a drawer fo r the right pair. [19] Vinyl Suit Clo~et$ protect some of your most valuable dothing items from dust and damage, and also keep them together so they're ea~., to find . [20] Over-the-Door Bamboo Flip Flop Racks ha,"e hooks at both ends, so you can secure them to both lhe top and bottom of your door and keep the footwear in place with elastic, ..,...--

- Wntten /Jy Alyssa McNa/J




Mahal People are coming up with all kinds of crazy uses for their garages these days. And one thing's for certain - the era of just using the garage to park vehicles is far behind us. Here are a few cool ideas that some people have dreamt up for their average, ordinary garages.

y now) it should come as no surprise that many people view garages as much more than places to park their cars. The whole "garage as living space" phenom· enon has caught on so well that garage organization is now an $800 million per year business. Garages are the fastestgrowing area of the home improvement

marketplace, ",;th a 40 percent increase in sales from 2004 to 200S. Great Gar..ges - Garages have become so popular that people are moving beyond just storing lawn, garden, ,llld seasonal items in them to actually doing stuff in them, too. In fact, the DIY Network has a new show devoted to the concept called "Garage

With help from the DIY Network, Dwight Hundley transformed his two·car garage into the ultimate practice room, complete with a loaded light tru5~ and a folddown stage.



MahaL" On the show, contractor and master organizer Brian Corsetti helps homeowners tran~form their cramped, cluttered garages into the rooms of their dreams, such as the band practice room, home gym, and wine room that you see below. Man Cave - You don·t have to be on TV to create the garage of your dreams, either. One idea that has really taken off in recent years is the "man cave," a room that is almost like a private clubhouse for the man of the house. ~Man cave~~ are oftcn outfitted with hig.screen TVs, stereos, and poker tables, and there·s certainly no better place in the home for a ~man cave" than thc garage. The setup shown ahove, complete with a car·jack coffee table, easy chairs made from bucket seats, movie posters, and a state· of· the-art A/V system, Illis the hill. It was created for an Irvine, California·based businessman and car enthusiast by the Custom Electronic Design and

EVt>fl if you hilVe jUH ont> "".111 ((' ,par~ you can still mak!'.' a dramati, differenc!'.' in tht> look and feel of your garage. Interior designe Christine Brun used paint and wire sh!'.'lving compon?nts to create this great garden ce 1ter.

lmtallation Association. Other possibilities for "man caves¡ could include sports-themed walls, pool tables, or video arcades. Activity Center- Of course, there's no reason a garage couldn't be a ~woman cave~ just as easily, whether your passion is arts and crafts, gardening, or woodworking. In

the garngc ~etup shO\"l-¡n above right, interior designer and author Christine Brun shows how easy it is to create the dream gardening storage and organization center on just one garage wall. All it takes is a CGat of electric-green paint; the creative use of some modular wire shelving, standanls, and brackets; and the righ t tools and accessories.

An )thE. "Garagt Mahal makeover features thi~ home gym It~, 411 tht> amI nili ~ including a rock-climbing wall.

Whatever direction yO\1 decide to go with your own "garage mahal; jw;t make sure to speak with a building inspector first, especially if you have a hot water heater or a boiler located in the garage. In most cases, as long as they are positioned in a safe place in relation to your otha activities, the sky's the limit! .,..-

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Whether you're facing a leaky faucet or an insect infestation, a new title in the popular "How to Cheat~ book series by DIY guruJelf Bredenberg can help. It's packed with clever fixes for common household hassles and preventa" tive tips, too. For exatnple,Jeff recommends choosing darker, show-no-dirt colors when you're painting a room used by kids and pets. That way, you're not doomed to repaint it every year or two.


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It is ideal for tents, boots, and patio furniture. Performance Fothric Protector has a non·silicone formula that repeh water without discoloring. Use it on ail apparel !ruch as coats, hats, and gloves. 'lKf, $8 lEAH MOllE:



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think inside the box Keeping a family's many handheld electronic gadgets charged and functioning is a challenge of modern life. This bread box charg ing station hides them away. so you don't have to deal with a

tangle of charger cords while you make dinner.


btCht'11 countertop, with its plentiful outlets, seems to df<IW drained ele<tronic devices like a magnet. A basic bread box can solve this 21st-century problem, and converting it to a charging station is a simple project. Just follow these step-by-step directions: 1] Decide where you want the power strip cord to pass through at the back of the bread box. The opening only needs to be slightly larger than the plug on the cord. Mark the location of the opening, and cover it with masking tape to help achieve a cleaner cut. Then use J. rotary tool fitted with a cutting disc to easily cut through the metal. 2] Carefully remove the strips of masking tape around the opening. The metal edges will be sharp, so you'll want to cover them to protect your fingers and the power strip cord. A short length of black l/io" vacuum hose purchased from an auto parts store works great for coyering the edges. Just slit one side of the vacuum hose lengthwise with a utility knife to create an open side. Position the hose around the opening, and cut it to fit. No gluing is necessary. 3 ] You'll want to fasten a power strip to the hottom of the breadbox, so it won't move around as you plug and unplug your electronic devices. 1his is ea..~y with either double-faced tape or adhesiye-backed mounting tabs. Just cut a piece of tape the same length as the power strip, and press it to the back of the strip. Then remove the backing paper, position the power strip at the back of the breadbox, and press it down firmly. ""iii""






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Closet Systems Explained Want to kill closet clunel, but don't know where to begin? Just answer these 10 questions and you'll be ready to set up a closet :;ystem that fits your needs, your style, md your budget.



314 workbench 2009 08