Don't Buy It, DIY It Contest Winners 2013
Hundreds of readers entered their small-scale projects hoping to win $100 cash and to share their creations with you. Nice work!
Off-the-Shelf furnishings are nice, but nothing beats a handmade piece. That's the spirit behind our "DIY It" contest: We asked readers to show us projects they built instead of bought. The entries that impressed us the most were those that used salvaged materials in unique ways—a task requiring both skill and creative vision. Here are our favorite five, all as functional as they are beautiful.
Who: Michael Lucas
Where: Cypress, Texas
The Project: For their 14th wedding anniversary, Michael created a handsome headboard and footboard to give his wife, Lisa, using the planks of discarded pallets, old boards from his neighbor's deck, and a cheap metal bed. "I wanted to keep the beat-up look of the wood without going too rustic," he says.
The Feat: Michael turned scraps into a polished piece by enclosing them in a mitered frame, adding a keystone, and ragging on a hint of color.
Who: Scott Jessup
Where: Evansville, Indiana
The Project: Scott and his wife, Amy, searched high and low for an affordable desk to match their cottage decor, but the closest they came was a so-so fit that cost more than $1,000. Then Amy spied a set of wood shutters at the local resale shop, and Scott was inspired to build his own perfect match. "I love that there's nothing else like it," he says. "I even routed the molding myself."
The Feat: Scott cobbled together salvaged parts, custom trim, and off-the-shelf furniture feet to create a unified cottage-style piece.
Who: Kaler Walker
Where: Raleigh, North Carolina
The Project: Kaler needed a handy spot to corral cocktail gear, and she found the solution in a $5 estate-sale stereo cabinet. She drew up plans to turn it into a bar, and her dad did the work. "It took a while to map out, but it's just what I wanted," she says.
The Feat: Kaler and her dad created a stylish bar by adding mirror insets and crosshatch molding to the cabinet's mid-century doors.
Who: Hannah Watson
Where: Tupelo, Mississippi
The Project: Hannah snagged an old headboard and footboard from the thrift shop without a plan, knowing only that she loved the spindled look and the $20 price tag. "I try to be outside as much as possible," she says. It's only natural, then, that she transformed her find into a cheery garden bench.
The Feat: Hannah used dowel joinery to connect the footboard sides to the headboard back and 14s for the seat. To get a comfortable height, she threaded stock table legs onto the legs of the bed parts.
Who: Corey Weber
Where: Montrose, South Dakota
The Project: "I do a lot of monkeying around with salvaged wood," says Corey, Knowing this, Corey's pal enlisted his help in building a kitchen centerpiece.
The Feat: Corey salvaged all the wood for free from local farms—that barn-red base is the real deal. He even made the countertop using plants cut from old rafters.