Thursday, July 11

DIY Floor Plan Art (and How to Find Unique Art That You Love!)

Pinterest is full of unique wall art ideas - everything from maps to hats, and even antique bike frames. You can turn almost anything into a piece of art. But here's the thing:

Art should be something you love.

I mean, those hats look pretty cool. And they're super trendy right now. But... do I love hats? No. I don't even wear hats. With the exception of one well-loved Magnolia hat that I only wear when my hair is too far gone. So a wall of hats probably doesn't deserve a place in my home. Guys, don't let the fickle winds of trendiness distract you from what your home should be. It should be yours. It should be a reflection of you and your family and the things you (really, truly) love.

If you feel stuck or confused when it comes to artwork in your home, the first thing you should do is make a list of the things you love (and the second thing is reading Cozy Minimalist Home to learn how to best display those things). Do you love running? Camping? Dogs? Tacos? Put those on the list! Those are the things that might deserve the honor of being on your walls. Did you notice that important word? Might? We only have so much wall space, guys. And we don't want to fill every inch. Let your master list serve as a starting point, but don't be afraid to weed out the things that don't make the cut for your walls (it doesn't mean they aren't still important to you!) and get a firm grasp on what really speaks into your life and your home.

So I don't love hats. But know what I do love? Here's my (shortened) list:
  • My Family
  • Plants
  • Books
  • Mountains
  • Rocks
  • Architecture
When you look around my home, those are the things you should see. Plus you'll surely see Star Wars posters and all manner construction paper creations because I'm not the only one who lives here, after all. This is a family deal and, like all things, it takes some balance.


Today our home is looking a little more "lived in," but we were here almost two years without any artwork on the walls. No photos, no paintings, nothing permanently hung anywhere. I was paralyzed with indecision as I looked for "the perfect thing" for our walls. I searched through home decor stores and scoured pinterest and instagram for ideas. Nothing felt right - because none of it was right for my home. But through all that time I had a little pile of collected goodies that I loved. I hadn't hung them for a totally ridiculous reason - they didn't look like what I was seeing everywhere else, so I thought they couldn't be right. Guys, I'm here to tell you that art should be something you love. Did I say that already? I finally took the plunge and turned a few of my favorite pieces into a gallery wall in the dining room. Then I added a little treasure shelf for the boys' nature finds. And things started to change. Now I have a clear vision for my home and I can tell more easily which things deserve our space and which ones just don't.

This all brings us (at long-winded last) to the whole point of today's post. The artwork I made for our guest room. It's collection of watercolor houses framed with floor plans, and it makes my heart happy. It also tickles the toes of our resident map-lover, because it's basically a house map.


Now if you've made it this far and you're thinking "I don't even like architecture" just hold on a second. Do you love your own home? The family you've raised there and the memories you've made? You can make one of your own home and just leave it at that. I'm planning to do our home on a larger scale to hang above the bed (and I'd also love to draw our last house because memories).

Thursday, June 27

DIY Insulated Camper Van Window Shades

When people find out we use our van as a camper, they typically have the same questions:
  1. Where do you all sleep?
  2. Do you have any privacy with all those windows?
  3. Isn't it hot/cold?
We already answered the first question with our DIY removable bunk system, and we'll address questions 2 + 3 today with DIY insulated window shades that provide both privacy and, well, insulation!

Check out all our camper van posts and tutorials here!


I was amazed the first time we used these shades - camping in 90+ degree weather in direct sun. We put up the shades, put a screen over the door to keep bugs out, and turned on a small portable fan. I napped in there with the baby without breaking a sweat. I couldn't believe it. I had been dreading the trip, afraid the van would be like an oven. But it wasn't!

I pretty closely followed this tutorial and used Reflectix insulation for the base of my window shades, then backed them with pre-quilted fabric. Could you use the Reflectix without the backing? Probably. It still insulates pretty well on its own, and it would save you some time and money for sure. So if funds are tight, give it a try! But the quilted fabric is great for several reasons: it gives more stability to the shades, adds another layer of insulation, and softens the interior of the van. I would use the quilted backing again in a heartbeat for that last reason alone. It helps to dampen sound and feels less stark than the plain Reflectix. It feels so cozy and quiet in there!

It was 90 degrees out in this photo, but we were cool and comfy in front of the fan! You can also see the window shades behind him.

Friday, June 21

Blueberry Cream Pie

I don't post recipes very often, but I just made this summer favorite last week and it was too good not to share! It's a perfect summer dessert - creamy, fruity, fresh, and subtly lemony.

You can also check out our favorite cold-weather dessert - chocolate volcano cakes!


Saturday, June 15

Bottom Bunk Shelving Unit - DIY Camper Van

Today I'm sharing plans for the under-bunk shelving unit we use in our DIY camper van! You can check out all our camper van posts here, or shortcut to these posts (I'll try to update links as they get posted):
  • Removable Bunk System (the backbone of our DIY camper!)
  • DIY Insulated Window Shades
  • DIY Window and Door Screens
  • How we pack and organize our camper van
  • Camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes + Petoskey


You can see the shelf inside the back doors in the photo above. This shelf is specifically designed to work with our removable bunk system. This van (Ford Transit T-350 XLT MR) is our full-time family vehicle so we definitely didn't want it to be a permanent camper. We designed removable bunks so we can put seats in for friends and family, take them out to haul furniture, and then pop in the bunk beds and go camping again. It's a hard working, versatile vehicle!

Esch Beach at Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI

With six people on the road, I wanted needed to make the most of our storage space. We use the space under the seats for things we don't need often, stash kitchen utensils in waterproof totes outside, and keep a bucket of shoes by the door. But for the clothes we need to access everyday, I wanted something easy to use, tucked out-of-the-way, and easy to organize. This little shelf with bins has been working well for us so far:


Thursday, June 6

DIY Ford Transit Camper Van (with removable bunks)

I have talked to my husband about getting a camper for YEARS. We've always loved camping, but we never loved packing up a wet tent at the end of a trip. And, is it just me, or does it always seem to rain?! I've dreamed about how a simple little camper could solve that problem. And I've dreamed about a pop-up camper for literally 20 years. Ever since I was little. And guys? That dream lives on. Because we still didn't get one. We may never get one. BUT we upgraded our family vehicle last year, and it surprised me with a brand new camper-esque opportunity.

Now let me stop you here for a minute: If you're looking for a beautiful, Pinterest-worthy camper van - you've come to the wrong place. This is not that van. It's nothing like a tiny house. There will be no beautiful interior shots with built-ins or even with the beds made, for goodness sake. It's not that kind of camper van.

But it is the kind of camper van that does exactly what we need it to do and takes us to beautiful Pinterest-worthy places.

So, if you're looking for a camper van that can fit four car seats, sleep two adults and four small children, prevent you from ever having to take down a wet tent, take you anywhere, and turn back into a regular old van between camping trips (thanks to a removable bunk system) - THIS IS THE BLOG FOR YOU. (You can find all our camper van posts linked here)


This van is our full-time family vehicle so we definitely didn't want it to be a permanent camper. We want to put seats in for friends and family, take them out to haul furniture, and then pop in the bunk beds and go camping again. It's a hard working, versatile vehicle!

Today I'll share how we made the bunks, then I'll work on separate posts to cover the rest of the details:
  • Bottom Bunk Shelving Unit
  • DIY Insulated Window Shades
  • DIY Window and Door Screens
  • How we pack and organize our camper van
  • Camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes + Petoskey 
I'm also creating a page with links to all our camper van posts here.
Esch Beach at Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI

Thursday, May 23

Clean-Lined Cubby Coffee Table (Day 18)

Well, friends, you've made it to the end of the DIY Coffee Table Series. If you've hung with me this far, you pretty much rock. Thank you for being my people!

I want to end the series with a unique coffee table that's based on one of the posts in our DIY Nightstand Series. It has shallow drawers at the bottom for stashing remotes, cards, or even a small laptop (and you can choose if you want four smaller drawer or two larger drawers!). The shelf is perfect for books, baskets, or a blanket. It's a pretty simple build and we're even taking an easier approach to drawers!

You can build matching end tables here.
Check out the rest of the DIY Coffee Table Series here.


Wednesday, May 22

DIY Rolling Cart Coffee Table (Day 17)

This coffee table is a great way to  bring an industrial vibe to your living room. It's reminiscent of an industrial rolling cart and looks great painted glossy white, matte black, or with a rustic stain finish! The casters add to the character, but they also make it super easy to move for vacuuming, or pulling it closer to put your feet up. It's an easy build that doesn't require any specialty tools.

Build matching end tables here.
Check out the rest of our DIY Coffee Table Series here.


Tuesday, May 21

2x4 Farmhouse Coffee Table (Day 16)

My hands-down favorite thing we've built for our house is our DIY farmhouse dining table. I love the style, I love that it holds up to life with a house full of boys, I love that it's where we all gather daily. So I couldn't round out our DIY Coffee Table Series without paying homage to our favorite! It's a smaller scale opportunity for your family to gather around for games, movies, or pizza night. It's a simple build and it can be made entirely of budget-friendly 2x4s!


Monday, May 20

Modern Plywood Coffee Table (Day 15)

This coffee table has a modern style that almost looks like a sculptural piece of art right in your living room! But it's not all about the looks - it's actually functional as well. Each leg forms a U-shape that is designed to hold books or magazines right where you need them! Plus it's another easy build that's great for beginners!

Check out the rest of our DIY Coffee Table Series here!


Once you build the two leg sections, you can position them any way you like to change the look of the coffee table. I've drawn the plans with one leg facing in and one facing out, but you can also face both legs in under the table:


Or face them both out:


You can even go with a U-shape leg on just one side and a plain, straight leg on the other! Ready to give it a try?

Saturday, May 18

DIY Simple Minimalist Coffee Table (Day 14)

We've had several easy builds in the DIY Coffee Table series, but this one just might take the cake! It's a super simple project that even the beginning-est beginner can take on. It has a modern/minimalist vibe, but you can warm it up with a couple large baskets on the shelf (that would also add a ton of storage for toys or games!).

You can build matching end tables here!


Friday, May 17

Easy Minimalist DIY Coffee Table (Day 13)

This coffee table is another super-simple build. It's great for beginners but stylish enough to look great in just about any living room! It's got a clean, minimalist vibe and it's super easy to customize. You can adjust the size to fit your needs and you can totally change the look by changing the legs. I'll include one DIY option for 2x2 legs that are easy to make and super affordable, but it would also look amazing with hairpin legs!

Build matching end tables here!
Check out the rest of our DIY Coffee Table Series for more free plans!


Thursday, May 16

DIY Mid-Century Modern Round Coffee Table (Day 12)

You guys know I love a mid-century modern vibe, so this coffee table makes my heart pitter-patter! Besides looking great, round coffee tables like this one are a great way to add surface area without interrupting the flow of the room. They work well in any layout, but are especially well-suited with a sectional sofa or any other setup that will involve shimmy-ing around the table to reach your seat. The rounded top means more wiggle room where you need it most, fewer bumped shins, and no sharp corners for a toddling baby! Check out our DIY Coffee Table series for more round table options!


Note: This table standard 36" round table top because you can buy one pre-made at many home-improvement stores. Want a different size table? You can buy any size top and adjust the length of the divider boards to fit! You also have the option to cut your own top from plywood.

Wednesday, May 15

DIY Crate-Style Coffee Table (Day 11)

Is it a coffee table? Is it a crate? Is it extra seating? Why, yes. Yes it is. I based the design of this coffee table on an old crate and I just loooove the vintage vibe. But besides just looking good, it brings a ton of function to the (coffee) table. It offers a plenty of storage for games, blankets, or toys, and the top also doubles as extra seating! The casters make it easy to roll wherever you need it most. Check out the rest of our DIY Coffee Table series here!


This is a simple build that doesn't require any specialty tools (I'll include instructions for a Kreg Jig, but you can build it entirely without one). Want to give it a try?

Tuesday, May 14

Round Coffee Tables: 4 Easy-to-Build Styles! (Day 10)

I love the functionality of a round coffee tables. They are a great way to add surface area without interrupting the flow of the room. They work well in any layout, but are especially well-suited with a sectional sofa or any other setup that will involve shimmy-ing around the table to reach your seat. The rounded top means more wiggle room where you need it most, fewer bumped shins, and no sharp corners for a toddling baby! Plus, from a design standpoint, the rest of your living room furniture is probably pretty square and a round table is a great way to break up that boxiness and add a little interest. But there's one more perk - see all four of these round coffee tables? They are insanely easy to build. Probably four of the easiest plans in the whole DIY Coffee Table series.


Want to give one a try? I'm putting these all in one post because, seriously, they are so easy they don't need their own space. So just scroll through to the one that catches your eye to get it's individual plans and shopping list. Finishing tips are all the way at the end. Happy building, peeps!

Note: all four tables use a standard 36" round table top because you can buy one pre-made at many home-improvement stores. Want a different size table? You can buy any size top and adjust the size of the table bases by changing the length of the stretchers. You also have the option to cut your own top from plywood.

Monday, May 13

Round Coffee Table with Nesting Ottomans (Day 9)

This is the second coffee table in the DIY Coffee Table series that's designed with parents in mind. Some of you mentioned that your kids eat around the coffee table or that you need storage for toys (or games, or art supplies), and this coffee table is for all of you!

Don't have kids? Don't leave just yet. This table still has a beautiful minimalist vibe that works with just about any decor. You can use it with the ottomans for more storage, or without ottomans for a cleaner, lighter style. Round coffee tables are a great way to add surface area without interrupting the flow of the room. They work well in any layout, but are especially well-suited with a sectional sofa or any other setup that will involve shimmying around the table to reach your seat. The rounded top means more wiggle room where you need it most, fewer bumped shins, and no sharp corners for a toddling baby!

(If you love this concept, you'll also enjoy the rectangular version with even more storage from this series!) 



Each of the four small ottomans rolls out on casters and has its own hidden storage under a hinged lid. And the upholstered tops make them perfect little seats for the kids! If you have multiple kids, you could give them each their own ottoman to keep their own things in when it's time to clean up! Ready to get started?

Saturday, May 11

Coffee Table with Drawers (Day 8)

If you're looking for a coffee table to store all the things, this is the plan for you. It's the most storage you'll find in our DIY Coffee Table Series! This traditionally-styled coffee table has two wide drawers. The top drawer is shallow for stashing remotes and decks of cards, while the bottom drawer is deep enough to hold games, toys, or even a couple blankets.


While the front of the coffee table has drawers, the back is simple and uncluttered. Ready to build your own and gain a boatload of storage right at your lounging fingertips? Let's get started!


Friday, May 10

Coffee Table with Nesting Storage Ottomans (Day 7)

One of my goals for the DIY Coffee Table series was to meet as many needs as possible. I went for a variety of styles and storage options hoping that everyone would find a good fit with at least one table in the series! This particular coffee table is designed to fill a special place in the series and is an ode to all the parents out there who have some very specific kid-inspired needs. This guy is designed with families in mind! (If you love this concept, you'll also enjoy the round version later in the series!)


Some of you mentioned that your kids eat around the coffee table or that you need storage for toys (or games, or art supplies). So I decided to take on all those needs in one powerhouse coffee table. This coffee table features two storage drawers (one accessed from each side of the table) along with four small rolling ottomans with their own hidden storage. Each little ottoman is upholstered at the top and makes a perfect little kid seat!


The seats roll out on casters and the lids lift with hinges. If you have multiple kids, you could give them each their own ottoman to keep their own things in when it's time to clean up! The long drawers are perfect for shared items like art supplies or train tracks. If you're anything like our family, we love having toys around the main areas of the house but we also like to hide them out of sight at the end of the day (mama needs a little visual breathing room, thankyouverymuch). This coffee table is perfect for that!


Wednesday, May 8

Easy Industrial Farmhouse Coffee Table (Day 6)

This coffee table has a super versatile style. It could go farmhouse, it could go industrial, and it could go just about anywhere in between! Plus it's one of the easiest plans in our DIY Coffee Table series. If you're a beginning builder, this is a great place to start!


Tuesday, May 7

Built-In Bookshelf Coffee Table (Day 5)

I know I keep saying it, but this is one of my favorite tables in our DIY Coffee Table series. Do you love reading? Or wish you could read more? Well with this coffee table, you won't have any excuse not too! Keep your favorite books close at hand with a bookshelf built right into the end! There's also a little nook that's perfect for hiding your remotes or laptop out of sight when you have guests or just need extra surface space for games or snacks.


I love that simple style can still have so much function. And it gets bonus points for being a super-easy build that's great for beginners! No drawer, no doors, no special tools required. Read to build your own and get reading? Let's do this!


Sunday, May 5

Classic Round Farmhouse Coffee Table (Day 4)

Our DIY Coffee Table series features a whole lot of square and rectangular tables, but it wouldn't be complete without a few round tables! Guys, I love round coffee tables and I'm convinced you will too if you give them a chance. So I'm including a handful of round options, starting with this classic pedestal style table. It has a subtle farmhouse vibe and is a pretty easy build!


Round coffee tables are a great way to add surface area without interrupting the flow of the room. They work well in any layout, but are especially well-suited with a sectional sofa or any other setup that will involve shimmying around the table to reach your seat. The rounded top means more wiggle room where you need it most, fewer bumped shins, and no sharp corners for a toddling baby! Plus, from a design standpoint, the rest of your living room furniture is probably pretty square and a round table is a great way to break up that boxiness and add a little interest. Have I convinced you yet? Good. Let's get started!

Saturday, May 4

Coffee Table with Nesting Ottoman (Day 3)

In this episode of the DIY Coffee Table Series, it's time to answer the age old question: coffee table? Or ottoman? The answer is YES. With this coffee table plan you get the best of both worlds! It has a hidden ottoman that slides out when you need it and tucks away when you don't. You'll always have a hard surface for cups and snacks, plus that comfy upholstered top for extra seating or just putting your feet up.


Don't need both pieces? Either one works beautifully on it's own, too!

Friday, May 3

Vintage Apron Coffee Table Plans (Day 2)

This is the second installment in our DIY Coffee Table Series, and I super love it because it reminds me of an old farmhouse kitchen table. That's probably because I styled it after a vintage farmhouse kitchen table I saw in a magazine. So if you're looking to add a little character or farmhouse charm to your living room (without adding bulk), this is the table for you!


Bonus points = this table can be built with basic tools (you'll just have to modify the apron a bit if you don't have a jigsaw). No need for a Kreg Jig like a few other plans in the series!

Thursday, May 2

Simple Four-Poster Coffee Table Plans (Day 1)

I call this the "Four-Poster" coffee table because it reminds me a bit of a four-poster bed. We're kicking-off the DIY coffee table series with this guy because he's so easy to build, and because he's one of my very favorites in the series. I love the simple style with a farmhouse vibe. And for any beginner builders out there: no drawers + no doors = you've got this.


You do have one big decision to make, though. Do you want a slatted top (like the one above)? Or a plywood top (like the one below)? Slats add more character, but plywood gives you a smoother top for writing and drawing. Be warned it's hard to make plywood edges look good with stain or paint and you'll probably need to add plywood edge banding before you finish it. But if you leave the plwyood raw and just seal with Polycrylic, the raw edges are a beautiful and modern accent! So choose your weapon and let's build this guy!


DIY Coffee Table Series Kick-Off!

Today's the day! I'm finally kicking off my DIY coffee table series! If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw a little teaser way back in January when this series was just a twinkle in my eye. Well, it's all coming together and I hope you'll find it was worth the wait. So enough chit chat. Let's get to the free plans!


I've got 18 brand new plans coming, and I'm shooting to add one a day until they're all posted. I'll link them below as they post so you can find all the plans in one handy spot. Click an image below to see the plans for that coffee table!




Need even more coffee tables? Try these plans from our archives:


A few notes on the coffee table series:
  • All the round coffee tables are designed to fit a standard 3' tabletop that you can purchase (Lowe's carries one) if you don't want to DIY the top. You can also cut your own top from plywood, or check out Ana White's tips to cut a circular top with a circular saw. 
  • Tons of you said you love rolling coffee tables. So grateful for your feedback, because that never crossed my mind! Here's the good new: any coffee table in this series (and probably any coffee table you already own or find at the thrift store) can be made into a rolling table by simply adding a set of casters! So if rolling tables are your jam, pick your favorite style and get some wheels on that baby. Amazon has a set of four 1" casters for $10, and a set of four 2" casters for $17.
  • You can also swap out the legs on several tables to change the style. Here are a few favorites to get your wheels turning: 16" hairpin legs, 8" hairpin legs, chunky farmhouse legs. Home improvement stores typically carry at least a few options for table legs, too!
  • Sizing: coffee tables are typically between 15-18" high. My plans play around with that range, but most of them can be adjusted to whatever height you like just by changing the length of the legs. Easy peasy! If you're adding casters, remember to adjust the leg height accordingly. 
  • Let me know if you have any more questions! Happy building!
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