Kids Playhouse: unfinished


You would not believe how this project started. Yes, it’s true, I was a little envious of what my old college roommate built for his son but I just wanted to do some manly work with my son too. My friend Craig had built a tall fort out in the country and his 13/14 year old son loved it. I had no plans nor did I draw out anything. We just walked outside and told my wife, “We’re going to build a fort.” She just laughed, “okay boys” knowing full well that I had never built anything in my life.

We dug holes in the ground by hand. At 12 years old my son Tristan slammed a heavy Texas toothpick against the limestone under the thin layer of dirt. Sparks and smoke made it exciting but not any easier. It was a hard day’s work and Tristan was proud to take photos.


I really wanted it to be TALL like Craig’s but something told me it was a bad idea. I did not want to upset the neighbors. I cut the posts, almost in half and its a good thing I did because the roof ended up just below the branches.


At this stage the girls came running. I still had no idea what I was doing. I was copying stuff I saw in pictures and I was motivated by my wife’s praises. When I put Lucy up there with her tap shoes on I realized that this was more than a fort, this was going to be a stage. Better yet, this will be a playhouse for the girls, a hangout for the older kids and for me, I wanted the extended floor to be my tailgate; a place to hang my legs and drink a beer.


I was blessed with some donations from friends. Thank you Jacky and David Sauceda for helping me get started. Thanks to Steve Anthony from TimberTown USA for advice about roofing and some beautiful cedar boards.

I began sketching a plan, half way through. What I wanted was similar to this country cottage in New York. I found a great photo online and it was lovely. It wasn’t in the budget so I modified it. Time for walls.


It’s not perfect but the kids love it.




Computer / Monitor Platform: pallet boards


We are told by our doctors and chiropractors to raise our monitors to eye level and at the office we have all been doing it. After building my new desk however, I did not want to use the traditional stack of books or pile of card stock, I wanted to build something to match, something out of wood.

I started out by selecting a few wide pallet boards from my garage but I wanted more than just a box. I wanted a sort of docking station for my mobile devices but nothing complicated or time consuming so I went looking around the house for a stick. I ended up cutting a piece of cedar off of a firewood log. It was curvier than I wanted but it was the best that I could find in my little suburban lot.

I drilled two holes through the front and back of the box. Yes, these devices can sync via Bluetooth with my new iMac but I wanted to charge them at work as well. Running the new thin Apple cord through the narrow hole was challenging but it worked. Anyway, I fit all the cut pieces together first to see how it looked and then I nailed them together with finishing nails.

There is a slight overlap in the back but no one will see that and I sanded it down to minimize it. I also went back and recessed all the nail heads and then filled them in with wood filler. I kind of rushed through this project but I did want to stain it and seal it with the same stuff that I used on my desk.




Finally it was stained, coated, sanded and coated again. I didn’t stain the stick but I scraped the bark off and sanded it a little. I wanted it to have a rustic look but it could stand to use some more sanding. No stain on the stick but I did coat it a couple times.



A TALL Standing Desk: 8’x4’x3′


I have been researching standing desks for over a year now and I finally built one. All over the Internet are variations of the same thing but nothing that fit my style or my 6′ 3″ frame. On Pinterest I found this beautiful photo of a dark wood standing desk that looked simple but not simple enough. — I am a photographer and run a printing company. I don’t know anything about building furniture but I have built my daughters a playhouse. I showed Jeff’s design to my production manager, we discussed what I was wanting and how big I wanted my desk and he quickly drew up a plan and a list of materials.

I wanted it to be 8′ wide so that I can have room to review proofs and designs with coworkers and tall enough so that it hits me just below the elbows. There is room for everything on an 8′ desk.



By the way, 1″x12″ boards are not 12″ wide. I was hoping to have a 1″ lip all the way around but didn’t get it in front and back. That turned out to be totally fine. The desk however is so large that it is difficult to get through doorways. The biggest mistake I made was the placement of the braces. Had I put them higher I could have more easily rotated the move through the doorways but oh well. I can live with the small scratch that is now hidden by a coaster.

I hear a lot of positive feedback but mostly I am told, “It’s HUGE!” I am enjoying the heck out of it and I know I will benefit greatly from it.

If you are interested in the stain or finish, see below. I love the rich color.