I have a notebook that I've used through the years for projects and lists like this. I used to toss those notes when I was done with a build or room but I've decided to keep this book -- it's actually really fun to look back and see how I've thought out projects over the years.
I have a definite process when it comes to room redos and larger builds. This little notebook holds all of my scribbles and measurements and it's how I plan everything out in my head. I thought it would be fun to show you how my mind works through the process each time.
A wood planked wall is a fairly easy DIY, especially when you're just painting it all one color. But when you want a varied look with stain you have to plan things out a bit more. When I planked the wall above our kitchenette in the basement I had to sketch it out first:
As you can see, some of my measurements didn't add up because I edit as I go -- one row looks like I have nine feet of wood on a six foot wall. :)
I HAVE to have a visual when I'm working on something like this. I'd lose my mind and waste a lot of supplies if I didn't write it all out. Again, if it was all one color I wouldn't have planned this all out quite so much, but because I was using stain and wanted to make sure there weren't too many colors touching, I needed to figure out different sizes. This also helps me buy exactly what I'll need when I go get supplies.
Here's the final result:
You can see I didn't follow it exactly -- because of the stain colors I ended up changing things up a bit, but I would have used a LOT more wood if I hadn't planned it out beforehand.
As I said, when I get an idea the drawing is the first thing I put on paper. Sometimes I end up changing it up a bit. This was the original plan for the extended kitchen island:
At first I wanted the ends to be small bookcases (duh, can't you tell from my amazing drawing skills?).
I quickly realized that was going to make the island a lot longer than I wanted it to be. The bookcases would need to be a good foot across to make it worthwhile and I didn't want to go quite that wide with the whole thing.
This was the final plan:
I mean, that's talent right there. Don't you want me to draw you something?
But what matters is I know what's going on there. :) The end result was exactly what I figured out in my head:
A lot of times I have to write it down so I can figure out little details. When I extended the half wall in our foyer to a built in bookcase I was trying to figure out if was going to keep the whole thing under the half wall trim that was already there or just make it flush with a new top across. At first I was trying to incorporate the trim (the shaded part on the upper right):
But after playing around with the design I decided I wanted the top one large piece (which was the best decision).
Here's how that one turned out after a little tweaking:
The drawing is just the beginning -- sometimes I'll fill up at least a page (usually two) with measurements as I factor in the thickness of wood and details like that. When I built the cabinets in our kitchen up to the ceiling this is what I started with:
Looks simple but I filled two more pages with measurements and assigned each cabinet with a number so I knew exactly how much wood to purchase (and how much scrap I could use for this project). I have to have everything figured out to the exact size if I'm having pieces cut at the hardware store so this part usually takes longer than anything else.
Here's what that drawing turned into:
This notebook also holds my lists for all of my recent large projects. After I draw, then scribble all of my measurements, the list starts. This is just one page of many that filled this book for the kitchen renovation:
There's still a couple items not crossed out -- working on those. :)
I love this little notebook and will keep it as a diary of house projects. It's nice to look back and see all of those items crossed out on the lists. (Nothing like crossing an item off!) I know even with extensive tutorials here on the blog it can sometimes seem like things happen quickly or easily. With experience these projects do get easier but it's rarely quick and it's always hard work. Thankfully it's work that I love!
The next project I'm sketching out is the huge built in desk in the loft. I really want to get started on that room this spring! How to you tackle projects in your home? Do you draw like me or just pick up the phone and call the contractor? ;) I've done both!