Nov 19, 2014

Storage Solutions - Suspended Shelving

We've been spending the last week or two getting the garage and house ready for winter. But mostly the garage. It's where the important stuff is kept after all. We have only a single car garage, and I like to keep my truck cozy in the winter, so we have to be imaginative when it comes to storing everything.

Enter Tom's newest "invention" - the suspended lawnmower shelf. It's a close relative to the fold-up work bench in that when it's not in use it also folds flat against the wall out of the way. This can work for any piece of equipment that you need out of the way, but that you might not want to store overhead. It's a bit of an ugly duckling - definitely function over form at work here - but it gets the job done.

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

During the winter, we run a space heater when we're working in the garage. Since that has to remain on the floor, the most logical place for the lawnmower was up above it. There's also a shop vac hung higher on the wall, and the lawnmower fits nicely in between the two.

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

The first thing Tom did was secure a piece of plywood to the wall to give the frame a strong surface to attach to. There are studs behind the drywall, but as we found with the ensuite shower wall, the two don't always meet.

He attached two 4 foot long 2x3s to the wall vertically about 18 inches apart, which is the distance between the front and back wheels of the lawnmower. Yours might be different so make sure to measure first. He then built a rectangular ladder-shaped frame with more 2x3s that sits between the wall uprights. This will be the shelf when the lawnmower is stored.

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

The frame is 18 inches wide of course, and slightly longer than the width of the lawnmower deck. Tom drilled a hole through each of the frame "legs" about 2 inches from the bottom, and through each of the upright boards at the height he wanted the shelf. The frame was then attached to the wall with hitch pins that allow the shelf to pivot up and down. You could also attach it with bolts instead of pins.

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

Note that you might have to cut off the top back corners of your frame legs so that the frame has clearance to pivot without getting hung up on the wall.

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

A heavy-duty screw eye is attached to the front of each upright near the top. A cable is going to run from the screw eye, down across the front of the frame, and up to the other eye. This cable is what will support the weight of the lawnmower and the shelf.

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

At the front of the frame, Tom drilled a hole in each leg, again about 2 inches in, to run the cable through. He ran the wire cable through the holes, and up to the screw eye, making sure that the cable was taut and leaving about 6-8 inches of excess wire on each side when the shelf is parallel to the floor. Remember that the weight of the lawnmower will cause the shelf to drop a bit, so it's better to have the cable slightly short.

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

The cable ends are folded over and secured together with a wire loop clamp, then the ends are taped off so no one gets poked with a sharp end. A carabiner is then attached to each cable loop. 

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

The carabiners are then locked onto the eye screws. You could also use a hook instead of a carabiner, but the carabiner is safer as it ensures that the cables are locked in place and won't slip.

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

The only other thing you'll need is a spare piece of 2x3 that is the length of the space from the floor to the bottom of your shelf. Pop that board under the front edge of the frame any time you have the lawnmower on the shelf and are unhooking the cables, to make sure your shelf doesn't inadvertently drop and the lawnmower then tumbles to the floor (or onto you).

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

Once the cables are hooked up you can just tuck the board in behind the lawnmower.

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage


When you aren't using the shelf - in the summer we keep the lawnmower on the garage floor and tuck the space heater away under the tool bench - you can fold it up flat against the wall and it isn't in the way.



DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

Hopefully this will give you ideas for your own garage. We try to use every inch of wall space that we can, top to bottom. Someday I'll have to give you a tour.

Here are a few more shots of the suspended shelf - it deserves to be appreciated from every angle.

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

DIY fold up suspended shelf - garage

Now that the garage is under control I can concentrate on decorating for Christmas. I've already started on three different crafts and can't wait to show them to you.

Has all of this snow and cold weather put you in the holiday mood?


Oct 30, 2014

Build Your Own Entryway Bench and Shelf


The front foyer is a part of the house that is often overlooked. You might pass by it a dozen times a day, but most of the time you don't really notice it. That happened to us. After painting the walls and hanging a new light, we updated the closet doors to bi-folds and then left it. What more does an entry need, really? How about a place to sit and put on/take off your shoes?

Build your own entryway bench

We had an antique table by the door - just to set down your bag or drop your keys - but, as so often happens, it turned into a place to dump everything. My solution for the dumping problem was to remove the table and hang a smaller shelf - but that still didn't give us or our guests a place to sit down.

We scoured the internet looking for ideas and finally came up with a hybrid of several styles, but it most closely resembles this bench by Ana White.

We used 2 2x8 boards for the seat, cut down to 4-foot lengths, planed to get a nice tight join, and then joined together with pocket screws and 4 metal plates on the underside.

Build your own entryway bench

The legs are 3 2x3 boards attached with pocket screws, forming the letter A. If you're making a bench, watch that your bench legs don't stick out farther than the edge of the seat - that's a tripping hazard. We had to monkey around with the angles until the legs were tucked in enough.

Build your own entryway bench

The two braces under the seat keep the legs from bending outwards. They are attached to the legs at the cross piece of the "A" and then screwed into the underside of the seat.

Build your own entryway bench

I stained the bench in Jacobean by Minwax (shocking, right?) and then gave it two coats of wax and buffed with steel wool. I love how smooth the wood feels after the steel wool treatment. I've tried it many times - on a toybox, nightstands, and a table.

Build your own entryway bench

The shelf that we mounted on the wall above the bench is also DIY. We used a 2x10 plank which I sanded smooth - after banging it around a bit with a hammer to give it a worn look. Again with the Jacobean stain, wax, and steel wool. While I liked the idea of a floating shelf, this plank is just too darn heavy. So we found some simple braces at Home Depot that give it enough support without drawing too much attention - we wanted the wood to be the focal point.

DIY Entryway Shelf

The same mirror went back above the shelf. This is the one that I accidentally gave an oil rubbed bronze look. I think I'd like to replace it though - maybe with something in a different shape - there are too many squares and rectangles in that hallway for my liking.

Build your own entryway bench

The hardest part was taking pictures of it afterwards. First because that area gets very little light so keeping the photos from looking dreary is a task. And then there was the problem of my furry assistant stealing the ball every time I turned my back. Doesn't she understand the importance of a good shot? J

Build your own entryway bench

Build your own entryway bench

Build your own entryway bench

Build your own entryway bench

Build your own entryway bench

Build your own entryway bench





Oct 16, 2014

A Little This, A Little That...


It's been a quiet week here at the Turtles and Tails homestead. We delivered the receiving blankets that I made for our neighbours' baby, and I got some quality baby-holding time.

Tom decided to get the garage ready for winter while I rearranged furniture inside the house, and made more of a mess, I think. Over the weekend we worked on a project that shouldn't have taken a weekend - one that I'm planning on sharing as soon as I take some daylight photos. If you follow me on Instagram (and you definitely should) you'll see a sneak peek.

I got my DIY on and installed trim around the windows in the basement. The windows are pretty small and plain, and I thought they needed something to beef them up a bit.


I used pre-primed trim and it just took a few simple cuts. I used the air nailer to attach the pieces, caulked the edges, puttied and sanded the holes, and gave it a coat of semi-gloss paint. Tom was away for the day and I managed to get it all done and cleaned up before he got back.


It's been two days and he still hasn't noticed the change. I'm not surprised though - I painted the spare room one weekend when he was out of town and after a month I finally had to point it out to him because he hadn't noticed.

The one thing that has kept us endlessly entertained is the enormous flock of geese in the field behind our house.


There are a couple of large puddles back there and, like clockwork, the geese arrive every morning just before 8 to hang out and make noise. The grasses near the fence are long, and occasionally the birds will wander over to grab whatever grains they can find. These birds are huge. It's kind of alarming when you see them all close by, just staring at the house. What are they plotting?


But I know they won't be around much longer - the call to head south will come soon enough - so we have to enjoy them while it lasts.


It's the weekend again and we don't have any big plans. It's going to be cool, but dry, so maybe we'll drag the dogs to the regional forest to wander the trails and enjoy the leaves.


And just to end on a goofy note, this is what I came upon while getting ready for work this morning:


All I can ask is: Why, Chloe, why?


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