Not Quitting My Day Job Just Yet.
Saturday, January 29, 2011

Words cannot express how much I love these shelves from Pottery Barn.

Words can express, however, how much I don't love the price. I'm not sure I could ever justify spending $59 PER SHELF!

But Ana White has provided very detailed step-by-step instructions on how I can build these shelves myself at only a fraction of the cost.

SOLD! to the woman who still has over 80% of her home to furnish and decorate on her husband's dime.

I need a job.

But I'll settle for a saw. And some wood. Along with a few nails and some paint. I mean, my dad was a carpenter, and so was Jesus. If they could do it, then so can I. Right? Right!

So, let the fun begin!

I must admit, the hardest part of this project was taking the first step. Into the lumber section. It's like walking into the men's restroom by mistake. You immediately know you're in the wrong place. No fancy displays, a staleness (to put it politely) in the air. I wanted to hightail it back to the kitchen aisle and ooh and aah over countertops. But I resisted the temptation, pulled up my bootstraps, and found what I needed. Then I walked over to a couple of guys wearing bright orange vests and worked up the courage to ask if they performed complimentary cuts. One of them made a joke I didn't get before finally answering that yes they did, in fact, make complimentary cuts.

Good. Now here's my list. And make it snappy so I can stop holding my breath.

I fully expected to have the project completed in two days. A grave underestimation on my part. I realized very quickly that it wasn't as easy as making a few rounded cuts and nailing some boards together. And it certainly didn't help that I chose some of the most frigid days of the winter to be working in the garage.

The secret to successful woodworking lies in the carpenter's pencil.
Worth every penny. All 14 of them.

After a few weeks of sanding, priming, sanding, painting, then applying additional coats and finally a topcoat, I finished two Vivacious Pink wall shelves for Avery's bedroom.

They are not Pottery Barn perfect by any means. In fact, it's taking nearly every ounce of restraint I have in my body to not point out every flaw, which to me, stand out like sore thumbs. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure I have one very satisfied customer on my hands and that's a pretty good measure of success in my book.

Now this doesn't mean I'm already chomping at the bit to complete another project. I haven't quite decided if the money saved is worth all of the extra work. But if I do embark on another woodworking debacle (I mean "adventure")--say, this lovely little dollhouse bookcase--then I will definitely apply the following lessons I learned from this one.

1. I'm probably better off making my own preliminary cuts. That way, when the boards end up a whole 1/2 inch too short, I'll have only myself at which to be mad instead of the guy in the bright orange vest who apparently gets paid to do it.

2. Driving a nail straight is much harder than it looks and requires much more planning and precision than I put into it.

3. Due to the reasons mentioned above, the power of wood filler should never be underestimated.

Blogger Annie had this to say:

They look fantastic! Do you want me to send you pics of the bookshelves I need built for the baby's room? They are $100 at Pottery Barn, but they don't have the right color.

January 29, 2011 at 5:48 PM 

Blogger Laura had this to say:

Catrina, they look awesome!! Great job! I am working on fixing up Clara's room and found the cutest little birdhouse nightstands in the pottery barn catalog. I mentioned how easy they looked to my father-in-law and he made one for me. Just have to paint it. They were $89 and I think he spent $15 in materials. I pick it up tomorrow so maybe I'll do a blog post and link to yours :)

January 29, 2011 at 9:24 PM 

Blogger Catrina had this to say:

I know exactly which birdhouse nightstand you're talking about! They're so cute! But if you look at most of the stuff in the PB catalog, you realize how simple the designs are. I've pretty much made up my mind that I'm going to attempt the dollhouse bookcase. It looks just too easy. Haha...famous last words.

January 30, 2011 at 9:44 AM 

Blogger Lori had this to say:

You did an amazing job!

February 1, 2011 at 3:07 PM 

Blogger Rachel had this to say:

Holy WOW, my respect for you just doubled. No, tripled. You are amazing. Someday I hope to follow the trail you have blazed. In the meantime... I really should take advantage of my carpenter father-in-law. Thanks for the kick in the pants - I needed it!

February 1, 2011 at 10:52 PM 

Blogger Sweet Yet Sassy had this to say:

LOVE THEM!!! You did an awesome job! I need some in red.... :)

February 3, 2011 at 2:55 PM 

Blogger Sara Seratte Jansen had this to say:

OMG, those look store-quality! I can't wait to see them up close & personal next week. What a great job!

February 18, 2011 at 9:41 AM 

Blogger Shelly had this to say:

I can't believe I'm only now reading this. I'm stoked! Way to go Catrina. You will now forever look at things in stores with that quizical face saying "could I do that?"

Love it! Congrats and the picture of you is hilarious.

Best tool purchase I've made so far is a miter box = saw straight. That is until I get some power tools :)

Love you!

March 5, 2011 at 12:11 AM 

Blogger Sara Seratte Jansen had this to say:

I meant to tell you that I saw these EXACT shelves at an antique booth in Jenks and they were listed for $12/apiece. I was floored at the price after you told me how much Pottery Barn was charging. Either way, yours looked store quality!

April 30, 2011 at 7:45 PM 

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My Wine Personality:
For the most part I’m a chardonnay, as I consider myself to exhibit a somewhat sunny and mellow disposition (most of the time), but because I find a tremendous amount of joy out of showering my two kids with hugs and kisses, I also possess the subtle sweetness often found in a riesling. But don’t be fooled. I love a great outdoor adventure and am willing to try anything once. This occasional display of boldness is thought to match that of a cabernet, whereas my appreciation for nature suggests that I have an earthy component to my personality—very characteristic of a merlot. (more)


“Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771