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    Welcome to Handy and a Housewife and thanks for stopping by! I am a lover of design, building things, diy projects, painting, cooking, baking you name it and I will do it (thanks pintrest)!

    Hope you will be able to find helpful tips, tricks, and inspiration to take help you into creating your home!

    - Aimee

DIY Floating Shelves

These floating shelves are amazing! They are sturdy, chunky, and you can either paint OR stain them! I made some of these in my previous house so I knew I wanted to build some for our new home. I didn’t even think about doing them by my fireplace until I realized I couldn’t do the actual enclosed built-in upper shelves because the way my mantle wraps around. Anyways, I follow Shanty 2 Chic’s tutorial on Easy DIY floating shelves. I made a couple of modifications for my space and of course I decided to paint mine white ;).

First off get your supplies:

2×3 boards

1/4″ plywood for the bottoms of the shelves cut to 9 1/4″ wide x desired length

1×10 pine board

1×4 pine board (I used select pine)

3″ wood screws

Kreg Jig

2 1/2″ pocket hole screws


Power drill

Stud finder

Paintable/Stainable wood filler

Paintable/Tinted (if staining) Caulk

Brad nailer

Before you cut your 2×3 boards (these will be the bones of the shelves) measure how long you will want them. My space was 59 1/4″ so I did them full size to fill the full area. Once you have your desired length cut the 2×3 boards to that size; this means to supports as well. You will need 2+ depending on how long your shelf is, I needed four.  Each of these supports need to be cut to 7 3/4″ in length.

I opted to do six shelves (three on each side of the fireplace) so I needed 6 backs and 24 supports.

Cut your 1×10 and yout 1/4″ plywood to your measured length as well

While I was cutting all of the wood, I decided to get all of my pocket holes drilled. This is where my Kreg Jig came in handy. The. Best. Tool. EVER. Seriously, if you don’t have one invest in one (not an affiliate)!! 2015-10-02_0014That numbers you see on the side is how thick the wood is. Mine is 1 1/2″ thick so we are going to drill 1 1/2″ pocket holes. This is SO important to not forget this step, as well as changing your drill bit to the right length. If you don’t do either of these, your pocket holes won’t be correct and you will have to start over.

So after that was done, it was time to attach the back supports to the wall.

**Note, I opt to drill my supports onto the back supports AFTER I attach the backs to the wall. I have found that this is easier for me; however, you can attach them beforehand also.

Find the studs with the stud finder and mark them. That way when you put your boards up, you can easily drill the screes into them. When the board is held up on the wall, make sure it is level and drill them into the studs with the 3″ wood screws. I like to buy self-drilling screws so that it eliminates the step of pre-drilling. You may get others, but you will have to pre-drill your holes.

2015-10-02_0003Once all of the backs are up attach all of the supports


Once this is done attach the top (1×10 boards cut to size) and the bottom (1/4″ plywood) with a brad nailer to your 2×3 supports.

2015-10-02_0005Now you have to put the trim pieces on with the 1/4 boards. Now, for my space, on the left side of my fireplace there was a spot on all of my shelves that would be seen, so I have to put trim work on those as well. If your goes wall to wall you won’t need to worry about the sides; however, if you are building them without any walls, you will need to attach trim to both sides. Since, I only needed the left side done, I only cut 3 pieces to 9 1/4″ long and attached them to the sides first. Once those side pieces are on measure the front of your shelves and cut the 1×4 pine board accordingly and attach them with a brad nailer.


The fill all the holes with wood filler, caulk the seams, and paint/stain :). Happy building!

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Easy DIY Shaker Panel Cabinet Doors

This week I decided I needed to get on with building my cabinet doors for my fireplace built-ins. The problem I faced was that I didn’t want to go and buy a router, so I finally discovered a tutorial from Ana White, for her “Easy Frame and Panel Doors“. This was perfect for what I was wanting to accomplish and I already had a Kreg Jig score! For this project you will need:

1/2″ hardwood plywood cut down to size

1×3 boards – I used poplar because I am painting mine.

Kreg Jig – if you don’t have one, buy one! Best purchase I have made. There are SO many things you can use this for!

1″ pocket hole screws

1 1/4″ pocket hole screws

Drill –  love my Ryobi impact driver

First measure the opening of your cabinets. I decided that I wanted mine to overlap the frame, instead of setting inside the frame. Here is how I found my measurements:

1 – Take your measurements for the width of the opening and add 1″ to them so that there is a 1/2″ overlap on both sides.
2 – If you are doing a double door like mine, you will need to divide by 2 and then subtract 1/16 of an inch this will allow a space for in between the doors, if you are only doing one door skip that step.
Here is the math for my doors:

26 3/8″ + 1″ = 27 3/8″

27 3/8″ divided by 2 = 13 11/16″

13 11/16″ – 1/16″ = 13 5/8″

13 5/8” is my width measurement for each door

Take note that both sides of my built ins were off by about an inch, so the left side of my fireplace has a little bit bigger doors than the right side of the fireplace. Make sure you measure EACH opening to get precise measurements for each door!


Now onto the height. This is much easier ;). I knew I wanted mine about 3/4 of an inch above the opening of the frame. Since it will be sitting 1/16 of an inch above my baseboard, there was no need to overlap it on the bottom. So I just added about 3/4 of an inch to the 27 11/16″ making it close to 28 1/2″ in height and voila you have the height of your doors :). If everything on your cabinets are level, this will be the same for every door.2015-09-06_0012

Now onto building the doors!

When I purchase my lumber I have Lowes cut my plywood sheets for me so that all I have to cut when I get home are the poplar boards. This saves SO much time! But if you want to cut your own pieces go for it! To get the measurements for these pieces take your door measurements and subtract 5 from the height and width.

Per the example above my plywood pieces were cut to the following measurements:

8 5/8″ x 23 1/2″

Then cut the poplar boards. For the top/bottom pieces of the door panels cut the the EXACT width of the plywood, so 8 5/8″.

The side pieces should be cut to 28 1/2″.

Use your handy Kreg Jig and drill 1/2″ pocket holes on all sides of the middle plywood piece. I did 2 on the top and 3 on the sides.

After those are all done, drill 3/4″ pocket holes on each side of the top/bottom pieces.

Now you are ready for assembly.


Take your plywood piece and use your right angle Kreg Jig clamp to clamp it to one of the top pieces. If you don’t have the clamp, get someone to help you hold it in place. I built one door without it and it was horrible ha! It made this part SO much easier using this clamp!!2015-09-06_0007

Attach the top and bottom pieces using 1″ pocket screws.


After that is done, attach the sides by FIRST attaching the top pieces to the sides with the 1 1/4″ pocket screws into the top and bottom, THEN use the 1″ pocket screws to attach the plywood to the side pieces. I have found that doing it in that order is the easiest. Do this by keeping all of boards flush on the BACK of the cabinet. This will give you the look of shaker style doors2015-09-06_0010

There you have it! Next up will be all of the finish work for the doors and attaching them to your cabinets!

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DIY Fireplace Built-Ins

2015-09-01_0001When we started building our home, the first thing that I knew I wanted was a fireplace, and of course to go along with a beautiful fireplace I wanted some built-ins. I contemplated for a LONG time whether or not I should build them, because lets face it I knew this project would be HUGE and I didn’t want to mess it up. Well, after getting a couple bids close to $3,000 I knew I just had to do it myself. I looked and looked to find some sort of tutorial, but I couldn’t find exactly what I needed so I pretty much just made it up with the stuff I already knew from building my bench and bookshelves in my first home (I will post about that soon ;)). So I measured and went to Lowes to get my materials. After I got everything home, it actually took me a couple of days, ok a week, to actually start them.

Here are the materials you will need:

3/4″ MDF or Plywood (if you are planning to stain yours) sheets (I have Lowes cut them to size for me)


3″ and 1 1/2″ wood screws (I LOVE to get the self drilling kind, because you don’t have to pre-drill the holes)

1″ thick paint grade poplar (for the face frame)

Wood Glue

First thing I did was prep my space so that I could get the correct measurements. This meant, taking off the baseboards and pulling back the carpet so that I had a flat hard surface to work with. I knew I wanted my built-ins to be flush with my baseboards, so I drew a straight line 4 3/4″ up my wall so that when I attached the frame to the studs and set my cabinet boxes on top the bottom of the cabinet would be flush at 5 1/2″.


Once that was done, I built my 2×4 frame. One word of advice: measure, measure, measure!!! AND don’t be surprised if your walls are crooked (like mine were). The back of my wall was 1/2″ shorter than the front on one side, and 3/4″ longer than the front on the other side. I built the 2×4 frame to size with the 3″ wood screws and then screwed it into the studs. As you can see it isn’t touching the ground but that is ok, this thing is sturdy! Just make sure you use an actual stud finder to make sure you are drilling into the studs!


Once that was done, I started on my cabinet boxes, I made mine out of MDF because it is a smooth surface to paint. If you are planning on staining yours, you will want to use plywood. I don’t have a picture of this process, but I took my MDF material, and used the 1 1/2″ wood screws and put them together. I screwed the bottom to the sides first then screwed on the shelf with the same screws. In order to make sure I was actually screwing the sides onto the middle of the shelf, mark where the shelf is and then on the side of the cabinet make the same length to make sure you will hit the shelf with the screw (very hard to explain, see the pic ;)). The holes in the pic line up to the middle of the side of the shelf that you are screwing into. Note: you are not adding a top, or a back with MDF. We will add a top after the fact, and the wall will suffice as a back. That way, you don’t have to cut holes, for your plugs etc.


Then once the cabinets are built it is time to put them on our sturdy 2×4 bases! This process was not the most fun for me. This is where I found out how terribly crooked my walls were. It would be much smarter to leave yourself a 1/2″-1″ on your built-ins, as you will be covering the gaps anyways with a frame. Unfortunately this was not what I did, but hey you can learn from my mistake ;). If you DO build them fit your space and run into crooked walls you can always do what I did: remove some drywall ha! Don’t worry if you have to do that, it will be covered up by the frame. My space was big, so I had to build 2 cabinets on each side, so 4 all together.


After I took a breath, putting those things on the 2×4 frame was not an easy task, I built the face frame. I used 1/2″ thick poplar but I should have used 1″ thick, I found that out when I started to attach the doors. Its ok though, I figured out a makeshift piece that will work. Just learn from my mistake and use 1″ thick ;)! I started by adding the top piece first, then the vertical boards and then did the bottom fronts.


Next up add the baseboard to the front, and then is time to fill in the nail holes with spackle (wood filler if you are staining) and then paint/stain! Here is mine all finished with the top, a few touch-ups still need to be made but its almost completed! I am working on the doors and will get those up soon and a tutorial for how I did my tops! Happy building!



Show Hide 4 comments

Toni - September 2, 2015 - 1:47 am

So did I miss, what is the top piece of wood on your shelves? Very good idea to have this site. Hope it is around when I get home few years to do some things. - September 4, 2015 - 7:03 pm

It is maple top plywood and then the fronts are pure maple :). I will am working on the tutorial on how I built those :).

Toni - September 4, 2015 - 11:58 pm

yes, I was wondering what type of wood you had used.
So you used maple, it looks good. Is cutting the carpet out
The only way to keep it flat? Have you done any floating
Shelves yet? I would love to see how to do those. Thanks love
Your site. - September 6, 2015 - 11:28 pm

It was the only way to keep the baseboard flush with the rest of the baseboards. If I didn’t cut out the carpet the baseboards of the built-ins would have sat about a 1/2″ above the wall baseboards ;). You could easily go without cutting it out though. I haven’t built the shelves yet, still working on the doors ha! I will see if I can get the the shelves this next week :),

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First things first……


I am SO excited to start this blog and can’t wait to start showing, teaching, and inspiring you all to make your house a home! This has been a long time coming and I finally decided, after being persuaded by friends and family, to start blogging about all of my projects and delicious desserts!

So in order to get this blog started, I figured I should introduce myself. You may be wondering “Who is this girl and what does she do?” Well I am here to tell you all about me and why I decided to start this little adventure!

I am a mom to three of the cutest little kids who constantly keep me on my toes. I am also a photographer, and run a successful business, which keeps me super busy (as if my kiddos don’t do that ha)!  And last but not least I absolutely LOVE everything about the home: designing, building, diy projects, cooking, baking, and creating memories doing all of these things with my family.

When my husband and I bought our first home back in 2012 I quickly learned how expensive things were and decided to take matters into my own hands. Up until this point in my life I never decorated, built, or even painted a single thing in my entire life (I can’t say the same for baking). My first project was the board and baton in my living room and I totally owe it all to one of my clients for giving me the courage to use power tools, she came over, yes she, and helped me immensely with my first ever project! The first, and only, tool I used that day was the nail gun and I can’t say that I was totally confident in shooting those nails into my wall ha. That day changed me. It gave me the confidence to be able to do all that I can today, and also made me very aware that I don’t have to spend a fortune to make my house beautiful!


Now that you know where I got my start, the fun part begins: adding character to our NEW home! I have already started so keep checking back as I have a HUGE project to share with you: my DIY fireplace built-ins!!!


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