Add Some Mystery To Your Home With This Secret Bookcase Door

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Final product by OhSkizz

I don’t know about you all, but I’m always looking for clever storage solutions. I think everyone has a little pack rat in them and for those of us who have a little more of it than others, we need simple, cool ways to clean up our space. And this bookcase door from Reddit user, OhSkizz, managed to do just that. Not only does the bookcase add visual interest but makes the most of the square footage in any room.

The supplies for this awesome project won’t cost you much either! All you’ll need is two 2″x4″x8’s, one 2″x6″x8’s, three 1″x6″x8’s, wood paneling, wood trim, screws, gorilla wood glue, hinges, a gate latch and a staple gun. These can all be picked up from your local hardware store and cut to size for your door’s measurements.

Your first step is to build the doorframe. You will use two 2″X6″X8′ for the sides of the frame and two 2″x6″x8’s for the top and bottom of the frame. Attach these pieces with your screws and gorilla wood glue.

Next you will start working on the shelving. Cut your three 1″x6″x8’s to create the top, bottom and sides of the frame of the shelving insert. The remaining wood will be cut to size and used as the shelves. Secure the pieces of woods to each other with more screws and gorilla wood glue.

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Initial Cuts by OhSkizz

When you have created both the door frame and shelving insert, it is now time to fasten them to each other. This will again be done with screws and gorilla wood glue. Warning: if you don’t like glue, this project might not be for you.

Before you continue to the final steps of the project, test fit the frame to the door. If it fits, awesome. If not, you will have to do some adjusting to make it flush with the doorway.

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Staining frame and shelving by OhSkizz

The next steps involved are staining and connecting the wood panelling. Apply as much staining as you deem necessary. Once the stain dries, you can screw the paneling into place. With all badocams the pieces fit together, you will now begin to fit it into the doorway.

After screwing in the two hinges to the door, it is time to cover them up with the trim. The trim should be stapled down and make it flush with the doorway and outer trim. Then you will stain the trim to match the bookshelf.

The final step is to create the secret book latch. This is done by choosing your book and cutting a wedge to insert a piece of wood into it, secured with glue and a screw connected to the back of the bookshelf. By mounting the latch on a 2X4 block of wood, the latch sits close enough to the door to  catch the metal catch pin and make the door open simply by pulling a book.

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Secret Book Lock by OhSkizz

All that’s left to do is add the rest of your books and accessories. Once you’re done, this door not only gives extra storage but a magical touch to your house.

For all your other door needs, call Chicago Handyman for a free estimate on door installations! 

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Before Refinishing from wkendrider

Before Refinishing from wkendrider

Hardwood floors are undoubtedly the one feature any renter or prospective home buyer is looking for when searching through pages and pages of listings. However, destroyed hardwood floors tend to detract some buyers from investing in an otherwise great home. Their first instinct is to completely scrap the floors and invest unnecessary money in new flooring. But a smart buyer knows that with a few tools from their local hardware store, they can make their floor look like new again.

Take for instance this Reddit user, wkendrider. An admitted home improvement novice, this renter was able to improve the look of his home completely with $250 and less than a week of work refinishing hardwood floors.

After first pass through with sander by wkendrider

After first pass through with sander by wkendrider

Depending on how damaged the floor is, you may have to experiment with what sander and grit to use. A random orbital sander with 60 grit will work just fine for slightly damaged floor, a 120 grit being more appropriate for completely ruined floors. Be warned, the sander you rent from your local hardware store will probably weigh upward of 110 pounds. So if you struggle with carrying laundry up the stairs or have existing back problems, you may want to get a helpful friend or neighbor to give you a hand.


Once the scratches, stains and damages have come up from the floor, you will want to decide on what kind of stain to refinish the floors with. This of course depends on how close you want to remain to the original floor color. For a warmer hue, you will want to go with red oak. But if you’re going for a lighter look, limed oak might be more your speed. Apply as many coats as it takes to get it to the color of your liking.

After staining by wkendrider

After staining by wkendrider

After the stain dries, you will want to apply Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane for Floors to finish your floors. Depending on what look you want the hardwood to have, you will again have to choose from multiple options. From glossy to satin, apply this poly evenly with a roller to get your hardwood shiny and presentable.

After Refinishing from wkendrider

After adding poly by wkendrider




Once the poly dries, it’s time to put the furniture back in the room. You have completed the task of reviving the seemingly unsalvageable. The time you invested will be invaluable and allow you to have a larger budget for some other home projects.

And if you pull up some carpet and find you don’t have the hardwood you desire, reach out to us for all your Chicago flooring needs!


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What Would You Do With Your Own Ghost Town?

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Kitsault, British Columbia, is a town not unlike many written about in fantasy novels and movies. However, this place and its history is entirely real. U.S. mining conglomerate, Phelps Dodge, founded this community for the workers of its molybdenum mine in 1979.

Only 18 months after the residents established their place in this community, they were forced to evacuate in the middle of the night. With the prices of molybdenum crashing, Phelps Dodge could no longer afford the town and ousted his residents without notice.

Follow this virtual tour and discover this gorgeous relic from the 1980’s:


This rustic sign leads you into this town preserved by time and vacancy.


These picturesque views of mountains and lakes surround you as you drive into town.

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Apartment buildings were available for those who didn't need a single family home.

Apartment buildings were available for those who didn’t need a single family home.

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And while weather may have worn on the outside of this home…

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…the inside, while dated, is in great shape. Must be the lack of people lousing it up!

And now, this once deemed worthless town has just been sold to businessman Krishnan Suthanthiran to the tune of 7 million dollars! Check out this video below where he shares his vision for the future of this ghost town:

 He seems pretty passionate, but if you have a little over $7 million to spare, maybe you can barter a deal and make your very own dream town!




This plaque became futile not even a year later.


This town hall is just one beautiful aspect of Kitsault’s community center

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This Maple Leaf Pub served as the post-work watering hole.

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This trailer-esque elementary school housed 85 students.



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A fully stocked library remains in tact today.

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A grocery store full of shopping carts is ready to filled with food.

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While this town may be stuck in the 80’s, it has the modern conveniences of a gym…

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…and pool and jacuzzi


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A Tree Any Last Minute Christmas Decorator Can Pull Off

Merry Christmas Eve!

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First step of Spiral Christmas Tree by twistedtreeartist

I don’t know about you, but Christmas always seems to come up faster than I expect. And if you didn’t get the chance to go pick out a full evergreen or drag that fake tree out of storage, I have a quick, simple and cheap solution for you: The DIY Spiral Christmas Tree.

The supplies for this project (created by Reddit artist twistedtreeartist) are all items you probably have lying around your house. A simple square table, fishing line, a ceiling hook, wrapping paper and any and all Christmas decorations you have will do just fine.

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Base design by twistedtreeartist

Once you place the table where you want to display your tree, you will want to wrap the table’s surface in wrapping paper. Silver, gold or blue with a snowflake design, any wrapping paper will do. Then you will want to screw the hook in the ceiling securely. Make sure you align the center of the table with the center of where you want the tip of your tree to go for the most streamlined look.

To begin forming the shape of the tree, wrap the fishing line around the bottom of the tree, up and around the hook and then tie a knot to close the initial loop. Do not cut the fishing line. You will continue to wrap the fishing line around the table and hook until you have created a base for the tree.

In order to create spaces to hang your decorations, you will need to create spider web designs within the vertical lines. On the outer cone of the tree, you should pull together a few of the vertical strings, wrap them with more fishing line and then let it go, moving on to the next set of vertical strings. To secure the web, tie a few knots here and there to strengthen the web.

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Final Design by twistedtreeartist

Now comes the best part: the decorating! If you’re going for a m0re modern look, use some silver garland and smaller blue or green lights. For the more traditional decorator, green garland with multi-color lights will look great as well. Wrap as much or as little as you want!

When you plug in the Christmas lights and turn off the overhead lighting, you will have a statement holiday tree that has the illusion of floating in space.

And to think, hours ago, you had a bland holiday-less space!

Need even more lighting for your holiday party? Check out Chicago Handyman’s electrical services!

Revamping The Standard Coffee Table

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Happy Holidays!

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to spice up an everyday DIY project. After all, there are a lot of examples of how to make your own coffee table, but how can you make one that is not only functional but a statement piece?

Tracing tree design onto wood by

Tracing tree design onto wood by iezugod

And that’s when I came across iezugod‘s tree design coffee table. This beautiful piece is not only intricate, but a pretty simple design to create on your own.

When you create the tree stencil, you want to make sure that it is large enough to be noticeable but not overpowering the rest of the table. Then you will trace the design on plywood with a pencil. You will want to cut the wood to the tree shape.


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Base & top of coffee table by iezugod



You can create the frame of the table before or after you create the tree shape. You will need 2×4’s for the legs and supports as well as screws for additional corner supports. You will then need a plywood board which you will attach trim to for a more refined look. The trim is also important so you can inlay plywood boards to surround the tree design. You will need to draw the same tree design on the boards so you can insert the tree in the center of the table. Then you will cut the design and remove the left over wood from the piece.

The next step is to stain the table in a dark cherry color. Then you will place the tree in the center inlay you have created. Once the parts are all assembled, apply polyurethane to the table top to add gloss to your piece.

Adding a stain to the table by iezugod

Adding a stain to the coffee table by iezugod

With that final touch not only have you added another surface to your living room, but a gorgeous art piece all your guests will ask about it.

And you can proudly say, “I made that!”

Looking to renovate the living room you can put this table in? Check out Chicago Handyman’s drywall and painting services! 

Custom Bay Window Seat

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Finished Product by JacobVandagriff

Maybe you’re looking to add some seating to your living room. Or maybe you want to sit comfortably, drink your morning coffee and look out the window at the morning sky. No matter what your reason, a window bench seat can be a great addition to your home. To build your own may take a few days, but it is a creative solution for any room in your home.

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This kitchen bay window, was wasted space until it was transformed in to a custom bay window seat.

Before getting started on your project, you will have to run a few errands for supplies. You will need some 1/4″ and 1/2″ plywood boards and several pressure treated 2X4’s for the frame and supports. Hardware for the storage drawer, white paint and paint brushes will also be required. For the cushion, you will need pre-cut memory foam and a durable fabric of your choosing.

First you should lay your first 2X4 on the outer edge of where your window seat will be. You will want to make sure that it is securely attached to the floor as it will be providing much of the support for the bench. Then you will want to cut the remaining 2X4’s to size to form the frame. This requires 3 other boards to frame the floor area by the window. Using an impact drill and wood screws, you should attach 8 boards vertically to meet the window sills, 3 boards to frame the window sills and another 4 boards to provide support for the cushion.

After the supports are all in place, you will want to use a circular and miter saw to fit the plywood boards of both the top and front of the seat. You will want to cut out 2 squares for the storage underneath the seat. You will want to add wood filler in the storage areas as well for more support.

For a more clean cut look, you can attach trim to the top and bottom of the window seat. Then you can start applying paint of your choosing, though I would suggest matching it to the color of the windows in your home.

bay window remodel

Finishing corners adds style and elegance to any remodeling project. A trim joining the base with the floor creates a beautiful finishing touch.

To finish up the project, you will add the door to the storage area. Attach the door to your window seat and screw in the hardware you bought earlier in the process.  After upholstering the memory foam with the fabric you chose, you place it on top the seat. For added protection, spray some waterproofing solution on the cushion.

Though not for the faint of heart, this is a project doable even for the novice DIY-er. For a step-by-step guide on this project, check out Reddit user JacobVandagriff ‘s imgur album.

And for your more intense home projects, call Chicago Handyman for low prices for all your home improvement needs.

Custom Bay window seat

Mural Painting Brings Rooms to Life

Finished product by loganza

Finished product by loganza

No matter how big or small, no room in your house should ever be called boring. And if you don't have the budget or time to pick out some eclectic furniture or interesting artwork, a feature wall just might be for you. With a clear vision and bit of paint you can breathe some life back into your ignored walls.

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Taping off design by loganza

When choosing the room in your house to add a feature wall to, make sure that the other 3 walls are painted with a neutral or muted color. You don't want houseguests to be distracted from all your hard work! Choose the wall that you want your eye to be drawn to and get started.

First, you're going to want to get your materials together. Depending on how intricate the design you choose, you might need more supplies. For any scale of work you will need a pencil to sketch out the design, painter's tape to define where the design will be painted and the various colors of paint you will want to use.

Next, you will need to choose your design. For example, Reddit user, loganza, wanted a more geometric design. But whether you're an artist or a mural novice, you will want to draw your design with a pencil and a straight edge yardstick. Getting the measurements evenly distributed will definitely be the hardest part, but will make the painting later much easier.

Adding blue to the design by loganza

Adding blue to the design by loganza

Once you have the design all drawn out, you will want to tape out all the sections. You can do this all at once or as you paint each section. Choose bright colors that compliment each other as well as the other walls in the room.

After all the painting is done, peel off the tape and allow the paint to dry.

And voila! You now have a feature mural that any homeowner could be proud of!

Adding the orange accent by loganza

Adding the orange accent by loganza

Need multiple rooms in your house painted? Give us a call for a free estimate on all your Chicago Mural Painting needs.

Enhancing Your Bedroom For Just $50!

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Finished product by immaverb

Not everyone can afford to create a luxurious, top-of-the-line bedroom oasis. However, for those of us renovating on a budget, there’s a simple way to add some indulgence to your master or guest bedrooms. With just a few simple steps, you can make your own extravagant headboard and add some hotel flair at a motel cost.

And all you need is $50! These are the items you’ll need: a particle board fitting the width of your mattress frame, five 2-by-6 boards, spray adhesive, painter’s tape, a durable fabric of your choosing and to add some glamour, like this Reddit user, immaverb, purchase some strip beading to define a border for your headboard.

This task is also amendable for any skillset. From a contributor to Better Homes & Gardens to someone who just mastered how to hit a nail with a hammer, anyone can create their own lavish headboard.

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Constructing the frame by immaverb

Once you’ve measured your particle board to size, adhere the five 2-by-6 boards to function as the supports frames and legs. Apply spray adhesive to the front of the head board, add a layer of foam and keep adding until you reach the consistency you desire. Don’t forget to wrap it around the frame or you could end up with a pretty sloppy design. Once all the foam has been added, go ahead and staple it to the frame for extra support. Add the fabric and staple it to the back of the board’s frame, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles in the fabric. And presto, you got yourself a headboard!

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Prepping for beading by immaverb

Don’t think I forgot about you classier DIY-ers: To add the strip beading, all you need to do is secure painters tape around the edges of the headboard to ensure a straight line and add the beading as directed.

And installation? That’s the easiest part! Place it behind your bed frame and let the weight of the bed do the rest.

Take a step back and admire your work. In less than a day’s time, you’ve added sophisticated to the adjectives that could be used to describe your bedroom.

And if you’re still looking to add more glitz to your bedroom after this project, check out Chicago Handyman’s deals on home improvement.

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Beading by immaverb

Click here for a step-by-step photo gallery for this project.