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by Carmen Farrell

This month at O+U is all about loves and obsessions, so here’s a little post about what’s currently giving me lady wood:  power tools.  Yup.  That’s all it takes to get this lady hot and bothered.  Good, old power tools.

For me, the potential for this  love affair started long ago.  In elementary school I took shop rather than home ec.  My inner feminist was budding and I wanted to make a statement.  I was only one of 3 females in a class of 30 12-year-olds.  By the end of the term, I was doing major cuts on the band saw for half the class.  Dudes were terrified of cutting their fingers off, and I loved how powerful I felt conquering my fear and plowing through it.

Fast forward 24 years and this here chick is trying to get her house fixed up nice and pretty.  Unfortunately, buying a 100+ year old home means that when you knock down walls and pull up floors you encounter major structural issues that eat up your meager budget and leave you with an empty shell (that is at least structurally sound at this point).  So, the hubster and I had to hunker down, ignore our children just about every weekend, and get busy making the house livable on our own.

Long story short, we found ourselves buying tools like a table saw and an impact driver – and the cooler the tools we bought, the more my mind started swirling with the possibilities.  Then Pinterest made it worse.  In the past month, I’ve been pinning tons of inspiration for making my own sectional couch.  I’ve got 3 boys who are growing fast and who’ll likely be taller than me by their 13th birthdays.  So we need lots of lounging space.  I’d had dreams of  buying a big-ass sectional …until I started shopping around and realized that all the ones that I loved cost upwards of $6000 (why must Crate and Barrel be so cruel?).  So, we could say good-bye to family vacations for the next couple of years, or I could pull out my power tools and make shit happen myself.  I realized that some of the sectionals that I loved were the exact measurements of two twin mattresses set in the shape of an “L”.  Boom.  Mind explosions.  I can sew, I can build…I can make a sectional for less than $500, damn it!

The photo directly above is of the mattresses as we’ve been living with them.  On the floor.  Size-wise they’re perfect.  As of this writing, they are now up on their frames, but I’m still trying to pick out fabric.  If anyone’s interested in the final product, I’ll post some photos up on the O+U Facebook page once it’s done.

So what else have we been able to accomplish with our fancy power tools?  We hacked some pretty cool wooden floors for a fraction of what hardwood would have cost us.  We refaced our old stairs.  We built storage benches for our front porch.   And my head continues to swim with the possibilities.

What’s next on my big old project list?  Concrete countertops for the new kitchen!  I’m practically convulsing with excitement.  Nuts, right?

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  1. Jill #
    August 3, 2012

    Power tools? Who knew?! But concrete counters are my favorite. I dream of the colors and the grit and the smoothness and the cool temps. God, how I would sell a kidney for a functional kitchen with concrete counters. And sadly, Dave knows this and will give me blow-by-blows from conferences he attends if they mention it. I can’t wait to see your sectional :)

    • August 3, 2012

      I’ll let you fondle my countertops all you like in October!

      • Jill #
        August 3, 2012

        Deal . . . might actually roll all over it, too.

      • August 4, 2012

        I was chuckling at ‘lady wood’ then nearly choked on my coffee at “i’ll let you fondle my countertops” love it

  2. lifeineden #
    August 3, 2012

    I love me some power tools. I won’t let the husband use my drill (much). I just bought a circular saw last year, but want a table saw. I want a compressor and nail gun too. I want to build custom built-ins with a window seat and faux board and batten walls.

    I hear you sister. You GO!

    • August 3, 2012

      Oh, Amy, you’re speaking my language! I’d give my right pinky for a compressor and nail gun too. I might ask Santa for Christmas :)

      • lifeineden #
        August 3, 2012

        What I find most frustrating is my dad is a construction worker and pretty fair master craftsman. But he is pushing 80 and lives 3 hours away, and for years never really wanted to play the teacher (he is sort of a “I’ll just get it done for you” guy). He did show me how to use my circular saw, but he knows so many little tricks and tips and I fear that I’ll never get to learn them all from him. Hopefully now that the kids are nearly bigger I can get him to come and supervise me at something … although he tends to take over (unfortunately that runs in the family).

  3. August 3, 2012

    CONCRETE COUNTERTOPS???? I just convulsed a little bit right along with you.

  4. August 6, 2012

    any woman that took shop is a woman after my own heart. My obsession is all woodwork- stripping, sanding, staining. Along with knitting, I’m saving the serious woodwork for retirement, or at least until my kids are a bit older. Things like dovetail joints are what make me weak in the knees. Can’t wait to see the kitchen.

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