21 Outstanding Reader Projects
Creating clever storage units, stellar bonus spaces, quirky pet projects and more, The Family Handyman readers are amazing DIYers! Check out these 21 seriously cool reader projects.
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Modular Pet Ramp
Reader Doug Swanson has two lucky dachshunds. He built this custom ramp with window seating and a safety railing so they can look out the window despite one of the pet’s back issues. The ramp also features built-in storage cabinets and casters, so it can be moved easily when it’s time to vacuum the floor.
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Reader Janice Ferguson and her husband made changes to their existing pond based on a few ideas they found in The Family Handyman’s Plan a Low-Maintenance Pond project, originally published in the April 2005 issue. They lowered the water level, making it more accessible for birds, and added a small waterfall. What a great water feature!
3 / 21Photo: Courtesy of Dale Lockwood
Private Studio Space
Reader Dale Lockwood built this amazing creative studio building for his wife. It includes double front doors, three sliding windows that face a nearby lake, an interior loft for storage, window boxes, a weathervane and a woodchip pathway. It’s the perfect space for bringing creative projects to life.
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Reader Brian created this remarkable arcade in his basement. From the video games to comfortable seating to foosball and air hockey tables to the well-stocked snack corner and retro décor, the space is a dream for any game lover. What a cool room, Brian!
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Outdoor Bench with Storage
Reader Billy Keith built an amazing storage bench for his outdoor space. He used teak, which features excellent water-resistant qualities, for the exterior and cedar, which features natural deodorizing qualities for the interior. The finished piece looks flawless, don’t you think?
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Firefighter Home Bar
The materials used by reader Janet Emge and her husband to create their home bar make it an exceptional, one-of-a-kind space for a reserve firefighter. The front of the bar, for example, is covered with sections of fire hose. And the light fixtures and made with recycled oxygen tanks. So cool!
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Skinny Workshop Cart
Talk about taking advantage of unused storage space! Reader John White constructed this skinny shop cart for storing his surplus sheet goods. It features an open frame on four small casters, and it fits perfectly in the open space behind the lower cabinets in his workshop. Excellent idea, John!
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This creative cottage-like shed was built by reader Alan Luebs. He used our Dream Shed plans, originally published in the July/August 2013 issue of The Family Handyman. He modified the doors and windows and added awesome siding materials and colors. We absolutely love it!
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Classy TV Cabinet
This TV cabinet project was executed perfectly by reader Ronald Berg. He used plans from The Family Handyman’s November 2012 issue, adding that he learned how to use a Kreg pocket-hole jig for the first time and loved it. We love your work, Ronald!
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Pirate Ship Tree House
This pirate ship-inspired tree house must be the talk of reader Douglas Goble’s neighborhood! It’s amazingly executed—from the pretend cannon to the sail to the helm that spins. It provides his kids with hours of outdoor fun.
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Bookcase Entertainment Center
“My entertainment center is by no means perfect, but it is by far the nicest thing I have ever built,” says reader Matt Godsey. “It fills me with pride every time I get a book down from the shelf to read to our kids, or I watch one of them get a movie out of the cabinet for family movie night.” Matt crafted this beautiful rendition of The Family Handyman’s Classic Bookcase project, originally published in the December/January 2014 issue.
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Built using plans from the Ultimate Garden Shed article in The Family Handyman magazine, reader Bill Derby says his Taj Ma-Shed was a challenging yet very rewarding project to complete. He even added to it by building a deck for the base of the shed!
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This mancave was once a horse barn. Now it’s a climate-controlled, seriously cool hangout spot that reader Robert Rhea spends more time in than his house! You would, too, if your mancave featured a full kitchen and bar, a theater with balcony seating, two bedrooms and space to showcase your many collections. Nicely done, Robert!
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Reclaimed Lumber Decking
From trash to treasure is an understatement for this project by reader Dallin Pedersen. He salvaged a pile of 3x3 unfinished Ipe boards, turning them into beautiful and unique decking. After reshaping the boards and a lot of sanding, Dallin added an oil-base wood toner. The deck looks spectacular!
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Fancy DIY Fire Table
Perfect for chilly fall nights, reader Ed Merkle constructed this Fabulous Fire Table using plans from the April 2017 issue of The Family Handyman. He modified it slightly by making it smaller to fit within his outdoor space, and we love the terra-cotta color that he chose for the concrete top! Ed says the project has been receiving glowing reviews from his neighbors.
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Amazing Yellow Shed
Reader Nick Ross created this cheerful yellow shed using plans from The Family Handyman magazine. The concrete ramp in the front is a nice addition and will be perfect for rolling a lawnmower and other outdoor power equipment inside the shed. And, of course, the bright yellow color is awesome.
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Kitchen Remodel on a Budget
For just $4,100, reader Mike Helsel remodeled his kitchen, and that includes knocking out a wall! He built the cabinets himself with cherry wood that he purchased from a local farmer. And his family was without a sink and stove for two days total—now that’s quick work!
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Reader Frank Smola asked his grandson if he would rather have a playhouse or a pretend jail to have fun with when he visits. You can guess his grandson’s response based on the photo. Frank used bricks and steel bars from an old barbecue pit to construct the jail building. We think it turned out great!
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Wood Fireplace Surround
Reader Bill Wachholder wanted to update his fireplace, so he built this stunning wood surround. It features beautiful molding details and a rich cherry finish. Nicely done, Bill!
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Big and Little Storage Lockers
We’re impressed with reader J. Macpherson’s modifications to The Family Handyman’s Outdoor Storage Locker project from March 2008. Both versions of the shed were based on the project plans that he found on the website. Way to go!
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Patio Chairs with Storage
Check out the awesome modification that reader Mike Reichenbach incorporated into The Family Handyman’s Perfect Patio Chairs project, originally published in the March 2017 issue. The small storage compartment built onto the back of each chair is perfect for stashing bug spray, cold beverages and more. Great idea, Mike!
Originally Published: October 31, 2017