Don't Move, Improve - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Don't Move, Improve

 In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs

I’ve owned my custom woodworking business for 13 years, and the financial
shake-up of the past few years seems to have prompted a lot of people I
know to adhere to a “don’t move, improve” philosophy when it comes to their
homes. Rather than simply trading up to bigger and fancier houses, a lot of
my friends and clients are looking for creative ways to make their current
homes work better, and the kitchen is one of the first places that they
look. Kitchen remodels , of whatever scale , are a great way to build equity
and maximize functionality and aesthetic appeal, and I wanted to write a
book that could help people navigate the process of planning and executing
their own projects.

As I prepared for this project, I took a pretty thorough look at the kitchen
books that were already out there, and I learned a few things that guided
the direction that this book ultimately went in. I found that most existing
books either fell into a “how to” category that detailed the construction of
cabinetry, or an “inspiration” category that focused on full-page photos of
dream kitchens. I didn’t really feel a need to  reinvent those wheels, but
in talking with David Thiel at F+W Media (Popular Woodworking Magazie’s parent company), I found that we had a shared vision for a book that could be a bit of a hybrid. We speculated that it might be useful to show how the design process works, and then describe how to jump through the logistical hoops that make creative ideas a reality.

This combination approach, I think, makes this book not only unique but
genuinely useful.

Because there is no single correct way to plan a kitchen project, the book
presents a wealth of general principles that readers can apply to their own
projects, and then I sought to take it a step further by detailing some of
the projects that I’ve been involved in over that past couple of years.
These case studies go way beyond simple before-and-after photos and really
delve into each step of the process.  I think that this synergy between
theory and reality should be pretty interesting. To take things a step
further, I conducted interviews with architects and kitchen designers whom I
admire and got their perspective on how to create practical and beautiful
kitchens. The DVD documents some of these interviews, and I think it is a
fun and casual way to soak up this information.

In terms of practical advice, I tried to provide a lot of information about
how to plan and schedule projects so that they move along efficiently, and
how to avoid many typical remodeling pitfalls. For those who are inclined
to get their hands dirty, I included a lot of how-to tips about cabinet
construction, drawer-making, and much more. And, just to be clear on this,
the book isn’t just for remodels , it is also just as handy for brand-new
kitchens. The same basic principles apply to just about any situation. So,
whether your kitchen dreams are modest or bold, and whether you plan to do
it all yourself, or you’re simply looking for a good overview of the process
so that you can help to coordinate with the other people that you’ll have
on-site, I think that book should be invaluable. Happy reading!

, Chris Gleason, Popular Woodworking books author

Click Here to Order “Kitchen Makeovers for any Budget”

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Showing 3 comments
  • Christopher Schwarz


    I second what Megan said. My house is in sore need of some improvements. So I am very unqualified to run a magazine about this topic.

    We’ll stick to woodworking until they show me the door (and how to hang it).


  • megan

    I promise — no home improvement articles in PWM. This blog entry is simply to let readers know about a new book from our book division that may have some tangential interest to woodworkers.


  • Chet Kloss

    With all due respect, I hope this doesn’t mean we’re going to see home improvement articles in Popular Woodworking Magazine. We’ve already lost Woodworking Magazine and the world is full of home improvement magazines. I may be wrong, but I think you should try and stay focused on building furniture. That is your core strength.


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