Imagine Making Every Stick of Furniture for Your Home

With the builders having finished phase one I released myself to embrace further planning for my designs to come to fruition Walking through the new areas I look at every wall and into each corner where I see a unique image in my mind’s eye of what I might like to build as furniture. I see an oak design standing there near the under-the-stairs cupboard door. I tell myself, “Wow! Oak would really pop off there. I see it full colour in mind and then the design comes to me in a matter of seconds. I might reach for a sketchbook and I wonder if one day I might look at a handheld device and see the image transferred to the illuminated glass screen: colour and all, instead of paper in a sketchbook.

As I moved around the hallway another emerges. ‘That’s a useful space.’ I tell myself. No, my existing pieces, the multiple dozens I have made over the years, will not be coming here. I want something very much more specific than this or that. I want my design measured to the inch. it’s a luxury, I know, but that is what I want and I want others to follow by my providing the steps I take to get to the finished pieces. The contrast of black and white tiling excites me. When I walk through my front door to come home I want to see something inviting and lovely to look at. Furniture and things from wood that I have designed and then made too. I want a sort of tidiness but not clinically ordered. An entryway should be warmly furnished and this is what wood is exceptionally good for. I am also thinking wall-hung pieces, perhaps stair-hung too. Then there are the ceiling spots. They’re exceptionally bright and very plain. I am thinking veneer-thin pieces there, something the light can pierce yet wood-warm. Not so much shades but warmth with character yet not too much so as to draw the eye more than for a mere glimpse. I have an idea for a veneer interweave on the stair balustrades too. Still a thought in process yet. The walls may yet be subjected to colour and I have yet to consider this as adding colour adds even more complexity to the way things work.

There’s a heightened boost that always works in tandem with my ides to plan a design and build. To the scientist its a mix of neurotransmitters your system releases to engage the upcoming tasks. Creativity relies on this release and yet it is not always something we think through at the start of pursuing our ambitions. one thing for certain is that there is great benefit from spending time beforehand destressing. Why? Well, you’ve read enough from me to say the essence of all artisan crafting is the art of putting things in order. Getting to work means taking care to put everything in order as much as possible. By this, I mean you sharpen and adjust your tools, sweep up, clear the decks, yes, those are obvious, but then there are the less obvious such as pick up the groceries, put out the rubbish and make certain the life management areas are taken care of. This is destressing your zone to make room for creativity. It may seem rudimentary but I know too many creative people who have come undone through the years because they felt they were just too creatively minded to be any earthly good. The mundane things were for ordinary people. All that did ultimately was lead them to ever more stress. Once these things are dispatched you can begin to reroute yourself and let the creative juices flow. The new bandsaw blade gets installed place, the sketch or drawing is made and then too the cutting list comes in.

Every stage from the point you decide to start allowing a project to emerge from your psyche becomes a notation. The chemistry nurturing creativity relies on our excitement about the prospect of making. The engaging of creative chemistry activates the mental salivary glands as we pull parts of the puzzle together. A drawing slowly comes together albeit just the sketch right now, but it’s enough. It’s the motive behind your creativity that matters. Pictures start to occur in your mind. You feel charged. Why? Because putting things in order is part of the preparatory process and even tidying up and putting things away is important to establishing a state of better-being before the work we really want to engage with starts. Being ‘charged’? The neurotransmitters encourage the release of chemicals as the neurons do the job of transmitting electric impulses to the brain that result in our ability to create physiological output. That being so, our starting out is delivering the canoe into the water at the river’s edge. From then on we find different strategies to tackle the challenges as we start our paddling.


  1. Arthur Coates on 26 January 2020 at 8:54 pm

    I am looking forward to installments in this series.

  2. John 2v on 26 January 2020 at 10:34 pm

    Your under stairs cupboard reminds me of a job I had for a customer wanting a toilet installed.
    I enlarged the door opening to 24″ …..replaced all stair tread and riser wedges …screwed 12mm plasterboard to both faces of same….this gave just enough head room for hand basin and (without going into details) access to loo. I used a micro bore pumped maserator. All worked perfect and customer was 6′-0″ !!!
    You only have one door …most have two i.e. 1 smaller
    And I managed to build a cupboard/vanity unit to house consumer fuse box with inset hand basin.

    • Steve P on 27 January 2020 at 12:23 am

      The cupboard under the stairs reminds me of where Harry Potter sleeps. I’m sure the grandkids will love that when they are a bit older.

      Can’t wait to see what ypu mean about the stair balustrades. Have you ever been to the Gamble House in Pasadena California? The Greene & Greene brothers really did some incredible stuff with the staircase there. And the handrail that matches the steps so your hands always feel in place as you walk up and down. Curious what you have in mind.

  3. Jim on 27 January 2020 at 2:30 am

    Just imagine Paul, that with all of the skills that you have taught us if we lived during the middle ages we could be building cross bows for the kings army!

  4. Sylvain on 27 January 2020 at 8:36 am

    – funny to see your reflection in two window glasses on the second picture.
    – many women complain that men leaves too much life-management mental-strain on them. That comes from the old “housewife” (more explicitly in French: “maîtresse de maison”) paradigm.

    – is there a basement in this house?

  5. Michael Geiger on 27 January 2020 at 9:08 am

    This post has got my hands itching. My wife and I have just began to push the canoe of a big venture into the waters. We’ve purchased our first house (awaiting home loan approval and are unfortunately still a bit stuck on the conveyor belt). But every time I think of various spaces in that house I get excited to fill them with furniture. For now the focus is to finish my workbench which will hopefully happen before we move, but from them it’s on to buikding the kitchen cabinets (the kitchen is bare) and shelving units and many more. It’s an exciting and daunting prospect and you, Paul, have given me courage to give it a go! Thank you

  6. Ray on 27 January 2020 at 4:06 pm

    I want to comment on your opening saying you see the piece designed in your mind in proportion and color. I believe most artist have this talent. A lot of folks cannot imagine the project without a sketch. It’s a blindness I would find inconvenient.


  7. Joe on 27 January 2020 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks Paul. Looking forward to it all. Any chance you can give us a vlog walkthrough on the ideas bouncing around in your head? I’m not trying to get you to commit to anything but I think hearing a detailed thought pattern might be helpful for us.

    For the most part, I consider most of my house to be a blank canvas and though I have some ideas such as the combined living room dining room will become a library/reading room with wrap around bookshelves and sitting areas on the bookshelves that go under the windows. The more I head you talk about ideas, the more it helps me to think.

    Many thanks for the consideration.

Leave a Comment

  • Roger on Resistance to ChangeI bought both a 10" and 12" Spear and Jackson saw with their 'modern' handles in the early 1960s and they have both served me well ever since. They have not had the constant use th…
  • Stefan R. on Resistance to ChangeI have high respect for someone saying "I apologise". It is humbeling and not many people want to be humble. When i started with woodworking and sharpening my tools a year ago und…
  • Thomas on Resistance to ChangeI recently bought the Spear & Jackson panel saw and tenon saw you have recommended in the past, and I almost want to personally thank Spear & Jackson personally for providi…
  • Cian on Does Dead flatness MatterI'm a toolmaker by trade and have access to all the equipment I need to flatten plane soles within .01mm but I don't bother. I had to do it once with a Record 41/2 that someone had…
  • Paul Sellers on Resistance to ChangeIt's a funny thing, back in 1965 a sales rep came in the workshop with a power router to sell it to the boss (a snob who knew nothing about woodworking). The craftsmen all stood ar…
  • Paul Sellers on Resistance to ChangeImagine surfing inside a tunnel and having a cable hooked up to you to follow the line and then the angle of perfect conformity!
  • Steve P on Resistance to ChangeIt is definitely hard finding the haystack on youtube. Especially when they have affiliate links to purchase the items they are showing in the videos. They get money for every view…