How to build an elevated Cedar lookout bench

Cedar lookout bench
The shape of the lookout bench might seem familiar because the design uses the same details found on most picnic tables. Photos by Roger Yip.

The perfect seat for the perfect view

By Paul Lewis

The end of a perfect summer day in cottage country is an event worth planning for. As the sun sets over rippled water, shimmering against darkening silhouettes of rocks and trees, the only thing you can add is a place to sit comfortably and take in the beauty. This bench, simple to make from Western Red Cedar lumber, can help you maximize the view. It requires a few angled cuts and butt and lap joints, held together with galvanized carriage bolts and deck screws. The shape of this bench might seem familiar because the design uses the same details found on most cedar picnic tables: horizontal supports bolted to angled vertical legs, with 2x6s offering a place to sit and support your feet. Although all project parts could easily be cut with a handsaw or handheld circular saw, a mitre saw makes it easier and quicker to do the necessary slicing. Continue reading “How to build an elevated Cedar lookout bench”

Free plans for a stylish dockside storage bench

Dock box storage
This basket bench has a design that is just the right length to fit a standard water noodle, and a slatted bottom to allow water to drain and air to circulate. Photos by Roger Yip

dockside doesn’t have to look like a garage sale

By Paul Lewis

Many of my projects are designed to store stuff neatly – and this one is no exception. Pool noodles (those ubiquitous foam tubes that multiply wherever there is water and kids) defy tidy storage. They are unruly, generally soggy and seemingly made to resist organization – until now. This basket bench has a design that is just the right length to fit a standard noodle, and a slatted bottom to allow water to drain and air to circulate. Guck doesn’t gather in the corners, either, because there are none. But this Western Red Cedar dock storage bench project is not just for noodles: paddles, life jackets, skis and tow ropes are just some of the water-related stuff that find a welcome home here. To top it all off, this project is also a comfortable bench, perfect for pausing and storage beside the pool or lake. Continue reading “Free plans for a stylish dockside storage bench”

Build your own little cabin in the woods

Front view of cedar cabin
photos by Chris Campbell

Treat summer guests to comfortable quarters

By Paul Lewis

My original cabin’s wobbly foundation shifted uneasily on its stacked-stone piers. “No problem,” I announced. “We’ll shore up this foundation, patch the roof and maybe add new Cedar siding.” A nice little weekend project, I thought. A couple of weeks later, up to my elbows in mud and blackflies, and surrounded by the remains of the demolished sleeping cabin, it occurred to me that this might be a bigger project than I had first imagined. As it turns out, nothing was salvageable. The good news is that constructing a small building from the ground up was high on the list of things I’d always wanted to do. Continue reading “Build your own little cabin in the woods”

Five ways to create a defined outdoor space

Turn a blasé backyard into a sanctuary

  1. Pergola shade canopy

In addition to protecting from the elements, a Western Red Cedar pergola is a highly functional and attractive way to mark a stand-alone space. There are a multitude of design options to choose from (round, square, L-shaped, etc.), but whichever route you go, classically beautiful Western Red Cedar is the best material to build with.

Continue reading “Five ways to create a defined outdoor space”

Architect Spotlight – Mikiten Architecture

Appreciation for wood design started young

It was what architect Erick Mikiten didn’t have as a child that fueled his creativity when it came to working with wood.

“We had only a few power tools, but my father taught me how to be creative to get the most out of them. In this way, I developed a deep connection with shaping wood,” he says. “Now I have my own wood shop, where I build everything from boxes to furniture to cabinets. It’s been enriching to pass on this love of working with my hands and with wood to my son as well, who’s now 15.”  Continue reading “Architect Spotlight – Mikiten Architecture”

Project of the Week – West Hills

Location: Portland, Oregon
Architect: FIELDWORK Design & Architecture
Photography: Brian Walker Lee

Located in the West Hills above downtown Portland, the primary inspiration for this project was the environment in which the project is sited – immersed in the forest, with framed views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. And what better way to pay homage to this breathtaking northwest scenery than using locally sourced, sustainable woodContinue reading “Project of the Week – West Hills”

How to build a modern cedar dog house

Western Red Cedar pooch nook with stairs

Being in the dog house has never looked so good, as furry models Lola and Daisy prove in Real Cedar’s latest DIY video on how to build a modern cedar dog house.

In the latest Real Cedar DIY video, expert builder Jim West from Westworks Construction walks viewers through a simple, step-by-step process to craft a modern Western Red Cedar dog house that can double as a stylish side table. The practical piece is both a comfortable nook for your dog’s bed and a functional piece of real wood furniture that adds warmth and texture to your garden, home or office.

“Well, the girls sure seem to like it,” West says, referring to his sweet pugs who came along on building day to test out their cozy new modern indoor dog house. Continue reading “How to build a modern cedar dog house”

Easy DIY: How to build a garden privacy nook 

Easy DIY: Modern garden bench

Define and enhance an outdoor space this summer with this easy-to-build and charming garden privacy nook. The nook-style bench is both a private sanctuary setting and a beautiful visual piece that adds natural texture to your garden or patio.

The garden privacy nook is a large structure, but it’s not a complex build, explains expert builder Jim West of Westworks Construction, who walks viewers through the process of crafting the Western Red Cedar nook. The build starts with the Western Red Cedar framing of the seat and the roof system; from there the Western Red Cedar cladding is placed over the structure. West suggests that a second pair of hands would help with the build in terms of moving the structure. Continue reading “Easy DIY: How to build a garden privacy nook “

Three reasons cedar is the best environmental choice for your new deck

Okay, so Real Cedar boasts greater beauty and more versatility than man-made materials – few would argue that point. But, Real Cedar is so much more than just good-looking and strong; it’s also the best environmental choice for your new deck.

  1. Renewable and biodegradable                                                                                                                                              Homeowners who choose Western Red Cedar over synthetic substitutes aren’t just building a more naturally beautiful deck, they’re also making the best decision for the environment. That’s because independent studies prove that when it comes to environmental performance, natural wood is one of the most environmentally friendly building materials.

Continue reading “Three reasons cedar is the best environmental choice for your new deck”