Pottery Barn Inspired Storage System DIY ~ Tutorial

Hey guys!  We recently discovered Ana’s blog ~ Knock Off Wood ~ and I have been on a furniture high ever since!  Ana is a carpenter who makes knock off furniture on the cheap…and she is generous enough to share her detailed plans with the blogging world!  Not only does she offer the plans for FREE, she gives you the exact cutting deminsions, a supply list and detailed how to’s on many techniques she uses when building!
Have you ever looked through a high-end magezine and longed for playroom storage?  Well, I haven’t simply because they are so out of my budget, so I glance but I never let it enter my mind but that is about to change!  Ana offers the plans for a similar storage system and PLEASE believe me when I say ANYONE can make this ~ NO SAW NEEDED!  It may be a little overwhelming for you when you first read the plans so I am going to take you with me on my journey to conquer the largest piece of furniture I have ever made from scratch.  I am starting with the outside bases. You can see the plans for it HERE!
When I said NO SAW NEEDED that is because Home Depot will cut all of the measurements you need for FREE!
I took my supply list along with all of the measurements I needed to my local Home Depot.
This is Stephan.  I told him what types of wood I needed and how I wanted them cut.  He picked them out for me, carried and cut them.  I just told him the measurements as he went.  (I did get home with a piece that was cut too short.  I took it back the next day and they replaced it at no extra charge.  However, for the next set I will bring my tape measure with me and make sure they are right before I leave so I don’t have to make another trip).
These suckers spank my circular saw!
and here are all of my pieces (because they were cut I was able to fit them in my backseat and they were very easy to handle)!  FYI:  I used 3/4″ thick MDF for the sides, bottom and top and 1/4″ thick MDF for the back.
When I got home I marked all of the boards A-E according to the plans (next time I will mark them as I measure them at Home Depot to save time).
Now, you don’t need a saw but you MUST have a drill…
and Gorilla Glue Wood Glue.  When attaching the boards together spread wood glue generously between every piece you are attaching ~ the screws will act as clamps while the glue is drying.
You will need to predrill holes for all of your screws.  Choose a drill bit that is a tad smaller than the thickness of your screws so that the screws will only cut the thread.  (MDF is soft and this will protect the wood from splitting.
Because I could not find the suggested cabinet screws, a Home Depot employee (and my hubby) suggested these Deck Mate screws.  I’m not sure what the difference is but they worked like a charm!
After predrilling I inserted the screws. (You will be drilling blind so a line is helpful to mark where the other board is located).
Looking good!  (Ana offers a how-to square and level HERE).
Another step ~ per plans!
The plans suggest 2 1/2″ base moulding but I could not find any under 3″.  So, I just picked a preprimed trim that I liked at 2 1/2″.  It worked great!
Almost done!
Predrilling the top (note the penciled line).
Adding screws to the top.
Now for the back side.  Ana suggests 1/4″ thick plywood for the backside because it is cheaper than MDF or hardwood plywood.  I opted for 1/4″ MDF because the cubbies will be open, exposing the back.  It was more expensive but I know I will be more pleased with the look.
I used these 1″ wire nails to hammer the backside on.
Finally, go back and fill in the holes made by the screws with Elmer’s Wood Filler (this step is important because your piece will look much nicer without screws and holes showing).
This step is also easy!  Just squeeze a bit of wood filler in each hole…
then, pack and smooth.  If the filler is not flush you can sand it down with a light grit sand paper.
and here we are!  Now remember these are just the two bottom bases that go on either side of the TV stand.  The total cost for these together was $42.  It took me 30 mintues at Home Depot and 45 minutes to build each cabinet.  NOT BAD!!!  Ana also provides plans to add drawers inside of these cabinets but I am going to wait until the entire system is built before I decide if I will add the drawers.  Stop by next week as I try to tackle the media stand that goes between these ginormous bases.  I can’t wait!!!
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  1. carlene on August 3, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    hey..want to make this storage system but cant find it on ana’s blog…can you share measurements with me?

  2. surfnsun1176 on June 19, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Hey Ashley, I just recently completed the project and wanted to share the results. It went relatively smooth, even though your experience with getting the wood cut was 500 times easier than mine (you can read about it on our blog – link provided below).

    I had to modify the bookshelves to only go 3 high instead of 4 because of the shape of our bonus room, but other than that I tried to stick to the plan. It was my first project ever, so of course I had to do some "nipping and tucking" here and there to get some of the pieces to fit just right.

    Thanks for the inspiration

  3. Angel on February 5, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Oh wow! I just did a google search "Pottery Barn tutorial" to see if I could find any inspiration for our playroom re-do. I can't wait to see what else you have here and to check out her site as well. Great job! I'm really impressed.

  4. jacksmom on January 31, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I just started the cubby bases today, the lowe's guy who cut mine did a horrible job and everything was off by 1/8" to 1/4". I was able to make adjustment but it took so much time! Got them done and the putty is drying now so I can sand them tonight. Will have to try another store for the hutches and take my tape measure with me. Thanks for the insight and pictures as you go, I might not have tackled the project if I hadn't seen you doing it.

  5. Jayne-at-the-end-of-the-lane on January 24, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    So are you going to paint it? Or stain it?
    I am hoping to make this someday in the not so far future! 🙂

  6. Little Lizard King on January 20, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I just discovered this blog as well, and I'm in heaven thinking about all the fun projects we can build! Can't wait to see the final result.

  7. Mikael on January 20, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    I can't wait to see the rest! You are such a TEASE!! I want to do this in my bonus room!

  8. Shanty 2 Chic on January 20, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Hey guys. I've had a lot of you say that you wish you had a space to put this huge piece. You can mix and match the pieces to fit any space. For example, 1 drawer base with 1 cubby hutch on top makes a very cute storage piece and it will not take up much room. You can check out Ana's site or Pottery Barn's for more design ideas.

  9. Sabrina on January 20, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    That is going to be gorgeous! I wish we had room in our home to put something like that. Can't wait to see the finished product!!! I'll be checking out Ana's blog. Thanks.

  10. Lolly on January 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Ashley, you blow me AWAY!!! That is great. I would never in a million years dream that one day you would be building furniture.

  11. Virginia's Looking Glass on January 20, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Okay girls post something please… We are having Shanty withdrawl. I can't wait to see your finished project Ashley but give us a little something to envy while we wait. For those of us addicted to your site, we are suffering!!!!!!!

  12. Amber on January 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    FABULOUS! I used to work at Pottery Barn Kids, and although I got a fantastic discount, I just couldn't bring myself to pay $100+ dollars on most of their stuff. I love looking for ideas and recreating myself. I have a small table in the works now and I can't wait to share pictures on my blog soon! :o) If you were to buy that whole storage system it would run you at 1K. Yikes! Love the DYI. Great blog, love you girls!

  13. Megan @ Megity's Handmade on January 20, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Bravo! I am really impressed and inspired! I've seen her blog and when I started reading the instructions, I got overwhelmed. I don't have a saw and I don't have a nailgun and I gave up. Obviously, too early!!
    Thanks to you for doing this, I'm inspired to pick it up again. I want to do the entryway system. I can't wait to see the end result!

  14. on January 19, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    You are a brave (and patient) woman. Kudos to you!!

  15. Abbie on January 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Loving the directions for free and pre-cut simpleness that Home Depot provides. You girls are the same kinda DIY thrifters that my sisters and I are. Check out our "upcycled" furniture on our little blog, Ethel Edith Junk, Funk, and Furniture. Hope you have a great day!

  16. Shanty 2 Chic on January 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Thanks so much guys! April ~ It's so funny that you mention that your husband wants to do it for you! Mine has been pouting about this project since I started. He actually went with me to Home Depot when I had to get a piece corrected and he went to the other side of the store while I got it cut. I hate that it hurts his feelings but he really doesn't have time to do it NOW which is when I want it done:) I'm sure he will warm-up to the idea eventually….

  17. Chrissy on January 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Love it! You've done a great job. I've seen Ana's site and have wanted to try something. It's great to see what you've done. So motivating and inspiring! Thanks!

  18. April on January 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I can't wait to get started on this piece. Thanks for the pictures, it certainly takes the intimidation out of the project. I was showing all of this to dh last night and I mentioned that I could get all the wood cut at Lowe's (the one near us will cut it). He said, "I'll cut your wood." I'm all, "But they'll do it for free.." and he said "I'm not letting some other man cut my wife's wood." Lol, he was so serious, I didn't argue. So much for me doing it on my own 🙂

  19. Randi on January 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I love her blog … can't wait to try my first project.

  20. Michelle on January 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    I've always wanted to tackle a project like this but have always been too intimidated. Thanks for sharing such a great tutorial!

    Have a wonderful week!

  21. 拋銷 on January 19, 2010 at 6:36 am


  22. Gina on January 19, 2010 at 2:52 am

    LOVE your blog! I gave you an award! Just know I SO appreciate your work on here! Thanks!

  23. Stephanie on January 18, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    This is awesome! I have always been intimidated when it comes to this type of stuff…Not anymore! And you did that section in such short time! I am for sure going to check Ana's blog. Thanks!


  24. Robyn on January 18, 2010 at 5:01 am

    Wait … they'll cut the wood for you at those places? Geez. All the ideas I've tossed simply because I don't have a saw.

  25. Maggie on January 18, 2010 at 3:46 am

    I've just started my first Knock Off Wood Project and it is taking ALL my strength to not run down to the garage to keep working on it!!!

    Can't wait to see how yours turns out.

  26. undomestic chica on January 17, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    You're so brave! I wish I had a place to put these because they're gorgeous.

  27. Susan on January 17, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Can't wait to see the finished product. My girlfriend has the exact Pottery Barn unit you showed and I have never been impressed by it. Poor quality for all that money!

  28. Dawn on January 17, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Thank you so much for the step by step and the awesome pictures- it really takes the intimidation factor out for me… can't wait to see the continuation!

  29. The Gould's on January 17, 2010 at 6:02 am

    Oohh, I just discovered her blog a few days ago and I've been dying to try something out! Every time my husband sees me looking around, he says…"I know what your doing…don't you think you have enough projects going?"…never!

  30. Tales From My Empty Nest on January 17, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Thanks for introducing that new blog. I am so impressed that you are going to build that wonderful unit. Can't wait to see the finished product. Love & blessings from NC!

  31. Shanty 2 Chic on January 17, 2010 at 3:51 am

    Good to know! The Lowe's in our area will NOT cut wood for you so I would call around before you go to save time:) Honestly, I would pay a little extra to get all of it cut because they can do it very fast, it is perfectly straight and it is easier to load and unload from the car:)

  32. Madeleine on January 17, 2010 at 3:49 am

    You're my hero!!! I love it!!! I can't wait to see the next step!!!

  33. mistymaygrey on January 17, 2010 at 3:46 am

    kelly, most of the time they just make you pay extra for more than 2 cuts. if HD wont do it, try lowes, or any small lumberyard. most will still cut for you.

  34. mistymaygrey on January 17, 2010 at 3:45 am

    Ana's blog is wonderful. If you are not experienced, just start out with an easy one.

    A tip on MDF. It is easily damaged by water. If you are going to build with it, make sure you paint it right away. It will buckle and mold if you so much as spill something on it unfinished. Wood is a little more forgiving to water.

  35. Sherry on January 17, 2010 at 1:05 am

    I found Ana through your blog. I always get excited when I see you have a new post. Love, love, love what you two do. Thanks so much.

  36. Kelly on January 17, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Count your lucky stars… Home Depot in my area will NOT cut more than two times.

    I did discovered Ana's blog while back and have bookmarked it. Have a few shelfs in there that I would like to create for my boy's playroom.

    Can't wait to see the end result of your storage!

  37. Cheryl on January 16, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I stumbled on her website about a month ago and loved it. I am loving the daybed form pottery barn that she shows with the option of drawers or space for baskets. She makes it sound so easy….and now you say it is too. I wonder if I have all the pieces cut at the home depot if I could do it too???? Hmmm, gonna have to look into this. Thanks for taking us on your woodworking journey of the media centre.

  38. Natalie on January 16, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I have been wanting to tackle the entry bench from Ana's site for a week now, but have been apprehensive about how difficult it might be…but you make it look so easy. I think I can do it now! Thanks so much! Can't wait to see the finished project.

  39. ~ RM on January 16, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Great Job girlie!!!

    YEs, I recently found out about Ana, and she is AMAZING. I can't wait to build a farmhouse bed!!!

  40. Heather@PixieDust on January 16, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    wow, i am totally in awe and very inspired!!

  41. KirkKrew on January 16, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    That will be perfect in your gameroom! I saw her blog the other day and was wondering how easy it really was. Glad you're showing the step by step project! Can't wait to see it finished! Y'all are awesome!

  42. Le Petit Amour on January 16, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Oh my gosh! This is fabulous! I love the Pottery Barn but I hate the prices – so this is great! I'm am so excited to see your completed project. Great Job! Love your blog!

  43. Juls on January 16, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    wow! great photos! Good advice about marking them as they are cut!

  44. Ana White on January 16, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    YOU are FAST!!! I am so impressed!

  45. alittlefrenchloven on January 16, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Wow again! I can't wait to see the finished project! They look pretty darn good so far!

  46. Traci@ Beneath My Heart on January 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Great job, Ashley! It's going to look great!
    Can't wait to see the rest.

  47. Sarah on January 16, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    How funny. I became a fan of hers recently, too. And am dying to try a few projects she's posted. 🙂

  48. Amanda on January 16, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    THANK YOU! I was researching toy storage and came across this PB knock off at Walmart, but it's still a bit pricey for me. I am so going to make these too!

  49. the7daggetts on January 16, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    So far, we have built a coffee table, end table, and two nightstands using Ana's plans! This is going to be our next project. It looks super easy, and will look awesome in our daughters room! I can't wait to see how yours turns out!! 🙂

  50. Missy Luukkonen on January 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    LOVE her site! Amazing! I am now a follower!

  51. Tonya on January 16, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    I just found her blog in the past couple weeks and I am in heaven. Haven't made anything yet, but Home Depot watch out because I'm coming there soon!

  52. fairfieldhouse on January 16, 2010 at 3:25 pm


    Great job so far! Looking forward to seeing your progress. Thank you for sharing Ana's blog. I will check it out.


  53. Mrs. Schmoopers on January 16, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Oh crap, why did I read about this blog right before I need to head out? I can tell I'm going to be spending a lot of time looking through these projects when I get home – thanks for sharing!

  54. Margo Blue on January 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I have checked out her blog but thought it would be hard. Now I know differently. I am going to have to try this. I love the storage system and yes have always drooled over them but could not afford them. :o)

  55. Sheri on January 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Yay! Another blog to add to my reader. Can't wait to check it out.

  56. Carly on January 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I found Ana's website recently too and totally fell in love but felt SOOOO overwhelmed! Thank you so much for sharing this project. Now I feel like I can do it. Can't wait to see the finished project!

  57. Chez Zizi on January 16, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    That is so FREAKING awesome! I love it. I will have to bookmark this and do it during the summertime or spring when I can work in the garage (Too cold here right now).

    I can't wait to see the rest of it (BTW I totally LOVE that Pottery Barn stuff).


  58. Tammy at Tattered and Timeless on January 16, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Ashley – Okay I knew you all could do it all but wow you have surpassed my expectations. I have been making a list of items on Ana's blog to have hubby make but maybe with your help I can do it myself. I didn't know that home depot will cut the wood. Wow the possibilities are endless. I want to build the bed with canopy.

  59. Dianne on January 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    OK…I'm already impressed! I wish I had the place to put this…cause it looks awesome!

  60. duchess on January 16, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I've seen her blog & it's fabulous. Now that I see how easy it looks I just may have to try something. Thanks – it's looking good.

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