Farmhouse Counter Stools

We just finished up a giant kitchen island with seating on three sides –

modern cabin kitchen

We love all the seating, but now I need six stools.

I looked and looked for affordable counter stools with a simple design, but with needing so many – I couldn’t find any options for less than $400. 

I also was having trouble finding a truly simple stool – since you can see through the island, with all stools visible at the same time, I wanted the stools to be as clean lined as possible. Any ornate details or fussiness could create a busy look.

Unable to find exactly what I wanted, I decided to DIY my kitchen stools.

So here’s the verdict:

1. Sturdiness – We splayed the legs out so it’s very difficult to get these stools to rock one way or the other.  My husband did quite a bit of testing and approved them for sturdiness (this is following a couple of prototypes that were not sturdy enough)

2. Comfort – I was very worried about comfort with the flat seat, so I found a way to decrease the load on the seat by as much as half!  How?  These stools are designed with a higher footrest – yes, footrest! – a little higher up and wide enough for both feet to take the weight off your bum and share it on the footrest.  It’s also nice to be able to put your feet up.  We all have been surprised at how comfortable these humble stools are despite no saddle seat or cushion.

3. Style – If these stools had any more fuss to them, can you imagine how busy under our island would look?  We have gotten many compliments on the stools even without a finish on them yet.

4. Moveability – Stools are always being moved, moved to sit in, moved back out of the way – especially in this tiny cabin where being able to tuck the stools away frees up so much space.  I purposely designed these stools with no supports directly under the seat, so your hands can easily grasp the seat and move it.  We also add glides under the legs to protect the floor and help the stools slide better.

How We Built The Stools

So the first four stools, my husband and I built together, and this is definitely the way to go.  Two people makes for quick work.

But the last two stools, I put together myself, and had to come up with some marking and clamping techniques to make it possible to build with just two hands.  You can watch me build this stool in our Farmhouse Counter Stools Video

Gathering Kitchen Island

Hi friends!  We are starting on a new mini project to complete this summer.  We are finishing up a 300 square foot (plus sleeping loft) cabin in remote Alaska.  The cabin was shelled in with no flooring or trim, and an unfinished kitchen.

cabin before picture


The kitchen takes up half of the cabin.  Half.  So even though there was alot of good things about the existing kitchen, we decided to completely redo it so it could seat more people, have more storage, and be designed for gathering.

cabin kitchen


The new kitchen changed everything! 

But the biggest difference maker was the kitchen island that we built.

kitchen island for gathering

More Seating on Multiple Sides

This island can comfortably seat up to six.  I love seating on multiple sides – anymore, I try to avoid islands with seating on just one side.  It’s lonely eating shoulder to shoulder, all in a line.

island with cooktop

Cooking Not Against the Wall

I am a big fan of cooking in the island, because cooking is such a community thing.  To talk and chop, to stir and laugh – all while enjoying the changing aromas of cooking, makes cooking about people, instead of a dreaded daily chore.

I also love that when I’m cooking, there’s no traffic behind or beside me – it’s a dedicated cooking center.  This also improves safety, as the cooktop burners are not in the center of the island (close to people eating and using the island table area).

kitchen island with storage

Easy Access Storage

We love that in this kitchen island we were able to add easy access storage on both sides of the range.  On the hidden side, I stored all the spices, cooking towels, cooking utensils, oils, and mixing bowls.  On the outward facing side, I stored all the dishes and napkins, so hungry guests can help themselves to plates and forks – without creating traffic inside the kitchen aisles.

We could go on and on about how much we love this kitchen island!  We’ve used it already on a few trips, with multiple families, and it has not disappointed!  I love that the kitchen ALWAYS looks this great – it’s easy to clean and keep organized.

But this isn’t just a blog post about showing and telling – I’m sharing the plans so you can build this exact kitchen island too!

How We Built This Kitchen Island

In this video, we show you the basics of building this kitchen island

And the free plans that we used are below.

Modern Cedar Outdoor Storage Bench

Do you need some outdoor storage that looks nice and doubles as seating?  For about $40 you can build this cedar outdoor storage bench!

outdoor storage bench

With it’s clean, modern design, it looks great in any outdoor space.  It’s also a great spot for occasional seating.

outdoor storage bench

And there’s a good amount of storage inside for hiding everything from packages to boots and shoes, or sporting equipment and toys.

This is a very easy to build project using inexpensive materials and basic tools.

How to Build Video Tutorial

Please take a second to watch the quick video tutorial of this build.

Outdoor Storage Bench Plans

The plans for this outdoor storage bench are below.  Thanks so much for using our plans, please post a photo when you are done!

Modern Park Bench

Modern Park Bench Features

  • Simple to build design
  • Stylish modern look
  • Easy to customize to different lengths and back heights
  • Sturdy 2×4 frame
  • Ours has held up for 8 years now and we are still using it!