If you were on a desert island and you could only have one cookbook….which one would you bring?


I really need to know.

Well….actually….I need a lot of things.

You know….things that help you cook.

Like spices.

And pots…..and pans.

And a roaster.


A roaster.

Oh….and I really need a colander.


But first….I thought I would start with a really good cookbook.



I need a cookbook because I feel like the time has finally arrived.

Lately, I’ve been baking pies and bread and cheesecake and granola…..but actual cooking?  Cooking where you use pots and pans and sauce and ingredients and poultry and fish and vegetables.  Real cooking?  That is a completely different story.


But I feel like I’m ready.

We even added a rack to the back of a chair to make a…..

 …..cookbook chair for the kitchen.

It is such an easy project.

I thought if I had a chair sitting in the kitchen at the desk with a cookbook….a really good cookbook that looked super cute in it…..it would inspire me.


Maybe inspire me to try something new.

Inspire me to start….well….to start…..cooking.


So here’s a little how-to about a cookbook chair…..for a kitchen whose time has finally come.

A kitchen in a farmhouse in the middle of Kentucky…..that longs to be so much more than peanut butter and jelly and macaroni and cheese and frozen pizza….

…..and good ole’ hot dog pot pie 🙂

Cookbook Chair

How To Make A Cookbook Chair

(For everyone who ever needed a little kitchen inspiration)


White chair

Step 1:  Start with a thrift store chair

Photograph it in the leaves.

Decide that there is not a thrift store chair on the planet that doesn’t look better surrounded by crackly, crunchy autumn leaves.

Choose a chair with a straight back.

It truly makes the rest of the steps so much easier.


Side Pieces Measurement

Step 2:  Cut two side pieces for your cookbook holder.

Cut each piece to measure 7 inches on the long side  3 inches on the short side and 2 1.2  inches wide.

Cut the ends at 45 degree angles.


End Pieces Measurement


Step 3:   Cut end pieces.

Cut each piece to measure 3 inches by 2 1/2 inches.


Wooden Slat Measurements


Step 3:  Cut two long pieces for front and bottom of cookbook shelf.

Cut each piece 16 inches long.


Step 1


Step 4:  Nail side piece and end piece onto the chair.

Attach end piece first and then angled side piece next.

Cut small block of wood 3 inches long by 1 inch wide as a base to attach the front pieces to.


Step 2


Step 5:  Repeat for other side.


Step 3


Step 6:  Attach long slats to back.

Nail one slat to the front of the end pieces and one piece to the back.

Caulk and paint.


Cookbook Chair


I’m telling you…..I can sense it.

I think that 2013 is going to be a banner year for the kitchen.

It’s going to be remembered as the year we introduced oregano and basil and thyme.

The year we said goodbye to gas station pizza and hot dog pot pie and bought a colander.

And here in the kitchen….the cookbook chair stands ready and waiting for its curtain call…..

…..now all I need is a little help from the desert island crowd 🙂

For more furniture projects….click here to check out out my furniture projects page.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for JuneA** JuneA**

    Love the chair, I'm sure that it will be inspiring!! Personally, my go-to-cookbook is Better Homes and Gardens...uhm, I think the 1952 edition. It was Grandma's, so that's probably one of the reasons that I use it so much! The Joy of Cooking is a great book...and the added bonus of seeing the title everyday and maybe will inspire you!

    1. Image for Anna Skeens Anna Skeens

      I have to agree, "The Joy of Cooking" was my first cookbook and it has a wealth of information in it. I am currently working on my own cookbook for young men who are just starting out (it's for my 4 sons) My oldest left home for a year and moved home because he missed mom's cooking. Next time he moves out, he's getting a cookbook ;) Just kidding I love him, but our house is really crowded.

  2. Image for Linda Linda

    The cookbook I go back to time after time, is Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course. It is a great book which explains the *why* and the *how* behind her foolproof recipes. So, if you want to know how to cook absolutely everything, this is the book I would recommend. NB. I am British, and Delia Smith was (and still is) a very well liked and respected TV chef.

  3. Image for Kathleen Grace Kathleen Grace

    Mmmm, such a tough question! It kind of depends on what you like to eat. My basic cookbook is Betty Crocker for easy pie, quiche, banana bread, cookies., but not so much the meals. We like to cook with as little processed food as possible and my BC came out in the 50's when canned foods were the latest greatest. But a basic cookbook like that gives you a starting point. My only advice would be to get something with lots of photos so you know what it should look like, you would be amazed how much that helps when you're starting out! Most of my best easy recipes came from friends and family, maybe you should have a linky party for everyones favorite easy recipe!

  4. Image for Colleen Colleen

    Joy of cooking is my go to cookbook. Love the chair and I am now on the hunt for MY cookbook chair! Can't wait to hear about your NYC trip! p.s....I still think you should have a Thistlewood Farms cookbook in the works.

  5. Image for Lori Lori

    Your chair is beautiful! I love cookbooks that are collections of favorites. My dad gave me a cookbook from a country church. The recipes are an amazing collection of the churches finest (think of church potluck). It is my go to when I need something YUMMY!

  6. Image for Gina Gina

    Love the cookbook chair! I used to buy cookbooks because of the pretty pictures but then the lists of ingredients seems to long and the time involved is just too much so I revert to old standby recipes. If I put all my unused cookbooks in the back of that chair it would topple backwards. Ha! Love the old books in yours.

  7. Image for Barb Barb

    I love to bake.....one of my favorite's is Dorie Greenspan. I also like the Barefoot Contessa back to basics. And, you just can't beat finding whatever you want on the Food Network website. I also like the Pioneer Woman's website. Good luck.

  8. Image for Lisa Lisa

    That is so unique and clever! And what a cheerful little spot to peruse recipes!! If you're going to step away from the hot dog pot pie, I love the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks for ease of preparation. She loves simplicity and some of her recipes are my go-tos for busy weeknights.

  9. Image for Beverly Beverly

    Good morning, Queen KariAnne. (Told you.) Did you throw that hot dog pie in just for me? Love the chair. I agree that Better Homes & Gardens has a great basic cookbook. I am more of what I would call an instinctive cook. I see or think of dishes, and then just come up with my idea of how to prepare them as I go. I do use recipes for baking. Someone before me suggested Pioneer Woman's cooking site, and I agree that she gives awesome direction and step-by-step photo. Also, just ask all of us. We can give you enough easy meals to last forever.♥

  10. Image for Technicolor Technicolor

    I pared down to 3 cookbooks. They are old and my go to for baking, plus a few special meat options. Like Beverly, don't ask me for measurements, most is from what worked for years and being taught to cook from scratch by a dear friend. The chair is a wonderful idea. Having favorite cookbooks so handy and to see for inspiration would remind me of loved recipes and to "cook" something. Your idea has me thinking of doing this at the end of my coffee table to hold computer/electroinic stuff. Hope you don't mind someone adapting your ideas.

  11. Image for Sandy Sandy

    I really want to like to cook but I find it intimidating. I love the chair but don't think it would encourage me to cook. :(

  12. Image for Tiffini Tiffini

    Now that is original! I have no idea what could inspire me to start cooking...really cooking. There just isn't enough time in a day. Sad state we find ourselves in but such a sweet little chair:))) now we better start with your escapades in the kitchen;)...xo

  13. Image for Baileywife Baileywife

    Oh, I BUY a lot of cook books to "get inspired"....but sadly never follow through...(I hate to cook, shhh don't tell anyone) That is why I married BaileyHusband....he is awesome in the kitchen, and hardly follows a recipe. So GOOD LUCK TO YOU FRIEND!! ~Kim

  14. Image for Andrea Andrea

    Brilliant, I say! Now I know why I don't cook often. I don't have a cookbook chair. I think rather than make one, I'll just use that as my excuse from now on. Love the inspiration, though!

  15. Image for Lisa Conley Lisa Conley

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cookbooks. I find them at antique stores and buy them also. I've got so many that it is hard to keep track of my favorite recipes so I started my own notebook with plastic protective sheets for "tried and true" recipes. Once I try them and they are approved and fail proof AND if my family also approves of them, they earn a spot in my pretty notebook binder in a protective sheet. I have them divided up by sections so I can find them easily. I seem to have the most recipes under "DESSERTS".... now why is that? HA HA HA.... I do retype the recipes so that all my recipes are in the same font and they are mostly on 8 1/2 x 11 sheets. ANAL? I know... I am but I cannot help it. If I try a recipe and it doesn't make it, I will put a small x next to it in my cookbook or if it is a recipe I pulled out of a magazine, I just toss it out.

  16. Image for Sandra @Beneath this Roof, Within these Walls Sandra @Beneath this Roof, Within these Walls

    Favorite cookbook? That would be like trying to name my favorite blogger! At one time, I had over a thousand cookbooks. I have pared way, way down now. Obviously, I love to cook and baking is a real passion. But these days, I mostly browse recipes online. I think America's Test Kitchen is a great cooking show on PBS, and they have cookbooks. They are very detailed, take you step by step, and have great recipes. I don't need a cookbook chair, but I love yours! What I do need is a shield to put on the back of my island, for my knives! I have a magnetic strip there to hold the knives, but I don't use it, as I afraid somebody (probably with four legs) will bump into and be hurt. I have been trying to figure out how to build a sort of cover for it, open at the top, but that would cover the blades. I think I just found it!! With a wee bit of tweaking, that cookbook rack will be perfect! Thanks for the inspiration. Hugs

  17. Image for Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life... Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life...

    My go-to cook book is the Mennonite Community Cookbook first published in 1957 (I think), I love it not only for the recipes but the nostalgia. Like the entry for feeding men at a barn raising... 100 pies, 500 rolls... you get the picture! Love the recipe chair idea!

  18. Image for Anne Anne

    Hey! My memory may be hazy but seems to me churches are full of book holders like that on the backs of the pews!!! :) Such a cute look. My most fave cookbook is the BH&G red & white plaid cookbook. ALL the recipes are delicious. Loads and loads of em - even tells you how to cook roasts!!! hint, hint... Happy cooking! LOVE the chair.

  19. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Great chair idea! I got interested in actual cooking as my kids got older and required real food! BH&G red and white stripe is a great start...Ina Gartens's cookbooks are great too...and there's also all of your bloggy friends...maybe you could have everyone send in their favorite! ;)

  20. Image for Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions

    THAT is a cute project, Karianne! I love the idea, too, especially if you don't have room to have your cookbooks out on the counter. You can do it! I started cooking more since we've moved and while I'm not especially good at it, the things I've tried have turned out edible. : ) As long as it doesn't take a lot of ingredients {I tend to glaze over at more than 10}, I'm willing to give it a try.

  21. Image for Susan @ Afford Your Passions Susan @ Afford Your Passions

    Love the chair! My favorite cookbook is the first cookbook I ever owned, when I got my first apartment at the age of 19 - The Australian Women's Weekly Cooking Class Cookbook. It's out of print now, but you can find copies on eBay. I don't know what I would do without that cookbook (maybe eat out more often than I currently do!) I saw pictures of the Country Living lunch on someone else's blog yesterday - it looked like a fun group of people at the lunch - I hope you'll provide us with your insight of your day right here!!

  22. Image for Marsha Kern Marsha Kern

    Better Homes and Gardens, I love it so much I have 2 just alike so I will have a backup in case the first one gets too many spills on it and the pages stick together!

  23. Image for Diane Diane

    Gorgeous chair Karianne! I have collected vintage cookbooks for years and I have a real passion for cooking. Not the fancy gourmet stuff but the old fashioned home cooking. In my opinion, if you can find a church fundraising cookbook you will find the best recipes there. Because all those women read all the other cookbooks and pulled out their favorites for you.

  24. Image for Tammy @ A Walk in the Countryside Tammy @ A Walk in the Countryside

    Love the chair! To me the best cookbooks are from church groups and other organizations. Most of the time, you know that these recipes have been made by good cooks for their families and usually don't require half the grocery store to make a recipe! If I had to chose another cookbook, it would be the Martha White cookbook. I've had this cookbook for many years and make a lot of the recipes from it...including biscuits, Sausage dressing, cowboy cookies, etc.

  25. Image for bj bj

    So so so stinkin; cute. EVERYone should be required to own a CookBook Chair. :) I agree that you should have a link party asking for everyone's BEST and EASIEST recipes and in the meantime, I have found AWESOME and EASY in all my GOOSEBERRY PATCH cookbooks.....and besides, they are sooo adorable. Can a cookbook be adorable..? Why, you bet your crockpot stew, it can...!! xoxo bj

  26. Image for Adventuresindinner Adventuresindinner

    You are, as always, way, way too clever! If you can bake-you can cook. Just don't try and rush. I think that my dessert island cookbook would be Julia Child's original. My aunt gave me her first edition and although I usually cook out of my head I will never remember how to make puff pastry without a guide and life would be sad without pain au chocolat.

  27. Image for Regina Regina

    I have three cookbooks that I use most of the time. The others are stuck in a cabinet in the hallway by the kitchen. :) First, there's the "fill-in" cookbook that I put together before I got married. I knew my mom was going to live several hundred miles from me, so I needed all the go-to family recipes that I would want to make. Second, there's my very own "Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cookbook" (c. 1983 or 1984) that I use constantly, and my daughters do, too. In fact, when girlie #1 moved into an apartment, I bought her a NEW "new" cookbook! ;) Third, there's the "Merrick Cookbook." One of my husband's aunts put it together before she died, and all the family (his dad was one of 13, so there's a LOT of them) submitted recipes. Actually, some of my favorites of MINE are in there, so I keep it out. It's handy. And the cover has a wonderful picture of the homestead, part of which was first built in the 1850's. I think I love it as much for that as for the recipes, since the house no longer stands. The cookbook chair is so cute! I've actually seen antique chairs like this - but they're pricey! This is so much better! And I'm with Lauren, above. Make it an iPad chair. That's where most of my best recipes are coming from these days! LOL

  28. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Oh wow, that chair is awesome! And with that tutorial, I'll bet homes all across the continent (world even?) will have these popping up in their kitchens! What a great idea. My favourite go to cook book is Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook. I've had it for years and still inspires me. Mainly now I use the net when looking for inspiration. Debbie :)

  29. Image for Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking

    Oh what a cute chair! That is such a great idea. One of my go to cookbooks is The Joy Of Cooking. It was a wedding gift years ago and it has been such a blessing. Not only does it have awesome recipes but answers most any question about cooking that you might have.

  30. Image for Teresa Teresa

    Little black dress...pearls. Bogart and Bacall. Bagel with schmeer (I'm from NY). Cookbook chair...The Joy of Cooking or anything that Julia Child authored. No matter what, classics belong together!

  31. Image for Athena at Minerva's Garden Athena at Minerva's Garden

    Nice chair project! As for cookbooks, I've been enjoying Emeril's cookbooks for a long time, but have to say I like his early ones the best. He did a Christmas Cookbook that has some great recipes in it. I also like early cookbooks by Rachel Ray--her Comfort Foods cookbook has so many good recipes in it. I also like Mollie Katzen's cookbooks--vegetarian foods, and many recipes that I've been making for years, plus really pretty artwork that she does herself. I hope you find some cookbooks that you enjoy and use!

  32. Image for Judith Q Stewart Judith Q Stewart

    Dearest Sweetest most Talented Kari Anne, I'm relatively new, to your blog, that is...I'm a seasoned 68, and having fun in my retirement pinning and Blogging away! My British husband just purchased , as per my hinting...that i receive it 'now', so i can prepare him his beloved English traditional recipes. I had taken the book out of the library 2 Christmases in a row...and just 'needed' to have my own copy. This is a tremendously informational resource (not just Christmas). Also: A very educational resource book with flawless recipes is- "The Silver Palate Cook Book-25 Year Anniversary Edition"- i hope you will purchase this book...it is brilliant! All the very best to you and your lovely family... Judith, Davidson, NC

  33. Image for Marian Marian

    You are such a cute patoot! Absolutely makes my day to read your blog. And your chair is such a great idea! I agree on many of the cookbooks above and have so many I can't count them. I use the internet for recipes too but there is just something so wonderful and tactile about actual books, and I love to write my own notes in them. Anyway, Barefoot Contessa is always good as are the Cook's Illustrated books, but I would strongly suggest HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING, by Mark Bittman. I have a first edition from 10 years ago and it's worn, tattered and stained because although I've been cooking for more many years, I turn to it again and again. Most important though, continue to enjoy your cooking adventures and to share them with us, we love it!

  34. Image for Pat Pat

    Love the book rack, but I have way too many cookbooks to fit into it. I have downsized alot too! I love to cook and have been cooking since childhood. I have made a go of many things. My biggest challenge is piecrust for the top of the pie, so I choose pies without tops! The best book overall is How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. My husband teases me because I read cookbooks like other people read novels. This book covers it all and it is simple. There are alot of helpful things like doneness temperatures for meat on the back cover. It boasts "2000 simple recipes for great food". I have recommended this book many times and no one that bought it was disappointed..

  35. Image for Ann Ann

    Very cute. Saw something JUST like that this summer, in Rattan, on Craigslist. If I had a sun porch, they would have been mine! Enjoy it. I can't live without my iphone/ipad menus.

  36. Image for Pinky Pinky

    I used to have a ton of cookbooks, well, I still do but they are all packed away. I find alll my recipes online now! I ADORE that chair and the concept, I just worry that putting boooks in there would make it want to tip over. No??? It is adorable!!!!! XO, Pinky

  37. Image for Linda Adams Linda Adams

    Hi Karianne, Really great idea and a good tutorial too. Back in the day a cookbook might be a great bridal shower gift. To start out, the basic Betty Crocker cookbook is great. Next year you might consider Julia Child's French Cookbook. Have fun. Joyous Wishes, Linda

  38. Image for JuneA** JuneA**

    Great ideas here, glad I came back around! I just happened to think of the perfect cookbook for Kentucky (my part of it anyway) It's Appalachian Home Cooking by https://www.marksohn.com/. It is just as much fun to read as it is to cook with!! Chat soon dear!

  39. Image for Shannon Fox Shannon Fox

    I must say Karianne... this is your most BRILLIANT idea to date. If it makes you cook more please spill, as I will be making a set of four STAT! If it helps with the dishes... I'll be driving to Kentucky to kiss you. LOL

  40. Image for Vee Vee

    Mennonite Girls Can Cook cookbook, of course! Oh you are so talented and creative. It looks like a little pew with a little rack for hymnals. I probably won't go this route, but I am going to put the high chair back in the kitchen and load it up with cookbooks as a result of reading this.

  41. Image for Cynthia Toone Riley Cynthia Toone Riley

    Love this post...even though the only part I could duplicate would be the 'photograph it in the leaves'! Such a sweet, old fashioned idea.

  42. Image for Toni Toni

    2 cookbooks I can't live without - Fanny Farmer Baking Book (the best choc chip cookies anywhere) and the Sopranos Cookbook. Yes, it's a bit of a joke but I made one of the baked chicken recipes and my fellas loved it! So I tried more. They are pretty easy and the real deal. :)

  43. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Now, Julia Childs is looking down from the heavens and saying...now why didn't I make a cookbook chair....!!! My go to cookbook??...I love my Junior League Cookbooks...they have some of the best recipes.... Love your chair :)...you are so incredibly creative!!

  44. Image for Atta Girl Amy Atta Girl Amy

    I'm partial to the magazine Martha Stewart Everyday Food. Because the recipes are easy. You need easy, right? Let 2014 be the year for gourmet. 2013 is the year of easy.

  45. Image for Andrea at Opulent Cottage Andrea at Opulent Cottage

    I have every fancy-schmancy cookbook out there! Too many to count, and I love each and every one. But for a novice cook, the one I would recommend is 50 One-Pot Meals by Sarah Edmonds (it's one cent on amazon!). Because really, that's what every family wants; to sit down at night to a comforting, delicious dinner. These are soooo easy, and so many have become our family faves. The photos are beautiful, the details are concise and simple, and the ingredients can be found at any grocery store, maybe even the local gas station :) Email me if you get stuck, I know every recipe! xo, Andrea

  46. Image for Barbara F Barbara F

    The chair is so clever and cute! Like many other posters, not sure it would actually get me to cook much, but it would be fun to contemplate. You come up with the best ideas KariAnne!!

  47. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    I love your chair- so cute and creative! Favorite cookbook, hummmm? I love Bed and breakfast cookbooks. I don't have one favorite though. I also love Gracious Goodness, form Charleston. I am a southern girl all the way, even in cooking.

  48. Image for andrea andrea

    Cauuute chair! I though it was originally like that. As far as cook books, I have several faves. My all time fave is my Grandma's handed down recipes, but since that's not exactly in the stores, I'll move on. Martha Stewarts Cooking School has some great basics (how to roast meats etc), Martha Stewart Everyday Food (there are several variations) are great, any of the Company's coming series, and I've found some really great recipes on pinterest.

  49. Image for Sherry Sherry

    Oh I love the chair. And I am so sorry about the sock fiasco. But at least you have clean floors too. It did make me smile though so thanks for sharing. And I promise I did not laugh because that would not have been nice. About the cookbook I guess I would have to say the tried and true for me is the probably 70's issue or it may have been even earlier I got married in the 70's so that is when I got it but it is the orange cover Betty Crocker. I don't think the later years are as good Because this one has so many just basic things. it is my go to. But I guess my favorite modern and my inter net go to is Pioneer Woman. I would love to have her book. I still love books and cookbooks. The internet is great but sometimes I just want to sit and really savor a book or cookbook. There are times even though I have a laptop that I can't use it. Like outside or whatever so I think cookbooks are still very,very usefull. I just love that chair. Thanks for sharing! Blessings, Sherry

  50. Image for Jo-Anne Jo-Anne

    Why does a cookbook need a chair shouldn't it be happy sitting on the bench..............oh not the purpose of this post silly me...................

  51. Image for Bethanie Henry Bethanie Henry

    Karianne, I wish we were neighbors...I would cook and you could make all these awesome projects. We'd be the dynamic duo!! There's too much distance between GA and KY! Ps. I got my pillow cover this week. It is precious! I have lots of (pillow) projects in my mind to make it fit right in at Christmas :) xoxo

  52. Image for Claudine Claudine

    Dear Karianne!!! I love your cookbook chair!!! At first I thought: how am I going to find a "cookbook chair"??? LOL! You showed us how to make one!!! Adorable!!! I have another problem: I don't have any "cutting" materials!! I got paint and brushes and a staple gun complete with compressor and recently purchased a paint sprayer... Can you tell me (or write a post) what tools do you use for cutting?? Is there a basic set of tools I could buy?? Thank you! Claudine

  53. Image for tara tara

    how in the world do you come up with these ideas? just when I think you can't possibly have another DIY, you go and post a Cookbook Chair. you're awesome.

Comments are closed.