Chris Palmer and his “urbanmuskoka chair” Image

Chris Palmer and his “urbanmuskoka chair”

By Lucas on Oct 29, 2013

By Penny Munoz

Canada’s Handyman Challenge semi-finalist Chris Palmer made an appearance at the Toronto Fall Home Show, demonstrating his crafty ability- yet again. This time Palmer created a wine cabinet from recycled doors in Habitat for Humanity’s (Habitat) “Up-cycle Challenge.” Impressing onlookers, Palmer’s cabinet was complete with interior lighting and a framed glass door.

A little more talented than your average self-taught handyman, Palmer says he is currently working on a 14-ft wide shelving unit and a mantle to go over the fireplace. With little-to-no handy work experience under my belt, I asked Mr. Palmer if he could suggest any “simple” fall inspired DIY projects. Following the growing trend of re-purposing old materials, Palmer suggested creating a variation of his “urbanmuskoka chair.”

Urban Muskoka

Having acquired old Muskoka chairs from a friend who was ready to dispose of them, Palmer got to work on creating his own spin on a traditional Muskoka chair that would be suitable for a smaller, condo balcony for city dwellers. Using every single piece from the original, Palmer cleaned and stained the old wood, making each piece more slender and narrow. The backrest is tilted a little higher, making the design more compact for smaller spaces.


Creating the custom chairs for a friend who lives in a Toronto apartment, Palmer said that he designed a sleek version of a Muskoka chair that upholds the fundamental look without the “big blocky, traditional” size. “Everything is downsized in the city, compared to the country,” said Palmer about his inspiration behind the innovative design that is complete with wine glass holders on the arm rests!

On the benefits of DIY projects, Oshawa handyman says that besides the obvious economical benefits, he loves the feeling of self-accomplishment and pride that comes from building a custom project from scratch. For us beginner DIY-ers, Palmer recommends using custom templates, like stencils, for these kinds of projects.

Staining UrbanMuskokas

“Templates are your best friends. A simple piece of cardboard could help. If you’re referencing a chair, take measurements,” says Palmer. “Kind of like a tailor, using patterns for each piece, trace it out one at a time, and always measure twice!”

You can expect to see more of Palmer and his DIY projects in upcoming months, with live appearances on Cityline scheduled for November 14 and on the Entertainment Centre with Jenna Kean in the near future!

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