Behind-the-Scenes: Peek at Jeff Devlin's Home Workshop

See how the host of I Hate My Bath turned a 200-year-old barn at his historical Pennsylvania home into a woodworking shop.

By: Michele C Hollow

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Bud Hayman Images, LLC ©2014, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Backyard Sanctuary

The barn, a few feet from his Pennsylvania home, is filled with tools, reclaimed wood of every shape and size, paints, stains and history. Some of the tools in Jeff Devlin’s barn were handed down from his father and grandfather. Devlin’s kids, ages 9 and 11, have inherited the woodworking gene too.

Brainstorm and Create

Devlin’s sense of family and pride of taking a scrap of wood and turning it into a piece of furniture is contagious. Maybe that is why his show, I Hate My Bath, is doing so well. He grew up watching his heroes, Norm Abrams and Tommy Silva on This Old House. “They weren’t flashy,” he explains. “They were passionate and knew what they were doing. They had a solution for everything.” Finding answers to design questions keeps Devlin pumped. “Whether it’s a big job like remodeling a bathroom or a smaller one, like creating a cabinet, I enjoy coming into my barn to figure out the best way to put it all together.”

A Place For Everything ...

His 21' x 13' barn, which he converted into a workshop, is a meditative space for him. At first glance, it looks a bit cluttered. However, everything is within easy reach, and there is a space for every tool, piece of wood and scrap.

Reclaimed Entry

The barn doors on his workshop were found at a nearby construction site. Jeff’s motto is that there is a purpose for everything.

Character in Age

“I don’t throw anything away,” he says as he reaches for a wood board that will be turned into a table top. “Just look at the color, at the wormholes, at the history.”The piece of wood came from a church that was torn down. Using reclaimed wood is like a gift. “You can’t get the same type of character from a brand new piece of wood,” he says as he slowly sands down the wood with a molding plane that belonged to his grandfather. “See how using a tool like this one slows you down, clears your mind, and opens you up to a number of possibilities.”

Big Fan of Hand Tools

Devlin loves his power tools too. It’s just that the history behind the nonelectric tools have a kind of beauty. “Just look at the shape and design of these tools,” he says. “I find my power tools to be extremely efficient, and there is a place for them. It’s just that these tools bring a sense of calm to the workspace.”

Zen in The Art of Woodworking

Hand chisels are a thing of beauty. Again, these tools don’t have the speed or noise that comes from a power tool. However, Jeff enjoys the quiet and the results that come from working with these tools. His spends a lot of time alone in his workspace. On occasion, his sons will join him. “I taught my kids how to use a nail gun,” he says. “I believe that if you handle tools properly, think about what and how you are going to create something, you are starting off on the right track. They enjoy working in here too.”

One of His Faves

He still has the original box one of his favorite tools came in. Jeff sees the design of the plane as a useful tool and a work of art.

It's About Accessiblity and Prep

“A space for crafts or woodworking doesn’t have to be large,” he says. “My space isn’t too large. It’s just the right size. The trick is making sure you have all the tools you need to complete the project, and that there is a space for all of your materials, your space and everything in it has to be accessible”.

Good Storage is Key

In his barn, he doesn’t spend time searching for nails, tools, paints, or wood. Everything is visible. The oversized work table he built that has two storage drawers and is on wheels, is perfect for his workshop. It’s a perfect size for cutting wood of all sizes. “A space for crafts or woodworking doesn’t have to be large,” he says. “My space isn’t too large. It’s just the right size. The trick is making sure you have all the tools you need to complete the project, and that there is a space for all of your materials.”

Immortalized in Hops

One of Jeff’s clients makes his own homebrews. He was so pleased with the work Jeff did in his home that he created this Irish Red beer just for Jeff.

Work of Art

Jeff created the Colonial-style dining room table from repurposed wood. He finds beauty in the patterns that come from found objects and repurposed wood.

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