a lighter and brighter oak paneled office

June 12, 2009 at 8:00 am | Posted in Our Home, Our Study | 15 Comments

In addition to destroying and rebuilding the bathroom, and painting the bedroom, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time brightening up the oak-paneled office.  Since I’m currently unemployed working from home, I thought it would be a good idea to take care of the office sooner rather than later.  You know, so that I’ll have a cute place to blog, pay bills, and search for a new job.

Our office was originally a manly cave of wood and green-ness.  Totally not our style.  Also, the valences in the house were driving me nuts.  Our windows are much smaller than the windows in our Minneapolis home, and thanks to the woody wonderland outside of our walls, very little direct sunlight streams through them.  Therefore, covering 1/4 of them with a dark valence is just not working for me.  I’m planning on replacing most of them with drapes that will hang to either side of the window.

Anyways, the office “before”:

And, the newly-painted, but furnishing-less “after”:

To be honest, I’m just not sure about the color.  I wanted a light, subtle yellow, but I’m undecided about the end result.  It took about 50 coats of primer + paint (and I had to cut in with a paintbrush in all of the grooves), so I may furnish the room and then decide whether I should change it.  What do you think about the paint color?  Any alternative suggestions?

The drop ceiling in this room drives me nuts, too.  Any cheap/easy fix suggestions?  Otherwise, we are inclined to leave it until the rest of the house is painted/styled.

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The Study, at its best

March 24, 2009 at 8:17 pm | Posted in After, Before, Our Home, Our Study, Projects | 9 Comments

Certainly you remember the not-so-pretty before pictures of the study, with Jason’s junk strewn about (that one is not so good with the organizing… plus, we had just moved in).

And now?

Computer desk with new imac and printer (this is where I’m sitting as I’m writing!  Hello!).  Confession: The calendar on the wall is actually for 2008, but I like the pictures in it and it doesn’t say 2008 anywhere on it, so I’m going with it.  Eventually I will probably put the pictures in frames, but for purposes of staging, a 2008 calendar is good enough.

Random blue chair.  We initially wanted something a little cozier here (a reading nook!), but this will do.  Until JT moves to Kalamazoo and takes it with him.  Also:  Dirty windows!  Yuck!  Still have to clean them… not sure exactly how I will clean the outside…  Sounds like a big pain.

Another shot of my lovely blogging workspace.

Extra paper and CDs hang out here.  Also, check out my awesome window chalkboard.  Love it.  Need to buy chalk to write on it.

I had planned on using a green and white material from Urban Outfitters for the curtains, but our Realtor suggested that if I wanted to take them with me (which, I do!  I love that fabric!), I should pick up something else.  With the exception of pictures, anything tied to the walls (i.e., curtains and curtain rods) goes with the house.

Our Realtor also commented that she dug our color-sorted books.  Yes!

I am especially proud of the window chalk board.  We had our old basement windows replaced with glass block last winter, and I held on to a few of the window panes.  I just popped the glass window out of the frame, and sanded and painted the window frame.  Then, I purchased a light-weight board ($5) and chalk board paint ($5) and cut it to the size of my window frame.  After painting the board and letting it dry, I popped it in the back of the window frame.  Ta da!  A fun re-use for an old window that would have otherwise been thrown out!

Our total cost/item rundown for this makeover?

  • Primer – Killz $25
  • Ceiling Paint – Gliddon (it’s the paint that starts purple and turns white as it dries!) $20
  • Wall Paint – Frost Wind (#540A-1) by Behr – $18
  • Trim Paint – Semi-glossy white paint by Behr – $18
  • Desk – Ikea (purchased years ago)
  • Stool – ? (purchased years ago)
  • Chair – Ikea (purchased years ago)
  • Rolling File Cabinet – Target (purchased years ago)
  • Magazine Holders – Ikea (left behind by our Swedish roommate)
  • Book Brackets – Ikea $14
  • Book Shelves – Wood from Home Depot, painted with the trim paint – $10
  • Curtains – Ikea $10
  • Curtain Rod/Wire and support pieces – Ikea $23
  • Curtain Clips – Ikea $5
  • Chalkboard – $10
  • Calendar above the printer – Gift (my mom brought it back with her from Italy).
  • Green desk accessories – Target (purchased years ago)
  • Silver pencil holder – Gift (my Grandparents gave this to me when I graduated from High School)
  • Blue Vase – Gift (Jason’s parents gave this to us on one of their visits)
  • Books – (purchased along the way…)

$153. Not bad for a clean and modern workspace!

Colorful Bookshelves

February 12, 2009 at 10:15 am | Posted in During, Our Home, Our Study, Projects | 9 Comments
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We decided to mount a bookshelf above each of the windows in the study.  Between the two of us, we have more books than we know what to do with, so putting a bookshelf up above the windows (in what otherwise might be wasted space) seemed like a good way to get out books out of the boxes that they’ve been stored in for the last 2 years and out in the open where we can grab them at leisure.

One of our new bookshelves

I organized the books by color (an idea I stole from Apartment Therapy), and then alphabetically.  A little left-brain, right-brain action, I think.  (And I’ll be getting rid of an entire box full of books that I didn’t like or won’t read — a good start to my New Year’s Resolution to get rid of the clutter in our home).

Jason laughed.  And then asked how he was supposed to find what he was looking for.  (And then was surprised to find out that he did indeed know the color of the spine of the book he was looking for.  So it’s not that ridiculous of an organizing scheme…)

I love it!  I think it looks so much cleaner and neater than it would have if I had sorted alphabetically or by genre.  It provides a little visual interest, and I hope it will make this small room look uncluttered, despite the large number of books being stored here.

The full effect – love it!

Anyone else tried out the color-sorting method?  Or have any other tips for making a small space appear uncluttered?  Do tell… we’re still organizing the room and would love to encorporate your ideas…

(For more photos on organizing books by color, visit here or here)

Our Study is blue!

February 9, 2009 at 9:56 am | Posted in During, Our Home, Our Study, Projects | 5 Comments
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As predicted, we finished most of the painting in the study over the weekend.  For some crazy reason, we decided we should freshen up the paint on the baseboards and molding, and I might need to go back and give it a third coat tonight.  (Apologies to those of you that have stripped paint from baseboards and are cringing at the suggestion that I’m actually adding MORE paint to them…).  Anyways, ours were a bit dirty and chipped in some places, and the baseboards in the adjoining room need to be painted because they had been accidentally painted a dark green in places by a previous inhabitant – the same previous inhabitant that painted over the plastic covers surrounding outlets and light switches (I guess it was too much work to remove them?).  So, we thought we’d freshen up the trim in both rooms, but I certainly didn’t expect it to take more than 2 coats of paint…

Anyways.  The color is actually a little blue-er than I remember, but I love it.  It makes the room feel so much bigger and cleaner, and I am happy to be rid of the dirty beige color that plagues every. other. inch of our home (not that I am against beige, but it’s getting a bit old, since every room and ceiling are the exact same color, and I think that it has pink-y undertones, which are just not working for me.)

(these pictures were taken before I started painting the trim… you’ll have to stay tuned for some “after” pictures later this week!)

Craigslist Joys

February 6, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Furniture, Our Home, Our Study | 5 Comments
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I’ve been scouring Craigslist lately, looking for a desk that will go with our new old banker’s chair.  I want something that looks like this:

Simple, square, 1930s era desk.  Said desk needs to be less than 44″ wide to fit in our little office.  And, in my dream world, this desk is under $50 and has few scratches (because, I think you guys persuaded me to re-stain the banker’s chair instead of painting, and I thought it would look nice if the desk and chair were stained similarly).  In case anyone is wondering, the above desk sold for $675.  So I might be dreaming here.

Anyways, the point is… this desk is hard to find.  But it’s okay, because I’m up for a challenge!  Unless any of you know where I can find one of these beauties (or can suggest a good alternative)…

Our study, primed!

February 5, 2009 at 10:50 am | Posted in During, Our Home, Our Study, Projects | 2 Comments
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We’ve been really busy in the study this week!  We finished cleaning the walls with a TSP solution to prepare it for painting, and then covered the walls and ceiling in 2 coats of Kilz primer.

Tonight, I put up a coat of ceiling paint.  I’m amazed by how much taller the ceilings seem with a nice bright white coat of paint!  We might need a second coat, but regardless, I think we’ll be done painting this room by the weekend!  Yay for progress!

An old banker’s chair

January 23, 2009 at 10:24 am | Posted in Before, Furniture, Our Home, Our Study, Projects | 10 Comments
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Check out my recent craigslist find:

It’s an old wooden banker’s chair in need of a little love!  I’m hoping to make it look like this:

Pottery Barn Swivel Desk Chair

I’m going to clean the wood and then paint it white, add new casters, and recover the seat, probably using a cute green fabric.  When she’s done, she’ll have a place in the study, along with the curtains that I purchased a month or two ago from Urban Outfitters (I actually purchased two “tapestries” for $10 each on sale, so I will have to cut them into 2 separate panels and sew them into curtains)… stay tuned… (and wish me luck!)

Urban Outfitters Birdie Stamp Pattern

Our study, walls cleaned and patched!

January 22, 2009 at 11:09 am | Posted in During, Our Home, Our Study, Projects | 8 Comments
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We’ve finally finished scrubbing the little chunks of wallpaper off of the study walls!  *Almost* ready to start painting!

Check out my cheesy fake smile here.  I was just so happy about scrubbing the walls – NOT!

We had a small discussion about what should be done with the cracked and partially missing plaster above the windows.  It was suggested (by quite a few people) that we hire a plaster guy to come in and fix it.  And, umm… well, we ignored that suggestion.  Instead, we bought some plaster patching compound, and went at it ourselves.  Maybe we’ll regret this decision in a few years, if/when our patch job fails.  But for now, it was a $5 quick and easy fix.  We plan to hang shelves above the windows to store books, so if it doesn’t look perfect, it will be blocked by books anyways.

My patching supplies positioned nicely on our nasty basement floor.

Here I am, hard at work.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I read that I needed to use very thin layers, so I think I applied about 60 very thin layers.  It took about an hour, but in the end, I was very pleased with how it turned out.

The final product.  This will look much better when sanded and painted!

Our Study, sans wallpaper

January 15, 2009 at 10:12 am | Posted in During, Our Home, Our Study, Projects | 2 Comments

We finally did it! We removed the wallpaper from the walls AND ceiling of the study! It only took about two months longer than I projected (why is it that these things always take so much longer than I think they will?). This was a chore that would best be described using several expletives, followed by exclamation points, but this is a family blog, so we promise to keep it clean.

Check it out:

Alright.  On second thought, it doesn’t look that great.  But that’s because we still have to clean all of the tiny bits of wallpaper off of the walls (that’s our next step).

Two of the walls in this room weren’t even papered (the tan ones), making it even more ridiculous that it took us this long to get it all done.  But, in our defense, there were 52* layers of paint over the wallpaper, making it incredibly hard to get down to the wallpaper to remove it.

I hope to find time this weekend to clean the walls, fill the holes in the wall left by the previous owners, and paint… but we’ll see… (because, remember, these things always take much longer than I expect them to.)

*slight exaggeration.

Following Through

January 9, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Posted in Our Study | 3 Comments

I was overjoyed to come home from work the other day to find JT in the study, scraping wallpaper.

No nagging required.

Looks like someone is following through on his New Year’s Resolutions to help more with the house goals.  Thank goodness, because after scraping most of the wallpaper myself, I am completely unmotivated to head back up there and finish.

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