Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Office Space Makeover - Finished!

Last month I shared the inspiration pics for my office area makeover, as well as the furniture & supplies that I bought to start the project. And last week I posted about the decor & organizers I picked up for the new shelving. Well, I'm happy to say my pretty office space is all finished, and today I'm sharing a few in-progress pics as well as the final results.

Once again, here is the before shot of my cluttered desk, in front of the old fashioned wallpaper. *shudder* ~ 

Desk, before

I really wanted to paint the wall before putting up my new shelves, but my husband was hesitant. So naturally I had to rip down the old wallpaper and get things rolling! First though, I had to remove this random long shelf over the dining room entrance. It might have been useful if I could fit serving platters up there, but it's so narrow & short you can only display tiny plates. 

Too narrow plate rail

My nearly-3-year-old was very happy to help with the wall paper removal. She loves peeling! ~

Panda peeling wallpaper

And of course pulling down one layer of wallpaper revealed an even uglier wallpaper underneath!

2nd layer of wallpaper

The 2nd layer of wallpaper was apparently impenetrable. I attempted to scrape some off, but to even remove a tiny bit meant completely marring the wall underneath, so I decided this was a case where we just needed to paint over it. I'm usually not a big fan of painting over wallpaper, but this is such a small area (and most of it is just above doorways), that seams are not going to be a big issue.

To show you the area I'm working with, my desk sits between the dining room and kitchen (with a nice view of the living room too). I'm painting around the door of our dining room...

Dining room entrance

then turn to the right & my desk goes on that left wall, and then you have this little nook with doors going to the pantry, laundry room, and garage.  ~

Desk wall & door nook

While we working on the walls,  my new desk arrived, and the kids had a great time un-packing the box!

3-16 Desk unpacking

They really wanted to help me assemble it, and we finished everything except the drawers before bed. But that gave me the perfect chance to add a special touch! I fell in love with the picture below and really wanted to add black stripes to the sides of my drawers ~ 


While they were still in pieces, I measured and taped off my stripes, and painted them in with some black craft paint. Unfortunately it turns out the outsides of those drawers look just like the *inside* of my drawers, so I didn't even realize my mistake until I sat down to assemble them the next day. So dumb!! (Also the outsides of my drawers have giant metal tracks on them, which pretty much throws out the stripe idea. Oh well!)

Drawer stripe fail

So, now that our house is covered in styrofoam packing bits, and we have two desks sitting around, let's get back to the walls....

After pulling down the 1st layer of wallpaper I washed the wall to remove the glue residue, puttied & sanded many holes, and then we applied 2 coats of Bullseye 1-2-3 water based primer to make sure the wallpaper pattern was well covered.

For the paint I chose a light gray - "White Metal" by Behr (mixed in the i300 flat base). Which looks nothing like this, of course ~ 


In the end I'm not loving my color choice. It's not terrible, but the gray has a slight purple tint in this room, which isn't great with all of the yellow details, and I wish it was a shade darker to pop more against the white. But it's going to be a long time before we'll have any interest in painting it again! 

In between coats of paint & touch-ups, I also worked on spray painting some stuff. I had originally planned on painting the brackets yellow, but after a quick photo mock-up, my husband and I definitely agreed that would be too much yellow. Silver looked the best, so I grabbed my trusty Rust-oleum Metallic spray in "Dark Steel". I love this stuff!

Painted brackets

I also picked up an owl hook from Hobby Lobby to hang my purse on, and gave him the silver treatment too ~ 

Painted owl hook

And this is the part of the project where we had to visit Home Depot 5 times in one week, and every time I turned around we were spending another $20. Each bracket has 8 holes in it, so Justin had to buy a pack of screws for the bottom holes (deep) and another for the top holes (not so deep). I had to buy another gallon of the primer and another can of silver spray paint. The studs for our shelves were not where we expected them to be at all because that wall is where they built the expansion on the house, so we had to go back for some dry-wall anchors for one side. One of the brackets was a little warped (make sure to eyeball them!), so I picked up a new one. We needed new, white outlet covers and switches. And the original shelves I had delivered to the store were trashed, so I had to return those & buy a new set. Ugghhh!

Once the brackets & shelves were *finally* up and the outlets were replaced, I worked on cleaning everything up and getting my desk in place. I arranged my drawers with some small dollar store bins I already had on hand. Not so glamorous, but free ~ 

Desk drawers

With that stuff stored away, we realized the shelves were really, really empty! Time to begrudgingly throw some more money at it. (Details about the stuff I got for my shelves here.)


Desk, fabric tote

After some more touch-ups and a little caulk, everything was finally finished! 

I'm loving my pretty, new office space ~

Office area makeover

It's amazing how out of hand even a small remodling project can get, and we definitely felt like our house was upside down for a few weeks there. I'm so happy to have a desk again, and now I can even do crazy things, like easily unplugging my laptop, or using the light switch without taking something off the shelf, haha. Of course I still have a few small office items I'd like to add to it soonish, but for now I'm enjoying having a very functional and lovely work space for once!

Finishing off this project has also motivated me to get back into the living room and finally do all of the caulking and touch-ups I've been putting off in that room. The living room has been about 95% finished for months now, so I'm hoping to knock out the rest of those jobs soon and get another nice set of 'after' pictures. I want to paint everything!

And I'll leave you with a side-by-side before & after pic to enjoy!

Office area makeover - Before & after

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Office Space Makeover - Decor & Organizers

We worked our butts off over Spring Break priming & painting the walls, then hanging the shelves over my new yellow desk. I am still waiting on one more thing to come in the mail before I can take the official 'after' pictures, so for now I thought I'd share some links for the decor & organizers I picked up along the way.

I was able to store most of my essentials in the two small desk drawers, but that left those new shelves very, very empty! I set out to find some new decor, but after visiting 7 stores, the only yellow thing I saw were some citronella candles. Such a hard color! Then I searched for about as long online and finally found this pretty Moroccan style lantern on Amazon for only $15 (click the pic for the link) ~ 


I poked around through my college artwork and decided to finally frame a pastel piece that's always been one of our favorites but has been tucked away all this time. I headed over to Hobby Lobby to get a frame, but of course the art ended up being an unusual size! I turned to eBay and picked up a custom frame from myusart*com for $25 (counting shipping). I ordered a custom frame from them for a small poster years ago and both frames turned out great.


While I was searching the stores for decor, I also had my eye out for a nice paper tray and a small tote (storage box) to help corral any clutter on my desk. Thank goodness I finally had some luck at Target and found both. I wanted a 3-tiered paper tray with narrow slots, and was about to buy this clear one from Amazon for $25. So of course I was thrilled to find this patterned one at Target for only $13!  

It's even a cousin to that yellow magazine file I was obsessed with, haha. I thought I might paint the black silver, but the lantern and frame added in some black, so it's looking good as-is.

I also had a hard time finding a small tote that I liked because everything smallish had short sides. I wanted something a little taller that was going to hide my junk a little! This pretty $6 tote is covered in gray & silver woven fabric and the size is just right. It's not listed online, so you'll have to hunt for it in the store.

Desk, fabric tote

The metallic silver is reflecting yellow off my desk in that picture, so you can see the fabric better here ~ 

Fabric tote detail

I grabbed those old plastic, gray magazine files I mentioned in the last post and gave them a good coating of Rust-Oleum 2X spray paint in "Gloss Sun Yellow". I was a little worried about the durability, so I thought I might just paint one to start with, but the yellow looked *so* much better that I painted the 2nd one right away.

Painted magazine files

And for my final splurge, I picked up this adorable letterpress print of office supplies in yellow and gray. I fell in love with it a while ago, but it took me a while to hunt down the source, and when I did I was bummed to see that it was $25. Not that $25 is pricey for an art print, but at this point I'd already spent *so much more* on this whole project than we intended, and so it went onto my wishlist. But of course, as I arranged all of my new goodies on the shelves, there was a perfect empty spot that really needed an 8x10 print. It was meant to be.

The print should be here in the next few days, and then I can finally take some pics of everything all together. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Stinky Towels Cure - Vinegar, Baking Soda, or Ammonia?

This week is our Spring Break, and we've been working hard on my office area, replacing all of the pine straw in the front yard, and fitting a few fun things in there too. Unfortunately today I got hit hard by a stomach bug & have been laid up in bed all day, barely even able to play on my phone. Ugh. It's starting to get a little better tonight, and I'm hoping I'll be back to normal tomorrow! Anyway....

Around here we usually have a wet washcloth at the dinner table for sticky kid fingers, and I use them to wipe down tables and counters. But after one day they start to smell mildew-y, and if I accidentally use one, the smell gets on my hands and I can't wash it off. I hate it! Washing the towels didn't fix the problem, they would still come out stinky, so I turned to Pinterest to help.

Stinky Towels - vinegar, baking soda, or ammonia?

Baking soda & vinegar -
The first tip I found said to wash the towels once with vinegar, then wash them again with baking soda. This did nothing!

Ammonia -
Next I read to soak the towels with ammonia before washing, and they came out great! Just let the washer fill with water, add 1 cup of ammonia (for a full load), and let the towels sit for at least 1 hour (lid closed). Then add soap and wash like normal! I haven't had a stinky towel since!

Lunchboxes -
My son's lunchbox was getting pretty funky, and I read a suggestion for throwing it in the wash with your towels. Now I make sure to add it any time I do a towel load, and it smells nice & clean! At least for a few days...