Thursday, September 18, 2014

Beginning a New Project: Basement Home Office

We've officially been in our "new" home for 7 months now. Wow, time flies, eh?

When we hit our 6 month anniversary, I had planned to get a "6 months in" progress review written. The plan was that I would take current pictures of all the rooms in the house and do a before/after comparison. However, that would mean cleaning my house from top to bottom in order to get those photos. And unless we're having company over, that's a near impossible task these days. order to procrastinate further on the progress review, we're going to make strides in the actual progress department. This post kicks off the beginning of the basement home office project. Yay!

I'm hoping that this is one space that we can stick to until completion. I know I've mentioned in that past that we are completely ADD do-it-yourselfers. We still have yet to finish the girls room, make additional improvements to our bedroom, finish the half bath, finish the entryway makeover, and now we're throwing the basement office space into the mix too. There is also no doubt that we will start on the boys shared bedroom sooner than later, too. If I were to give advice to anyone, I'd say, "pick one space and focus on that until it's done." But I can't follow that advice myself, so here we are!

Considering that my commute is often taking me an average of two hours just one way lately, I'm going to try to work at home more often. It's amazing how much more productive you can be when you pull 4 hours of driving out of your schedule. With that in mind, we decided to make the "home office" a little more inviting.

This space previously consisted of my craft desk and a whole bunch of clutter stuffed into the back corner of the basement. It was totally overrun by toys and just plain stuff that hasn't found a home since our move. (Yea, 7 months and we're still working on unpacking. Oi.)

I wanted to take a good "before" picture of the space so that you could see this whole wall that would eventually become the wall-to-wall desk. But instead, I captured my husband's annoyed, "just take the picture already" look.

A few years ago, Justin made me this Ikea Expedit Hack Craft Desk. We took two Expedits, affixed a top to it with 3 10x1 boards, and applied a little paint.

It got a lot of use when I used to have more time to sew. Now, it just hold my two monitors and some other stuff.

We are huge fans of reusing stuff where we can, so we came up with this plan:

This "plan" includes a wall to wall desk using a few boards from the old craft desk, and floating shelves for storage.

If you follow on Facebook, you saw our "teaser" the other weekend as we were working on staining the desk top.

What we've done so far to the space has been really easy. We stained the boards with Minwax American Walnut, and used a Kreg Jig in order to piece all of the boards together seamlessly. For now, the boards are sitting on top of the two Expedit shelves.

We will eventually push the Expedit cubes fully to each side (right and left) and build a cabinet in the middle. By placing a cabinet right in the middle, it will provide the desk top with additional stability and help to define two separate work stations; one for computer work, and one for sewing/crafts.

Next though, we need to sand some walls and get painting!

I have picked out Valspar's "Sparkling Lake" and love the way it looks against the stained wood!

That's all I have for today. I hope to have another update for you on this space next week. No promises though. We may or may not have already started demoing our master bath too...

I can't be the only one out there with a million projects going, right?!

Friday, September 5, 2014

White Ektorp Slipcover Debacle: An Ikea Slipcover Tradegy

My white Ikea Ektorp slipcover. I bought it, I loved it, and then I washed it....

A while ago, I wrote this post about how it was wearing and swore to post an update after it's first wash.Well, here we go!

After we moved into this house, I knew immediately that I wanted a white slipcover for our couch. In fact, even when we lived in our old house in Annapolis, I put this mood board together hoping to convince my husband that we should get the white slipcover for our Ikea Extorp sectional. No dice.

But when we moved into this place, we got a gift card at closing from our bank. I guess when you plan to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of a loan in interest alone, the bank decides to give you $200 back as a "thank you" gift. So I took that as an opportunity to spend $99 of it on my coveted slipcover.

It has made it through its first wash and now looks like this:

I could cry. (And not because there are little feet injuring tiny toys sprinkled all over the floor. Darn My Little Pony jewels!) Despite following the washing directions, our white slipcover looks like someone attempted to tie-dye it yellow. What. In. The. World. Happened?!

I've tried bleaching it. No luck. I've tried washing it and putting it out to dry in the blinding sun. No luck. So, in short, my review is simple: I am NOT happy. I followed the washing instructions and my lovely white slipcover is ruined. Poop.

And now Justin says it is so ugly that we can't put it back on the couch. I'm stuck with Old Blue once again...

Many years ago, Old Blue once was part of a Pottery Barn wunnabe mood board, but it's a little past it's prime now. I don't like it as much in this room, and especially not with my new Ikat pillows and paint color.

Old Blue once looked like this in all its glory:

Old Blue even had this mood board created around it:

But Old Blue just looks too old and worn now, and it is just not cutting it.

Does anyone have any tricks up their sleeve in regards to saving my favorite white cover? Or should we just scrap the idea of ever having a white couch and dye the ruined white cover another color? Navy? Gray? Let me know what you think!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Grid Style Board and Batten Entryway and Drop Zone

In an effort to get ahead of the back to school clutter, we had to implement something other than our puny little coat rack in order to tame the mess. After a lot of Pinspiration (that's a thing, right?) I drew up a plan in my handy notebook that resulted in this:

Hear the angel's singing? It's beautiful. I swear, I should rename this blog "My Husband Made It", because he takes my crazy ideas and turns them into awesomeness like this.

Here is the progression of this little space.

This was a totally bare space when we moved in. In fact, when we first toured this house, the tenants of the previous owner kept guinea pigs and cages in this corner. We have a little closet in the family room, but we knew that there was no way that this little corner wouldn't get cluttered up with coats, shoes and backpacks. With fours kids, I would spend my entire life hanging coats in the closet, and "ain't nobody got time for  that."

We originally hung up a cute little coat hook that my father-in-law made. It's cute, but it just wasn't quite enough to tame the whirlwind of stuff that kept getting deposited here.

Next, we intend to build a long bench to go here to complete the space. Maybe we'll hang some key hooks on the short wall. I just can't wait to put another item on the "honey do build" list.

In order to build out our awesome grid style board and batten wall, we started by affixing furring strips horizontally to the wall.

The horizontal strips were screwed into the studs and vertical pieces were cut to size and affixed with liquid nails.

Once everything was up, we caulked...


 and sanded.

Here's where I have to note that if we were to do this project over again, we would have upgraded the wood to a true 1x3 pine or MDF. We spent a lot more money on a large quantity of wood putty and sand paper. Furring strips are really rough and therefore required a ton of patience and sanding in order to get smooth strips and seamless joints.

All in all, I am ecstatic with the results. And so far, it has helped to contain the clutter! The low placement of the hooks has provided an accessible way for the kids to take over picking up their own stuff. That makes one happy mamma!

Tell me, what kind of organization projects have you tackled in preparation for the new school year?