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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Home Office - Valances and Curtains and Lights - Oh My!

You've likely heard Judy Garland chant "Lions and Tigers and Bears - Oh My" when she walked the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz.  These last two weeks I've been walking down the path to the end of this challenge.  Specifically, I worked on Valances and Curtains and Lighting.  One of my primary goals was to hide our bookshelf clutter behind flowing white curtains.  Mission accomplished.  Here's what I did:


I used anchors and screws and wood (oh my - sorry couldn't resist!) to install a frame for my valances on the ceiling.  I attached some wood vertically from the ceiling to the book shelves below set back just a few inches from the valance frame.  I'll need this to add the curtain rod brackets for the floor length curtains described below. 

I used a pretty organic printed fabric for the front of the valances which basically drove the color palette of this room.  I lined it with a plain teal color fabric.  I covered cording with the same teal fabric to add a neat edge at the top.  I didn't have enough material to add cording all around.  I need to save some for the window bench cushion I plan to sew.

I installed the valance with velcro.  I used the sticky back 'hook' side on the wood frame and the sew on 'loop' side on the fabric.  The valance is about 18 inches long and about 93 inches wide in the front with a 17 inch return to the wall on the right side.  I have a shorter return on the left side since no one will see that end. 

Velcro pinned to liner at the top under the cording.


I planned to have full length curtains on both the window and in front of the book shelves.  After making the curtains for the bookshelves with 120 inch wide white fabric, I ended up with only enough to make cafe style curtains.  I'm liking them.

Curtains over shelves

100 inches long - I needed to measure and cut on my living room/foyer floor.

Both sets of curtains needed to be easy-breezy to open and close.  I hand sewed 42 wooden rings purchased at a St. Vinny's store in Madison to the bookshelf curtains.  I used clip on rings for the window cafe curtains.

One thing I am fortunate to have for my sewing machine made hemming curtains very easy.  It is a special blind hem stitch foot.  I followed instructions on how to fold the fabric and just sewed along the fold.  The end result was a machine sewn hem, with just an occasional stitch along the front side barely showing.


I bought this light some time ago and in a prior post showed you that I spray painted it to make it a touch less 1980's!  It is installed!  There are 6 candle type light bulbs and one bulb pointing down.  With everything on, I can heat the whole house!  I've unscrewed every other candle bulb and thankfully, with a turn of a switch I can only light up those.  That's where I leave it, so the wall switch just turns those on.  Another turn and both the candle lights and the bulb pointing down are on.  One more turn, and only the bulb pointing down is on.  A final turn and all lights are off.  It turns out that the bulb pointing down is a very good option to be on when reading fine print or sewing detail stitches.

Light off

Light on

One more blog post for this challenge.

In my next post, I'll hopefully be able to pull this room all together with accessories, wall decor,  and budget, along with before and after pics.  I was able to work mostly weekends on the first 2 rooms of the challenge, but this room being done during summer hours has pushed me to work weekdays.  It's all good because I already can't wait to use the office on a day to day basis as it was intended.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Home Office - Odds and Ends and One Month to Go!

If you've been following along, let me know when you joined with a comment on this blog.  Which transformations have you seen...the Foyer? ...The Bathroom? ...or have you just started with the Home Office?  Whichever point you joined my challenge - WELCOME! 

These last few weeks have involved some tedious work which is not going to look like much progress.  Nevertheless, I will continue to report every other week as promised.  Here are some of the odds and ends that are bringing me closer to the end of this challenge.

Window Bench

I finished off the window bench with trim around the front and the installation of the decorative metal sheet.  I ended up putting my shredder under the bench since there is an outlet and space to spare, still allowing the heater vent to have room to push air into the room through the decorative metal.

My shredder inside the window seat bench

Closet Door Knob Jewelry

I didn't think I'd be able to use the door knobs I bought at World Market since the screws were too short.  Showing my mom my dilemma, she just started unscrewing it and we both saw that I just needed to shop for the right length screw.  Voila!  Jewelry for my closet doors!

Another Accessory in my Color Scheme

Found this pretty decorative dish/bowl that I couldn't pass up at the Agrace Thrift Store.  Can't think of a thing I'd use it for besides brightening a spot in the room.  Candy?  Paperclips?  Air?!

Drawers Painted and Installed

This dresser did not have nice wood to grab onto the paint.  I think I ended up with 4 coats of paint after sanding and using a deglosser ( which I'm convinced didn't work at all).  The end result works for me.

Coming up (in less than one month!)

I have a bunch of sewing to do to create valances over the window and over the old shelves on the other side of the room, and to create the white flowing curtains I envision will cover the clutter of the old shelves and also the window.  I still want to sew a window bench cushion, too.   I have to find a piece of art for the wall I'll be looking at when sitting at my desk.  I also have an entire wall to tackle that will be behind my chair and one of the first views seen when walking in the room.  My idea has always been to add a cork board with some decorative twist yet to be settled on.  Here are a couple of ideas:

For now, let's enjoy the holiday our fore fathers helped us achieve - Happy Independence Day!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Home Office - Anxious to get to the pretty stuff

Summer is finally here in Wisconsin!  It is getting harder to work on the inside when so much is growing on the outside.  Even so, I'm forging ahead.  My room has an energetic feel to it, even if I don't!

I left you last with the building of my file cabinet/shelving units.  I'm still in the process of trimming them out with wood strips to make them look semi-built-in.  In the meantime, I added a window bench.  One of the challenges with this bench is that there is a heating vent and an electrical outlet on the wall below the window.

I built a frame out of 2 x 4's.  I covered the top with 2 pieces of pine.  The back part is only 3 inches wide by 38 inches.  The front is 14 by 38.  Some day I may connect the two with a small piano hinge so I can access the wall outlet.  For now, I just have the boards sitting on top of the frame.

I stained the top of the cabinet which is made of 2 10 inch pieces of 1 inch pine.  I used two stains.  One is a Gel Stain in Walnut.  The other is a regular stain in Red Chestnut.  I layered these on about 2-3 times to come up with a color that very closely matches my desk finish.

I finished installing my base boards and much to my daughter's dismay I put them on both the wall and the bottom edges of the cabinets and window seat.  I still think it makes it look more built in.

I will add a decorative metal sheet on the front side of the bench so air can flow through from the heater vent.

Now on to the even more fun stuff - Accessory shopping.  I did some shopping in my home looking at pictures my daughter painted.  Not sure what I'm going to pick, but here are some examples:


I found the striped pillows at Pier 1 and the buttoned pillow at World Market.  I should have started shopping at World Market as their prices are more reasonable than Pier 1.  I still love both stores.

Unfortunately, I cannot keep these door knobs intended for the closet doors.  The screws are not long enough to fit all the way through.

I have just under $100.00 left of my $3000.00 budget which was spread across 3 rooms.  I think my budget is doing great.  There are some things I want that just won't make it into this challenge, but I still think I'll end up with 3 rooms I love.  As for the time left to finish - that is going quickly.  If you haven't seen it already, take a look at the countdown on the left side of this blog page.  Yikes!  We better get shopping! 

Here are some links I've enjoyed browsing -

Enough shopping!  I have to get to work.  More building, painting, sewing, breathing, etc.  Time is ticking.  See you in two weeks.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Home Office - Building from the ground (floor) up

I had the best intentions to have a big build during the previous weekend since spending time at the lake cottage was planned for this weekend.  Unfortunately, I ended up with a fever and was down and out for 2 nights and a day or so.  I was able to get moving enough to put my file cabinet/shelving system together, but before I show you the results, you have to see how our cat, Woodstock, appreciates the new bathroom sink!

The plan for the home office is to have 2 file cabinets made from 2 dressers with 4 drawers each topped with shelving.  I transformed the dressers into file cabinets in my last post.  I bought 9 1 x 10 pine boards, 6 feet in length for the shelves.  I painted them with Dove White paint before putting them together.

Leisure painting in the garage

I built a base for each file cabinet using 2 x 4's.

I then positioned the cabinet to the front of the base and screwed the cabinet to the base.

I added 3/4 inch plywood painted Dove White to the sides of the cabinets flush with the front.

back view
side view
I topped the cabinet with unpainted plywood.  The reason for cladding the cabinet with wood is to add extra support for the shelving that will sit on top of the file cabinets.  These cabinets were purchased as dressers from a St Vincent De Paul Store for the size of their drawers and their potential to be turned into the lateral file cabinets I've been looking for for some time.  Although they will hold my files, I wasn't so sure they were sturdy enough to hold additional shelving as well.
front view

Now, of course, this wasn't an error free process.  Once the cabinet was clad with supporting plywood, I intended to paint the entire cabinet white and top it with a piece of solid wood that would be stained a dark wood stain to match my desk.   These pictures from my last post show my error in determining whether a door is solid wood or hollow core.

I thought that the thin wood outline on a heavy door meant it was veneer over solid wood.

Not solid wood!  Just a bunch of strips making this door heavy.

The door halves sat on top of my cabinets for sometime while I tried to consider how I could trim out the units to make them look like a custom cabinet rather than a jumble of wood.  My faithful advisor has been home from Grad School to help discuss the pros and cons of my ideas and we both came to the conclusion that I needed to scrap the hollow core door pieces and purchase some real wood.

As it turns out, I found 2 6 foot pieces of 1 x 10 pine in our garage under a bunch of other wood.  This made all my ideas for trimming the units with other wood I had on hand make sense, so I was able to proceed.

I placed the newly found pine on top of the cabinets and then topped them with a shelving unit to see how everything would look.  Nothing here is connected together and the final paint touch ups and staining of the new pine topper are not done, but it shows that the end is near as I'm liking the result so far.

The drawers will be painted white

I'm interested in hearing from anyone reading this what items I should place on these shelves.  How should I inject color?  Should I add books, office supplies, or decorative pieces.  What would you do?