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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Challenge Completed (but not the end!)

This challenge started 9 months ago and I'm calling it successful.  I now have 3 rooms I am proud to share - my foyer, the main bath, and my home office.  I planned, then changed plans.  I shopped for deals almost non-stop, an effort I will do over and over as I love a good bargain!  Weekends and evenings were sacrificed.  My home gardening chores were vastly reduced to date - sorry neighbors.  Thankfully, my husband and daughter have supported my efforts throughout the challenge and beyond.

For the final review of the first two rooms, see these posts:

Here are the 'BEFORE' pictures:

Finally, it's time to reveal the last room, my home office.  Come on in.  Pardon the lighting as it was casting shadows all over and I'm not a photographer.

Those teal magazine holders were a bit of a disappointment in a couple of ways.
  1. My shelf space is actually about one half inch too short to store magazines in these holders.
  2. I bought a spray paint kit to use my own paint as spray paint without using my large paint sprayer.  Bad choice.  My paint started out too thick, then thinning it made it runny.  I tried numerous rations, but eventually the sprayer never pulled any paint through and I ended up using a sponge brush to paint the magazine holders which started out black.

Woodstock, our cat, has definitely taken ownership of the clean surfaces and loves to nap on the window bench cushion.  I'll have to catch a picture of her on the window seat for a future post.

My daughter's beautiful art.

Would I change anything?  Yes.  There is a decorative element above the cork board that I will replace.  I will need to stain the chip on the desk.  If I find art that is a better match for the room, I'll switch out Harmony's bridge which I love.  I may reupholster the guest chairs or slip cover the black chair.  I will be adding buttons to 'quilt' the display boards to the left and right of the cork board.  Other than that, I'm happy with the space.

I wouldn't call this challenge completed without reviewing the goals for the Home Office: 
  1. Goal #1 - Make this mess disappear!  DONE!
  2. Goal #2 - Make this office look professional. DONE! At least I think so.
  3. Goal #3 - Make this office inviting so that it is used as an office rather than a dumping ground. DONE! It even has the approval of Woodstock, our cat who has lounged on nearly every surface.
The challenge included scope, time, and budget.  I went down to the wire on time, but all three rooms were completed in 9 months.   As for budget...someone said in the beginning that you always go over budget on decorating projects.  In the end, I was budget conscious but I spent what was needed.  I just went through all my expenses, entering the last of them in my budget spreadsheet without watching the total line.  I was thinking I'd be over, but no more than 50 to 100 dollars. 

The end result:

I am so pleasantly surprised that I actually have some money left!  Kids - you can't do this at home...that is, you can't if you don't have scrap wood and collect miscellaneous screws, brackets, material, and accessories. 

This challenge is complete.  Opinions and comments are welcome.  It's the only way one can improve.  I plan to continue blogging with more projects - my own and those of willing friends, so I hope you'll stick with me and tell others to tune in.  In two weeks I'll introduce you to my best friend of too many years to reveal!  She wants my help in redecorating her laundry room which also serves as her back door entrance which is heavily used by family and friends.  It's going to be another challenge, but after this experience I'm up for it!

Thanks to all those who have encouraged me along the course of this now completed challenge.  I've appreciated the comments, personal discussions, and suggestions for color and other decor.  I am so excited to work in my home office...REALLY!

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!