Friday, February 07, 2014

House Project: Office

Over the past couple weeks, we've been working on finishing another room in our house.  I am super excited about how it turned out--Jim just finished up the last bit of trim yesterday!!  I wish I had thought of getting a "before" shot--before he pulled out the old desk and everything else, but alas, I did not.  

We had been tossing around ideas for this space for a while, but I wasn't planning on getting to it anytime soon. But one day a couple weeks ago, I was thinking about cleaning, decluttering, and reorganizing some stuff on our very messy desk.  We got talking about how we could make better use of the space, and Jim said he had been thinking about putting the printer up on a shelf to make more room on the desk.  I had had the same idea quite some time ago, so that sounded good to me . . . but then we started brainstorming a little more, and next thing I knew, we were in the midst of a whole room renovation. ;)  

Some background: this room is tiny.  In fact, we used it as a closet space for a while.  It's really just a little back entry area between the extra bathroom and the stairs that go down to the garage, which is below our house.  It was our least-finished room--we had put wood on the ceiling a few years ago, but the walls were still unfinished drywall, and we hadn't figured out for sure what to do with them.  We kind of figured it out as we went along . . . that's the way we roll around here. :)  Plan, what plan?  Let's make one as we go.  With the exception of paint and some rollers, we didn't spend any extra money on this project.  (Jim says we should count the jointer he bought last month, and the shellac used on the desk . . . but I'm not coating those. :)  We used what we had, and those things weren't bought specifically for this project!)

First, he brought in some tongue-and-groove pine.  This was stored in my grandparents' old camp next door.  It was used on some of the walls in there, and there was a lot leftover.  Since Grampa told us we could use anything we could find over there, Jim brought this lumber home a while ago and we used some of it in Julia's room.  This office space was the perfect place to use some more. :)
 Putting the wood up on the walls.  Wow . . . looking so much better already!!
 Other end of the desk area: 
 This was our one big unfinished wall--where we keep our maps for school.  We were going back and forth between using some kind of wood (there wasn't enough pine) or painting it.  Jim really dislikes mudding and taping--he is good at it, but just finds it tedious--so wood would have been nicer for him, but then I had the idea of using chalkboard paint.  He thought that would actually be cool, so that's what we decided to do.  
 Desk area once all the wood was up:
 The above pictures were all taken last week.  After getting the wood done, Jim custom-built a beautiful oak desk in an L-shape to fit the space.  And a printer shelf, and another shelf.  This makes SO MUCH better use of the space and really opens it up.  I can not only use the computer here, but there is plenty of room for me to do menu planning or bill paying, or for Jim to do paperwork.  I LOVE IT.  (Pics of the desk further down.)

This week, it was time to think about paint.  At first we were planning to buy a quart of chalkboard paint at Walmart, and we were thinking about using something other than black, like maybe dark gray or a gray-blue.  Then we found out it was possible to make your own chalkboard paint using baking soda.  Being the DIYers that we are (not to mention cheap . . . er, frugal!), that sounded like the better option.  So Jim went looking for "oops" paint at Walmart and found a gallon of black.  (It cost about a dollar more than a quart of chalkboard paint, so definitely a better deal!!)  We used about a quart of it and added 2 cups of baking soda.  It made the paint really thick and goopy, but it worked fine, and it only took one coat to cover the walls!  Once the big wall was dry, the kids had a blast trying it out. :)
 Today it was time for the rest of the trim.  This is my apron wall.  The aprons have always hung here, but we have them hung lower now, so the kids can reach theirs more easily.  Plus it leaves room for writing stuff above--like my hubby's note. :)  I may use it for writing menus or other stuff in the future--but for now I like this message! :)
 Jim decided that our genuine Aussie boomerang would fit perfectly above the bathroom door!
 The finished desk area.  I should have gotten a picture without the monster of a chair in the way!  Oops.  Eventually I would like to maybe paint the file cabinets with black chalkboard paint as well (I have a spray can of it that we could use).  It would make them blend in better, plus it's more fun. :)
 Looking at the desk from a different angle--back door:
 Kids' artwork on the big wall (we haven't put the map(s) back up yet--still figuring out how we want to do that.  I really love how the trim around this wall and the apron wall makes them look like a real chalkboard!
 One last pic, looking from the bathroom doorway toward the back door--please excuse the junk on the other side of the door.  ;)
It was so exciting to finish off this little space and make it a lot more useful.  It sure looks a lot better, too!!  Total cost of this project:

  • Paint: approx. $3 (for the amount we used in here)
  • Baking soda for paint: not sure, maybe $1? 
  • Roller: approx. $1.21
So for just a little over $5 out of pocket (plus a whole lot of time and energy and labor, plus tools & electricity of course) we have a whole new room!  Can I just say what a huge blessing it is to have a talented hubby who can make stuff like this happen?  It's not often he has the time to tackle a big home project.  Having a slow work season is difficult in many ways, but at the same time it can be awesome because we get extra family time, and time for projects, too!  


1HappyWife said...

It came out sooooo nice!!! I love the addition of the chalkboard paint. Had to laugh about your planning :)... that is the way we do things around here too and projects get done when work is slow. I just LOVE projects the family can work on together.

Kathleen said...

It looks wonderful! I Love the chalk paint idea! :-) Great Job!!!! :-)

Carrie said...

Thanks, ladies!! I am so happy to have it done! :)

Mrs.T said...

Kenzie and I just looked at this post. Great teamwork and a fantastic result!

Gail said...

It looks great, Carrie. What a blessing that desk must be! The kids must be loving the chalkboard paint. I'm sure you're glad to have the job done.

Carrie said...

Thanks, Mom and Gail! I JUST remembered I had never posted your comments--oops!! Yes, the desk is a big blessing and I am loving it all! It is super fun to actually enjoy being in this part of the house now. :)

Mrs. Smith said...

I'm REALLY late commenting...but had to stop in and tell you that I love your little room!! The wood is AWESOME looking and the chalkboard is wonderful too. Let me just say, your kids are little artists! Love the artwork! Hugs dear buddy!

Carrie said...

And I'm REALLY late posting your comment-oops!!! I hadn't gotten to blogging for so long, and when I did, there was your lonely comment just waiting to be posted! Thanks for the comments on our project--I love how it turned out!! :)