Monthly Archives: December 2010

I made a mistake.

Ugh.  I made an $80 mistake in this studio makeover.

After painting my studio/dressing room, my next step was to bring in some good fabric & sewing storage.  I’d looked into options for months and had wanted to build something, but the fact is that right now I just need to get storage, load it up, and get back to sewing.  Building a custom unit would surely have involved at least a week of solid after-work labor.  At least. Especially because we don’t actually have a saw yet – we’d have to get Home Depot to cut everything.

So yesterday Ryan and I went to Target to pick up two of the 3×3 cubicle bookshelves that were on sale.  I planned to DIY some storage bins for them (to hold my socks and undies and whatever else doesn’t really store well in the closet) and then stack the fabric on the upper shelves.  I assembled them (which was a snap), adding glue to each dowel before hammering it in.  I thought the wood glue would help the particleboard construction hold up better over time.

As I started to fill the shelves I realized that they weren’t the right storage option for my space.  The stacks of folded fabric would store just fine on the shelves, but there was no door or clear plastic bin to keep them hair-free.  I looked online all over this morning and realized there were no clear plastic bins that would fit the cubicles well.  Wah-wah.

So what to do?  I think we’re headed to Ikea this afternoon.  There’s no point in keeping the shelves if they don’t meet my needs.  The Billy Bookshelves, while more expensive than my $80 solution, come with the option to add glass doors.  As a bonus, I’ll be able to get them in a medium wood veneer, which I think will make this room look a bit more classy.  Right now it’s a sea of bright color and plain white laminate everything.

As for the cube shelves?  Well, I can’t return them because I used glue during assembly.  So I guess they’re going up on Craigslist so that I can recoup at least part of the cost.

What a bummer!

Office Makeover: Choosing Colors & Painting Prep

Hi guys!  I’m hard at work tackling that huge to-do list I created for my holiday break . . . and just as I feared, things are going so much slower than I’d like!  But Sunny bugged me about sharing a sneak peek, so here goes.

The first thing on that list?  Painting my office to match my new fabric.  A few weeks ago I shared the color palettes I was considering – and here’s what I chose:

Mid Century Modern with Erin McMorris FabricMy next dilemma:  choosing the paint color for the walls.  It was tough, because I wanted to match the walls to the lightest yellow/green (chartreuse?) in the orange/green leaf print fabric.  None of the paints at Home Depot (Behr, FreshAire, Glidden, Martha Stewart) had the right combo of yellow/green.  Neither did Benjamin Moore – which was too bad because I’d been wanting to try their Aura (low VOC) paint that Jeannine consistently raves about.  Finally I turned to my Sherwin Williams color deck, and sure enough, there was a set of colors just perfect for my room.

It was a toss-up between shade #3, Lively Yellow, and shade #4, Frolic.  I loved the name Frolic, but knowing that paint always appears darker and brighter once it’s on all the walls, I chose the lighter of the two.

Then I cleared out the room to make the painting, shelf installations, and other projects as easy as possible.

Next it was time to tackle the Spackle.  And to peel off all the painters’ tape that I’d used months ago to map out my plan for the walls.  FYI, after months of being on the walls, the tape was reluctant to peel off. I was surprised also to see that the paint under my mirror and jewelry boxes was a lot darker than the rest of the walls – it had faded that much after only 8 months.  Another surprise?  The dirty smudges my feet left on the wall below my first desk!  Gross!

After everything was moved out, the room was cleared, and the walls were spackled (this all took much longer than expected, of course) it was time to channel my inner Dexter and Jane-proof the space to protect from paint disasters.  I love to use the cheap and totally washable cotton canvas drop cloths to protect the whole floor, then use plastic to cover the tables and closets.  It’s a lot cheaper to buy a few extra drop cloths to cover your surfaces than to reimburse your landlord for paint stains on carpets.

Finally I set about painting.  At the recommendation of the guy at Sherwin Williams, I was going to apply one coat of primer (to cover the baby blue walls) and then one coat of paint.  He’d tinted the primer to 75% of the paint shade to help make the most of the primer coat.  The actual paint was their low-VOC “Harmony” brand.

Let’s talk details.  Instead of the monotonous process of putting painters’ tape up everywhere, I used my high-quality synthetic bristle angled paintbrush (Purdy Brand – still made in the USA!) to cut in the primer and paint to the molding and corners.  It was slow going, but I was mostly happy with the result.  In the future I think I’ll tape only the molding on the bottom of the room (to protect from drips and to get a cleaner line), but I like how it worked around the windows, doors, and ceiling molding.  And it seemed a lot easier than dealing with the blue tape.

It took about 6 hours to get the primer and paint up, finishing around 2 am.  Whoa.  Who said paint was a “quick fix?”

This morning the color is a bit . . . bright.  I like it, but I do think I could have gone even a shade lighter than I did.  But once I hang everything on the walls (they’ll be pretty full), the color will be toned down a bit.  So no worries there.

Well, it’s back to work for me.  I’m off to hang some shelves and build a storage solution.

In the mean time I’m curious.  Do you prefer the painters’ tape method, or the cutting-in-carefully-with-a-brush method?

PS:  Shared at Domestically Speaking’s Power of Paint party!

A wheel inquiry: Adding casters to furniture?

I’m currently in the midst of tearing my office apart and prepping to implement the big makeover plan.  I had a heck of a time finding just the right shade of paint – but that’s a story for another day.  In the mean time:

Have any of you had experience with adding wheels or casters to furniture?  I’m specifically trying to add the wheels to the desk and easy chairs in my office, so that I can roll them around on my carpeted floor.  I’m checking out the options at Home Depot, and I’m shocked by the variety of wheels.  Who knew there were so many options?

There’s threaded or solid posts. . . and then rubber or metal. . .weight load. . .

This one apparently is heavy duty, and works well on both hard surface floors and carpet.  I like that it can be screwed into a hole that I drill in the foot of the chair.

But then this one, on the other hand, is supposedly specifically targeted for use on carpets, and supposedly is built to reduce wear and tear on the carpet.  However, I’m more apprehensive about the post – which I guess you just jam into the foot of the chair.

So. . . do any of you guys have experience with this sort of thing?

Vacation To-Do List

So I’m off of work from 12/27 – 1/2.  One whole glorious week.  And what will I do with that time?  Why paint walls and build furniture and organize closets and sew, of course!   I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than decorate a few rooms while on vacation.  And no, I’m not being sarcastic.

I’ve got so many projects I want to tackle that I’ve created a long list, and whatever doesn’t get finished next week will just be my projects for the rest of January.  Winter is such a great time for decorating, because it’s not like you’d rather be outside!

Here’s my list of projects.  Please note that the budgetary goal for each space is in ( ), and the projects that are most important for next week are in purple.

Living Room ($50)

  • Paint a bold color to rescue ourselves from the sea of neutrals we’re suffocating in
  • Create a column to divide dining room from living room (more on that later)

Office ($120)

  • Paint walls
  • Sew curtains
  • Install office shelves
  • Empty dresser, somehow storing all clothes in closet (may have to reduce clothes)
  • Build 2 bookshelves for fabric storage
  • Slipcover easy chair
  • Create custom bulletin board & white board
  • Build special coordinating jewelry storage rack

Guest Room ($100)

  • Paint walls
  • Stencil walls
  • Build storage solution for guests’ stuff
  • Slipcover chair
  • Sew duvet cover & pillow shams
  • Transform old wood Ikea nightstands into Hollywood Glam style
  • Sew curtain

Coat Closet ($20)

  • Paint
  • Create better storage /use of space

My Etsy Shop

  • Create more products (home decor ones)

So, what do you think?  I don’t have enough to do next week, do I?  As I mentioned, I’m taking at least a week’s vacation from technology, starting now.  I may take most of next week off from the blog as well, just so I can focus on the projects.  But I have a feeling I’ll be dying to share peeks of my progress with you all.  I can’t be a total hermit, I think I’d explode.

Until then, happy holidays to you all – and thanks for being a part of my blog world in 2010!!

(PS:  If you’d like some free help tackling a decorating challenge in your own rented home, please drop me a line!)