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Building Shelves: How-to and What Went Wrong

The biggest project in the office so far was surprisingly the shelves that were placed behind the desk.  I say surprisingly because I didn’t actually build the shelves as I had intended, so I thought this was going to be much easier.  I wanted to mimic the chunky, floating shelves that I built at our old house in the laundry room (oh, how I miss that little space).

chunky floating shelves

My plan was to build a less chunky version of these shelves that spanned the entire wall behind my desk.

HomeDownSouthBlogOffice1BEFORE

But then budgets and time got in the way.  This wall is a 12′ long wall and if we wanted to do three floating shelves, that was going to cost a pretty penny.  A pretty penny that needed to go elsewhere in this room.

I started looking at lumber and while I was not worried about being able to find the length that we needed, it was more the thickness that made me re-plan this whole portion of the project.  My worry was would a long 1″ thick board sag over time?  The weight would be practically nothing but then add books and decorative items on there and I was worried I was setting this up for failure.  As we were walking the aisles at the store we ran into 12′ boards at 2″ thick (which are not a true 2″, in case you did not know).  They had the chunk I was looking for and saved me the time and extra cost of building them out.  Sold!

Here is the board that I ended up using (2″x12″x12″)

These boards are MUCH heavier than the 1″ thick board, so I needed to figure out the hanging to the wall process.  It wasn’t going to be as easy as throwing up some brackets and calling it a day (or maybe it is and I over complicated it).  I REALLY REALLY wanted brackets like this:

Source

But the price, well it hurt.  It hurt a lot for what we needed.  The ones in the picture are much smaller than what I needed but we were looking at over $30 for each bracket.  I looked around the internets and found some ways to DIY my very own brackets, but as I was standing in front of the materials, my confidence to create sturdy brackets dissipated quickly.

I settled and ended up using these.  Well actually, I wish I had used those.  I used ones were 12″ long and as I mentioned before, boards are not their true listed size.  The 12″ ended up being too long, so I had to create a slight gap between the wall and shelf to make sure it overhung the bracket

While hemming and hawing over being slightly butthurt over the bracket choice, I picked a color for the wall behind the shelves.  We went with Sherwin Williams Restorative.  But, to my frustration, you cannot find that color on their website.  It was purchased at Lowe’s and it is almost as if it does not exist.  Either way, you can see it here.Home Down South Office Wall Color

When it was time to start hanging the brackets, I turned to trusty painters tape to show me where the studs were and what our shelves would look like.  With the potential weight of these shelves, we needed as many studs as possible.  We ended up with four studs and one center free floater (which meant anchors).

Home Down South Office measuring

The laser level was my best friend through this whole process.  I measured, remeasured, leveled, releveled, checked the level line with an actual level.  Precision is key here.

Home Down South Shelves

After a somewhat seamless first row installation, I moved on to the second row.

Home Down South Office shelves 2

The second row was a little more frustrating because of whatever is going on behind the wall and getting screws to go fully into the stud, but it went up.

The third row, well that was a sonofacrapper.  After all of my measuring and leveling, I pre-drilled my holes so I could easily get the brackets up.  Apparently one of my measurements was off by a smidge and it threw three brackets off and it looked terribly stupid.  They were not in line with the brackets below.  Of course, that also included the bracket in the center with anchors.  #headslam

Home Down South Builds Shelves

I am not kidding when I tell you I went through THREE types of anchors to work in this stubborn hole!  Either they broke or just sucked (being honest).  And that lovely GIANT hole on top, even your basic putty could not fix it.  I had to break out the joint compound to fix that hole.  You guys, that is the standard!  It fixed the giant hole and did not implode when I had to redrill into part of it like the putty did.

Officially, I would like to take shelf hanging OFF my resume after this.  It was so frustrating.  BUT the shelves are up and look quite nice.

As I was hanging the shelves, the screws that I was using were a blinding silver and the brackets were black.  It was like wearing white socks with black shoes.  I grabbed some acrylic paint I had and painted over the tops of the screws and unless you are standing with your nose against the wall, you can’t tell.

As for the shelves, I slapped on a layer of pre-conditioner (NECESSARY) and two coats of Minwax Espresso.

Home Down South builds shelves

Once we got the last shelf up (which is a total team lift item and you should NOT do this alone), they actually looked decent.  Home Down South builds Shelves

Home Down South builds Shelves

I feel like I went a little overkill with the brackets, but as I am styling the shelves, they can be hidden.

Up next: upgrading those boring stock cabinets you can buy at a big box home improvement store!

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Design Plan for Our Home Office

When we moved into this house, we decided to take what is commonly used as the “Formal Living Room” and turn it into our home office. First, what is the actual purpose of the “formal living room”? This house was built 30 years ago, so it was a thing then but now, notsomuch. We do not need a room that will sit untouched (that is what the formal dining room is for). Second, I work from home and Matt is in grad school, so we need a dedicated space to work.

The room is plenty big and perfectly proportional (luck that I have not had before).

HomeDownSouthBlogOffice1BEFOREHomeDownSouthBlogOffice2BEFOREHomeDownSouthBlogOffice3BEFORE

I have noticed for this space our tastes both mesh in the “Industrial” look. It is a lot masculine, but so many yummy wood tones. I think our biggest inspiration for this space was the filing cabinet we scored from someone’s trash pile a few years back. It could use some cleanup, but boy does it serve it’s purpose well.

I decided it was probably wise to start putting some ideas down on paper to avoid going eight directions with this space. My biggest request from looking good is the organization. We have been in this house for seven months and we still suffer from a lack of organization.

Home Office

 

So, here is the baseline design I am going after. I promise to post a source list at the end of the reveal post because some of the items above are just placeholder pieces.The back wall of the office is 12’ long and it is perfect to install wall to wall shelves. Not only will it serve an organizational purpose, but it will also allow us to display nice pieces up there. We have actually already purchased two kitchen base cabinets to go on either side of the room under the shelves. They are totally unfinished and I am still thinking of how I want to finish those off.

I have been researching a way to make shelf brackets to hold up our beastly shelves mainly because they can get super pricey. So far, everything I love that I know I could DIY just makes me too nervous with how much weight they can actually hold.

GREEN! I am making it my goal to have at least 3 – 4 plants in each room. I am trying to steer away from faux mainly because I have not seen any that don’t look FAKE. I can be swayed!!

Paint: I am considering putting a board and batten around three of the walls, but I keep flip flopping. Too much wood vs. my love for BnB. I think this room can easily handle a dark color on the walls because we get a lot of light throughout the day. I have always always wanted to paint a room deep blue but never had the right lighting. If I were to do a board and batten, I would paint the upper portion of three walls in the deep blue. The wall holding the shelves would probably have to be painted all navy.  The choices of the blue I am leaning towards are Sherwin Williams Distance or Sherwin Williams Moscow Midnight.  If BnB is in our future, I am thinking a lighter color that is not pure white.  Possibly SW Pearly White.  I haven’t actually put samples of these on the walls yet so this could change completely!

We also want to add a French door to the front of the room, but right now our focus is getting the inside completed.  I feel like I have been planning this room forever!!

Stay tuned for more updates!!

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Welcome!

Hi, everyone!  Welcome to “Home Down South!”

You can read more about what is going on around this place here, but to give you a quick summary…..

We bought a new-to-us house in the suburbs of Atlanta.  This house is the second house we owned and while there are so many great features of the house and it was move-in ready, it was just some flipper’s pet project that lacked in a lot of functional, obvious, and personal features. 

I have been reading home/DIY blogs since 2008 and these blogs have been a huge resource for my to get me started with my own home projects.  And then there is Pinterest…..

While most people like to relax on the weekends, my idea of relaxation is picking up a saw or paint brush and doing something that will make our lives easier or our house prettier. 

For me, to want to start this blog was part “I should probably pay it forward with all the information other bloggers have tested and shared” and part “I can try to make this house look nice on a budget, so who wants to see?” 

So, yeah.  Here we are!

A quick tour of the blog (because I do not have much content yet):  You can find our home tour here.  As projects unfold, I will update the room pictures and post links to projects you might be interested in. 

If you have any questions, want to reach out to me directly, have things you want to see, or maybe you want to collaborate with me on a guest post, my contact information can be found here

You can also follow along with me on Facebook and Instagram.  You will probably find me more on Instagram because it is my jam these days!