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Living Room Inspiration

I don’t know what it was about last week, but we had some bad luck at home!

As we began prepping for our living room project, my husband was up in the attic looking for something, when he tripped and his leg went through the floor/ceiling.  He is ok, thankfully, but he did scratch his leg up pretty bad.  I am just thankful he did not go all the way through.  Since that happened, he was able to patch up the hole, but it created SO MUCH dust in the house from sanding the spackle.  SO MUCH DUST!  He still has a little more sanding left and then I can really get down to clean these floors.

While all of this was going on, our just over a year old microwave decided to die.  There was no coming back and of course, there was no warranty.  And if I have to be honest, it sucked.  We had to drop another unexpected $$$ to buy a new one.

Then throw in our living room.  Guys, last week was exhausting!  And our house looks like we are doing work.  Oh, and then add a toddler into the mix.  Mama is tired.

Last week, I mentioned our first project of the year being the living room and how we were going to totally transform it.  We actually started working on it this past weekend and just the few things we did has made a difference.

Inspiration Board

living room

Details

We took advantage of the new year’s sales going on and bought this couch from Haverty’s.  The color is called Mineral and is mainly gray with slight hints of green.  Very slight.

I also bought two of these bookcases from Joss & Main to sit on either side of the fireplace.  I went back and forth on the height of our bookcases because I did not want to take away from the fireplace.  After looking at so many options, we both liked that amount of storage (and hidden storage) this bookcase offered.

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We decided to get rid of our current rug and buy something new, something a little more toddler proof.  I am so in love with all the neutral looking rugs and how they ground a room, but we needed more.  And I was apparently feeling spicy.  I am 100% going out of my comfort zone with the rug I chose.  I am going to buy this rug from Joss & Main (or whoever gets it in stock first).  This rug is so out of my comfort zone, I waffled TOO long and it was out of stock when I went to order.  I AM SO DISAPPOINTED!  I have been stalking it and I hope it is restocked when they say it will be.

The paint color that you see in the picture of the fireplace above is Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray at 50%.  We love the color so much, we decided to paint the living room the same color.  The main reason we have to repaint this room (and eventually the whole house) is that the flipper painted the whole house in flat.  If you want my advice, do not paint your walls in flat.  It sucks and it looks like we use the walls as hand towels.  We did paint this weekend and if you follow along on Instagram, you know the slight drama we dealt with getting this on the wall.  I will share in another post.

As far as accessories and other pieces in the room, I am going to keep everything budget friendly.  Our brother-in-law built a coffee table for us and I am so excited to see it in person.  I hope we can see it soon.

The main color scheme I am feeling for this space is Black, White, Green, and Gray as my base colors.  That rug is going to help add pops of color throughout, but I really am really feeling green these days.  And mainly I am feeling green in plants.  Maybe it is the post-Christmas life that makes me crave greenery, but I want to add more plant life to this space.  I have always run from it because I don’t have the best green thumb and I have yet to find any faux plants that don’t look terribly fake.

Update on my to-do list:
  1. Sell the couch and loveseat.  Both listed.  Both had bites but people can be so flakey.
  2. Repaint the ceilings. 
  3. Repaint the walls.  
  4. Freshen up all of the trim with paint
  5. Clean and polish the floors.  We may have had some accidents this weekend with paint.  More on that next post.
  6. Probably should add touch up paint to this list.
  7. Mount the tv over the fireplace.  <- This is happening this weekend!
  8. Build new bookcases.  These are being delivered today and with an upcoming work day trip, the goal is to have them built by Sunday.
  9. Furnish and decorate!

 

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Living Room Project

Happy new year!  2018 is off to an incredible start with my Georgia Bulldogs winning the Rose Bowl and heading to the National Championship!!!  The game was high stress and at one point, I stopped breathing.  Under the previous coach, we would have NEVER made it this far, so I am so proud of this team and coaching staff!!

I am so excited for another reason…we are going to start the year off with a project, the living room!  This room has been so frustrating to figure out that I had to reach out to one of my favorite blogs for help, DIY PlaybookBoy, did they inspire!  As I slowly started to execute the plan, my husband came back to me and said he really REALLY hates where the tv is hung.  His reasoning is because there is a really bad glare coming from the windows behind it.  Totally get it and I offered to hang curtains.  Let’s just say that is still a battle because he truly hates curtains.

His suggestion to solve the problem is to move the tv.  Of course, there is not a good spot in this room.  The only location that would make sense is above the fireplace.

You guys, our fireplace is tall.

So, I played around with different ways to layout the room and it seems like the best thing to do is start from scratch.  Here is what the room looks like right now (and my half-hearted attempt to clean it):

Home Down South Blog LR Before

This is the view when walking in from the front door.  To the right is the hallway leading to the bathroom and kitchen.

Home Down South Blog LR Before

This room is somewhat long and narrow.  Another obstacle that makes this room so difficult is the french doors.  This room originally had a large window instead of doors, but the guy who flipped the house stuck some doors there instead and it makes laying this room out so much harder.

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Eventually, we are going to remove our pantry in the kitchen and flip two of the three downstairs closets into a pantry.  This means the door with the red bag hanging from it would become a solid wall.

fullsizeoutput_fc7fullsizeoutput_fc8Home Down South Blog LR BeforeHome Down South Blog LR BeforeHome Down South Blog LR Before

That should give you an idea of what we are working with.

How we plan to tackle this project:

First, we are going to empty the room.  My hope is to sell what I can (and use that money for this project) and we are going to start fresh. Once this room is completely empty, we have a laundry list of things to do BEFORE getting furniture in here.

  1. CLEAN
  2. Repaint the ceilings.  After we had our can lights installed, we never got around to repainting the blemishes out
  3. Repaint the walls.  I am MADLY in love with the color of our house, so we are going to repaint it the same color.  This time, we are going to use a sheen.  For some reason, the flipper decided to paint the whole house with a flat paint and IT SUCKS!  The color of the walls is Sherwin Williams Colonnade Gray at 50%.  
  4. While we are at it, we are going to freshen up all of the trim with paint
  5. Once all the painting is done, we need to clean and refresh the floors.  They were not really finished other than stained, so we need to add a top coat.  We have tried Bona on the rest of the house, but the shine does not last long in traffic areas.
  6. Mount the tv over the fireplace.  I am going to let my husband and stepdad take care of that!
  7. Furnish and decorate!

Basically, this is going to start as an EPIC spring cleaning!

Once all of that is done, here is how I envision our room to look with the new stuff:

We want to add a sectional for more seating and based on how this looks, I think the room could handle it.

I am still working on WHAT we are going to put in this room, but we have our couch narrowed down to three choices.  All will be in the dark gray family (hello pets and toddler messes).  As for everything else, I am still on the hunt.

One thing I am sort of scratching my head over is the rug.  What we have right now is tired and needs to go.  I want to find something with a little more pattern (for reasons stated above) and I am sort of itching for something bolder.  What that looks like, I am not sure yet.

Hopefully, in the next week, I will have a design plan ready for you!  But now, I have to go narrow down our three couches to one!

 

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Daydreaming

This week is going to be crazy busy.  We are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time and I was out of town all last week, so I have a lot of catching up to do around here.  The house is due for a massive deep clean!  Instead, I would rather catch up on all of your blogs and write a post myself.  #priorities

Matt and I always have some sort of house project on our minds and sometimes we randomly walk into a room and exclaim how we want to tear a wall down or plant an entire garden.

The week before I left for my work trip, I finished up the dining room and there was something that started to bother me about our house flow.  Our house was built in the 80s and walls are abundant around here.  We talked about this once before we moved in that we would LOVE to tear the wall and kitchen pantry down that separate the dining room and kitchen.

Before you scream in horror for wanting to take down the kitchen pantry, our house has so many closets next to the kitchen, we good.

If we DO take down the wall that separates the kitchen and dining, it creates an odd shaped room.  I needed to start visualizing this space now if this is something we actually want to do.  Spoiler alert: we actually want to do this.  We just need to find the right guy and see how much this would cost.

Home Down South floor plan

Here is our current downstairs.  This is not at all drawn to scale but it at least gives a great visualization of the space.  What we would like to do in the near future is tear down the pantry (yellow below) and transform the two closets behind the stairs (purple below) into one long pantry.

Home Down South floor plan

Home Down South floor plan

It would open things up so much more and let all the light that we get in the dining room into the kitchen.  The big question that we are wondering is if it would be weird to have two eating areas right next to each other like that?  The dining room table would be pretty close to the breakfast area.  Until I know what we are going to do with these spaces, this is where we are at.

Just for fun, I was curious what things would look like if we took down ALL the walls that we knew we could take down and move some things around.

Home Down South floor plan

Total game changer here!  We would totally get rid of the breakfast area and move the half bath to its location and take down the wall in between the office and living room.  We would then reconfigure the kitchen to extend into the dining room.  If we did this, we would have the best house in the neighborhood and we would have to decide if we were here long term (I want to be but we will see).

For now, we are just going to focus on the dining room/pantry wall and start getting ideas and quotes.

Have an amazing Thanksgiving week!  For those not celebrating Thanksgiving, have an awesome week!

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Dining Room Reveal

Good morning!  When I started this blog I had every intention to blog weekly.  I guess I did not take into account that when you are working on projects, sometimes your budget slows you down.  Or your 1.5 year old.

BUT I am here with a room update!  I am not actually 100% done in this room but I sort of have to stop where I am for a few reasons.  If you follow me on Instagram, you already got to see the sneak peek and lots of stories leading up to this.  If you don’t follow me there, you are missing out!

I was sort of hoping this project would have a little more blog-worthy DIY projects to post about but it didn’t.

Anyways, back to why you are here.  Time to look at our newly updated dining room!

Here is the before and the plan I wanted to follow <- in case you want to jog your memory.  This project took longer than it should have…umm it should have probably only taken a weekend.  I mean, it literally only took me two hours to paint the room.

HomeDownSouth dining room reveal
table/chair/bench/rug/buffet

Home Down South Dining Room Reveal

I toyed with painting this room a dark color because there is so much light in this room and it could handle it.  After painting our office back wall a dark blue, I was not sure if there is a “rule” to having two dark rooms across from each other, so I opted to go light.  I am not disappointed.  I chose Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams and just getting the fresh paint on the wall made a world of difference in here.  The original paint, while new, is a flat sheen.  Not only did it show all the dirty marks but it also fell flat.  The paint I put on the wall is eggshell and that slightest change made the room so incredibly bright.

Home Down South Dining room reveal

We bought this buffet when we moved into the house to actually use as a tv stand.  I personally liked using it in the family room but my husband did not, due to the height of the piece.  We bought something else and moved this into the dining room.  It really DID add more storage that we need badly!

 

Home Down South Dining room reveal
Rug

 

 

This rug.  This was part of what held up this room being complete.  I looked at SO MANY RUGS.  The room needed a rug but I didn’t want something that would compete with everything and I didn’t want another gray rug (we have one in the living room).  I actually found this on Amazon for a very reasonable price!  Click the link in the caption to see the source.  I did go with an 8×10 and the size is great.  It is on the thinner side, but I don’t think something thicker would really work in this room.

 

Home Down South Dining Room Reveal

 

Originally I had two pictures on either side of the window but then I happened to see a Decor Steals deal on Facebook and immediately bought these metal hanging baskets.  The wheat is not in its forever home but I wanted to get something in there.  I am still deciding what to replace it with.

Home Down South Dining Room Reveal

If you didn’t see my IG/FB post about this tobacco basket, you need to check out Hobby Lobby.  Not only do they have great farmhouse wares, they have these tobacco baskets reasonably priced!  The pumpkins are all from the Dollar Store and I painted them different shades of blue, mint, and white to match my style.

 

If you saw my Instastories the other day, I mentioned how I tried to start replacing the cream outlets for white and thanks to the wiring being all sorts of crazy and the guy that flipped our house being too lazy to find which breaker goes where he just had his guys fill in the sheet and move on.  Out of 30 breakers, not one single breaker is labeled correctly.  I THOUGHT I hit the right breaker after shutting the entire house down, but not the case OUCH!

So really all I have left in there is to switch the outlets out, sand the table and reseal to fix some of the scratches, and deep clean the wainscoting.

Now, when I get back into town, it is time to work on my last minute Thanksgiving tablescape.

 

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Stencling the Stoop

I know, I know.  You are going to say “weren’t you working on the dining room?”  Yes and no.  I have a case of project ADD.  But really, I have not had much time to focus on painting the dining room because of a certain toddler project manager.  Painting a room is a big to do and I generally do not have time while she is with me to start anything so big.  I try to get what I can done during naps, but lately, her naps are far from reliable.

One project I was able to get done during my lunches and late at night was putting a stencil on the front porch/stoop/whatever it is called.  Here is what it looked like before:

Home Down South Front stoop befor

Insert screaming emojis!  I do like the color of our house, but painting the brick here light gray was probably not the smartest decision when you are dealing with Georgia red clay.

I first had to give this space a good pressure washing.  I patiently waited for a weekend where the heat was not so oppressive (which, when is that happening?!).

After a good scrub, I luckily had some exterior white paint from sitting in the garage to use as my base and to cover up the light gray.  You guys, even after a good pressure wash, the bricks are STILL stained.  Adding “paint the brick” to the very bottom of the project list.

Home Down South front porch before 2

I mean, that brick is disgusting.

After I let the base coat dry fully, I waited a few days to start stenciling.  Mainly the heat is what caused more delay.  Also, this spot gets direct sun from 10am – 7pm this time of year and it is a total bear to sit out there.

If you follow me on Instagram, you got a lot of sneak peaks

I ordered my stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils.  I chose the Santa Ana Tile Stencil.  I love the look of cement tiles and have been dying to put something similar to that in my house for a long time.  This is the third time I have used a stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils (this is not sponsored by them) and each time was a totally different experience.  The first two times I used the stencil on the wall, so using it on cement was a first and not necessarily the easiest.  I searched around the internet to see what others have done and it seemed pretty straightforward.

It took me a little longer than I expected because I could not easily roll the paint on.  I had to pounce it on.  So it took a few hours over the course of a week.

BUT

I kind of like it.  A lot.

Home Down South Blog Porch afterHome Down South front porch after 2Home Down South blog front porch after 3

I had some struggles because unlike adhering it to the wall with a little spray glue, NOTHING wanted to keep the stencil sticky on the cement.  I used painters tape to try and keep the stencil down as much as I could.

I love the interest it adds to this space.  I also love that it is going to hide so much like a boss!

The paint that I ended up using was a quart of Rainstorm by Sherwin Williams.  I chose SW because they offered exterior paint in a quart where other places I checked out only offered in a gallon.  For me, a quart was still too much paint and a gallon would have been wasteful.

At some point, I will still need to go back and seal some of the cracks in the cement so I don’t have to deal with weeds growing through.

What do you think?  Have you ever tried out a stencil?  How did that project turn out?

Ok, I promise I am going to work on the dining room.  I have a deadline.  It will be done!
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Easy Light Fixture Update

I am all about quick and easy around here….for the most part!  Last time I shared with you the plans I am mapped out for our dining room.  I have started playing around in there little by little and one thing I recently tackled was the hanging light.

Over the years, I have been pretty much obsessed with the open-sided, clean lines, rectangular chandelier (which would be perfect over my long table).

World Market 4 sided pendant lamp
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The reason I have not sprung on this option is that Project Manager was never really sold on the idea or spending the money.  But IT’S PREEETTYY!  <–Not a good enough argument.

Jasper Hardwood
Source

Another style I was starting to like was something like what we have, only larger in scale.

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Source

This option is very close to what we already have, so I figured until I am really ready to commit to the expense of a beautiful light or find something I can use to create a masterpiece (HA), I needed to work with what I have.

This is what I started with:

Home Down South Dining Room light beforeNothing particularly wrong with this (other than it is a little on the small side) but it almost seemed like an after thought in this room.  Life in a flip!

I figured, if I couldn’t spend the money, work with what I’ve got.  I started out by doing a search for more modern looking shades.  Those are either expensive or a pain in the butt to find five.  Deep down, we all know I love the exposed bulb look, so I played around.

diningroombefore2

It wasn’t a bad start but those cream-colored sleeves were a big punch to the eyes.  Who thought that was a good idea?

I couldn’t find any sort of replacement at the store while I was there and my search was short lived.  One day, I went into the garage and grabbed whatever can of spray paint that I had that closely matched the finish on the fixture (because I was not about to take it off the ceiling to paint the whole thing..nope).

I happened to have an almost empty can of Rust-oleum Universal Metallic Spray Paint/Primer in Oil Rubbed Bronze.  The light is not a black, so this was a pretty close match.

When I was ready to paint and not planning to take the fixture down, I created a high-tech paint box to catch the mess spray paint can make.

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Mind blowing, right?  It actually worked pretty well and the only thing that got messy outside of the box was my hand.

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Not a bad little update for the cost of nothing!!

I am still trying to find a good lightbulb replacement for this fixture.  I love the Edison bulb look but they are too yellow (we have one over our sink).  The ones we have in here are at the left side of the light spectrum and are SUPER SUPER warm.  It is almost too dark in there with the lights on a full brightness.

Update on the punch list:

  1. Update the light fixture  -DONE!
  2. Paint the walls – I am shooting for Sherwin Williams Sea Salt
  3. Organize the buffet
  4. Buy a rug
  5. Decorate with as much on hand items
  6. Add my own floral paintings to the room.  Or buy them, we will see how my creations turn out
  7. Switch out all the outlets and outlet covers from beige to white
  8. POSSIBLY add shelves….possibly!
  9. NEW – Sand down the table top and re-seal
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The Budget Dining Room Project

Summer is quickly coming to an end and I can’t say I am disappointed this year.  Don’t get me wrong, summer is my jam and will forever hold my heart tight, but this summer was overly hot and oppressive.  Nothing other than the bare minimum was done outside.  Even the pool felt my neglect!

Now that our office is pretty much complete and I have been picking up small projects around here, the dining room is my next big focus.  We have been handed the torch to host the holidays and the only room that has been untouched downstairs is our dining room.  Sadly, it spent the first eight months of our living here as a dumping ground for things that did not have a home.

Dining Room Before

What helped the clutter problem was actually adding storage to our office and switching out our tv entertainment stand.  After that, it was a domino effect for our things to find their place.  diningroombefore2

Right now, I am playing around with light fixture ideas because as close as we are to the holidays and with some of the other project goals we have, I do not really have much of a budget for this room.  diningroombefore3

This room is tricky to shoot and it is on me to get the right lighting equipment.  There is a green tint on our windows to help with UV rays and it comes through in all of my pictures!diningroombefore4

But it is a pretty bright space in the early afternoon until dusk.

What I want to do in there:

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This room has the wonderful (and real) wainscoting all around the room so that is 100% staying.  The furniture is not changing either.  I want to keep the “theme” modern farmhouse.  Since I have that wainscoting, shiplap makes no sense in here and I don’t want to be too “farmy.”  Our house doesn’t hold that look well, sadly.

My punch list:

  1. Update the light fixture
  2. Paint the walls – I am shooting for Sherwin Williams Sea Salt
  3. Organize the buffet
  4. Buy a rug
  5. Decorate with as much on hand items
  6. Add my own floral paintings to the room.  Or buy them, we will see how my creations turn out
  7. Switch out all the outlets and outlet covers from beige to white
  8. POSSIBLY add shelves….possibly!

Not an overwhelming list by any means!  Honestly, this is a weekend’s work!

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Farmhouse Candle Sticks

I meant to get this post up at some point last week, but I have been sick and traveling and I was just too tired at night to open my computer and think.

Last weekend, I was cleaning up the house a little bit and was focusing on cleaning up our family room because with a toddler, toys.are.everywhere!  While I was cleaning up, I started thinking about how my fireplace mantle could finally use a small update.  It had sort of became the place where I just threw things up as I was unpacking and left it alone.

Fireplace_before

So, deciding to spend almost no money on this, I started looking around the house and playing with what I had.

A few years ago, I purchased two gold candle sticks from Everything but the House, with no actual plans for them.  I wanted to use them on the mantle but not in the current state.  I still like gold accessories, but these were just so dated and not the style of the room.

What I really wanted was something that looked more rustic and would fit the style of our room.  Something like this:

carved-pillar-holder-o
Pottery Barn

I did a lot of looking around and it looks like most versions of this candle stick are made from wood.  I didn’t want to totally ditch what I had because I already had them.  So I figured I would play around with paint and see what I could do.  If it was a total fail, I would just paint them a solid color.

I bought the Martha Stewart Vintage Decor paint in Linen and Clay.  These had a matte, chalky finish, so I figured I could apply and sand where I wanted to distress.  Also, I was lucky timing-wise that they were buy one get one half off at Michaels because they are a little pricey.

The rest was pretty easy.  I applied two coats of the clay and followed the instructions on the back of the bottle.  Apply and let cure.  I was purposely sloppy with how the paint went on because it was going to be sanded down.

Candlestick_during

After the clay covered completely, I applied two coats of linen and let dry overnight.  Again, not really caring how smooth the paint went on.

Candlestick_during_homedownsouthblog

My plan was to sand most of the linen off the top and expose most of the clay.  Sanding was not going the way I thought it would.  It took a lot of effort to sand and when I made it through the top layers, it went straight back down to the gold.  Hmm

Plan B: Dry brush* the clay over the top and hope it looks good.  And that is what I did for both.

*Dry brushing is when you dip your brush into a little paint, wipe it on a paper towel or paper plate and then paint your piece.  It cuts down the coverage and gives it the look that I spent all day sanding.

candlestick_after_homedownsouthblog

I was so happy I was not particular about how the bottom layers of paint went on because it created this really nice groove effect on the top to give it way more dimension.

I totally eyeballed how much to put on and when to stop.

fireplace_after_homedownsouthblog

I mounted the long window I actually found in the trash back when I was looking for wedding decor.  I think it is such a cool piece and lucky me to find it.

Such an easy and cheap project to take off the to-do list!  I am brainstorming ideas for a new screen.  I will tackle that once we have the fireplace serviced.  When we bought the house, the seller was in the process of switching it from gas to electric and just stopped halfway through.  So we are going to hire someone to come take a look and make sure it works in time for winter.

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Shared Home Office Reveal

I am about to climb on the roof of my house to shout to the neighborhood that my office is DONE!  This has been such a HEFTY project and took way longer than I had hoped but mainly because I did all of this by myself!!

I was planning on writing up a post on how to customize boring stock cabinets, and I still can, if you are interested.  But for now, let’s just talk about how this room came together and I was finally able to clean it out last night!!

Let’s flashback to where we were when we first started:

The room lacked any type of storage and any sort of personality.  Storage was BIG for us because at the time I took these pictures, there were still boxes from moving that needed a home.

I ended up getting a later start on this project because I was not sure what direction I wanted to go with shelving.  I was going to be sharing this space as well so I needed to make sure we both agreed on what I was going to do.

Here you can read about the design plan

When things finally got moving, there were a bunch more hiccups than I had hoped for.  The shelves were a pain to deal with.  Then, while upgrading the cabinets with new and existing trim, so many things got annoying that I had to walk away and rethink.  Painting only takes forever when you do not have a paint sprayer.  And switching out old outlets for new in a house with annoying wiring is, well, annoying! HA

Let’s just jump into the reveal already!  I will try to source everything I can below each picture, but if there is something you see and have a question on, let me know!

Homedownsouth Office Reveal1

I am so happy this is done!  There are a few things I still to take care of in here: fix the front gaps where the cabinets meet the wall, find a plant for the desk, and scrape any paint off the floor.

The desk is from Cost Plus World Market.  It was a tough one to get because it was on backorder for a minute.

HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 2

I am currently not a big fan of the camera I am using because it really ran with the green tint coming in from the windows, I assume?  The cabinets are painted Glidden Stone White.  It is really pretty.  It is gray in some light, white-ish in others.  Green apparently to my camera 😦HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 3

HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 4

Honestly, I am still getting used to the shelves.  I love them but I am not used to having ALL THE THINGS up on the wall.  HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 5

HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 6

There was a lot of going back and forth on what knobs I wanted in here.  Honestly, I did not have the budget to spend anything more than a few dollars on hardware, but I wanted something a little more unique than what you would find in a big box.  I ended up finding mine at Hobby Lobby on sale for 50% off!

HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 8

The chaise is from a local warehouse outlet store but I am pretty sure it originally came from Ashley Furniture.  The Georgia G and the lamp were local thrift finds.  I need to replace the brown pillow that came with chaise, but I have not seen anything that made me stop in my tracks.HomeDownSouth Office Reveal 7 We are each getting one cabinet to do whatever with it.  I have already organized all the craft supplies I wanted to keep and move out of our hall closet to my side (which is the more decorated side because not everyone has had a chance to play around).  I’ll share what I did in my cabinet for another post.

What do you think?

Now that this space is finally done, I can start focusing on the next room, our dining room.  We have been handed the Thanksgiving host torch and the room is in shambles right now …so stay tuned!

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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!