Friday, June 16, 2017

Office Makeover - Part One - DIY Stenciled Wall



Once upon a time, Vern bought a house on his lunch break. 

And that's how we wound up with the Mason house (our current house.) 

Before the real estate market became what it is today, we were still able to find salvageable homes at a really great price.  In 2015, he came across this little gem on Auction.com: 



It always amazes me how pictures have the ability to make something look so much better than it actually is.  By the time we had the keys it was in pretty bad shape, but that is for a different post.

The original idea for this house was to flip it.  I was adamant that I was not going to live there, that I did not want to move, and I refused to speak to Vern for three days after he told me he bought it. However, after spending the majority of my time painstakingly renovating and bringing life back into that house, I looked at Vern one day and said, "This house is pretty.  We should move here."  I swear, in that moment, he was going to kill me.  After throwing a fit for months that we were "not moving, no way, not happening, no thank you" I suddenly changed my mind.  We moved two weeks later. 

We stopped all renovations on Mason and got our Keller house ready to sell.  After a snafu with the water line for the fridge (the line broke and flooded our new laminate flooring) we pulled it off the market and decided to use it as rental - after fixing the flooring of course.

Work on the Mason house was never complete.  Like I said, once I (or we) decided to move, all work stopped and we moved.  There is SO much left to finish in this house.  We moved in Fall, 2015, and then Vern had surgery on his foot.  That winter/spring we bought the 503 house and flipped that. After a few months off Vern ended up buying the Larch house and flipping that - so really, we've had very limited time to finish/work on the projects at our own house.  

With so many renovation projects going on we began to accumulate a lot of paperwork.  A lot of paperwork.  Our two-drawer filing cabinet was filled to the brim, and we were using a desk that I made out of a counsel table and the top of an Ikea coffee table.  It had worked for us when we weren't trying to legitimately run a business, but once we started acquiring more and more projects we both knew something had to change.  We NEEDED an office. 

The Mason house has five bedrooms. Three upstairs and two downstairs.  Our bedroom is upstairs, together with one of the guest rooms and the "junk" room (which is an unfinished bedroom that everything and anything that doesn't have a place gets thrown in).  I wanted the office to be separate from the main living area; an area that was quiet and could be used for office work and reading - which meant that any of the upstairs bedrooms would not work.  It's just too compact upstairs and would be hard to get anything done.

Downstairs has two bedrooms, a bonus room, bathroom, and storage/laundry room.  It's a daylight basement, but the only room that gets any significant amount of light is the first lower corner bedroom at the bottom of the stairs. 


A friend of mine had stayed with us for a few months after we first moved in.  Before she moved in, we quickly painted the room with some paint we had on hand (Benjamin Moore's Grey Husky) and Vern zapped some trim up.  We didn't have time to fill the nail holes in the trim, caulk, or fix the seams.  We did what we could to make it look decent and then when she moved out we threw the office stuff in there and called it good.



And when I say "threw" I mean that literally.



This picture makes me cringe. The clutter! The mess! Looking at these pictures makes my stomach start to hurt, but the reality is - our house isn't always clean.  Our house goes through periods where it is a disaster and the point of this blog is to accurately represent the evolution of our house...so there ya go. Sometimes we are slobs.



I eventually got tired of not having a proper place to file things, and I was tired of listening to Vern complain, so after months of pinning away on my Pinterest "Office" board, I took my favorite ideas and got to work.

All of the books and bookshelves were moved out of the room (not easy or fun) and I began the process of filling all the nail holes in the trim.



During the many many projects we've had so far, we've learned that we prefer to fill trim and molding seams and nail holes with Bondo.  The temperature fluctuates so much where we live that we've found it does a better job of not cracking, and making seams look invisible.

This is purely a preference thing.  Some people like spackling paste or putty, we prefer Bondo.


The only downfall is that if you're painting your trim white (like we normally do) you have to cover the red Bondo with oil based primer or else it takes a billion coats of paint to cover it up.  We normally just grab a spray can of the primer and lighting primer over any spots or seams we've covered.


I also needed to caulk all the seams between the new trim, the window, the walls, the door jams. It was never done when we installed the trim and was super noticeable. 


Once all the nail holes were filled and everything was caulked I taped the floor off and painted four of the three walls with Benjamin Moore's Cloud Cover.  Normally I would have waited until the trim was painted before doing this, but I honestly was so excited to be doing something with this room that I forgot about painting the trim.  So I had to go back and somewhat start over. :( 

I'd like to say this isn't a typical thing I would do, rushing through and skipping steps, but it is - much to my husband's annoyance. 


Out came my trusty sprayer (Wagner 0529021 Flexio 890 HVLP Paint Sprayer Station) and the trim was given a few coats of Benjamin Moore's Advanced paint in White. 

I love my little sprayer by the way.  Vern hates it.  He prefers his big (and little) fancy sprayers, but for me the Flexio gets whatever job I'm doing done.  It takes some time to get the pressure correct and the spray pattern right, but is super easy to use.  Not a sponsored post, just my opinion. 

I wanted something dramatic on the wall our desk was going to be built against, so I chose a deep navy (Benjamin Moore's Hale Navy) and gave the wall a few coats.  



Seriously.  I love the deep color of this and how it changes in the different lights.


I wasn't going to be satisfied with just one dark wall.  I wanted that wall to "pop."  I had been pinning different stenciled walls for months and finally landed on a design I liked that was done by Laura Gummerman over at A Beautiful Mess.  She made it look super easy and did it with some cardboard and paint pens!

Totally something I could do!

Using the design Laura picked, I taped up a piece of poster board we had and projected the design onto the poster board.



Once it was traced on property, I cut it out with my X-Acto knife, making sure the the width and length of the stencil would work within the measurements of my wall so that I wouldn't have any of the design cut in half.


Using a sharpie paint pen and our laser level, I began tracing out my design.  After hour one I had two complete rows.




In total it took me two hours to completely outline the stencil on the wall. 


I was pretty happy with the end result, but knew that I would need to go back over everything with the paint pen again.  There were also a few lines that needed to be touched up bad - like the bottom of the first row. Eeeesh. 


The next day I went back over everything with the paint pain slowly and called it good.


Once the wall was finished it was time to build the desk!

To be continued....


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