Saturday, March 19, 2011

Office Renovation: Before

The "office" in our house was probably the most "finished" room of all the rooms in our new house, yet it is the second room that we are tackling. This is mostly due to the fact that there is nothing holding us back in this room. Most of the other rooms have a "we should really 'A,B,C' before we 'X,Y,Z' " item or two standing in the way. It also helps that it is at the front of the house where everyone can see it, we spend a lot of time in here, it is small (read: manageable), and I actually have paint colors picked.

This room is actually supposed to be the dining room. Here are some pictures of what it looked like the first time we saw the house with the previous owner's furniture:

At first glance it is not too bad. We are working with neutral colors and new carpeting. Our new house is like that. It looks fine at a glance, but when you start zeroing in on the details things get a little annoying. There are a few things in this room that are just driving me insane and I can't wait to change them.

This is what it currently looks like as a computer room/music room/reading room with our own furniture in it:

The first thing I want to change (but unfortunately not the first step) is to frost the glass on that "china cabinet." We are not using it as a china cabinet. Rather, it houses our printer, ink, office supplies, paperwork, and some musical instruments. I also can't wait to get rid of the dated, centered hardware. The cabinet will be painted white.

The next item on the block is the grey moulding. Everytime I look at this molding I think of the grey armadillo groom's cake in Steel Magnolias and M'Lynn saying "It's got grey icing. I can't even begin to think how you make grey icing."

Not only does our room have "grey icing" but the enthusiastic, DIY previous homeowner was a really sloppy worker. Before I can paint it a fresh, bright white I have to straighten some things out and address the un-caulked gaps.

Speaking of grey, I am also anxious to say goodbye to the grey window treatments (although my husband really likes these?) and the grey cold air return.

This light switch is a couple years past its heyday:

Unfortunately, before I can crack open even one can of paint I have to address the ceiling repairs. This house had its foundation jacked back into plumb ten years ago. I think this is probably responsible for all the "nail pops" throughout the house. The previous homeowner repaired all the nail pops. Unfortunately, true to his M.O., he overfilled every single repair. The office seems to have taken the worst of it in the re-leveling process. It is the only room that has a full four bearing walls and I think that might have something to do with the fact that I counted SIXTY nail pop repairs when I scraped them flat yesterday.

I could NOT get the camera to focus or light the shot properly, but this is a hint of what my ceiling looked like yesterday after I scraped all the overfill away from each repair.

This room will get a new light fixture. We used an "S" hook to hold the chandelier up at ceiling height so we would stop cracking our heads on it. I REALLY wanted a ceiling fan in here, but we also want this room to have the main light fixture be on the ceiling. I can't find a sexy ceiling fan that has enough bulbs to light the whole room. I might have to give up and settle for just a light fixture.

We will, of course, be repainting the whole thing despite the current "neutral" palette. I have to repaint the ceiling (to cover the repairs) and all the woodwork anyway. It would be silly not to change the walls to the colors we really want while we are at it. I finally found the right chocolate brown for the top half. It only took me nine tries. We will be adding faux wainscoting to the bottom half and painting it white to match the woodwork.

I'll update you on my progress as I go. However, much like the school room there will probably be two projects that prevent this room from being 100% finished right away. In the school room we are still waiting for new mouldings and to hire an electrician to install wiring for some light fixtures. In the office we also will need new baseboards and window casing. We are also having french doors installed to keep the music "inside" the music room. My husband and I move relatively quickly when we are doing our own work. We tend to be paralyzed when we need to hire something out.

We will be handling our own moulding projects but want to do the painting outdoors and have to wait for more consistent and cooperative weather.


  1. I look forward to seeing your progress. I think your office will be amazing when it is done!

  2. Right now my office is a bedroom. I have all of my teacher office supplies currently in my basement. I hope to get organized soon. Good luck on your project.