The Home Office

Office chandelier.

For the first six months we owned our house I was self-employed and worked from home. Now that I’m back to work I am only in the office three days a week so we still need a home office for me.

For reference this is the bedroom we started with:


 A basic white room with old blue carpet, sliding closet doors…


First things first: Dale tore up the carpets and refinished them with his friend Mike.

Office-3Once the floors were completed and we moved in, painting commenced! I had it in my head that I needed to paint the ceiling pink–and I love it! And I wanted gray walls. This was the first gray I selected and it was all wrong for me. The pink and the daylight mixed together to create a pale blue tint that I really didn’t like at all! So it was back to the drawing board–and Sherwin-Williams–to try again. Ugh. I hate repainting.


This is not the best image but it gives you an idea of how much darker I decided to go. Office-5

And this is what I ended up with! It looks darker than it is in this picture because the paint was still wet and the daylight was fading…


The next step was converting the old sliding door closet into a shelving area for office supplies and other goodies. It has added scads of much-needed storage (mostly because I’m a pack rat of craft supplies, paper products, and view-master reels).


And here’s the finished product–filled to the brim and not as tidy as it could be, I know. But it’s a start. This holds all of my clippings from my editorial career, all of my favorite books, some craft supplies, all of my scrapbooks, all of my old journals, and an entire shelf of View-Master reels and viewers. Office-8

I love it! I got the desk at Ikea and it was just what I wanted. Soft lines, not too big so it doesn’t dominate the space and not in the corner like I’m stuck in a cubicle. The chair is a lovely white leather knock-off of the famed Eames Management Chair. I LOVE it. Behind the desk is an ugly, cheap old book case that is filled with reference books. I’m sure it will make its way to the garbage eventually! And, in the corner, is an old View-Master projector table that holds a few trinkets and camera supplies.


I got a dresser from Ikea that matches the desk (in terms of finish). Clearly, I haven’t put anything up on the walls yet because I’m still debating art and placement. Dale also put up some hooks for purses and laptop bags to be organized.

Office-10The view from my desk–I have a window and frilly white curtains.

I also plan to get a cushy chair to put up next to the window so I can read and relax in this room as well as work. As of right now I love how my office is coming together (though I do fear that I’ll consider it a Pinterest Hellscape in 2015).

How to Make a Wine Cork Tray


It goes without saying that you should have a glass of wine while working on this project, right?


I acquired a couple of blank trays at a craft store years ago. And I’ve kept nearly every wine cork from nearly every bottle of wine I’ve had for years with the long-delayed idea to make something with the corks. And I finally did!


Dale modeling the cork cutting device! First, I cut the corks in half using a small mitre box saw set. Long, steady strokes of the saw worked best for me! And, happily, the box fit the corks almost perfectly (though they were a snug fit). Cutting them in half also allowed me to pick out corks that were of roughly the same thickness to create an even tray.

Once I had enough corks cut I had to create a pattern that fit into the tray I purchased. Kudos to Dale for coming up with this pattern. I also had to make cuts to the edges of the corks to ensure a proper fit inside the confines of the tray. Lots of instructions I’ve seen online just magically have a tray that fits corks. Also, cork length varies by brand so fitting them altogether is the most challenging part of this project. I set them all in and arranged them to my liking before I started gluing!


Next, I pulled the corks out, set them aside in order of how I wanted them to be laid out and then I turned my attention to the tray itself. I decided to paint the tray the color of red wine. I had more than one tray, and I primed one but not the other. I would opt to not prime in the future—the primed one just didn’t look as great!

Wood Glue

Finally, I had to put the corks in, one at a time. I used wood glue but you could easily use a white glue like Sobo.


And the final product! I liked how it turned out! Now I have a cute and functional wine cork tray for parties and entertaining.

Family Room Renovation!

Have I mentioned I’m still working on file sizes and photos? Because I am.


So this is what our family room looked like when we moved in! It’s a large, lovely space but with the dark cedar slats and old ceiling fan it looked dated and like an old man’s hunting lodge.


Every great project starts with demolition! Dale pulled all the cedar slats down, put in new insulation and began rebuilding the room with fresh drywall. He also skimmed the ceiling.

construction ceiling 

One of Dale’s favorite finishing touches was taking the old, defunct speakers out of the ceiling, patching the holes with small circles he cut out of drywall and then plastered over.

ceiling before

There’s Dale putting in the final touches!


After the drywall was done, the room was primed with a base white. Monty, our cat, was just excited to be able to access the room and its many windows.


Primed and ready from the original photo view!


Next up, our friend Joe picked out the paints! We were stuck and he got us to move forward with this lovely blue and a dark brown focal wall, a shout-out to the room’s original brown paneling. However, we don’t face the brown wall so the room is crazy bright and cheerful–even on dreary days it seems like we are surrounding by a bright blue border.


Step two–paint!


Finally, we put up all new trim around the room. Dale had to cut custom framing for the over-sized sliding glass doors. All that was left was to paint the  frames themselves. This was a real challenge! I had to paint the trim three times because the basic primer didn’t cover the wood.


So this is the final product: pretty crisp white with blue paint.


It has a long way to go to be finished but the new walls, paint, and trim, along with the simple white curtains, has brightened up the space considerably! We also put up a new ceiling fan that is more our style–and has an actual light unlike the one that was there when we moved in.

Clearly, we’ve yet to finish the floors (sadly no wood floor under the carpet), put up some artwork and finalize the furniture. Baby steps…