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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Evolution of an Office Pt. 1

I've been away from the blog for so long you'd think I wasn't working on anything.  Nothing could be further from the truth. I've been working on lots of different projects.  The problem is that I haven't yet finished anything to a standard that I want to share it.  I've been removing wallpaper, tiling, patching drywall, painting, sewing, cleaning out and building.  Today I decided I'll share part of the transformation of my upstairs office.  The picture above is what the office looks like now.  If you're thinking to yourself  'That's not really all that exciting'.  Have a look at how the room started out...

 This is what it looked like shortly before I moved in. Wall to wall pink shag carpet, wallpaper on all four walls that was stained and yellowing.  None of the stuff in the room is mine but that doesn't mean that I did much better.  Here's what it looked like after I moved in but before I started working...

Granted, there was a short period of time between those two photos where I'd totally cleaned out the room and it was used as a guest bedroom.  It had an antique 3/4 rope bed, two bedside tables and a chest at the end of the bed.  I never got a picture of that, unfortunately.  Here's what it looked like as I was working on the transformation...

I've removed the carpet to reveal the hardwood floor and the wallpaper is gone, leaving only the lovely purple paint that had been underneath.  The walls were in terrible shape and needed a ton of patch work.  I'm not sure what I dislike more, removing wallpaper or patching drywall.  It's not so much the patching that I hate, it's the sanding afterwords.

Once the walls were prepped I painted them with Boomerang's latex, pearl finish recycled paint in what I think is called 'Stone Grey'.  I'm not sure since the colour isn't listed on their website.  The paint was beautiful to work with, nice and thick and covered really well.  If you're not familiar with Boomerang, they basically take recovered domestic paint and stains (aka leftovers) and mix them together to create uniform colours that you can buy super cheap.  I think some colours may be better than others as I used another of their paints in my hallway and stairs and it was a lot more runny and splattered all over.  I also primed and painted all the wood moldings in the room white and removed the door.

I'm not yet ready to share a full view of the room.  I still have to get rid of two large bookcases along one wall, including all the books they currently hold, slipcover two client chairs and get photographs printed and framed for the walls.  Also, I need to somehow get rid of the carpet tape residue that just will not come off the hardwood, finish inside the closet for office storage and repaint the closet door.

What I will share is the making of my valance for the window over part of my desk.  I knew exactly what I wanted for that window as soon as I knew I was putting my office in that room.  I wanted a box pleated valance in grey and white.  I ended up choosing IKEA's Stockholm Blad fabric, not because it was my favourite but because it was the only grey and white fabric they had in stock the day I finally broke down and committed to purchasing fabric for the office.  I'm glad I got it in retrospect.  It doesn't match perfectly and I think that's part of the charm.  The photo above shows the only new items I used to make the valance.   The fabric, thread and a package of pre-made white piping that I splurged on so I didn't have to sit around making my own.  The lining I used was once a bed sheet and then it had been re-purposed for a craft project.  One day I'll have to share photos of my sewing trunk.  It's like the proverbial treasure chest.  I don't throw fabric supplies out if I think there's even the slimmest of possibilities that it could be useful some time in the future.  I also used the bedsheet/craft project lining to make faux piping when I realized that I wanted to have white piping on both the bottom and the top of the valance (but didn't want to drive to the store or spend the extra $2 on another package).

Normally a box pleated valance would have a solid framework underneath.  I was going to build a structure out of scrap wood for mine but realized I'd used all the appropriate scraps on another project.  So, I found an adjustable curtain rod in the 4th bedroom (which is where all the boxes from the before picture went) and nailed some small scraps of 1"x2"'s together to build it out enough that the roller shade could still operate with the valance over top.

I screwed the blocks to the wall above the window and painted them out to match the walls so my mish-mash drapery hardware wouldn't be so noticeable on closer inspection.

I then attached the curtain rod brackets, put up the rod and covered the face of the rod with sticky back Velcro.  This meant I wouldn't have to sew a rod pocket into the valance, it would look somewhat more authentic even with the pieced together hardware and I could still remove the whole thing for washing.  I didn't have to buy the Velcro either.  I have two rolls of the stuff (one of each male and female sides) in my sewing chest from ages and ages ago when I had a business making custom soft furnishings.  It pays to not throw some things out.

I won't go through the step by step details of sewing the valance as I didn't take any photos of the process.  In it's simplest terms you get a long rectangle of fabric and make pleats at even intervals and sew them in place.  You don't have to line it or add piping like I did.  Once the valance was sewn, I stuck the Velcro to the back side and hung it up.

Once the valance was done I took a photo of that side of the room so I could blog about it and then realized that my printer cart shelves were all messy and it didn't look nice.  Since I don't have time to make organizer trays for all my supplies at the moment (and I obviously don't want to buy any) I measured the opening on the cart and cut another piece of fabric the same size adding one inch to the width for side hems and four inches to the length for the bottom hem and the top lip.  Once the side and bottom hems were done I simply zig zag stitched across the top hem to prevent fraying and stuck on yet more Velcro.  I stuck the corresponding Velcro to the underside of the opening and voila!  A curtain to hide the supply shelf mess.


Now if only I'd come up with some way to get rid of all those cords......

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