One Room Challenge: Week 6

Wow!  Week 6 is here!  This One Room Challenge has been just that – a challenge.  And it’s been very rewarding.  I’m working at my new desk in my (not quite but almost finished) completely new office/sewing room, and I love it!
As I predicted in Week 1 and mentioned above, the room is not totally finished.  I’m truly OK with that, though.  It’s 400 times better than it was six weeks ago when this crazy challenge began, and there’s no way we would have made the changes that have been made in that amount of time without the timeline that the One Room Challenge provided, and I must thank Linda for that.  Thank you, Linda!

Well, without further ado, let’s get to some before and ‘after’ photos!  For a complete picture of what I started with and the changes that have been made so far, click here to read Weeks 1 through 5.
Let’s look back at the goals I set in Week 1.  They were largely accomplished!
Paint walls and built-ins, stair rail, and hardware.
Check!  The new stair rail looks great.  I kept waffling on the color; I couldn’t decide whether to paint it white or stain it with my favorite darn wood stain.  Either way, I planned to spray the hardware brushed nickel.
In the end, I decided on staining the rail for several reasons:
  1. I figured I’d have to put a coat of polyurethane on it either way; I thought that over time, the white paint alone would start to chip off and that the poly would protect it.
  2. It’s a lot easier to apply stain on something round than it is to paint it!
  3. The dark wood stain seemed like it would be warm and would break up some of the white from the frames that will eventually be hung in the stairway.
Sanded but not yet stained!
Loads better than it looked before!
Still in need of photos on the wall to go along with the posters, though.
Clear out the clutter!
When I started the process of cleaning this room out in February, it was an extra (forgotten, really) room over the garage where everything we couldn’t find a place for in the rest of the house went to hide.
It was overwhelming; I probably spent half as much time looking around, trying to figure what to do next as I did actually going through papers, books, toys, and magazines.
Today the clutter is, for the most part, out of the room.  Many of the bookshelves still need to be organized, though.  They’re not being properly utilized at the moment; several of them still have painting supplies, extra lamps, and all the face plates for the outlets and light switches sitting on them.  Others have extra frames that won’t be used for now and a couple are empty.  Many of them are finished and have books and doodads nicely arranged on them.
A few complete shelves.
And a few shelves with a bunch of paint supplies and other mess!
Create display for race bibs and running awards, books, scouting accomplishments, etc.
Last week, I stated that the display for our running awards was complete, but I did make some changes to it in the form of new frames for a couple of photos of both of us with our high school 4x800m teams, and a shadowbox with a jersey from our time (which of course was retired in favor of a newer version long ago) that I was able to get from the current coach (he happened to have exactly one left in his garage when I contacted him and even mailed it to me!).  I also took over the next row of shelves because we just had way too many plaques to fit on the top row!
I still have work to do on our Boy & Girl Scout award displays.  I have all the frames and also found a perfect shadowbox for the Mister’s Order of the Arrow sash, and it turns out that two additional ones will be the perfect size to display his Boy Scout sash and one of my Girl Scout ones.  
I framed a section of my Brownies vest, and literally stuffed my Senior (or is it Cadettes now?  I forget!) vest and shirt and his Boy Scout shirt into the giant Ribba shadowbox frame from Ikea.  I say that I stuffed them into the frames…because I did.  I will have to move around a few of the patches and come up with a better way to attach them to the back of the frame in the coming weeks.  I’ll also actually arrange these and other items from our time in scouts on one of the shelves and will share it when it’s complete!
Furniture:  new desk from thrift store, shelf made from Michael’s cubbies, new craft table, plant stand
There wasn’t much to do here; as I said last week, the plant stand is a no-go for now because we haven’t gotten the window unit installed yet, so it sits in the way of any potential plant stand.  Also, the current TV stand is too big to allow a plant stand to fit in front of the window, and I’m on the lookout for a better/smaller version that will also hold all of my old Disney movies on VHS!
We finally completed the new craft table, which I’m quite excited about.  It’s slightly higher than our kitchen countertops, and it’s wonderful to be able to stand and work without leaning over, with the option to sit on the barstool when I want to.  I framed all the photos standing at the new table.
The Mister drilled four new holes in the bottom of each shelf
I slathered each leg with my favorite craft glue before attaching them to the shelves
And then we flipped them over so the weight of the shelves was on the legs as the glue dried.
After attaching the same wood slab from my old craft desk to the new shelf bases, I filled in the leftover hole with wood putty and painted one last fresh coat of white paint over the entire surface.
Craft storage: refashions on closet rack, pegboard, big bulletin board, shelf for fabric, new craft table, rolly cart from Sam’s
This is one of the areas that still has major work to be done.  As I ‘live’ in the new space, the best way to utilize the storage I have will become apparent.  I can already tell that it’s going to feel SO weird the first time I sit down to sew.  While I absolutely love the frame and shelf we made for the pegboard, it changes the way I’m able to arrange the items I store on the board, so it will take some getting used to.  

The pegboard looks a little empty right now!
The pretty rainbow of thread looks so nice against the little milk glass pedestal dish I found at a thrift store recently.

The sewing station came together, but the paint isn’t adhering/curing the way it should have, so I may be repainting the sewing desk in the not-too-distant future.  It was very humid when I painted it, so I initially thought it was just drying slowly, but it’s been nearly a week now, so i’m starting to think it may be that I didn’t sand it well enough.  

I’m still planning to paint the filing cabinets eventually, too!

I found this great chair at the Habitat store.  It was in excellent condition, unlike its matching pair, which I left at the store.  I plan to refinish the stain and cover it with a fun new fabric.

Last year, my aunt gave me some of her old clothes and fabrics from her stash that she didn’t want or need anymore and thought I might like for refashioning purposes.  The clothes are made of beautiful and very nice materials – silk and linen among them – and the fabrics are high quality wool that I look forward to making into blanket scarves and/or skirts!

Thank you, Pelham!
I left everything in the cubes just like it had been in the old sewing room, but I know that won’t be the case for long.  It’s the most convenient area to store sewing notions, so they will likely take it over soon.  Even though I haven’t sat down at the new sewing desk yet, I already miss the storage that I had in the old one.
I love all the storage this unit creates, all the way up to the tiny ledge at the top of the bulletin board that’s just waiting to be decorated!
Here’s an example of an honest representation of what things look like in here; everything has not yet found its place. 
Update fixtures: New fans and light fixture.  New window unit.
We have fans now!  The ugly fluorescent light fixtures are GONE!  It’s so nice to have a functioning light on both sides of the room now, and it was a relief to get rid of the 3 floor fans I had in the room before the ceiling fans were installed. 
Since I am so particular about ceiling fans and we were trying not to spend a crazy amount on fans, we wound up DIYing our own versions from the following parts:
  1. Two white fans for $39.99 total. 
  2. Schoolhouse light conversion kit for $19.96 per fan 
  3. Traditional shaped Blade Arms for $16 per fan 


This brought our total cost for TWO fans to under $95!  And they are exactly what I wanted.  The next best option was this fan for $70 EACH.  
It took the Mister an entire afternoon to assemble and install our DIY versions, but the savings was over $50!  We actually bought four fans total so we could put a couple in other rooms in the house, which brought our total for four fans to about the same as it would have been to buy two of the Brookhurst ones.
Removing the old fluorescent lights left a few extra and quite unattractive holes that I need to plug.
For the largest, I picked up the scraps that had fallen on the floor and glued them back in place with spray adhesive.
But I still need to go back over them all with popcorn goop for an even finish.
We bought the parts for but haven’t installed the new fixture at the bottom of the steps.  I had an idea to DIY something very similar to the fixture I chose (at a savings of about $25!), but of course that means it takes extra time, so…
Finishing touches: Fabric, art, photos, and colors
I looked through photos I already had instead of ordering new ones and put a handful in my frames, but they are still all leaning up against my new giant craft desk.  I look forward to creating a cool gallery wall on both sides of the staircase in a few weeks!  The Mister is getting a well-deserved break from my constant “When can you help me today?” requests for now.  
Hang me, please!
In the meantime, I have cut pieces of paper in the same sizes as all the frames to tape to the walls and find the right arrangement for all the photos to make the job easier.
I reused the filler piece from the big poster frames to make my paper templates.
I look forward to living in the space for a while before I order fabric for window treatments and chair covers.  This will probably happen in early January (November’s half over already, and it just seems unrealistic to think it could possibly happen in December!)
I’ll finish off with Befores and ‘Afters’ (or at least, as things are right now) for your viewing pleasure!
To start with, let’s head up the stairs:
“Wait, we can’t!  There’s a bunch of junk in the way!” you say.
Now the junk is gone, but the staircase is ugly.
But now it’s so much better.  And it’s not even finished!
Now that we’ve made it to the top of the stairs, let’s take a look to our right:
Nice and clean. February 2009.
What a mess.  February 2015.
So much better!  November 2015.
Let’s take a small detour to focus on that desk.
Needs attention.
Now it grabs your attention!

 Let’s resume our tour and look straight ahead at the sewing alcove.

Empty.  February 2009.
Oh my.  February 2015.
That WAS the Mister’s work desk for a time.
What a pretty shelving unit that is in its place!  November 2015
And that looks like a comfortable place to sew!

We’ll tap the breaks here again for a second to take a closer look at some of those pieces:

The sewing desk belonged to my friend’s mom before, and though I will miss the storage the old one provided, I will not miss knocking my knees against hard metal and wood every time I sew and for that reason, am very excited about the new one!
And the new knobs are pretty cool, too!
The pegboard was a gift from the Mister long ago.
Then it got a fresh coat of paint and a pretty new frame…
…but it wasn’t much to look at from the side…
…so I stained a 1″ square dowel, which I wedged behind it to hide its innards.
The cube shelves had a modest start.
Then turned in to a pretty cool desk space.
That fell victim to my messy tendencies.

Next, we’ll take a look to the left:

It was clean once upon a time.  February 2009.
Then this happened.
And this.
But it’s so pretty now!
And the shelves look so much better.
The mini door to the tiny attic closet blends in with the room better.
And the corner provided the perfect place to put my funky pink chair from college.
And the dogs love it.  Especially in the afternoon when the sun bathes it with light.
So what could possibly be my next major project?  Turning the sewing room into a useable bedroom, of course!  It’s unfortunate that I haven’t had time to do it already; my in-laws, including my sister-in-law, are staying with us tonight, and she’ll get to be the first person to stay in the room since these changes happened…but she will be on box springs and a mattress, surrounded by all the things that were removed from the new office space!
And that concludes the six-week One Room Challenge!  Thank you for your visit and for reading about this transformation.  I’m so excited to dive in and actually use this room.  Keep checking back over the next few months to read about how we settle in and the changes that are yet to be made!


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