House For Six


Office Reveal!

Deme Crinion17 Comments

Really!  Not joking.  Did you think this would actually happen??  I doubted I would see the finish line too.

I am the queen of 80% when it comes to projects.  I make a big push on a project, get a ton accomplished (about 80%), decide to take a little break before the last leg.....and then lose. my. mojo.

I've actually been using this office at 80% done for several months and it's been so amazing!  Functionally, everything was in place...but there were several little projects that have been patiently waiting for me to finish them.

You've already seen a few of the items we checked off our list, like how we

fixed the uneven bead board

, my

gold RASKOG sewing cart makeover

, and the

letter writing station

we put together for our little girl.

I am so thrilled to say that the rest is finally DONE!  Granted that's because I simply let go of some of the projects I wanted to tackle, but for me, this is still a completed space.  And for a girl who is a terrible finisher, that is gold.

Here's a little refresher on where we started - a sweet yellow butterfly adorned toddler room...

No one could say it wasn't cute, but it really wanted to be a fabulous mom cave/office/haven.  Because this wasn't really working out....

So, I sketched out a plan that created 3 zones to meet my for blogging/computer work, one for household management, and one for sewing/crafting.

We used the

LINNMON/ADILS table and leg system from IKEA

to create a three-piece L-shaped desk.  It was key in creating those three important work zones. It gave me plenty of workspace without taking up a huge chunk of real-estate.

Everything else fell into place from there....

fantastic DIY office makeover!

This room is pretty tiny making it tough to get a full room shot.  So, we'll take a little tour around the space.

Just to the right of the door is my working wall.

fantastic DIY office makeover!

It has my brain dump board with to-do's, post ideas, etc.

fantastic DIY office makeover!

We installed three hooks right into the bead board for my camera bag, working bag, and extra purse.  You can see how we made over that once plain white file cabinet


and snoop around on the inside



fantastic DIY office makeover!

The banner above the white board is just a ream of our most recent ultrasound pics.  

I spread out the strip and cut a slit between each frame, stopping about a 1/2 inch from the top.  Then I used some washi tape and thumbtacks to pin it up.

Washi is also holding up a little creative inspiration...

On the adjacent wall is one side of my L-shaped desk - the Home Management Zone.  This is where I keep track of our calendar, pay bills, file papers, etc.  My inbox sits right in between this zone and the computer zone since we do most of our banking/bills online.

fantastic DIY office makeover!

We moved over to a Google Calendar as the master hub for all our family's activities, but I created a weekly cork board system using

IKEA heat trivets

($2.99 for a pack of 3) and some of my favorite

label plates

that I already had on hand.

fantastic DIY office makeover!

I use this to jog my brain for special event reminders and for things I need to do in preparation for upcoming activities (birthday gifts, online orders, etc.). 

fantastic DIY office makeover!

The corner where the magic happens....

fantastic DIY office makeover!

This is where I do most of my "work".  Whether it's home management, school planning, blogging, or just keeping in touch with our friends and family.  I love that it's right in the center and I can easily move from one zone to the next.   And I still have a great view out the window.

fantastic DIY office makeover!

I picked up the two succulent plant hangers above my computer from the Target clearance rack several months ago.  They were a bit plain-jane, especially with all the white in the room, so I wanted to spruce them up somehow with paint.  When I saw

Mandi's Paint-Dip Planters

I knew exactly what to do!

fantastic DIY office makeover!

The framed thank you card may seem random, but it's a daily reminder that there is always something to be thankful for and that gratitude can instantly change my attitude.

fantastic DIY office makeover!

I picked up this gold dot sugar jar from Home Goods a long time ago and it's the perfect size for my paper clips.

fantastic DIY office makeover!
fantastic DIY office makeover!

 The last section of my desk is for sewing and craft projects.  It's also where we keep Mia's letter writing station.  Since I typically do my computer work while the boys nap, Mia often likes to be in here with me during her quiet time. 

Letter writing station for a little correspondent
Letter writing station for a little correspondent

She let's me borrow her washi tape, so it works out.

fantastic DIY office makeover!

I keep my sewing machine on a


that we

blinged out with a little champagne gold spray paint

.  I certainly don't consider myself a fashionista, but I've always had fun with clothes and find so much inspiration in different styles and textiles.  These amazing prints are all the work of

Brittany Fuson

, whose


I could peruse for hours.

fantastic DIY office makeover!

The basket next to the cart belonged to my Grandmother and I use it to transport my machine if I ever go out to sew with friends.

fantastic DIY office makeover!

And that wraps it up!

fantastic DIY office makeover!
fantastic DIY office makeover!

The room has actually become one of my favorites in the house.  It gets amazing light throughout the day and my view is nothing but the corner of a neighbor's house and trees for days.  It's small, but it's more than enough.  I'm going to enjoy it for just a couple more weeks before we start

shifting things over

for our newest little resident!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!

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Letter Writing Station For A Special Little Girl

Deme Crinion16 Comments
We love our new state, but one of the hardest things about living in Ohio is having our extended family and many friends clear across the country.  Yet, one of the sweetest things to come from that distance, is an emerging pen-pal relationship between Mia and her cousin.

I'm not even sure how it started really....I think Ella included a little note to Mia when her mom sent a package of goodies and Mia wanted to write back. They've exchanged a few notes over the past few months and she recently started writing letters with a good friend of hers back in Albuquerque too.

In an age where we're attached to our gadgets (#guilty), I'm so happy that my sweet girl has a love and appreciation for the handwritten note.  It's something that started very young with her and I hope it's something she keeps with her for the long haul!

Even as a pre-schooler, Mia loved stealing cards from my stash and making pictures or notes for her family and friends.  Her desk drawers were stuffed full of them.  And this girl still loves sending special messages to the people she loves. 

So, when the folks at Tiny Prints reached out to us about a project collaboration, it didn't take long for us to land on a letter writing station for our little miss.
Letter writing station for a little correspondent

The credit for this idea actually goes to my mom.  Leave it to a Yiayia to pick up on her granddaughter's one of her visits awhile back my mom brought a desk caddy, some blank note cards, and some blank labels (to be printed with the addresses of her family and friends).

The idea was to create a spot with all the tools Mia needed to quickly whip up a note for a friend and mail it off....which may or may not have been in response to my admitted slacker-status when it comes to timely thank you notes.  Or any correspondence for that matter.

It was a great idea, but we never could seem to find the right spot for it or to maximize it's potential.   As I planned out my office makeover, I wanted a designated zone for crafting.  Both for me and the kids.  Mia often likes to be in the office with me during the boys' naptime, so it seemed the perfect spot to set up this little note writing area.
Letter writing station for a little correspondent

We had so much fun picking out these stationary essentials together!  I tried really hard to keep my mom-opinion to myself and let her choose.  Tiny Prints seriously has a TON of options, so I did a little perusing on my own first, saved a few choices by adding them to a favorites list, then had Mia come make her picks.

She started with this Blooming Bounty Return Address Label , which I completely adore, and it was our jumping off point for the rest of the writing station goodies.

Letter writing station for a little correspondent

With the stationary selected, we needed a spot to corral all that paper goodness.   The desk caddy from my mom was the perfect size, we just needed to spruce her up a bit.
Letter writing station for a little correspondent

A little hot glue, pom pom trim, and a label (using one of the sheets from her notepad), and we were in business.
Letter writing station for a little correspondent

Letter writing station for a little correspondent

Mia was all about the florals and the pinks for this project....  

These Petal Clusters cards are so cheerful and have plenty of space for longer notes.  
Letter writing station for a little correspondent

But if she prefers writing on a piece of paper, she can use her Lush Bouquet Notepad.  Or just for kicks, these Royal Fun Flat cute are those princesses!?

The Brushed Chevron Notebook is the perfect spot to jot down addresses...or notes...or doodles....or lists.  Because she really is my daughter and can bust out a list with the best of them.
Letter writing station for a little correspondent

We made sure she had stamps and plenty of colorful pens nearby.  A girl needs options...
Letter writing station for a little correspondent

 And some stickers and washi tape to jazz up those letters and envelopes...
Letter writing station for a little correspondent

Letter writing station for a little correspondent

I found the cutest mailbox for $3.00 at Joann's and it's helping us solve one of the biggest issues we had in responding to friends in a timely manner: keeping track of the letters and people awaiting a response!  Now when Mia receives a letter from a friend, she can put it right in her mailbox until she's ready to sit down and write back.  It's also a great place to hold lists of gifts received for birthdays/holidays, as she works through writing thank you cards.  We dolled it up with a little gold ribbon and a small chalkboard label (both found at the Target dollar bins).
Letter writing station for a little correspondent

It's right next to a pictures of her pen-pal cousin, who just happened to arrive for a visit this week!
Letter writing station for a little correspondent

Letter writing station for a little correspondent

I don't know if I was more excited to show her this special spot or if she was to see it.  She could not wait to jump in!
Letter writing station for a little correspondent

Letter writing station for a little correspondent

Letter writing station for a little correspondent

I have to admit...having that handy station right next to my own workspace has prompted me to write a few quick notes myself.  I can see Mia spending a lot of time creating here and I love watching her relationships continue to blossom - even from afar.  I truly hope this is an art she never loses!

And to all you mom's with kids resistant to handwriting, setting up a pen pal for your kiddo can be a great way to sneak in some unofficial practice ;)

A huge thanks to Tiny Prints for helping us create this adorable, personal space for our girl!  You can check out all their products and their amazing selection right here.  They have everything from stationary, to photo books, to home decor...I loved all the options for personalization and was really impressed with the quality of their products.

Does anyone else have a budding writer on their hands?  How do you encourage your children to keep in touch with their long-distance friends and family?

*Tiny Prints provided us with most of the stationary items (all linked to in the post) for this project.  All opinions and hot glue techniques are my own.

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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Working With A Bad Beadboard Installation Job

Deme Crinion5 Comments
You would think by now I would have learned, but somehow I'm always surprised/cranky when what "should" be a simple project turns into something much more involved.  I thought I could just whip out some paint, slap up a chunky chair rail and call my office done.  HA!!

When we removed the old dinky piece of finishing trim, we discovered a pretty bad beadboard installation job.  I'm not one to be super picky, because Lord knows the results of my DIY attempts come with a lot of not-pretty...but this was not something we could just patch over or sort of hide.

The beadboard planks didn't get the glue/nail combo, just some sloppy nails.  So, they were wobbly and pulling apart from the wall in more than one spot.  So much so, that the seams they did caulk were badly cracking.  There were visible nail heads all over and when the trim was finally off, we could see that not a single panel top was even with another. Which is OK, but the gaps were too big to fill with caulk alone, so we needed a plan C....

Fixing gaps in beadboard

Here's a little memory jogger for where this room began.  Moving day.  All sweet and yellow and wondering where her former 4 year old tenant disappeared to....

Even if I really liked yellow (which I do, but tend to like more in accents than wall colors), I needed to give this former kid zone, an update.  

I started by giving walls a fresh coat of Behr's Powdered Snow.  I didn't go all the way down to the trim because I knew we would be beefing up that chair rail. 

Then it was time to rip that little guy off.  Turns out he was hiding a dirty, uneven secret.

You can see the disparity in height here.  Not terrible, but since the new trim piece we were adding would be set right on top of the board (without a lip to cover the top edge of it), we were in for some serious gaps.
Fixing gaps in beadboard

We started the new chair rail install with the piece that would cover the highest board, checking to ensure the trim piece was level.  Then we mounted the remainder of the trim using that piece as a guide and making sure they were all level with each other, not the board below it.

Fixing gaps in beadboard

Lots of patch work ahead...

Despite the gaps, the chunkier trim made a huge difference.  I still had hope!
add a chunky chair rail

Here she is with the chunky rail installed but you can see the gaps even from far away.  Much worse up close. (The beadboard has one coat of the wall color here too - it ended up needing two more)

We also ran into a problem at the outer corners.  The previous owners had used an L-shaped trim to finish the corners, but it only went up to the base of the old trim piece.  Since the new chair rail would sit on top of the beadboard it would leave a big gap if we left it in place. 

We decided trying to add a small piece to fill the gap would probably look pretty sloppy, so we pulled off the corner trim.

I'm sorry I didn't grab a better picture in our late night project stupor, but the corner would end up needing a big gap filler too.

After we pulled it off (scoring the edges first), we used a box cutter to remove the paint ledge that was left around the sides.  Then we gave everything a light sanding.

We worried that just filling all these huge gaps with caulk would still leave those imperfections really noticeable.  We wanted a better concealer, so.....dowels to the rescue!

James made a quick run to Lowe's and grabbed enough 3/16" dowels to go around the room under the new chair rail and to cover the 3 outer corners.  We simply glued them in place right under the trim and into the corner grooves. 
use dowels on outer corners
(I will be totally honest with you - it was getting late and I didn't have wood glue, so I went for the hot glue gun.  I don't recommend this!  It did the job, but it was messy, invoked a lot of choice words, and simply was not intended for that purpose.  Go with the wood glue or Liquid Nails!)

Once the dowels were secure, we caulked all the seams and gave everything two coats of paint.
Fixing gaps in beadboard

The 3/16" size was the perfect size for this type of project.  It looks just like a bead running down the paneling and would be great as an inner corner fix as well.

As a whole, we caulked...

-where the top edge of the chair rail meets the wall
-all nail holes
-the top and bottom edges of the dowel piece (where it meets the rail and where it meets the beadboard)
-all corners and seams where the trim pieces meet

We also used a nail gun to secure the wobbly boards and recaulked the cracked seams where the beadboard planks meet.   

It was much more work than we anticipated just to get the walls spruced up, but it was so worth it!

Now I look over my computer and see this...

Fixing gaps in beadboard

It's still not perfect....there's a few of the old nail heads sticking out and some messy spots where we got a little lazy-sloppy with the caulk.  But I don't tend to hand out magnifying glasses when people come over and the perfectionist in me is learning not to whip out my own when I look around our home too.  I'm channeling my inner Nester and embracing that it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.  It was such a big improvement for a small cost and I love how it changed the room...imperfections and all! 

We're in the last stages of this girly office makeover and I can't wait to show you the rest of the space!  In the meantime, I would love to hear how you worked around a poor home improvement job or the small things you've found to make a big impact in your tell!

*Linked up at Remodelaholic!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!

The Makings of a Girl's Workspace

Deme Crinion3 Comments
One nice perk of having our boys share a room, is that it frees up the fourth bedroom.  I admit, I felt a little selfish taking it over as my work/craft/sew/all-things-girly room.  But since James' has full reign of the basement, and the kids run the rest of the house, I'm going to let myself be OK with staking claim to all 10x10 sqft of extra bedroom space.

My list for this tiny room was very long....and a little far fetched, given that the number one priority was an enormous desk/workspace.  Was that really a good idea since the room was so small?

It would mean giving up a cozy reading corner for thumbing through the glossy pages of home magazines, getting all inspired with a hot cup of coffee and comfy blanket.  But I can do that from our couch or by locking myself in the closet with a flashlight. #momstuff

An adequate workspace that would let me keep all my stuff out and accessible (and not have to pack it all away after a project) was more important.  So, basically, my laziness won.

Here's my old desk.  I don't even know what to say.  Yes, those are my 3 year old's pajamas on top of my paper piles "in box"...

For the record, this is pretty clean.  But there was no spreading out to be had.  I could hardly have a notebook open and type at the same time.  Enter another perk to this new house - it's proximity to IKEA.

Their Linnmon series ended up being the perfect solution for us - versatile and affordable.  We played with a few different configurations, but the room is so small that any portion of the desk jutting out into the room would just swallow the space right up.  And we really needed to take advantage of the wall space next to the desk, so an L-shaped configuration against the wall won the day.

Here's my very rough sketch on paper....

I wanted three different zones within the might L: crafting/sewing, blogging/computer work, and home management. 

Some of these functions overlap a bit (I use the computer to pay bills and do our budget) so I wanted to create a seamless flow between those zones.  My inbox will divide the 2 areas, so I can grab whatever home management paperwork needs attention on the computer and then it will go right over to the file cabinet or binders.

I've also found that although I love beautiful vignettes, I prefer more clean, open space vs. an over-styled area when it comes to a productive work zone.  Just a few things to keep me inspired; otherwise, all the pretty-shiny are like "squirrels!" running around my office attempting to distract me.

So, we had a plan and we had a desk, but we needed the right backdrop.  I wanted fresh and I wanted a place for color to pop, so I couldn't resist going with white walls.  I personally think white walls work best with some sort of architectural details (like moldings).  I loved the way it looked in our last master bedroom and since we already had some wall details going on it was a done deal.

Of course, no project is ever that easy.  I wanted to beef up the dinky trim on top of the bead board and once we took it off we found a pretty bad installation job....lots of loose panels, really uneven cuts, sloppy caulking, yada, yada.

We're almost through the fixing/patching/painting of it all and then we can finally move onto the fun stuff!

That's what's happening around here for the next couple days!  I can't wait to see it come together!  Because in my head it's sort of great, and it will also mean we are DONE. :)

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!