Home Office Makeover

Last month I promised pictures of my updated home office. This month, I’m delivering! Nothing like a promise like that to keep my motivation going. My home office has always been an eyesore. We never painted it after we moved in and the only furniture in it as of a few months ago was my desk and chair. My printer sat on the floor along with a few boxes of office things that we never quite unpacked four years ago. If you lived in my house and didn’t know where to put something, you would probably just dump it in this room. Somehow that’s what we all ended up doing. The bad thing is that my office is located at the front of my house so anyone who walks in my front door can see it. My office has a glass door so there was no hiding just how bad it was.


Looks like I just moved in, but sadly it’s been 4 years!

Leftover flooring and my printer just sitting on the floor.

Much to my husband’s dismay, once I decide on a project, I am on a mission to get it done. I stopped at Home Depot for some Behr paint. It’s my favorite brand. Their Marquis Collection has a one coat guarantee which saves a ton of time. Of course, they informed me when I went to order the paint that the color I chose was not a Marquis Color, so I very quickly picked a substitute. Still grey, but just a little darker which works because the room gets a ton of natural light.

A few days later, we were on or way to pick out some simple and inexpensive furniture from IKEA. We had an idea as to what we were going to purchase before going, but did end up chasing our plans a little. We opted for a Hemnes Bookshelf ($149), a small Kallax shelf unit ($38.99), and 2 Lekman boxes for the shelf ($12.99 each) all in white. Plain, functional, and most importantly, they didn’t break the bank. That same day, we got home from our shopping trip and we painted the office. It didn’t take long at all (my husband was nice and said he would edge around the ceiling and windows for me) and one coat was sufficient. That same evening, we built the furniture. My husband and I joke that everyone is all happy when they are leaving IKEA with their furniture, but it’s a a different story when you get it home and have to actually build it. Within a few hours, (and a little bit of swearing and a couple arguments) our furniture was built.

I picked up a few knick-knacks at Pier One and a plant from Lowes which totaled under $30. I also found a rug on Amazon that was much less expensive than the same exact rug on other websites. It was 4X6 and I was able to get it for under $70! All of my wall art were things that were sitting in my basement that I didn’t have room for anywhere else.


My finished project. The best thing is that it it cost well under $400 for everything and was only a day or so of work. I expect to have a successful year since I have an organized home office that I enjoy spending time in!

Working with Live Edge Wood

If you watch any TV shows about home remodeling or read any home decor magazines, you will notice an increasing popularity in live edge wood. What is live edge wood? It’s when the natural edge of the wood is incorporated into the design of the piece. When my husband Jeff started designing our basement, he knew he wanted live edge wood to be included in the plans. He has done a lot of home projects over the years, but never really did anything like this with wood. He decided that this would be his perfect opportunity.

Pieces of wood suitable for this type of work can go for a lot of money – up to $40-$50 per linear foot. Lucky for me, not only is Jeff pretty creative, but he’s also good at being thrifty. Well, maybe sometimes it’s not good for me that he’s thrifty, but in this case it was. He went online in search of places in the area where he could purchase long slabs of hard wood. Thanks to Facebook tracking internet search activity (it seems they are always looking and listening), an ad popped up in his feed one day about a place near Harrisburg that has open mill days every few months. So Jeff marked it on his calendar and got up early one Spring Saturday morning to see what he could find. This wasn’t some huge business. It was just a guy who owns a tree trimming business and mills some of the huge hardwood trees into 2″ slabs of wood that he sells for much less money than most places. The catch here is that when you purchase from him, the wood isn’t dry yet. So you must dry it out yourself or find someone with a kiln.


This is one of the big slabs of black walnut. It was 13 feet long and probably weighed close to 200 pounds because it was still wet inside. You would probably want to go the kiln route if you were making fine furniture like a table, but Jeff just wanted to create a bar-top and a few shelves so he opted to dry it himself. He tarped it and put it on our patio and on warm dry days we would remove the tarp and let the sunshine and air on it. It started drying and getting lighter in weight, but remember how much rain we had this Spring and Summer? Yeah, so on the advice of a friend, Jeff moved it to the basement and created a tarp tent with the wood and a dehumidifier. He routinely tested the slabs with a moisture meter and in just a few weeks, it was ready to go!


This is what the wood looked like after it was dried out. Jeff purchased a draw knife to remove the bark (what don’t they sell on Amazon?) and started the sanding process. He used a hand-held sander which was pretty tedious. Not to mention, Black Walnut dust is considered toxic, so he had to be sure to wear a mask as to not breathe it in. He needed some wood for another project and decided to visit a local mill. For a nominal fee, they ran his pieces through a planer and it made a huge difference. It really brought out the beautiful grain of the wood and saved him hours of work! Below are pictures of all of the gorgeous (and expensive) wood slabs and the planer that saved Jeff hours of work.

Now the real fun was starting! The wood was ready to be put to use! Jeff started creating our bar-top.


After the bar-top and shelves were set, it was time to choose a finish. After doing a lot of research, he decided on Rubio Monocoat. He used a squeegee to apply it, then buffed it for a smooth matte finish and it made the wood look even more gorgeous.


This was definitely a time-consuming project for Jeff, and probably not something for someone who isn’t handy or artistic. His many hours of hard work paid off and now he has created something beautiful. Just in time for football season and the holidays!

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