A little more on the Cloffice

A few days ago I posted all about how I turned my guest room closet into a built in office (here), and I wanted to pop back in with a few details on the “stuff” today.

First, I already changed the desktop around a little bit:

built in desktop floating desktop

The painting was done by my Nana and I hadn’t found a spot for it in this house, but I love how the orange in the tree looks with the teal bulletin board. So I lose some work space, but I don’t think I mind because the layered cozy feel is really something I was going for and it felt a little stark without it.

floating desktop

The bulletin board was sprayed with a few light coats of Rustoleum paint. The color is “Jade,” and it’s actually a can from 1998 that my Nonna gave me when she cleaned out her basement. I can’t believe it still worked! I let it cure for about 48 hours, but it’s been fine. The color seems similar to Behr’s Mermaid Song, if you’re looking for a match.

The canister set is Liberty of London for Target and used to live on my kitchen counter as a command center, but the center is no longer needed since I’ve got this space now. The wood slice under it is just from Michael’s and I added a little felt on the bottom so it wouldn’t scratch. I sprayed it with a clear sealing coat so it wouldn’t flake.

quote wall

I wish I had added a little curve to the quote so it wouldn’t look as harsh, but it’s too late now. I made the stencil for the quote on my Silhouette, cut it out on while vinyl, painted a thin coat of white paint over it, then a thin coat of black paint, then a thin coat of gold craft paint. The black shows through in some spots and darkens the gold in others so it looks really multi-dimensional, which is kind of neat.

built in desk Under the desk my Silhouette is stored on an old shoe rack, and some other supplies are in a rolling cart I got on Amazon. The cart is AWFUL and I literally had to attach the shelves with embroidery floss because there were no other parts and no instructions. Ugh. That’s my lesson to listen to the reviews.


So what do you think?

Stay in touch in between posts!

How to Turn your Closet into an Office

I am super excited about today’s post.  I recently gave the guest room a bit of a facelift with some paint and art. My next step was to turn the office into a built in workspace… on a budget of $0. :: Challenge Accepted ::

Here’s the before:

closet to built in office


And the glorious after:

DIY closet office

And here’s a little instagram recap of how it all went down:

how to make a built in desk

This project was actually much easier then I expected it to be, and I am very serious when I say if you have the right tools literally anyone can do this. I used a power drill, jigsaw, and palm sander and didn’t have any problems. And it is a one person job if you want or need it to be. In more detail:

  • Remove the closet doors, the track, and the clothes rack. This took about 15 minutes, and I used a power drill on the track because the screws were really in there.
  • The doors I had were only sort of hollow, they had what look like 2×2′s running in a zig zag in them so they were pretty sturdy. Using my jigsaw I cut one door down into cleats and the other into the length of the desk. I was lucky that even though the front of the doors had been painted white, the backside was still stained wood.
  • The stain color that was already on the doors was extremely orange-y and had a few old paint marks on it, so I used my palm sander and 60 grit paper to dull it up. Then with a sanding block, I used 100 grit then 120 grit paper. I didn’t get it down to completely raw wood, but it turned out fine.
  • I used a “stain and finish” on the door that became the desktop, in two thin coats, then let it dry for 24 hours. While drying, I installed the cleats. To figure out the height of the cleats I just measured the height of my husband’s desk, then mimicked it. I used wood glue on the cleats, then a power drill and wood screws to secure them to studs in the wall. One long cleat along the back wall, then smaller ones on the side. I would have done long ones on the side of the wall too, but there was only one stud on each side.
  • I painted the wall with 1 coat of primer to seal in all the discoloration, then 1 coat of Sherwin Williams paint + primer (non tinted, just pure white)
  • Using a rubber mallet, I tapped the desktop into place. It left a few small marks on the walls, but nothing big and easily touched up. Then, for a more finished look, I caulked all the cleats (for the top shelf that was already there and the desktop)

Whew! That’s a lot of words. Here’s some glamor shots:

multi purpose room

desktop left

That cat picture is a card from one of my friends. On the front it says “Taco knows how long it’s been since you washed that bra you’re wearing” and on the inside it says “You disgust Taco.” :) don't quit your daydream

The quote on is one I first read at The Lettered Cottage and just felt it was perfect so I stenciled it directly on the wall.

built in desk

The bulletin board is spray painted and you can read about the chair redo here.



This desktop makes me infinitely happy. All the plugs/cords/electronic accessories are stored in those cute Liberty of London for Target canisters.

DIY closet turned office

The top shelf is where all the pictures and books from the bookcase are now, and the bookcase is no longer in the room (which free up A LOT of space, because this is not a big room).

DIY closet office


Come back Friday for some extra info on how I graffiti’d that quote on the wall & painted the bulletin board, as well as a source list on everything else!!



Be sure to follow along in between posts!

Updating Wood with a Walnut

When we last left the guest room I was hoping to thrift some small round end tables for either side of the bed, but that is not what the Thrift Gods had in mind for me. Instead, I found this small round wooden thing that I had to have, for about $6.

I think maybe it's meant to hold knitting supplies? It's got a divider right in the middle inside, which knocked out my fist thought that it was a butter churner.

I think maybe it’s meant to hold knitting supplies? It’s got a divider right in the middle inside, which knocked out my fist thought that it was a butter churner.

When I first got it it was a bit dinged up and scraped in a few places, so I rubbed a walnut all over it. Yes, you read that correctly. I cracked open a walnut and rubbed it all over that bad boy. Take a look at the difference:

Not a 100% perfect fix, but a HUGE improvement nonetheless.

Not a 100% perfect fix, but a HUGE improvement nonetheless.

The walnut doesn’t actually fix it, it just sort of fills in the scratches so they’re all less noticeable. It’s pretty awesome and took under 10 minutes. Originally I was going to paint parts of it white (the legs and maybe the strapping), but I really like having the wood tone in the room, especially where there is already painted furniture in there:


The high chair, whose makeover you can read about here, has a little ceramic plate on it so guests can take off their jewelry/watches/whatever and put it there. The not-butter-churner now holds all my old Halloween costumes, which were originally in the closet. We’re pretty big Halloween people, so this is not as weird as it sounds. haha.

In a dream world I’d have a cute little lemon tree or fiddle leaf in that corner, but um- 3 cats live here. They would not have that. So a high chair and wooden tub it is!


Now when you walk in the room it looks like this:

guest room wide shot

On the opposite wall is a pretty sweet shelf that now organizes my craft supplies. And oh my goodness was it like the most exciting thing that ever happened to me when we  moved it in. Originally, I had all my stuff in 4 separate areas of the house, including the guest room closet which I’m trying to empty out. But not anymore!!

It might not be glamorous, but it is FABULOUS.

It might not be glamorous, but it is FABULOUS.

That shelving system used to be Matt’s brothers, then it came to our last apartment, then it lived in our kitchen here for a bit, then moved to the basement for storage, and now here it is ready for its’ time in the sun. It is amazing to have stuff that used to be all over the place corralled into one neat area. I used lots of dollar store vases and candle holders to arrange everything, and while it may evolve a bit more once my desk is built,  it works great for right now.

So tell me- are you going to go rub a walnut over all your wood? It’s great on doors and molding too! Or maybe you’re going to put all your paints in one place finally, then do a happy dance around the house? :)


Linking up with: Inspire Me Please Linky Party

PS: want to help a sister out? head on over HERE and click on entry #30 to help me get into the Creating With The Stars contest! no log in/sign up/nonsense needed!

DIY Headboard Necklace?

One day I’d love to eat at the kitchen table without having to clear all my craft projects off it first. Matt would like that day to be 2.5 years ago… so we’ve decided to convert the guest room into a half guest room/half office space for me. The office part is going to be built into the closet (when the weather is warmer so I can cut and stain wood outside), but the rest of the room really needed a face lift. Here’s where we last left the room:

I painted the room orange when we moved in because I wanted at least one room to be a bright color. This is Cantelope by Behr.

I painted the room orange when we moved in because I wanted at least one room to be a bright color. This is Cantaloupe by Behr.

I actually did love the orange color, but I wanted a more neutral palate to be creative in and I want to sort of even out all the color scheme of the house. I had leftover Partridge Gray from the striped sunroom  so after a coat of primer (2 coats cutting in) and 1.5 coats of Partridge Gray (Better Homes & Garden, color matched to Behr), the room is looking like this:

Still lots to be done, but it's a start

Still lots to be done, but it’s a start

I feel like I can breathe when I walk in there now.

So at this point you’re probably wondering…. what the heck is a head board necklace?

IMG_2921That giant beige thing behind the bed is actually a huge face-in-a-hole cut out made by a friend for our backyard wedding reception (you can see it in action here) covered up with a $10 painting drop cloth. There’s nowhere “away” to store it, so I decided to use it as sort of a headboard in this room- it needs to be easily covered and uncovered (so we can use it!) and work with the room.


  • I watched this YouTube video to learn how to make a tassel- 4 are yarn and 2 are baker’s twine.
  • Then I braided the yarn and bakers twine into the “necklace”.
  • The wood slice is from Michaels (about $8, but use a 40% off coupon!), and the text was cut out with my silhouette cameo and painstakingly placed on. Once the text
  • was on, I painted it with a clear coat of poly.
  • The drop cloth and necklace are both held on with clear thumb tacks
I like to call this font "Tim Burton Calligraphy" because it's all stringy and scrolly- I had to stretch it around a lot to get it to fit how I wanted it to.

I like to call this font “Tim Burton Calligraphy” because it’s all stringy and scrolly- I had to stretch it around a lot to get it to fit how I wanted it to.

If you noticed in the reveal picture there was also a map with some text on it. Also with my Silhouette Cameo, I cut out a Stevie Nicks quote to go on the map and hung it on up with tape:

The map is from an old atlas, one day it will get a frame or mount.

The map is from an old atlas, one day it will get a frame or mount.

Still to do:

  • Swap out the chunky white nightstand with some short, slim wooden nightstands
  • DIY a roman blind?
  • Build my office space!
  • Update the bedding? It’s really old


How I changed my life with a wire shelf

This whole post is going to sound sarcastic but seriously, the tiniest little thing in the world got rid of a good 5 minutes of frustration that I feel everyday.

Basically, my pots and pans cabinet is a disaster because the lids are (were!!) in a complete state of chaos. Every single time I opened it they came tumbling down, or I couldn’t find the one I wanted, or I’d have to rearrange it completely because they were in the way of other things I needed. And then yesterday the heavens opened up and a light shined down and it was SOLVED.

I have had this white wire shelf sitting around in the office doing nothing since we moved here, we couldn’t find a use for it with the new desk but I did want to throw it out because, well, I don’t want to throw anything out ever. Then yesterday it suddenly dawned on me to turn that sucker on it’s side and use it to organize my lids. BAM:


holy organization, Batman!


Everything is good and right with the world now. You can go about your day.


AND ALSO, bonus, we got an awesome wall map from Matt’s parents the last time we visited them and I’m super in love with it. Right now it’s just hung on the guest room wall with push pins (gasp!) because I’m trying to figure out exactly what I want to do with it. Originally I was just going to frame it out with some trim or molding and call it a day but now I’m thinking I want to coat a board of mdf or drywall with magnetic paint, adhere the map on top of it, and then frame it out. That way, whenever Matt and I travel somewhere together we can mark it off on here without having to put a hole in it.

I am totally on board with the map fad.

I am totally on board with the map fad.

Because I’ve declared December to be the month I get all partially finished projects completed I have high hopes this map with be taken care of by January 1st.

So now I invite you to join in on a little impromptu Facebook chat- are you a 95%-er? Do you get so close to finishing a project and then get distracted by a new one and never finish? Or do you follow through like a rock star?

The Guest Room

I am slowly but surely taking pictures to add to my Paint Color House Tour tab and I thought I’d do a little post about the guest room, it doesn’t make an appearance on the blog too often and it’s starting to come together a bit more.

Our guest room is orange. Extremely orange. Orange and gray are my favorite colors, and while I totally wouldn’t want this color on my own bedroom wall (or really anywhere else in the house), I think it’s totally appropriate for a spare room.

The guest room is teeny tiny, and has come a long way from what it used to look like  but it’s definitely the slowest progressing room in the house. I really don’t want to spend a lot of money on a room that’s maybe used once a month, and not even by us (no offense guests).

It’s cozied up with lots of blankets and a white comforter and a nightstand, but it still needs wall art.

Sometimes I think I want a giant map to hang behind the bed, which would tie in to the map that’s on the landing right outside the door way. Sometimes I think I want to take all my leftover wood shims and great a big DIY white starburst mirror behind the bed. Sometimes I want to leave it completely bare and let the orange speak for itself.


Either way, one thing’s for sure- orange and batman is here to stay.

Thank you Ms. Deschenes for this amazing quilt- we absolutely LOVE it. And one day when my nephew is old enough to sleep over he totally will too. (PS- I totally vacuumed that blanket after seeing how it looked in this picture)

So what do you think- leave the walls bare? Art it up a bit?


Here’s the super simple source list for the room, which shows about $0 of spending:

  • Yellow blanket: TJ Maxx about 10 years ago, maybe longer
  • Pastel quilt: hand made by my Nonna
  • Orange and turquoise picture frames: Marshall’s about 2 years ago
  • Silver picture frames: gifts from high school graduation!
  • Batman quilt: a gift from my friend’s mom
  • White down comforter: TJ Maxx about two years ago
  • End table lamp: Ikea
  • Change plate: Italy! (my brother and sister and law’s honeymoon destination)
  • Gray pillow: TJ Maxx about a year ago (originally meant for the living room)
  • Husband pillow: TJ Maxx about 10 years ago


And while I’m randomly sharing…. my faux bubble necklace HAS ARRIVED:

Matt’s reaction: “Well… that’s a lot of necklace.”


AND WHILE YOU’RE HERE… don’t forget to click on over to Vintage Revivals, scroll on down to entry #36 and click the star to vote for me to win the Epic Room Giveaway contest!! I will love you forever.



ONE YEAR LATER: Landing & Guest Room

All this week I’m going to be posting before and after photos of the house, so keep tuning in to see what a completely different place we live in now!

Our house is a split level ranch so there’s 5 or 6 steps leading up from the living room to the second level, and on the second level is the bathroom and the three bedrooms.

The landing itself looks much better in the before pictures then it did in real life- it was filthy. There were dirty little hand prints all over the wall (because she ran a day care out of the living room), the wallpaper border was peeling and yellowed, and it was very outdated. A few coats of Behr White Truffle paint later though and it is fresh.

If I ever think I want to put up a wallpaper border, please stop me with brute force.


Clean, bright white makes this space look so much larger.


There were nail holes in such strange places all over the walls, I can’t figure out what on earth they were hanging!


The molding still isn’t great, but everything else is vastly improved.


And how about a few close ups of the art:

This is actually just one frame all stuck together. I purchased it at Target a few years ago and then used blank note cards that I got from Etsy (for like $3!) as matting and art.


The two smaller pictures are more pieces I got off Etsy a few years back and the large map came from an old atlas my school library was getting rid of.



Now to move on into the guest room, which was originally a young boy’s room. This room is tiny so after we painted I put as little furniture as possible in there to widen it up. I also haven’t put anything on the wall yet because I don’t want to crowd them in, but I plan to make something with a mirror for behind the bed to add a little more reflection to the space.

Beige and navy- that navy took SEVERAL coats of primer to get rid of.

ORANGE YOU GLAD I PAINTED IT?! (sorry, couldn’t help myself there.)



Who painted those awful stripes? Why didn’t they measure? Why don’t they go all the way to the half way mark? AH!

It was really dark and cloudy out this morning so the wall color didn’t really photograph right, I added a swatch of it so you could see the real deal.


Yes, I know that four walls of orange is a bit crazy. But you know what, it’s a spare room- there’s no need for it to be serious. I also painted it fully knowing that a future niece  or nephew (turns out it’s a nephew!!) would be sleeping in there sometimes and I think orange is super fun for a crazy aunt to have around. Also, it is my absolute favorite color.


Here’s the round up of what we’ve done:

  • Took down wallpaper border, primed and painted all walls and ceilings
  • Painted the built in hall cabinet and replaced the handles
  • Decorated


Here’s what’s still on tap:

  • The hunt for a new white wooden hamper
  • Art for behind the guest room bed (I’ve got plans for that)



So overall nothing huge besides the difference a few gallons of paint makes (which is apparently a pretty huge difference). What do you think?



Simply Glowing

Yesterday we got nine inches of snow, so my work was closed and Matt’s classes were cancelled. Hooray! We got right to business on the guest room and it is now painted a very, very bright orange. Even I have to admit it’s a bit over the top… but I’ve been able to reel in my crazy in every other room of the house so I think I can go a little nuts in an extra room.

Have you noticed yet that Dutch likes to run into whatever room I'm in and lay on the softest spot that room has?

Bam! You don’t ever even need to turn on the lights in here, it literally glows when the sun is shining. All you see in this room is all there is- a bookshelf, a nightstand, and a bed. It’s not a huge room so I didn’t want to load it up with furniture, and it’s just an extra space so I don’t really want to spend money on it. Eventually I’ll get a nicer white curtain and hang some things on the wall (to split up all the ba-zamming orange), but that’s about it. I’d like to have everything I add to this room be white, it’s already overpowering enough.

Also, I’ll have you know that orange is my absolute favorite color, which is why we went with it. We toyed with lighter and darker shades before we decided to just go for it, but in the end why not. It’s loud, proud, and here to stay!

Making Due

We are clearly not made of money, and I’ve gotten to the point where we need to hold off on the big purchases for a bit. I still have plenty of crafts and painting (we stocked up on paint) to do, but we’re going to have to make due with the furniture we have for a couple more months.

Eventually, we would love to have a little white tea cart in the kitchen to put our coffee maker, tea, tea cups, mugs, etc. We’re big tea drinkers, and we have a LOT of glassware so any way we can move things around and store things in new places is helpful. Unfortunately, for now this shelf from Big Lots will have to do. We got it from Matt’s parents and used it in a nook at our old apartment to store all our cleaners and laundry supplies.  For now, it’s our make-shift tea station. The top shelf has our coffee pot (blocked by a cute little knick knack) and our ceramic cookie jar- which is full of tea bags, and is kept out all year because we love Halloween. The next down shelf holds our japanese tea pot, cup set, and loose tea balls. The middle shelf holds our Ikea mug set, decaf tea, and loose tea leaf containers, and the bottle shelf is just for art’s sake. Inside the handy dandy draw we stowed away our ipod speakers and mixing cups. This freed up a lot of space in our cabinets for spreading out dishes and glassware.


Upstairs in the guest room I stationed three mix matched Walmart shelving systems into one big old book shelf. It’s really important to me that things are cozy and lived in, I hate when people just put things on shelves without thinking of the aesthetic of it, so I tried to balancing out stacked books and display books and rows of books. It insane how much time I spend thinking about these things… I call it “shelf styling,” and Matt calls it “insane.” Right now, the crazy painted walls will have to stay. I have enough primer to cover them up, but I’d rather wait and start the walls when I can afford to finish them.


Also in the guest room, we made use of our extra bed, my old nightstand (from my parent’s house), an Ikea lamp I used to have in my office, and some picture frames we used to have in our dining room. With the sunny window and white accessories it almost almost makes the crazy walls bearable. But it’ll do for now!

Stars & Stripes Forever

Staying upstairs, let’s take a peek at what will be the guest room. This room will also house Matt’s closet because it’s the only room with functioning closet doors and Matt seems to hate when his clothes are covered in cat hair… weird.

The seller has this room set up very adorably for her little boy, but you can clearly see why it won’t work for us. For the few few months, this room will just have white walls done with the leftover 2+1 paint and primer we should have from the other rooms. It will also house our miscellaneous white furniture. We’ve got a tall bookshelf, a nightstand, 2 small organizers, and a full sized bed for this room. Once the rest of the house is taken care of I’ll go back in here and paint the walls a nice pale orange- so you know, like 7 or 8 years from now. We live a good 45 minutes-1 hour from most of our close friends and family so it’s important we have a nice room for them to stay in. And in the far, far, far away future it will turn into a nursey- either orange and pink or orange and navy. Don’t tell Matt I’ve planned this, because maybe it’s totally weird that I’ve already thought of that.

I haven’t figured out what art I’m going to hang in this room. I have a collection of old cameras that might look nice on some shelving, I could always hold out hope they leave the New England patriots pennant behind… or maybe not. Either way I want to try and work a really serene setting in here, a less is more thing. That’ll be more of a challenge then it sounds because I find comfort in clutter and do dads, and I need to move away from that.