Feb 28, 2011

Dremel, How I ♥ Thee, Let Me Count the Ways...

This weekend was a busy one as we prepared for the Oscars Showdown party while still trying to get this office in shape.  Though the office is not quite finished yet it would be much further behind had it not been for my trusty new friend, Dremel Multi-Max.  I have to give props to Dremel as he came to the rescue several times this weekend which has since earned him the MVP MVT (Most Valuable Tool, get it?) award this week.  Here is his profile pic as well as the big plays of the weekend  in slow mo'...

 Dremel 6300-05 120-Volt Multi-Max Oscillating Kit
1.  Trimming the suspension rail.  For those who followed my last post on hanging the Ikea AKURUM wall cabinets (check it out here!) you may have noticed the suspension rail was too long.  My goal was to hit as many studs as possible, especially on the end of the line of cabinets, but since this turned out to be a furring strip instead of a stud I pushed the cabinets back towards the corner leaving me with this 3 inch wide strip of rail that had to be cut.  Being so close to the ceiling this angle made it near impossible to use a hack saw...believe me, I tried.  I then thought of the Dremel I bought for our vent project (more on that here) - the perfect solution to might tight spaced problem.  I first marked where the cabinet ended, had E help me take off said cabinet, then went to town cutting away...

It took a while to cut through the heavy duty metal (and a little bit of the drywall, oops!) but I got er' done.

Dremel-1 / Suspension Rail - 0

2.  Cutting the feet off AKURUM cabinet legs.  Since I decided to use 12 inch deep wall cabinets instead of 24 inch deep base cabinets the holes that would normally be on the base cabinet were absent from the frame of the wall cabinet...in short - the legs would not fit properly.

Dremel the rescue once again...sorry for the missing action shot.  I could have sworn I took one but with all the feet chopping going on it  suppose it IS possible that I forgot!  Once the plastic feet were level I was able to screw them into the wall cabinet...now official base cabinet. 

Dremel - 1 / AKURUM legs - 0

3.  The last project involves cutting the extra long bolts sticking out of the toilet base (totally unrelated project but necessary none the less) to a shorter more acceptable version that can be easily covered with a cap...picture on that coming soon as my camera (and the picture disk) went missing while I was cleaning for the party! 

Regardless - Dremel-1 / Toilet Bolts-0

Add it up, folks!  Dremel -3 / Household Nuisances - 0.  A good weekend indeed.  Tomorrow I am excited to show off my exciting Craigslist FREEBIES as well as a few cheapo Ikea and Marshall finds for accessorizing my new office!  Stay tuned for the big reveal later this week!!  What were you guys up to??  Feel free to leave a comment or link to your latest and greatest!!

BiancaIkea Akurum, use wall cabinets as base cabinets, AKURUM cabinets for office, Dremel MultiMax
how to shorten toilet bolts, best diy blog, walnut avenue, 1950's brick ranch

Feb 25, 2011

Office Decisions Have Been MADE!!!

E told me yesterday that I should not write posts when I am being indecisive as it tells my readers I have no idea what I am doing...That is the point, isn't it??  For those of you who have been following me (or have read the disclaimer at the bottom of this blog) I think you already know that I am not always perfect.  It is rare to see my imperfections, I know, but they are there...E can assure you!  For those new to my blog or for the rest who may have just "forgotten" - here is a few not so perfect ideas and plans that went south...

How NOT to pick a bedroom wall color
What fabric NOT to pick when making Super Simple window treatments
Waiting to clean your vents until a year after you'ved moved in...big NOT!!
Which items you SHOULD NOT get from Craigslist even if they are FREE!
How NOT to make a floating shelf and, better yet, how NOT to hang it

So, you see, I am always willing to share my DIY imperfections...I am only human after all.  I do not feel my last 2 posts on my office psychodrama between me, the new desk/shelving, and a daybed are not really negative and showing my indecisiveness but rather they are positive in that I will not do the whole thing and then regret certain decisions later. 

Due to my planning and over-planning THINGS ARE LOOKING UP...41 inches up to be exact!  Yesterday we left off with my office looking a little something like this:

This morning I decided to nix that and go back to the other side...though I would have been able to keep the daybed in one piece the space felt really small when you walked in from the kitchen PLUS I wasn't gaining much space to work on.  Here is today's events as they unfolded:

Removed shelf I just hung earlier this week...arrgghhh

Taped out the wall cabinets...

Taping the layout would have been helpful in the beginning before arranging and rearranging a thousand times all while scratching up our newly sanded and stained floors (seen here)...hind sight, peeps!  Once I got the tape up I knew I finally got it right.  Time to hang the cabinets...

For those of you who have no Ikea kitchen cab hanging experience and would like to give it a whirl but may be a little too shy to break out the ye ole' screwdriver...fear not!  This is how it's done, folks!

1.  If you are working alone I suggest you eat first in case you are frail like me.  More on that below.

2.  Ikea AKURUM cabinets are hung from a suspension rail.  A long metal rail that looks a little something like the photo to the left.  You will need to find your studs and mark them...don't get cheeky on me...I mean wall studs!!  Mine are actually marked in the photo above - it just so happened each vertical green tape marked a stud.  No need for you to tape up your whole wall - just put an x or a small piece of tape over the stud area.

3.  Level your suspension rail.  If you are hanging the rail by yourself you may need some help keeping it in place while you wrestle with the screwdriver and screws.  Here is a little trickypoo... Put the rail in place and hammer a small nail in one of the holes to hold it up - no need to nail it flush or hit a stud.  The picture is actually a giant nail but I was too lazy to find another...don't be lazy.  Now level from the other side (one side is being held up by your nail!) and put another small nail in. Voila' - you are ready to screw into the studs.

6.  Screw into every stud that your cabinet length has.  Prior to this I actually put a few anchors and screws in the hollow wall parts just to be on the safe side - my last cabinet had about 10 inches without a stud on the end so I want to be extra safe.  For the studs I used #10 2 inch wood screws.  I am sure there are many other options out there but these seemed to work fine...2 hours and still hanging!

SIDE NOTE - it turns out I am weak...very weak.  I still contend, as I did on the bracket hanging fiasco, that I had not eaten and perhaps was in a hypoglycemic hysteria but eventually one has to come to grips with there own Bull****.  For the life of me I could not get the screw into the stud.  I kept pushing and pushing and it would not budge.  I was pushing so hard on my electric screwdriver that the ladder started to tip from the wall.  This is when I figured out I am just not strong enough to do such simple things as screw something into a stud while on a ladder.  I then called, text, and emailed every man in my life to see who would come to my rescue first.  Enter Jim, my step-dad.  Thank goodness for Jim!!  Back to business...

7.  Now insert the bolts into the square metal thing and slide 2 into the suspension rail to hang your first cabinet.  This is the time to grab a friend if you need help lifting.  If you are crafty you can stack some things up to the correct height and put the cabinet on top to truly DIY but that is some risky behavior meant only for such people as MacGyver and Indiana Jones.  Don't ask me how I know this - I just do.  Today I was thankful to have Mom and Jim there to help me.

8.  Before lifting the cabinet up, measure the space between the holes on the back of the cabinet and pre space your bolts (already in the suspension rail) at about the same distance -this will make it easier once someone is holding the cabinet below and you are trying to fumble with the nut and washer thingy.  Now lift it up and get the bolts through the holes, put the washer thingy on and then screw on the nut.  Don't worry about getting it tight and level just yet. 

Now - stand back and admire your handy work!!  If you are putting more than one cabinet on keep workin' it till you are done.  Then start at the end nearest the wall and get the cabinet level then tighten the nuts.  There are simple directions on leveling that come with the cabs.  Go to the next and do the same all the way down the line.  Make sure to secure the cabinets to one another with the connectors that come with it. 

So simple!!  We had these up and hung in about 10 minutes...4 hours if you count the time I tried to do the studs myself to the time Jim got there and we actually got it done.  Not bad for a day's work!  

Here is a sneak peek at What's Happening Now (unfortunately I just got that theme song stuck in my head!!  Don't remember it?  Check it out here...)

Simply put - we have progress.  I am looking forward to loading up those shelves and to start enjoying the space soon!  My inspiration photo will soon be a thing of the past as the whole office is starting to take shape.  I can not wait to see what I get accomplished by the end of the weekend.  Monday is fast approaching!

Anyone else working on a big project this weekend?  If you feel like sharing please leave a comment with what you are up to or a link to your project!!

As always -thanks for reading!!

Feb 24, 2011

Decisions Decisions and Hacks!

Well - so much for my big set forth and conquer statement at the end of yesterdays post...I am no further along in my office though I managed to sprout a few more ideas to confuse myself even further!

Because I am a Realtor, and a thrifty gal, I could not get over the idea of using my office for JUST an office.  I just can not wrap my head around the whole room (and a dedicated "bedroom" in our floor plan) would be wasted on an office.  I know, I know - I need a space to work!  I picture one side of me looking around with half a bottle of wine sloshing around in a goblet saying, "Be selfish - claim it as your own!"  The other side is wagging a finger and saying,"You know, this doesn't look good for resale value.  Bedrooms should look like bedrooms to potential buyers. What about when you have kids?  Where are you going to put them when they grow up?  What if you have two kids and one is a boy and one is a girl and they need to be separated for privacy reasons and what not...."  And the list of cons goes on.  I wish that relaxed, wine drinkin' lady would speak up and give me some more pros...she has since forgotten the office and moved on to the cheese plate...damn her and her lack of focus!  The other not so fun gal is still whispering not so sweet nothings about kids I don't have and selling a house we just moved into...WTF!

So here I am - at a crossroads.  Claim it as an office or try to do it all!  I came up with another mock concept today...you know it makes it easier for me to make decisions...or does it?

FYI - in case you haven't figured from the photos above - the bottom cabs are in place and the top cabs are resting on the bottom but would eventually be hung from ceiling height.  This layout works on a few levels - I can get the daybed in which would be lovely when my latest addition of BH&G arrives so I can lay back, relax, and flip through it nonchalantly during a work break...perhaps even with a goblet of wine! ;)  The office portion of my room would be a bit smaller and narrower but with almost as much storage as the L shaped design.  How much crap do I need to store anyway?

On the other hand - I really enjoyed the L shape due to being able to look out the window AND being able to see 2 computer screens at once.  I also like that it looks nice from the kitchen but, then again, so does the daybed...

I have looked at it every which way and then decided - why not have both?  My original reason for not doing the L plus the daybed was that the depth was too, well, deep.  How about I chop my daybed up and narrow it a bit.  Instead of being 41 inches I could make it 24in deep.  I realize that wouldn't be deep enough for normal human beings to sleep on but surely it is good enough for my BH&G nonchalant reading and daydreaming...  It would be like having a settee (which I also looked into but they are muey expenseevo...E's Spanish, again).  Or perhaps a chaise.  It wouldn't be a complete loss to mess with this West Elm daybed.  I got it on Craigslist for $125 due to the past owners crazy mutt using it as a chew toy...

Can you imagine?  How pissed would you be?!  Either way - a little lot of wood putty, sanding and a fresh coat of white paint and this baby will be back in prime condition soon.  Now - to chop or not to chop...that IS the question.  I have enlisted the neighbor men (both engineers) to see if I chop it up how I could reattach the shorter portions while still maintaining the overall strength.  Our round table meets tonight and you will be the first to know the outcome!

Until then - please feel free to leave a comment (just under the posts title) on what you would do!!  Do your best to dissuade me from taking saw to wood!  Or help out the wine drinkin' gal with some more pros to ditch the dual space idea all together and go with a straight up office space!  She needs all the help she can get...off the cheese and onto chocolates.  Aiy yai yai...virtual eye roll...


Feb 23, 2011


My husband, E, is well schooled on logistics - it is his day job, after all.  For me, it doesn't come quite so easy.  Once I lay something out I need to go back and forth and change it up a million times before fully committing to a design - or having my self committed!  

This week I started off with a clear design of what I wanted to do to my office (see here)- I know you have all seen the beautiful pic but lets refresh the ole' memory.  Here is what I would like:

Martha Stewart Online

Here is what I have:

Ikea has come to the rescue on what I want to do but the design is all me...Here is my original scetch:

I started off with the idea of using the BESTA entertainment shelving and doors.  It was going to be $200 just for the bottom cabinets without doors...hmmmm...  Once we got to Ikea I decided I did not like the look of the white cabinets or doors they had available nor did I like the fact that they were 15inches deep (16 with doors) - this is a very small room and I was trying to fit some kind of sleeping element in the room as well as my office - more on that later.  I had already looked at BILLY but the height was all wrong.  With E lagging behind, I decided to change the whole concept and go with AKURUM kitchen cabinets (insert E eye rolling at my constant indecision). 

I bought the following cabinets:

2 - 30Wx39Hx12 5/8D cabinets for the uppers
1 - 24Wx39Hx12 5/8D Cabinet also for the upper (closest to the window)

2 - 30Wx24Hx12 5/8D Cabinets for the bottom
1 - 24Wx24Hx12 5/8D Cabinet for the bottom closest to the window.

The total cost for the top and bottoms plus hanging rail and one set of shelves for the 30 in cabs was around $230 plus they charged me for 5 extra hang rails at $6 a pop...I am coming back to you Ikea - beware!  Regardless of the overcharge this decision saved us mucho moola considering that BESTA would have been at $200 just for the bottoms!!!

Here comes the logistics...once I got the cabs home I still wasn't 100% happy with the thought of a 24 inch deep desk.  The desk portion will be whatever the width of the cabinet closest to the wall on the bottom OR half of the width of that cabinet if I get something wider, say, 30 in?  Still with me on that??  Here is the kicker...I use a laptop and just don't need the extra space behind it but due to a chronic shoulder issue (most likely due to constant laptop use) E is urging me to ditch the laptop and get a normal PC...have I mentioned he is a computer geek?  My husband is the type who likes to upgrade upgrade upgrade but never quite seems to clear out the things he upgraded from...case in point:

That being said, with a computer genius for a husband, E is more than willing AND able to build me a new PC.  I love my laptop but clearly it ain't loving me or my shoulder anymore...it hurts when the love ain't mutual.  I guess that is a decision I will have to make soon so this office can get done pronto...Ok - back to the project!!

I decided before making any rash decisions to construct only the 30 in cabs (top and bottom) and do a mock layout.  Really, that is the only way a flurried brain like me can get some calm...mock it out, baby!  Here is the layout with 3 - 30 in cabinets on the bottom and a 17 inch deep desk (15 inches from half the bottom cab + 2 inches from baseboards):

I have decided there is no way we could fit a bed or even a couch in this space...don't worry - I mocked that out for ya too!  The following pic is the tight space that would ensue if we put a couch or daybed in here on this tiny wall that is shared with 2 doors:

You would barely be able to get through the door!  At this point I ask you - who needs 2 entry doors for one room anyway - see the other door on the back side of the room?  Why don't we just cover up one of the doors?  It seems they really are the only thing keeping me from having the exact space I want... We are lazy, folks, and we enjoy walking through the office instead of through the kitchen AND living room to get to the bedroom wing of our house.  I tried - I really tried.  I even tried locking the door to the kitchen one day to see if we could manage.  Within an hour it was unlocked and a thoroughfare again. E's idea is to block the closet door by putting the daybed in front of it so we could fit everything.  MEN!  You never ever block a closet door!  Where will I put the dresses and heels that I never have occasion to wear?  Honestly...the nerve!!!

So here I am in a logistics nightmare.

1.  Go with the 30 inch base cab making a 17 in deep desk and forgo the PC (oh, by the way, I had E bring up the monitor for me so I could see if it would work with a 17 in desk...big no on that...it would have solved all my problems!)

2.  Go with the 24 inch desk and block even more of the walkway when entering the room from the kitchen?

3.  Keep the 24 in cab but make the desk portion less deep, maybe 20 in?) causing the shelving to my left to be asymmetrical...I am not sure I can live with that...

4.  Scratch the whole idea and curl up in fetal position in my office closet...did you see how deep that thing is??  This may be the best option yet!

Why, Ikea, why do you not make a 18 in or perhaps a 20 in wide cab that is also 24H and 12 5/8 deep??

Today decisions MUST be made.  Sacrifices will be had.  Logistic nightmares will be squashed.  Today I am a woman who will make up her mind and conquer...perhaps after lunch?


Anyone else having a problem with logistics?  Feel free to leave a comment on your problem above (right under the post title) - perhaps we can solve the wonders of the world (and Ikea) together!

Feb 22, 2011

Shhhh....I'm trying to be Creative!

There is something going on over here and I can not wait to show you!  This will be a bit of a teaser post so I apologize in advance.  Here is a sneak peak of the outcome from our Ikea trip yesterday...

Though I will resist the urge to tell you directly what is going on you can be assured I am mucho exciteedo (that is E's way of speaking Spanish - he adds an O to the end of any word...charming, right?).  This all started with my post yesterday and my dream office shown here:

Seriously, can you guess it?  I really hate to give away my surprise...Oh, geeze, who am I foolin'!  I can't keep this a secret!!  It is too exciting for me!!


Phewww - I am glad I got that out!  After reading yesterdays post (Big brownie points to my husband!) E insisted that we head to Ikea and buy exactly what I wanted.  This is a hard one for me as I like to reuse things we have in the house or create what we need from scratch but when it comes down to it me getting what I wanted and getting it soon done pulled rank here.  I have been circling this office project for a long time now and I think he was done seeing me at odds with it...sometimes we need the encouragement to spend!  

My dream office is from a Martha Stewart article seen here and circulated throughout Blog Land.  Take some time to check out her whole post as it is fab - I am loving the entire house and design but this office is sooo within reach of what I can do!!  Obviously my office will be a bit different here and there but the overall design will be the same.  It turns out no matter how much I love my current desk it just doesn't have all that I need I require for an office space.  My plan is to incorporate my current desk (after a quick zip of the circular saw) on one end and a new door table top for the long side but who knows if that will change between now and completion!  Oh, and the shelf thing from this weekend (seen here)...though I love the fabric shelf, this just isn't what I had in mind for my space. 

I hope to be able to reveal parts of this transformation as I go along.  I am also hoping to have this baby finished by Sunday when we host our First Annual Oscars Showdown.  NO PRESSURE!!!

Please stay tuned for updates and progress shots...


Feb 21, 2011

Not Your Ordinary Shelf!

It has been a busy weekend though not much on my To Do list was accomplished due to the rapid change in weather...spring is gone again - insert tears and lots of boo hoo's.  Oh well - I kept the DIY party inside and focused on my office which was the last thing I was looking forward to.

My office project started when I came across these hollow door shelves the Britt from Gus and Lula blogged about (Check it out here and a wiki version here).  My original plan was to put a huge long mirror over my desk...epic fail with that one due to hollow wall and random wall studs.  I had already painted and built my hollow door desk (I lost the pics on that project but plan to blog about it once they are found!) and thought the next best solution would be a nice long shelf running the whole length of the desk.  Indeed, a perfect addition to my office!  My mind immediately jumped to the hollow door shelves for 3 reasons.

1. We have plenty of hollow doors hangin' around!
2. It just so happens the shelves would be exactly the same length as our door...hello!
3. It is FREE!!

My dad did me a great favor by zipping these old doors with my Papas old saw.  That took a lot of doin' as my Dad's garage is stuffed full of all sorts of drag racing paraphernalia.  Oh - shameless plug alert!!  If you happen to also be into drag racing racing you can check out his site here!   Anyway - back to the door...

Once it was zipped down to teo 9inch shelves the real fun began!  In case you are wondering here is what the inside of the door looked like:

Save your self some time and bloody knuckles by knocking those little shim things out with a hammer.  Of course, I didn't do that until my knuckles were already scraped up - Live and Learn!!   You will then have a huge pile of  wood shims and wonder to yourself "what can I do to re purpose these?"  Since I had no immediate ideas I put them aside for later.

Here is where my floating shelves idea refused to take off.  I decided instead of sanding and painting and going with he whole white thang that I would mix it up and use some fabric.  Not just ANY fabric...my cutie fabric from the last chair upholstery makeover - you can read all about it here.  After a bit of cutting (my last big remnant of this fabric...boo) and ironing I was ready to attach the fabric to the wood.  You can do this any number of ways but I went with stapling and Liquid Nails.  I didn't have any spray adhesive but I am guessing that would have been the easiest to work with.  With only Liquid Nails on hand I first Googled to see if it could be used for a fabric to wood application and, wonder upon wonders, I found this nifty little guide.  Check it out here.  You just put in the room of the house you are working in and which material and it pops out with which Liquid Nails product you could use.

 I basically stapled anywhere I could that wouldn't show and then glued down the rest.  Make sure to pull your fabric nice and tight so it doesn't sag  later.  Some of the outside staples shown were there only temporarily to hold the fabric to the wood while the glue was drying. 

I was still on the floating shelf idea so I went ahead marking my wall for studs (use a long strip of tape so you don't have to keep finding them later).  Then hold your cut down 2x4 over the studs level so you can mark where to pre-drill your holes.  The hollow part of the shelf will slide over this 2x4, AKA ledge, so there is no need for it to be pretty. 

Once I got the ledge up on the wall I realized it was WAY WAY too narrow to be able to support the length of this shelf so here is where plan B kicked into action.  For the record, Britt at Gus and Lula made much shorter shelves that would be able to hold more weight and all her cute glassware.  I knew right away these would not be able to hold my magazines and office supplies. If you have smaller shelves and maybe a deeper 2x4 ledge then go forth, my friend, and triumph.  For me...no more floating shelves...I had to use brackets.

Since brackets were the new plan I also had to cut down the shelf due to a lack of studs on one end - my office backs up to the bathroom which has a medicine cabinet on that wall.  Anywho - I cut down the shelf, reattached the fabric, and used the ledge that was already cut down to fill the hollow door so it would be steady throughout...here is where I wish I had planned everything out prior so I didn't take out those shim thingys in the beginning.  Oh well...

So here is how it all turned out once I got the brackets to work with me...those were a whole other story I am way too fragile still to relive.  Let me just say the bracket hanging induced me to a fit of rage with tears to follow...not my finest moment and a great reminder to not DIY on an empty stomach.  I believe I was suffering from a fit of hypoglycemia but it may as well have been a full out freak out!  Glad to be back on track!!  Oh, here are the pics pre cutting down of the shelf and of the holes left all over my wall due to my madness:

Considering my office looked like this before I think I was moving up in terms of being organized:

Really terrible.  I have always been a VERY organized person but with the construction and constant projects my office became a crazy place for random bits...similar to my basement...hmmm.  Maybe I am not as organized as I once was...or thought I was!  Here is what it looks like now...

Ok - so it isn't exactly organized.  So it isn't exactly the right paint color (another fiasco).   I still have that giant buffet in my office that has yet to be dealt with...  Overall, it is not a shining example of what  I wish my office to be one day.  But here on Walnut Avenue everything goes in real time.  I curse those bliggity blogs that make me feel like they must have had a little shop of elves to help them with all the projects they managed to accomplish in a weekend.  I have no elves...  Just me in a state of crazy when I can't manage to hang a bracket!  You can tell by the photos above that Bubba was in a weird state of crazy too!  Her green eyes are showing...or perhaps she is green with envy from what we wish our office DID look like...

I WILL HAVE THIS OFFICE...just not today.  Regardless of the whole office project no yet done at least I finished a shelf ...it may only be one shelf but it is certainly a CUTE shelf!

What did you guys do this weekend?  Have some inspirational pics for me regarding where it is you work from?  Please fell free to email or paste a link in the comments section of your office photos!

Thanks for checking in!

To see where and with whom I am canoodling with in Bloggy Land this week please click here!!  So much talent at the linky parties!!
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