7th House on the Left

Like Ashley posted on Monday, we spent last Saturday at our semi-local Ikea. Even though we ended up buying some other goods for the house (Who goes to Ikea and leaves with only the things on the list?), our main reason for making the 1.5-hour trip was to pick up six large floating shelves for my office. Since my office is going to have a bit of a modern bent to it, the clean lines and sharp contrast of the white floating shelves against the new dark grey walls is exactly what we want. So, here’s a picture of where we left off, after the new coat of paint:

We love the new wall color, but there’s no sense of height to the room, and the darker color is simply begging for something to balance it. Solution? Meet the wall of shelves:

Bam! Okay, so they’re still empty, but they completely change the look of the room. Everything has a more customized feel, which was really important to me when we went about figuring out what to do in this room. I didn’t want it to feel like we just went to Ikea and threw some furniture in the room. For any of you who were skeptical about the dark wall color, now you’ll see that the white and grey are starting to balance each other out a bit more. If you’re still not sold, we’ll be adding more color and contrast as we go on. The best part, though, is there’s tons of room up there for personal touches and pops of bold colors. I’m pretty much geeking out about the whole thing. I can’t wait for Ash and I to start filling them up. I’m definitely going to need her help–remember, she’s the creative one!

Here’s where we get to the boring part of the post — the “how we did it”. The first step was to measure how long we wanted the shelves. I made sure to leave a reasonable gap around the desk on all sides for cables, then took the measurement from the wall to the end of the desk. When we first started considering corner shelves around my desk, Ash couldn’t find the tape measure and ended up using a yard stick for the initial measurement. She was pretty sure that three of the 74″ Lack shelves and three of the 43″ were going to fit perfectly around the desk–no modifications necessary.  When we went to get a final measurement to take along with us to Ikea, it turned out that we actually needed six of the 74″ shelves and were going to have to cut them all down by a few inches.

Ikea LACK shelves

The morning after our Ikea trip, we measured (and triple-measured) the right length on each shelf, then used a square to make a nice, straight line across the end. Then we put a piece of blue painters tape along the edge and scored the pencil mark with a utility knife. Scoring the paint, combined with the tape kept the paint from chipping and ultimately gave us a nice, clean edge. Once the shelves were all measured, taped, and scored, we cut each shelf using a circular saw and a slow, steady hand. In retrospect, I suppose the “proper tool” for this job would have been a miter saw, but I don’t have a fully-stocked New Yankee Workshop just yet.

Once we had all the shelves cut to length, we brought them inside to start the hanging process. The first three shelves (to the right of the desk) were pretty easy. When it came to the shelves on the left side of the desk… this is where I’d like to say we’re experts at this sort of thing and it only took us about 15 minutes, but that didn’t happen. It took a pretty good amount of trial and error because we had to line up the left-hand shelves perfectly with the shelves on the right, and the walls aren’t completely straight. That being the case, when we used our “exact measurements”, the shelves weren’t perfectly square or level. So we did what any self-respecting DIY’er would do and “eyeballed it”, which led to about 6 unwanted holes in the wall. Luckily, the final placement of the shelves covered the holes, so we didn’t have to do any patching. But I still know they’re there. If I had this to do over, I’d have hung the first shelf bracket, then used a laser level to hang another bracket on the adjacent wall at the same height. Then, all there is to do is measure up from there.

As for the space between each shelf, we measured what we think will be one of the tallest things we have – which happens to be the Tardis Ash bought me last week. Reason number 4,302 I love her. Yep, it even lights up and makes the signature Tardis sound when you open and close the top. Coming in at just under 10.5″, we made sure to have 11.75″ clearance for each shelf.

We wanted the shelves to be able to hold whatever we decided to put on them. Even though we aren’t sure what’s going on them quite yet, we didn’t want to have to worry about the 18-pound weight limit. On top of that, on the other side of the walls are the hallway and foyer. Let’s say, for instance, we’re moving a piece of furniture down the hallway and we accidentally bump the wall pretty hard. We wouldn’t want the shelf falling down, taking everything on it along for the ride. With that in mind, we decided each shelf needed to be attached securely to at least two studs. The pre-drilled holes in the bracket didn’t line up perfectly with our studs, so we marked each stud, drilled holes straight through the bracket into the wall, then drove three-inch pan head screws through the new holes. We also used drywall anchors for the pre-drilled holes at the ends of the brackets. I’m pretty sure these shelves would last through (another) earthquake.

The shelves are now the cornerstone for the placement and design of everything else in the room. Now we can start filling them up, hanging guitars, and adorn the room with wall art. I’m really excited to get a brainstorming session happening with Ashley to figure out how we’re going to finish things up. In the mean time… we have some shelves to fill.

As we mentioned in this post, Ash and I spent the weekend going over to the dark side… in my office.

Before I get to the before and after photos, I have a bone to pick with Martha Stewart for naming this paint color “Seal”. While we were painting, Ash was trying to come up with as many Seal songs as she could think of. That doesn’t sound that annoying to you? Well, the only song she could think of was “Kiss From A Rose” from Batman Forever. You see, Ashley tends break out in song at random moments and will keep singing that same song over… and over. Though, I should mention this wasn’t as bad as her High School Musical phase. Then she moved onto “I Believe I Can Fly” (complete with “humm”s, key changes and sound effects) because she was positive that was by Seal too. R Kelly, Ash. R Kelly.

Anyway, back to the painting. Here’s what the room looked like before, with Martha Stewart’s Cobblestone…

And here’s what the room looks like now with Martha Stewart’s Seal…

BIG difference, right?! Oh, and FYI, the splotchiness on the walls isn’t the paint. It’s actually the reflection of cars driving by.

The “Bam, in your face” wall color really contrasts with the white trim and brings out all the different tones in the hardwood floors. Simply put, we love it. Not only does the room look completely different, but it feels different too.

At night, you’d think the room would be overly dark and gloomy, but even with just the floor lamp on, it actually feels really cozy (I know, that didn’t sound very manly). With only the desk and the abacus wall art in the room, I’m sure things look a tad on the dark side in photos. All of that’s going to change during the next phase. Once we get the white shelving on the walls, some light-colored curtains and colorful accessories in place, things will brighten up and the contrast is going to be killer.

You may have noticed a few furniture differences as well. We gave the floor lamp to Ash’s parents (it looks really cool in their master bedroom) and brought in a floor lamp we bought from Lowe’s over a year ago. We Craigslisted the tall skinny shelf that was once in the corner for $45 – which, consequently paid for the paint. We really liked the shelf but since we’re planning on adding more shelves over the desk, the room would look a little too “shelf happy” as Ash put it. We also moved the desk so it’s facing the corner. This will give us more floor space and an anchor for the shelving we’re going to hang over the desk – which I don’t think we’ve mentioned yet, come to think of it. Well, our plan is to hang three shelves over the desk like this…

Remember, Ashley is the artistic one. Actually it’s six shelves, but we’re going to hang them so they look like three big corner shelves, similar to this inspiration photo we shared last week:

This will create a great focal point for the room and offer up a lot of storage in the process. We’re going to fill the shelves with books, storage boxes and fun modern knickknacks. Ash may or may not have bought me my very own Tardis (not sure if it actually comes with wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff yet). I wasn’t supposed to know, but she couldn’t hold it in any longer and spilled the beans about five minutes after she hit the “Place Order” button. Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to this addition.

Since I had to deal with it, I leave you with this…

Sorry! I had to do it! ; )


posted by Ashley  /  17 Comments

This weekend, we’re painting… again. When we spent 2 entire weeks painting every room in the house before we moved in. At that point, we were in love with the colors, and thought we’d be in love with them forever. Well, apparently “forever” for paint is about a year. We’re changing it up this weekend in Greg’s office.

Before I get to all of that, let me back up a second. Here’s what Greg’s office is looking like these days…

Actually, this photo was taken a while ago, but it still looks pretty much the same, except the shelf in the corner is on the wall and the floor lamp is near the door. I know, I really need to take updated photos. I don’t know if you guys remember or not, but a few weeks ago, we posted a random mood board for a home office that was a lot less “modern geek” and more along the lines of “modern old school”. If you don’t remember, check it out here. In the post, I talked about how I was floored when I showed Greg the board. He totally surprised me by saying, “Yeah, I really like that. Actually, I think I’d like something like that for my office.” For a few days, I thought maybe we were going to ditch the “modern geek” and go full force with the old school modern vibe of the mood board. But then I pointed out that if we switched gears, that meant bye bye abacus. The boy loooooves his abacus. Well, abaci, because there are two. I just hate saying “abaci” because it makes me sound pretentious. I got them for his birthday about a month before we actually moved into the house. We get a ton of compliments on them, and it’s a fun way to bring out Greg’s not-so-inner geek. That being the case, we’re back on-board the modern geek train. After all, he’s a geek.

With all of that being said, our first mission is to upgrade the medium beige/gray paint (Martha Stewart’s Cobblestone) with a much bolder option: charcoal gray. Greg really liked what I did with Abram’s room and how, even though the walls are black, the room didn’t feel dark and gloomy one bit. His office is small yet has two windows that bring in a lot of light. On top of that, his desk, as well as the shelves we’re planning on putting up above the desk, are all white – kind of like this photo I pinned on Pinterest. With those two inspirations coming into play, the room could stand to go a little darker than the current light gray / beige. Okay, a lot darker.

We narrowed it down to two shades of gray: Seal by Martha Stewart and Dark Granite by Behr. They look almost identical on camera – and even surrounded by all of the other choices at the paint counter, they looked super similar. On the other hand, they have totally different undertones. The Dark Granite has a lot of blue undertones and the Seal is a bam, in your face, pure gray.

Here they are up on the walls…

The top is Seal and the bottom is Dark Granite. It really bugs me that the swatches aren’t the same shape. Greg put up one and I put up the other, so it is what it is. But it still bugs me.

We thought it would be important to be able to see the colors on multiple walls so we could get an actual feel of how it would look at all angles and lighting. That being the case, we also threw up a sample on the other side of the room next to the door because this is the wall that gets all of the sunlight. The other swatch is right next to the window and the abacus abaci so that gave us an idea of what it will look like against the trim and with the “big wall art statement”.

After sleeping on it, we’ve decided that we’re just going to bite the bullet and go with the darker one (Seal). I love the look of small rooms with bold, dark walls and Greg likes the idea of it giving the room a more cozy / modern feeling. So, for us, it’s a win win. This will totally transform the current look of the room and get us a little closer to where we want to go.

We’re also hoping to sneak in an Ikea trip over the weekend at some point. It’s an hour and thirty minute drive for us, so we’re not completely sure if that’s going to happen yet, but fingers crossed. It’d be nice to get the shelving to go above his desk that’s been on our to do list for months. Oh, and of course, some Swedish meatballs.

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