Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Office

I am always on my computer. Whether it's working on house designs, work, blogging, or just for fun, I'm always using it. In our old apartment my office consisted of my laptop and the couch. In our guest bedroom I had a table set up with some of my craft supplies, but that was such a multi-purpose room, the table was always covered with other stuff.

The day we first viewed this house, I fell in love with this room and knew it would someday be my office. 
It was perfect! It has a central location, beautiful view out the windows, a built-in bookcase and a fireplace! And it's the only room in the house that has the potential for lots of bookcases. The only downside is that it was pretty dark and ratty looking. Even without the curtains on the windows, it was dark. 
Luckily the wallpaper came off pretty easily. A helper and I took it all down in about 2 hours. We peeled off the grass layer, and then using spray bottles got the bottom layer wet, which made it peel right off. The walls underneath were pretty disgusting though. Aside from the wall with the windows, they were all newer drywall (when I say newer I mean from the '50's), but were stained and had a lot of holes. The wall to the left of the windows (seen in the next picture) was very poorly installed, and was very squishy.
We originally thought the wallpaper in this room was going to be the hardest in the house. The grass was so thick, and at first, didn't peel off nicely. But then we had the pleasant surprise of it being a piece of cake. Well, it came back to bite me when I started to paint. Before painting each wall I had to first wash it down with TSP, then sand the little bits and pieces of wallpaper left behind, then wash it again, then fill in the holes with putty, then sand again. THEN I could paint.

I decided to paint the trim, beams and fireplace surround a nice bright white. I love rooms with natural light, and the lighter the colors, the more reflective the light is. I used Glidden Semi-Gloss White. I made the mistake of not using any primer. The trim color didn't seem dark enough that I would need it. It took 4 or 5 coats of white to cover the yellowy-tan color. The paint on the beams was peeling and needed to be sanded, but I was a little worried it was lead paint. We bought a $9.95 lead paint test (good for 3 tests) at Home Depot, and it came out negative.
The color I chose for the walls is Lowe's La Fonda Mirage. It doesn't photograph 100% accurately, but it looks great in the room. Especially with the natural light shining on it. Because the wall underneath wasn't white (more of an off-white tan color with stains), in some areas it took two coats, but not everywhere. I was very impressed by the paint. The only downside was that because it took so long to prepare the walls and paint the trim (which I needed to do before painting the walls), I waste a lot of paint. I used up the entire gallon of paint on this tiny room and I still wasn't done! But luckily Lowe's sells those small sample bottles of paint, so I got two of those and only ended up needing half of one.

We still need to paint behind the radiator, but I skipped that for now because we're planning on having the radiator replaced because it leaks. A lot. The wall behind the radiator still has old wallpaper, which was on the walls before the grass wallpaper. We can't get behind it without disturbing the already leaking radiator. But for now, I just put my table in front of it and you hardly notice it.

The room is far from being finished (I need bookcases, more tables, filing cabinets, curtains, a rug, stuff on the walls...), but it's my favorite room in the house so far. I often find myself staring at the room from other rooms.. I just love it, especially in the morning! I didn't get a chance to clean the fireplace yet (there's a lot of smoke damage, and about $10 in pennies, inside the fireplace), but just the trim being repainted makes it looks so much cleaner and fresh.

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