Office Update: Gallery Wall and end of the January Cure

My goal was to finish the office during the month of January, as I participated in the January Cure. It is now mid-February and I am calling the office done…for now.

The reason the office did not get finished by February 1 is not me (I am perfect), it was the polar vortex. Besides causing major havoc and misery all over the United States, the freezing temps also delayed my spray painting, which delayed finishing the office. Again, this had nothing to do with me starting 100 projects at once and watching too much tv.

As I mentioned in this post, one of my goals for the finished office was to add a bulletin board. I found this bulletin board at Target for $10. The faux wood finish was gorgeous but I wanted a different look. I painted the frame with Rustoleum Metallics gold spray paint. Eventhough I sanded to frame to rough it up, the spray paint pooled in some spots and didn’t want to stick. After it dried, I used some antique gold rub ‘n buff to cover any wood that was peeking through where the spray paint did not stick. I then painted the cork with a sample pot of paint, Mariner by Martha Stewart. I like the navy and gold combo, and if I tire of it I can always paint it a new color or use some fabric to cover it.

navy and gold bulletin board

The other frames are Ikea Nyttja frames. I used the same spray paint, rub ‘n buff method with them. Again, I had issues with the spray paint adhering. Not sure if it was user error (likely), or if I need a primer over these plastic surfaces.

I made a calendar with one of the large nyttja frames. On the back of the plexi glass I drew a calendar grid with navy sharpie. I then attached a piece of scrap white fabric. I put the frame back together and added the month and day numbers with the same sharpie. When I need to change the month a little rubbing alcohol takes the sharpie off of the plexi glass. (You could also use a dry erase marker and skip the rubbing alcohol step). Immediately after I finished this grand feat of engineering I noticed I do not have enough spaces in the grid for a month with more than 28 days. Looks like I have some fixing to do, or I can just forget the last few days of the month exist.


I used white fabric scraps to back all the frames. The thin fabric worked really well in the smaller frame, but tends to pull oddly in the larger frames. I will probably try a thicker fabric in them. I added a black and white picture to the smaller nyttja frame and I’m still thinking about what pictures to add to the other large frame. The small square brown frame is from Target long ago and houses a watercolor painting of mine.

gallery wall

As for the rest of the office…things are looking good.

Office full

The rug is from Target and used to be in the bedroom. The desk chair is also from Target. It’s from their Room Essentials line and I haven’t seen it listed online. The desk was a thrift store find.

The aqua cart is the raskog cart from Ikea. I had absolutely no use for it, but bought it anyway. That is how it came to live in the office. The jury is still out if it actually works in here, but functionally it is great. It holds all the internet stuff in the bottom, and stationary in the other shelves.

On the other side of the room I made a seating area. I bought these chairs at a thrift store last year with plans to reupholster them…that didn’t happen. I hope to reupholster them this summer, but in the meantime they make a nice place to sit in the office.


The large shelving unit behind the chairs is West Elm from a while ago. I actually found mine on Craigslist about 2 years ago.

That’s the new and improved office. Did the cure work? I think so, being that the ultimate goal was a cleaner more organized space. The office started as a big disorganized closet and now we actually enjoy the space. It not only looks better; it is 100x more functional and has become a room we actually use.

Well done January Cure. See you in 2015.


Old Rug New Rug

Part of my office cure project list was to add a rug. After lots of searching for the perfect rug, that was also very cheap, I found a perfect option: the rug in my bedroom. It was very cheap (free) and it works perfectly in the office. We purchased the rug at Target, about a year ago, after the untimely demise of our previous bedroom rug by a sweet dog with a upset stomach.

Criss cross rug in badroom

It worked great in the bedroom. It is very plush and soft. The plushness does go down a bit after walking on it (think old teddy bear), but it still has great weight and feel on your feet. The neutral ivory and gray goes with everything and the rug is a steal at $130.

I like it so much that I considered buying another one for the office. That was until I spotted this amazing rug on Jenny Steffens Hobick’s blog. I would have never considered it from the picture on, but the pictures in her blog show how beautiful it really is. It’s neutral with great accents of rust, navy, and lilac gray. I have wanted a persian looking rug for a while but they are always too expensive or my husband and I can’t agree. But everything worked out with this rug. It was under $200 (not bad for a 5×8 wool rug) and both of us really like the pattern and colors.

After some interesting maneuvering to get a 5×7 rug out of a 9×9 room, the criss cross rug found a new home in the office and the persian rug a new home under the bed.

The office:

criss cross rug in office

and the new rug in the bedroom:

persian rug in bedroom

bedroom rug

Our nightstands are a vibrant red-orange laquer. The rust tone in the rug works well with them. My favorite part is the navy blue accents.

Bedroom rug detail

It smells a little chemical-ly but it’s fading. It’s very dense wool and feels nice underfoot. Lucky for me, I have an in-house model to show how comfy the new rug on rug

Still lots of projects to do in both the office and the bedroom, but it feels good to at least have the rugs done and another project checked off of my office cure list.


Criss cross rug (now in office): Threshold Criss Cross Fleece Rug, 5×7, from Target

Persian Rug: Handmade Treasured Sand Wool Rug, 5×8, from

Nightstands: Turned leg nightstand in Vermillion, from West Elm, no longer available (I found one of mine through craigslist)

Office Cure Update

I’m halfway through the cure and it’s going well. Some of the cure tasks have not applied to a home office (#7 clean up the kitchen, #8 get ready to host a get together, #9 make a landing strip) but the tasks that can be office-related are getting DONE.

Task #5 was to pick a project off the list I made on day 1. I hope to complete my whole list in the month, but since I had to pick one, I chose painting the trim and installing quarter round along the baseboard. I know that’s technically two but they go hand in hand.

Painting trim always seems easy. It is such a small surface area yet takes forever and leads to very sore wrists. The trim had been painted with a white oil based gloss. It was almost like nail polish: shiny, hard and slick  (i.e. latex paints worst nightmare). I chose to lightly sand it to rough it up, clean it up with some vinegar, then prime with Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3, finishing with 2 coats of Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Super White satin. The paint is the same as I used on my kitchen cabinets. It’s amazing paint. It dries rock hard like oil based paint, but cleans up with soap and water. I love this stuff.

We also installed quarter round. It was a relatively quick and cheap process. It took about 1.5 hours and cost around $15 for the quarter round. It’s a simple detail but really makes the room look finished. We wish we would have done it sooner.


baseboard before

and AFTER:office baseboard after


Onto the next task. #6 Prep artwork for framing and display. I was ahead of the game on this one. I have multiple framed pictures and artworks that just need to be hung up.

Today is task #11: work on your chosen project. My trim painting is done, but the whole office is technically my January project so hopefully I’ll get some more stuff done in there. If not, writing about the office and sharing with the interwebs counts as working on it, right?

The January Cure

Like many people, one of my daily reads is Apartment Therapy. Last January I was intrigued by “The January Cure“. In short, it’s devoting 30 days to doing things around your home to make it a more organized and happier place, which in turn makes you a more organized and happy person. I started the cure last year with lots of motivation (I was very excited to be a more organized and happy person), but I only made it through the first task. The first task being: Make a project list. I went through my house, room by room, finding all the things I wanted to get done. The list was a short novel, I was overwhelmed, and probably started in on 15 projects at once (totally ignoring the purpose of the task), and that was the end of that tune.

Flash forward to January 2014, I am back on the cure and this time in it for the long haul. I decided this year I would focus the cure on ONE room. If I still had tons of energy after completing the cure task for my one room, I could apply the task to other rooms. So far this m.o. is working. I’m on day 4 people!

The room I chose to focus on is our home office. (You thought I would say the laundry room, but why would I finish that before starting in on another room?) I chose the office because it is the most stress inducing room in the house.  When we moved in we had high hopes for the office. We were finally real adults with an office at home, or a study as my husband likes to call it. I thrifted a huge desk, Craigslisted a glorified futon (because everyone’s home office needs to double as a guest room), and that’s where things came to a halt. The desk became a nice surface to place piles of junk on, the futon became a second closet, and the office itself became an unused furniture/junk graveyard. I would cringe every time I walked in it, especially when I needed a flat writing surface (perhaps a desk), but could not find enough space to even address an envelope on the cluttered desk.

Last fall, I sold the futon and cleared out a lot of the junk. But don’t fear lots of junk remains and the room is still 95% unfinished.

office before

Now that you have the office back story, let’s talk more about the cure.

Day 1 this year was the same as last: Create a project list. This was easy and appears to be a very doable list.

  1. Paint all trim and doors. (I was so sick of painting trim when we first got the house that I never even got close in the office, and it’s in the worst shape)
  2. Add 1/4 round trim to baseboards. (There’s a 1/2″ gap between the bottom of the baseboards and the floor. Either the house is sinking into hell or it’s a combo of previous carpeting/old house)
  3. Organize closet. (The closet is a decent size, but has a terrible set up that makes it useless)
  4. Add rug. (This rug from the bedroom will be finding a new home in the office)
  5. Add bulletin board or dry erase board. (Hopefully will help keep the aforementioned “junk” from accumulating on the desktop)
  6. Get rid of junk.
  7. Change outlet next to door.
  8. Move barrister bookcase downstairs. (I told you this place was a furniture graveyard. The barrister has been residing here since his painful divorce from the living room)
  9. Add drawer organizers to desk drawers.
  10. CLEAN everything.

Day 2: Buy Flowers and Deep Clean floors. Last year this would have done me in. Deep Clean all my nasty dog hair encrusted hardwood floors? No gracias. But this year: Clean 100 sq ft of floor? Gladly! I vacuumed and dust mopped and cleaned by hand with a rag and some Bona. I felt very Cinderella and had beautiful clean floors at the end. I didn’t buy flowers because my Christmas amaryllis looks ready to bloom any day now… and it was really cold outside.

Day 3: Get a fresh perspective on an area you don’t like. Imagine the area empty, and then (still imagining) add pieces back in. I do this pretty much everyday on all corners of my house. Imagining is fun…

Day 4: Set up an Outbox. The whole point of the outbox is a way to get rid of things you don’t really need. Things go to sit in the outbox for at least a week or until their fate is decided. Then you keep em, or get rid of em. I have actaully been using the outbox idea since last year, and it really does work. So I already had a outbox in my front closet because I’m really good at The January Cure.

I’ll do some regular updates throughout the January Cure. Hopefully adding some pretty “after” pictures along with projects and decorating.