Welcome. I am glad you’re back for part two of the craft studio and home office remodel. If you missed part one, I started with a tour of the room as it was when we moved in, I walked through the design process, and we left off at demolition. You can read the full post here.
As far as remodels go, this was a rather simple project. A couple of the steps were a bit time consuming and arduous, and aside from the electricians and flooring pros, it was mostly a Do-It-Yourself renovation.
After demolition it was time to drywall and fill the desk and dresser openings. My husband took on the drywalling and I took on the mudding process since I’m pretty comfortable with a trowel and plaster. One of the elements I detested about the room was the ‘knock down’, textured ceiling. Since I prefer a smooth substrate, I chose to skim those out.
Here’s a tip for you. If you ever want to cover up ‘knock down’ on your walls or ceilings, or get rid of wall texture they call ‘orange peel’, it will need to be skimmed over. It can be a big DIY project, but it really isn’t that difficult, just time consuming. If you decide to hire someone, ask the contractor to bid for a level 4 or level 5 drywall finish. Some contractors may use or understand if you just ask for ‘wallpaper ready’ substrate.
I was striving to have a level 4 finish which is almost perfectly smooth. Because I used joint compound that is pink when wet and dries white, you can see how heavily it was textured. In my opinion, ‘knock down’ is an industry term for hiding a multitude of sins or used as a cheap shortcut. Yes it was a bit involved, and required several passes, but doing it myself saved money.
Look at that texture! Don’t you agree, a smooth sloped ceiling will make all the difference?
The walls in the room had seams indicating there had previously been wallpaper and it had been painted over. When we pulled out the desk that was confirmed when we revealed a small piece hiding behind the trim. I wasn’t sure how many coats of paint had gone over it so I decided to skim out the seams on the walls as much as possible.
After placing the drywall, there was trim to patch which meant busting out the new chop saw and brad nailer. The original trim was from the 50’s and I couldn’t find any matches at the big box store, but had success finding a close match with the help of the friendly staff at McCoy Millwork in Portland. Isn’t it nice that there are small businesses still offering a variety of vintage and contemporary millwork so ripping out all the trim and starting over is not the only option?
This was a good point in the project to map out the work area. Blue tape comes in handy for this process. You can see how I laid out the cabinets, making sure the dimensions would work and I wouldn’t be hitting my head on the sloped ceiling while sitting or standing. I also wanted to map out where the lighting would go which is helpful for the electricians when they are installing your fixtures.
With the ceiling and wallpaper seams skimmed out and the trim patched, it was time to bring in the electricians.
Keeping in mind the decision to go with a taller cabinet and creating two seven foot long desks good lighting was important. Lighting that was wired so I wouldn’t need to worry about lamps or cords cluttering my work space. I didn’t want ceiling lights or pendants hanging from the ceiling, as pendants might have been a hazard to my head or may have blocked light if I was standing and working on a project. I got the idea to have wall sconces. I had a design in mind, but I discovered there aren’t a lot of choices in terms of vintage-style, work lighting. After many hours searching online and visiting lighting stores, I finally remembered that I had recently discovered Schoolhouse Electric in Portland. I found exactly what I was looking for, it was the jewelry of my design, the Isaac Sconce. At Schoolhouse I fell in love with them. I’m more in love with them now that they are part of my design.
Time to tackle the floor. My goal with the room’s flooring was to be bright and neutral, have comfort, dampen sound, and be made of sustainable materials. I decided on white, cork flooring in planks. EcoFloors in Portland was my resource and they did the install. Isn’t the outcome pretty? I love all the light. Even on a cloudy day there is still so much light.
Now it was time to paint and get the Ikea cabinets installed. You’ll have to get used to seeing Lincoln, our cat in pictures. He’s very interested in being in on the action. It’s often hard to keep him out of the shots.
Ikea = lots of cardboard = hours of fun for cats.
He really is helpful.
Look at all the storage I’m going to have. The thought of organizing all of my art supplies was making me giddy.
Lincoln approved. Perfect height for the outside view.
Initially the plan was to have laminate work surfaces, but I decided to save more money and go with plywood. I don’t mind the finish at all, I can always upgrade later. For the paint finish I chose Benjamin Moore’s Advanced Waterbourne Semi-Gloss latex for the low VOCs, and they said it would provide a well-protected surface. I painted three coats, allowing them to dry approximately 12 hours in between. After the third coat I allowed the paint to cure for two weeks before I placed anything on top. The challenge was to keep Lincoln off them.
Why did I let the paint cure this long? Did you know that most latex paints take 30 days to fully cure? Most of the time you should allow your paints to dry a couple of weeks before wiping so the chemicals aren’t disrupted with cleaning. For the chemicals to set in and the paint to harden, curing is required. Because this is my main work surface I wanted to be sure it was dry and well on it’s way to curing. Within two weeks this paint felt pretty hard, and months later there hasn’t been any marring of the surface and it wipes clean easily with soapy and water. Benjamin Moore also claims this semi-gloss paint will stay white longer than other paints. Good thing since I went with bright white.
What I liked about this paint was it flowed and leveled out nicely after each coat, as promised. I used a small, smooth surface roller, and to cut in around the wall and cabinet bases I used my favorite brush, the Purdy Dale. Purdy brushes are my preference. This trusty tool is quality, and as you can see, it is well used and has lasted a long time with good care. One day I’ll show you my technique for cutting in, feathering out and rolling paint. For now there are a few tips I would recommend that will help you paint successfully. Never load your brush past the belly of the brush (which I mistakenly labeled below as the ‘body’), which is about one third of the way up the bristles from the toe. Hold your brush like a pencil at the bottom of the handle on top of the ferrule. Angle your brush and draw your line of paint slowly with a light touch, feathering away as you lift the brush from the surface. A well made brush makes all the difference, and knowing the anatomy of your brush doesn’t hurt.
While the tops cured it was time to start moving in.
In the lounging area of the room I wanted something modular. I thought modular might help to accommodate a guest in some way as I didn’t want a bed or a small couch in the space. I purchased two corner sections of the Ikea Soderhamn sectional. They actually worked out better than I expected. I can push them together and they make one nice, large sleeping couch. We’ve already had a couple of guests who claimed they slept comfortably aside from Lincoln coming up and making sure they were asleep. If you’re a guest in our house, you have to like a curious cat who loves to snuggle and receive pets.
The room is almost complete. Come back next week for the reveal I promise you’ll see my glitter drawer. I’ll share beautiful pictures taken by my friend, Jessica with Sweet Eventide Photography.