Saturday, August 31, 2013

54 Closet Office Makeover - Panel Process

Although we are trying to spend as much time at the beach with the boys for the final days of summer break, we are also trying to finish up a last minute closet office refresh for our oldest son.

Last winter I decided it was time to do something with Preston's bedroom.  And we started with oodles of love and goals and excitement.  And we got a lot done, such as painting his dresser and nightstand, stripes on his curtains, updating his light fixture and DIY'ing a chalkboard calendar.  And then the holidays came, spring came and went, and we had a great summer.  But Preston's room felt no more attention or love throughout that entire time.  I think I needed to step away and really think about what direction we want to take it {"we" as in him and I}.

But one thing is for certain.  Preston's closet desk space has become victim to a pre-teen boy with zero excitement for organizing.  It is his dumping ground, his puzzle building spot, and a place to draw a picture from time to time.  Last year, he did use it for homework, and expressed that the desk was the perfect place for him since he loves his quiet time.  It just needs that extra attention to make it more functional, and more pleasing to not only work within, but for his room as a whole.

It has become my goal to continue to share our messy spaces.  Sometimes our systems fail, sometimes we get lazy and sometimes we haven't ever given those spaces the attention they need to be successful.  Whatever the case, it all happens around here, and we still have a list of endless organizing to do {wahoooo for me!}.

I give you, a 12 year old boy's closet office.

Although I may break out in nervous sweats and hives when I see his desk space, I will admit, the giant puzzle on the desk makes it look much worse than it is.  It also shows that we have a problem with our puzzle building and storage process {this kid does puzzles non-stop in his spare time, and enjoys doing them in his room where his little brothers won't get at them}.

Not only do I want to help him organize this space, I want to make it feel a bit more mature and "grown up".  So it is our quest to combine super simple storage solutions {meaning, simple to maintain for a boy with other things on his brain}, and something a bit more sophisticated as well.

So first, the sophistication.  We started by emptying out the entire closet, including the built in shelves and desktop.  When we initially installed the cloffice, we didn't select a thick enough piece of MDF for the desktop.  Ultimately, it began to warp over time, so something a bit more sturdy is also on the agenda.

Once the closet was completely empty {sorry for forgetting to snap that photo}, the next step was to plan a paneled wall install.  I have seen a few paneled walls in magazines and even in beautiful blogger homes, so I was excited to give it a try in a smaller space.

No matter which way you dice and slice it, there really is no super simple math solution {that we could come up with}, for creating an absolutely perfect grid wall {especially when multiple sized walls are involved}.

But we did come up with a solution that worked for us, which was something like this:
  • We drew a diagram of what we envisioned the interior of the closet to look like when it was all said and done.  {shown above}
  • Mathematically, we knew each wall would be framed out by the boards {meaning each wall would have trim running along the floor, the ceiling and each edge of the wall}.  Knowing that, we subtracted those boards from the remaining wall area, to determine the placement of the interior grid.
  • We added a complicating step by knowing where the first vertical board would need to run, so the desk would sit tightly against it on the back wall {and things wouldn't fall behind the desk because of the panels}.  If you are just paneling a wall, that step may be avoided.
  • Next we determined approximately how many vertical panels we wanted.  Once we were set on one for the small left wall, three for the back wall and two for the slanted side wall, we could subtract the width of the boards and divide the remainder of space into equal parts.
  • Once we had our vertical boards in, trying to keep the grid visually pleasing and somewhat even, we then used the width of the vertical panels to determine the height of the horizontal panels.

Basically, make a drawing and scribble on it and scribble on it some more until you find all of the right measurements.  Once you have your grid planned, it's all about following it and installing it, which probably took us less time than trying to figuring it out in the first place.

To install:

Because our walls are covered in an oh-so-fabulous orange peel texture {please sense sarcasm here}, we needed to smooth it out.  We figured we had two options, either skimming it smooth with taping mud, or by adding smooth wall panels.  We chose the latter, because we didn't want the walls to be easy to chip and dent.  The panels we purchased were 4' x 8' smooth panel board.

To get the panels cut to width, the hubby propped them on our outdoor table, added a straight edge guide that ran the length of the sheet of paneling, and used his skill saw to cut the edges.  {Yes, we work at night while our children sleep, it's the only way to get things done around here.}

Once the smooth boards were cut to size, we used a heavy duty construction adhesive to place them on the wall.

Bryan only nailed the edges since the perimeter of each panel board was going to be covered by a piece of trim.

Once the paneling was up, next was installing the grid.  This is the first of about a bajillion times throughout the process when I scratched my head.  The hubs and I prove to be opposites on many things construction related {good thing opposites attract, right Paula?}.  He often works on the heavy building stuff while I work on the typing stuff.  That means he works ahead of me, and does things as he would do them, not how I would.  In the end, it always works out, but you can imagine the hysterical conversations we have each time I check in on his progress....

Like when I walked in, and saw all the verticals installed without the trim and ceiling molding in first....

Yep, he installed all the vertical boards first, because they were already the perfect 8 ft height that the wall was, and that meant, he wouldn't have to cut any of the boards down.  My brain, wanted to see the trim on the floor and ceiling done first, but in the end, he said it would all be pieced in nicely and caulked and you would never even notice {fast forward, he was right}.

To install the boards {we used a 3/4" thick x 3" wide x 8' long primed pine boards}, Bryan used his level and brad nailer, and placed them per our pre-planned diagram.

Next came the horizontal boards.  This took a bit longer as he measured and cut each and every board for the width.

He did this because although the vertical board was straight, it could have slight warps throughout, and wanted it to be as seamless as possible.  Every piece was also measured into place by measuring down from the same point at the top.

Cut and repeat.  Again, and again, and again.....

After all of the horizontal boards were installed {again, with the brad nailer}, an hour of caulking each and every board and nail hole came next.  For this, we always select a white, paintable caulk.

This is where my hubby says, "Goodnight my love" and heads to bed.  And I grab the paint brush.

Although in my gut, I thought I probably should prime the walls, I knew I had the paint with the primer built in, and figured it just may take three to four nice thin coats.  I went that route, and was pleasantly surprised that it was almost all covered after the first coat went up!  I used Behr's Burnished Metal {which is the same gray on the upper portion of his walls around the perimeter of his bedroom}.

Backing up a minute, to get that far, I started by using my brush and brushing each vertical and horizontal board, and the inside of each square to ensure I didn't miss any board edges.

Then I followed behind with my mini microfiber roller.

This room has carpet, so I used a paint guide at the bottom and it worked really really well.

And here is the fabulous closet after the second coat.

Yes, I was scratching my head again, just as you are right now.  I couldn't figure out why my hubby went to bed without installing the final panel on the bottom.

He later admit he was trying to take a short-cut, because he thought the base of the desk going in, would supplement the look of the final wall panel.  Oh my, he should know much better than that.  My OCD could never let that happen, you can bet that final wall panel will be going in this weekend.

A few more things worth mentioning.  That incredible desk is actually the DIY console desk we initially built for my studio {don't even get me started on my studio, I am back to wanting to blow it up and start over for the third time}.  Once I realized how awesome the desk would work in Preston's space, I knew it was meant to be.  The beautiful wood with white works so perfectly with the darker walnut shelves above.  Love that we were able to use something we already had.  So knowing we were going to use this desk, we were able to plan the placement of the horizontal grid to line up with the back of the desk.  This ensures nothing can roll off behind the desk due to the recessed grid.

My hubby installed the shelf brackets for me before he went to bed {since he was just getting up to go to work the next day and I wanted to snap pictures in daylight}.  When he installed them, this was the third time I scratched my head {it's amazing I have hair left}.  I probably would have put them flush against the left wall.  He centered them on the grid.  He says, she says.  In the end, I still love how it all turned out.

So, next up:
  • Install, caulk and paint the final grid at the bottom of the closet
  • DIY wall storage options
  • Install lighting
  • Organize, organize, organize
  • Give him a place other than his desk to do and store his puzzles

Anyone else loving the paneled wall look?  Or get into a battle of the sexes situation while working on home projects?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

38 UHeart Organizing: Sew Cool Remote Caddy

Oh my goodness guys, I couldn't be more giddy about today!

I have always felt like there was a little somethin' somethin' missing around here.  And for me, that was good sewing projects and ideas, that can be used for organizing.  That is mostly because my sewing machine and I haven't taken our relationship to the next level yet....  but why should y'all have to suffer because I like to take things nice and slow?

That is why I have added a new gal pal to my IHeart Contributing team!  Please give a warm welcome to Palak, who is the author of Make it Handmade.

I am excited to have her here today, sharing her first sewing project with us.  It is something that looks simple enough that even I could do, and it is something that we personally could benefit within our own home.  Here she is now to share more!

Hi, IHeart Organizing Readers! I can't tell you how absolutely thrilled I am to be here and sharing a sewing tutorial with you all. I'm Palak and I sew {and blog about it} over at Make It Handmade. I also run a frugal sewing site called .

We are big football fans, which means that we watch more tv over the weekends than I care to admit. We are constantly losing our remotes on the counter, in the toy bin, and the worst-- in the couch cushions.

I came up with this remote control pillow to keep those remote controls right on the couch-- but out of sight.

Even if you've never sewn a stitch before, you can make this fun little pillow-- I promise. Pillows are a great beginner project. This tutorial will walk you through step by step, and if you get stuck; you can always email me and I'll do my best to help you out.

I've also created a compilation of free sewing tutorials especially for I Heart Organizing Readers. If you've never used a sewing machine before, this series of tutorials will walk you through the basics of sewing. You'll have this pillow made in no time!

  • 3 Fat Quarters
  • 1 14" Pillow Form 
  • Sewing Machine & Supplies

    Let's Sew!

    Step 1:  Decide which fabric you'd like to use for the pocket side of the pillow, and which you'd like to use for the pretty side.

    Cut each fat quarter into a 15x15 square.

    Step 2:  Fold the pocket piece in half, wrong sides together and topstitch 1/8 inch away from the fold.

    Step 3:  Place the pocket piece on the right side of the pillow back. Using your remotes as a guide; mark out where the pocket needs to be divided, and topstitch in place.

    Step 4:  Place the remaining square {pillow front} right sides together with the pillow back. Sew around 3 sides of the pillow as shown.

    Turn the pillow right side out through the little opening. Iron the pillow case out very well and then insert the pillow form into the pillow. The best way to finish the pillow is to hand sew the opening shut. For a super easy invisible stitch, check out my Magic Stitch Tutorial. If you are more adventurous, you can add an invisible zipper instead.

    Now you have your very own, one of kind, customized throw pillow with attached remote control caddy.

    To use, simply place the remote controls in the pockets to store. {Don't forget to tell your family where they are!}

    Turn the pillow pretty side out when your mother in law comes over.

    Thank you for having me Jen! I hope some of you give this a try. To check out some of my other DIY tutorials {sewing and otherwise} head on on over to Make It Handmade!

    "I'm Palak-- a slightly sleep deprived mom who has loved sewing, knitting and crochet for her whole life.  When I’m not chasing after my two rambunctious kids, or sitting behind my sewing machine, I write about my DIY exploits at my blog, Make It Handmade. I also own Sewistry, a site dedicated to stretching our sewing dollars with money saving projects, product review and buying guides.  Although organizing doesn’t come naturally to me, I’ve been inspired by Jen and her blog to find the joy in making my home beautiful and functional. I’m transforming my home one room at a time and using my sewing machine every chance I get! I’m simply elated to be able share sewing projects for your home as part of the IHeart team! "

    10 Feeling Appreciative in August

    Hey friends!  I hope you are having a lovely week and enjoying the final days of summer lovin'.  And although I can't even begin to imagine how another month has come and gone, it is already that time to reflect and say THANK YOU to those that have supported this happy space of mine in the big wide www world.

    My sponsors keep this blog alive and I am forever grateful that they support my ability to write daily posts, work on projects and cover my blog expenses and time.  Today I am giving them my gratitude and thanks for keeping this little ol' dream of mine alive.

    They are each amazing for endless reasons and many are offering up special promos and discounts to you lovely friends as well, so enjoy!

    • Kiwi Crate offers fun and engaging arts, crafts, and science projects for kids
    • Designed by parents, approved by child experts, and, most importantly, tested by kids!
    • Receive a crate filled with projects and activities every month

    {Website{Twitter}  {Pinterest {Facebook}  {Instagram}

    • Alejandra released her brand new video series that shows you 3 e-a-s-yyyy things to do tonight, that when applied, will leave you feeling more organized tomorrow when you wake up.  How's that for starting the day off right?!  You can sign up to watch the free videos here.

      {Twitter}  {Pinterest {Facebook}  {YouTube}  {Blog}

      • Yes, we are busy but we can still have fun and we can still express our individuality. That is why See Jane Work was born.
      • See Jane Work appreciates your business, so much so that they have created Jane's Rewards; a way for you to earn points doing what you love... shopping at
      • The new See Jane Work line is now available at Office Depot.

      • Wishy Washi Tape is your one stop shop for all things washi tape.
      • They carry all of the top Japanese lines but also carry some super budget friendly options as well.
      • They don't just stop with washi tape though.  They also carry multiple sizes of baker's twine, rubber stamps, floral paper straws and cute little stationery items.

      All current Wishy Washi Tape promotions can be found on their website here.

      • Teal & Lime Decorating School is now enrolling!
      • Uncover your personal decorating style and build up your decorating confidence with Define Your Style, a 5-week e-Course starting September 16th.
      • Learn how to avoid buyers remorse when shopping for home decor with the FREE Finding the Right Fit lesson available now!

      IHeart Organizing readers can save 10% off of the Define Your Style course with code IHEART.  

      • Enjoy free premEAR concierge service!
      • Mousetales Travel does all the work, you have all the fun!
      • If Disney announces a promotion for your dates after you've booked your vacation with Mouse Tales Travel, they will apply the promotion to your reservation without you doing anything!

        • If you regularly read organizing books, newsletters and blogs but still struggle to create the organization you are after, simplify 101 has the perfect solution for you - their online class, The FUNdamentals of Getting Organized!
        • The FUNdamentals of Getting Organized gives you simple, step-by-step plans so you can discover - and put into action - the organizing solutions that are just right for you without getting overwhelmed.
        • The FUNdamentals of Getting Organized gives you a complete system for organizing your entire home using simple yet effective principles presented in bite-sized action steps, so it's simple to put ideas into practice without feeling overwhelmed.

        Simplify101 makes getting organized simple, fast and {best of all} fun, so you can cut clutter and reduce stress - giving you more time for what matters most to you!  IHeart Organizing readers can get the first lesson of The FUNdamentals of Getting Organized expert guided online class absolutely free, PLUS a special offer for signing up!  Go here to sign up

        • SugarSNAP designs smart, stylish solutions to help parents get and stay organized.  They were formed by mom's of twins, so they know from personal experience the endless stuff that goes along with being a parent can be overwhelming, so they set out to create a truly innovative way to organize your diaper bag and your car!
        • Hey sugar, sugarSNAP is thrilled to announce their diaper bag organizers now come in two new colors!  Their super popular black and white pattern is back {The Wyatt} due to popular demand, and not only is it perfect for boy or a girl, it also matches any diaper bag!  They also launched a beautiful pink set, called The Lily.

          {Twitter}  {Pinterest {Facebook}  {Website}

          IHeart Organizing readers can save 15% off any product from sugarSNAP with code iheartsugarsnap at checkout.  Offer good through September 30th, 2013.

          • Fridge Coasters are super absorbent "liners" {made of wood pulp board} that come in different sizes to fit all high traffic areas of your refrigerator = no more scrubbing!
          • Place under produce in the crisper bins to keep your veggies fresh longer, or under milk and salad dressing in the door bins to absorb drips.
          • Made 100% in the USA of 30% {or more} post-consumer product.  Please recycle when finished!

          Save 10% on all orders ALL the time with code IHEART10!

          • It's time to get stylish and sassy with Sassy Aprons!
          • Whether being used for gardening, in the kitchen, at the salon or at a restaurant, you will be sure to find one that fits your personality and needs.
          •  Sassy Aprons are original designs, handmade, unique, created to flatter the body and the ties are long and adjustable to fit almost any figure.  A win win for all!

          • Uppercase Living allows you to express your unique style with adorable, customizable vinyl decals.
          • The new Fall/Winter catalog is LIVE!
          • Now featuring Uppercase INK, which has the capability to create multi-colored subway-style art at a fraction of the cost of traditional custom vinyl.
          • Until the end of July, the cost to sign up as a new demonstrator is only $49.95.

          • Buttoned Up has launched a gorgeous new online store, which will not only feature boot camps, but an entirely new line of organizational products {notebooks, agendas, journals} that can be personalized with photos, designs, monograms, etc...
          • There are a number of Back To School items to help you get your students buttoned up for the new school year.  These products are here just in time to get schedules back to normal!

              {Twitter}  {Pinterest {Facebook}  {Website}  {YouTube}  {RSS}  {Email}

            IHeart Organizing readers can save 15% off at the new Buttoned Up online store, with code IHEART at checkout.  Offer good through September 15th, 2013.

            • Did you know that will the help of Michelle over at 5 Dinners in 1 Hour, you can have a week's worth of meals prepared for your family, within only ONE hour!?
            •  All the menu plans offered have family friendly meals that feed 4-6 people and no, they are not all casseroles and they are fresh, not frozen. 
            • Michelle is launching a new custom menu building tool on September 1st, which will allow subscribers to select their menu from a database of recipes, while providing a custom grocery list which can be sent right to your smart phone!  And you will still be able to make 5 dinners-in-1 hour!

            Right now Michelle is offering IHeart Organizing readers 40% off an annual subscription!  To receive this great deal check out her site and enter IHEARTORGANIZING at checkout!

            My appreciation spreads wide from my sponsors to you sweet readers!  Thank you for bringing me joy each and every day!

            And for those of you who have been waiting.... and waiting.... the 2014 planner printables are now available in my Etsy shop!

            The new pages were given a facelift and I listened to your feedback and provided more space for writing and a two page monthly calendar spread!  Wahoo!  It feels incredible to have these out!  And because it was my birthday this week and I am in the giving mood, I am offering all you sweet friends 15% off all items in my shop with code iheartseptember from now through the end of September!  Oh, and I am giving away 15 free 2014 planner printables too!

            a Rafflecopter giveaway

            Please note, if you have already purchased the 2014 planner instant download file {thank you again!}, I would be happy to reimburse you if you enter this giveaway and win!  So make sure you enter! 

            THANK YOU endlessly for your incredible support and for being the very best readers a gal could ask for. 

            Pssssst!  More to come shortly!  Newbie Contributor Palak is stopping in next!  I can't wait for y'all to meet her!

            IHeart Organizing official giveaway entry rules can always be found here.