Monday, July 7, 2014

61 Planning Something Big in the Studio

Sometimes you just need to step away and take a break from a space and a project for everything to just click.

That is what happened with my studio.  My last update was back in March, and a few of you have checked in for a status report.  Up until this past weekend there really wasn't much of anything to share.  Small tweaks here and there but nothing too exciting overall.  If you recall, I decided there was far too much happening in the space and it needed to be toned back and addressed from scratch.


Then I also removed the busy bulletin board and simplified with frames.


And shared the organization and storage that was working well.


And then the studio went dark and nothing was heard of again.

The space has proven extremely difficult for me for a few reasons:
  • There are no windows or natural light, which means everything in the room reads differently based on the type of bulb in the ceiling.
  • The room is narrow.
  • I intend on spending A LOT of time in this space.  Like every working hour, so I put extra pressure on this space to be "exactly me".
  • I don't know what "exactly me" is!  I love all sorts of styles and colors.
  • We built in substantial storage {which we love btw}, and now we are essentially stuck with it unless we want to rip it out and start over.
  • So many hard lines, not enough softness.

I have tried a focal wall, a dark desk, a light desk, and everything in-between, and the room has been really picky about what works and what doesn't.  It just has not been as forgiving about my choices and therefore, I become more and more terrified to commit to anything.  Totally unlike me, which is what has left me so baffled.

So, I stepped away from the space and left it as is for awhile.  We needed time apart.  It was me, not the studio.

After we moved our DIY console from the studio to my son's closet {where it receives daily love}, I temporarily moved my vanity/desk from my dressing room to my studio.  It gave me the opportunity to play around with the space without having to commit to purchasing anything.  I found myself gravitating to the vanity on a daily basis to use as my desk, vs the built in desk.  This was for a few reasons, but mainly because when placing the desk out into the room, I was able to face our open living area and not a wall.   The other reason is because it was bigger and allowed me to spread out my daily notes and planner and just feel a bit more free while I work.

I fought it and fought it and fought it some more.  I didn't want to admit to myself that my built-in desk wasn't working for me.  In fact, the built-in part was working, and the storage it offered has been fantastic.  I love having access to everything while I work and utilizing the open and concealed storage for daily office supplies.  But the workspace was the problem.  So, we decided to try out a new layout.



I pushed hard for this layout, but after taping things off and measuring and even placing a stand-in desk coming out from our built-in, there just was not enough space between the chair and the craft counter in the back of the room.  Everything felt so busy and tight and heavy in the back of the room, that we would either have to move the entire built-in forward or just say no to the idea all together, which is what we did.


So, back to what was working which was the desk coming out of the opposite wall.  Time to find something that could replace the vanity.  I liked the flow of the room and the flexibility to use the desk either up against the wall or coming out of the wall.  But this time, I wanted to make it even bigger so that multiple people could use it at the same time {friends, hubby, kids, craft parties, etc...}  and so that I could really spread out.  So this plan was born.



I have always loved the beautiful office and desk that the super talented Emily Clark created within her home, so I am aiming to add a similar type of workspace.

{via}

And because once we have an oversized workspace that can be used by many, the other will not be necessary anymore, leaving me room to do something like this in-between the built-in storage.

{via}

The bench will take the place of the previous too-small workspace and will add that softness and texture that the room has been lacking and give me a place to unwind and browse through my favorite catalog or magazine. 

We taped everything off and measured about 8 different times and lived with the idea for quite a long while before committing.  This was especially challenging for me, as I usually love impulsively running with my visions right off the bat.

Up until recently, there was not a lot of urgency to get it done.  In fact, I had taken up residence at the kitchen table most days while the boys were at school, because I was able to spread out and enjoy the bright area.  Now, the table is full of craft supplies, multiple meals per day, and mama has no where to escape to for a few hours of blogging and quiet time.  Suddenly, getting a new desk built moved up on the list.  So that is what we did this past weekend in-between multiple gatherings with friends and families to celebrate the holiday; we built a beautiful new table/desk.  It is quite big measuring in at 56" wide by 38" deep and it is fabulous.  Like I really love it.  And I adore even more that we designed it to fit over the top of our rolling filing cabinet as well.  That thing needed a place to hide.

We still have to settle on a finish/stain for the desk and toss down a cozy floor rug and make another surprise update, but I will give you a sneak peek at my new true love in its current state.


So that is the story of where the studio is at.  Essentially exactly the same as three months ago, but with a beautiful new desk/workspace and a plan to bring in more color and softness.  It feels good to be back at it with a plan I am confident in.  Tomorrow I will share more details on the table and the step by step tutorial for creating the awesome piece and if you have any stain suggestions that you really love {aiming for sweet and rustic}, I would love to hear them!

Have you ever had to break up with a project to completely gain a new perspective? 



61 comments:

  1. I love the desk. It looks so nice.

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  2. Ohh another fun idea, that back cupboard/newer addition piece, you know how theres the REALLY tall trim, you should paint that one section of height in chalkboard paint, you wouldn't use it as a regular chalkboard (i.e. daily) but for motivational messages that you could change once in awhile (I know it would require climbing) but it would be a nice break from the pale white to the pale blue

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  3. Loving your room. I'm having trouble with my craft/ quilting room too. It's in the basement, no natural light. I love your room, and the green couch color is gorgeous. Have you considered painting some or all the walls green, or whatever, to break up all the hard white surfaces? That's the main problem I'm seeing. There's just too much white. CDahlgren at live dot com

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    1. Great idea Cindy, I really love green as well. Unfortunately, the light grey/blue paint runs from the studio which is open to our family room which is open to our playroom {a giant U shape}, so changing color in just the studio is a bit of a challenge with no start and end point. I agree that there are a lot of white surfaces, which is why the desk will be stained vs. painted. Hopefully when I bring in softness through the rug, color on the built-in bench and an update I am making to my favorite chair, it will break up all the white a bit more. I am excited to see how the space evolves. :)
      xo!

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  4. OMG that bookshelf...or I should say book wall. :] // itsCarmen.com ☼

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  5. I have had to stop projects for months at a time for the same reasons. It really helps to take that break and then all of a sudden everything becomes clear.

    I kinda like the new desk as is or painting it white to match the other furniture. Then when you bring in a rug and new seating - it won't compete with all of the furniture. Could you move the two shelves from your built ins to the other bare wall - not shown - and put a new comfy sofa where your old desk is now?

    I know whatever you do it will be great!

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    1. Hi Rosy! I agree that I am sort of digging the warmth and contrast of the lighter wood, just not wanting something unfinished are too yellow toned.

      As far as the space goes, it only has three walls {as shown in the photo}, one with the frames and the new desk in-between two doors, one with the built in cabinets/counter in the back, and the one with the built in bookcases/small workspace. The workspace {with the gold lamp in the photo}, will be eliminated and replaced with a cushy built-in bench instead. Hope that makes a bit more sense.

      xoxo!

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  6. Beautiful, Jen! You and your husband and so handy :)

    Ah, someday I would love to have an office/ sewing area like this, but I'm only 15, so no rush! Hah.

    Hope you had a great fourth!

    Sarah

    www.sarahsdaybook.com

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  7. Wow! That looks so beautiful!

    --soulalien.blogspot.com

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  8. OMG I LOVE IT! By rolling filing cabinet, did you mean the ombre pink thing? That was gorgeous, too. Well done you! Eliza

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    1. Thank you Eliza!

      Actually, the pink rolling cart received updated drawer fronts for now and is still under the back counter where I use my Silhouette. We also have a rolling filing cabinet which holds our paperwork and is nicely tucked right below the new desk {which means quick and easy access to filed away papers}.

      xo!

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  9. Nice plan. Would you consider painting and staining the desk? Maybe paint the legs white to blend with the rest of the furniture pieces and stain the top one of the lighter shades of brown that you have in your flooring...

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    1. Seems like a popular suggestion! I may need to photoshop myself a few options as once I stain it, it won't be easy to go back. :) xoxo!

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  10. It is beautiful! You could stain the top dark to match your floor, and paint the bottom/legs and slightly distress them for a rustic feel.

    Kristin
    Www.thehedgehoglife.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh, I second that! The dark stain on top of the desk would bring some contrast and distressed legs would add some texture. Great idea!

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    2. I vote dark stain as well. Or stain the top and paint the legs white. Or stain the legs dark and paint the top white.

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  11. I'm doing the same thing in my dining room - taking a step back to gain a fresh perspective. For what it's worth, this room always seems so bright and airy; I wouldn't know you didn't have any natural light.

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  12. I'm loving the newly built desk! Could you give the details on building it? I've been trying to find one to use in my home office/living room and this seems perfect! Carin

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  13. Hi Jen,

    Love the table. Joe andI are venturing into making our own pieces for our home, and I'm loving it. It makes it more special because we did it and worked together on it.

    Side note question, How are you loving your vinyl plank flooring in the home. As you know, like you I have 3 boys, and a big dog, and we are wanting to either go full on wood floors (which are so pricey) or something with that look but durable. Just curious on your feelings on it. Also, how's it holding up in the wet areas like the bathrooms?

    Thanks,
    Amy Vasterling

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    1. Hi Amy!

      I love hearing that you and Joe are building together. We love that time together as well, and I agree that it makes those pieces so special {while also allowing you to customize exactly what you need}.

      As far as the floors are concerned, I really love them! They are a bit slippery for the dogs and I have noticed that using felt pads on the bottom of furniture is key to protecting them {I have a few spots in my office where I have slid chairs back and forth at my workspace and now notice light scuffing happening}. But overall, super happy with them and their look while also knowing that they are moisture resistant.

      xo!

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  14. Lovely! It looks great, and I love the workspace!!

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  15. Love that!! Love it even more that you are going to stain it! I vote for a darker stain to contrast the white do the built ins!

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  16. There's so much storage in this room. Do you still have wiggle room to move around. Since the room is a rectangle (?), it appears there is little space between the desk and the storage unit to the right.

    On a side note, you reorganize your space and add pieces of furniture based on your changing needs. How are you able to budget for all the changes? I have 2 boys myself and honestly, our needs haven't changed at such a pace in terms of organizing. Definitely the type of toys and storage is important, but I hardly need to change it so much. Pardon me, but I am just curious to what drives these decisions to change and the frequency.

    Megan

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    1. Hi Megan!

      Currently with the new desk placement - there is almost 3 ft between the end of the desk and the built-in on the opposite wall, which is plenty to get around. And the new desk can move if we ever needed it to, as it won't be built in to anything, so we think it should work and is worth the surface space we are gaining. We do have amazing storage in here {I feel really lucky all the time to have such a great space}, but that is because this room holds multiple functions and is essentially my work/hobby/craft/projecting/sewing space which I encourage my entire family to utilize. Everything has been working really great for quite awhile from a storage perspective, now it is just those finishing touches and work areas that need a little attention.

      I wouldn't say that we are always re-organizing the same things over and over, more tweaking systems that didn't work out the first time because we either made a mistake or lived with it for awhile and decided that it still wasn't suiting our needs. Many of our projects are done as inexpensively as we can {building ourselves and re-using our existing materials whenever possible} and we always put money into a project account {both because we love it and because blogging frequently depends on it} - which means we have to cut back in other areas of our life at times. It is definitely all a personal decision and a balance. For me, I tried to use the workspace for over a year and always found myself frustrated with the inability to spread out comfortably and being confined to gazing at a small wall, neither things I had thought would be a very big deal when we initially built it. After realizing that I was always moving to our giant kitchen table to work and do projects, I knew that something was still off in my workspace, which drove the decision.

      Great questions and hopefully that clarifies everything a bit more. xoxo!

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  17. I love the idea of a big work table - I think it's going to be really practical for you! I have been pondering your space through all your changes and like the direction you are going - especially with the simpler, whiter look. I especially love the pictures instead of the bulletin board (even though I love them - I gave up mine too!).

    The one area that keeps on sticking out to me is your desk/cabinet space along the wall where you enter the room. I understand that this is a practical space for you, but I think it fights with your central wall unit beside the desk. It's tucked into the corner & goes all the way to the ceiling, making it look very "kitcheny" (not a word, but you understand - lol!), while your other unit looks more like "furniture" since it's centered into the room & doesn't reach to the ceiling. I think if you keep both, you should consider a way to harmonize them. My inclination would be to remove the "kitchen" cabinets & put your cute seating area there, and then add more storage shelves/cubbies to where you had the computer niche in the central storage unit. If you really don't want to pull it out, at the least, I would reconsider the upper cabinets - maybe just leave the desk.

    I don't know if this perspective helps? The more I look at the space, the more that area sticks out to me.

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  18. I love your transparency with this project - Rome wasn't built in a day, after all! Maybe a light, chalky gray, distressed finish for the legs? They would pop against the dark floors, as well as the white surfaces, and even tie in the marble countertop in the back. Then, a darker stain finish on the desktop to tie it all together with the floors - sort of a chic yet rustic French feel. As for the seating, you could do two barstools (rather than chairs) for the front of the desk, match their upholstery to the future seating nook/bench cushion, and tie your desk chair in with a coordinating fabric. Regardless, it looks great so far - I can tell you're closing in on your vision - keep it up! :)

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  19. Are you committed to staining the work table? It might be fun to use chalk paint and paint it a color that complements the walls and pops with all the white. Just a thought. It is a wonderful space and such dreamy storage!!

    Beth

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    1. Nothing is set in stone yet. :) I naturally default to painting furniture, but have been also aiming to bring in more natural elements and finishes into each space, which is why I was leaning towards stain. I have a really fun and colorful fabric addition I am hoping to make, which will most likely aid in the final decision. xoxo!

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  20. Hi Jen! You have a great space to work with. I think that a light teal color would be fun for the walls... Anyway, I'm sure anything you decide to do would be beautiful.
    XO

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  21. That picture of Emily Clark's bookcase is my inspiration for my current project, re-doing our built-in bookcases. I love them, but they are clutter magnets! I will send pics when I'm done.

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  22. It's going to look amazing! Love the big desk idea and it's great that you have such a large room to play around with. Can't wait to see the finished article :)

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  23. Just because you don't have a window, doesn't mean you can't have curtains! Frame a doorway or a space. Adds texture, softness, and color!

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    1. I have definitely tossed that idea around in the past, and am still toying with the idea :)

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    2. Hi,
      Would you ever consider giving decorating advice? I think it would be so neat if you would post someone's pictures of a room in their house and give them decorating tips. You could feature a new post every month or so on this topic. You have such great ideas and are an inspiration to so many. Thanks jane

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    3. Hi Jane!

      Long, long ago I did a little decorating on the side, but have never considered myself a designer, just someone who loves to play with my own interiors, so I never felt "qualified" to offer design services virtually. But I am always happy to answer a quick "what do you think" type question via facebook and email. :)

      xoxo!

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  24. I'm a sucker for gray stain on wood. Currently in the process of remaking a cheap Ikea coffee table with some gray stained wood myself. And I'm in love with it! For some reason, it reminds me of old barn wood.

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    1. Agree! I am digging it lately as well! Just don't want the room to become to saturated with grays.... sigh... decisions decisions! :)

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  25. I've read all of your updates on this space and the number one thing that sticks out is lack of natural light. Have you considered moving your workspace upstairs and transforming a current room or space? New storage, paint, tables and lightbulbs can't replace natural light.

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    1. I completely agree. However, moving my space won't be an option any time soon. We would have to give up a space we use frequently to host guests and would have no purpose for a then empty studio area... maybe someday, but for now, we are happy with where things are finally heading. :) Stay tuned!

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    2. Along with his suggestion, you could use the kids playroom, and do the playroom in the studio area/as an extension of the family room, but it still kinda tucks away the kids toys/clutter. And then you'd have an office/studio door (as I believe the playroom is similar to a bedroom set up)

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    3. We have absolutely toyed with that idea Samantha! But that would be such a huge expense just to gain a single window and lose my under the closet storage, that we decided to just make what we have work. And I am totally good with it! :)

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  26. I had the same issue with my desk. I just couldn't sit and face a wall. So I both an IKEA table top, and mounted the square end to the wall, and have one leg on the rounded end. Now I face the open part of the room, and the rest of the house. Much better!

    I so enjoy your bolt, and it was refreshing to hear about your doubts and fear to commit. Seriously. Made me feel almost normal! ;-)

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    1. Sounds like you found a great solution! And I agree, just facing out has really changed my feelings while working as well. It was a win!

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  27. Beautiful!! Personally I just cant work in a room without natural sunlight... even one with such fantastic storage and so exquisitely decorated. I would prefer the dining room table, or even sitting on a rug or outside fighting to see the monitor with the sun shining over it haha! Just a thought on why this room may not be convincing you entirely, even though you have already succeded in making it pretty and functional. Love ur blog greetings from Argentina!

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  28. I really enjoy these posts where you confess the struggles you go through until finding what works for you. Totally opposite to the HGTV style where everything happens magically overnight.

    The room looks less busy now, but I think you could make it lighter still by moving the new table on the other side of the room where the old desk is, but coming out from the built-in like an island. And then you could place a nice soft seating area where the new desk is instead. By incorporating the desk within the built-ins you would have easy access to everything as well. And all the wood stuff would be concentrated on just two walls instead of three.

    Just my two cents, feel free to ignore, the room will be beautiful anyway!

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    1. Thanks so much for your suggestion! I actually touched on that layout within the post and pushed for it as well, but there just was not enough space behind my desk chair and the wall of cabinets behind it in that specific scenario. You can maybe snag a better view of the space in this newer post here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2014/07/diy-farmhouse-tabledesk-tutorial.html

      xoxo!

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  29. It is totally ok to take a break from a space. I feel like that's where we are with our Family Room.
    As for staining your desk, I used this tutorial with a sign for my SIL and it turned out beautifully. The more coats you do, the darker it is.
    http://www.homeheartcraft.com/blog/diy-vintage-wood-stain
    Kim @ PinspiredHome.blogspot.com

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  30. First, I applaud your honesty. I think sometimes design/organizing blogs can make it seem like everything just always easily and quickly comes together. And maybe for people who have the knack, it just does. But for me there are some rooms that are just tricky and where the answer doesn't seem simple or straightforward so I appreciate you admitting it. I think sometimes bloggers want to seem super human or like they always do everything perfectly, but I like the human aspect. That's why I come to blogs vs. say picking up a magazine.

    I'm also in agreement with Pink Fawn, I'm wondering if the elephants in the room so to speak might be the built ins. Don't get me wrong, I love a good built in, but given the small size of the room they seem to overpower everything else. And since they are different heights and don't run the full length of a wall to me they just stick out and look like they are fighting the room vs. blending into it. I can understand why you'd be reticent to remove them from the space since I have a feeling that is no small task & you get a lot of storage, but they just seem much bulkier and more obtrusive than the open bookcases from your inspiration picture. Assuming they stay, it feels like you need something in your desk area (whether the rug or the desk itself) that grabs your eye because right now the builtins keep pulling my eye over.

    Hoping my comment doesn't come across as harsh as I assume the last thing you need is unsolicited advice, but wanted to throw it out there since this room seems to be more of a stumbling block for you.

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    1. Not harsh at all! Thank you for your suggestion as it is always interesting to hear new perspectives on a space I use daily {and eventually experience a sense of tunnel vision with}. I have a few ideas to break up all the white and maybe even tweak those built-ins to be less visually heavy, and if those small changes don't work, then tearing them out and trying again will be a last resort. I do love them and the storage they offer, so I am crossing my fingers I can make them work. :) xoxo!

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    2. That makes complete sense. I can completely understand trying every solution before tearing them out.

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  31. Your table looks great! Seems like its woodiness will give the space overall more grounding and substance.

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  32. Jen if you want even more layout space, you could challenge yourself and hubby to install a drop down desk from the wall having part of be a picture (when folded up), or a swing nesting second level to extend out into an L shape for your desk!

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    1. Great suggestion Samantha! Space isn't really an issue with the new setup {although it may appear that it is based on the angle in the photos in this post}. You can see new views of the room in my most recent post here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2014/07/diy-farmhouse-tabledesk-tutorial.html

      xoxo!

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  33. I think you are moving in a great direction! Could you tell us where you got the table legs? I'm looking to change the legs on my current dining room table and am having trouble finding ones I like. Thanks so much!

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  34. What about a fun colored milk paint for the table? Bring in a pop of the color you love and add a rustic quality too. I love Miss Mustard Seed's collection.

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  35. Did you paint that lamp pink or did you buy it that way? I love it. :)

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  36. Hi Alyssa!

    The lamp was from LampsPlus and it was designed in pink - here's the link: http://bit.ly/1r4FKt4

    xoxo!

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  37. That is a very beautiful room :)

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