Our office reveal

Seriously, it is CRAZY how long this office project took us. It’s embarrassing. But not only did I add a diy wood plank wall to the project, we have also just been busy. So thank goodness, it’s done!! Besides the new furniture/decorating part…but as usual, that happens over time. Here’s what our office looked like a few short long months ago.

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And here’s what it looks like after months of laziness + a few days and some random hours of hard work (small room = hard to get pictures of one whole wall):

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Yaaaaaasssssss! So cute. :)

When we last left off, we had finished installing the planks. After that, we filled the holes, sanded lightly, and brushed on a coat of Valspar pva primer and two coats of Valspar’s Ocean Storm (we did all the horizontal cracks with a small craft brush in between the two coats). We decided to use a brush instead of a roller to give it a more soft, wood-grain appearance. We didn’t want to ruin our smooth wood with roller texture!

Here’s what it looked like in process…notice the edges.

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We did our best to cut the planks exactly the right length, but we knew they wouldn’t line up perfectly, which is why we bought plain lattice pieces (sold by the foot in lengths up to 12 feet, I believe) to install along the edges.

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Andrew measured carefully and mitered the corners, and then I used a 2″ roller to give them 2 coats of paint. Once they were dry, we used a pneumatic pin nailer to tack them up. The pin nails are even smaller than finish nails (what we use for trim and for the planks), so there are no visible holes to fill and touch up. Seriously, best thing ever!!)

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That finishing touch made a HUGE difference. The edges are so crisp and straight. Makes this perfectionist very happy.

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We did have a few hiccups along the way, though, one being this light fixture. It was under $100, and I thought it was cute enough. But once it was installed, the corners of the room especially still felt dark since it only allows for 2 lights. I just didn’t love it. Sadpants.

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I thought we didn’t have any other good options and figured I’d have to settle (I’m super picky about light fixtures!) Until we found this! UH-MAZING. Meet the Safavieh Great Veil semi-flush mount.

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Problem is, this one was $140 (vs $90 for the first), but Andrew loved it, so we ordered it and now it’s probably our favorite light fixture in the house! No, not probably. Definitely.

It has 3 lights so it’s much brighter, and obviously much better quality, too.

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It looks really cute on and doesn’t leave the corners feeling dark.

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That was definitely a problem before, especially since our light fixture is not centered in the room (the window is, meaning it’s not lined up with that either.) Realized that while installing this one…thanks a lot, builders from 30 some years ago.

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I was also worried that the color we chose for the wall might make the room feel too dark, but it really doesn’t. Thanks to the other 3 very light walls and our super-fantabulous light fixture, it feels very bright!

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And one of my favorite parts of the room…the closet! No, really, not kidding. I painted it a greenish blue and added a gold metallic triangle pattern. (I cut out a triangle shape I liked from cardstock, marked the corners with a pencil, taped the triangles, painted the base color first to prevent bleed thru, and then 3 coats of gold acrylic craft paint.)

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Whoever said closets had to be boring, anyway?

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We also redid the shelving. Before, the shelves were put up with random brackets, so we wanted to make the shelves the same as in our guest room and laundry closet –> with wood cleats painted the same as the wall instead of ugly metal brackets. We also tweeked the location of the shelves a bit to add a third shelf at the top. If this ever needs to be a bedroom, we can add a hanging rod and remove the bottom shelf if needed.

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I am really happy with how this room turned out. Like all projects, there were a lot of frustrations and it took a lot of work, but I really think it’s turned out great! The only other thing I’m considering is buying a grey outlet and switch plates for the plank wall so those don’t stand out so much (you can paint the plates, but I don’t want to paint inside the outlet. I’d prefer one that’s already grey.)

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Though the likelihood of those being visible once we put furniture back probably isn’t very high anyway.

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Office: check! Now to relax for a while before we take on something else…or to catch up on neglected spring yard work.

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DIY Plank wall tutorial

As I’m sure you know, it’s now March. And we’re STILL working on our “January” project. To be fair, in the last 6 weeks, we’ve both been out of town twice, had guests staying with us 2 different weekends, and we were sick for 3 of those weeks. Not exactly conducive to DIYing. But spring weather is coming (Besides today, apparently. Boo, rain!) and we’re starting to feel motivated again!

Here’s where we left off. So glad to say it looks nothing like this now! We taped off the edges of our future plank wall so we wouldn’t get orange peel texture on it that might show through the gaps.

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The window, too. And sprayed some texture along the mudded edge as well as over the random spackled areas on the wall. Pretty much just all over.

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After that dried, we sanded all the walls and then cleaned up the room to get ready for the next step: priming! (I really cannot believe how far behind I am. Most of this has been done for a while!) We primed and painted the ceiling, primed the walls, and then sampled some colors.

Rather than go through the headache of trying to pick two colors that coordinate, I looked up pictures online of plank walls, found one I liked at Jenna Sue Design Co, and used the same colors: Valspar’s Ocean Storm and Montpelier Madison White.

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1. Planning the pattern

I’m very particular, so the first step was to plan what I wanted the pattern to look like. First, I decided on 8″ wide planks. I like the wider look better, but I still wanted a good number of rows on our 8′ walls.

Then we used Excel to map out our planks. Our wall is 10 feet long, so we couldn’t use one long board all the way across. If we did just one 8 foot piece and one 2 foot piece on each row (alternating, of course), we would have to try to get all the vertical seams to line up, and that did not sound fun. So we opted for more random rows: 4, 6 and 2, 8 and 3, 4, 3 etc.

2. Prepping the planks

We decided to use 1/4″ plywood underlayment cut into strips for our planks. At $11.97 each, it’s way cheaper than buying actual wall planking, and allowed us to choose our own width. We bought 3 sheets at Home Depot and had each one cut into six 8 inch (x 8 foot) planks.

One side of each board got pretty torn up by the saw blade and even the good side wasn’t perfect, so we also sanded all the edges as we installed them. (If you cut them again at home, be sure to put the good side facing up since the back will get torn up a little more by the blade. We also found it caused less damage if we brought the blade of the miter saw down slowly.)

Word to the wise, the saw blade takes off a good amount with each cut. We asked him to measure first and cut on the marks so the planks would be the same width. Sadly, he measured each plank as he went, leaving us with a narrower last plank on each piece of plywood. So, measure and mark, then have them cut! (It turned out ok, though. We used them on the bottom row that needed to be a custom size anyway.)

3. Installing the wall

We loosely followed this shiplap wall tutorial by Table & Hearth. We started at the top with our first row. We leveled the planks so that our whole wall wouldn’t end up wonky. (We don’t generally use a level to hang things like pictures because they end up looking crooked!)

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We also had one plank that seemed a bit wider than the others, so we put the extra at the top where it will be covered by trim. Luckily, on the rest of the wall, they lined up better.

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We quickly realized that the white that would show in between each plank would be tedious to paint after the planks were installed, so we measured and painted lines on the walls first.

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Then we continued installing planks from top to bottom, using a pneumatic finish nailer with 2″ finish nails. Normally, 1″ would be sufficient, but we put an extra layer of drywall behind there first and we wanted to make sure some nails reached the studs.

We butted up the vertical joints as tightly as possible, but left gaps horizontally. A lot of tutorials recommended using pennies or dimes as spacers, but we thought that might be too small of a gap, so we used nickels. And boy, am I glad we did. Getting in there to paint the edges with a craft brush was difficult enough.

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On each plank, Andrew put a few nails in at varying angles to help hold the planks tight against the wall. We wanted our wall to be smooth, so I went along behind and used a nail punch to make sure none of them stuck out.

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Not looking too shabby! (Though the pictures are. Sorry…iPhone camera. And that orb of hanging light is just that. Our old light fixture hanging from the ceiling.)

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Andrew used the jigsaw to cut out openings for the electrical boxes, and then we ripped the boards on the bottom to fit the smaller space (we figured the different width would be less noticeable on the bottom row.)

I filled all the holes and vertical seams with lightweight spackle. Once it was dry, I sanded (basically the whole wall) lightly with a sanding block.

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And then we were done! And very, very happy with the result! We still need to install the trim around the edges so we have a perfect, clean line, but we’re waiting to measure and cut until after we install baseboards.

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The install was a bit time consuming, but a pretty fun project, nonetheless. And it only cost about $50!! (Full budget breakdown will come at the end of this project.) Since this is such a long time coming, we’ve already made a lot more progress than this. The plank wall is primed and painted, other walls are painted, closet is painted, light fixture is installed, and closet doors are sanded.

Still a ways to go, but we’re getting close! Maybe we will actually finish this room some day!

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Wood plank wall inspiration

Well, I predicted that our “January” office project might carry over into February, and here we are, still working on it. We have made progress (the puke yellow color is entirely gone!), but I added a last minute project that created a lot more work! A diy wood plank accent wall! Like this one!

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via Table & Hearth

I love wider, painted planks! Stained wood walls are just a bit more rustic than the rest of our house (plus stain grade wood = more money). I love white planks, but since I didn’t want the drywall and planks to be the same color (only planking one wall) and I don’t love lighter accent walls, I decided the planks should be dark grey and the other walls a very light/almost white gray, kind of like the picture above.  I really only like accent walls if there’s a LOT of contrast between the two colors (and if the line where the colors meet is perfect!)

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via Table & Hearth

I collected a bunch of paint chips and gathered my paint books, but trying to choose not just one, but two paint colors is so overwhelming! A lot of dark grey plank wall tutorials called for Sherwin Williams Peppercorn. Gorgeous color, apparently used for a lot of accent walls in Pottery Barn stores, but a bit too dark for me.

Then I found this plank wall.

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via Jenna Sue Design Co

I love how this room turned out and I love these colors together!

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175e0-img_4596via Jenna Sue Design Co

So I decided to squash my desire to over-analyze and got samples of the two colors she used: Valspar’s Ocean Storm and Montpelier Madison White. Easy peasy. I got them color-matched to Behr and painted on my samples, and still love them! Yay! (They don’t look so warm in person. Darned oak floors making them look orangey.)

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We’ve also purchased this light fixture from Lowe’s for $89.99, but we’re waiting to install it until we’re done with less fun things, like painting and trim.

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We are getting much closer! I’ll share more details on our plank wall later (too much for one post.) It’s already installed, and while it’s not painted yet, we’re loving it already!

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New year, new project

After 4 and a half years of living here, we finally decided to take on the office for our January project. Tbh, probably a January AND February project since we’re trying to stay involved in other things, too (and not fall of the face of the planet as we often do during projects.)

This is our office. Painted a lovely shade of baby puke yellow, that sometimes has a greenish tinge.

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I don’t know who would choose this color, especially with oak floors, but they did, and we’ve had to live with the neon consequences. I actually do use my elliptical pretty regularly, and it’s not fun to stare at this fluorescent yellow for 30 minutes, let me tell ya.

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Andrew’s the only one who ever sits in here, though, and with this color, I don’t know how he does it.

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Especially with such terrible lighting. As in, outdated and gross. But also, not super bright.

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We never bothered to fix this vent, I think because we thought we’d redo this room sooner. So it’s just been hanging by a screw from the ceiling for all these years. We keep it classy around here.

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And just like all the other rooms before we fixed them, there are lots of reminders of curtain rods around every window (including painted over hardware.) Like, seriously, how many curtain rods does one window need? One. The answer is one.

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And what even is this?!?!

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Once other stuff is starting to come together, we’ll have to paint the closet doors. We already repainted this door last fall when we did all of our hallway doors (and replaced the knobs and hinges!), but now the trim looks even more dingy. We’ll get to that, too.

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This room is just a hot mess. Which is why we’ve waited so long. The texture on this far wall is so messed up that we decided it would be easiest to add another layer of drywall over it and simply re-texture.

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Luckily, there are no door or window casings on this wall that would be affected by increasing the wall thickness, and we had to remove trim anyway.

Now that you have some background, here’s what we’ve done so far! We started removing everything from the room on Saturday a few weekends ago, and then scraped the ceiling the next day. We’ve done both wet and dry scraping, and there are pros and cons to both. This time, to save time and keep dust down, we decided to do it wet.

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It certainly goes much faster and takes less effort wet! We were done scraping in about an hour. One downside is that you can’t immediately move on to sanding because the drywall paper needs to dry first. So we took a break and did some binge-watching.

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Later that week, we had a friend come over to help us install the drywall panels. Boy, those things are heavy. By some miracle, I was able to help Andrew carry the 3 sheets inside, but there was no way I was going to be useful in getting them on the wall.

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And then Andrew began the mudding process. Which is LONG. He’s certainly not a mudding expert (and therefore not quick), but we’ve found that the key for us amateurs is thin layers of mud with lots of sanding in between. Mud and sand. Repeat a million times. Or like 3 or 4.

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And just look at that popcorn free ceiling? Isn’t it great?

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While he’s at it and has mud mixed, he’s also fixing holes/imperfections on the walls and cracks around the window (often cut out with a utility knife first), divots in the ceiling from screws, and taped edges of the ceiling.

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We still have a lot more sanding and mudding to do before we can texture some of the touched up areas and then move on to more fun things, but progress is progress. They say it has to get worse before it gets better, but honestly, I think it’s better already!

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Last minute, I decided to add a fun project to this room, so I’ll share more about that another time. For now, we still need to finish sanding, mudding, sanding some more, texturing touch up areas, priming everything and painting the ceiling before we even get to the fun part. Much to do.

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