Part 3: We Definitely Know What We Are Doing

After last week's plumbing catastrophe, we could use some good news around these parts. We are about 99% done with our home office project, so in the spirit of positivity and focusing on progress and not bad plumbing, I thought I'd share some pictures with you.

For context, here is the before picture of what is called the Captive Nook on the house's blueprints:

Pretty scary stuff.

Drum roll please...

Thanks goodness for levels, even when they tell you that you are .00001" inches off from being level. Maddening, but needed.

We are pretty proud of this project! There are a few more steps to finishing this room, but as I am quickly learning, no project is ever complete.

Part 2: We Definitely Know What We Are Doing

As you might remember from Part 1 of the critically acclaimed series "We Definitely Know What We Are Doing," we taught ourselves how to glue wood together. After measuring, cutting, drilling, and gluing, we moved on to the next steps:

Step 4: Sand the heck out of that desk

Using my very favorite tool, the sheet sander, I went over every inch of the desk, first with a course paper and finally with a fine grain. I rounded the edges at the front of the desk and worked to even out some parts on the rest of it. You might say I sanded the heck out of that desk.

Step 5: Stain the heck out of that desk

We used a very light stain - Minwax Satin Polyshades in Classic Oak. It went on very evenly. I think the key is a good brush. For now, it only has one coat on it, but we might go over it again later to deepen the hue.

Step 6: Mount the heck out of that desk

This was arguably the hardest part of the project. If you have an old home, you know that the walls and floors don't always even out to right angles. Getting our 4 brackets even was a challenge. Lots of leveling, lots of pencil marks.

Once we measured and marked, Dan went in with a hammer drill, which is an incredibly useful tool if you ever need to drill into brick. It makes a horribly loud sound and creates a good amount of dust, but hey, all in a day.

Brackets in place, we laid the desk on top, screwed them in from the bottom, and stood back in awe of our accomplishment.

Perfect timing as we finished right in time for finals week, so I was able to spend a good amount of time test driving this desk. I'm here to tell you that floating desks really do make homework more fun!

Next comes the shelves, painting the trim, and final coat on the white floors. And hanging pictures. Oh and also some other things, too. These projects never have a clear end.


For Steps 1 - 3 and list of tools and supplies used in this project, read the first post in this series, Part 1: We Definitely Know What We Are Doing.

Part 1: We Definitely Know What We Are Doing

For every 15 minutes spend on the internet, I think at least once, "I could build that myself." Then I remember the time and research and preparation that would go into building something myself and vow to simply start setting aside money for the reclaimed wood dining room table West Elm has been dangling in front of my face for months.

But then came the home office, which really did require a custom job. I really did need to "build that myself." 

We envisioned a floating desk in the office, spanning the 6 ft. width of the room. Something like this or this. Thankfully, this project had perfect timing as only weeks before, Dan decided he'd like to get into woodworking. 

So, Dan got to researching and studying. Here he is making an itemized list of everything we would need at Home Depot, aisle numbers included:

A $115 later, we got to work.

Step 1: Borrow Tools

We are lucky to have a number of people in our lives who, unlike us, actually know what they are doing. Dan's uncle is one of those people and he was kind enough to lend us a miter saw and clamps.

Step 2: Measure, Measure, Cut

After measuring over and over again, Dan got to work with the miter saw, which cut the wood quickly and most importantly, safely. Three 6' 1" slats and spare pieces to be turned into shelving later.

Step 3: Drill, Drill, Glue

Dan opted to use dowels and wood glue to assemble the three slats. This handy little kit came with the dowels, as well as a drill bit. 5 holes on each side, then glue, baby, glue. The slats came together like puzzle pieces. Clamps in place, our desk is starting to look like a desk!

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Now for sanding, staining, and mounting, which will be in Part 2 of the acclaimed series "We Definitely Know What We Are Doing."

I have to say, I'm pretty proud of us so far. Look out, Ron Swanson.


Soot is the New Black

Welcome to the world of Benjamin Moore's Soot - a color I am guaranteed to paint everything light touches.

We got to work last week on reworking our spare room to turn it into a home office, but not before someone sold me paint without the pigment. A trip back to the paint store to soot up and then we could say goodbye to white walls.

Based on a bunch of pictures, Soot was the winning combo with the white floors we have planned.

Dan got the job started properly by cracking a cold high life and climbing up the ladder. If there's one lesson we've learned, it's that no home repair job is complete without pizza and cold beer.

While he was going to town in the back room, I tackled the bathroom with the very same color. Painting bathrooms is no joke, although I did design a new tool that should probably be patented - more on that later.

A sneak peak of the results are in and the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. That mirror above turned out to be the easiest Ikea assembly project in history.

More to come on the de-saturation of our home.