Wednesday, October 22, 2014

8 Reader Space: An Office Full of Sunshine

There is so much happiness in this week's feature; I am pretty sure we all just won the lottery in organizational eye candy!

Organization does not have to be boring or sterile.  In fact, it should be playful, fun and pretty.  Those traits not only get us excited to work on an organizational project, but they drive us to want to maintain that space once it is completed.  Karen, the incredibly kind girl behind the blog A House Full of Sunshine, created a beautifully organized space to work.  Not only did she make a small area of her home a WOW statement, she really maximized the functionality.  Although her office was crafted out of a small nook, it works just as hard as any full sized room would.  I asked to her stop by today to give us the scoop and share how she was able to achieve organizational bliss.

What is the main function of your space?

"When we designed our new home, I knew I wanted to incorporate a family command center/study nook right off the kitchen. Basically, I was sick of everything being dumped on the kitchen counter when everyone walked in the door – mail, keys, wallets, iPads, sunglasses. I’d tried having a 'drop zone' in our previous house, but it was too far away from the kitchen and therefore was completely ignored by everyone. The kitchen is the hub of our home, and I’ve come to accept that we all want our stuff right there where we can access and use it. Instead of fighting against our natural tendencies, I decided to work with them. 

Also, I was keen to create an open-plan style office area where I could check email and catch up on blogging tasks here and there throughout the day, without secluding myself from the family. I have little kids at home, so if there’s a way I can stay right in the middle of the action and still get a few small things done when the kids are playing happily, it’s a win for all of us."

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

"The game-changer for me was taking the time to identify our clutter 'problem areas'. For us, it was mail, technology (iPads, phones) and personal items like keys and wallets. I then created a different zone to help us deal with each of these.

A wire basket on the shelf became a convenient drop zone for keys and personal items. 

I turned a Martha Stewart desk organiser into a charging station – it’s the perfect size to fit some iPads, an iPad mini and a couple of phones. I just cut a couple of slots in the end of the organiser for the chargers to fit through, and the cords then go down through a hole that our cabinetmaker cut out of the desk. It’s all invisible and very tidy. 

Lastly, I created a mail-basket system to sort our mail into incoming mail, action needed and bills. The wall-mounted system has been a great way to get mail off our surfaces altogether.

I think it’s important to think through how you really use a space and troubleshoot any problem areas, because everyone is so unique in how they do life. You need to organize an area so it works for you."

What items did you find were essential when organizing the space, and why?

"The Ikea floating shelves provide heaps of storage without making the space feel top-heavy. I used Ikea boxes to store items such as washi tape and scrapbooking supplies that are used only semi-regularly. 

An Alex drawer unit from Ikea fits perfectly under the desk to sort stationery supplies, camera equipment, leads and chargers. Having frequently-used items at my fingertips but hidden away keeps the space looking neat and tidy. 

On the left side, I have an Alex cupboard. On the lower shelf is a set of drawers with computer paper, colored card and white card, ready for printing. The top shelf holds my diaper bag. I used to just dump the bag near the kitchen island whenever I got home, because I had my hands full with kids and water bottles and just needed somewhere convenient to drop it. But of course, that’s where it often stayed. A simple shelf adjustment inside the cupboard gave me enough room to comfortably fit the bag - now I have somewhere to stash it where it’s out of sight but accessible. That’s been super handy, because that bag goes everywhere with me, and I love having it right next to the kitchen when I want to pack some snacks. 

The inbox with drawer from Martha Stewart Home Office is where I keep my current in-progress paperwork, instead of leaving it strewn over my desk."

What did you do to go the extra mile and "Make it Pretty"?

"I always knew I wanted this space to look beautiful, because it’s open to the whole house. I also wanted to inject a bit of femininity. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a study area just to myself, so it was fun to create a space that showcases my personality! 

I began by stenciling the wall (I used the Trellis Allover pattern from Cutting Edge stencils.) It was cheaper than wallpaper, and I was able to choose the exact shade of paint I wanted to fit with my color scheme. I added a vase of pretty pink blooms from Target, and chose some sweet accessories to style my shelves. I had a very utilitarian-looking grey mesh waste basket and pen holder knocking around the house, which I updated with a coat of turquoise spray-paint."

What items did you DIY to stay on a budget?

"The mail baskets were a stroke of inspiration that hardly cost me anything. I’d been searching fruitlessly for a set of wire baskets I could mount on the wall to sort our mail. When I couldn’t find exactly what I was after, I decided to make my own using a $5 cleaning caddy. This has been by far the most popular project I’ve ever posted on my blog – you can read about how I did it here.

I also DIYed my own prints in Photoshop to showcase some inspirational quotes and verses that are personally meaningful to me."

How has this space impacted your life for the better?

"I love everything about this space. I love not having mail strewn over our benchtops anymore. I love having a drop zone for all of our daily essentials, which makes it a breeze to keep our kitchen counters clutter-free.

I’ve loved being able to work without shutting myself away in a separate part of the house. This is the most practical makeover I’ve ever done, because we use this area every single day, and yet I still get a little flutter of delight when I look at the prettiness. It was a very rewarding space to create, and I feel inspired now whenever I sit down at my desk to work."

Karen really put a lot of heart and thought into creating the ultimate workspace.  Doesn't the site just make you warm and fuzzy inside?

The stencil did a great job in defining the workspace.  It sets the area apart from the rest of her home, and is just stunning to look at.  The white floating shelves keep the space light and bright, while the small boxes conceal itty bitty clutter causing craft supplies.  And can we take a moment to high five Karen for creating adorable rustic baskets out of generic off-the-shelf organizers?  She is such a creative cookie!

Karen mentioned quite a few helpful tips that can work with any organizational project.  The thing that really stuck out for me is that she recognized what didn't work previously, and addressed that head on with the new plan.  Having specific organizers for their daily items keeps the counters of the adjoining kitchen free and clear for what they are intended for.

A warm iHeart thank you to Karen for sharing her ultra inspiring office nook with all of us today!  She has definitely been clocking many hours there, as she just released a fabulous eBook appropriately titled "Your Beautiful Life" (which she is giving away for free on her blog here).

You can read the rest of Karen's office nook story on her blog, and if you love happy, family friendly spaces, stick around and check out the rest of her home as well.

*  All images courtesy of A House Full of Sunshine

ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life, big or small.  They can be anything from an organized drawer or cabinet to an entire room.  Please submit your story and photos to, and I would heart to feature them right here on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!

Monday, October 20, 2014

36 DIY Storage Cabinet

Well!  It took much longer than I planned (which is typically the case with our DIY projects), but now it is done and I am excited to proclaim, "We built a cabinet!"

A little over a year ago we tackled our storage room and I organized all of my painting supplies on some open wooden shelves.  I loved the outcome, but ultimately decided that certain stains, cleaners and spray paints would be better off stored in a location further away from the furnace and water heater.  And if I were going to move some, I thought, better to keep everything together and just move it all.

Since taking everything out of the storage room, my paint supplies have been hanging out in limbo.  Stacks of cans and jars have been living in our laundry room until we could find the time and the right solution for getting things organized... again.

I had been keeping my eyes out for some sort of cabinet, but nothing that was the right size, color, shape or style was hitting my budget.  Therefore, things have just sat on hold for the last year.  Until now!  We decided to finally get something built to tackle the problem once and for all.

Some of my paint supplies are pretty (jars of colorful paint), while others are less sightly (cans of stain).  So, a combination of open and concealed storage would have to do the trick.  And of course we didn't need anything too fancy, considering the ultimate function was just to store paint.

Thinking it would be nice to have everything behind doors, I decided on glass upper cabinets and standard lowers.  Although glass faced cabinets are probably totally DIY-able, I opted to seek some out to use and then build the cabinet around them instead.  We checked out some home improvement stores, our local Habitat Re-Store and IKEA.  The most cost effective solution we came across were the BORGSJÖ white doors from IKEA, which was exactly what I was looking for paired with soft closing hinges and a fair price of $55 for all four doors.

Below is the plan we came up for to accommodate the doors we purchased:

For this build, we purchased two 1/2" inch 4'x8' MDF boards from Home Depot for about $45.  We also purchased 4" crown molding, decorative floor molding and a piece of 4'x8' MDF paneling.

All of the tools and additional supplies we used to build this cabinet, we already had on hand:
  • Circular Saw
  • Saw Guide
  • Saw Horses
  • Miter Saw
  • Brad Nailer
  • Wood Glue
  • Caulk/Caulk Gun
  • Cordless Drill
The entire piece was built out of the two MDF boards.  Bryan started by laying out the doors and cutting pieces to size accordingly.

Our IKEA did not have the white doors in stock for the bottom, but since I was planning on painting them, I purchased them anyway.

The final dimensions of the cabinet ended up at 75" tall x 29 1/4" wide x 16" deep.

Using strips of the MDF, we began by making a sturdy base for the cabinet to sit on.  This would also give us some height for the floor molding.

Everything was affixed with a combination of wood glue and the brad nailer.  All of the wood pieces were cut to size with our circular saw paired with the saw guide.  I think that guide is one of my hubby's most favorite tools, ever.

To ensure the cabinet was reinforced throughout, we built a second cross support at the center of the frame.  Bonus points for woodworking in leopard flats.  I got to play with the brad nailer for this project and now that I have learned how to use it, it just be my favorite tool!

Because the shelves would be holding a bit of weight, we added extra strips of scrap MDF along the edges as added support (also glued and nailed in place).  Here is a view of the frame with all of the shelves assembled, as well as the bottom side of the middle shelf.  We ended up adding one more strip of support across the top of the cabinet as well, where the crown molding would ultimately be attached.

The final building step was to add the MDF panel to the back, and caulk everything in with white painter's caulk.

As I mentioned, I planned on painting the entire cabinet as well as the IKEA doors we purchased.  So I started with a coat of primer on everything.

Then, I had to decide on a color.  I went through my paint stash and no surprise, had about 15 different tealy blues to select from.  I even popped a coat of one onto the doors and placed them into the laundry room to test things out (FYI - these painting pyramids will be your best friend when painting cabinet doors).

But considering our laundry room already has a lot of pattern and color happening, and that there would be clear display in the top of the cabinet adding to it, I decided that maybe I should just stick with boring ol' white.  Totally not my style, but sometimes I surprise myself.  So back to the painting board I went, and FOUR coats of Behr Ultra Pure White paint later, we were able to move her inside to her new home.

The IKEA doors came with nice hinges, so it was just a matter of pre-drilling some holes into the inside of the cabinet and attaching the doors as the final celebratory step!

I already use the Anthropologie melon pulls around my home (our nightstands and painted dining room hutch) and we really love them, so it was my natural default to add a little color and class to this new cabinet as well.

I just keep looking at the cabinet and high fiving my Mr. shouting, "We made that!".  True story friends!

Essentially, it is just a giant MDF cabinet, showing the power of paint and decorative accents like molding, hardware and even pretty glass doors.  I really love that we were able to customize something to fit our space and our needs and create a unique piece that will rock as laundry room paint storage.

I am guessing you know where I will be after the boys head to bed this evening... loading this baby up of course!  I was also able to reuse some of that bird paper to cover a few boxes this weekend, and I can wait to pop those beauties behind the glass doors!

I have piles of laundry, paint and supplies on the floors at the moment, so for now, I will leave you with the beautiful shot of our week long project and give you a bigger room shot once I clean things up a bit.  Until then, I am off to continue my celebrating of a pretty DIY cabinet that will be a versatile storage piece for us to use for many years to come!

Happy Organizing!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...