A little over a year ago I started an intense home decor project to transform my former bedroom in to a home office. If you follow my Instagram account, you have been privy to all the vintage market and budget decor celebrations that have led up to the grand reveal. I started putting away Christmas decorations this morning and figured it was about time I got around to photographing and posting after so many requests. (**Scroll to bottom of the post for a quick video of all the little details**)
When I moved to Vancouver five years ago I brought with me boxes and boxes and boxes of books. For years they have been sitting in the damp garage (West Coast climate is a book hoarders worst nightmare) and yet the collection kept on growing. I could blame this on the reality of being a book blogger and teacher, but let’s call a spade a spade: I’m addicted and will not be reformed.
So I needed an office (badly) and I had a limited budget to work with. The only way this office was going to come to fruition was if I DIY’d and bargain hunted.
Step 1: Giving The Sister the Heeve-Ho
My older sister decided it was time to fly from the nest and move closer to her work. As gutted as I was to lose her constant companionship there was a silver lining: her big and bright room was up for grabs. That meant my smaller and darker room (it only catches early morning sunlight) could be transformed in to the dream office I had spent countless hours on Pinterest fantasizing about.
Moving day arrived, we loaded up the truck (with much grunting, groaning and laughing) and I waved everyone off to set up the new apartment while I volunteered to stay behind and clean. What they didn’t know was that I had a plan of attack and only 2 hours to execute it. Like a caffeine overloaded ninja I went in to action:
- vacuumed every crook and crany
- washed down the baseboards
- dismantled, relocated and reassembled my queen bed and furniture, during which I was nearly asphyxiated when my mattress fell on top of me, pinning me to the ground. I don’t recommend moving a mattress and box spring alone. Or a large dresser. That involved a lot of scootch, pivot, push, drag.
- transferred all the contents of my closet and re-colour coded
- restyled my bed, side table and vanity
- vacuumed and washed the baseboards in the now vacant room
- grinned like the cat who ate the canary
Step 2: Stake a claim
It was the height of Inspy Awards season and I had shipments of books arriving daily. I plunked myself down on the floor in the middle of the empty room and got to work sorting and reading. There was no way I was surrendering this room as a guest bedroom.
Step 3: Find the desk of my nerdy dreams
My tuckus and back couldn’t take too much longer sitting on the floor and I was starting to look like a squatter in my own home. I wanted a large white distressed vintage desk and scoured vintage markets, antique stores and even one junkyard until I found the one. A local store that specializes in repurposing furniture posted a picture of the most beautiful desk I had ever seen. Already they had a dozen offers to hold the desk and I knew if I didn’t get there ASAP it would be gone. Short story: I went, I saw, I negotiated, I conquered.
Step 4: Find a chair that is pretty-functional
Another vintage market score. If you live in the BC lower mainland, you need to check out the Vintage & Revamped Market in Cloverdale.
Step 5: Paint the town greige
Piedmont Gray by Benjamin Moore (a smoky blue) had run it’s course. Because this room doesn’t get a lot of natural light, I wanted to keep the colour palette bright and airy. Enter the colour of the year: Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter. I love it so much I painted my bedroom and the bathroom the same colour.
Step 6: Measure. Order shelves. Re-Measure. Bite finger nails. Cross fingers and pray.
Lesson learned: never again am I ordering online from IKEA. I thought it would be more convenient than going to the store, getting lost/distracted/overwhelmed, but I was wrong. There is an IKEA 30 minutes from my house. They had the bookcases I ordered in stock and at the sale price. Instead, IKEA decides to ship shelves from clear across the country. Oh and they only sent 3.5 bookcases. I ordered 4. What was I supposed to do with half a bookcase? Wait another MONTH until they tracked down the missing boxes if they still had them stock.
Homie don’t play that.
I had the delivery men put the half bookcase back on the truck and went the next day to the store to pick up a whole one. Again: I don’t advise doing this alone. I’m sure someone saved the security footage of me loading the boxes on to the cart.
I had to wait a month for IKEA to refund me for their mistake and only after I harassed customer service with phone calls and emails. Never again.
Step 7: Assemble aforementioned bookcases and question the meaning of life
I LOVE MY DAD. There was no way I would have been able to make sense of the hundreds silver doodads, plastic whichamacallits, wooden thingamabobs and nonsensical images required to assemble these bookcases. Piece by confounding piece, we put them together on the third floor landing and then shimmied them in my office according to the not-to-scale sketch I made.
Step 8: Purge. Mourn. Purge some more.
Even with 4 bookcases, all of my books and curriculum binders weren’t going to fit. All my curriculum was organized out of site in the double closet, but I had to purge 10 boxes of books. I couldn’t count how many books that was–too depressing. My car was sitting gangster low all the way to Value Village.
Step 9: Sort, alphabetize, style
Inspy books on the first two organized by author, third bookcase mass market fiction and non-fiction, fourth bookcase my precious classics.
Step 10: Plan and install a gallery wall
This is getting its own post. But just know that I’M OBSESSED with gallery walls.