Archive for January, 2012

Office Space: Getting Ready

Alec is always a busy bee and he’ll be writing the third and presumably final installment to his trilogy this year, so it was important to make his office into a place where he can work comfortably. Up until now, the room had consisted of his desk, a leather club chair, two bookshelves (all from our previous apartment) and hundreds of books stacked on the floor.










Our plan is to hire a professional to install floor-to-ceiling shelves in the office. We had considered building them ourselves, but the task of getting so many shelves properly aligned was pretty daunting for rookie homeowners like ourselves. We do want to paint the room, though. And this meant clearing all the furniture.

The emptied bookshelves, club chair, swivel chair and file cabinets went into the mostly empty room we call “Natalie’s Room” because our niece naps there when she comes over to hang out. The desk and all the books went into the guest room, making it look like a used bookstore run by a couple of lunatics.

While I shuffled books across the hallway, Alec removed a wall-to-wall display shelf/plate rail thing. The new power drill he got from my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas proved useful for removing the big board, supports and beadboard. Here’s a photo with the shelf already taken down:

I helpfully removed nails from the boards, a task I performed while wearing Winnie the Pooh slippers as protective footwear. (My mom found these slippers in my childhood bedroom and brought them over. She is really determined to get rid of my old clutter now that I have an entire house to store stuff in!)

Back in the room, Alec also took down a bunch of glow-in-the-dark stars and planets that were stuck on the ceiling. We’ll tackle that later.

Alec carefully spackled over holes and cracks, then ran over the walls with a sanding block. The last step was to wash the walls. We went over them with water, let that dry overnight, then wiped them with a TSP solution and more water. Now the room is ready to be primed and painted next week. Good-bye green walls, hello Manchester Tan!


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Alec and I returned this weekend from our last trip of the holiday season (can I still call it the holiday season?), which kicked off with our Hong Kong/China vacation and ended with a week in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. We were away from home so much that we had to suspend our Fresh Picks produce deliveries for more than a month. We went shopping today for a full week of groceries – I’d practically forgotten what that feels like!

Now that we’re staying put for a few months, I’m excited to tackle a long-delayed list of projects. First up is painting Alec’s office, the dining room, the kitchen and the powder room. I had been researching colors for months and could have happily kept procrastinating, especially because paint names are so fun.

But Alec’s office was pretty urgent. All of his books are still on the floor and we can’t get shelves up until the walls get painted. I was also under deadline to spend a Benjamin Moore Groupon I had bought ages ago. So without further ado, here is the color for Alec’s office:

Benjamin Moore’s Manchester Tan, not to be confused with Gladstone Tan, Bennington Gray, Northampton Putty,  or any number of other tweedy-sounding paints.

The kitchen and powder room will be painted in Harp Strings, a neutral that has a little yellow and a little brown to coordinate with the kitchen’s wood trim and earthy tile backsplash and floors.

And lastly, the dining room will be painted in Summer Shower. This was the color that took the longest to decide on, as I wanted something that would coordinate with the green of the adjoining dining room. I was originally leaning toward hues with more green and gray in them, but then returned to a color that was more distinctly blue.

As paint novices, we were a little baffled by all the options you have for paint.

But the guy at the J.C. Licht store was very helpful, and we ultimately settled on the Natura line because it is no-VOC and I have enough dermatological issues without worrying about exposure to even more chemicals.

Alec is headed to Home Depot this week for primer and other supplies, and then we’ll be ready to go! It’s good to be home.

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