Creating a Creative Office with Custom Builtins

It’s the last week of January which means our New Year New Room Challenge is coming finally coming to a close, and this means reveals right???

Sorry! We were originally planning on showing you our big room reveals today, but due to illness, shipping delays, and crazy weather patterns there were several of us running a bit behind schedule. Including this girl! As you can imagine, I was excessively relieved (including a bit of a happy dance followed by some sledding time with the fam) when we decided to push our reveals back one more week.


So instead of sharing our big reveal with you, I am going to share another major project I have been working on for this room, some custom made builtins!

creating a creative office with custom builtins

If you’ve ever perused my Day Dreaming Home Pinterest board than you probably know, I am all but obsessed with all these beautiful custom buitins.  They are just soooo dang magical! With tons of useful nooks and crannies for all of your perfectly organized things and simple beauty on the outside… Yes Please!  So I knew I wanted to add them to our new office space.

Like anything that magical they often come with a hefty price tag. Even the not so custom ones do and not to mention they weigh a ton.  Which in military life is the ultimate deciding factor for everything since we are only allowed to move so much weight each time.  So between price and weight they just weren’t in the plan. So after lots of reading, planning, drawing on paper, drawing on boxes, drawing on the walls, and some intense guess work on the location of our missing window. I finally came up with a plan that would work for our little office nook.


side story alert!

the case of the missing windows…

Seriously though, the case of the missing window has been a complete mystery since the day were bought our house. Even before we moved in we knew that there were two window openings on the outside that someone had covered up. And we also knew that one day we wanted to bring those windows back. Honestly those two ridiculous missing windows are what kept me from ripping down the red paneling the day we moved in.

As far as I could see there were really only two options. Option one,  the windows were missing and we had two six foot holes in the wall, or Option two the windows were there but they would be the old drafty windows that were likely broken. So you can imagine my surprise when we pulled down the paneling, there was nothing there! Not like they had been removed and patched but it’s like they were never there! On the inside where the windows should be the wall is all original lath and plaster! What??????? Its like someone changed their mind half way through building the house. 

So where do we go from here? Honestly I have no idea. I guess we wait until we’ve officially thawed out and try to take off the shutters from the outside to take a peek. Old houses are full of strange mysteries.

All I really know is, I would like to have the option to one day have windows where there were clearly supposed to be windows. So I didn’t want to cover up too much of the wall and attempting to figure out where exactly it was, was a challenge. A HUGE challenge. So I aired on the side of caution and left myself plenty of space.

finding the perfect plans

Since buying custom builtins was out of the question, I scoured the internet for building plans that would work for our space and came up with these plans from Ana White. One for her Shanty Sideboard and one for her Shanty Hutch. Obviously I did A LOT of tweaking on design. But since I’ve never built anything like this before, I really needed a place to start and some sort of attack plan. Now I will say, that if I was building them all over again I would make some fairly hefty changes. There are few design flaws in her plans that could have easily been avoided. However, they are really the kind of flaws that you don’t notice until after when you stand back.   But with every new project you live and learn  and I’ve definutly done a lot of learning on this one! I’ll cover all my wishful design changes, tips, and mistakes I made along the way in another post.

picking out the paint

Paint is something that I have really been struggling with on these babies. Mostly because I have had the WORST time picking a direction. My heart keeps telling me to go dark with Velvet Finishes Moody or Timeless, but after pulling down all that dark paint I have to say I am a little too chicken to actually do it. Since these builtins will completely surround the only window (maybe one day windows :)) I was worried about loosing all that glorious natural light we gained. Plus the wallpaper I chose for the space a bit bold and dark I really felt like it need the contrast of a light color. My original plan was to go with nice pretty greige paint, a mixture of Velvet Finishes Understated and Opulent with Benjamin Moore’s Simply White paint on the walls.

However, after getting the Simply White up on the wall I knew it wasn’t going to work at all. Since we are soooo far north here Winter is a big part of our life, like about 6 months of it! And all that cool winter light mixed with the Simply White left everything feeling a bit stark and even colder than it already is. So I went with the slightest off white paint in Benjamin Moore’s Silver Satin. The name implies gray but its not at all. It actually might be my new go to wall color.  It the perfect off white that goes with everything, it still looks clean and bright but keeps the room from becoming cold.

The down side to this switch was my new greige paint and my new wall paint were too close in color. There was literately no contrast anymore at all.

So after switching gears I’ve decided to go with Velvet Finishes Minimalistic Paint. It’s a beautiful crisp white paint that is going to look amazing against my subtle off white walls and the wood stain I chose for the desk top (A 50/50 mixture of Minwax’s Early American and American Chestnut).

If you’ve never used Velvet Finishes paint, its truly amazing stuff. Kelli has the most beautiful color selections that really pop. The nightstands I made over last year are still some of my favorite pieces in the house! Velvet Finishes paints both roll out and brush on smooth as butter. While very little prep work is needed when using their paints unlike traditional acrylic paint. Velvet Finishes also has an amazing line of prep and sealing products that make life really easy and bump proof! Seriously it’s the only kind of furniture paint I use anymore!

So that’s where were at, now you know why I was so relieved to get an extension! It saved me from a 48 hour marathon push to finish! Are you ready to see what all these lovely ladies have been up to? Don’t forget to click on the links to see!

Casa Watkins Living // Domicile 37 // House Homemade // Iris Nacole // Monica Wants It //Jeweled Interiors // Pocketful of Posies // This Is Our Bliss // Up To Date Interiors


2 thoughts on “Creating a Creative Office with Custom Builtins

  1. Oh my goodness, I can’t believe you couldn’t find the windows! How bizarre! Hopefully they reveal themselves sometime! Built ins sound dreamy. I hope I can tackle something similar in our office!

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