It’s so easy to get wrapped up in to the beauty of a makeover reveal. It all seems sooooo magical, right? First it’s ugly and then poof it’s beautiful! From an ugly duckling to perfectly staged and completed in no time flat. Even though I know some of the tricks of the trade, I still get caught up to. How could you not? I can promise you, it is not that way at all. We all have our little secrets. Today I have six secrets I was hiding during our office reveal to share with you.
One of the things I really wanted to focus on since coming back from my blogging break is to take a more realistic and authentic approach to blogging. Which means showing you the good, the bad, and the unfinished. Because lets face it, that is what real life is all about. Are you ready for another tour of our recently “finished” office makeover? This time, I am showing you all the things I didn’t quite finish in time for our big reveal.
Six Secrets I was Hiding During our Office Reveal
Secret 1: The Unfinished Wall
Now I know what your thinking we’re talking about walls again ugh…. Yes! (Sorry). With as much time as I spent fixing walls you would think I would have gotten it all done. But sadly there is one section that I really didn’t. The section directly over the stairs and down to the entry below.
Now really there are two reasons behind why this didn’t get done:
Hanging your butt out over 22+ feet of open, uneven stairs is straight up terrifying! Seriously, it is. Every time I climbed my, not anywhere close to being tall enough, ladder to reach even the lower section of this space, my stomach crawls up into my throat and starts doing flips. Then my hands get sweaty and my knees feel week. It’s just all sorts of bad.
Yet somehow, no matter who I talked to on how to get up there all of the suggestions/pro tips I received just didn’t seem safe. AT ALL. So this little problem I am still working on. I think I’ve finally come up with a solution, but I haven’t fully tested it nor finished making the necessary adjustments yet. All I can say is, if you are facing a similar situation, good luck!
Since I knew I was working on a time crunch + the reaching problem over the middle section of wall, I decided it was best to just wait on the lower section as well. Plus since the lower section is TECHNICALLY on a whole different floor… I didn’t feel quite as guilty about getting it to a 60% completion then pausing.
Secret 2: The Unfinished Crown Molding
Before I get tooo far into this one, I want to point out that this is the first time I have ever attempted installing crown molding in my life. I will say it was much trickier than I was originally expecting. Especially for an action learner like me. There are tons of how to posts around that have “make these templates” instructions. I read several of them and they were completely worthless. Seriously! “Turn your miter saw to this angle on this side and that angle on that side then hold it while crossing your fingers and your eyes but don’t cut your fingers off….” bleh. I wasted way too much crown molding trying this method.
If you want the honest true, idiot proof way to cut crown molding and install it even if you’ve never done it before. You’ll need these tools:
I saved more in unwasted crown molding than it cost get these tools in the first place. The crown molding clips are handy because it allowed me to get the squirmy, floppy and unruly crown molding supported and almost in place before a single nail went in.
The Jig is worth its weight in gold. It simplified all my the saw cuts without any useless templates. The crown molding jig holds the crown in place and makes it so there is only one angle to set on your miter saw. It even makes cutting crown molding on a non compound miter saw possible! Plus the little protractor it comes with allowed me to check the angles of each corner before I cut! Creating less gaps and a better fit. It was a tear saver!
Getting back to my unfinished crown molding…
Since I didn’t finish repairing the one wall, I obviously didn’t get the crown molding hung up there. No real surprise there.
There was one other place I didn’t get it hung as well… Which takes me back to my original point. Get the jig and the clips before attempting this!
The corner in the right side of this photo I attempted using the stupid template system. It looks right visually, but it isn’t. I am going to have to take it down, again, and cut a new piece using my jig. If only I had used the crow molding clips and jig the first time!!!
Secret 3: Unfinished Baseboard
Matching trim in an old house can be dang near impossible. When these amazing houses were built everything was done by hand and on site. So finding a matching modern trim is out. Even if I were to find something close it will probably be a combination of 3-4 different kinds of modern trim.
I was fortunate enough to find a few odd pieces in the garage and in the attic that were left over some past remodel. Luckily this small bit of molding was just enough to get me through the first part of my office makeover. However we are going to need more to finishing off the other builtins that we have planned for this space.
Luckily there are a few places you can go when needing to match this kind of trim. We are very fortunate to live in an area full of little mom and pop saw mills. Some of these sawmills have machines just for such a purpose. Just because we are so lucky to have these small business around us doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is, so this is where custom cabinet makers can usually come to the rescue.
Custom cabinetry making is an art. An art that requires lots of specialized tools, one of the tools they usually have is a special planer made just for cutting trim. So they can usually make these pieces. Just be prepared to pay for a special knife if they don’t have an exact match already on hand.
Secret 4: Missing Cabinets
When I originally laid out my design plan for our new office way back I had mentioned building several base cabinets with bookshelves and a window seat with file storage. For a grand total of seven cabinets (three uppers, three lowers, and one window seat). As of our big reveal I only had four of the seven built.
Which resulted in this funny little corner. This is where the window seat/file storage will meet the my first set of builtins. Right now it looks odd, but later it will all make sense. And I can’t wait to finally have the perfect, pretty place to wrangle all those pesky papers.
Secret 5: Trashy outlets
If you’ve ever looked at home that has fallen victim to a poor renovation you will probably find these mismatched, trashy outlets.
Oh yeah, sexy right? Nope. Not at all. I did manage to get the other outlets fixed but at the time I simply couldn’t get these last few finished and take pictures in time. This was on of the first things I fixed after our big reveal. (Seriously I cringed just screwing on the face plate). I know your probably thinking it looks like a mess because it not only doesn’t match but itsn’t fitted very well. We can thank the 70’s renovators for the poor fit. However there is a reason why I didn’t correct the fit during my wall fixing stage. This wall is also the location of my final builtin. So that outlet will be pulled through to the back of the cabinet for my printer/shredder. So the little extra space makes fitting everything together a little easier.
Secret 6: Fixing the dreaded dog damage
So my last fix that I didn’t quite make it to during our office makeover is repairing the dreaded dog damage. Now you may be asking yourself how I let or dog chew up the wall like this. The answer is, I didn’t. We can thank the previous owners dogs for this. See they raised dogs, a lot of dogs. They had 7 giant breed dogs that they bred. This is also the reason why the original banister is gone. It was simply eaten by one of their dogs.
While the previous owners did quite a lot of fixing before we bought the house, i.e. the new banister, there were still a few areas left. This is one of them. So when our local sawmill cuts our new baseboard, they will also be cutting a new piece of door trim. Soon it will be like it never even happened! And to be honest I can’t wait! It wasn’t very noticeable when the landing was dark red. But now that everything is light and bright you can definitely see it.
As any true diyer will tell you there will always be more projects to do, more changes to make. This space is no exception. One of this things I really want to do to this space, although it was not mentioned in my original design plan, is to refinish our old doors. We have these beautiful 5 panel original doors through most of the house. and when we first moved into the house I was itching to paint them all a charcoal black/gray. After finding one of the original doors in the attic that has never been painted, we’ve discovered that underneath all that paint they are a beautiful birdseye maple.
So after a great deal of waffling I think I have finally landed on refinishing the old doors to the original state. Since our beautiful old lady has been through a number of renovations over the years. Almost all of her original woodwork is gone. And the little bit that is left is hiding under layers of paint. I think it would be really nice to restore at least one of these original details. Plus since almost all of the paint in the entryway and second floor landing is going to end up being white/off-white I think the addition of the restored doors will be just the right amount of warmth the space will need.
I hope you all enjoyed my little dose of DIY honesty today! Renovations can be a lot of fun and the transformation is amazing. But just like real life, it doesn’t always come together on time and on plan, no matter how much we may try.