Sunday, February 14

Home Office Makeover & Geometric Wall DIY

Hello loves and Happy Valentine's Day! Our day is like most days...staying safe and cozy at home. But another day with very little to do (my dream come true!) has given me time to actually update this blog for the first time in a LONG time. I've had a couple of people ask me how I did the geometric wall I recently finished in my office so I thought I'd try to post a little DIY tutorial here for y'all. I'm not the best at explaining how I do what I do (it's why I'll never be a professional designer) but I'll give it a shot.  

So first things first, we have a traditional 1940s era Colonial just outside of DC. The original house has three bedrooms, one of which is tiny. And I mean...tiny. It can fit a twin bed and not much more. For a long time, it was our nursery and then my son's room and then and guest room/office after we put on our addition 8 years ago when we added a master bedroom and all of us got to move to the rooms next door. Lucky for my son since I cannot even fathom how his ever growing frame would fit in there now. When we renovated in 2013, I was obsessed with wallpaper and I picked this green and white Thibaux design that I loved at the time. Here's how it looked back then. 

So, very girly and pretty and organized. :) A few years later we decided to upgrade my son into a double bed and moved his twin back into this smaller room and changed the color scheme to this: 

This was a little more my style with a slightly nautical feel but after 8 years I just couldn't stand the look of the wallpaper anymore. So on a whim, I decided it had to come down. Well...easier said than done. I reached out to my wallpaper guy and he offered to come take it down but with the Covid thing still raging, I decided to do it myself. Here's how it went: 

Spoiler alert, it took 3 full days of me, a steamer, a scraper and a lot of bad language. I celebrated each time I got a large section off but that was rare. A ton of time pick off little pieces of wallpaper. Thank God for Netflix and HBO Max. Btw...I watched both Firefly Lane and Search Party (all 4 seasons) during this process - recommend both!. So after all that, I was left with a lot of uneven old plaster walls complete with some wallpaper glue. Ick. So I sanded all of the walls which was a total mess. Here's the Ryobi sander I used (not an ad - just trying to be helpful). It is loud and messy but did the trick for the most part. 

I then painted the entire room in Sherwin Williams Alabaster which is a creamy white not a white white.  I learned this the hard way when our builder asked for a color for all the trim and I picked one from looking at other people's Pinterest pages. BAD way to pick paint. But it is pretty and is now the color of trim in my entire house so I wasn't going to pick a new white, ya know what I mean? I forgot to take a pic of the office when it was just white but here's a pic from another room we did in our basement in the same color. 

After the room was painted and clean, I took inspiration from the gals at The Home Edit and turned my bookshelves into an ombre rainbow masterpiece which I LOVE love love. It's so soothing and makes for a great Zoom backdrop - not that I am on as many Zooms these days if I can help it (OVER them, right??)  I also moved an old Crate and Barrel chair that was living in our play room up into this space (more on that later). 

Try as I might though, there's just something about an all white room that feels stark. Even with all the pops of color (a term I hate) the room felt cold. So, in true Allie fashion, I decided what we needed here was an accent wall. Mike said it's my thing...and he's right. I have a LOT of them in this house. Never thought I'd be that kind of girl but I am now owning my obsession with a wood wall. 

While scrolling for options, I came across the Insta feed of a funny and fun DIYer named Angela Rose who had this incredibly cool geometric wood wall behind her bed. I fell in love. Check it out: 

LOVE love love right? Ok - so if you want to really know how to do it, I'd suggest going to her Insta story called DIY Cool Wall. She even has this sketch in her story that I studied and imitated (hopefully she finds this flattering and not totally creepy). Anyway, here are the materials and tools I used in the process: 

1.5 x 2 inch Primed Pine Wood Trim Boards (10 used total) about $5 each at Home Depot

An old compound mitre saw we own. Here's one you can get now if needed. Looks intimidating but not really scary once you get used to it. Does take up some space but we've used it dozens of times for lots of home projects. 

After getting a few boards cut, I tried hammering one into the wall and it was a nightmare. The walls are plaster and trying to hammer into them was loud and impossible. I decided, after countless projects where I could have used one, to finally go get a nail gun. I will not lie, I was intimidated but the idea of two days of clanking away trying to get nails into the board was enough to send me back to the Depot for the 10th time. I did a little research and figured out that a Brad nailer was all I needed. Here's the one I got.  It turns out it is SUPER easy to load the nails and use it. The only issue I had was the box said it came with 1,000 nails when in reality it came with 10. That might have been my fault but back to the Depot I went (trip 11). I highly recommend this if you do any projects. Super easy and no one got shot (yet). 

So if you watch Angela's story, you'll see that she does 30 degree angles and I tried to do that with mine but our wall is super small and it just looked weird - like almost horizontal. So mine are actually 45 degree angles. I set the mitre saw to that angle (you just turn the front of it to the line that says 45) and lined up each piece and cut. From there, I  just sort of played with the placement to get the design I wanted. Here's how it looked when I was done. Took me about 5 hours or so because I am not really a pro and had to cut a few multiple times. 

For reference, the wall is about 8' x 9' and as I said, it took about 10 boards total with a few extra needed for mistakes I made when cutting. You can see that it's not exactly like my inspiration pic and if you were to look up close, you'd see some very rough cuts, but I was really excited about how it turned out. Next up was painting. I originally wanted to paint the bookshelves in the office this really pretty blue I saw online. It is Benjamin Moore Blue Heather. And here is the final product!

I love how it turned out! It's not  overwhelming in such a small space. A few tips on the painting process. 

1. First, caulk VERY carefully. Only get it in the spaces and cracks. Try hard not to get it on the boards and if you do, wipe it off quickly. I got a lot of goop on the boards thinking I'd sand it down, which I did but it left the areas rough and that showed when I painted. 

2. Sand, sand, sand. I gave this very little effort because I was exhausted and ready to be done. But again, it left some areas exposed when I painted and you can see them now. (OH well...but don't make this mistake if you don't need to). 

3. If you have a paint sprayer...use it. I used a brush and a thick paint and it showed all my painting errors. From afar, you can't tell but a smooth paint finish would have made this even better. 

Here are a few more shots in different light. And more pics of the other side of the room with the bright red chair that now needs a new cover. I have never had anything reupholstered and would love suggestions if you have any. And not to be outdone, here's a cameo from the one and only Buddy. Still need a few touches like a rug but so far so good! Thanks for joining me on this little DIY journey. Good luck if you try it and share pics on my Insta at @designingontheside 

Thanks for checking out the new office. More posts to come!


Since it's Women's History Month, if you have a few minutes, check out my sister's awesome site called from A to She. It's full of great content and insight.