Finally a footrest

Awhile back my aunt moved to Texas and left me with a bunch of random furniture that I’ve been trying to figure out how to best utilize. One of those things was this black ottoman that came on 12″ legs.

I unscrewed the legs pretty much immediately and put it under my desk. Very first comment I got was “that black thing fits perfectly in the hole.” That’s what she said.

And it was fine, this is Nixon’s go to sleeping spot in the office and he likes to cuddle up next to my feet. Because my back is so screwed up I have to trade off between feet on the floor and legs up and stretched out parallel to my hips when I work. I work at this desk a lot.

But let’s face it, not the prettiest thing in the office so I grabbed the green fabric that you saw here when I picked out fabrics for the office way back when:

and used the solid green to cover the ottoman. I did this the classy way: with staples and duct tape.

Started by ironing the fabric (my least favorite chore ever) and then laid it on the table, flipping the ottoman on its top to measure:

I trimmed the extra fabric away (for pillows) and secured the edges with the duct tape. Corners got stapled and tucked, then more duct tape.

I told you it was classy. If I had a staple gun with real strength then I would definitely clean up those edges and staple the fabric in but this works for now. Here it is all done hanging out in the living room:

I’m still working on sorting out all the boxes of crap that came out of my office closet so I needed space in the living room. It moved it into the office and fits snugly under the desk:

Although it’s Nixon who sits up there most of the time I couldn’t get him to sit still for a photo. Instead here’s the view of the room from sitting on the floor (back to the closet) behind the desk:

Yes, I know I need to touch up the green paint along the edge of the ceiling, it’s on the list okay! There are still a lot of little tweaks to make this room better but right now looking across the desk with my feet on the comfy ottoman I am loving it.

And just for fun, here’s one of my favorite pictures from the office and the reason I love having fresh flowers on my desk:


Office Closet, Part 1

As November marched on I had to come up with new and more complex ways to distract myself from writing my novel.

I’d already painted the hallway ceiling, emptied the office to finish that ceiling and rearranged all the furniture. In some ways rooms are easy – it’s all the stuff that we WANT seen so with a dust rag and a little pillow fluffing all is good.

It’s the closets that are my nemesis.

Aside from painting the bottom 2/3 of the office and guest room closets, none of them were painted and most had not been touched (excepted to be stuffed with crap) since the day I moved in.

The office ceiling had just been painted so I started there. Here’s what the closet has looked like in the past:

The problem is that it’s really hard to get to those boxes stacked up and I very rarely get into the boxes at the top of the shelves:

So I removed everything from the office closet including banker’s boxes, binders and a stacking glass bookshelf. The bookshelf was from my parents but didn’t really fit in with what I needed here.

I also took down the curtains and rod too, figuring that it wouldn’t hurt to wash those while I was working on the closet.

When the crap moved out I hung plastic to protect the carpet with green frog tape:

and then cleaned the walls and shelves. I used the small paint roller to cover the off white walls (which had a bit of old paint color showing through – mint green in case you’re wondering) and a small brush to get in all the crevices.

While all this was going on I was working on the boxes that came out of the closet and deciding what to keep and what to toss. I’ll break these down into separate posts since they’re a bit… long 🙂

Want a sneak peek of the final? Of course you do… I am determined to get the bottom part worked on this weekend because those old baseboards have to go. Until then here’s how the top is currently organized:

Right side has my portfolios, legal pads, Ikea organizer with a bunch of smaller notebooks and post-its, the two white towers hold ALL of my CDs and on the far end are binders. It’s hard to see in this shot but on the top row we have a stack of file folders and a green tub which is currently empty because it’s cold and my throw blankets are on the love seat.

Left side has a magazine holder full of notebooks, empty composition books, smaller boxes full of computer cables and small electronics, and the white boxes have my photos (most have already been scanned. At the top I have a few empty boxes for computers and accessories and the green tub is empty but holds extra pillows when they’re not on the love seat in here.

The paint might not look like a big difference but it’s nice and crisp and clean in person. There are not lights in the closet but I’m looking into a LED rope light from Ikea to mount inside the closet door frame – wouldn’t that be cool?

Next up this weekend is installing the baseboards and discussing plans for shelving with my builder. Shelves may be a long term goal though because I really want to finish baseboards in 4 spaces so that comes first!

My Trip to the Hill

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before but a few months back I decided that I needed to celebrate more. Especially since I hate on my birthday so much (more on b-day 2012 soon). So instead of making it all about Oct 14th I decided that the 14th of every month was my new “vacation day” because as an entrepreneur I’m a few years away from getting back to 2 weeks off vacations.

Thus: mini vacations.

In August I started with a day out in San Francisco with some of my favorite ladies: Kasey and Ana.

In September I was in Ft Lauderdale for a conference with Katie, Bianca, Jess, Patrick, Lynan, Lea, Jennifer, Lily, Angela, Andrew, and Ana.

In October, on my actual birthday, Patrick and I explored New York City and then took the train into Stamford, CT.

And this last week my day brought me to Apple Hill in the Lake Tahoe region for a day of frolicking about, books and fruit. I’ll go back and recap those other trips soon but for today: trip to the Hill.

First of all, Apple Hill isn’t so much a city as it is a destination. Spanning Colusa and Placerville, on the way up the mountain to Tahoe, it’s an independent apple grower’s association and consists of over 40 apple, pear, organic fruit, pumpkin and Christmas tree farms.

Most are open for the season though I found that many were closed mid-week. While it can be packed on any given weekend September through November, the week days are pretty deserted making it perfect for my day off.

I stopped in Folsom for coffee + masterminding with my peeps which was pretty uneventful. Except that my hair was out of control.

(ignore the pasty white skin plzthx, the hair – it curls!)

After the coffee break I drove to Placerville for a stop at one of my favorite stores, the Bookery. They have a fantastic selection and if you’re willing to dig a little you can find great books for low prices. I usually hit their young adult section and this time I found two Lois Lowry books I was on the look out for and 3 Nancy Drew hardcovers.

I’m most excited about Messenger, the third in the series from Lowry starting with the Giver and Gathering Blue. These might end up being my Thanksgiving food coma books.

Once I had the books I was looking around for a lunch stop but only succeeded in getting stuck in sidewalk traffic behind a gaggle of graying women. So I ducked into a consignment shop where I ended up finding a really warm purple sweater:

(this is me light testing for a video in my office)

That’s about as much shopping as I can stand nowadays (being old and cranky like) so I went back to the car and headed to Carson Road which goes by many of the stops along Apple Hill. On a busy weekend you can’t even turn on this road there are so many cars. But it is beautiful:

Many of the places I came across were closed, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t stop.

This little path through the trees dropping their leaves so was picturesque. The leaves were turning and I had to snap quickly since I’d just noticed the “no trespassing” sign (come on I went around the lake bit and missed it. honestly.):

There were a few places open and I skipped the ones I’d done before and headed right to the Apple Barn:

That’s what I love about this place: lots of apples. And even though it’s “apple hill” there are some places that don’t have an orchard on site. Some places have pick your own, heres a box of fruit and then there’s the Apple Barn which boosts a pie shop and various baked goods, apple cider made on site and a good variety of fruit:

Personally I got the bags of Fuji and Granny Smith (3 pounds ea) and a quart of apple cider. All for under $9.

This wasn’t even the best part of Apple Barn. Ready for it?

Yeah, it was ridiculously beautiful. Especially compared to today when it’s gray and rainy, this was the perfect day. And while enjoying this view, you might as well enjoy some lunch. including:

I’ll admit, it was a little splurge, but after so much hiking around the hill and orchards and book shopping I needed a little fortification.

I headed home earlier than I normally would knowing that traffic through Sacramento would make me want to scream. Which was a good choice because the pain pills I’d been taking all day?

“May Cause Drowsiness”

It’s a miracle I made it home without nodding off, thanks in no small part to the open window, cool mountain air, blaring radio and talking to myself.

At home I put the cider in the fridge, let the dogs out of cages and then slept for 18 hours. Whomp. Whomp. Dull end to an otherwise fabulous day but I’ve got apples galore, pie plans in the making and more photos to share.

Office Redo

Right after I emptied the office I brought in drop cloths for the ceiling project. You can see the overhead lamp is horrible with 2 light bulbs burnt out. Hence the lamps. I scraped, patched, sanded and painted.

Then I pulled up the drop cloths and put down plastic, taping it to the baseboards and over the closet to protect the curtains.

I cut in the ceiling and rolled on the paint:


After I was done with painting the ceiling in the office I cleaned up the office walls with a washcloth. Actually five washcloths because once they get the dust on them it’s pretty hard to keep cleaning.

Now this would have been the optimal time to start up the ceiling fan but I, I didn’t do that. Instead I removed the mini blinds and dumped them in the bathtub for cleaning, wiped down the tops of the door frame and all the baseboards and electrical outlets.

I pulled up all the plastic, wrapping it into a ball to keep it off the carpet. Once I removed the drawers from the desk I could move it around easily. I brought in the steam cleaner and worked on the carpet.

Yeah, nasty carpet. I had to replace the water in the reservoir four times.

Then I started the ceiling fan and spread more dust around. Lovely, right? I’m an idiot sometimes.

At this point the plan was to bring in the love seat since, as you can see below, it has to nestle into a corner between the bookshelves and desk.

Except there was a little barrier in the hallway:

Oops, the loveseat definitely wouldn’t fit past those. So I had to unload all those books and it didn’t make much sense to put them in the living room and then move them to the office.

Then I could drag in all the bookshelves and then the loveseat:

Final piece was bringing in the short bookshelf on the end of the desk (which is actually a little bit taller than the desk) which will be holding some equipment as well as my work binders.

Since the printer would block the lovely view I moved it into the bookshelf and will run the cables out the back (right now they go along the side and annoy me).

Here’s a view of the bookshelves in the room:

and the corner with the desk with the loveseat in the background:

I still need to clean up some of those cords and re-hang the curtains over the window. I’ll be back with more pictures in the day light and will need to update my House page soon.

Because I’m Crazy, That’s Why

Right after I finished up the hallway ceiling as described in this post, I looked at the office and took a few pictures:

Based on this one the room is warm, a little cozy, lots of books, somewhat cluttered. Clearly everything needs to change.

Within about a day I had moved all of the bookshelves into the hallway and everything else into the guest room or office closet.

This is what my rooms looks like now:

Why? Because I’m crazy, that’s why.

Let’s recap: it’s November so I’m 10k words into a new novel of NaNoWriMo, have just brought on new clients and am hiring new interns and team members, may be speaking at TED in a few weeks and I’m decluttering half my house.

And in the midst of all that it’s clearly the right time to remodel my office, right? Let’s just accept that I’m crazy. Moving on!

Now that the room is empty I grabbed the step stool, Spackle, water bottle, spatula, sanding block, drop cloths and capture bin. The first night I did about 1/4th of the room and if you followed my whining posts on the master bedroom ceiling then you know the sequence:

  1. wet the ceiling with the water bottle
  2. gently scrape the popcorn texture with the spatula catching it in the bin
  3. use the Spackle to fill in the gaps, scratches and rough patches
  4. sand down the rough spots until the ceiling is baby butt smooth
  5. dust the entire ceiling until all the dust is gone
  6. paint
  7. touch up paint

It’s not an easy process, yo. Especially if you consider it’s time on the step stool with arms raised up for a few hours a night then clean up. And getting dust out of my hair.

In fact, it took me more than 5 months to finish the master bedroom and although that room was larger, with a vaulted ceiling, I refuse to spend more than a few days on the office ceiling.

One of the reasons I’m so motivated to finish this up is that I can’t wait to rearrange the furniture and make this room awesome. Here’s a sketch of the plan:

If you can’t read all the labels, I’m rotating the desk around (and sticking the short bookshelf on the end) and bringing in a loveseat! The large bookshelves will be wrapped around the wall as well as tucked behind the desk.

The DVD bookshelves in the image are a lie – I decided to move them into the living room since the loveseat is getting a new slipcover and going to the office. Details on that coming soon!

This is the very messy before with the loveseat covered in junk and the footrest covered in papers:

There’s a bunch of stuff in here that was moved in from the office while I work in the dust (shredder + ceiling dust = badness). Here’s what it looks like after:

I’ll have updated pictures of the whole living room and office when I move furniture back in (hopefully on Sunday!). Right now I still have a bunch of piles sitting around. Oh, and for the first time in a few years you can reach my fireplace so I clearly need to vacuum up a few inches of dust first.

The other reason why I’m so motivated to get this finished up is that the 2 gallon container of paint is halfway done and has dried out a little (the lid isn’t fitting back on perfectly) so I want to finish it up in the office and guest room. Office first!

Oh Projects, My Projects

It was a long weekend of work, cleaning and fun but with the extra hour in my day I decided to tackle a project that’s been hanging over my head for awhile.

On Sunday I cleared the hallway by taking down the 5 frames and 1 canvas print and moving the rug into the guest room. Then I lay down some drop cloths and went back up the step stool to finish scraping the last bits of texture from the hallway ceiling. I filled in the gouges in the drywall, waited for it to dry, and then sanded the ceiling. I wiped it down with a damp washcloth and dusted then pulled out the ceiling paint.

Finally it was done and I could clean up. There are just a few spots that need touching up but I can do that Monday without a lot of drama. The dogs got just a bit dirty.

PhotobucketI’d also filled in some gaps at the top of the door frames with white caulk. According to my project list, I still need to touch up the white paint on the door frames (all four of ’em) and then touch up the wall paint.

Before getting to the wall paint and baseboards though, I need to use the long hallway for storage!

Next up is finishing the ceiling in the office which involves:

  • moving out the 8 bookshelves into the hallway and living room
  • moving out the chairs, foot rest, lamps and nightstand
  • covering the desk which is too large to be removed from the room
  • take down the curtains
  • lay out drop cloths
  • finish scraping the ceiling (which is really rough)
  • sand the ceiling and fill in any rough spots
  • paint the ceiling

Then I can rearrange the furniture the way I’ve been thinking about for awhile now! Looking forward to the full redo and cleaning out and reorganizing the closet space too.

Hopefully Dad can come out this month to cut and install some baseboards. This has only been on my to do list for 3 years or so! While I’d like to be able to pull out the carpet I’m thinking that’s going to be a project for next year or later.