Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Great Office Makeover

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If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve been dedicating myself to self-improvement and also home and organizing improvement the last few months.  I was tired of living in a space that was uninspiring and surrounded by things I didn’t love or were not useful.  We had an epiphany of sorts in April when we went to see some new construction houses near our house.  We liked the houses but it wasn’t like our house was crappy compared to those new houses.  We really love the layout and “bones” of our house.  Plus those new construction houses cost about $300k more than our house.  That’s a lot to take on financially when we only have nine years of mortgage payments left.  So instead of buying a new house, we decided to use some of our savings to spruce up our own house!  We like our neighborhood and neighbors, so why not just upgrade our favorite spaces and things we use, and stay here! 

One of the spaces in our house that was uninspiring was our office.  Our home office is actually a bedroom downstairs. (The other three bedrooms are upstairs.)  It is next to the family room.  It is north-facing, so it does not get a lot of light, especially in the winter.  We had painted it gray when we moved in years ago.  After a while, we realized the gray color didn’t do the room any favors when it came to lighting.  We decided to paint it white.  In order to paint, we would have to move our furniture out of the office.  So I decided we should go big or go home and just completely makeover the office.

Before we did anything, Todd & I drew out our room to scale onto graph paper and cut out our furniture to scale.  We moved everything around on paper a lot.

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But finally picked this configuration.  We wanted our desks against the walls so that the room will seem spacious and open.

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Picking the perfect white paint was quite difficult.  We got swatches and taped them onto all four walls to see the how the colors looked in different lighting during different times of the day. 

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We narrowed it down to two white colors and then got samples and painted spots onto the wall.  We finally picked Benjamin Moore Simply White in eggshell finish.  It is a soft white that looked good in any lighting in our office.

We didn’t take any proper “before” photos and only thought to take photos when we were starting to pack our stuff up. 

Here’s basically what the room looked like before, but not always this messy, LOL.  I had shelves and file cabinet in the recessed space where the closet is.  (We took the doors off.)  Our desks faced each other.  The room looked cramped and small.

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Todd’s side of the room.

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The corner by the door.  It housed our two tall filing cabinets, plus junk on top.

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After packing and moving all the furniture out, this was what it looked like.

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This was the recessed closet space.

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The corner with the filing cabinets.

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Todd’s side.

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All our furniture and packed up things went into the living room.

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We both painted the room.  Todd mostly taped and used the paint brush for edges and corners, while I did the rolling.


The next two photos, you can really tell the difference the white paint is going to make in the room to make it look lighter and brighter.

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After two coats of white paint.

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After letting the paint dry for a couple of days, we started moving back in.  First in were our desks.  They went according to plan and they fit perfectly into the space!  My desk is lower than Todd’s because I’m shorter.  (We have the Galant desk from IKEA.  They are height-adjustable.  Unfortunately these particular models are no longer for sale.)

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Now for all the “after” photos!   We also had all 22 of our windows replaced with new windows in the meantime between May and now, so now we have a white double-pane low e3 window in the office, completing the transformation.  We will probably install some blinds at some point, but we like just the window for now.  This windows faces our fence so nobody can look in anyways.

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My side of the room.  I kept the right side of my desk totally clean so that I can craft there should I choose to do so, rather than go upstairs to the craft room.

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I may add some shelving or art work on the wall above my desk.

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I also bought a new monitor.  It is an ultrawide monitor.  I don’t like the look of double monitors, but I do a lot of work with two windows open side-by-side, so the extra-wide monitor totally works with how I work.  It’s very pretty!

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I can see so much more photos in Lightroom, ha ha!

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We were able to purge and consolidate our files into just one filing cabinet.  I may try to paint it someday, but it’s just the beige original color for now.  My photo printer sits on top of it.  I have some crafting supplies in my IKEA Raskog cart in the corner.

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I designed the configuration of these IKEA Besta units so that most of the selving are closed instead of open.  I wanted doors and drawers in the shelves.

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I realized that the reason why our old office looked so messy was because of all the open shelving.  There’s just no way to make office supplies, printer paper, and photo papers look neat on open shelving.  So now these are behind closed doors.

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The drawers hold other non-neat stuff such as cords, chargers, gadgets, etc.  This was also on open shelving before and everything just looked messy, even when they were organized.

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We installed a TV above the door so we can have the option of watching TV or have TV on the background when doing things in our office.

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We’ve also utlized the ledge in my corner of the office to put big storage boxes up there.  I had purged a bunch of files, so some of the boxes are empty for now. 

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Here’s a look at Todd’s side of the office.

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Notice anything on the floating shelves?

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Todd also has his music workstation on his side of the office.

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Here’s a quick look at before and after again.

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Now our office is a neat and more inspiring place to hang out in.  After purging and getting some new furniture, everything has its place.  It’s a space I look forward to spending time in, rather than dread.

I’ll be re-organizing my craft room next.  And I’ll blog about our new windows sometime in the near future.  Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at our office makeover!

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Best of June 2016

Hello!  Are my eleven blog readers still around?  Even if you’re not, that’s ok.  I’m not blogging regularly, so I can’t expect anyone to stick around.  I’ve decided to blog some month-in-reviews again, because I truly love it for my own memory-keeping purposes.  And I’ve missed it.

Here are some snapshots from June.

My boss came to San Diego to meet me face-to-face for the first time since he became my boss almost a year ago.  He took Todd and I to dinner at Duke’s La Jolla and we were seated at the best table with a view on the patio.  Even though it was very cloudy, it was still quite beautiful.

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We went up to Anaheim to meet up with Todd’s parents, who were in town for the Trumpet Guild Conference.  We hung out at Downtown Disney for lunch and shopping.

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We went to the Ira Liss Big Band Jazz Machine concert at Bernardo Winery.  One of our summer traditions!

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I started a weights workout routine at my work gym, after a personal training session to teach me the exercises.

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Todd made his famous oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

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We went to watch Game 3 of the NBA Finals at AJ & Meera’s house.

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We screamed with elation when the Cleveland Cavaliers came from behind 3-1 games to beat the Golden State Warriors and won the 2016 NBA Championship.  What a historical comeback.  What a block by LeBron.  What a celebration for the city of Cleveland!

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We went to try a new poke restaurant called Pokirrito.  My poke bowl was super-yummy!

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Noodle still has some funny antics in him, even at almost 6 years old.

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We bought and mounted a new TV in our office so we can watch TV while doing stuff like paying bills.  (Oh, our office has been completely made over as well.  Will write an office makeover post sometime.)

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Todd made a salted caramel chocolate layered cake.

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We celebrated summer solstice by having dinner after work at Blue Ribbon Pizza.

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Followed by ice cream at Handel’s.

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Followed by watching the sunset at the end of our street.

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We celebrated our wedding anniversary with dinner at Ortega’s.

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And dessert at Extraordinary Desserts.

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We went to lunch at Pacifica Breeze on our actual anniversary.

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View on the way home.

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Noodle loves sleeping in his bed.

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I went through four boxes of old files and purged/shredded them all.  I also totally re-organized our current files into our filing cabinet.  Those were big jobs.  We have been purging and organizing our house since March and we’re so excited to be less encumbered with stuff we no longer need or want.  Noodle helped me with the files.

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We spent a hefty amount of money and replaced all 22 windows of our house.  Our windows were original windows from 1987 and they were single-pane aluminum windows.  We replaced them with the latest energy-efficient windows (low e3).  We’re absolutely in love with our new windows and wish we had done this sooner.  Hello energy efficiency!  I’ll have to take some more “after” photos and write a before/after post sometime.

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We went to check out the newly opened 85C Bakery in Mira Mesa.

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We gave away four boxes of books to the library.  And we relocated our bookshelves and re-organized all the books we’re keeping. 


We gave away furniture we’re no longer using.


All in all, June was a great mix of fun and productivity.  I’m excited to see what July brings! 

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