Tag Archives: projects

a new desk: before and after, and a mess


Frances' Room 2

Here’s a shot of F’s desk area from her baby days. We used the elfa system from the Container Store because we knew that it would easily grow with her, and it was definitely time to grow! The green Eames chair was just there for that photo, but F had a smaller green desk chair that she received as a first birthday gift from her grandparents.

You can see it buried there if you look closely. It’s underneath the avalanche of school items she brought home and her continuous collection of recyclable material. (Somewhat) in her defense, I had collected everything in her room into one place and dumped it all there so that the rest of the room was neat and orderly for vacation packing. Still, this area was driving me nuts.


These photos in the middle are crappy and ill-lit, but it was also after midnight on the day we had traveled home from vacation. I brought M along on my before-sunrise jaunt to the lighthouse, which meant we had been up in the 4 o’clock hour (central time) that morning. So naturally, 21 hours into our day, we decided to put together a new desk in a half darkened room, next to the sleeping birthday girl.


It took awhile, but mostly because we were trying to be quiet and we were also exhausted. We kept dropping things (loudly), and the drywall anchors for the magnetic strip didn’t work, so M had to raid the basement stash. I just piled all the mess up in the other corner of the room, and we did our best to get everything set up for the morning. I also wrapped E’s birthday gifts from her sister because she had passed out in her own bed before doing it.


I set up this little birthday chain of kids on top of the desk, and we left her other wrapped gifts on the desk.


She was still pretty sleepy in the morning – so sleepy that she didn’t even notice the changes at first, but afterwards she was really excited for the new space.


If you look back at the before photo, the desktop was about even with the top of the outlet to the right. It’s about 6″ higher at this point, and works well with the Eames chair that I moved back up here.

Desk 4

We raised the shelf on the left up, and added to pull out drawers to corral the art supplies. This allowed us to remove the bins that were always overflowing and took up a lot of precious work space. Now she has a ton more space to work on important projects, and it’s easier to see her supplies in the drawers. We have room for a third drawer if we get rid of that second shelf, but we’ll see how she uses the space she has first. We already had that shelf, so if it’s still functional, that’s great. 

Desk 1

We didn’t buy any additional art supplies because the girls already have plenty. My parents did buy the magnetic pieces and accessories that span between the vertical desk standards and add more supply storage that’s off the desktop. There are a few clear bins that have crayons and glues and erasers, some hooks for tape and triangles, these cute loops that hold her scissors collection – all of these just snap into the bracket – some magnetic glass topped containers that will be full of treasures soon, I’m sure… and plenty of fun magnets.

Desk 2

Desk 3

They don’t make the snap in magnetic bracket with the slots in a 30″ width, which is the width of the desk pieces on the right (where the chair is). But they suggested this magnetic strip which screws into the wall and is the same height as the bracket on the right. I picked out aqua and lime colored magnets, and couldn’t resist the birdie set either, right?


I haven’t changed much on the walls in this area over the last eight years, added a few things, subtracted others. This little desk area just makes me happy. I’ve been missing this kid this week – can’t wait to see her back and busy in this space.

Desk 6

PS – here’s the other gift she got – a tent and lantern for her mice!

Desk 5

project addition: range specs

I keep trying to push real decisions on appliances to the back burner (bad pun, sorry), but I know that we don’t really have the luxury of doing that. At some point we’re going to have to really consider our options and make a selection, because those choices will affect lots of things – power and gas locations, venting requirements, cabinet layout…budget.

I have simple range specs: I want two oven options of some sort and configuration. At least one should be electric and hold my rimmed baking sheets. We don’t have room for wall ovens, and I want to keep things as simple as possible, so I’d love for all of our cooking needs to be met by a single range. I want six burners, minimum, and the ability to have a griddle / grill / high BTU burner. I want a work horse, and I want it to look beautiful in the kitchen. Our kitchen footprint isn’t growing very much, although it’s going to function in a very different way. If we had an enormous show kitchen that you could walk into and see this gleaming professional range and hood and ooh and ahh over it, I think the decision might be a little bit easier. But it’s going to be a very simple galley kitchen, and I want a big range that is a bit diminutive in demeanor. I’d love a white one, with shiny stainless at a minimum. Something that will look amazing next to beautiful wood cabinets.

Once you are carried over that threshold from a standard 30″ range like we have now, the decision seems as complicated as finding the perfect person to marry and settle down with and start a family. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe you just know from the start. I think I might be there.

local-milk-beth-kirby-lacanche-stove-1024x996Photo Source

We visited the home of someone in town that owns a Lacanche range, and it was really nice to see one in person. There are so many configuration options, so there are still a lot of decisions to make and questions to ask. But I think I’ve fallen for it. The owner described it in the same way I’ve organized my thoughts in my head – it’s simple, no computers, nothing digital, it’s just a workhorse that looks elegant while it does its job. To me it’s the perfect blend of clean lines and handcrafted detail. Kind of like I imagine my house to be, a marriage of old and new – and one that functions well for our family.

There are many other ranges to look at and try out, so I’m keeping an open mind about it. 

download gas-ranges-and-electric-rangesBluestar

Most offer white options, but so far they look monstrous in person in a showroom. I feel like they will overwhelm out modest kitchen, and that’s why I’m hesitant to choose one. But they also don’t have to ride over on a ship from France. So there’s that. Long-distance relationships can be tough. But hey, we managed one and it worked out okay. So there’s still hope…

more lists

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I snapped this picture on Saturday afternoon after we picked up the girls from their week away with grandparents. (I love that she donned her new fall sweater dress she got for her birthday to help out.) All the loose ends of the master bathroom project are starting to trickle in, and the to-do list is getting shorter.

We ordered new faucets for the sink and the tub/shower combo. Both have been having issues for awhile now, so this was a good time to do it. We completely replaced the sink faucet since the parts we needed to fix the old one weren’t available. And we had to replace the center portion of the tub/shower fixture – all of the plumbing is exposed on the tub, and because we have a faucet, a handheld shower, and a shower head, we have not one, but two diverters. Exciting, I know. There are a zillion moving parts on this thing, so after sixteen years they were a little tired and drippy. Plus the handheld shower was cracked from being dropped more than once. The new faucets work like a dream. I feel like the spa factor of the bathroom was just seriously upped.

M found some sort of magical piece that allowed him to install the second Artemide light over the toilet without having to open up the wall and replace the junction box. So the lights are in. I started working on a template for the mirror, and I measured the current shower curtains for possible replacement. Here’s what’s left to do:

-Order and install new mirror.
-Install new toilet paper holder when it arrives.
-Decide on new shower curtains (I’m leaning towards the white linen ones at Restoration Hardware), but we could just stick with our old ones.
-Install missing piece on our shower, and we’re also trying to find a riser mounted shampoo holder vs. the current metal one we’ve bent and hung over the shower curtain ring.
-Touch up blue paint in a couple of spots under the sink.
-Paint the trim and window.
-Replace the hardware on the bathroom door – this has been ordered.
-Possibly install decorative window film on the window for privacy (we already own it, not sure yet if we’re going to use it.)

-Bathmats? I think ours are probably fine. I wouldn’t be opposed to a refresh, maybe even a simple round one to replace the two we have now.
-Artwork? Still spinning some ideas in my head, and plan to draw from things we already own in the house.

The last component is a soap dispenser. Of course the one I have my heart set on is an Agape piece that Centro had on display years and years ago.


I’ve always wanted one in the half bath, but it’s really, really expensive, even with a great trade discount. It’s so gorgeous – you just flip it over with the touch of a finger and it dispenses soap into your hand before returning upright.


It’s a beautiful design, and it keeps the soap off the counter. It would be perfect in there because we have no counter – just the edge of the sink. Plus it would look lovely against the blue walls. But it’s nearly impossible to find them, and they are still so expensive. (You know it’s going to be when it’s 1. Italian and 2. Requires a “price quote”.) Our friends at Centro put us into contact with some other Agape dealers in Dallas and Chicago, so we’ve located six new ones ($$$) and one used one ($$) – we could pull the trigger on the used one, but I’m still debating. In the meantime we bought some Mrs. Meyers hand soap (Basil), and we seem to be functioning just fine with that $5 purchase.

This is the (occasional) curse of being in the design field. I have little interest in having the latest trend or sparkly thing, but I’m a complete sucker for a well designed object that meets a functional need in such a simple and beautiful way. Just like the pegs (which might be one of my favorite things in my entire house now), I think we can see where this is going. I’m just not quite there yet!