The Dormers are Done (and how our dog jumped out the window)

After painting most of the garage, it was time to finish up the dormers. We had been waiting for our windows to come in, and it was nice to put the finishing touch on the exterior. Luckily for us, Jerm’s dad and brother own a glass and window company, so we were able to get nice windows at a great price.

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It’s not obvious from the front pictures, but our garage has an identical dormer facing the back as well. Our plan was to put my desk and work area in the front dormer and build in a window seat/daybed into the back dormer.

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We wanted lots of windows to let in lots of natural light. The main windows in each dormer consist of two double-hungs on each side with a thermopane in the middle. The three windows installed as one unit. After we had them installed, we measured the top triangular section to order custom piece of glass.

Here is the front dormer with the glass installed. I like that I will have a view to the street from my desk.

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The back dormer is facing an alley (and Dunkin Donut’s drive through). Not an ocean view, but it is still nice to have the light.

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After the windows went in, all that was left to do was to finish siding and painting the dormers.

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When we first started working on the dormer windows, our dog Zulu liked to stand up and look out the opening with us. While I was at work, Jerm was working on the side of the dormer with scaffolding set up outside the opening. Zulu was chilling in the loft making a flight plan.  As Jerm was coming down the roof to climb back inside, our crazy (100 lb!) dog decided that he was lonely and wanted to be outside and proceeded to take a running leap out of the dormer opening. Meaning Jerm came around the corner of the dormer,  and our dog came flying out the window. Thankfully Jerm was able to somehow catch him and throw him back inside — without being knocked off the scaffolding himself. Everything was ok, but needless to say, Zulu was not allowed around open upstairs windows anymore — and the people who run the drive through at Dunkin Donuts think we are nuts.

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Office Space: Before and After

The most complete room in our house is probably our second bedroom, or as I like to call it—“the office.”  This little room has evolved a lot over the past three years.

When we first bought the house it looked like this:

Before Office 1

It was a dingy white room with gross linoleum flooring. I started out by painting it beige—because beige is a good neutral color to pick if you are planning on renting out your house right? It stayed beige for about two years and gradually filled up with all of the stuff we didn’t know what to do with. The door definitely stayed shut when company came over.

Office During

When I started my etsy shop in January of 2011, I moved my vinyl cutter upstairs and all of our stuff downstairs. Jerm built three hanging shelving units in our basement, and we were finally able to organize our stuff. The shelves had to be suspended from the ceiling because our basement was often damp and got water when it rained. We couldn’t store anything on the floor for fear of it getting ruined.

Jerm went on a business trip in June, I decided to surprise him with an office renovation – more like “paint it while he was gone so he couldn’t stop me.”  I’m not really a beige girl, so I was sick of working in a beige box. Off to home depot I went, and after much deliberation, I returned with a gallon of Martha Stewart “Sea Anemone.”

Martha Stewart Sea Anemone

Luckily I remembered the advice to pick a color you like and go lighter because I almost walked out with Martha Stewart “Sea Glass”—which would have totally overwhelmed the small room.

One nearly all-nighter later, and the room was almost painted. Normally Jerm is the designated edger, so it took me forever to carefully edge everything.

Office with Sea Anemone Paint

Office daybed and collage wall

Then it was time for the fun part… my workspace. We found two matching drawer base cabinets at work that would work perfectly for scrap vinyl storage and my other random supplies. For the top, we built something simple out of birch plywood and a maple front edge.  I keep a self healing cutting mat on the main work area so I can easily cut vinyl with my rotary cutter. I have a bit of a printer obsession (three printers in one room…) so we used the space in between the cabinets to house both laser printers and my small garbage can. The spaces on each side are taken up by the vinyl roll storage system Jerm built me for Christmas.

Office Printers
Vinyl Racks 3

My desk area has also evolved over time with the addition of more accessories to keep me organized like a magnetic knife rack for my scissors and tweezers, the Ikea Bygel System for storing my notecards, pens, and paint brushes, a bulletin board to keep inspiration and mementos on, and a wall mounted work light.

Office desk

One of my first pinterest inspired projects was this copper curtain rod that I saw on thehandmadehome.net. We made our own for the lone window using copper bell hangers as our brackets. My love affair with copper has yet to cease.

Copper Bell Fittings for Curtain Rod

I bought some cheap curtain clips and made my own curtain panels by cutting a target tablecloth in half lengthwise and hemming the raw edges. I let the length of the panels dictate where my curtain rod was hung.

Finished Curtains Office Sneak Peek

It has been fun pulling together all of the little details over the course of the year. I love having a bright, happy space to work—filled with things that are meaningful to us. There are still some changes to be made, and I will be back to share some more of the sources as well as more of the inspiration behind the space.

Our House Story – Part 2

Part 2 is where our house story starts getting more interesting. If you need a refresher, here is part one. After we upgraded the major things in the house (plumbing, hvac, electrical), this happened:

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Yes, that is a blueberry blue bathroom, and no I don’t know what I was thinking. Jerm let me be in charge of paint colors, and I decided to paint the bathroom blue. I thought it would pick up the blue in the tiles we were leaving in the shower, but it was way too overwhelming in the small space. I think this color would be overwhelming in any space…

I definitely learned a few very important lessons during the first few months of home ownership:

  1. The color on a paint chip will be way more intense on your wall. If you find a color you think you like, you are probably safer picking a shade or two lighter.
  2. Silicone sealant is never, under any circumstance to be used as caulk. I didn’t make this mistake, but the homes previous owner did. The bathroom was “caulked” with silicone and the paint did not want to stick to it. If you ever run into this, my only advice is many light coats of paint, letting them dry in between. If you keep going over it with your brush, it will keep coming off the silicone.

  3. Everything takes way longer than you think it will.

  4. White sinks are never a good idea–even if they are free. You will want to pull your hair out trying to keep it looking nice.

Most of our initial work focused on the kitchen. There was originally a wall separating the kitchen and the living room, but we tore it out to open up the space. It wasn’t load bearing, so we didn’t need to header it.

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My family owns an appliance and cabinetry store, so we had some hookups there. About 7 years prior, our store had moved to a new location, leaving an old cabinetry display in our old warehouse. My dad and uncle said we could have it, so that is how we ended up with the cabinets that we did. Because it had been sitting in the damp warehouse, it wasn’t in the best of shape. We had to clean the mildew off of every single piece and Jerm had to rebuild a couple of the base cabinets. We took inventory of what we had and drew up a layout that would use all of the cabinets. We only needed to order 3 additional cabinets to make it work.

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and a view from the living room side..

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Our layout was “L” shaped and had a peninsula with a breakfast bar to divide the rooms. We added a desk space in the opposite corner along with two additional cabinets to use for food storage.  

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We ended up with the green countertops because we could salvage part of it from the old display. Looking back on this, it wasn’t our best idea. The only parts we ended up being able to use were the chunk for the desk top and the chunk for in between the refrigerator and range. We had to order matching green formica, make the other countertops we needed, and add the maple routed edge to match what we already had. It was a lot of work and took us so long to do. I wish we would have just ordered countertops that were more us, but it was a good experience and a fun project to work on together.

This got kind of long so part three will have to continue with some proposal excitement tomorrow. Have you ever made a design choice and then regretted it? Did you fix it or did you live with it?