IKEA BILLY BOOKCASE HACK – PHASE I

As someone who works from home, I obviously spend a lot of time in my home office. It may come as no surprise that, as a creative by trade, I tend to be far more productive in a space that inspires me. As far as an office space, I find myself much more motivated and charged to get things done when I’m in a space that not only functions well but also feels nice to really be in. I’ve made an effort to create some beauty in my home office and give myself an inspiring view while I work throughout the day by creating a unique gallery wall (that has certainly changed and evolved over time) directly across from my desk.

The gallery feels fresh and a little quirky and brings me joy throughout the workday as I look at pieces that have meaning and bring up old memories, but the rest of the office just felt a little flat. As a space where I work, I didn’t want it to feel cluttered or too overwhelming (the gallery makes enough statement on it’s own) and adding more art to the walls felt redundant. 

While our house definitely has bits of character here and there, I’ve longed for something to not only add a bit of functional storage to this hard working space but also act as a place to display books, photos and items that have meaning to us. Back in our old house, we built floating shelves in a nook in our dining room and, while my style has certainly evolved since then (see below), looking back at old photos made me miss having a space specifically for displaying. 

I realized that our home office now would really be the perfect spot to add a bit of character and functional display space by creating our own version of the tried and true “IKEA Billy Bookcase Hack.” Spend more than a minute on Pinterest searching that phrase and you’ll find no shortage of inspiration. 

The plan became to use the IKEA Billy Bookcase to create built-in shelving on either side of the window behind my desk. After some brainstorming and planning, we got a few drawings together for how we hoped the final space would look and how we would work with our particular measurement and limitations.

Some elements we had to contend with were a return vent, an electrical outlet, and an old telephone jack on the right side of the window where one of the bookcases would be placed. The phone jack was really no problem (it’s been a long time since we had a home phone, and the jack was easily disconnected and removed) but we had to come up with a way to keep the return vent open and the outlet needed to remain accessible within our new built-in.

Based on our room dimensions and the dimensions of the Billy Bookcases, we knew we would need to build a frame for each bookcase (to eventually attach the finishing boards and trim to) and also a platform for each shelf to rest on.

We started out by assembling the bookcases, which was actually a breeze compared to some IKEA assembly I’ve experienced in the past, and then figured out exactly how we wanted each one placed on the wall. Once they were in place, we were able to plan out exactly how we were going to accommodate the vent and outlet within our build. 

First, we removed the trim along the back wall and on each side wall based on the depth of the bookcases, creating a nook for each one and its frame to slide into. Then, we built a platform base for each side to sit upon. We planned to raise the right side up just enough to create a new access to the return vent and then matched that on the left. 

In order to create access to the return vent, we cut out a space to allow airflow, framing that in, and attaching a perforated metal panel that will eventually be painted white and trimmed out to allow for air flow while still blending into the construction. Then, we created a frame from the base to the ceiling. Each bookcase will sit inside of these frames, allowing us to attach finishing wood and trim pieces from floor to ceiling. 

Lastly, we placed the bookcases into their new frames and secured them to the wall, keeping them firmly in place. To allow access to the outlet, I simply cut the bookcase’s back panel at the height of the first shelf. I’ll then paint the wall the same white as the rest of the elements, leaving it almost undetectable.

Phase II will be all about truly creating that built-in and enclosing each frame to take each side from simple IKEA to a true built-in feature. So far, things are looking just how I imagined and have already given the space some of that dimension and character than I’ve been looking for! I’m hoping to make some progress this upcoming weekend and be back with an update for you sometime soon!

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NEW SHEETS WITH CALIFORNIA DESIGN DEN

I’ve always been pretty picky about bed sheets. That’s one area where function definitely trumps form in my book. If I’m not comfortable in a bed, 90% of the time, it’s not about the mattress, it’s about the bedding situation. Nothing is more comforting to me than a well dressed bed, and a comfortable set of sheets is at the top of the list in terms of importance. So, when California Design Den asked me if I would be interested in giving their line of 100% cotton sheets a try, I was a bit hesitant. However, with January feeling like a right time for a fresh start, I decided to give them a shot, and boy am I glad that I did.

My pickiness with bed sheets has never been about thread count (it seems a lot of people get caught up in thread count, doesn’t it?) but more about a soft texture, a little bit of give and flexibility, and just an overall smooth feeling when you climb into bed, and this set of 100% Cotton Sateen Sheets ticked all of those boxes.

These sheets are really simple and classic and I really love the four inch hem on the flat sheet that really gives your made bed a tailored look. The crisp clean one adds that freshness to by bedding that’s oh so welcome at the beginning of a fresh new year. 

On top of a crisp and sleek look, every set of California Design Den sheets is crafted using fine materials, superb craftsmanship, and an eco-friendly production processes at a truly affordable price. You’re really getting the best of both worlds here. And, as a picky sheet sleeper (is that a thing?) I can truly say that I’ve found my new go-to set. 

Are you starting your New Year with fresh new bedding?

FALL 2018 FAMILY ROOM

Recently, I realized that it had been a LONG TIME since I had shared any updated photos of our family room. The truth is, over the years, I’ve tweaked things here and there but nothing really felt substantial enough to share here. However, when I was going through old photos the other day, I realized, all of those little tweaks had really added up to major changes in how our family room looks and feels. So, I decided to snap some photos the other day while things were feeling pulled together and the leaves were still in full Fall force.fall 2018 family room

This is truly one of those spaces that is ever-evolving. It’s such a happy space to be in with so much light coming in from the many windows. It’s surrounded by woods and there’s always a pretty view at any point during the day, feeling bright and cheerful in the afternoon and warm and cozy in the evenings. It really is our favorite space to spend time in. 

fall 2018 family room

A lot of the major elements have stayed the same over the years, but pieces have been swapped out here and there. Whenever I’ve feeling the creative bug, I like to move things around the house and give old pieces life in a new space. That’s always my biggest suggestion before running out and buying new items for your home. It’s amazing what a little change can do… 

fall 2018 family room

I did some digging and realized that the last time I shared photos of this space was in this post back in February of 2016! WHAT?! Here’s a look at how it looked back then.

current house

current house

I think the most noticeable changes here might be how much my fiddle leaf has grown!! It’s surviving AND thriving, not something I’ve been known to provide house plants with!

I like elements of both “versions” and while I liked how it felt back then, I’m really loving how it has slowly evolved over the years. I’m excited to see how it evolves again over the next few years!

Speaking of evolving, I can’t wrap this up with a whopper of a “Before & After” for you…Ready for it?

fall 2018 family room

fall 2018 family room

Well, I guess things really have changed ;)

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SIMPLE HALLOWEEN BAT DECOR

Over the years, I’ve paired down on my holiday decor drastically. Especially as a designer, I’ve always felt the pressure to create beautiful holiday spaces, but as the years have passed, I’ve really grown to love and embrace simple seasonal and holiday decor. Don’t get me wrong, I love scrolling through the elaborate seasonal images that we’re constantly reminded of on Instagram, but in my own space, I’ve grown to really embrace the “less is more” aspect of seasonal decor.

While I’m no longer pulling out bins and bins of Halloween decorations from storage (that’s my Halloween treat right there!) I still look for simple ways to add a touch of festivity without feeling overwhelmed by “stuff” or feeling the pressure to spend frivolously on items we stash away after all is said and done.

These points let me to what may be the simplest of Halloween DIY’s to add a bit of fun to your home for this spooky holiday. In less than 30 minutes and with only items I had around the house, this simple Halloween bat decor DIY adds just the right amount of trick-or-treat cheer in 3 simple steps! It’s almost so simple it doesn’t need explaining but, hey, why not?

Here’s what you’ll need: black paper, pencil (I used a white one to make it easy to see), scissors, painters tape

Step 1: Fold paper in half, just as you would do making the classic paper snowflake.

Step 2: Draw half of your bat shape. I kept it really simple, but created two different sizes to add a little dimension! Then I re-traced again and again, to create as many bats as I needed for my specific space.

Step 3: Cut out & attach painters tape to the back before attaching to your wall. You could really use any type of adhesive product that you have or prefer. I went with painters tape to avoid any damage to the surfaces I was attaching to. 

It really couldn’t be any quicker, cheaper or simpler! Just attach your bats to the wall in any configuration you desire! I took mine up onto the ceiling a bit just to add some dimension! 

Happy Halloween!

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