Well, it has been a few months (yikes!) since I last posted! The main reason for that is our project that I’m (finally) sharing with you all today took a few months to complete (mostly because what started off as a fairly simple remodel of our office ended up expanding into a much bigger and more intensive project that extended to the outside of our home as well as under our home, but more on that later)! But, other than a few last minute touches (the closet doors), we are done! So today I am very happy to share our DIY home office remodel with you!
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Our home office is actually our 3rd bedroom. Our house is 3 bedrooms, we have the master bedroom, my daughter has her bedroom and our home office is the 3rd bedroom. My husband works from home full time and the office was still as it was when we bought the house over 9 years ago, and let me just say, it was not pretty! The carpet was cheap carpet and was matted down from walking on it and the paint was this very dull peachy kind of color (not even sure of the exact words to describe it) but it was aweful! The windows were vinyl brown windows that the previous owners had also painted that dull peachy color to match the hideous walls. In addition, the floor in the office was feeling oddly squishy and loudly creaked when walking on it, and even scarier, our desk drawers were rolling open on their own as the floor seemed slightly lower in the center of the room…. Something was obviously going on, so what better reason to start a remodel than to find out all the frightening things you need to fix! Here are some before pics of our home office:
To get started, the first thing we did, of course, was take all the furniture out of the room (which was in progress at the time the above pictures were taken). Next step was removing all the baseboards using a crow bar and a hammer or mallet. Use pliers to remove any nails that remain in the wall once the baseboard is off.
(Ignore the cobwebs on the wall in that last picture! We had a large, heavy oak desk in that corner that we couldn’t clean behind). Next, we pulled up the carpet and the carpet pad. Its sometimes easier to pull small sections of the carpet back and then cut it, makes it easier to manage. Be careful of the tack strip left after you remove the carpet (it actually has sharp tacks sticking up out of the strip that hold the carpet in place):
To remove the tack strip, use a crow bar and hammer or mallet to pry under the strip and lift it up. Again, use plier to remove any nails remaining in the floor.
After this step, our plan deviated quite a bit… Hubs was going to either just replace the particle board under-flooring that was in the office with plywood or lay new plywood on top. But the floor movement was concerning, so he decided to enter the crawl space under the house to have a look. (Quick side note for context – prior to selling the house, the previous owner had to pay quite some cash to have the left side of the house lifted up on jacks in order to make the foundation sturdier. The original builder had not done a great job of compacting the soil when they built the house, and as a result that side of the foundation began sinking, causing some issues with the house. Fortunately that was all fixed by the time we purchased it. However….) When hubs crawled under the house, he found that when the house was placed on jacks to fix the foundation, the center of the house where our office is located must have slipped off the pillars holding the home up, which was what was causing the floor in the office to sink slightly in places, there was no support underneath! Some of the beams were no longer attached to the concrete pillars underneath and would bounce up and down when anyone walked across the floor.
Because our office was on the far side of the home from where the crawl space entrance was, it was going to be a huge hassle to try and get all the tools and supplies he needed to the area underneath our office. So hubs decided to take the more drastic route of cutting a large hole in the office floor! First, he removed all the sheets of particle board that were on the floor under the carpet. Once he pulled that up, we found that the subfloor was made out of tongue and groove boards, which had shrunk over the years, leaving some “give” in the floor since the boards were not all properly butted up against one another. Next, out came the circular saw, creating this nice 4′ x 4′ access point to the crawl space under the office floor (this picture was after he removed the insulation and chicken wire that was used to hold the insulation in place):
Hubs fixed the free-floating house pillars by adding support boards and metal brackets to make sure all supports were attached to the concrete blocks holding the house up.
Once the pillars were fixed, hubs replaced the insulation and chicken wire.
He then used 1 1/8″ plywood sub-floor tongue and groove sheets to replace the tongue and groove boards he had cut out. He used liquid nails to adhere the plywood sheet to the floor support boards and then screwed them down. Then, he added 1/4″ plywood to bring that section of the floor even with the remaining floor. Lastly, we covered the entire floor with 1/4″ plywood as the base for our new laminate flooring and screwed that down (instead of nailing as nails can loosen over time and lead to a creaky floor in homes with a raised subfloor).
Before we tackled putting in new laminate flooring, our next step was to replace the windows. As I mentioned earlier, the vinyl windows in the home when we bought it had been painted so they didn’t open or shut well. In addition, hubs and I like the look of the colonial-style grids in the windows, so we decided to replace the existing windows with white vinyl windows we ordered through Home Depot. Here’s a pic of the original windows:
To remove the windows, we removed the trim around the windows on the inside and outside of the house using a crow bar and hammer.
Once the trim around the window was off on the inside of the room, I painted the walls (it’s easier to paint without trim on the walls). I chose the color Creek Bend by Behr.
As you can see from the missing windows in the above pictures, while I was painting, hubs removed the old windows. To do this, he used his drill to remove all the screws through the window flange that holds the window in. He also used a crowbar to remove any nails that had been holding the window in through the flange.
Once all nails and screws had been removed, hubs was able to slowly lower the window from the opening and remove it.
But… As I mentioned earlier, this project became much larger…. Once we removed the trim around the windows on the outside of the house, we decided since we had to replace the exterior trim around the windows, might as well replace the siding too! Go big or go home, am I right!? So, long story short (to be told as a long story in another post) we pulled the siding off the front of the house around the office area, found there was no shear boards, had to add them in, add new Tyvek, and then we added Hardi Plank siding. We live in a high wildfire risk zone and liked the fire resistance of the Hardi siding compared to the particle board wood siding that was currently on our house. But more on that in the future… For now, just know that 1/4th of the front of my house has Hardi siding and is grey, and the remainder of the front of our house is the old wood brown siding. Makes it look, well,….interesting!
But back to our home office! Before installing the new windows, Hubs made sure the Tyvek water proofing material attached up around the opening of the window. He then installed flashing on the bottom opening of each window.
Next up, it was time to install the new windows!
Once the windows were in place, Hubs made sure the windows were level, using shims where needed, and screwed the window in place through the widow flange. He the installed flexible window flashing around the entire flange of the window.
Once the windows were in, it was time to install the new flooring. We selected Pergo Portfolio with Wet Protect waterproof laminate flooring in Timber Oak as the color. We decided to go with waterproof laminate flooring instead of hardwood floors due to the fact we have a kid who is famous for spilling things and a dog who loves to swim in the pond and then immediately come into the house. In addition, living on property, there are rocks and weeds and dirt so laminate flooring seemed like a better option and was much less expensive than real hardwood flooring.
First, we laid down the Pergo underlayment. We used the Pergo Premium Gold underlayment and underlayment tape. The underlayment has tape attached to it, but that tape doesn’t hold well, so we chose to use a separate roll of underlayment tape to tape the pieces of underlayment together.
Once the underlayment was down, we started laying down the Pergo. We started at the far corner of the room and continued along the outside wall of the room. We used a laminate flooring installation kit to ensure each board was properly seated, and made sure to use spacers between the wall and Pergo flooring (this allows for any expansion of the floor, if you don’t leave space, over time, your flooring can buckle). We used a miter saw to cut the boards if it required a straight cut, and we used a jig saw to make any more complicated cuts (around the opening of the closet for example). To stagger the lines where the flooring boards fall, we used the remainder of each cut board from the end of the previous row to start the beginning of the next row.
Once the flooring was down, it was time for shiplap! I didn’t want the whole office shiplapped (is that a word? Well, it is now!) I decided to do one accent wall with shiplap tongue and groove boards I purchased at Home Depot. Before I put the boards on the wall, I painted them with Behr Ultra Bright White paint in semigloss finish. To make painting easy and SO fast, I used my super awesome HomeRight Superfinish Max Paint Sprayer! That little machine makes painting a breeze! Quick tip: If you are using the Behr paint with a primer mixed in, you’ll likely need to thin it with some water before spraying with the paint sprayer. I also painted the baseboards, crown molding and window and door trim at the same time so I’d only have to prep and clean the sprayer one time.
Once the paint on the shiplap boards had dried, I cut each shiplap board to the length of the wall. Before putting up the boards, I marked the location of the studs in the wall using a stud finder and a pencil to mark the location of each stud on the wall, making sure the studs were marked all the way down the wall. I then put the bottom board up first, using my level to make sure it was straight on the wall, and then used my Ryobi Airstrike Nailgun to shoot brad nails through the “tongue” portion of the board. I used 2″ brad nails and made sure to shoot nails through studs on the wall.
Once the first board was attached to the wall, I had to cut out holes in the next board to allow space for the outlets, phone line and internet connection. To do that, I marked the location and size of each hole that needed to be cut out of the board. I then used a large drill bit to make a hole in the center of each area that a hole needed to be cut, that the jigsaw blade would fit through. I then used my jigsaw to cut out the rectangular hole for each of the three outlet/phone jacks/internet cable connections.
Next, it was just adhering each additional board to the wall, until the entire wall was covered.
Once all the shiplap boards were up, it was time to put up the baseboards and crown molding. I also wanted to add a small trim piece down each side of the shiplap wall to cover any gaps between the shiplap boards and the end of the wall (our walls aren’t completely straight). So, we cut the crown molding and the baseboards to size for the shiplap wall, and then used the Ryobi Airstrike nailgun to adhere the baseboard and crown to that wall.
Once both the crown and baseboard were up on that wall, I measured the distance between the top of the baseboard to the bottom of the crown, and but two 1/4″ thick 1 1/2″ wide boards at each end of the shiplap wall.
Next, we began adding the trim around the windows, the closet, and the door. We chose the same farmhouse-style trim design around all windows and doors. We used 1×3 boards for the right, left, and bottom of the windows (and doors). At the top of windows (and doors), we used a 1×6 board that was about a 1/2″ longer than the width of the window on each side. Then, we placed at 1×2 board above the 1×6 board, with a piece of cove molding directly underneath the 1×2, on top of the 1×6 board.
To fill all the nail holes from the nail gun when we attached the trim to the wall, I used a lightweight spackle that dries quickly. Once the patch had dried, I lightly sanded the areas where the spackle was applied, and then used a foam brush to touch up the white paint. I also used white caulk to fill any gaps in the inside out outside corners on the crown molding and baseboards, and added a line of caulk above the crown molding to fill any gaps between the crown and the ceiling. I then used a foam brush to paint over the caulk once it dried.
Lastly, before moving office furniture back into the room, we hung the new roman shades I purchased for the windows. I purchased these from Blinds.com. The color I selected looked a little more light grey online, but when we received them, they look white. I actually am glad that they ended up being a lighter color though as it helps keep the room looking brighter!
Below are some pics of the office once we moved all the furniture in. I had gotten hubs a couple of ergonomic sit-stand desks, one for Father’s Day and one for Christmas (he works in IT so he needs several computers and monitors for work, hence the two desks). Prior to that he had all of his computer equipment crammed onto one 6′ long desk and didn’t have enough space to work comfortably. Here are the links to the desks I ordered in case you are interested on those:
As you can see, we still have some work to do such as containing all those wires and cords under my husband’s desks, and we need to hang some artwork or photos on the wall. But other than that, the room feels so much cleaner and new! Have you recently updated or renovated your office space (especially now when many of us are teleworking due to COVID-19)? If so, I’ love to see pics or hear details in the comments below!