Walk-in/Office Part 1: Before

When we bought our house, every room on the second floor was paneled.  That includes the bathroom.  As if that’s not bad enough, all three of the bedrooms also featured stunningly hideous suspended ceilings, complete with fluorescent light fixtures.

We pulled up carpets, tiled the kitchen, and did some painting before and right after we moved in, but the master bedroom was the first full room I took on.  I knew this whole house renovation would be a long-term, stressful, dirty project, and I wanted to have a refuge where we could sleep in cleanliness and peace. I needed at least one room where I could close the door on the construction and be surrounded by pretty things.  In the meantime, DH and I temporarily moved into the smallest of the three bedrooms, so I could work on the adjacent master bedroom.  My first order of business was to pull down the paneling.  In doing so, I discovered a door between the master bedroom and the approximately 10′ x 11’6″ bedroom in which we were sleeping.  I realized immediately that that small room, once partitioned, would make a perfect 5′ x 10′ walk-in closet, with a slightly larger office/work space on the other side.

About six years later, the walk-in/office is nearing completion.  At some point during that time, I removed the suspended ceiling.  Then I pulled down the paneling and found fiberboard nailed up between the paneling and the wall, on top of the firring strips.  Can I just tell you what a nightmare it was to get that off?  Every time I tried to dig my pry bar in around a nail, the stuff would just crumble apart and yet, inexplicably, I was unable to just yank it off the walls.  That was the first time I had to stop, sit down, and just cry in frustration.  It would not be the last.  The door and window casings and baseboards were all gone from this room.  The door connecting the bedroom was missing all of the hardware except for the hinges.

The room sat in limbo until recently when I got fed up with the lack of work space and with my craft supplies taking up the dining room and decided it would be the next project.

This is essentially what the room has looked like since I gleefully tossed the paneling, fiberboard, and suspended ceiling into a dumpster, only with a lot less junk in it.  It’s been a catch all for tools and materials for the past five years.

060Notice those holes in the floor? Notice the plywood pieces, which are hiding even bigger holes? I did that.  I knew there would have to be new flooring, so I took the opportunity to run new wiring to some of the fixtures on the first floor.

I was at work when my general contractor, BW, started working in the room. My husband (DH) came upstairs to find him standing there in disbelief.  They had this conversation:

DH: “What’s happening?”

BW: “Oh, just surveying your wife’s handiwork.”

You wanna make an omelette?  You gotta break a few eggs.

As you enter the room from the hallway, there was a reach-in closet to the right of the entry door.  Because it already was a small room and the plan was to make it even smaller by dividing it into two separate areas, I had BW pull the existing reach-in closet down.  It made the office wider by 18″.  Also, you can see below how much vertical space was gained by demoing the bulkhead above the closet ceiling.  The bulkhead started where the plaster ends.  That space will be extremely useful when the pendant task lighting is installed over the desk.

Once the closet was gone, I ran Romex cable on a new circuit from the basement to these two rooms.  In the office, there will be 3 outlets and 3 pendants above the desk, with another fixture in the center of the room.  I also left an existing outlet on the wall near the door.  In the walk-in, there will be 3 outlets and a fixture over my vanity, as well as two adorable chandeliers on the ceiling.

A few more pics of the side that will be the office.







This will be the walk-in.  The door on the right side of the picture is the one that I excavated when demoing the paneling.


The back wall is where the vanity will go.

This shot was taken from the back of the closet looking toward the bedroom. You can see some of the wiring I did to the right of the door.  Did you notice the gas pipeline between the work light and the wall switch?  My house, like most older homes, used to have gas powered lights.  The partition wall is 18″ to the right of the door jamb.


When we moved in, there was carpeting, then luan or something, then 3/4″ pine.  This is after the carpet was pulled up.


The chandeliers will go here, under ceiling medallions.  I put those holes in the ceiling, too.  Omelettes, people!


The window will have white, faux wood blinds.  I also ordered fabric to make a valance and purchased white sheers.  I’m still working on ideas for tie-backs.  I would’ve preferred to have this window in the office, but considering the placement of the connecting door, I couldn’t come up with a floor plan that would’ve made sense.

And this is how dirty I got while clearing out and vacuuming the room for BW:


Luckily, I clean up nice.

Walk-in/Office Part 2: Drywall!! coming soon.


Welcome to My Nightmare

Greetings and salutations!  I’m Beth.  I’m 36.  I, along with my husband, own a 1900 fixer upper in Pittsburgh, PA, which I’ve been renovating since the dawn of man and which I hope to have completed shortly before the apocalypse (could be the zombie or the four horsemen kind; that remains to be seen).  When we purchased the house in August of 2007, the original plan was a 3-5 year remodel.  But as everyone knows, life isn’t perfect and things don’t always go as planned.  Here you will find posts about our home improvements, other DIY projects that I’ve taken on, possibly a book review/recommendation or two, and definitely pictures of my beloved dogs.  More than anything, this is a place to share my struggles, triumphs, and advice, but it’s also a keepsake for me to look back on how much we’ve accomplished and to motivate me to keep moving forward.