Remember the office space that we created for Steve and myself? Below you'll see a picture of what this wall was like before Christmas...
Well, we realized that our office was the hub of family activity more than any other room...which means that our kids were always begging for our computers and bringing all their STUFF into our office. Which, of course, means big messes everywhere and not enough storage or desk space.
So we bid adeiu to the reading chair and the bookshelf (the ottoman got a facelift and so did the dark bookcase) and bought a nice long, skinny table from IKEA. I considered making the table too, but with my mammoth list of other things to make/change/remodel I decided to go with the store bought one....besides, it was on sale! Then I got to work designing and building a custom hutch with custom boxes to go in it.
Presto change-O! We now have a family office/creative center with all the crayons, markers, yarn, playdoh, foamy shapes, paper, glue, etc tucked away in pretty boxes and the kids have their OWN table to do crafts on so they'll (hopefully, crossing my fingers on this one) leave me to my own messes on my own desk.
I actually remembered to take plenty of "during construction" photos on this one, so here goes!
I used a big sheet of cabinet grade plywood for the back, then cut 12" wide pine boards to the proper dimensions. Steve helped me glue and nail (I super-duper heart pneumatic nail guns! Can't live without 'em) the 2 sides of shelving together that you see in the pic above. Not exactly a one-person job!
I had drawn out all the lines where the shelves were to go beforehand, and during construction I used these awesome spring clamps to help hold the shelves in place during the glue+nail process. Because, as much as I would sometimes like to be, I'm not an octopus.
I made sure I drew lines on the BACK of the hutch that were exactly the same as the lines on the front of the hutch. This made it possible to send the nails through the back and into the shelves in a much more precise manner...although we still managed to miss occasionally - but much less than we would have otherwise! Blame it on the knots in the wood - they can be so hard that the nails would rather deflect than go through them. Or user error. Either way. :-)
Two of the three shelves in the middle section were in line with shelves on the other sides, so nailing into them from the opposite side wasn't possible. I attached cleats made of quarter round to those places, and the shelves rested on the cleats.
Then it was time for the trim, which I glued and nailed in place.
After filling the nail holes, sanding, and using painter's caulk in all the seams, it was ready to paint! It took far too long to paint that thing, and I resolved to paint the pieces first next time. I was lucky that my good friend Christine came down from DC area to visit me, because she helped me finish painting this hutch AND prepainted the pieces to the unit I built in the laundry room! (More on that later) See what happens when I get visitors? I put them to work! Actually Christine is a kindred spirit and likes doing stuff like this, so I didn't have to feel too badly. We got to go to the beach too, and the sand dunes - good times, good times.
I made the large boxes out of cabinet grade plywood, because that's what I had on hand and I actually like seeing the lines of ply on the box edges. I painted these with 1 coat of white paint and then sanded back through so the ply edges were partially visible and only a thin coat of paint remained on the box sides, with the wood grain peeking through here and there. I knocked all the sharp edges and corners off with a hand-held sander prior to painting, then went back over it with the sander after painting as well. I then coated everything with a thin layer of furniture wax and they are smooth as a baby's bum! I also glued sheets of felt to the bottom of the boxes to minimize friction and potential damage to the shelving.
These 2 little guys were made the same way, but I used thin pieces of poplar instead of the thick, heavy plywood since they were so small. The shiny boxes with lids were ones I found on clearance at Lowes right after New Year's.
We screwed the hutch to the studs in the wall in several places, so it's actually not resting on the table at all. That baby was so heavy we didn't want to stress the table, and this way we know that, no matter how crazy our little monkies get, the hutch won't tip over on them.
Ah, finally...one little corner of my world where there really is a place for everything and everything is in its place. Hmmm....how long do you think it will last?