Thursday, January 27, 2011

Inspired Winter Project Part I

January Projects...

Inspired... out of the necessity to keep from screaming...

I am trying to get this project done before we leave on our winter vacation.

 I have been working on my computer room...

I am going to warn you, this may get ugly.
It is a small room off the front hallway when you first enter the house, for all the world to see...
 I don't know what it was originally but now it has a coat closet and bookshelves. 
By the looks of the old wallpaper in the upper cupboards, the woodworking was done in the 30s and not by a craftsman. 
The room itself has some good qualities, a floor to ceiling window and a little nook that gives it some personality.

 The trouble began when it became a catch all with the floor to ceiling shelves and cupboards.
 For 15 years it has housed old bank statements, cards, photos, golf balls ... well you get the picture. 
It had been my husbands study and civil war room but now it is very outdated and cluttered.

Lately it has become even more of a storage area with stuff from the shop. All the books and vendor files from the shop got dumped in here, plus a window and desk.

At some point I put up curtains to hide the messy shelves. 
That just got annoying.

The computer armoir  that is soooo outdated,  just got to be a black hole and I couldn't find anything anymore. And recently we had to bring the computer in and the cords were a nightmare!

I can't imagine I am the only person in the world that has a room that has taken on a life of it's own. We get busy and just have time for so much and some things get pushed to the side. Such as my little room here.
 The shop was priority for some years now but now that I closed it, I have to tackle some of these issues that have been neglected.
How do you tackle projects?
Do you draw up a plan?  What inspires you? 
What determines the color scheme and furnishings?

I thought I would walk you through my little project here and show you what goes through my head when I decorate a room. 
 Now I don't have a pat routine - each project has its own set of different problems but usually there are some rules I follow.
The first thing I do when I am about to embark on a project no matter where it might be, I sit and study the space. I might sit in that room for an hour and come back and sit some more.
This for me is such an exciting part of the project,
 did I mention... I love a good project!
 I usually have a notebook and sketch or jot down some ideas. 

Now back to this project,
 because this is such a small room.
8' X 8' with 12" shelving across the whole room.
I didn't have to sit too long and think about furniture placement, fabric and wall adornments.
The color scheme I decided on is in neutral shades of cream and brown, I know does that surprise anyone?

But this room has problems to consider;
1. Walls are papered with 4 layers and the plaster is not good in this room, 2 large fractures by the window that have been there for many years.
2. The woodwork or painted shelving is not good, paint is peeling (not in a good way) and it isn't good wood to begin with.
So with size, the problems and what I like in mind, I came to the color palette and some solutions. 
1. Leave the paper on the walls, it helps stabilize the plaster
2. I can either sand and repaint the shelves (a lot of work) or I can cover them.
So of course the first step is editing and cleaning... that was quite a job. But 4 large garbage bags later and a dining room full of books... the room was cleared.

I am trying to be conservative money wise these days, after all I am now unemployed. So it is shop my storage and studio time... or going through the stash.
 I have quite a large collection of vintage fabrics and fabric is usually what inspires me... color, texture and print or design.

This bolt of of European linen inspired the color palette for me. 
From there I started my scheme...
Cover the shelving with old book pages, (I went back and forth on this, after all I just did this in the attic but I loved the results... and it is getting so popular, will I get tired of it, if I see it all over?) 
I took a page into the paint store and got my paint color for the woodwork and ceiling. 
I decided to cover the walls with brown burlap. It would give the walls a fresh pick me up and I love the texture and the color is perfect with the book pages and the linen I want to use.
I decided to take off the ugly cupboard doors that swing too far out into the room and skirt the space with the wonderful linen from my stash.

I chose the book to use for the color, size of the page and weight. I wanted a heavier paper so it would be a little more durable. I applied the pages with wallpaper paste. Once dried I sealed the pages with an acrylic sealer, satin finish for cleaning.

Next I painted the ceiling and rough sanded and painted the woodwork a linen white with a paint and primer mixture from Behr. The woodwork would take two coats. This paint is supposed to have a high bonding quality.

The final coat of paint was a satin finish by Behr called Antique White. It was a good match for the room.

The corner with the computer needed a complete re-do, everything about that corner was frustrating. I did have that desk from the shop, so I was going to try and make that work. I loved the old white paint on it and the overall look of it but would it be comfortable sitting.
Because I had to take apart the PC plus the cable and router, we were out of internet service, so this meant get this corner done and back in running order... quickly. 
Everyone in the household was not happy during this process.

This desk worked out quite nicely, I drilled a hole in the back for the cords to go through and then organized the cords with velcro. 

The walls I rolled with wallpaper paste and put the burlap up in sections. I did tack the top with upholsters tacks just to keep the burlap in place while I got the pieces in place.
 Use the paste liberally. 

I have a problem with placing the printer where I can use it easily. It is a large printer with a copier and it is not wireless. I really wish it was wireless!
 I may have to rethink the printer.

Today I am putting the rest of the burlap on the walls and putting up the curtains. 

Added notes on using the burlap:
I purchased the burlap at Joanne Fabrics, it comes in various shades of brown and also cream. Because of the 10' ceilings in this room I used approx 15 yards, I got it on sale for $2.99 per yard. When using the burlap do not stretch the fabric when applying it to the wall, it has a loose weave and it is easy to do. I also found that it is a little see through... if you have a white wall underneath this might be a problem. To do over, I would have been a little more careful with the white paint along the edges of the trim.

I will post again when I am farther along and I can show you the finished room. If you have any questions, please just email me and I will be happy to help.

I am linking up with Debra at Common Ground for
Vintage Inspiration Friday
Please visit her and enjoy all the inspiration!

Enter Here

For all of you that are in the area, there is going to be a
Gallery Open House
Friday Jan 28 6pm
Water Street Galleries
160 S Water Street
Batavia 60510
All studios will be open and I will be there from 6 to 9pm
Artwork will be for sale and refreshments served
Hope to see you there!



  1. WOW Rebecca! That transformation is amazing! I love everything you did and I am so loving your computer desk! I love it!

  2. wow - sure looks like this is going to end up being an amazing project! Can't wait to see more! xoox

  3. I am loving it! I love the book pages on the shelves and the burlap on the walls looks great. Your chandi in there is also gorgeous.

  4. The book case looks AWESOME! I've never seen that done before. And I love the chandelier. This room is going to be gorgeous when it's done. Can't wait to see it.
    Patricia :o)

  5. Oh my! You are on a major roll there Girl! This is turning around to be nothing short than AMAZING! Love it.... so can not wait to see the finished room. Be sure to take lots of pictures, details and all when done!!


  6. Amazing transformation! It looks fabulous. Love the window too. The shelves with the book pages are so great. I love that look. Since I also love burlap, I think that is an awesome idea too. Can't wait to see more.
    ~Debra xxx
    Capers of the vintage vixens

  7. This is going to be beautiful, Rebecca! Your plans ideas are just amazing! I love the burlap walls...what a great idea! Can't wait to see the finished room.


  8. Girl, you DO just blow me away!!! LOVE the burlap walls and book page shelves. Do you ever slow down??? This looks awesome, Rebecca. Gee I wish I'd known about this room when you were here, I thought you were perfect!!! LOL!!!
    love ya bunches, have a great getaway!

  9. Rebecca it is lovely. Since I plan on kicking Carole off the settee in the attic, she can hang out here ; D

    Cannot wait to see more.


  10. Oh my - this will be magazine worthy when you are finished.

  11. Rebecca, this room is really transforming into something beautiful! Thanks for sharing your little secret room with us and reminding us to use what we make it look easy and fabulous!

  12. The bookcase covered in those vintage pages looks lovely. The chandy is gorgeous. I completely understand about old wallpaper over plaster as we have that at our old house and it is a big issue. We paint and the plaster causes the paint to crack in 6 months. I call it Tuscan style! I can't wait for the whole reveal. ♥O

  13. Rebecca, I looovvvee this room, oh my you are a star at looks awesome!!! I need you to come and help me with the computer cord mess, and the living room TV mess of could help me paint the living room and maybe Deborah could help me with the slip covers.....wouldn't that be so much fun....I would return the favour, and bake and create something for everyone...ha ha, sounds like a dream right!!!
    Margaret B

  14. What a fabulous transformation! Love the idea of book pages "shelf liner". And I can so identify with a room taking on a life of it's own, and the house taking a back seat to the shop. One of the down sides of having a shop.

    Wanda @ Just Vintage

  15. Oh my, it's just beautiful!!! I love the colors and fabrics that you used, it's perfect!! I can't wait to see it all once it's complete!
    Have a lovely day Rebecca!

  16. Rebecca- BEAUTIFUL!!! I LOVE the burlap walls and the book page shelves! Since seeing your attic redo with the bible pages I have wanted to find something I can cover with book pages...I just adore the look! Thanks for sharing your tips! I look forward to seeing more!
    Tammy :-)

  17. I love what you are doing. I am working on both the kitchen and livingroom and I too just sit in the room for a while and look and think before beginning. The book paper on the shelves and burlap on the walls are such great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I love everything you have done so far, especially the book pages on your shelves. It's going to be so romantic and dreamy!


  19. You know I'm gonna be covering some shelves with pages and a wall with burlap :) Just got to figure out where?? But thanks for getting me inspired to do another project. I'm such NOT the planner you are, but somehow it comes together.
    Can't wait to see the whole thing! And the chandy is fabulous!
    Becky C

  20. Incredible, just incredible. Looking at your pictures, I felt just like I was reading a book that was a real page turner- I kept wondering "What will she do next?". Love the bookshelves- I think you picked the perfect shade of "age" and the burlap on the walls- beautiful. What an inspiring makeover- thanks so much for sharing.

  21. complete transformation. it’s hard to believe it’s the same room. Job well done Rebecca.

  22. Hi Rebecca,

    Oh boy do I ever have a room like that. I've taken pictures but I'm afraid to post them on my blog! The stuff I have is from going to too many garage sales and getting deals and then not having a place to put those deals. And from crafty projects. I am having a hard time getting motivated to do anything with it because we plan on moving in the summer. My computer and sewing machine are both in that same room.

    Cindy Bee

  23. Wow Rebecca,
    Thanks for showing all of the befores so we could see just how far you came with this project. This could be on one of those sites about DIY, like HGTV or that blog Before & After! Of course you have some really good bones to begin with...that window!! MY Goodness!
    Yes I also have mixed feeling about the book pages but you know what. It's a beautiful result & so affordable. I love it!
    Have you seen those wireless routers? I saw on the Nate Burkus show a computer station that looked like yours with the wires all over. All of them gone now replaced with this white disk thing. I would invest in a wireless printer/copier/scanner if I were you. I love mine!
    The burlap on the walls is awesome with the antique white paint. Can't wait to see it all fluffed with your wonderful treasures.
    I will try to call soon, the kids have all been down with the rotten flu the last couple of weeks. December & January have about done me in!

  24. Hi Sweet!
    It is looking fabulous!
    I like this little cozy! The burlap covered walls look even better in the dark color!
    But the small chandy sets the whole thing off so elegant! So You!
    Hope you have a very productive day...I am off to work in the closet!
    Hugs and kisses!

  25. You never cease to amaze me! I have so much work to do on my house, but for some reason I can't get my mind to work with my need! You are so inspiring! We have three rooms of tile scraped up and the base board pull up but that's about it! I have my bedroom left and two bathrooms to remove tile from. I can't wait to get my wood floors down, but I still can't get motivated! A local magazine called this week and wanted to photograph my house and I had to turn them down! Do you think that will motivate me? I think I am stressing over the whole project because it is so large, and that's why I can't move forward! Keep showing me inspiration and maybe it will rub off! Enjoy your winter vacation!

  26. Your creativity is astounding! I love the redo of your darling nook! I used book pages on several of the pieces in my studio and have lived with them for a couple of years now and I still love the look.

    A tip for adding fabric to the wall and then it being removable, use liquid starch! It works like a dream, I have a bathroom that has fabric covered walls, when I get tired of it I peel it off and put something new up there and it does not damage the walls or leave residue!

    I can't wait to see the finished project! Have a great weekend.

  27. Rebecca ..I love it all are so so talented ...the pages on the shelves the burlap on the walls the texture palette you have chose is just vintagly stunning ...(if vintagly is a word LOL )

    Would one of the old Metal Roll about appliance carts work for your printer ... Dress it with a skirt ...and then top it off with the printer and keep your paper and supplies on the bottom shelf of the cart hidden under the skirt ..??? Just a thought !

    Stop over if you get a chance ..we are having a 300 follower give back of our custom aprons and no less one with burlap ... And we are having a Blog Party on Monday Feb. 1st to share your favorite apron.. Come read about it if you get a chance ... it's in our right sidebar.

    Blessings ..Sara

  28. Hi Rebecca, Glad to hear the gift certificate worked for you and you found something that you could use. Thanks as always for coming by...your comments are an inspiration.

  29. I have a room or two that resemble your "before" photos. As always, you are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your home with us so that we can get movtivated to work on our own homes.

    Blessings... Polly

  30. Oh I'm lovin the burlap walls, what a wonderful transformation!!! Can't wait to see more!
    hugs~~~ Daphne

  31. You're taking action and tackling the beast and that is the best method I can think of... at least I no longer feel like the Lone Ranger in my quest to get more organized and tackle some of the tough spots in our Home... busy lives + too much work can = chaos and some deferred projects... but now I'm unemployed and retired AGAIN for a time *wink* I have no excuses for not tackling the beasts too! Thanks for the inspiration, I'm loving what you're doing with this space.

    Dawn... The Bohemian

  32. That looks amazing! You have turned it into the coziest of places! It is really gorgeous Rebecca, and you have me sitting here thinking that maybe that is what I can do to some walls that I have been putting off stripping! Thanks for sharing, Theresa xoxo

  33. You are the only person I know who would show the REAL before one else is that brave!
    You are creating a beautiful cocoon and I can't wait to see the butterfly emerge!
    P.S. Whoever thought wires and cords needed to be so long should be hung by their thumbs from said cords!

  34. Oh my Gosh REbecca -I loved this post-you've got me inspired and I'm sure a lot of other people(we get so lazy this time of year). I love how you shared your thought process-big help and the final results are outstanding! Can't wait to see more. PS-also loved that you showed the before-difficult, but helpful for those of us that don't live so beautifully to dream we can do it!

  35. since closing my store, I, too, and finding a little more time to "redo" the rooms in the house that have been sorely neglected...I love what you have done so far...thanks for the inspiration!

  36. Rebecca, you are a master in redoing rooms,-to make them look so very beautifull, so piecefull,-and restfull.
    This is what comes to my mind, with this room,too- the shelves with the old book pages, looks real wonderfull-was you able to take them out, and work with ,before putting them back again? If not I ENVY YOU THE PATIENCE TO add papers all over the shelves, it looks perfect, dear.And together with the brown burlap, on your walls, and the chrystal lamp- I don`t need further wievs to know this room will be as beautifull, as the rest of your lovely home.
    I know this will be as personal, and gorgeus, as every other room you have showed.
    Sweetie, I wish you -en god aften-
    Blessings, and love.

  37. Oh, how fun (and a lot of work!!). Can't wait to see the finished product!!
    Love your header - especially the 2nd picture!

  38. wow! loads of work!!!! can imagine that coating that bookshelf with book pages must have looked a work that would never end! but the result is just gorgeous! the space looks sooooo inviting already!
    happy eve,

  39. I knew it was going to look never disappoint! Have a great week. Susan

  40. Oh are so full of energy and creativity! I want a little of that myself. I have a room just like this (the before that is). It is the extra bedroom now that it isn't my sewing room anymore. It is the dumping room.
    You have made this as beautiful as I would have expected. The burlap walls are genius! The shelves...beautiful!
    Have a wonderful time on your trip to Arizona!
    love you,


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