Saturday, August 31, 2013

54 Closet Office Makeover - Panel Process

Although we are trying to spend as much time at the beach with the boys for the final days of summer break, we are also trying to finish up a last minute closet office refresh for our oldest son.

Last winter I decided it was time to do something with Preston's bedroom.  And we started with oodles of love and goals and excitement.  And we got a lot done, such as painting his dresser and nightstand, stripes on his curtains, updating his light fixture and DIY'ing a chalkboard calendar.  And then the holidays came, spring came and went, and we had a great summer.  But Preston's room felt no more attention or love throughout that entire time.  I think I needed to step away and really think about what direction we want to take it {"we" as in him and I}.

But one thing is for certain.  Preston's closet desk space has become victim to a pre-teen boy with zero excitement for organizing.  It is his dumping ground, his puzzle building spot, and a place to draw a picture from time to time.  Last year, he did use it for homework, and expressed that the desk was the perfect place for him since he loves his quiet time.  It just needs that extra attention to make it more functional, and more pleasing to not only work within, but for his room as a whole.

It has become my goal to continue to share our messy spaces.  Sometimes our systems fail, sometimes we get lazy and sometimes we haven't ever given those spaces the attention they need to be successful.  Whatever the case, it all happens around here, and we still have a list of endless organizing to do {wahoooo for me!}.

I give you, a 12 year old boy's closet office.


Although I may break out in nervous sweats and hives when I see his desk space, I will admit, the giant puzzle on the desk makes it look much worse than it is.  It also shows that we have a problem with our puzzle building and storage process {this kid does puzzles non-stop in his spare time, and enjoys doing them in his room where his little brothers won't get at them}.

Not only do I want to help him organize this space, I want to make it feel a bit more mature and "grown up".  So it is our quest to combine super simple storage solutions {meaning, simple to maintain for a boy with other things on his brain}, and something a bit more sophisticated as well.

So first, the sophistication.  We started by emptying out the entire closet, including the built in shelves and desktop.  When we initially installed the cloffice, we didn't select a thick enough piece of MDF for the desktop.  Ultimately, it began to warp over time, so something a bit more sturdy is also on the agenda.

Once the closet was completely empty {sorry for forgetting to snap that photo}, the next step was to plan a paneled wall install.  I have seen a few paneled walls in magazines and even in beautiful blogger homes, so I was excited to give it a try in a smaller space.


No matter which way you dice and slice it, there really is no super simple math solution {that we could come up with}, for creating an absolutely perfect grid wall {especially when multiple sized walls are involved}.

But we did come up with a solution that worked for us, which was something like this:
  • We drew a diagram of what we envisioned the interior of the closet to look like when it was all said and done.  {shown above}
  • Mathematically, we knew each wall would be framed out by the boards {meaning each wall would have trim running along the floor, the ceiling and each edge of the wall}.  Knowing that, we subtracted those boards from the remaining wall area, to determine the placement of the interior grid.
  • We added a complicating step by knowing where the first vertical board would need to run, so the desk would sit tightly against it on the back wall {and things wouldn't fall behind the desk because of the panels}.  If you are just paneling a wall, that step may be avoided.
  • Next we determined approximately how many vertical panels we wanted.  Once we were set on one for the small left wall, three for the back wall and two for the slanted side wall, we could subtract the width of the boards and divide the remainder of space into equal parts.
  • Once we had our vertical boards in, trying to keep the grid visually pleasing and somewhat even, we then used the width of the vertical panels to determine the height of the horizontal panels.

Basically, make a drawing and scribble on it and scribble on it some more until you find all of the right measurements.  Once you have your grid planned, it's all about following it and installing it, which probably took us less time than trying to figuring it out in the first place.

To install:

Because our walls are covered in an oh-so-fabulous orange peel texture {please sense sarcasm here}, we needed to smooth it out.  We figured we had two options, either skimming it smooth with taping mud, or by adding smooth wall panels.  We chose the latter, because we didn't want the walls to be easy to chip and dent.  The panels we purchased were 4' x 8' smooth panel board.

To get the panels cut to width, the hubby propped them on our outdoor table, added a straight edge guide that ran the length of the sheet of paneling, and used his skill saw to cut the edges.  {Yes, we work at night while our children sleep, it's the only way to get things done around here.}


Once the smooth boards were cut to size, we used a heavy duty construction adhesive to place them on the wall.


Bryan only nailed the edges since the perimeter of each panel board was going to be covered by a piece of trim.

Once the paneling was up, next was installing the grid.  This is the first of about a bajillion times throughout the process when I scratched my head.  The hubs and I prove to be opposites on many things construction related {good thing opposites attract, right Paula?}.  He often works on the heavy building stuff while I work on the typing stuff.  That means he works ahead of me, and does things as he would do them, not how I would.  In the end, it always works out, but you can imagine the hysterical conversations we have each time I check in on his progress....

Like when I walked in, and saw all the verticals installed without the trim and ceiling molding in first....


Yep, he installed all the vertical boards first, because they were already the perfect 8 ft height that the wall was, and that meant, he wouldn't have to cut any of the boards down.  My brain, wanted to see the trim on the floor and ceiling done first, but in the end, he said it would all be pieced in nicely and caulked and you would never even notice {fast forward, he was right}.

To install the boards {we used a 3/4" thick x 3" wide x 8' long primed pine boards}, Bryan used his level and brad nailer, and placed them per our pre-planned diagram.

Next came the horizontal boards.  This took a bit longer as he measured and cut each and every board for the width.


He did this because although the vertical board was straight, it could have slight warps throughout, and wanted it to be as seamless as possible.  Every piece was also measured into place by measuring down from the same point at the top.


Cut and repeat.  Again, and again, and again.....

After all of the horizontal boards were installed {again, with the brad nailer}, an hour of caulking each and every board and nail hole came next.  For this, we always select a white, paintable caulk.


This is where my hubby says, "Goodnight my love" and heads to bed.  And I grab the paint brush.

Although in my gut, I thought I probably should prime the walls, I knew I had the paint with the primer built in, and figured it just may take three to four nice thin coats.  I went that route, and was pleasantly surprised that it was almost all covered after the first coat went up!  I used Behr's Burnished Metal {which is the same gray on the upper portion of his walls around the perimeter of his bedroom}.


Backing up a minute, to get that far, I started by using my brush and brushing each vertical and horizontal board, and the inside of each square to ensure I didn't miss any board edges.


Then I followed behind with my mini microfiber roller.


This room has carpet, so I used a paint guide at the bottom and it worked really really well.


And here is the fabulous closet after the second coat.


Yes, I was scratching my head again, just as you are right now.  I couldn't figure out why my hubby went to bed without installing the final panel on the bottom.

He later admit he was trying to take a short-cut, because he thought the base of the desk going in, would supplement the look of the final wall panel.  Oh my, he should know much better than that.  My OCD could never let that happen, you can bet that final wall panel will be going in this weekend.


A few more things worth mentioning.  That incredible desk is actually the DIY console desk we initially built for my studio {don't even get me started on my studio, I am back to wanting to blow it up and start over for the third time}.  Once I realized how awesome the desk would work in Preston's space, I knew it was meant to be.  The beautiful wood with white works so perfectly with the darker walnut shelves above.  Love that we were able to use something we already had.  So knowing we were going to use this desk, we were able to plan the placement of the horizontal grid to line up with the back of the desk.  This ensures nothing can roll off behind the desk due to the recessed grid.

My hubby installed the shelf brackets for me before he went to bed {since he was just getting up to go to work the next day and I wanted to snap pictures in daylight}.  When he installed them, this was the third time I scratched my head {it's amazing I have hair left}.  I probably would have put them flush against the left wall.  He centered them on the grid.  He says, she says.  In the end, I still love how it all turned out.


So, next up:
  • Install, caulk and paint the final grid at the bottom of the closet
  • DIY wall storage options
  • Install lighting
  • Organize, organize, organize
  • Give him a place other than his desk to do and store his puzzles

Anyone else loving the paneled wall look?  Or get into a battle of the sexes situation while working on home projects?

54 comments:

  1. I'd love to have the type of house with an large, open stair case and do paneling on it. But we don't have that type of house and our stair cases are tiny. I still love the look but if I brought up more paneling (and painting in general) my husband may just ignore me at all costs. Or bring up the big D word. He hates painting more than anything. So, I guess it's a good thing that we don't have plans for this...yet! ;) I love the look of it in a closet and can totally see this going in various ways with organization and making it work for a young man!

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    1. Oooh, I like your idea of a grand paneled stair case. Sounds lovely!

      xo,
      Jen

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  2. It looks gorgeous Jen! I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

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  3. Looking great! Your son will love it! I love that he does puzzles - that is so cute!

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  4. Love your Saturday posts, they are always a delight to read on a relaxing weekend. I think the paneling looks super cool and more mature, good choice.

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  5. Did you have to take the table apart to fit it in there?

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    1. Great question! We took it apart, but only to cut it down a smidge so it was the right length for the closet. However, we reassembled it before putting it in the closet and it went in without any issues.

      xo!
      Jen

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  6. Have you thought about using one of these ( http://www.walmart.com/ip/Puzzle-Stow-Go-Storage-System/10755872 ) to store the work-in-progress puzzles? It's supposed to keep the completed part of the puzzle intact when you roll it up. My grandmother has one and it seems to work fairly well. :)

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    1. Thanks for the tip! We have another solution up our sleeves, but it is nice to know there is always a back-up plan if we need one. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  7. Office closets for adults are awesome because we need that separation from work (for those workaholics among us) and can easily do that by putting a curtain over our closet office. However, I think a closet office doesn't really work for teens/children because it's not brightly lit enough. I find that finding the perfect lighting for a room is better than focused light on a book surrounded by 3 walls. It hurts the eyes and makes us just not want to study :(

    When I was a teen, I needed the privacy/quite of a bedroom, but a desk in my room was a much better solution because it had drawer space I needed to put everything away when I was done. He is using his desk for puzzles/drawings, really things that can be done in your AMAZING playroom! Plus he would have the added bonus of the pressure to clean up after himself since it's a shared space (as opposed to his closet office).

    Just some thoughts. I think it's hard to get boys organized, so he definitely needs to grow into it, but he'll get there with an such an amazingly organized mom!

    PS Your blog/home is fabulous. You've really given me the inspiration that I needed to take advantage of the space that I do have in my apartment and use the organization creativity that have been dormant inside of me for too long.

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    1. I can see how that can absolutely impact some kids and adults alike. :) And I even have days where I move to the kitchen table to avoid gazing at a wall while I work.

      I suppose I should have clarified more in the post, however, my boy LOVES his closet desk. In fact, it is one of his favorite places in the house because he feels like it is his own little personal nook. He used it for homework last year because he preferred that space over being at the table with his chatty brothers {and we use a task lamp within the closet so it is still plenty lit for studies}. And when I asked him if he wanted to nix the closet desk, I got a big fat NO WAY! :) He even wants to add a curtain so it can be even more private {think boys and their love of forts}, so we may do that for him as well. I believe in letting him own most of the design of his room, I am just here to help make it easier for him to use. Up until now, the desk was just trying to function in too many ways.

      As far as the puzzles go, the playroom just is not an option for him. So much playing goes on there, that his 1,000+ piece creations are not safe around his smaller brothers. But I have another solution for that in mind. :)

      Thanks so much!

      xo,
      Jen

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  8. I love the grid wall look and the color. (Gorgeous new pic on the sidebar too btw.)

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  9. sounds familiar those conversations...hehe..it is frequently happen when hubby didn't capture the same final image with us, right? but we always can accept it finally..=D

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  10. Agreed, the pic is stunning! I love logging on (from Melbourne Australia) and seeing what new project is on the go :) We're moving house in just under three weeks, from a rental to our very own house, and I'm soooo excited to implement a few of your systems! Thanks for the huge amount of inspiration you inject into my day Jen.

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    1. Thank you Carly! Congratulations on the new house! Such an exciting time for you! Have fun making it yours!

      xo,
      Jen

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  11. Go Badgers!

    Love the desk. I had done something similar to that in my first house when I didn't have enough space for an office. Mine wasn't as thought out though!

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  12. Me, too, Jen!! Great updated photo of you!!

    I love the grid design. It is so great that he loves his space in his room. Having been through two teens already, I know they LOVE spending A LOT of time in their spaces. Might as well make it one they enjoy being in.

    Men are from Mars, Women from Venus definitely plays in in home projects, I think. my DH and I have had many battles over the 18 yrs of working on homes. You aren't alone. ;)

    BTW.. so funny reading this, as we have two closets in our house torn apart. My house looks like a bomb went off. My 6 yrs closet is getting a new paint job and the shelving configuration redone form what the builders hung 9 yrs ago, as well as the little walk in closet in the laundry room. Mind you, there are other projects not finished around here. Please tell me, I am not the only one with too many started and not finished projects?! I think when you start them they start snowballing into more. Then work gets too crazy for DH to finish (like installing new door and molding, or finish the deck). Something needs to get finished. The mess is driving me nuts.

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    1. Oh, I can understand how you feel. Sometimes, we have a few projects going on at once, and I get a little antsy with all of the messes that come with it, but I know it is all for good and fun and have learned to realize it just comes with projecting. And yes, one always seems to lead to another, or ten! :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  13. Having a home myself, I realize how amazing was to have a built-in desk when I was a child (my parents are architects so that's how they designed it) For a recovering-messy-person, it was great to have a desk enclosed on three sides, so my crafts/homework/projects stayed contained.

    Thanks for being such an organizing inspiration!!

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  14. My boys are not in thier own room yet but as my oldest gets older I will put him in his own room in the and create the same closetb space for him.In the meantime I converted my closet to a craft closet and I will do the same with my hallway closet to get more space. But I love what byou did with the cloest/office/desk space www.porfiriagomez.com

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  15. I've enjoyed your blog but every time I read your renovation posts, I'm always stumped by how you & your husband approach most projects as a team. Personally, I'd love a post on that dynamic & tips & tricks you've learned over the years for communicating w/your husband on house projects. I know you're not a marriage counselor but I'm so curious how you guys do it! I know my own family's discussions on these kind of things usually don't result in a lovely, thought-out, well-budgeted room....

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    1. We were just chatting about this. I think it would make a great post. I will see what I can do. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  16. Hi Jen,
    I noticed in your recent blog that you have sort of changed his room color. I believe in earlier posts it was orange and blue, now it is a gray. You also have changed the shelving units...they are bulkier and brown, not white. When did the change occur and where did you get the floating shelves?...Love, love, love.

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    1. Hi Kimberly!

      I changed the wall color over two years ago now, you can find the oldie post here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2011/02/iheart-good-weekend-update-part-2.html. The walnut floating shelves {were originally from IKEA}, were in our dining room for quite awhile, however, we decided that they were a bit much and we really only needed one since we use them primarily for accessories. So we took the white ones out of Preston's room {gifted them to my brother}, and put the more substantial walnut ones from our dining room in his closet. I never posted about it because it didn't seem significant enough at the time. :)

      Thank you Kimberly!

      xo!
      Jen

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  17. You are very blessed miss jen! you have great ideas, and a hubby to help put some feet-to-the-plans!
    i can't wait to see your puzzle solution because my son is the same way.
    i know what you mean about your studio i think, because i have done the same thing in our playroom! i keep trying to set it up to fit their needs and keep it easy for them to clean up but i'm on my third try! :-)

    Love your blog! God Bless!

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    1. Thank you Amy! I completely agree, I am a lucky lady!

      And fingers crossed that third time is a charm for us both. xo!

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  18. Such a funny post! Love the Paula reference, lol. Also excited to see your lighting solution for a closet because that is a big problem I have!!!

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  19. I can't get over how creative you guys are! What a beautiful wall. I'm jealous! haha

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  20. Looks great! I just saw a super smart, no-math tip on Ask This Old House (Season 10, Episode 1009). He was actually installing a porch railing and using a piece of elastic to evenly position the rails, but it would work great for a grid wall too.

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    1. Oooh! I might have to Google that, I am sure it could be helpful in a few of our future projects. Anything that makes measuring and leveling easier, is a win in our books!

      xo,
      Jen

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  21. Hi Jen. I love doing puzzles too, but have nowhere to leave them out. I bought this Puzzle Folder on Amazon. It's been brilliant. I can work on my puzzle, then zip it up and pop it behind the sofa or under a bed. The only downside is that you can only do up to 1000 piece puzzles. Katie

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    1. Thanks so much for the tip Katie! We have a little DIY planned, however, I will keep that as a back-up plan if our project doesn't work out. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  22. I read your blog all the time and just wanted to chime in that I really love when you post organizational solutions to every day issues, like a growing boy's closet. Also liked your recent back to school post. Thanks for these!

    Really loving the closet wall so far. My and my husband doing this is honestly laughable - my kids will always have regular closets with clothes because we DO NOT have the skill you guys do. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for the sweetness Lynnsey!

      xo,
      Jen

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  23. Love the new 'blog' resolve to be 'more real'. Life is messy and I like knowing I'm not the only one struggling. Liking the way the closet is shaping up and can't wait to see the puzzle storage idea you have. Your new picture is gorgeous! The black and white was nice but the color immediately caught my eye when I came on the blog. Great job with all your projects. I know I don't comment often enough, but know that I am a faithful reader and enjoy your blogs very much!!

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    1. Thank you SO very much Diana! I appreciate you taking a moment to comment. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  24. My grandma has a mat she does puzzles on that is able to hold all the pieces in place, so she can actually roll up the mat when she is done working on her puzzle for the day. When she unrolls it again, everything is right where she left it. This might be a good option for your son. I've never actually seen the mat so I don't know anything about it, I just remember her telling me about it a few years ago. She loves her puzzles!!

    Also, I love your blog!! I secretly wish I was as creative and organized as you. Whenever I don't feel like cleaning, I pull your blog up and read a post. That's all it takes and I am in the mood to get my house pretty! Thanks for the motivation!!

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    1. Thanks so much Natalie! We have a little DIY planned, however, I will keep that as a back-up plan if our project doesn't work out. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  25. I LOVE this! You are truly inspiring. I would like to try something like this in my daughter's room, but I'm stumped on what to do with hang-up clothes if I get rid of the closet space. You've probably already covered this off, but is there a second closet in your son's room where you put his clothes or how do you handle? Thanks so much!

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    1. Hi Angie!

      My son just uses a nearby dresser for his clothes, and has a few hooks behind his door to hang items if necessary as well. :) You can see the dresser here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2012/06/conquering-clothing-clutter-kids.html

      xo!
      Jen

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  26. Love the step-by-step you always lay out for us! I'm going to use this same plan only for my closet craft room. I will simply close the closet doors when I'm in the middle of a project where it can lay untouched until I'm ready to craft again:) Can't thank you enough!

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  27. My husband is a carpenter and everything he does turns out great. After 13 years of marriage, I've learned to tell him what I want, then just step back and let it happen. Then I step in at the end and do my decorating/painting steps. He loves when I give him "drawings" of my plan...with measurements, but that doesn't usually happen. More like I want it "this high."

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    1. Love that! We are very similar here. It typically goes all well until my hubby tries to be an overachiever and work ahead to surprise me. That's when the differences come out, we always end up laughing at how different we think.

      xo!
      Jen

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  28. Hi Jen. I love the paneled look in his closet. Adds some dimension and does make it look like a much more tailored space, not just a closet 'pretending' to be an office nook. lol My closet 'pretends' too :) When you have a small space, you have to make the most of every nook and cranny you have. And I love my little office nook!Have you ever thought about having your hubby build Preston a rolling flat wood surface that could be stored under his bed for him to roll in and out when working on puzzles, so that if he is in mid-puzzle and wants to finish later, he can leave it exactly as is and roll it away until later to finish? Just a thought... I've seen rolling train table tops people have built to store under beds- thought that concept could work for his puzzles as well...? Would love for you to tell us what your final solution to the puzzle dilemna will be. Can't wait to see the finished closet reveal.

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    1. Hi Trinity!

      Thanks so much! And you are on the right track with the puzzle suggestion, we are working on DIYing something similar as we speak!

      xo,
      Jen

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  29. You always have such wonderful, beautiful ideas on how to decorate a space. I really like the look of the new built-in desk space. So fitting for a young pre-/teen. :)

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  30. Hello Jen, I would love to create such a space, but how can I get the desk section. I see that you got the shelving from IKEA, but what about the desk, is it from a closet organization set or custom built? Any ideas how I can build or buy the desk-top? Thanks

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    1. Hello!

      You can find a tutorial for how we built the desk here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2013/03/studio-update-diy-wood-console-desk.html

      Pretty simple and inexpensive option. :)

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  31. Very nice! I never thought doing that in a closet :) I love it!

    Melanie ~ www.iheartsharingthing.blogspot.fr

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