June 24, 2011

Your Space Has Been Replaced Part II: The Nitty Gritty

Posted by Kristin

To follow up to the first reveal post of Jennifer's office redo, we wanted to share the breakdown of where we found the items, how we re-purposed them, and how we worked with a $100 budget (ok we went over it a bit...with extra money from Jennifer's husband). To refresh your memory, the office went from this:

To this:

So hold onto your seats ladies and gents...its about to get ca-ray-zy (dogs and cats living in sin...you name it).

We started first by scoping out items at various places. Our first stop was The Trading Post, a great thrift/junk shop that requires serious digging but pays off with great items. Occasionally you also have to dodge water spewing out of a broken ceiling pipe. Yup, that totally happened while we were there but we didn't let it stop us...we were on a mission after all.

Laura found this glass jar for $3!

A few days later, while going for a run in Holyoke (to all you mom's out there, I was running in the Highlands- the safe part of town), I stumbled across a bunch of free sidewalk treasures- or trash to some people, considering they were out with the garbage bins. Not being shy of snagging other people's junk, I finished my run and looped back to pick up 2 uuuugly brass curtain rods, a plant stand, and 2 vintage windows- all free.

Yup- that's a tie dyed t shirt. I don't go for glamour when I run.
A week later I hit up the Brimfield Antiques Fair in central MA and found lots of great treasures. After dropping off my partners in crime antiquing (my mom and sister), I hightailed it to Jennifer's house. Here's what I brought with me:

After a quick hi to Sherpa, Jennifer's dog, Laura and I started gettin' 'er done. We spread out on the front lawn and starting painting, sanding, and fielding questions from very curious neighbors.

And this is what the lawn looked like around 9 p.m. Yup- we used our headlights to give us enough light to finish painting.

About 8 hours later many of the items were totally transformed. Here's the breakdown.

Trash Barrel and Plant Stand

Ugly brown plant stand in the midst of
spray paint- free on roadside.

Blue basket from Brimfield- $1.

The end result....priceless (Mastercard- you
really should think about advertising here).

Floor Lamp

$4 from Goodwill.

A little pewter spray paint and she looks fiiiiine.

Curtain Rods

Uuugly brass curtain rods- 2 free on the road side.
Old sheets make great drop cloths by the way.

Again...pewter spray paint and they're good to go.

Glass Jar

A $3 find cleaned up and paired with some free Beech tree branches.

Salvage Windows Turned Message Board

Salvage windows- free on the roadside.

Our awesome friend Sarah who was a lifesaver and worked
her bootay off on this. Thanks to Sherpa, we were
nearly walking on broken glass at one point (cue Annie Lenox).

After many hours, the window became a cork message board and chalkboard.
Pack of 4 cork tiles - $4. Chalkboard paint- free (Laura had it already).

Desk Chair

$5 chair from The Trading Post-  the 3 inches of dirt
and grime were free.

White paint we had on hand transformed it into a beauty.


I had 2 flat sheets from Ikea ($2 each) and I ripped each one in half
lengthwise to make 4 panels. For time sake, we 'hemmed' them with white
duck tape along the top, allowing Jennifer to hem them later (after all,
it was around midnight at this point).

Just grazing the floor, the curtains really frame out the
room. We scored some pewter U hooks at Target to
act as holders for the rods. The brown chair was free
(I never used it anyways) and the small wooden table
was already in the room.

Area Rug

A $30 find at Ocean State Job Lot.


The "J' pillow was a $7 find and we snagged a yellow one for the desk chair,
both from the Christmas Tree Shops.

Originally a $4 place-mat from Target, Laura ripped open one seam, 
stuffed it and called it a pillow.

Sewing Area

Jennifer also loves to sew and needed a space dedicated to it.
The yellow table was from her grandmother and the
brown ottoman was existing. Jennifer spotted the wood
printer tray at The Trading Post and her husband, Andrew,
secretly bought it for her. It turned out to be a perfect spot to store
her spools of thread.

Jennifer's last name begins with a "H". At $10 from Brimfield,
this salvage metal "H" was a perfect addition to the room.

I bought this wooden tool holder at Brimfield for $1 right before I left, not
knowing what I would do with it. Luckily, Laura had a flash of
brilliance around 1:30 a.m. and did this. 

I also snagged this picnic basket for $1 at Brimfield. Its perfect for storing fabric.

Closet Curtain

The closet chaos needed to be contained so we cut a curtain (say that 5 times
fast) out of a tablecloth and used a tension rod to hold it up. The tablecloth
was $7 at the Christmas Tree Shops and the tension rod was $3.50 at Ocean State.

Gun Cleaning Kit turned Desk Organizer 
(yes you read that right)

Scored this hideous gun cleaning kit for $5 at Brimfield right before I got to
the car. Oh just you wait and see...

After some creative thinking, spraypaint and sanding, this baby became
quite the star of the office.

It holds all the necessary desk items in one central place.

It even has a drawer to boot!

And a pull out tray, complete with a bill sorter. Oh my, I'm getting weak in the
knees just looking at it...

Desk and Accessories

Jennifer and Andrew built this desk out of an old door and made these saw
horses out of scrap wood. Lucky for us all the work was done.

The lamp was a $13 find at the Christmas Tree Shops, along
with the green glass jar for about $2.50. The magazine rack
was free from my parents house and got a coat of white paint.

More green and yellow glass jars tie in the overall color
scheme of the room. We found them at the Christmas
Tree Shops for about $2.50 each.

Total Cost = $130.20
(including odds and ends and an extra $20 kicked in from Andrew...what a good husband!)
Will your office be next???.....Be careful who you let house-sit!

(cue end credit music)
Check out those finds baby!

Look really closely and you'll see that Laura cut the paper so that Jennifer
would be greeted by a naked cherub each time she opens
the drawer....how thoughtful!

And this was right about when Laura's car battery went kaput.

Just screwing around...


  1. Kristin, this is awesome! My friend, who just graduated from college, moved into a new apartment just this weekend and needs certain things to spruce it up. I told her to check out your blog in hopes that this will give her some good ideas, especially since she is on a tight budget as a math teacher...that hasnt started teaching yet. Keep it up, I hope to see you on DIY or something soon!

    Your Okie friend,
    Chris Mabe

  2. Great job on this project! That may be the lowest cost office DIY ever!

    There are lots of other safe places to run in our fair city. When I don't want to schlep up to Ashley or Whiting reservoirs in a car, I run a 3 mile loop around the Maple/Main street areas. Have you been to Bring Your Own Restaurant yet?

  3. Have been trying to get to BYOR forever now but still haven't been able to make it. I have it on my calendar though, does that count for something? :)

  4. Ladies, this is awesome! Sarah had told me about this and said I had to check out your blog. Love the office redo!