DIY Office/Workspace Revamp

Lisa Jane Long
by Lisa Jane Long
7 Materials
3 Days

As an artist, a musician, and a very busy housewife; I have to admit, I am sometimes not very organized. My desk had become a catch all - everything from bills to band and art supplies. It was such a cluttered area of my home that it was beginning to creep out further and further into the room. One day when we were expecting company my husband looked at this mess and said "Really?" I nodded and agreed - it was time for a change.

Almost immediately my muse started "twirling". I sorted and sifted through the mess, measured the space, jotted down a few notes and headed off to my favorite place...Home Depot. On my way, I had planned on dropping off the desk I no longer needed to a Thrift Store, but my son asked me if he could repurpose it to turn his walk-in closet into a music studio. DONE! (that was easy!)

For my workspace revamp I needed organized storage, and I needed to be able to stack it so it was no longer creeping out into the room. I have seen lots of posts about cinder block shelving, so I thought that would be a creative way to build what I needed. I also LOVE crates (who doesn't?) and although I had a few, I knew I was going to need more...

Home Depot to the rescue!

9 - 6" wide planks (cut to 5' long)

3 more crates (I had 3 at home)

12 cinder blocks (my new car was not very happy with me)

I also got a propane exchange, which has nothing to do with this project

The rest of the afternoon was spent building the unit to see if it was going to work. 4 blocks (2 deep on each side) supporting 3 planks, stacked 3 high. The blocks are so heavy that the unit turned out to be VERY stable. I was happy with the to re-organize my stuff! The crates of course are great for big items, and I used the cubby holes inside the blocks to stash my upcycled coffee cans that I use for art supply canisters. One cubby for bills, another for tape dispenser and stapler...ok, I'm pretty happy with the way this is turning out!

Now, I have to show it to my husband. (drum roll.......)

"Ummmm..." he made a face. "Its cool I guess, but it doesn't match our stuff."

I know, I know...I'm not quite done, I just want to see if it works, and it DOES! So now I have to find a way for it to not look so "industrial".

Flash forward 3 months. I finally am inspired to deconstruct my shelving and fix it up so it matches our home decor. My plan is to paint the cinder blocks brown and white, then stain the shelving and crates. So, off I went, back to Home Depot...singing a little song.

I didn't need much paint, so I asked the guys at the paint counter to mix up a sample size of brown interior paint, and then I bought a quart of eggshell that I can use for future projects. I also bought 2 stain colors, Kona & Black Cherry.

Using painter's tape, I laid down random "stripes" on the sides of the cinder blocks to paint with my brown. I wasn't going for a particular design...I just had fun with it.

After the brown stripes were dry (and it didn't take long) I reused the tape to cover the stripes and paint the rest of the block white. You will see at the end of this project I chose to leave some sections of the block its natural "gray" gave it a cool 3 tone design!

The shelf planks were stained "Kona" (my favorite!)

The crates were stained "Black Cherry". I don't know why, but I love working with different colors of stain on my projects, I'm almost regretting not getting a dark gray stain for the crates. But, it turned out fine in the end.

OK...time to put it all back together!

Need a side by side?

I love my new work & storage space! It's SOOOO MUCH easier to find my supplies, and even though its in the middle of my house, it matches our home decor and doesn't look like a big mess! Feel free to visit my blog and read the entire post!

Oh! Would you like to see my son's music/media studio?

Awesome sauce!

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Lisa Jane Long
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  3 questions
  • Kc Nordquist Kc Nordquist on Nov 19, 2018

    Um. Where's the desk to write on? If you have your bills there, shouldn't you have a level area to write checks, etc?

  • Nancy Nancy on Jan 26, 2020

    It looks like the inside holes are painted too. How did you do that?

  • Aiokersonalicea1 Aiokersonalicea1 on Jan 26, 2020

    I was wondering if the planks would hold the weight of "FULL" canning jars. What is the thickness of the boards?

    I'm trying to figure out the best way to store my canning products. I can all sorts of food from the produce from the garden to the chickens we raise free range supplemented with organic feed.

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