D.I.Y Closet office

The Closet office. The best thing in small-space home organization since the first time an inocent shoe box was repurposed and covered in scrapbook paper.

Part 1
~The Shelves themselves~

We're going to go all the way back to Step 1 when I was walking into our new apartment about two months ago. I sat on the floor, slumped against the wall quietly-but the grinding of gears in my head made the room all but silent.

I began sketching over photos creating some sort of solid idea of what I was thinking, and here it is! Our living room has closet sized nook, presumably for the TV, but it was too great of a space to stuff a screen with-so I decided to stuff it with books!

After getting a generous sized board for the desk, three boards for shelves, numerous 2x2 beams for wall supports, and 3x1's for accent I stained them all with Dark Walnut and then once dried, coated them with a semi-glosh finish.

Using a stud-finder mark the walls with a pencil where each stud is on the other side-this is CRUCIAL, hanging shelves in drywall alone without any beam support can result in your beautiful work collapsing and leaving pretty decent sized holes in your walls (which is never good). Using a stud-finder will ensure that you screw into the studs on the other side of the wall and that you are mounting the shelves to them, and not sheetrock.

The idea, is that we're going to screw the 2x2's into the walls and set the boards onto as shelves. Mark the stud spots on your support beam by holding the beam up the the wall and transferring the measurments. Also don't just assume that because the first and second stud are a 1 foot and 4 inches apart, that the rest will be spaced the same! The first thing you'll need to do is drill pilot holes into your beams at the spots you've marked as well as a few spots in between-use a bit thats just slightly smaller than your screws. Drilling a pilot hole will help the screws to go through easier and prevent the wood from splitting. 

We're going to use 3.5 inch screws for a couple of reasons, 2 inches of that will be in your support beam, and 1/2 inch of that will be in sheetrock, which will leave a solid inch in your stud behind the wall to support your shelf.

The best thing that I've found is to screw the center first and it will secure it to the wall, then set the level onto it and push the sides up and down until level and then screw the rest in accordingly.  As I said in the preceding step, feel free to drill extra holes in where there aren't studs, too. The more supports the better but of course, I can't stress enough, make certain that you have stud mounting as your main support!

For the adjacent wall measure from the floor up as to ensure that they are even, use a level placed across each (shown above) to ensure that the implied surface area will be level. 

This is what your space should look like -Please ignore my doubled 2x2's (you'll see them a few more times) I mis-measured by an inch and needed to make up for it in the supports-you shouldn't need to do this MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE!

screw your supports on the sides and back the same way NOTE: I didn't do them on the back, but rather added a single support in the middle of each one a bit later to prevent bowing in the wood. I do recommend repeating the exact process I walked you through above for the top three shelves.

As you can see, you'll then simply set the shelves onto of the supports you've made one by one :)

Once placed-use your 3x1's and nail them to the front of your shelves-because these will have no weight on them directly, they don't need to be nailed in over and over again, so just one nail in each of your original supports on the far left and right will work great!

Why 3x1? 1 because it doesn't need to be any thicker than this. 3, because the shelf board is one inch thick, and the support beams are 2 inches thick; this way every side and angle will be neat and even. If the shelf board you get is 2 inches then get a 4x1 (etc..etc)

As you can see on the right side of the image above the view from underneath is clean, and dark walnut delicious!

Part 2

So. I'm obsessed with exposed brick. The soft industrial touch is one of my favorite elements of design, and what better way to indulge then some warm textured brick wallpaper! This is the specific design that I found and loved-It took me forever to track down...Needless to say I'm a tad bit particular, once I found this I jumped on it! It has the perfect ratio of reds and browns, as well as a touch of distress without being too over the top.

Because we're in an apartment I decided not to paste the paper to the wall-so I whipped out a crafting staple gun and got to it!

After we got it all up, we trimmed the edges and used repositional adhesive  to secure any unruly edges :)

Finally (this part is optional, though I'd personally recommend it), use a 2 inch core drill bit to drill a nice hole in the far back center or corner of your desk, this will serve as a place for your cords to fee through so you don't have them hanging all over the place!

The finished result~ I could not be happier with how it turned out!

Under the desk there is also more storage to take advantage of, I created a simple crate filing system that sits nicely underneath and we've kept the left side free with plans of putting a doggie bed there soon when we're able to get a puppy!

The All-important before and after shot :)

Thanks for reading, and happy building!!


Starbucks Black Tea Lemonade

So. This summer I've become entirely obsessed with Starbucks' Black iced tea lemonade. Thanks to a generously loaded gift card I received, I've been able to fund this ridiculous habit; even so I knew such a simple concoction could easily be done at home!

After a few tries, this is the winner! There are quite a few different black tea variants and after some research and taste testing I'm here to save you the effort and inform you that Starbucks uses Orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea (believe it or not, this will make a difference-not a big one if you don't mind, but if you're going for as close as possible, this will be your pick)

• Boil 5 cups of water on the stove & then remove from heat
Stir in 1/2 cup of sugar
• Drop in 2 family sized (shown above) tea bags or 3 regular tea bags and let seep for 2-3 minutes 
• Pour a 12oz can can of frozen lemonade into your pitcher 
• add 5 cups of cold water 
• Combine the two and chill in the fridge 

update 11/4/12: I've made this about once a week and have found that the frozen lemonades pulp causes some yucky filming in the tea when it's consumed over a period longer than a day or so- I started using powdered country time lemonade and it works PERFECTLY!

The breakdown
$1.98 for 1 Package of 24 family sized tea bags=12 pitchers
>> $1.98÷12=.17
$1.24 for 12 oz frozen lemonade
>> 1.24 + .17 = $1.41 (per pitcher)
$1.41 per pitcher ÷ 8 servings = $0.17 per serving

The verdict? I've had this drink almost once a day for the last week (yes, the shame is palpable...before you judge the coupon queen remember I have a gift card!!), the point? It tastes exactly the same! The black tea gives it just enough kick to help you past that 3 o'clock hurdle, and since it is a water based drink it's wonderfully refreshing!
enjoy friends, happy savings!