Almost There

Our office renovation is almost at an end. All we’ve left to do is hang some art and our diplomas (which reminds me that I need to order my diploma frame) to call it 100% done.

We laid down our new rug last week and in spite of the kitty troubles we’re having with it, we love how it makes the space cozy and pulled together. All in all, I think that the little room has come a long way, from a long, confused space to a functional mudroom/office.

Office Before

Office Renovation 2013

Kev and I are each loving our desks. Kev has a computer monitor on his since he does homework here pretty often.

Kevin's deskMy desk isn’t used as much as it should be (I really need to start writing my posts ahead of time), but I’m hoping that I’ll want to spend more time here since it’s looking so snazzy.

Jess' Desk


What do you think? Could you work in this office? Any suggestions on art?


A Tease

Hey guys. Last night was crazy busy (and I didn’t plan ahead), so I’m just sharing a teaser photo of our new rug with you this morning instead of a real post. Sorry.

New Rug Pre FievelYou can see Fievel plotting his destruction of the rug from it’s first few minutes on the floor.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a few more pics of the office as it stands now (including the decimation of the rug), but until then, Happy Hump Day!

This entry was posted in Office.

On the Threshold

This was the first weekend in I don’t now how long that Kevin and I were actually home to work on the Little House. Lately we’ve been so busy we haven’t had time to take care of our lawn, let alone finish the office reno.  The stars aligned this weekend though and we were able to knock quite a few things off our to-do list.

One of our first to-dos was to install the thresholds on our new office floor. There’s a bit of a height difference between our existing hardwoods and the new tile, so we had to get a threshold designed for just such an instance. We went with oak and stained it to match our existing floors, then measured and cut it to fit our doorways.

Trim ThresholdWhile Kevin was cutting the threshold down to size, I was cleaning up any excess mortar and grout from the threshold. We weren’t the neatest tilers ever, so it took a bit of elbow grease (and a hammer and baby crowbar) to get some of the mortar loose.

Clean up Excess grout and Mortar

We did one last fit check to make sure that the threshold fit our door.

Fit Threshold

Then Kevin nailed ‘er in using our pneumatic nail gun. It’s a small Craftsman Evolv pancake compressor we got as a wedding present (I’m so glad we had a man registry now!).

Nail down Threshold

Last but not least, we countersunk the nail heads.


All we need to do now is putty and stain the nail holes and our office floor will be 100% complete!

By the way, we got our new rug this weekend (I’ll post on it later this week). We’re having some problems (or a lot of problems) with the cat sharpening his claws on the rug and pulling great big tufts up out of it. Anyone have any ideas on how to get a cat to stop clawing up a rug? He has a scratching post AND one of those cardboard scratchy boxes.

This entry was posted in Office.

Back of the Envelope

We’re slowly but surely checking items off our Office to-do list. The latest project? A pillow for our office chair made from the fabric I mentioned last week.

DIY Envelope Back Pillow

The cover looks a little big on the pillow right now, but I sewed it that way on purpose. I’ve learned the hard way that cotton fabric shrinks quite a bit the first time you wash it, so if you sew your pillow cover to fit the pillow form to start with it’ll be more than a little snug after it’s first washing.

DIY Envelope Back Pillow

And this pillow will need washing. Fievel’s already decided it makes a great sleeping spot and the first time the pups come inside on a rainy day I’m sure it’ll get splattered along with the rest of the room… but that’s okay! Like most pillows I make these days, this one has an envelope back. That means getting it off and throwing it in the wash is a cinch.

DIY Envelope Back Pillow

The office list is dwindling. Once we finish it, it’s back outside to finish the last of our backyard reno.

– Empty room
– Relocate Ceiling Light Fixture
– Wallpaper Ceiling (yes, wallpaper!)
– Remove carpet
– Repair damaged subfloor
– Lay tile
– Grout
– Touch up paint (half done… the trim still needs filling and a fresh coat of paint)
– Move everything back in room
– Accessorize Desks/Bookcases
– Make Pillows
– Hang Art
– Spraypaint and hang Ikea Pinboards
– Get Rug (ordered and supposed to ship today)

What have you been up to lately?

Cutting A Rug

The office is coming together so fast.

Office Progress

We’re getting really close to being able to call it our first 100% done room in the Little House.

Empty room
– Relocate Ceiling Light Fixture
– Wallpaper Ceiling (yes, wallpaper!)
– Remove carpet
– Repair damaged subfloor
– Lay tile
– Grout
– Touch up paint (half done… the trim still needs filling and a fresh coat of paint)
– Move everything back in room
– Accessorize Desks/Bookcases
– Make Pillows
– Hang Art
– Spraypaint and hang Ikea Pinboards
– Get Rug

The pillow fabric and forms should arrive today, so I can get sewing on them this week.

Part of the art in our office is going to be (finally) hanging our college diplomas. Kevin has a nice frame from our school with a crest and seal and whatnot, so we’re going to order me the same one.  I’m still working on art for over the chair, but hopefully we’ll come up with something soon.

That leaves the rug. Orignally, I’d planned on going with a navy rug, but after seeing how dark the desks and floor are, we decided to go with a lighter rug that plays off the colors in the lamps we bought from Homegoods a few weeks back.

Rugs USA Moderno Trellis Outdoor Rug

It’s the Quinta Moderno Trellis Rug from RugsUSA. We had a really good experience buying our last rug from there, so we decided to try them again for this rug.

We decided to go with an outdoor rug in this space because it sees so much traffic. We thought that it would be a little more durable and much easier to clean (as in we’ll just take it out back and hose it down), a big concern since it is a lighter rug.

We wavered back and forth on the size, but in the end decided on a 6×9. It’s a little wider than we wanted (it’ll go a bit under the desks), but the room needed the extra length. I even threw together a sketch (on engineering paper, no less) yesterday so Kevin could visualize what I was saying.

Rug Sketch

The room is 16×8, so it’s long and lean. I think the 5×8 rug just looks too short.

It should be here in about a week and a half. I can’t wait to have this room done!

Without a Grout, Part Deux

Hey guys. No, no. We’re still around. We’re just suffering from a case of late summer project burnout.

We finally have a really good DIY project to post on… and I’m so tired of looking at it that I don’t want to write about it. We’ve been spending every spare minute working on the office, so when it comes time to either go to bed or write up a post on grouting our tile… I go to bed. Everytime.


Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we did finally grout the tile – and it looks FANTASTIC. I keep wandering into the office just to look at it.

Office Tile Floor Grouted

Like most of this project, Kev and I were a little apprehensive about grouting. We had no idea what we were doing – so we got on YouTube and found this awesome video series. I won’t even try to explain how to grout. Just watch the videos and he’ll tell you everything you need to know.

We didn’t get any photos of us actually grouting – both of us were covered in the stuff from head to foot and were afraid of getting it all over the camera.


We did the floor in two sections, grouting and sponging the first half, then the second. This kept the sections manageable so we didn’t let any of the grout sit too long before wiping it up.

washing floor

We’ve since sealed every grout line (twice) with 511 Impregnator Penetrating Sealer.

0043f62b-61ad-4704-a3b7-ae4d52edf397_300We did quite a bit of research as to which sealer would work best for our tile/grout combo. This particular sealer is pretty expensive, but since we went with almost white grout we wanted to be sure to seal the high-traffic areas really well. This is the only way in and out of our backyard and garage, so it see a lot of traffic (both from us and our furry kiddos).

We moved furniture back into the office this weekend, so we’re getting really close to doing a final reveal!

Hope y’all had a great weekend!


Pillow Talk

The office is progressing. I finished up filling, sanding, and repainting the trim last night. We still have to seal the grout and want to give the ceiling one last coat of paint (more on that soon), but in the meantime I’ve turned my attention to the fun part of the reno: decorating.

I’m not going to lie: decorating scares the flibberty-gibbets out of me (So much so that I have yet to accessorize our master bedroom more than a year after doing the update). That being said, I’m trying to conquer my fear with the office.

So I’m starting small,  with a pillow. Yes, only one pillow – and probably a small one at that. Baby steps, guys, baby steps. About a year ago Kevin found this fabulous slipper chair on clearance at Target. It’s lived on our office ever since.

Target Slipper Chair

We’re continuing the gray and navy from the living room into the office, but adding a gorgeous tealy-aqua as an accent. We were inspired by these lampshades that we fell in love with (and bought) at Homegoods. In real life, they read a little more aqua and a little less green.

Homegoods Aqua

I’ve found two fabrics that I love. I only need about half a yard for such a small pillow, but I just can’t seem to make up my mind on which I love most. Click on the fabrics to go to their page.

Spa Ikat Aqua Himalaya Ikat Navy Aqua

I love the navy ikat, but find myself thinking the top aqua would look best on the dark gray slipper chair.  Which do you prefer?

Without a Grout

Sorry in advance for the short post; we’re working like crazy on our office renovation and haven’t taken the time to sit down and write a decent post in ages.

This weekend we finished grouting our new tile floor and repainted the walls.

Office Tile Floor Grouted

We’ve finished the hardest part of the reno, but we still have lots to do.

Empty room
– Relocate Ceiling Light Fixture
– Wallpaper Ceiling (yes, wallpaper!)
– Remove carpet
– Repair damaged subfloor
– Lay tile
– Grout
– Touch up paint (half done… the trim still needs filling and a fresh coat of paint)
– Move everything back in room

Our goal was to have everything finished by Labor Day weekend, but it’s not looking good. Fingers crossed for a super-productive next few days!

What did you do this weekend? What do you think of our new tile floor? Would you have gone with light grout?

Out on the Tiles

We’re one step closer to finishing our office reno! The tile is 100% laid, scrubbed, and ready for grout.

Tile Progress

We started tiling last Saturday. If you remember, my mom, sister, sister’s mother-in-law, and adorable niece, Emma had all drove down from Indiana to help us tile (as a surprise)!

We were all really excited to get the first batch of thinset mixed, especially Indiana. She couldn’t wait to help my mom.

Excited Indiana

Fievel was also really helpful in rolling out the Ditra.

Fievel on a Roll

So what is this Ditra we keep going on about? It’s an “uncoupling membrane.” Basically, the Ditra underlayment is designed to allow for slight movement in the tile and subfloor, helping to alleviate in-plane stresses and prevent the tile from cracking. It can also serve as a waterproofing layer and vapor barrier.

We felt it was important for us to use because both the age of our house and the intense thermal cycles we experience here in Texas can cause movement in a floor, leading to tile cracking over time.

The Ditra was a cinch to lay down: just apply a thin layer of thinset with the recommend trowel, and smooth the Ditra down.

Laying Ditra

Once the Ditra was down, we could start tiling. I won’t go into the detail of how to tile here; there’s tons of great tutorials that do a much better job explaining than we ever could. The basics were simple:

Create a thinset bed, “back butter” your tile, place, and space.

TilingWhen we came to the edges, we measured and cut our tiles using a small wet saw.

Wet Saw

We laid our last tile on Wednesday night. Last night, I had to clean up the mess we’d made with the thin set.

Our thinset came off the tiles pretty easily with a warm, damp cloth and a razor blade, but I have heard that if you have some really stubborn thinset that vinegar (a mild acid) will help get the stuff off.

Thinset Cleanup 2 Thinset CleanupAnd that’s where we are today: ready to grout.

Tile ProgressWe’ve already come a long way and we’re not done yet.

Little House Big Heart - The Office Before

We plan on grouting tomorrow, freshening up the paint in the room on Sunday, and moving everything back into the room Monday night.

What are your plans for the weekend?

A Quick Update

Tiling is hard, guys.

I mean really. I thought we’d have this puppy done in no time.

Don’t get me wrong. When my family came down (all the way from Indiana) last weekend to help, it went along quick as you please. But once it was just Kevin and I again… turns out we’re slow. And messy.

So here’s where we are right now. We’re a day late and a bag of thinset short.


We only have one an a half tiles to lay (plus a few slivers along the door), but we ran out of thinset last night at 10:02 – Home Depot closes at 10.

Whomp whomp.

Hopefully we’ll be able to slap down the last few tiles, grout, and have a full update for you on Monday.

Until then, Happy Hump Day!