Oh, the built-in’s.
They are a thorn in my side, constantly nagging me to do something with them, to give them a little love as I do the rest of the house.
And yet, this is how they were looking a couple of days ago….
Just a cluttery, big mess.  Every picture that’s ever given to us goes there.  Books go there.  It seems that over time they just became my “dump” spot–no decorating, just sitting it up there.  I’m not sure if I thought it would just all combust into some beautiful display or what.
And that doesn’t even cover the clutter on the desk and counter space.  In all fairness, my office used to be entirely functional.  All organized and everything had its spot, etc.  So this little area just got the dumping.  From my time working as a Southern Living at HOME consultant, I know all about organization and using pretty and functional to make your life easier.  But you know what?
Knowing is just the first step.
So, after a couple days of attention (and a lot more organization to go), I give you the new look:
Not so different.
But entirely different.  I can actually see the counters, for one.  And I can actually see what’s on the shelves. They’re still full, because you know what?  That’s me.  I see blogs of beautiful displays with three items per shelf and it looks great.  But I’m a bit of a clutter-bug.  And I love things…pictures of my family, collectibles, books, you name it.
Still, even though they are full, I love that I can see and appreciate each piece individually and the display as a whole.
I did a few small things to achieve the look….
Obviously, first removed all that clutter.  All of it.  I knew I wanted to paint the inside of the cabinets to make the display pop, and I wanted the color scheme to be, you guessed it, white and grey.
First things first, I painted all those mismatched frames.  I had frames from my freshman year of college still up there!  I wanted them to look like they had always been white, so I did prime them with Kilz spray primer to coat them a little thicker.  You might be able to skip this step, but it worked for me.  Then just spray painted them white with whatever can I had lying around at the moment–I think Krylon Fusion in white.
I also recovered all my books in coordinating paper to showcase them, and again, keep one palette.  If you haven’t seen my tutorial on this and you’d like to check it out, go HERE.
Don’t they look so much better?  I did sand the edges of the black books with a 320 grit sanding block.  Just gave them some wear and some character.  I still love these matching mugs someone gave us for our wedding. 🙂
I meant to take a picture of the actual painting process, but alas, I had to paint while the boy and girl were sleeping, as it was impossible to do while they were awake.  I had some high hiding primer that I had tinted a charcoal grey, and loved the color, so I just used that.  I knew that would be the perfect backdrop and depth for the white accessories.
Here are some detailed shots of the contents…because you know I love some close-up’s!
I just looked down and saw that the word “wish” was peeking from in between our two mugs…so sweet.
I went against every bone in my body and framed two shots I’ve taken (instead of family photos) to display as art.  It’s nice to see something that inspires you up there!
I mean, I know she’s my kiddo, but isn’t she adorable in this photo?  I love the little fat rolls on her back– and could she be posing anymore? 🙂
A couple of my blue mason jars for a pop of color and a hurricane of one of my favorites–seashells.  I got this huge bag of grey and white shells for $3.00 at my favorite antique mall the other day.  Yes!
This is so funny to me–I couldn’t cover this book.  Do you see the title?  It’s a 1930’s edition of the “Do It Yourself Encyclopedia!”  It’s so cute–it even has a section on attic renovations. (oh, I’m sure you notice that smudge of grey paint on the adjustable notches–plenty of touching up to do!)
Again, one of my favorite parts of the transformation in simply being able to see my photos.  (and yes, there’s an empty frame back there, b/c apparently walmart and I were not jiving the other day with my wallet order)  Because there are fewer to look at, each piece stands out so much more.
What do you think?  I am thrilled with the results.  The older I get, the more I realize that my home is haven for my family.  And I want every nook and cranny to exude beauty and peace and coziness (among lots of other things) if at all possible.
One more project down.  Only about 325 to go!
–shaunna 🙂
P.S. I’m still looking around for a couple more features this week.  Should come to you on Saturday!
**linking this post to
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage
Feature Yourself Friday @ Fingerprints on the Fridge
Weekend Wrap Up Party @ Tatertots and Jello
Frugal Friday’s @ The Shabby Nest
Frugalicious Friday’s @ Finding Fabulous
Remodelaholic’s Anonymous @ Remodelaholic
DIY day @ DIY Showoff
Just Something I whipped Up @ The Girl Creative
Make your Monday @ Twice Remembered
Show and Tell w/ Blue Cricket Designs
Power of Paint @ Domestically Speaking
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