As I write this, there are sounds of drilling and cutting going on in my home as the electricians I hired to finish the work on my office are doing their thing and running cable that I’m not equipped to handle.

Other than some wall patching I’ll have to do after they are gone, this is basically the last step in getting to Home Office Release 3.0.

This past week, Amanda and I just went ahead and painted the office space. First thing to do was shove everything that was in the office to one place so we didn’t get paint on it:


Of course, we started with taping, which I did in the course of a workday, going upstairs with my standing breaks to tape a bit at a time.


We didn’t really waste much time and instead decided to just get on with it. I hated the area around the doorframe and when I started Amanda threatened to just do the whole thing herself because I’m insufferable when I have trouble doing something like this.


We did a coat of primer that was just sucked up by the walls (they had not been painted yet and were still just spray texture), and then a single coat of the color, which looks very nice if you ask me.


By the end of the night, we had a fully painted room, and in the morning sunlight Amanda did all the touch-ups while I was working.


I worked at the old folding table for about one afternoon, but at that point I got antsy about bringing stuff up to the room and got my desk up there, where it sits now waiting for the electricians to complete their work.


Hopefully, there’s not too much additional work that needs to be completed after they are done this morning. I need to mount a screen on the wall, move the desk to the correct place, and then wire everything up. It looks like I’ll need to do some wall patching in the boys’ room (where the wall is they ran the electrical up) and there are some huge drywall holes in the garage right now (but those can wait).

It’s getting close now. :)

Previous office posts: 2.5, hugs (2.0), 1.4, 1.3, 1.2, 1.1, 1.0, beta

I don’t have a big picture for this update, because there’s not much that’s changed in the room visually at this point—but that doesn’t mean nothing got done.

Today’s work is almost solely the result of an awful lot of hard work by my wife. She did a bunch of touch-ups this morning while I was getting some other things squared away, and this evening she went through the room and used up the remainder of the two gallons of paint we bought to do an entire second coat on the room all by herself.

As if that wasn’t enough, she also steam cleaned the perimeter of the room (the chair and piano are still in the center of the room) after vacuuming up the last of the drywall dust. It was an insane amount of work, but my wife is a superwoman and I clearly don’t deserve her. And all this with her starting school with my children next week as well as getting Caleb ready for his first day on Friday.

I bought her a pizza and some of one of her favorite beers as a thank you this evening, but I’m certain that wasn’t enough. I should try to be more creative.

I did put the frame together for my new desk:


The top for the desk is still propped up in the garage, but I plan on installing it tomorrow. I’ve tested the desk frame and everything is working great. Yes; it’s in my kitchen right now.


The reason she ended up doing that work by herself was that I summoned my main man Ken over today and we got to work on the living room project. There are a couple of bits of furniture I want to move from the living room out to the office, so I wanted to get that project rolling. I had planned on helping Amanda with the painting after I was done with it, but I’m upstairs now and it’s after 1 a.m. and it’s still not done.

Here’s the setup I had before today’s work:


It’s served me well to date, but there was a lot about it I didn’t like. The audio pier—of which I had removed the door long ago for cooling reasons—has  been an awkward piece of furniture, and the receiver being located off-center made wiring the room difficult. (I have speaker connections I ran just after the house was built that go to the surrounds on either side of the entrance area of the room.

The only solution for these problems that made sense was to mount the TV on the wall. As I tweeted previously, this was a decision that was probably a long time coming, and Matt asked me about that:

I promised there was a blog post coming about it, and so here’s the word. I have resisted mounting the screen for the following reasons:

  • I don’t like taking risks with $1k+ electronics in general. I’m not the handiest of people, and always worried that I would run into a problem, either mounting the brackets or placing the screen on them.
  • I have a lot of devices plugged in to the TV at any given time, so I have concerns about cable management. My TV wall is an external wall, and routing cables through it isn’t a trivial matter. (Plus, the wall plug for TVs is not rated to go through the wall, which means extra complicated work.)
  • I used to sell mounting plans to people as a TV salesman (at Circuit) and I had so many customers elect to place the set high on the wall, which is not an ideal location for viewing (if you have the right wall it should be as close to center on the wall as possible in most cases). I didn’t want to make that same mistake and always felt I would be tempted to do so.

Here’s what swung me around to wanting to put the screen on the wall:

  • Aforementioned wiring difficulties with the layout of the room that would be solved with a more central device location.
  • Desire to upgrade the size of the screen in the near future from 55″ to 70″. (70″ is the break point for “affordable” right now because of scale of larger panels.) You can see in the picture that with the length of the room, the current set feels small. And once you hit sizes like 70″, using a TV stand becomes less practical.
  • Safety. As long as the screen is anchored properly, it’s actually safer to have the TV on the wall than on a stand, where it can tip over and injure young Markels. And Rebekah is not yet 2 and already a climber.

After an evening’s worth of work, here’s where we are with that room:


A few notes about this image:

  • The screen is a bit higher than center. I measured out to 40″ from the bottom of the screen to the floor but that ended up being higher than I wanted. I’m OK with this, and the brackets on the back of the screen are adjustable, so I can change it in the future.
  • This is also because I measured now for the 70″ screen I plan to purchase. When that goes up, it should be more or less in the center of the wall.
  • Man, I had a lot of crap in that furniture (that you now see strewn about the place). The walls also look crazy empty to me, but I think I’ll be able to solve that problem.
  • Mark reminded me about something before I got started:

With Ken’s help, I was able to get the bracket level, but had more of a problem leveling the brackets on the back of the set. Thankfully, the adjustment pins on the back of the mount took care of that problem for me. According to a torpedo level, it’s correct now. Tomorrow, I’m hoping to get the rest of the components installed and then I’m just going to twist-tie the wiring into a bundle. I did buy a cable management solution I really like, but I’m going to wait to do that until I can find the pictures I took of the framing of that wall because the stud finder ended up with some very interesting results.

Then, I’ll be going through the rest of the junk that was in the various bits of furniture and pitching or storing anything I don’t need most of the time.

The whole thing is starting to come together, and I should have some much closer-to-final images to share tomorrow. This has so far been a lot of fun, and it even got me writing again, so it’s been well-spent. :)


Time to stop for the day.

It’s not all dry yet, but one gallon of paint, twelve beverages, five hours, and one baseball game later, we have a new room color. It’s not clear yet (until we see it in daylight) whether we’ll need a second coat, but our initial guess is that with the sanding we did and the paint quality we bought, one coat will suffice with a few touchups.

I did all the cutting in and the ladder-required portions of the room and my wife did all of the roller portions of the job. With the two of us working at it non-stop, it didn’t take all that much time, and we had a good time working on it together. It’s been hard to keep the children away from it because to them it’s quite interesting, but thankfully they (mostly) obeyed us and stayed upstairs while we finished the job.

Tomorrow we’ll take it easier as I’m sure we’ll both be sore from all the contortion that’s necessary to paint every bit of the room. As long as we like the look under daylight, we’ll probably put most of the wall hangings up, give another couple of passes with the vacuum, and maybe assemble the new desk. I suggested we use our steam cleaner on the carpet and that was not particularly well-received. :)

The new desk has arrived in three parts and it a bit intimidating. I hope to have the hard stuff done and just some leftover decoration and bookshelf moves remaining by the end of the week. I’ll keep taking pictures as we progress with the space and get it closer to done.

It’s mid-day break time. My wife and I have been working hard since this morning trying to knock this thing out as quickly as possible. As you can see in the image, the curtains have come down (and will likely be replaced at some point with new ones).

It doesn’t take long for paint to get everywhere.

One thing you have to understand about my wife is that if she hears me working on a project like this, she will come and help because she doesn’t like leaving me working by myself. There might be some eye-rolling and an exasperated sigh or two—both of which I deserve for doing this on my vacation—but we love working on these kinds of projects together and in the end have a great time working on them.

It also leads to some humorous tweeting on her behalf, mostly when she is wishing I had not gotten the idea to do this the week before all the kids go back to school:

Yes, this is indeed how I chose to spend the first part of my vacation. I’m not sure what that says about me.

This is when I started thinking that perhaps I had made a poor decision to do this right now.

She’s right; the current curtains are not going to match what we’re doing right now. We’re going to go look for new ones one day this week.

Good news! The sanding is done. The painting of the trim to mask the mistakes from last time is also done. Now there’s just putting miles and miles of tape up on the walls and ceiling and then the actual room painting left to go. :)

That’s what we managed to get done this morning: all the fixtures that need to be painted around have been removed, we’ve painted all the trim in the room white and are waiting for that to dry, and the piano has become an improvised work counter in the middle of the room. All of the sanding (most of which Amanda did while I was painting the trim) has been completed and we’re finally done with the breathing masks and safety goggles.

We’ve started taping and I have some hope that we’ll get a round of painting and get at least half the room done tonight.

When taping, I just have to remember the room painting mantra for detail-oriented people:

“There is no such thing as a true edge, wall, or corner in my home.”

Well, it’s started now and there’s no stopping it; I’m committed to the action. Rapid iteration until I have a shippable product.

What got done today:

  • Disassembled the desk.
  • Patched a slight dent in the wall (you can see the patch to the right of the right-most window).
  • Took the hangings off the wall, put them on the chair, covered the chair, put it in the middle of the room.
  • Boxed up a bunch of stuff and moved it to the next room.
  • Started prep-sanding the wall that’s to the right side of the picture above.

There was a lot more stuff in the room than I thought there was, especially in the desk drawers. I’m kind of happy that the new desk doesn’t have any drawers, because it will be that much easier to not have crap accumulate over time.

A bit weird to disassemble the desk that I have been using since before I started working my current job at Automattic. It’s kind of like home territory for me. But it was just too huge and was too high to be comfortable for long periods of time, so in the name of positive change it needed to go.

I can already tell that the piano—which you can see to the left of the pano—is going to be the mortal enemy of this whole process. First, it’s gained most of the stuff I moved off the desk. Second, have you ever tried moving a piano?

Tomorrow, I’m hoping to finish the sanding and then paint the seams on non-colored corners and the ceiling/wall joints white. My house builder used a spray texture to finish the walls, which makes those bits very hard to finish evenly. I don’t want bits of the old color showing through here and there (and there are a few mistakes on the ceiling I would like to correct while I’m at it).

Not long after we first moved in to this house, we painted many of the main rooms in various colors. The front room of our house (the door is immediately to the right of this pano) is one color that for a while we have been unhappy with and wanted to change.

I’m switching up desks some time in the next couple of weeks, so I thought this was as good a time as any to do some repainting. I bought the supplies this morning:


(Whether my wife thinks this is a good idea is yet up for debate.)

I’ll make sure I take some additional pictures after everything is done; a new wall color and a new desk will certainly provide a different look to the space.