Boredom Busting

We started on the classroom over Christmas break. I realize that was a very long time ago, and seemingly yesterday all at the same time. I haven’t showed you any of it yet, because it made sense in my brain to wait and group all of those posts together. I’m not sure how well that method is going to work out long term. I’m still figuring out this blog thing and I have a lot to learn and decide about how it should flow.

We don’t always just start one thing and then work on it to completion. Sometimes we have to stop or wait for various reasons, and in the mean time we move around to smaller things. Like making a birthday gift, or building a table, or framing some calendar pages. Or we pause from other things to decorate for holidays.

This whole DIY thing is obviously not our income or our entire life. My husband leaves home five days a week to go to his real job, and I homeschool our children. It is, however, a huge part of our lives. It has been a way to provide some extra income (house flipping or fixing up properties to rent, or simply selling refinished furniture on Craigslist), but it is also just something I love to do. It’s my hobby. So I’m likely spray painting a lamp just for fun if we have to put the classroom on hold until we can get in there and make a huge mess (Spring break, baby!).

I’m making up the rules of this blog as I go. I hesitated to blog about our son’s train table because it had nothing to do with actually fixing up our house. I hesitated to blog about framing images from a calendar because it just seemed so simple and didn’t really “count” as DIY. But then each time I remembered that the whole point of this thing is just to document the projects I’m doing.

So then I was trying to decide if I want to blog about what I’m doing right when I’m doing it, or save up posts that go together so they can be all grouped into one pretty little package for you.

When I’m just doing a small little project, it isn’t an issue because it all wraps up nicely in one post. Or, like with our master bedroom, it’s not an issue when they actually do all go nicely together because I really did work on that room all at once and blog about it in order.

I haven’t blogged any of the classroom yet because I wanted to have a nice little package of posts to blog all in a row, but now I’m second guessing. If I’m being true to my real desire to document what we’re working on, then it shouldn’t be an issue to have one or two posts about the classroom and then be like, “okay, school is back in session and I can’t finish this room right now. We’ll get back to it in a couple of months.” That’s real life. And that’s what I want from this blog.

I’m not sure if that will make this blog more or less fun to read, but it will make it easier for me to write. I won’t always be thinking things like, “oh yeah. I saved that Poang recovering until I could group it with some other living room posts and now it has been two months and I completely forgot to blog it.”  Not to mention why I even started this blog–to look back and see my crazy life. Saving all the posts to go neatly together is like being fake in your own journal. That’s just dumb.

So, while I love those blogs that flow so wonderfully and you can click “next post” five times in a row to see their beautiful nursery come together, that’s just not my life. I don’t work that way. I don’t shop that way. I don’t decorate that way. I don’t build that way. Why the heck should I blog that way? (Not to mention it is very difficult to blog about something you did two months ago…maybe that’s the real reason I haven’t talked about the classroom? I don’t remember any of it?)

As best I can recall, it was a cold December night… the hubs and the boys were all playing/watching Minecraft. I was relaxing on the sofa chattin’ with my besties about bacon or something important. I kept looking at this…

view of classroom

It was right in my line of sight from the sofa where I was trying to relax and enjoy the Christmas decor and pretend the rest of the house was unpacked and clean.

line of sight Christmas

It was driving me crazy. I hate these little decorative spindle/post/pointless things that are so common in this age of house. I don’t find them attractive at all, and obviously they serve no purpose. Well, no real purpose. They were all the rage at one point because they provide a visual separation of space without actually being a wall. They create a little buffer between the front door and the living room in many homes without having to actually have the space for a “real” entryway, and they’re often used at the opening of formal dining rooms to signify that it’s a different space without closing off the whole thing (and thus making it feel smaller).

entryOf course open concept homes are now en vogue and formal dining rooms are typically just wide open with no wall or door of any kind. We don’t want separation. We want “open and airy.”

So, this had to go. It was neither pretty nor functional, and we aren’t formal-dining-room type people. We usually close them up right away. They serve us much better as a study, and that is not something that people want to be open concept.

Of course we’re always thinking resell value, though, and we don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. I imagine if we lived in a house that already had a formal dining room and a study, we might just leave the formal dining room alone, but we have yet to own a home of that size. We’ve talked to tons of people, as well as going off our own experience, and if you have to decide, a study wins out over a formal dining nearly every time.

We like to be flexible, though, to appeal to as many people as possible, so we use french or pocket doors which allow the room to function nicely as a study or a dining room.


I knew the second that I saw the formal dining room (before we even bought the house), that it would be our classroom and it would get closed off. So we already had eventual plans, but we still needed to (hopefully) find baseboards and doors to match our existing thirty-year old millwork. But I couldn’t wait any longer. The view from the sofa was annoying. All my guys were very occupied with video games and my besties had to wrap presents and put babies to bed and bake pies or something important. In my boredom, I declared this project started.

Here’s the before again.

entry view of classroom

And here’s the after.




Just kidding. This is definitely not the type of project that wraps up nicely in one post.

I grabbed my tools.

hammer and crowbar

The then-three-year old decided this was going to be more fun than watching someone play a video game. He came running. In his underwear. But he was still three then, so it’s okay.

pry off trim remove quarter round

First he removed the quarter round and the baseboard.

quarter round remove baseboard

Then I removed the molding from up top out of his reach.

top of opening remove trim

Then we moved to the other side and did the same thing.

classroom side

While my helper got ready for bed, I used a sledge hammer to knock out the rail and spindles.

leave support post

I left this column for support, just in case, until the hubs got in the attic and confirmed our suspicions that it was purely decorative.


Once we were sure the second story wouldn’t come crashing down, I beat the heck out of that post with a sledge hammer to get it out of there. The hubs ended up cutting it at the bottom so we could wiggle it to get it out. It was in there good. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

new opening

This was taken a few days later as we got ready to frame. I’ll show you that next time.

I want to leave you with this image to help orient you in the house. I probably should just do an entire post of before pics. I’ll plan for that soon.dining room