The workroom is almost finished, and I fucking impressed myself.
This small room in the corner of the basement went from a closed in, dark, cluttered, crowded, non-functional space to a bright, open, organized room that feels great to be in.
But how, Alicia? How the fuck did you do it?
Well, I started by taking everything out of the room. I ripped down the too-tall-too-deep work bench. I painted the walls with (homemade) Restoration Ivory by Sherwin Williams, and I gave the ceiling and the trim a fresh coat of white paint (also courtesy of paint mountain). I made a pegboard wall using some 2” x 1” strapping and 2 pegboards out of my garage. I got both of these tasks done on Friday evening, and spent about 4 hours doing so.
I don’t even remember where the pegboard came from, but I must have had it for 5 years or more. I followed the advice of Google and attached wood to the wall horizontally for support, spaced vertically every 12”, with 2” wood screws into the studs, and then attached the pegboard to the wood strapping with 1” wood screws through the pegboard holes, with washers to keep the screw head from going right through the holes. I’ll be honest and say that this was the hardest part of the whole damned room. I wanted everything to be level, but because the pegboard had been split in half, and because I’m only one person, I couldn’t get everything to line up exactly. The 2 pieces are about 1/16” off from each other. I’m pretending that it’s not killing me.
I was so freaking excited on Friday night that I barely slept. Saturday morning I leapt out of bed and went down to the mailbox to retrieve the pegboard hooks that Amazon delivered the day before. Like a child on Christmas morning, I couldn’t wait to tear into the parcel! Armed with a cup of coffee, I took my new toys to my (work)room to play with them. It took about 45 minutes to find all of the hand tools and painting supplies that I wanted to put up, and to fit them all in the space provided. I put the most frequently used things (screw drivers, pliers, hammers, clamps, level) close to the side where the work bench would soon go, and the less used tools higher up and farther away. We seem to have an entire paint store’s worth of supplies, so they got their own section, and because they needed longer hooks in order to keep like with like, they found a home away from the work bench and towards the laundry room door where they are less likely to stab me in the back while I work.
After the pegboard excitement and the caffeine buzz wore off, I went to Home Depot to buy the workbench and shelving unit. These items were a splurge. I had been agonizing over building shelves and a work bench, sketching and re-sketching a multitude of plans. I had an idea to use Ikea dressers as workbench bases, and to lay a countertop over those. In my mind it would have been great. But here’s the thing: I’m not actually great at building things from scratch. I can’t cut anything in a straight line. So I played to my strengths and threw money at the problem.
I bought this bench. It’s freaking fantastic. It assembled like a dream, and it’s over-engineered to all hell. With a 3000lb capacity, I could practically fix a car on it. The only drawback was that the box weighed 150lbs and I needed the pick up truck to get it home. Truthfully, I ended up unboxing it where it lay in the back of the truck and bringing it inside piece by piece.
I also bought this shelving unit. It too, was incredibly easy to assembly, and required nothing more than a hammer (though I splurged on a rubber mallet so that I didn’t deafen myself with the sound of metal hitting metal in a small enclosed space). I loaded up the tools and supplies onto the shelves, working strategically, with tools and heavy stuff at the bottom and the smaller, lighter items up high. Al got home from work around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, and that’s about when I called it quits for the day and had a well earned nap.
Sunday morning started with a trip to Ikea for lights and a chair. If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that a space feels better when it’s well lit and empty of clutter. We opted for this light because of its’ low profile. The ceiling in the workroom is low (81”), and my husband is very tall (75.5”), so the 3” profile means that Al can walk underneath it without having to duck. The lights are LED, so they’re not hot to work under either. Back home, Al jumped in and installed it for me because, well, he’s good at it. He’s also a better painter than I am, and had he painted the room and the ceiling, the floor wouldn’t look like a 2nd grader’s splatter paint art project, but whatever, I think it adds an artistic touch.
The room was still missing a spot for the small stuff, the nuts and bolts, screws and bits. A matching pair of shelves and a collection of plastic bins from Ikea were the perfect solution here. I spent a lot of time hanging the shelves, making sure that they were level and secure. How? I put a piece of painters tape on the wall at shelf height, using a level to check that the tape was level the whole way across. I then marked out where the brackets should go, and then screwed everything in place right over the tape. The tape got peeled away after the shelves were up. Please note that wall anchors are absolutely necessary unless you’re screwing into studs. But fuck those piddly little plastic doohickeys. Use ez anchors. Seriously. You can thank me later.
Oh, and how did I do?
What’s left to do? well, the 4th wall, the one across from the work table. I want a bench of some variety, ideally with storage, but I haven’t found it yet. I’ve got some pictures to hang on this wall as well, and I have to collect the last few odds and ends that got cast out of the workroom, and find them new homes. The pictures might go up tonight. The bench….who knows. It’s not integral to the use of the space, nor the design, so I don’t need to rush it.
The nuts and bolts: what it cost
Ikea $224.72 – chair, light, task light, shelves (x2), shelf brackets (x4), bins (x8)
Home Depot $504.94 – work bench, shelves, storage ‘crates’, another pair of pegboard hooks
Lowes $26.25 – wood and screws
Amazon $51.99 – pegboard hooks and accessories
Paint and painting supplies: free
Pegboard – free
How long did it take? About a week, maybe 10 days by the time it’s all done.