Saturday, June 24, 2017

Story Central: The Fifty Cent Tour - Part One

I'll be the first to confess that I have been waiting for this room to be perfect. To be completely finished. For everything to be completely organizedAnd then it dawned on me - an organic, active scrapbook room is never any of the above! So, I've done as much as I can to get it all spiffied up for you and to eliminate as many piles of clutter and chaos as possible, and I say now it's time to roll out the intro and move on to scrapping! Overall, I am loving the light airy feel of the room and it feels both calming and energetic to me. The paint is Pittsburgh Paint Aqua Sparkle, the same as we have throughout the house. This color nearly washes out in full sunlight, and deepens nicely as the sun sets. I love how it pairs with the Benjamin Moore Hale Navy on the cabinets.

I shared a bit of the design history on my last post. As I worked slowly and methodically through the design element of the room, I studied my tried and true scrapbooking processes and honed in on my overarching desires for this room:
  • for there to be plenty of countertop workspace
  • for there to be areas where I could stand and work
  • for there to be a nice L-shaped seated workspace 
  • for everything to have a logical and orderly home
  • for there to be enough space to hold everything {in my last house, I had scrap supplies in 2 rooms besides my scrap room}
  • for my big pieces of equipment to have permanent homes and for their to be plenty of plugs for electric access {I currently have fourteen items that require plugs!}
  • for the room to be really well lit, day and night {As a full-time working woman, I love to make use of my weekday evenings}
  • for the room to be beautiful
  • for there to be a spot for Truman and Steve to come sit with me
  • for the room to not look like a bunch of scrapbook throw-up
  • for the room to bring me joy just by seeing it, or by sitting in it
  • for there to be no any piles anywhere
  • for storage of things to not be crowded
  • for the room to truly be an expression of me
  • for there to be a nice spot for a big TV, yet not have the TV be the focal point
  • for the room to aesthetically flow with the rest of the house {and for it not be an eyesore to me or my hubs}
I had - as usual it seems - a lot of demands and desires! I have to say that I could not be more pleased with how it has turned out. I love daylight near me as I scrap. I love being able to sit at my desk and see into the rest of the house, or swivel slightly to my right to see outside. I love having the accessibility to so much countertop workspace, and I love that it can fold up and be out of sight in a second. I love that the room doesn't look like a scrapbook room. I love that it is the best scrapbook room I've ever had. And I love that everything has it's own perfect home, and I can access it fairly quickly.

The doorway and the window of course dictated the placement of the wall of cabinets, and determined the best spot for my desk workspace. Pairing a built-in desk with my antique bread and butter desk seemed like a match made in heaven. It gives me the desired L-space, it puts me near the window, it allows me to face out of the room, and it allows me to face the wall mounted TV. You know, a girl's gotta' be able to see those Property Brothers and Law & Order detectives when she scraps, right? ;-) Bonus - the Apple TV is hooked up behind the wall mounted TV, so I can also YouTube or Netflix the day away if I desire. 

The built-in desk area features a pull-down and hidden keyboard tray, and three drawers. My keyboard tray is so large that it also doubles as a spot for some basic office supplies. The top drawer is where I decided to store my everyday working tools. In reality, the Making Memories carousel that I love so much takes up a fair chunk of desktop real estate, and it's also a hot mess to behold. When it came time to give it a makeover into the new color palette, I decided instead to let it rest. I found a cheap desk drawer liner at Ikea called the Stodja Flatware tray and it fits perfectly and works like a charm. My Go To tools are within easy reach. This has been a great trade-off for me. The second drawer holds my scanner. The third drawer holds my Epson R3000 workhorse printer.

Above my built-in desk, I have a small section of upper cabinets. As a nostalgic nod to Scrap Central, I once again had three bookshelves placed above my computer area. A small cabinet on each side bookends this shelf section.  The upper left cabinets hold some basics: my Scrapbook Generation sketch and class binders, my Epson PictureMate Charm printer (I measured - when it dies someday, the new model will fit there, too) ;-), my bin of markers (stored in a flour container from The Container Store - thank you, Tasha, for this tip!), with extra printer ink tucked behind the markers. My red 3-ring binders are another nostalgic nod to Scrap Central. Who can forget that pop of red everywhere against those white cabinets?

The center section has my collection of angels, which I talked about in this blog post and I am loving their pop against the tiffany blue risers and the navy shelves. Steve had Home Depot cut down fence posts to 24 inch increments for the angels' risers. The back, taller riser is just two fence posts stacked on top of one another. He only did one coat of paint, thinking a more rustic look would work. I agreed! Annie Sloan Chalk Paint {ASCP} Provence or Duck Egg Blue is the color he used on the risers, the lamp, and the sideboard under the TV. We have fallen head over heels in love with ASCP! I had the idea to do risers, he had the idea to use fence posts. We make such a dynamic duo. ;-)

The upper right cabinets hold class binders: Karen Russell's Photographer's Workshop, Stacy Julian's Library of Memories, Ali Edwards' Yesterday and Today, Cathy Zieske's Design Your Life, and a Photoshop manual. The day may come when I'm okay having PDF's of these. For now, I have the prints outs, and want them available to reference. The second shelf holds some scrapbooking idea books that I aim to get around to someday, and some copy paper and photo paper. The top shelf has two mesh CD baskets (from The Container Store) that hold extra label maker tape, a regular sized stapler, and a scotch tape dispenser, and perhaps my secret stash of Christmas stocking candy. I eat it very slowly and live with other people who do not! ;-) That top shelf also holds some beloved older copies of Simple Stories magazines that I just cannot bring myself to toss.

I love that my cabinet guys got the height of the built-in desktop to very nearly perfectly line up with the height of my antique desk. Hubby stained the desktop, and I sanded it and varnished it. It feels so smooth. I need to get a piece of plexiglass cut for it, but man, oh man, I do love rubbing my hands across the top. Hubby also very tentatively drilled the hole for the cables. Boy, oh boy! They used a harder maple wood for the desktop since we were going to stain it, and it was very nerve wracking to watch that drill bit fighting its way through the wood. Two simple picture ledge shelves from Target seemed to be the perfect way to showcase my tiny collection of owls from my husband, my sons, and my cousins. Those are a story for another day, but I love them peeking at me from their perfect perch. The lamp is an older lamp that was red, white, and blue in its Americana glory at our previous home, and Steve painted that for me, too. Its simple white shade is also from Target.

Underneath the built-in desk, I retained usage of my small Alex drawer from Ikea. It is just the right amount of storage space for work in process, unfinished work, Silhouette supplies, and some tools I seldom use, but don't want to toss. It also holds my ARC binder of scraps. {Bless you dear Janet for this incredible idea. It is so wonderful.} I did not want anything under this desk, but having the Alex drawer is a compromise. I want things accessible and not crowded, and until I use up some things, or get rid of some things, I need the space it provides. I've pondered painting it navy to match, but I don't think many house guests will notice it, so let's just keep Alex and his drawers our little secret. I really did not want any extra pieces in my room, but I think the functionality of this outweighs the form. To the left of it are two Iris Bin file folder cases. More projects in process. #notenoughtimeintheday

My little antique desk is one of my favorite things in the whole house. You might remember I bought it at the spring 2013 Round Top Antiques Fair and it was used in Scrap Central for two years. The drawers in it are so deep, and as a piece of furniture that once roamed the ranges in the back of covered wagons, I feel it is full of story and life. I imagine the days when those drawers held tea towels, or wooden cooking spoons, or treasured dishes. The left one today holds spare adhesives, and the right one holds some loose paper to jot notes on, and my ATG gun, and some old catalogs to use as "glue catchers" when I put dot roller on some elements. It's a perfect size as it was a primitive dining table. It has nice depth and perfect width. It's Bread and Butter name comes from the way the corners are constructed. The table top pops off when you remove wooden dowels and that would allow it to pack down into a covered wagon.


I decided, in the spirit of the new room, to freshen up the top of the desk, changing out my trademark red mat to a clear, translucent gray. My magnetic sheets still reside under it. The look works well enough for me day to day, and it allows me to easily clear the desktop if we are having a gathering. I gave my old Ott lamp to a friend, after first claiming the bulb and placing it in this darling seeded glass lamp from Target. The amber cast of the globe of the old Ott lamp was too much for me. I am really enjoying the clean lines and clear glass of the seeded glass lamp. My antique Ball jar - another Round Top find from probably the late '80's -  now holds artificial tulips and their pop of yellow gives me joy. The tulips may give way later to sunflowers. Depends. I love tulips so much they may just reign for quite awhile. I grabbed this little Cinderella movie quote sign from JoAnn's in April. The quote is a great reminder to have in front of your keyboard. I kept my chair the same. Luckily when Steve gave me my Herman Miller Aeron Chair for Valentine's several years ago, I went with a neutral color. I never tire of sitting in this chair. 

Not only do I love sitting at my desk area, I am absolutely loving the view. Aimee Weaver Designs created my custom sign for me. I love that she sent me a PDF for approval before she began painting it. I designed it in such a size as to visually take over the TV and to become the focal point of that wall. I contemplated for a long time covering up the TV with a Pottery Barn mirrored cabinet, but it's so common anymore to see a big TV hanging on the wall that I just decided to leave it as is, for simplicity sake, and work around it. I thought my cross collection would be a great companion accessory to the Aimee Weaver sign, and felt that they could together surround the TV in a way that dominated the wall, and set the tone for the room.

I absolutely love how it turned out. Steve hung the big Oceans sign from Aimee Weaver first, and then I spread the crosses out on the kitchen island. His retail eye kind of paired them, either by shape or size or material, and he would bring them in two at a time and, sitting at my desk, I would tell him which one would go where. It was such a joy to hang them all at one sitting and bring about a somewhat cohesive display. In Murphy, they went on the wall one by one as they came home to me. Each cross has a story and I love seeing them up now. They were in storage, along with my angels, for nearly two years. I love how organically the wall happened, and feel like it's just perfect.

Just to their right, I have two little galvanized shelves from Magnolia Market that I turned on their side to hold my small collection of vintage and antique cameras. I think I might want to grow this collection. I should grab a couple more shelves while I can, but it might already be too late. I searched for them to add the link and I no longer see them.  I struggle with the concept that they compete with the cross wall, but Steve assures me they look good. Who's right? Me or him? ;-) The cameras come from junking road trips that he and I have taken, except the exquisite red camera, complete with its flashbulb, which is a 2016 Mother's Day present from my youngest son. He found it on the square in McKinney.

Now, on to my sideboard! Some of my dear friends helped me figure this out! I started out in this room with an antique enamelware-top table next to the chaise, but long before the chaise was reupholstered, I knew that chippy base of the table would clash horribly with the fabric I had chosen for the chaise, and I couldn't bear the idea of the chippy paint going away. We re-purposed that table in its original glory to the kitchen and it's a perfect landing spot for the mail. I then went in search of a second perfect piece at The Frisco Mercantile, after the first perfect piece that I found got away from me. {And truth be told, I like the second perfect piece better than the first one, so sometimes all is well that ends well.} 

This little guy came home in a cream color, but once again, ASCP to the rescue. Two coats of paint by Steve, some distressing and sanding by me, and then a coat of dark wax by Steve, and voila' - my statement accessory piece. It provides some storage, and more importantly a perch for a decaf cup of Snickernut coffee, if I ever get the chance to actally sit in my chair. ;-) The 3-ring album binders on the shelf hold my Scrapbook Generation kit club layouts. I mean to make my way through those!! But it will take me awhile, so I had to {compulsively} change out the binders from Becky Higgins' Project Life Kiwi album to the newer and pretty Project Life Navy Weave album. The navy boxes to their right are Bigso Navy Stockholm Office Storage Boxes from The Container Store and the aqua box in between them is a Tjena box from Ikea. The sideboard drawer holds my 13 x 19 and 12 x 12 printer paper, my label maker, some cords, and some extra 12 x 12 and 6 x 12 bags that I use as needed for stash storage and organization.

I wanted to keep the top of the sideboard fairly clean and not have too much on it since it is right up against - and would compete visually with - the cross wall. I have a large vintage wire basket that I grabbed at Round Top the year I bought the Bread and Butter Table. I wanted a place for some books I'm reading through and the wire basket on top of this sideboard seemed as good a spot as any. I also have secretly hidden inside this wire basket my Sonos Sound System Amp. I love hiding things like that! On either side of the wire basket, I have some antique books that were my most favorite gift ever from my mother-in-law. One of my Annie's sits on a stack of four books, and my favorite antique camera sits on a stack of three books. I think at some point if I can find some navy books, I'll change them out, or perhaps I can do some pretty paper book covers on these like my friends Joanna and Jonathan. ;-) This spot is just a little bit of decorative fun, and it doesn't feel cluttered to me right now. I enjoy it, with the exception of the green books really playing up the green in the Duck Egg Blue paint color....

And then there's my beloved chicken chair. Sporting her new dress. {I bought the infamous chicken chair on clearance from Ethan Allen for $300 as a 34th birthday present to myself. It went into our San Antonio bedroom, and it was the napping spot for many afternoons with one or both of my sons, and it was their perch while I dressed, and it was also their Time Out spot.} Our oldest son was home for Father's Day weekend, and he was a little melancholy over the loss of the chicken chair. I told him I had saved some of the upholstery with which to make him a pillow, and he brightened up excitedly. See! I knew we all loved that chicken chair! Truman is impervious to the change, of course. He does love it as a perch, because when sitting there one can see out the front door onto the side of the porch and out into the street. {I have an extra yard of fabric that I need to get hemmed. It's been dubbed the Truman blanket, and it will protect the light white chair upholstery from his shenanigans, and I can wash it as needed. I'm rather proud of myself for thinking of this idea. The yard is the test yard I bought, and when placed on the chair, the wandering eye doesn't pick up on it.} 

This chaise is going to be a comfy and enjoyable spot to sit and talk on the phone, or sit and read, or even just to nap. I'll confess I've already had two short naps in it. Her dress may be different, but it sure sleeps just the same. ;-) My two red slipper chairs from Scrap Central have been moved up to our master bedroom. I hated to have them removed from my scrap space, but the harsh reality is that it's rare for me to have more than one visitor anymore when I'm scrapping. No fly-by teenage boys in and out anymore. Life moves on. The chaise is perfect and one chair fits the room better. I made the PennyScraps pillow at a class that my friend Sheila taught. I love it! 

And now on to the money - the wall of cabinets. China has her great wall. I have mine. ;-) Come back tomorrow for Part Two of Story Central: The Fifty Cent Tour! 


  1. Fabulous Penny, thanks for the tour! So much detail!

    1. Thank you Laura. I hope you enjoy it and it's not overkill! I enjoyed putting the room together, and then writing the post. Thanks for all your help and encouragement along the way!!

  2. Your room looks great! I wasn't sure how "navy cabinets" were going to turn out, but I think you made a good choice :)

    1. Thanks Heather! I am really really enjoying the navy!!

  3. Your room is spectacular! Enjoy every creative moment you spend it it!

  4. Fabulous! And I love the color you choose for the sideboard.