Hi guys! I hope you enjoyed the “B.L.O.W” post last week. It was an incredibly messy and tiring task due to our low-pitch roof, but I am happy to report that we have already felt the positive result. The house was instantly warmer. No kidding. The first night after the blow, our furnace barely came on! Since then, the furnace has been coming on a lot less frequent and a lot shorter each time. We did not change the settings on our thermostat, so the house must be holding heat better. Less furnace time brings some additional advantages we did not expect, such as less noise, and less dryness. We sleep better at night, and no longer wake up with dry throat.

It is so nice to know that our little ranch is running more efficiently, which is our top renovation priority. To be honest, what we spent on insulation ($160 on rafter vents and $450 for the insulation) will take years to recover. But we’d rather putting our money towards increasing efficiency than burning natural gas, because the cost is also on the environment.

Speaking of the comfort inside, I mentioned in our new year plan that we are starting on the indoor space, and Slav’s office is the first one in order. We started demo this past weekend, and boy it felt good. I do not always have a clear vision for a room, but I knew exactly what I wanted to do for this room the moment I saw it. I knew I wanted to give it to Slav as an office, and I knew that I wanted to open it up to the living room instead of to the bed/bath. I wanted to keep it simple but masculine with wall-to-wall library shelves and a leather chair; a streamlined custom desk for Slav is a must.



A New Opening

Ranch main floor_3D

The office is room No. 4 in the floor plan above. It is immediately to the left of the front door, but separated from the living room by a dividing wall. Being a bedroom its entire life, this room opens through a small doorway to the hall, directly facing the main floor bath.


But small opening it will have no more – I knew from the get-go that I want to open the dividing wall, and make the office an extension of the living space. The view from the living room to the office will change from this:


to this:


It will make our living space feels twice as big when you walk into the front door – you now see the entire span of the first floor.





Closing the Existing Doorway and Reversing the Closet

This room also has a small closet. It is identical to the small closet we have on the bedroom side. In response to having a new doorway, we will close the existing doorway to the hall, and reverse the office closet to the bedroom side.


The master room will double its closet space, from this:


to this:


And the office side will gain an entire uninterrupted wall, from this:


to this:


Creating a Library Wall

This new wall gained in the office is begging for built-ins. We have thousands of books sitting on the office floor in boxes, and we are dying to get them onto the shelves. This new wall will be one of the first thing you see when you walk into the front door, so a wall-to-wall library will be a bold statement as well as a functional addition to the office.

My inspiration

We had IKEA Billy before and very happy with their look and quality. They are so versatile and can be easily modified for a built-in look. I’ve always chosen lighter color in the past for myself. But this time around, we would like to go for a darker wood tone, similar to my inspiration photo, for a more masculine feel.

A New Desk and Desktop

Aside from a new opening and a new library wall, we also plan to get Slav a new desktop computer (his current one is 10-year-old!) and I will custom build him a new desk. I am feeling a lot of pressure to create the perfect desk for him. It needs to have lots of work space and sufficient storage without feeling bulky. It also needs to incorporate the motorized legs and to conceal lots of cables. I want to give Slav the option of fitting three big monitors on it, even though he currently has only two. I also want to add better task lighting. The expectation is high! Last but not the least, I want the style of the desk to play well with the brown library shelves and continue the traditional feel in this room. It will be a fun design challenge to take on.

We have started on the closet this past weekend, and this was where we were that afternoon. We are making progress and I hope to be back in couple days to show you a more finished product. This is our first time framing, so wish us luck!