The best-laid plans…

You ever have a weekend go not quite the way you thought it would?

I am now officially a design class dropout (having missed the last 3 deadlines), but I’d assigned myself all kinds of homework for this weekend–mostly writing that needed to get done.

I didn’t do it.

I blame it on the Rebuilding Center.

This (sorta) Old Life: Rebuilding Center sign

On Saturday morning they Tweeted that they had metal filing cabinets in stock (the kind with shelves and doors that flip up), and even though I’ve dropped the design class that was helping me design the family room, I’d gotten far enough in that project to know that metal filing cabinets might be just what we need to use as the base for the desk we’re going to build into the weird nook.

This (sorta) Old Life: Family room plan

While there were quite a few filing cabinets, there weren’t any that would work in our space. None of the dimensions were right. We did see this completely cute little vintage stove, though:

This (sorta) Old Life: vintage stove

Wouldn’t this be sweet in a little apartment in an old building?

I’d sorta had my heart set on filing cabinets as the base of the desk, and the few at the Rebuilding Center had me worried that the whole idea was a bust. So I talked Cane into driving over to City Liquidators. If there were a right-sized cabinet in existence, I knew we would find in there. In the warehouse across the street from the storefront you see below, they have nothing but office and retail equipment. They’ve got tons of filing cabinets and desks and chairs and display cases.

This (sorta) Old Life: city liquidators

After walking all over three floors with our tape measure, measuring all kinds of things, we came to the conclusion we’re not going to find any standard-sized anything that will work as a desk in it. It’s too shallow for most desks and filing cabinets.

We did flirt with the idea of this desk, but let it go when we realized that it wasn’t going to provide good storage for our printer.

This (sorta) Old Life: vintage desk

But the day wasn’t a total bust. Because we came home with this:

This (sorta) Old LIfe: family room storage

This is going to go along the wall in back of the couch, replacing the table that’s currently there.

and this:

This (sorta) Old LIfe:  family room desk

We’re going to take the top off and use the legs and cubby structure to build a desk in the nook.

Aside from the groovy orange laminate top (which we love) and the funky school desk (which we love and think is very fitting for a couple of teachers), the best part was the price: $65 for both pieces.

Yes, they need some love/work, and no, they wouldn’t be everyone’s idea of perfect–but they’re perfect for what we want this room to be–which, of course, we couldn’t know until we saw them, which is what UnDesign is all about.

The design course (what little I did of it) was great because it helped me learn a method of defining what we want/need. I can’t tell you how useful that was when confronted with a warehouse full of options.

This (sorta) Old Life: city liquidators

We took this to capture the chair, but perhaps it gives you an idea of the mostly random chaos in this warehouse.

When we found the storage cabinet, we realized that we could build a very minimal desk–because we wouldn’t need to build a lot of storage into the nook. When we saw the desk, we realized that we could build two work spaces into the nook, which reduces the need for the table that the storage unit would have to replace.

Considering the difficulty we were having with finding other things that might work, and the great price for the two pieces we found that could work, we decided to rescue these two cast-offs and let them lead the design. That, to us, is the essence of UnDesign: Being open to letting the design unfold in response to what we’re finding/learning.

We were so excited that we came right home and did some of this (instead of my homework):

This (sorta) Old LIfe:  family room desk

This (sorta) Old LIfe:  family room storage

And that was Saturday.

Sunday I had every intention of doing my homework, but then I discovered the Sherwin Williams Paint Color Visualizer (via Kelly at Eclectically Vintage), and I’m now so excited about moving forward on this project that I spent way too much time on Sunday morning playing around with some color ideas inspired by our orange laminate top. (Because that orange top, along with the charcoal Karlstad cover we recently bought to replace the brown one, are setting the palette for this room.)

As you can see from the two below, the visualizer is a little clunky, but it sure gives us a way to see what different kinds of colors might look like.

This (sorta) Old LIfe:  family room fireplace

Here’s the original photo I used.

This (sorta) Old LIfe:  family room fireplace

This is one (play-it-safe) option we talked about…

This (sorta) Old LIfe:  family room fireplace

But we think this one is way more fun and interesting.

And then I had to take Grace to the mall to buy some things for a trip she’s taking next weekend, and then I had to take a migraine nap (which I’d like to blame on the mall just on principle, but I woke up with it Sunday morning), and then the sun was shining and the primroses were rioting in the backyard and needed to be tamed into submission. (Writing after a migraine nap just wasn’t going to happen much anyway.)

This (sorta) Old LIfe:  flowers

And that was the weekend.

Unfortunately, I’m not in high school and can’t just take a 0 on my homework and move on. It’s all still gotta get done. And even though school is almost out for summer (which means we’re almost off work), there’s still a lot that I’ve got to get done before the year ends. It means I’m working some extra days the next two weeks.

All of that means that we’ve got to take the rest of this week off from the blog. We hope you’ll check back next Monday, when we can finally share with you some news about a new place we’re going to be writing. (Yep, that would be one of the homework sources.)

So that was our weekend. How was yours? We’d love to hear all about it. Hope you’ll chat with us in the comments.

And if you’re in the mood for reading about some slightly different kinds of weekends, I’d like to point you to two blogs I really enjoy. Amanda, at The Habit of Being, runs a regular feature she calls Weekending at the beginning of every week.

Joining in with Amanda’s weekending is Simple Things Notebook. She’s always got such lovely photos every Monday (like this one):

Recipe Box-1

My mom had a recipe box that looked just like this one.

I also make sure I drop by on Thursdays for her regular Make & Listen Along feature, when she shares what she’s been making and listening to.

Happy reading, and we’ll see you in a week.