A Clear Winner, A Change Of Plans, And A Forgotten (And Very Necessary) Project

Yesterday’s poll about the possible changes to the studio office area cabinets had a very clear, unmistakable winner. And it wasn’t even close. If you took any time to read any of the 450+ responses here on the blog and on Facebook, you know that this option with the wall color around the window and at the back of the cubbies was the winner.

Of the three options, that is also the one that was the winner among the three of us when my mom, my brother, and I were at lunch on Wednesday. But yesterday afternoon, I did have one more thought. I wondered what it would look like to use gold leaf on the backs of the cubbies rather than the wall color.

Hear me out. My concern is that with the wall color at the backs of the cubbies, it makes the bridge look incomplete, like it doesn’t have a back on it. A bookcase, cabinet, or bridge without a back kind of gives the appearance of looking cheap to me, like it’s either a cheap piece of furniture that was so cheap it didn’t come with a back, or like the person building it ran out of plywood and just decided, “Well, that’s good enough to hold some books.” So while option #3 from yesterday’s post (shown above) was my favorite of the three, the thought of it looking incomplete didn’t thrill me.

And then this idea popped into my head. I think the appeal of this option is that it lightens things up. Instead of everything being pink, this option adds some brightness. So I tried to think of a way to make the backs of the cubbies light and bright while maintaining that solid look (i.e., with a back on it) and tying it in with the side cabinets.

And then I thought, “What about gold leaf?!” People keep telling me that the bridge needs gold somewhere to tie it in with the side cabinets, but I’m not going to add any trim to gold leaf. That seems unnecessarily forced and contrived to me. But I think that gold leafing the backs of the cubbies could accomplish everything that’s needed! It would lighten up the cubbies, maintain the look of a solid backing, while also tying it in with the side cabinets. And while that would technically be a very large area with gold leaf, once I have things in those cubbies, only a small portion would peek through.

So I’m considering it. I have plenty of gold leaf to spare, so this weekend, I might cut some of my scrap plywood to fit into the backs of the cubbies, gold leaf those, and see what I think. Now that the idea has embedded itself into my brain, I won’t be satisfied until I at least try it out.

In other news, I’ve changed my plans for the wall decor in the room. If you’ll remember, I purchased this large, colorful wall calendar from Kaleidoscope Living a few months ago.

My plan was to use it on the wall next to my desk in the office area of the studio. But once I got the cabinets in this area painted, I didn’t really like the idea of such a huge, colorful display being on the wall right next to the cabinets. I do want colorful, and I do want something large, but each month of that calendar is 16″ x 20″, so with all 12 months displayed (which is what I plan to do), it would be too imposing.

Plus, with that wall being kind of narrow, I would have to hang the calendar in four rows of three, which means that I’d probably need a step stool to reach and write on the top three. That didn’t seem practical to me.

And then on the one large, blank wall that remains in the studio, I was trying to figure out how to arrange that, keeping in mind the three non-negotiables that I still wanted to add to the studio — a print of our landscape design that Matt bought for me, my Spoonflower color map, and a TV. As much as I tried, I was having a hard time figuring out how to make those things work on this big wall.

So yesterday, I decided that my plan needed to be tweaked. Instead of trying to force that giant colorful calendar next to my desk, it needs to go on the big wall. And instead of relegating the beautiful landscape design to the large wall, where it would need to be printed pretty small, and would then get lost on that huge wall, I’d have it printed large and use it on the narrow wall in the office area next to the cabinets.

So I headed to FedEx Office yesterday afternoon, and had them print it for me in their largest “poster” size and then mount it on foam board for me. It cost just over $100, which I thought was a very reasonable price for something so large to be printed and mounted. Here’s how it turned out…

Isn’t that awesome?! I love it so much! I had to do hours of editing on this thing to get it ready to be printed. If you’ll remember, this is how it looked when the landscape designer sent me the file…

The house floor plan wasn’t exactly right and had the rooms labeled (some of the labels were wrong), the car in the carport was faced the wrong way, and then there were loads of other little changes that I wanted to make.

The one that he gave us was fine for what it was intended to be — simply a landscape plan. But for hanging it on the wall and displaying it as artwork, it needed lots of work. I swapped out the house floor plan completely for the new one showing furniture placement. Although, unfortunately, I did this before I decided to bump out or addition an additional seven feet to add walk-in closet space. But there was no way I was going to spend additional hours redoing it, so this is fine.

I also moved the car in the carport, removed the plant legend (although I might redo it separately and have it printed separately to hang on the same wall), added a continuous black line to frame the whole thing, changed the driveway/concrete areas, etc. It was a ton of work! But I think the end result looks amazing!

I honestly couldn’t be happier with how this turned out. And I LOVE how the greens look next to the pink cabinets!

I still have to make a frame for it, which will probably be a very simple white frame. But before I do anything with that, I remembered yesterday that I still need to put an intake vent in this wall!! I can’t believe I almost forgot!

Just on the other side of that wall is the storage closet, and that storage closet houses the HVAC system for the studio. Right now, the door to the storage closet has to remain open all the time so that the air intake can get plenty of air. I’ll sometimes turn the HVAC off and close the door when I need to take pictures…

But right now, as soon as I’m done with pictures, the door has to be opened again so that the HVAC can be turned back on. If the closet door were to stay closed, and the HVAC came on, there’s no way it would be able to get enough air to work properly.

So before I can keep the closet door closed, I have to add a large vent to this wall that goes directly into that closet to allow for the HVAC system to get plenty of air circulation. I’m not exactly thrilled about having to have a big vent on this wall, but it’s one of those necessary things that we live with. I’m hoping it can go low on the wall, just above the baseboards, so that it won’t interfere with the things I want to hang on this wall. But that definitely needs to be done first. As much as I’d like for pretty artwork to be priority, a properly-working HVAC system is top priority here in central Texas.



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  1. Maybe look for a decorative grate — can’t recommend sources but I know they are out there — and make your vent hole the proportion appropriate for the size and shape of the decorative grate. You could get a simple one and paint it wall color or get a fancier one and gold leaf or otherwise paint it a contrasting color and treat it as art.

    1. This is a great idea – I would just add that you have to size the intake vent to whatever the manufacturer requires for the equipment.

      I was just going to suggest spray painting whatever intake vent you put in to the same color as the wall. Way less obtrusive visually.

      Have you thought about putting mirrors in the back of the cubbies? It might help reflect light and brighten it up.

  2. Why not keep the cubby backs the pink color and the walls around the window the wall color. In my mind that is what I see because the cubbies are part of the unit and the walls are not.

  3. Could you do that metal decorative mesh Home Depot has over the vent and paint it gold or bright colors, maybe even put a frame around it so it looks intentional to the design?

  4. Forgot to say how much I like the poster version of the landscape plan. It is beautiful! It looks great with the cabinet color, the wall color, the paint swatch cabinet doors, everything. A frame will add a very nice finishing touch.

  5. I agree with Cathy – back of the cubbies pink and wall color around the window. Good save on the need for the vent! Great job on the landscape plan!!

  6. The landscape plan is beautiful! Great idea to use it as artwork. I like the idea of a decorative gold grille for your vent. If you use a regular type vent cover I’d paint it the same color as the wall so it nearly disappears.

  7. I love the idea of gold leaf in the back of the shelves but I also love the idea of the versatility of being able to pop different colors back there. Maybe paint one side of the backer board the wall color, gold leaf the other, and then depending on your mood or the decor you decide to put up there you have all three options. Two ideas for venting, would changing the door to a louvered door give enough air flow to avoid cutting a vent? Or if you are cutting one would that pretty gold mesh you used in your kitchen cabinets be an option? I think moving the calendar to the far wall will stand out and be more functional and I think the landscape plan makes a great piece of art.

  8. Mmmm, can’t say the idea of gold leaf in the cubbies thrills me but I’ll have to wait and see what your mock up looks like. I must say, you certainly do have a ton of color going on in that room!

  9. Instead of going through all the trouble of gold-leafing wood backs for the cubbies, I’d just spray paint some cardboard gold and slip it up there to see if you like the look first. Or I guess you could photo shop it on your computer which might be the easiest.

  10. just an idea, you could always add a pretty screen door on that HVAC room and not have to install any type of intake vent? Or put the vent in that small hallway. This would keep your studio walls free of any vents. It’s just an idea?

  11. Kristi,
    Oh yes, the vent is a high priority on your to do list. Just above the baseboards is a really good idea.
    I absolutely love your huge colorful calendar and I know you will display it in the best spot.
    I also love your idea of getting your landscape plan enlarged and mounted on foam board for displaying on your studio wall. A gift from Matt, and also a tribute to Matt. Those two things will add a lot of sentiment in your studio.
    I’m loving all you do and can’t wait to see your final choices.

  12. Whatever you use for the vent make sure you can vacuum it a wash it because it’s going to get very dusty.

  13. I KNEW you were going to suggest the gold! Ha ha. It looks a little blah right now. Maybe that’s because of the items in there? Or maybe it needs lights?
    Not sure if gold will make the wall color look off? The other thing I thought of was to paint the backs and the wall around the window white.
    The room needs more white and that certainly was shown when you presented the landscape plan. It looks so fresh! I love it.

  14. I would not waste gold leaf on the cubbies. Up high and not easy to see use your best gold spray paint. And put it on a removable canvas so you can switch out. The landscape plan is perfecto!!!

  15. Good idea to try the gold leaf before you actually paint the cubbies with gold leaf. I would think the cubbies with wall paint would hardly show when you get stuff in them. Why paint gold that would hardly show? You love gold leaf, I know.
    Get the HVAC properly vented. Paint those darn ceilings. Put on your knobs and get the big wall decorated. Then you can show us the whole room. Have you painted your worktable legs yet? And the desk, and the chair re-done…. oh my, I need to leave you alone so you can get all this done.
    We have COVID at our house. Happy Easter.

  16. Why not use some gold leafed accessories in the cubbies to bring in the gold instead of doing the back of them in gold leaf? I kind of think it’s a waste and I don’t know that it is going to look good to gold leaf the back when you won’t see much of it once you put things in the cubbies. You could have some kind of figurine, a vase or even old books that you could add gold leaf to. I think the cabinets with the painted wall look is more balanced. I think it would throw off that balance to gold leaf the cubbies. JMHO. You do what makes you happy since you are the one living with it. I’m sure it will be beautiful, whatever you decide.

  17. I like the idea of the back of the cubbies to be the wall color, but if you gold leaf a board to place in the cubby then you have options! You get to see what it will look like and take it out when you want to change things up. It also will be a whole lot easier to gold leaf a beard to place in the cubby then having to stick your arms inside the cubby to gold leaf the back. You are so creative to come up with these ideas!

  18. In my minds’ eye, I don’t think I like the backs in gold leaf. Get some foam board at Office Depot or somewhere, and experiment with color options cut to the size of the boxes. You have lots of paint handy to try out. As for Art on the walls, you have time to choose things AFTER you get other things finished. You seem to be going off the rails again and losing focus on what needs to be done first. As for me, the unfinished wall and ceiling paint is making me a bit crazy, and I don’t see it near as much as you do!

  19. IMHO the back of the cubbies in gold leaf would not help with balancing the color blocking on that wall…it would tip the scales to heavy on the cabinet side of the wall. Might you try a set of simple, gold-leaf framed mirrors for each cubby back? You could leave a smidge of the pink backs as a margin around each mirror to lend a bit of sturdiness to that cubby cabinet. The mirror would reflect light and the opposite gray wall as well as show off more of the collectibles you display up there.
    For the HVAC vent, you might consider getting a sheet of that decorative metal in a golden tone in your choice of cut out pattern and do your custom framing around it to make for a pretty vent and sized to YOUR liking on that wall to create your gallery composition along with the landscape design!

  20. I didn’t comment yesterday because I had trouble with all three options. But, last night, I was turning things over in my mind and suddenly thought: ‘Gold, yes gold, that could solve the problem.’ It is just the spark of interest the bridge needs! Just what kind gold material I wasn’t sure. I almost ran to my computer to add a comment. So, I was bowled over to read your post right now.

    It will all come together with your desk, chair, and the art, etc. on the walls. I will wait with bated breath…

  21. I think you could design and make your own vent cover! Etsy and even Amazon have custom air intake covers for inspiration!

  22. So just a thought, since you don’t want the wall hacked up, and since it’s just a door to a closet, would you consider taking out some door panels and swapping them for steel or wire mesh for ventilation? They would blend in once you painted them the door color.

  23. Why not swap out the hvac door for a louvered one. It is painted the same as the other doors and it looks great. No vent on the wall needed.

  24. Could you do a vented door instead of an intake vent? We have a vented door on our utility room where are HVAC is located. On our lower level which is a basement on the same level as our garage. The basement walls are only half underground. We also have an intake vent in the wall as the basement is finished with a family room, bedroom, bath and walk in closet. I’m just wondering if you could get away with just a vented door. The door looks like shutter door. Just a thought…who knows you might need both.

  25. Years ago we had a closet under our carport that needed an intake vent for it because the hot water heater was in it. I remembered, the door had vent in it; the bottom half of door had slats in it. Might work for you.

  26. The wall hanging is the perfect size, shape and colors for your studio! It turned out great!!

    I painted my HVAC intake vents the color of my wall. It was tedious to brush on and hard to avoid drips on the backside, but it looks soooo much better and just blends right in to the wall. I wish the manufacturers of custom-mixed wall paints would find a way to color match to a spray paint. Maybe you could use your paint sprayer?