Masthead header


We’re all about the wall mount in this tiny workshop, apparently! I was completely inspired by this studio roller, and after running the idea past Scott – we can make this!, I said – he was on board and agreed it would be a simple enough DIY. It is a simple enough DIY, although we did run into one glitch – more on that in a minute. In our execution, we liked the idea of adding a shelf across the top for stashing a plant or leaning a photo – or for the extra tall (aka: anyone but me), it would be a landing spot for storing markers.

Before any weekend, we typically go through a list of home-related to-dos, often times drawing each other diagrams on scraps of paper to get our ideas across. These papers are tacked to the fridge so we can both stay on track while having the satisfaction of crossing items off, but now? We can keep these lists, notes and sketches in the workshop and use a big red marker to slash through the completes. Yea!


20″ kraft paper roll
2 – Ekby Lerberg IKEA shelf brackets
1 1/8″ dowel rod
2 – 1 1/2″ washers
3′ flat aluminum bar
Flat black spray paint
2″ x 10″ x 8′
Wood stain in Special Walnut
Polycrylic in satin
2 – 2″ nuts + bolts (not pictured above)
50 lb. anchors (not pictured above)
Drywall or wood screws (not pictured above)

Miter saw for cuts
Table saw for squared edges (see alternative in step-by-step)
Dremel w/ metal attachment
Drill + right angle adapter
Measuring tape
Orbital sander
Paint brush and/or rags for stain/poly

WHAT WE DID. We prepped all of our supplies by making cuts, drilling pilot holes and spray painting. In our supply list, you’ll notice that we used a 2″ x 10″ for the shelf, which might be overkill to replicate since it bears little to no weight. In our case, we pulled double duty and built that shelf along the wall above the workbench, squaring the edges on our table saw and ripping everything down to the right depth. For anyone else, a 1×8 piece of pine would work just as well, since you’ll want to have a 7.5″ depth once you’re done.

For a 20″ kraft paper roll, we cut our 2×10 to 23″ x 7.5″, the dowel rod to 23 1/8″ and the aluminum flat bar to 22″ (using the dremel). If you’re using a smaller or larger paper roll, you can add or subtract your measurements all the same! I then sprayed the brackets, dowel and washers with flat black spray paint.


Scott drilled pilot holes on both ends of the dowel rod and aluminum bar, with the bar’s holes being large enough to easily fit a drywall screw:


The shelf was sanded with our orbital, and I followed that up with two coats of Minwax Special Walnut stain using a rag, and with a paintbrush, I applied two coats of Polycrylic in a satin finish.

DIY-paper-roll-05 DIY-paper-roll-06

Once the poly was dry, Scott drilled small pilot holes and used wood screws to attach the brackets. Our preference was a perfect fit (as our measurements above indicate), so the brackets went end-to-end and edge-to-edge.


We eyeballed the height and placement, keeping in mind that the writing area is below the bottom of the brackets! The unit was anchored into the wall, using a level to ensure everything lined up properly. A right angle drill adapter was used to anchor everything in place, but measuring everything beforehand and slipping it on would work too for a little extra effort. On a side note, we’ve been using and loving all in one anchors (50 lb.) to make the job even easier! Tip: The brackets needed leveled along the sides and a gentle nudge to make sure they were straight up and down. They flexed easily enough to make this happen.

DIY-paper-roll-08 DIY-paper-roll-09

With all the drilling and anchoring, you’re bound to have a few scuffs on your freshly painted brackets, so we touched those up using a cotton swab. I’ve shared this before, but I think it’s worth mentioning again; just spray the paint into the lid until you have a small pool to pull from!


Now, here’s where things fall off track. The idea behind using these particular Ikea brackets was to build in a self-roll-down – meaning, as the paper roll gets thinner with use, it will naturally roll down the bracket and stay flush against the wall. Unfortunately, once we put the dowel rod + paper in place, the roll itself was too heavy, and the friction against the wall proved to be too much! It would. Not. Budge. We had discussed beforehand that this might happen, but I was stubborn and wanted to push through, so, lesson learned.


But! Scott came up with the EASIEST solution! We rummaged through our bins and buckets of loose screws and found these 2″ nuts and bolts (which I sprayed black for a seamless look).


Then, Scott drilled right through the bracket, about a 1/2″ up from where the dowel rod was originally sitting. We just screwed the bolts into place…

DIY-paper-roll-14 DIY-paper-roll-15

… and then we put the dowel and roll back in place, now resting on the 2″ bolt. It worked! It rolls! The dowel stays static (so there’s no paint rubbing or chipping), and the kraft paper is off the wall just enough that it spins with ease. From there, we used wood screws to secure the washers to the ends of the dowel rod.


While our solution gives the roll a fixed place, we still love the look and simplicity of the brackets. As the paper gets really thin down the road, we’ll likely have to install another aluminum bar under the base of the brackets, or if the paper gets light enough, we could move the dowel + paper under the bolts and roll with the original plan.

Finally, we used drywall screws to attach the aluminum bare towards the bottom of the paper – loose enough so that the paper doesn’t get stuck, but no loose that they feel flimsy. When we’re ready for a fresh sheet (and ready to kiss last week’s to-do buh-bye), the paper easily tears away!

DIY-paper-roll-18 DIY-paper-roll-01

Again, the leftover 2×10 was turned into a long shelf above the workbench using the Ekby Valter brackets. It’ll stay mostly empty as an additional space to spread out and, most importantly, be the space where we keep those jars of loose screws. We’ve got plenty of those. (Ha!)

  • Madeline @ CBC Blog - April 16, 2015 - 6:40 AM

    So this DIY is great. But what is awesome is the anchors & the right angle drill attachment. Um, I hang a lot of things on walls and put together a lot of awkward furniture- why did I not know about these?!!? Mind blown.ReplyCancel

  • susan - April 16, 2015 - 7:11 AM

    love this! a mini version would be great a kitchen for grocery lists. thanks for the idea!

    p.s. just curious, but why didn’t you just use a 2×8 for the shelves?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 16, 2015 - 7:29 AM

      It would be great for a kitchen – or a playroom too! A 2×8 is really only 7.5″, so once we rip off the rounded edges, it would fall short at about 7″. We just prefer the look of the squared edges! On the other hand, a 1×8 would be perfect, since those edges are already squared, but we wanted the leftover for that hunky shelf above the workbench.ReplyCancel

  • Megan {The Brick Bungalow} - April 16, 2015 - 7:42 AM

    Love this idea! It would work great for so many ideas!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon @ Fabulously Vintage - April 16, 2015 - 8:29 AM

    This is awesome! I absolutely love this! I bet you could use something like this in your studio for packaging up those amazing little portraits you do. :)ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - April 16, 2015 - 8:36 AM

    I’ve wanted one since I was a little girl and I used to draw all over my grandma’s. You’ve totally inspired me and reignited that desire! Awesome DIY, Vargos!!! Can’t wait to find a spot for this in our house!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - April 16, 2015 - 9:00 AM

    I could not love this project any more. I have a honking roll of craft paper that I just feel moving around and hiding behind doors and in corners. No more! Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Sara - April 16, 2015 - 9:25 AM

    I am in LOVE with this DIY – I so want to replicate this for our boys’ playroom! :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - April 16, 2015 - 10:13 AM

    I love this! So functional and stylish.ReplyCancel

  • Ryan | The Blooming Thread - April 16, 2015 - 10:52 AM

    I love this so much it makes me want to just freak out! Seriously haha. You both are just so amazing, and talented. I was reading the past post for grouting tiles and shook my head in just at how beautiful the kitchen came together, down the cabinet pulls. At this point, youre pretty much building my dream house. Love the paint color in here too with the wood and black accents. Bravo!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 16, 2015 - 11:05 AM

      Well, you know how to make a girl happy. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Jenn - April 16, 2015 - 5:00 PM

    what right-angle adapter are you using? we totally need one of those!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 16, 2015 - 9:25 PM

      It’s just the Milwaukee brand adapter that goes with our Milwaukee drill! Best drill ever, by the way.ReplyCancel

  • Jannike - April 16, 2015 - 10:16 PM

    A compulsive list-maker (me) fantasy project. :)ReplyCancel

  • Trude - April 17, 2015 - 10:41 AM

    Looks so good, and convenient! Really loving the stain color too. :)ReplyCancel

  • The Kentucky Gent - April 20, 2015 - 11:17 AM

    This workshop is turning out so cute! Love this idea.

    Josh – The Kentucky Gent

  • megan - April 22, 2015 - 4:07 PM

    what an awesome DIY! I’d love to use something like this in a kids space too!
    thanks for sharing

  • Sarah - April 27, 2015 - 9:46 AM

    Hi Kim! New to your blog and love it.
    Did you use wood conditioner before applying the stain?

    Also wondering if it was significantly lighter after only the first stain coat? I’m trying to find the right stain shade for a new pine table. Thanks!! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 27, 2015 - 10:48 AM

      Hi Sarah, welcome! The stain does get darker with each coat, but it really depends on what color/look you’re going for. We wanted to darken these up a little more than the first coat color for a medium tone, but one coat is a tiny bit lighter… Darker stains (such as dark walnut, Jacobean or Ebony, all Minwax products) get MUCH darker the more you layer in our experience. I’d suggest buying a plank of pine and playing with a handful of stains – mixing and matching until you get the look you want! It’s worth it to spend the extra money on smaller pots before committing to your whole table.ReplyCancel

      • Sarah - April 27, 2015 - 12:41 PM

        Hi Kim, great idea. Thanks for the advice :)ReplyCancel



After patching and repairing the workshop walls last week, we finally dived into the most rewarding part of that process – paint! Although there were moments of waffling and weakness on our chosen paint chip, Scott convinced me to stick to our guns (and go with our guts), and our walls are now the perfect color. Actually, I’m going to say it’s my new favorite color color; mostly green, a little blue and a good dose of gray. It’s Stratton Blue by Benjamin Moore, and we had it color matched to Valspar Optimus paint in an eggshell finish:

workshop-12 workshop-13

Since switching to the Optimus paint line about a year ago, our room-painting-conversations always go a little like this: whoa, I think we can knock this out in one coat! Followed by gah, I just love this paint. It’s, like, so smooth. We’re big, big fans, and while we used to be afraid of an eggshell finish, it really is just right. Our past preference has always been flat, as any wall sheen will highlight the – ahem – character in our old drywall. This paint looks flat, but with built-in durability for those two meatballs running amok in our home.

The paint had barely dried before we were installing our workshop wish list item – a wall mounted vacuum! As a part of our ongoing collaboration with Ace Hardware, they asked us what product would really kick our home projects up a notch, and we quickly agreed that the Craftsman Clean N Carry Wet/Dry vacuum would be the perfect workshop companion. The workshop + this guy = true love:


It hangs on a handful of anchors, with one of them going directly into one of the supports of our pocket door frame. There were two lengths of hose included, but because this space is just under 6′ wide, the smaller of the two reaches all four corners of the room! Cleaning up any small projects will be a breeze, and we gave it a good test run by attaching it to our orbital sander during a workbench wood refresh:

workshop-15 workshop-16

We were concerned before it arrived that it might be too big for the room, but it tucks up against the wall surprisingly well, and should we need to use it elsewhere in the home, it easily comes off the wall holder and is light enough to carry by hand. All of the attachments tuck into a small compartment below, making everything self-contained and organized – which, as you know, is where it’s at. This guy is going to be a future-projects game changer, for sure.


We’ll be back later this week with another workshop addition, but for now, how about a bit of Ace Hardware cash for your own home projects? Together with the Ace crew, we’ll be giving away a $100 Ace Hardware gift card to one lucky reader! The giveaway runs through this Friday, April 17th at 5pm CST; simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. The winner will be announced within this post by Friday evening. Good luck and happy entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


We’re excited to be collaborating with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel! Ace has provided us with compensation and the materials necessary to complete this project (thanks, Ace!), and all opinions are our own. That handsome noodle at the top is an added bonus.


  • Lisa Brown - April 14, 2015 - 6:50 AM

    I have loads of errands to do today, it’s a nice day so it will be a pleasant day.ReplyCancel

  • Emily R - April 14, 2015 - 7:00 AM

    I dream about having a shop vac. Alas – there is no space! But I can think of plenty other things I could use that 100 dollars for. Enjoy the workroom!ReplyCancel

  • karen pellegrini - April 14, 2015 - 7:05 AM

    I was just searching wet/vacs yesterday! I am about to start doing a lot of trim refreshing and hooking up my sander to the vac would be great!ReplyCancel

  • HollYo - April 14, 2015 - 7:13 AM

    What a cool idea – love that shop vac! And the paint turned out beautifully! Can’t wait to try this color in my house.ReplyCancel

  • Brooke - April 14, 2015 - 7:15 AM

    Lovely space! Definitely would make me want to complete all of these spring projects!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - April 14, 2015 - 7:28 AM

    Great idea to hang the shop vac!ReplyCancel

  • Valerie - April 14, 2015 - 7:37 AM

    You inspired me to pick this color for my guest room (also a small room with one window). I am going to paint this coming weekend and am so excited! Looks great!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 9:18 AM

      You’re going to love it!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - April 14, 2015 - 7:42 AM

    What a lovely color!ReplyCancel

  • Laura T - April 14, 2015 - 7:43 AM

    Love the color you chose for the walls!ReplyCancel

  • Callie - April 14, 2015 - 7:47 AM

    Nice post, Kim! So happy to see how well the workshop turned out. I love the color you went with!ReplyCancel

  • Kris - April 14, 2015 - 7:48 AM

    Wish I would have saw that vac before I bought the one I did! Love that you can hang it up.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - April 14, 2015 - 7:49 AM

    I live in rural Texas, and our local Ace is the only home improvement store for 30 miles so bring on the gift card!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda W. - April 14, 2015 - 8:06 AM

    I’ve only had one paint job that covered in one coat, and it was AMAZING!That second coat always sucks. :/ I might have to check out this paint!ReplyCancel

  • melinda - April 14, 2015 - 8:22 AM

    That’s a great color!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - April 14, 2015 - 8:28 AM

    We switched to the Valspar Optimus, too. Game changer! My husband wants that same shopvac. I’m thinking it would be a good father’s day gift. love the color and the way you’re utilizing this space!ReplyCancel

  • Julie R. - April 14, 2015 - 8:31 AM

    I painted my family room Stratton Blue about a year ago. You will not be disappointed! It’s my favorite room in the house!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 9:18 AM

      When Googling the color online, that was pretty much the consensus! We’re so happy with it.ReplyCancel

  • susan h - April 14, 2015 - 8:32 AM

    I LOVE your wall color! Can’t wait to see all your updates! :)ReplyCancel

  • Alexandra - April 14, 2015 - 8:33 AM

    Whoa, I’m impressed. I’ve never seen a shop vac that wasn’t huge and cumbersome. This one looks awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Meredith - April 14, 2015 - 8:37 AM

    We are doing some things around the house, and we just installed a ceiling fan this weekend. It is way easier than I thought it would be, and now I’m contemplating all the places where we should add more fans!ReplyCancel

  • Kate - April 14, 2015 - 8:40 AM

    We just found out we’re expecting and our entire upstairs is a mess. This will come in handy with nursery decorating.ReplyCancel

  • Bridget - April 14, 2015 - 8:50 AM

    I love that shop vac! I always dread lugging mine out of the garage.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - April 14, 2015 - 8:50 AM

    Love seeing the progress of this room coming together! Beautiful color!ReplyCancel

  • Vidya - April 14, 2015 - 8:54 AM

    Lovely color!ReplyCancel

  • Jaclyn - April 14, 2015 - 8:56 AM

    Love that color!!ReplyCancel

  • Harper - April 14, 2015 - 8:58 AM

    What is the height of the work bench? I’ve always thought I’d want a higher height work bench so I’m curious about your reasoning for going with one that seems lower than normal.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 9:20 AM

      Hi Harper! We had been looking in store and online for work benches, and a lot of them did seem to be at counter height. This one is somewhere between a dining table and counter height – but we found it at a flea market, and all the character in that butcher block top had our heart at first glance. Plus, it’s a BEAST. It’s for sure the heaviest piece of furniture we own… built to LAST.ReplyCancel

  • Jenna - April 14, 2015 - 8:59 AM

    I am loving this warmer weatherReplyCancel

  • Elissa - April 14, 2015 - 9:02 AM

    That wall color is amazing – it suits Jack well! (I have to ask – where is his collar from? You’ve probably mentioned it before, but I can’t remember.)

    We have a shop vac that is great, but it’s so awkward, just sitting on our back porch. Love the wall mounted version!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 9:14 AM

      Jack’s collar says Yellow Dog Design, Inc. We love it too, but we wish it was a little wider for his bobble head. They’re both due for a new collar anyway – maybe for their birthdays this summer! :)ReplyCancel

      • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 9:15 AM

        Oh, I should say that we got it a little shop in Kalamazoo, MI, so you might need to Google the brand!ReplyCancel

  • christine - April 14, 2015 - 9:03 AM

    Ooooh, I love your wall color!ReplyCancel

  • Phong Tran - April 14, 2015 - 9:11 AM

    I’d love a shop vac!ReplyCancel

  • Cara - April 14, 2015 - 9:12 AM

    Beautiful wall color, and I love it with the minty pocket door! Finding juuuust the right green/blue/gray wall color is so tricky, which I know because we recently searched and vacillated and finally painted our den the most lovely shade, though it’s deeper and more green than yours: Ben Moore’s Aegean Teal.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 9:16 AM

      I LOVE that color too! We considered something darker, but we wanted a departure from the navy that was there (and poorly painted) already. Nice choice for a den! I bet it’s so cozy.ReplyCancel

  • Gin G. - April 14, 2015 - 9:13 AM

    Love this room! I Can only hope one day we have all the space you do in the city. Condo living is cozy but quickly cramped. I would love love a workroom!!ReplyCancel

  • Thom - April 14, 2015 - 9:15 AM

    I think I need one of these. Having no vacuum is the worst.ReplyCancel

  • Molly W - April 14, 2015 - 9:16 AM

    Love the paint color!ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey G - April 14, 2015 - 9:16 AM

    With all the house work I have to do on my new place, this would be ridiculously handy. Plus, I love AceReplyCancel

  • Erica B - April 14, 2015 - 9:17 AM

    I am heading to Ace to get a new shop vac today. This is such a great option!ReplyCancel

  • AnnMarie - April 14, 2015 - 9:19 AM

    A shop vac! How genius! And useful. I can’t wait to see how the rest of this room unfolds, it’s already tremendous.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - April 14, 2015 - 9:21 AM

    The paint color is GORGEOUS!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - April 14, 2015 - 9:22 AM

    The wall color is so darn pretty. Great choice!ReplyCancel

  • Dani Perkins - April 14, 2015 - 9:26 AM

    Our Ace is on the other side of time from us, so inevitably we end up at Lowes, which is closer, but I have heard good things about their Clarke + Kensington paint so have really thought about trying it out in the hallway we are about to paint!ReplyCancel

  • Eliza F - April 14, 2015 - 9:26 AM

    It’s getting toward the end of my first year at this school so I am hustling to prep for all the final projects I want to do with my students. Fun stuff, and I am not being sarcastic. :)ReplyCancel

  • Martha - April 14, 2015 - 9:28 AM

    I need to paint some rooms. The paint you used sounds great. That gift card would really come in handy!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Happymommy - April 14, 2015 - 9:36 AM

    I love the wall color.ReplyCancel

  • Mary G - April 14, 2015 - 9:37 AM

    I just love reading your blog and watching your home transform. I’d have to agree about this paint color. Absolutely perfect for the space!ReplyCancel

  • Marita - April 14, 2015 - 9:38 AM

    That vaccuum looks far superior to a traditional shop-vac. Our shop-vac has two wheels that fall off anytime you pick it up. Cheap! Thus, we tend not to use it.

    Your paint color was well chosen!ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa S - April 14, 2015 - 9:39 AM

    Love that color with the wood floors! Now if only they made a wall vac that would reach all the corners of my house…ReplyCancel

  • Nate - April 14, 2015 - 9:43 AM

    Thinking about all that needs to get done to the house before we sell it…AHHH!ReplyCancel

  • Maria S - April 14, 2015 - 9:49 AM

    Oh wow, that color looks AMAZING! Great job!ReplyCancel

  • CC - April 14, 2015 - 9:52 AM

    Oh wow! I would have never thought of something like that. Now that I see it, I kinda have to have it!ReplyCancel

  • alex - April 14, 2015 - 9:53 AM

    having serious shop vac envy (didnt know it was possible)ReplyCancel

  • Missy G. - April 14, 2015 - 9:56 AM

    The color looks great, and what a cute shot of Jack trying to come in through the pocket door! LOL. “Come on, mama, let me innnnnn.”ReplyCancel

  • AG - April 14, 2015 - 10:04 AM

    The room looks great! Love the color. I had two questions, so I just wanted to make sure I understood, you used the Valspar paint but the BM color? I ask because we were just told to use only flat paints because of our old drywall’s “character” :)

    Also what vacuum do you use for the rest of your hardwood floors? With two dogs and two cats sweeping and dry mopping just doesn’t cut it. And while I love my Dyson Cordless I’m concerned the beater bar is going to be too rough on the floors once we refinish.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 10:26 AM

      We’ve always been big fans of flat paint since it hides flaws, but also, it just looks more sophisticated, in a way. We’re not a fan of wall sheen! In this case, we used the eggshell finish using the Valspar Optimus line of paint. Using the Valspar base, hardware stores are typically able to color match using any color from other paint lines. We fell in love with the BM color Stratton Blue, but we had them mix it up using Valspar paint! (I hope that wasn’t too confusing.)

      We vacuum with a Dyson Animal (an old one) that does the job really, really well, but I also sort of loathe. Because it’s a really old model, it’s huge and heavy. It doesn’t damage our floors though. These floors take SUCH a beating with 2 dogs, 2 cats and a clumsy Kim, and they still look pretty great! However, I dream of the day we “upgrade” to a newer, lighter model with the same power!ReplyCancel

      • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 10:27 AM

        Oh! And! The Valspar eggshell finish is still a flat enough finish without a sheen. (Some brands’ eggshell finish is too shiny for our tastes!)ReplyCancel

  • Laura C - April 14, 2015 - 10:07 AM

    What a great idea – I’ve never seen those wall-mounted shop vacs, before, but now I need one.ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - April 14, 2015 - 10:09 AM

    So I am seriously lusting after that shop vac. Gah, I’m getting old…ReplyCancel

  • Terra J - April 14, 2015 - 10:13 AM

    I’m in love with the mounted shop vac and the fact that it’s self contained *swoon!*ReplyCancel

  • Jen - April 14, 2015 - 10:16 AM

    I love that color.ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ - April 14, 2015 - 10:24 AM

    We’ve got plans to paint a room in the next several weeks, and I’m curious about the Valspar Optimus paint – we may have to check that out (especially if we win the giveaway!)…ReplyCancel

  • Carley - April 14, 2015 - 10:27 AM

    Wow, that paint color is lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Debra - April 14, 2015 - 10:33 AM

    I love that color for the workroom, especially paired with the minty pocket door. Very nice.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Thompson - April 14, 2015 - 10:40 AM

    Love the color!ReplyCancel

  • Trilby C. - April 14, 2015 - 10:42 AM

    Ohhhhhhh man, if I win the gift card to Ace (which I’ve mentioned a zillion times is the one store in our teeny tiny rural Utah town – and we are verrrrrry loyal to them – which is why I’m sooooo happy that you guys work with them!) we are going out the instant the card arrives and buying ourselves a table saw!! Our projects have progressed to the point where we can’t live without one. But here we are, living without one. And it makes getting perfectly straight long cuts nearly impossible. So FINGERS CROSSED that this is my chance!! Thanks for the opportunity!! Love love love your new workspace!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 1:37 PM

      A table saw changes everything!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany Wellman - April 14, 2015 - 10:43 AM

    I’m thinking about a piece of art my aunt has commissioned me to do. She wants it themed “wine” so I’ve been sketching lots of glasses, and bottles, and maybe doing some first hand research (aka drinking) ha!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 11:10 AM

      Research is VERY important in this case!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - April 14, 2015 - 10:44 AM

    What a beautiful work room. I have some turquoise paint and I wonder if I could mix in yellow to make it look like that Stratton Blue… Or does that only work in elementary art school class?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 11:09 AM

      I’ve done this before! But you need A LOT of extra paint to mix… also, I worry about touch up paint down the road though.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - April 14, 2015 - 10:47 AM

    So jealous of this workshop space! we currently do work in our basement, which is covered in a layer of sawdust that is impossible to completely get rid of! Good work so far :)ReplyCancel

  • Kelly H. - April 14, 2015 - 10:58 AM

    You’ve just given me a serious case of vacuum envy! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Madeline - April 14, 2015 - 11:00 AM

    I love following all your updates. In the next month I’m moving into a house that was owned by my great grandparents and built in 1905. Although it has had a few updates it really hasn’t had that many for how old it is. I’m excited to start working on it!! Your posts give me so many ideas of what I want my future little house to look like!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - April 14, 2015 - 11:05 AM

    I love the workroom and the color! It looks like it will be the perfect spot for projects.ReplyCancel

  • Brooke - April 14, 2015 - 11:06 AM

    That wall color is fabulous! I want to repaint my dining room, and I think I’m going to follow your lead and have my SW paint color matched to Valspar.ReplyCancel

  • Catherine - April 14, 2015 - 11:08 AM

    Amazing color! Goes great with the mint pocket door also :) Cant wait to see the final reveal!ReplyCancel

  • Jen N. - April 14, 2015 - 11:22 AM

    I would love to have a dedicated interior workspace like this!ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - April 14, 2015 - 11:24 AM

    Very nice! That is a great wish list item. I love our shop vac, but it’s a monster and therefore no fun to get up and down the stairs.ReplyCancel

  • Nathan - April 14, 2015 - 11:56 AM

    Love the color you chose! Might have to use that in one of our rooms.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Cluck-McAlister - April 14, 2015 - 12:05 PM

    That is literally the perfect shade of blue!ReplyCancel

  • Emily K - April 14, 2015 - 12:05 PM

    I love that blue! Any soft blues or greens work well in our house, too.ReplyCancel

  • Haley - April 14, 2015 - 12:12 PM

    Great paint color! I love how it looks with the pocket door color.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - April 14, 2015 - 12:13 PM

    Oh my god, that vacuum is clearly what I have been missing my whole life. I hate the super huge rolls over and falls on the damn floor model I have right now. Is it okay to swoon over a vacuum? Don’t care, doing it either way.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 12:26 PM

      HA. We have one of those models, too. Now it lives in the garage!ReplyCancel

  • susan s. - April 14, 2015 - 12:24 PM

    really nice wall color; it looks great with the wood floors and pocket door. and a wall mount wet/dry vac?? yes, please!ReplyCancel

  • Megan - April 14, 2015 - 12:30 PM

    Ooooh, that vacuum looks so great! We got a shop vac a few months ago (from an estate sale) and while it works fairly well, it’s missing some plug or filter part of some kind which then sprays a good amount of the dust back into the room. Not a very functional vacuum!ReplyCancel

  • Kate S. - April 14, 2015 - 12:46 PM

    I am so intrigued by this project of yours! I love that you’re using a room in your home for something non-traditional. And that color!! I think you may have inspired the color choice for a small room of mine that I’m about to paint.ReplyCancel

  • Liz - April 14, 2015 - 1:28 PM

    This color is really amazing. I like that it seems to give depth without making the room look small. Well done! And is it wrong that I had no idea you could hook a vacuum up to a sander to capture all the dust? Genius! Especially for winter projects. Doesn’t hurt that you have Jack peeking through the pocket door in one photo. Man, we get it all with you guys, home projects, wisdom and sweet pups. Well done!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 1:39 PM

      That’s so sweet, Liz, thank you! We just remove the dust catcher on our sander and hook it up to the hose on the vacuum. We did the same when we had to sand parts of our staircase – otherwise, the dust is unbearable!ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Flasche - April 14, 2015 - 1:33 PM

    Love this vacuum and the wonderful color in your workshop, really complements the pocket door color.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - April 14, 2015 - 1:49 PM

    I love that color. And I would love that vacuum.ReplyCancel

  • Ann - April 14, 2015 - 1:56 PM

    Love how Ace is filling the gaps left by the big box stores.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Z - April 14, 2015 - 2:10 PM

    Lol at the pic of the shop vac hung so neatly on the wall and Jack Attack peeking through like, “Mom, did you say meatball?”ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 14, 2015 - 2:12 PM

      It’s funny because it’s true.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - April 14, 2015 - 2:32 PM

    Love the color! And that vacuum rocks.ReplyCancel

  • jan - April 14, 2015 - 3:39 PM

    Fun giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • alexk - April 14, 2015 - 3:41 PM

    It looks great! After years of cheaping out on paint, we’ve learned our lesson. Spending a little more on a quality product makes such a difference.ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - April 14, 2015 - 4:01 PM

    Love that color! We really need to get our basement worshop/laundry/storage/office in order.ReplyCancel

  • Meg T - April 14, 2015 - 4:03 PM

    On my mind…PAINT!! We just bought a new home and I am drowning in warm white options. It’s a Spanish style home and I think a white will look great with the dark wood but the decision is HARD!!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca G. - April 14, 2015 - 4:16 PM

    With a renovation on the books, who wouldn’t like some help from Ace!ReplyCancel

  • Anna J - April 14, 2015 - 4:36 PM

    So nice to have a workshop! I’m super jealous! How convenient is that vac? Ace really is the place!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren M - April 14, 2015 - 4:54 PM

    That was a smart shop vac purchase! I love ours, but it’s so big that when it’s full it’s WAY too heavy.ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - April 14, 2015 - 5:40 PM

    I have a feeling I’ll be spending some quality time (and money) in the hardware store as I get our house ready to sell!

    Thanks for the opportunity.ReplyCancel

  • Erica - April 14, 2015 - 5:44 PM

    Wow, a room dedicated like that would be amazing. I can’t wait to see all the organization you add!ReplyCancel

  • Ro Osborn - April 14, 2015 - 6:09 PM

    I am jelouse of your tucked away work room inside the house! How nice.
    I would be so excited to win the ace gift card. We are getting ready to paint the outside of our house and 100 dollars would really help with paint.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - April 14, 2015 - 6:26 PM

    Love the color! It makes such a difference, yea?ReplyCancel

  • alexis - April 14, 2015 - 6:34 PM

    Good to know about the paint, I’ve been putting off doing my room, but when I do I’ll try that paint!
    That little room is going to be a game changer for you guys!ReplyCancel

  • Kendall - April 14, 2015 - 8:04 PM

    That paint color is beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - April 14, 2015 - 8:34 PM

    Such a cool idea!ReplyCancel

  • Haley - April 14, 2015 - 8:50 PM

    I’m glad you found your perfect paint! It looks great and the perfect backdrop for puppy pictures. I am currently on the look out for an emerald green for my office, which might be the hardest color other than white and red to find. I have five different samples on my wall and none of them look right.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - April 14, 2015 - 9:08 PM

    Love the paint color! The room looks great!ReplyCancel

  • Hilary - April 14, 2015 - 10:52 PM

    Recently found your site and enjoying watching your kitchen remodel complete. Hope the door gets there sooooooooon!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 15, 2015 - 8:40 AM

      GIRL, you know it. THANK YOU!ReplyCancel

  • Caroline - April 15, 2015 - 12:50 AM

    I love that paint color in the workshop!ReplyCancel

  • Kalli - April 15, 2015 - 2:33 AM

    I love that color too! It compliments the wood well.ReplyCancel

  • charlotte m. - April 15, 2015 - 7:09 AM

    Just recently found your blog, via my daughter. I love watching you redo the house. Such great ideas and I love it how you explain your choices and how you do things. That workshop is going to be so great! Every house should have one.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 15, 2015 - 8:39 AM

      Such nice things to read this morning! Thank you, Charlotte.ReplyCancel

  • Katie - April 15, 2015 - 7:33 AM

    That is a great little project vacuum!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Bee - April 15, 2015 - 7:42 AM

    Gah, thanks for the tip on the Valspar eggshell finish. We did our last house in satin… TOO SHINY & showed every drywall flaw. Ugh. The new house is flat paint but… so not cleanable and scuffs easily. I’ll have to keep this one in mind for future rooms/hallways that need a more durable finish. Thanks! (Also, definitely pinning that blue/green… it’s perfect!)ReplyCancel

  • Mila - April 15, 2015 - 9:00 AM

    I dont know where my local Ace is but for a $100 gift card, I’ll find it!ReplyCancel

  • Fara - April 15, 2015 - 9:08 AM

    Ooh, everything about that vacuum makes my heart pitter patter! I know exactly how I’d spend that Ace cash!ReplyCancel

  • JULIA MCINTOSH - April 15, 2015 - 9:14 AM

    I love the wall color, so soothing!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Frances - April 15, 2015 - 9:17 AM

    I absolutely love this paint color. It might just be a top contender for our updated laundry room.ReplyCancel

  • Leslie Grove - April 15, 2015 - 9:35 AM

    Funny…husband was just telling me about this wall mounted shop vac he found.
    Great timing for the gift card…because we want one…even two!!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - April 15, 2015 - 10:06 AM

    Love the idea of the wall mount vac. Hadn’t seen one like this before. Will be checking it out soon. I’m assuming to empty it you must remove it from the wall.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 15, 2015 - 12:32 PM

      Yup, it removes easily and is light enough to carry!ReplyCancel

  • latanya - April 15, 2015 - 10:47 AM

    beautiful room colorReplyCancel

  • Kristin - April 15, 2015 - 10:51 AM

    Your workshop is so nice! Color, wall vac, work bench. Love it all!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - April 15, 2015 - 12:15 PM

    Love that color!! And that paint finish sounds like it would be pretty friendly for accident-prone people like me. :) Hooray for a dedicated work room!ReplyCancel

  • Emily S - April 15, 2015 - 12:17 PM

    I love the color, so much better than a musty garage like most people have!ReplyCancel

  • Alex - April 15, 2015 - 4:25 PM

    That workroom. I want it. It is a treasure and a delight.ReplyCancel

  • kaydee - April 15, 2015 - 7:08 PM

    I’ll be moving soon and attempting to make a few things like a dining room table/island bar and a coffee table. And of course painting! I love the colors you guys are choosing and the way you’re slowly putting your home together. I’m hoping I can do the same thing!ReplyCancel

  • Christa - April 15, 2015 - 7:43 PM

    thinking about re-painting my living room because I didn’t get it quite right the first time. You guys are inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • trotula - April 15, 2015 - 8:29 PM

    it’s amazing how these totally unglamorous tools end up being the ones that really allow the glamorous shit to get done. that color is totally great, too!ReplyCancel

  • Kamille - April 15, 2015 - 8:38 PM

    That is a lovely color! I wish I had seen this post before I got my shop vac, the idea of having a wall mounted one like that is very appealing.ReplyCancel

  • allison - April 16, 2015 - 11:27 AM

    great work!!ReplyCancel

  • Bridgette - April 16, 2015 - 11:53 AM

    I’m getting the itch to paint!!!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - April 16, 2015 - 12:23 PM

    I love that paint color!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth G. - April 16, 2015 - 2:17 PM

    I would love to win. My bedroom needs new paint!ReplyCancel

  • lisa - April 16, 2015 - 2:24 PM

    The workshop looks great! And being able to get the wet/dry vac off the floor is such a game changer! Yay to floor space!!ReplyCancel

  • Arli - April 16, 2015 - 7:27 PM

    The people who work at Ace are always so friendly and helpful. Love the green/blue paint!ReplyCancel

  • Cathy - April 16, 2015 - 8:23 PM

    Love love love the wall color!ReplyCancel

  • Laine - April 16, 2015 - 8:35 PM

    Love that paint color!! I pinned it for future reference.ReplyCancel

  • KathleenC - April 18, 2015 - 9:20 AM

    You and Ace Hardware apparently read my mind… as I read the post about this becoming a workshop I thought “Wonder how they’ll handle the inevitable sawdust?”, and… voila!
    Though I’m too late for the raffle I still wanted to say that was a great solution to the problem. A cool, wall hung, compact shop vac.
    And great wall color!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 18, 2015 - 10:27 AM

      Thank you so much, Kathleen!ReplyCancel


There was no back wall demolition this weekend, only a text from our contractor confirming that the door and transom are officially on back order – which is especially confusing, because wasn’t that the case last week and the week before then? We have a lot of questions, like, how does a standard size in the most popular model become a back order? I’m glossing over this quite a bit, but, just, UGH.

We could dwell (we’ve been dwelling), but for the sake of positivity and moving forward – always a good thing! – let’s just skip ahead. Let’s talk about the workshop!


The workshop is the DIY heart of this home, and it is a mess. A mess!


When we first bought our home and shared how everything in our home connects, there was a time when we weren’t sure what this room would be. Maybe we it would become part of the kitchen? Maybe it would be a huge pantry? It’s obvious that didn’t happen, but what has made the most sense for us over these last couple of years is utilizing the space as an indoor garage – a workshop of sorts.

It’s no secret that Chicago winters are notoriously cold, and as our garden/basement unit is now a rental, we needed this storage for non-freeze supplies such as paints, glues and caulks. At the same time, a rotating to-do of home projects had us wishing for a dedicated space to get fussed up, a space where, in the midst of January, we can have everything at our fingertips to complete a project without pulling on our coat (and hat and gloves and boots).


The walls were navy blue upon move in, and slowly, we’ve been wading through our mess to spackle here and there – because, why not? The blue tape was never stripped from the ceiling by the previous owners, and add that to our pocket door installation, we had a lot of repair work on our hands.


Despite its title of a workshop, we still want it to be a room that we love. We will, after all, spend a lot of time in here – whether it’s picking out sandpaper or making cuts on the miter saw. I’ve been holding up paint swatches for the last few weeks, asking Scott his thoughts on this versus that, and we’ve finally landed on a really pretty gray-green-blue, Stratton Blue, by Ben Moore.


We’ve only painted test patches around the room, because first, we have to prep! After emptying the space (all of our stuff is living in the garage and guest room for now), Scott and I spent the weekend finishing up the drywall mudding, sanding (and sanding and sanding) and pulling up the previous baseboards. We installed and continued our 6.5″ baseboards throughout this room, giving it the same attention we would as the main areas of our home. The window got its very own sill, and the ceiling received coat after coat of fresh paint, too.


The workshop goals are to have a place for everything and everything in its place, with the garage being the home for oversized tools, outdoor equipment and much larger project-ing. We see it as the space where we make quick cuts and lay out smaller painting projects, a space where we can access the sandpaper and wood glue without sacrificing kitchen drawers. It’s a smaller room – coming in at 6′ wide by 10′ long – but its pint size build is truly like a little gem, tucked away.

The prep is often times (okay, all the times) the most tedious and least fun, but what a difference it makes! I still need to caulk and spackle the trim, but the groundwork has been laid. When you walk in and turn right, you’ll see our flea-find work bench. We imagine a long shelf above the table and art above that (because, pretty!), with ample room to spread out and, you know, tinker:


To the left, we’ll have wall to wall, floor to ceiling shelving! The shelves will be loaded up with large and small bins, with everything contained, wrangled and beautifully, gorgeously in order:


It will be a simple room, but a room that I think will quickly become a favorite. I’ve been dreaming of the day I can walk in and find the wood glue without cursing, and because the kitchen sludge is in full effect, we just might get there sooner than I would’ve thought.

There’s always a bright side.

  • susan - April 7, 2015 - 7:30 AM

    what a great space; i would have been hard pressed not to make it a walk in pantry… heaven! it’s going to be a great workshop with such quick and easy access, and it can’t be said enough, Love.That.Door!ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - April 7, 2015 - 8:41 AM

    You guys are just DIY machines!ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ - April 7, 2015 - 8:50 AM

    How nice to have a dedicated space in your home that’s easily accessible for DIY projects! It’s just begging to be used, can’t wait to see the shelving/bins you set up in there.ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - April 7, 2015 - 9:14 AM

    I can’t wait to see this come together!!!! I am infinitely jealous of this space, btw. Here’s hoping we come across a similar bonus room in our next house!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 7, 2015 - 10:32 AM

      “Bonus Room” was 10000% on our list – preferably a space for the home office/studio. We lucked out big time that this house is full of little nooks! Gotta love old house charm for that, at the very least!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - April 7, 2015 - 9:14 AM

    You guys are impressive — working on your work room! I guess it has to be done. I can’t wait to see this. Our basement is the perfect spot for a work room because it’s unfinished — we have only a few shelving units, no work surface, and zero organization. In fact, we have negative organization (that’s my new way of saying it’s a mess). It’s tough to work on the upstairs rooms when you can’t find the caulk. When you’re finished I plan to show my boyfriend and maybe he’ll finally understand my desire to organize tools!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 7, 2015 - 10:33 AM

      Who knew? A boyfriend who doesn’t want organized tools?! He’s a unicorn, apparently.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - April 7, 2015 - 9:49 AM

    I love that color, how does it look next to your minty door? Is it like a darker version of that color? Can’t wait to see it come together!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - April 10, 2015 - 9:19 PM

      Oops, how did I miss this question? It’s about 3 shades darker than the minty door. A good contrast!ReplyCancel

  • The Kentucky Gent - April 7, 2015 - 9:49 AM

    I would love an indoor workshop, anytime I have to work on a project It involves moving this, that + the other thing to make room for a project, then my room/house/whatever is in various degrees of shambles until I’m able to finish project + put the space back together again.

    Can’t wait to see how you finish off the space!

    Josh – The Kentucky Gent

    • Kim - April 7, 2015 - 10:34 AM

      You are most definitely NOT alone, I can promise you that! We still have secret rooms full of shambles in this home. It’ll get there… one day.ReplyCancel

  • Kris - April 7, 2015 - 12:15 PM

    I love the expression on your dog’s face! LOL He’s either thinking “really, another picture?” or “really, this is quite messy in here” LOL

    We have tools in our laundry room, garage and basement. We’ve been here 11 years and I’ve given up on all of them being in one spot. I can never find what I need.ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - April 7, 2015 - 12:32 PM

    YAY for moving toward “having a space for everything.” I want that SO bad. I don’t think our workshop will be as pretty as yours, but if I can walk in and find a hammer (or anything for that matter) without rifling through boxes and cursing then I’ll be a happy camper. Our plans got a little setback (water in the basement – insert “WHY?!?” emoji – that needs a professional fix. In the grand scheme it’s only a few weeks and less $ than we expected, but ugh. Clearly a blog post will be forthcoming) so I’m just going to live vicariously through you ;)ReplyCancel

  • Kat - April 16, 2015 - 10:38 AM

    Enjoy your new workshop!ReplyCancel