The One Day Study Makeover

Inspired by what seems like a near non-stop exposure to HGTV (I admit that some of that is my doing), I embarked on an attempted surprise for Ahna that featured a one day makeover of our study. The study has been a place that was mostly lost in the house, and as it’s the first thing that you see when you come in, it was sorely in need of some help. We had planned on painting the entire house earlier this year, but circumstances prevented us from being able to financially commit to that project. So, some overtime came into the picture, and with that extra income, a fun project like a room makeover came into focus.

Disclaimer: here was lots of lying involved. White lies, or otherwise, I still had to hold to a story that wasn’t entirely what was actually happening. After we got the first paycheck with the overtime included, Ahna asked if we could use some of that money towards redoing the study……sorry, nope, we needed it elsewhere. For over a month, I would have to concoct some alternative answer to questions about my day, or suppress any further digging into what was happening. And then there was the reliance upon luck that she wouldn’t see some of the things that were happening for the project: like expenditures, like things hidden around the house, like things stored at my parent’s place, etc (it’s interesting to write all of this down, because as the back story is shared, I am near certain that a surprise like this will never be able to be pulled off again). And the day of the project? I had a meeting to go to, of course.

So all of the planning, all of the pieces, and all of the parts came together exactly at 0730, just minutes after Ahna left for school (this was the first time in 10 years that I have been glad that she had a long day at school of parent-teacher conferences that would keep her there until 7pm). Room evacuated of stuff, painter arrived (extra expense, but needed to make this happen in one day….and he did a fine job by the way), and movement of things into the basement began. Everything going according to design. Then the first and, really only, disaster speedbump reared it’s head. While my Dad (the extra set of hands that were needed for this project) and I were moving an old bookcase into the basement, we heard a loud bang and crash/shatter. Rewind a few minutes with me, and when Dad was staging the bookcases in the room for removal, he had a gut feeling that he shouldn’t have placed one of them in the middle of the room, on carpet, with nobody holding it. If you take anything from reading this story, it’s this: listen to gut feelings. Ok, back up to the crash/shatter noise. That bookcase? It fell into another piece of furniture (no big deal, that one was leaving too) and then straight into one of the slider pieces on the front window – shattering one of the panes of glass (since this is essentially the only good story to come out of the day, we are spending some extra time on it now).

A quick cleaning of the large and small shards of glass and a few four letter words – aloud and silent – later, we embarked on fixing the problem. A long story shorter, we got tremendous help from the neighborhood  construction supervisor for Meritage Homes, and were able to find a slider piece that would work in the interim until we can get the original fixed. It’s amazing how quickly blood pressures can rise and fall.

The rest of the makeover went pretty much on schedule. We spent a long time putting furniture together (thanks IKEA for making it not too difficult), and then an equally long time putting the room all back together. After starting the transformation at 0730, we finished it all up at 501pm, some 10 hours later…and just a couple of dollars over budget. The surprise went of flawlessly, and Ahna was shocked. Part of me wishes that we had a camera filming it, but a large part of me is excited that Ezra and I get to keep that reaction to ourselves; it was just so awesome. We are really happy with the room, and it has take a large load off of our dining room table. When surprise meets organization meets design meets function, it creates a wonderful space – an even better story.

And for the record, Ezra was the first one to use it.

the 'after'

the 'before'


  1. Wow, what a great make-over!! You’re HGTV personified!! (I watch that as I write!!!) Love the wall color and the green rug that provides contrast. Super idea, too, with the surprise element! Speaking of surprise elements, I love the photos of your father holding the fractured window….. haha
    Great job, and thanks for providing inspiration!!
    Jan 🙂

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