Name: Gillian Grimm
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Tell us about this home building or renovation project: When my husband and I decided to both work from home, we needed an office on a very tight budget that we could both comfortably work in. He is an architect so needed a drafting table and computer area, and I am a craft writer so needed a lot of storage and plenty of space for my various projects. We transformed what had been the playroom into the office using almost entirely reclaimed materials and spent about $50 on the entire renovation. Specifically we bought paint for the walls, chunks of MDF, a light and a bi-fold door from the Habitat store and two chairs off Craigslist. Everything else was from around the house!
What specific green materials, techniques, or processes went into this project?
The desk was built using the doors as a base with the MDF mounted on top for a smooth surface. It's edged with leftover pieces of hard wood flooring from when we put floors in the kitchen. (The hardwoods were also reclaimed and purchased from the Habitat Store.) The legs on either end of the desk, plus the hardware to mount them, were taken off of an old desk we had that had seen better days. The center of the desk is supported by a bookshelf we cut in half and then reattached over and under the desk.
The filing cabinet drawers were recovered with paper and coated with Modge Podge. The cork board was lifted from the playroom and taken apart, painted in layers with leftover paint and then stenciled before it was rehung as an assignment board.
All of the art is either misfit things we had in the basement or re-purposed items from around the house (like the hanger wreath and the embroidery hoops).
Chandelier was another find from the habitat store. We painted it (with paint from the Habitat store) before wiring it up. The pencil cups were mugs I found ages ago at Goodwill and used ink-jet decal paper to add words to.
What green building material or product were you most pleased about?
It was fun to poke around the Habitat store and figure out what we could use for what, and how little we could spend to get the office we wanted.
What had you less than enthused?
Wish we had two of the same chairs! The black one is super comfy, but alas, I still haven't found another on Craigslist. Just not willing to buy it new...
Have any advice or resources for readers looking to green build or renovate their home?
Be flexible. If you think outside of the box, it's amazing what you can accomplish with very little money and even less impact.