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The Workpad: Delta Faucet Company’s I3 Studio

July 12, 2011   //  Posted in: Work-pads   //  By: Emily   //  2 responses

I really love a good, functional, collaborative workspace and hope if I ever find myself back in a corporate work environment, I can land in a space as innovative and cool as the I3 studio at Delta Faucet Company’s headquarters. After visiting the site last month for the 2011 Home Improvement/DIY Blogger event, I was uber-interested to learn more about the loft-like office space and share a sneak peek of the real-life workpad that the company’s industrial design, engineering, marketing, and purchasing teams come to every day.

Delta Faucet Company's I3 Studio

Unique from a competitive perspective, the fully-customized I3 studio environment represents the merger of inspiration, innovation, and imagination; it was among the most enviable workplaces I’ve had the pleasure of touring, and I’ve been excited to share it with you fellow workspace dorks.

  • Tall ceilings and exposed vents? Yes.
  • Dark paint and lots of natural sunlight? Yessir.
  • Dry erase boards and corkboards galore? Yep.
  • Movable furniture? Seriously, lots of it, yeah.

Not only is the space maintained for maximum inspiration with conference rooms and walkways lined with textures and objects that would make anyone go ga-ga over, but the workspaces that accountants and financiers would call cubicles are instead formed from custom-designed walls on casters. The walls are embedded with utility, from magnet boards to dry erase surfaces, there’s no lack of space for sketching, planning, and playing. With no doors and no formal ceiling, the space was designed to encourage collaboration, innovation, creativity between the various departments that call I3 (work)home. There’s no one in the photo, but it was an office alive with activity, communication, and laughter, like an innovative adult’s playground.

Delta Faucet Company's I3 Studio

I went wild for the lighting and exposed shelving in this next meeting space. The shelves are ever turning over colorful objects, prototypes, magazines, unlikely textiles like metallic mesh that would make a great New Year’s skirt, and raw materials like natural sponges and gem stones. Ergonomics are key, and while the teams in this space operate very methodically to make their products the best for the consumer, they’ve also integrated design theory to make the best work space to for themselves. Cool chairs, dudes.

Delta Faucet Company's I3 Studio

It’s forever refreshing to see traditional offices get revamped into inspiring workspaces, and something I’ve been passionate about for a long time; I don’t have a case study to back it up, but I love how a inspiring office yields inspired employees and innovative processes and technologies. It’s creative madness, and in an environment that wants to foster imagination and collaboration, it shouldn’t be any other way.

*Note: All photos in this post can be credited back to Delta Faucet Company. They’re not my own, but they are nice, eh?

The Pinned Trials

July 11, 2011   //  Posted in: Decor, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  9 responses

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?


And with inspiration abundant online, between amazing blogs, search engines, and aggregators like Pinterest, project tutorials of all kinds are right at your fingertips. Hallelujah! I finished up a few DIY projects that I had bookmarked-slash-pinned, and thought you might enjoy hearing about what I liked and what I did differently depending on what I had on hand, hence, “The Pinned Trials”. Maybe it’ll become a regular series. If there’s anything you want me to try, point me at it please!

Numero Uno: Driftwood Magnets

Thanks to ManMade for showing some photos of beautiful, natural magnets made of tree branches; while I didn’t have any fresh (or dried) tree lumber, I have an abundance of driftwood thanks to good ol’ Lake Ontario. Taking one of the straighter, longer branches, I used the miter saw to make straight cuts, exposing the natural wood rings in each piece. Pretty, right? I got carried away, chopping about 50 pieces. I only needed a few, but I wasn’t going to let the rest of the driftwood go to waste.

Lots of driftwood pieces, chopped from a single straight branch found on Lake Ontario.

The diameter of my magnets were larger than the version used in the ManMade tutorial – 3/4″ to be exact, but they were strong little buggers that I wanted to make good use of. Larger magnets yielded larger bit yielded the need to have thicker pieces of cut driftwood so that the drilling tip didn’t go through the opposite side. Luckily I had many pieces to pick from, since I had figured these logistics out after I had gone chop-happy with the miter saw. I found 4 pieces from the original 50 that would be thick enough to use.

3/4" bit with an adequately thick piece of driftwood.

Drilling into the center of each piece of driftwood carefully (so as not to drill my own hands, I should have been wearing gloves anyways), I created an inset area for the magnet to sit.

Drilled inset area in each piece of driftwood.

It’s important to note that the magnet does not sit flush; it’s about 1 tiny millimeter from being flush to ensure that the magnet would have maximum contact with the fridge, magnet board, where ever it would live. I glued the magnet into the wood with E6000 (one of Pete’s favorites, and one of our more common go-to’s for everyday projects).

Close-up of magnet glued - note that it's not totally flush with the wood.

The finished pieces were clamped overnight, and proved to be excellent kitchen accessories when I popped them up to get busy with some coupons and photos on the magnet board (which is just a nice little thing I bought at IKEA awhile back).

Finished driftwood magnets doin' their thing.

Nice, right? Next!

Numero Dos: Outdoor Not-So-Christmas Lighting

When I pinned this garden lighting inspiration, I commented that I was going to do this immediately:

DIY Chandelier via

I already had two baskets (the ones I painted that ended up looking like CB2 products) and draping a line of christmas lights into one of them couldn’t have been easier, of course, I didn’t have a whole bunch of clear glass ornaments on hand, but I added two clear canning jars and covered them with another strand of lights in the basket to mimic that effect, although I did that on the fly once I realized that the single strand (shown below) wasn’t going to cut it. The basket I had was even already hung with a chain just like the inspiration.

Hanging light in the daylight.

With an extension cord extended into the dining room, it lights up nicely. Only after the fact did I realize that the inspiration lights were on a white strand, but no big deal.

Hanging light at dusk.It even looked really pretty lit from inside the house; casts a nice glow on the deck and the backyard.

Looking out the dining room sliding glass door.

Numero Tres: Paint Brush Cleaning

I know I’m not the only sloppy paint brush cleaner out there. And I’m cheap, so you’d think I’d try and make mine (and Pete’s) brushes last longer, but I’m tired and impatient and overall lousy when it comes to thoroughly cleaning the paint out of the brushes. Truthfully, I use both the brushes and the rollers for many more applications than they’re intended to endure. The new roller I “splurged on” when I painted the side of the garage was the first I had bought since 2009, whhhat?

When I saw the brush cleaning tutorial on This Old House by way of Pinterest, I knew it was worth a shot. I gathered the worst-of-the-worst, shown below. The one furthest to the left was actually considered a lost cause before this experiment (very stiff and rough).

Bad brushes. The one on the left was especially stiff.

Step 1: Make white vinegar hot. I put 4 cups on the stovetop for a few minutes, removing before it reached a boil.

Step 2: Pour it over the filthy brushes in a bowl/glass that can tolerate the heat.

Step 3: Go do something else for 30 minutes.

Soaking brushes in hot vinegar.Step 4: Dispose the vinegar, rinse out brushes with soapy water.

Let them sit happily on the back deck to dry in the sun. Try to think about anything besides going to find salt and vinegar chips because now you have a craving. And be impressed, because even the stiff brush that was on the far left in the first picture was cured and will be usable once again in a pinch.

A perfectly soft brush post-soak/wash/dry.


(Almost) Finishing Touches

July 08, 2011   //  Posted in: Garage, Windows   //  By: Emily   //  4 responses

Once the garage had been cleaned up and painted, I was really raring to get going on the trim. The existing trim was a combo of black and white, and the garage door itself had been especially scruff since I moved in. I should say, it had been scruff since well before I had moved in. Scruff = Dingy. Scruff = Dirty. Scruff = So-bad-that-I-had-planned-to-just-buy-a new-garage-door-when-I-moved-in.

I snapped a shot of it (just as I began priming over the black) to show it to you looking about as good as it could look, pre-paint.

A "clean" but still filthy garage door.

The door had been hosed down throughly before I started priming (creating quite the mini-flood in the garage but I won’t get into details about that). I also Lysol’ed to almost no end and hand cleaned to get as much grime off it as possible. Still, it was definitely not crisp and fresh, nor white anymore. Great, right.

Close-up on the dirty garage door.

Side note: It’s not a bad idea to stock up on paints over holiday weekends like Memorial Day and 4th of July; most brands that sell at HD and Lowe’s offer that $5 rebate on every gallon of paint, meaning I saved $15 this weekend between the new gray porpoise, a good ol’ can of plain white, and the silver leaf paint that I used for the trim. Whoop!

Silver leaf was the best match I was able to find for the white aluminum trim that surrounds each window on the house – Behr W-F-720 (purchased in exterior satin, just like the paint I used for the cinder block). As I got started, it seemed like the gallon of paint was going to go pretty far this time around. I started by painting the areas of the garage door, shed door, and garage window that wouldn’t be easily accessible by roller.

It was immediately apparent how dramatic of a door clean-up this would be. Especially on the top part of the door, which oddly was much more discolored than the lower panels. The whole door is well protected from rainfall and weather because of the overhang, but the lower panels must get cleaned off more naturally than the top.

Trim of the garage door panes lookin' real clean.

The follow-up work with a paint roller went reasonably quick, and the results were just as stunning as I wished for:

Garage door looking better by the second!

Another side note: You’re getting a hot glimpse of my neighbors silver carport in the reflection. It’s been there for 22 months now, driving me crazier each day.

You’ll notice that I didn’t use blue painter’s tape. And you’ll notice that I wasn’t even the least bit careful when it came to painting around the two panes of glass. In my experiences, it’s always been easier to be sloppy up front and clean up the mess with a razor blade; some paint is inevitably going to peek it’s way through the tape anyways, or the roller would splatter on the paned glass, and you’ll be doing the same thing anyways.

Using a razor blade to clean paint from the glass panes.

The post title includes the prefix ALMOST because the one thing I haven’t yet done is paint the cinderblock to the right of the door porpoise gray yet; I did remove the mass amounts of ivy that had taken up residence, but want to let the little roots (little ivy fingers) dry up a little so that I can try and scrub as many off as possible. The anxious person in me just wants to paint over them, but they’re everywhere, and the photo doesn’t do justice to how raised some of them are from the surface of the garage so I’m behaving this time and going to do it right.

Ivy remains on the garage. Must get cleaned off before the final painting.

But with that said, how does the painted door from the driveway? Oohs, ahhs.

Garage door looking spiffy clean.

And as I said, the garage’s side window and shed door got a good scrape-down, re-prime, and re-paint too. I also refinished the overhang edges, which were overdue for a clean-up. Ahhs, oohs.

Side of the garage with painted door and window trim.