How I Turned a Hole in the Wall into an Office
A couple of years ago I decided to rent some basement space for an office. It was in a residential home and the rent was cheap. Dirt cheap. Only $300 per month.
As a home business owner and assistant to another business owner, I needed a quiet space away from my home.
There was a catch. The previous home owner had cut a large hole in the wall to install a large screen TV. This meant that the “office” space I wanted to rent had a problem.
If I used it and the home owner needed something from the entertainment room I had no privacy. There was a large, three foot by two foot gaping hole which has the pleasant view of the two couches and their 15-inch color TV on the other side. It also had a large hole on the bottom part of the wall where the electrician simply yanked the old drywall off the wall to make a repair.
Having grown up with a do-it-yourselfer dad, I knew a little bit about drywall. So I convinced the home owner to tack on my cost to repair that gaping hole with a months free rent. We split the supply cost and i got to work.
Here’s how I did it:
I made a T-frame out of wood and metal joists and fitted it into the hole. This provided the wall frame for the missing television hole. It also provided strength to the wall to make sure the drywall was secure and couldn’t be crunched in or simply fall out. It also gave me a way to hang shelving on the wall.
With the permission of the home owner, I left the wall indented on the other side when the dry-wall was installed. This way a flat-panel television could be neatly installed later, should they want it.
I also made sure to install some sound proofing material in between the T-frame and between the drywall on one side. This would enable me to have more quiet on my side and they could watch TV without being interrupted by my phone calls.
I used 3/4 inch dry-wall screws in the metal joists and to securely fasten the dry-wall to the T-frame. This provided a solid wall and filled in that gaping hole.
Next, I filled in the joints with spackling compound. Some professionals do this, though not many. But I had heard that it reduces crack shrinkage later. This was perhaps the most time consuming part of the project. Each layer of spackle compound had to dry over night.
Then, I made sure to fully tape all the joints. I sanded the previous layers of spackle down to make way for the tape to lay flat. Then, I layered a paper thin layer of spackle under the tape as I moved along and I spackled over the tape when it was all done.
The final part of the job had me re-spackling over the wall a few times. In the end, I didn’t just spackle and sand the joints. I wanted the finish of the wall to match the eggshell smoothness on the walls of the rest of the room. This meant a few layers of spackle over the entire wall. I had to let each layer dry for 12 hours before moving on.
Success! The wall turned out beautifully. Had I to do it over again, there are some things I could have done differently. I am sure if I had used white paint instead of red, the mistakes would be more evident. But I know I would have re-drywalled the entire wall. The drywall was a few millimeters different than the original drywall and if you run a hand down the wall it does have a warped feel. This is easily hidden by a desk.
I also would not have sanded between the final layers of spackle. It took more spackle to finish the wall and this meant another trip for a second bucket of spackle that I had not intended to purchase.
Three years later and the wall is a deep red and still gorgeous. It was worth the week I spent repairing the large screen television hole and the electrician’s messy attempts to repair the outlets on that wall. I have an office space to be proud of and turned a dirt cheap room rental into a professional looking remodeling job.