Dining Nook Turned Office Nook

I’d mentioned that our dining nook attached to our kitchen has recently transitioned into our office. We’re a long way from “finished” (am I ever “finished”?) but it’s HUGE progress from where we started…
Here’s what this space is looking like right now…
Here’s where it was a few days before that picture was taken…

Junk.  Everywhere.


This post should really be titled, “Junk Nook Turned Office Nook” but let’s pretend it had been used as a dining nook, ha!

The first and most major step of this transformation was with paint.  A good gallon of paint changes everything people.

I went with Benjamin Moore’s Intense White – the same color we used in our living room.  Officially my new favorite.  It’s just such a pretty, calming neutral, true grey.  Super pale and light – it reflects light beautifully, and despite it’s name it is definitely GREY – not white.  After putting one coat on the walls, this space felt so much bigger and brighter.
The sage green was a decision my best friend and I had made together a few years ago when we lived here, and it was not one of our best decisions.  It was not bad per say, but with just two walls painted, it felt like an after-thought – especially when the rest of the room was a blah off-white.  
It was just too much contrast against everything else, and it ended up absorbing all the lovely natural light this room gets from all the windows.
A few weeks prior to re-painting, I’d hung some striped curtains right up at the ceiling.  That too made a world of difference in opening the space up.  Against the grey, the thin grey and white stripe fabric is so pretty and simple, and light.
We positioned this re-purposed desk in front of the windows, and while it may eventually move against the wall, this is the perfect example of up-cycling, and working with what you’ve got.
This desk was dead.  Beyond dead.
My best friend had inherited it from her parents and used it as a makeup table for years.  It had caked on makeup, spotty and chipped paint, and it was bad.
It was destined for the dumpster after my best friend moved out, but our of sheer laziness, it stayed in the apartment.  One night… I’m not entirely sure why… I broke out the sandpaper and the same can of paint that I’d used on our wine hutch.
20 minutes later, it was looking a million times better, and it narrowly missed it’s grisly end at the dumps.  I WISH I could find a “before” picture of this desk, it was really REALLY bad.  If I can dig one up, I’ll definitely be updating this post!!
I still want to add a pull to the drawer, and paint the back of the desk (you can see exposed in this picture) so that it blends in with everything else.  I mainly want to be sure it blends in, and right now the wood back sticks out like a sore thumb to me.
What else was added to this room??  

Um… a light!

Yep, this room was not wired for any overhead lighting.  Absurd.  Ikea just started selling this drum shade, and so I got that along with a cord kit, that can be wired into the wall.  It was super simple to put everything together, and after I anchored a mount to the ceiling, I got this bad boy hung.

Let there be light!!!

As I mentioned this space is a work in progress – I’m working on some art to hang up in here, and I still need to finish painting one of the walls (on the left) that runs the length of the kitchen into the breakfast nook (now office).
More (better) pictures will be included with those updates hopefully soon, but in the meantime, here is another picture from move in day…  a real “before” if you will:
And an updated picture from this afternoon:
So excited that this has turned into a pretty, calming, usable space.  We finally have a usable room!!!
I must also add that this space has been a pretty major revamp on a serious budget.  I’ve spent about $100 transforming it – the paint for the desk I already had, along with that wicker chair (another leftover from Kira), the rug (was in the dining room of our old apartment), the frames, the art, the curtain rods, and the accessories.
Here’s what I bought: the wall paint (one gallon of BM eggshell paint) the curtains (another Ikea find) and the drum shade and light kit.  
I’m actually guessing I’ve spent closer to $80 so far… not bad, eh??

Statement Jewelery – Charles Emerson

Now THAT is some bling!!

No… I didn’t pull the trigger on the $125 Classic Pave Link Bracelet from Jcrew… despite the fact that I’d been lusting over it for the last year.  This pave chain bracelet is a recent discovery from Charles Emerson Designs – a Virginia based jewelry designer that specializes in “flashy baubles” (their words, not mine).


Not only is this bracelet a dead ringer for the Jcrew piece, but it was less than half the cost!  Including shipping!  They were running a promotion at the time, but even without the discount, this bracelet is under $50.  They have other fabulous pieces, but just had to brag a bit about my find 🙂

Some of my other favorites…


I’m a huge fan of the statement necklace – throw on a button down, skinny jeans, and one of these guys, and you’re ready for anything! I have some REALLY cheap ones from Forever 21 and H&M – they tend to break after a few wears, so keep that in mind…

I have a few pricier ones from Banana Republic, Jcrew, and Etsy – all of which I love – and based on all the compliments I’ve gotten on my bracelet so far, I have a feeling that I may own a few from Charles Emerson in the near future…

Check out the rest of the collection here!

Inexpensive Furniture Finds

Let’s play a little word association game – I’m going to name a store and then list out all the words that come to mind when I think of that store.

Urban Outfitters.
College dorm-room, overpriced hoodies, hipster clothing, weird coffee table books, knick-knacks, faux-vintage, mustache themed everything, slogan t-shirts.
Ahhhh, I feel better – now here’s the thing… the other day I posted about that cool accordion side table from Urban Outiftters that was $75 compared to similar tables that retailed in the hundreds.  That led me to do a little investigating of my own, and I’ve come to find out, Urban Outfitters has grown up a bit since the last time I popped in for an over-priced (but super soft) v-neck t-shirt.  Turns out, they actually have some pretty FABULOUS home accessories, and it’s cheap!  I would never have put Urban Outfitters in the category of “great home decor” but they seriously are!
Aside from this fabulous table, here are some of my favorite finds!!
Awesome, right??  I am especially loving the owl garden stool and the gold hexagon side table. I probably won’t pull the trigger on the owl, only becuase it seems to be a little too trendy, and doesn’t seem like something I’ll love 6 months from now.  Also, not that we are in the market for a console, but the Draper style console is really cool – something I think my sister would be really into.  Her house is full of mid-century pieces, and this little guy would fit right in (in my humble opinion). 

Both of these have great lines, and details that I LOOVVEEE.  You all know how obsessed I am with nail-head trim, so both these beauties are A-OK in my book.
Let me start by saying that I probably wouldn’t put these sofas or the chaise in my living room.  And by probably, I mean, never.  The day to night sofa (pictured in a heathered brown) would be great in an office-guestroom combo, since it does convert into a sleeper sofa.  And the chaise and Gramercy sofa are so overly feminine – I see those living in a huge walk in closet, dressing room, or bathroom.  They might even be good for an entry-way as well, but not so much for the living room.
I’d be thrilled to have any three of those chairs in our living room – the hot pink Madeline Chair especially jumps out at me.  That shocking pink for some reason doesn’t look that “girly” although I’m sure Kris would disagree with me on that.  Luckily, also comes in a ton of other colors.  
A few of my other favorites were the tan, aqua, and navy:
I think this chair might even get added onto my growing list of potential side chair candidates for our living room…
All in all, I’d say I’ve totally changed my mind about Urban Outfitters…

The Tale of the Quatrefoil Mirror

Photo courtesy of jpmdesign
This is a long story so grab a cup of coffee… it will may be a while.

It starts with my love of this room, that mirror, and Target (pronounced Tar-shay… it’s french). This store continues to amaze me… its huge – the frozen food is a few aisles over from shoes which is a few aisles over from makeup which is a few aisles over from toilet cleaner which is a few aisles over from home home decor… it’s awesome.  Each time I come out with a new bikini, a plunger, candle sticks, and a bag of Doritos (for the ride home, obviously), or some combination eerily similar to that.

And can we give props to their inventory department? Everything is continually updated, which on one hand is great because there is always something new, exciting, and fun.  Unfortunately, things sell fast, so if you don’t snap something up while you are there, someone else will.  This is where my story of the quatrefoil mirror starts…

A few weeks back, while browsing the home goods department for fun, I spotted a fabulous quatrefoil mirror hanging among the picture frames.  “Twenty bucks?” I thought… “Great deal!”  But alas, Kris has me on a “budget” and so, in an attempt to be good, I thought, “This will still be here a few weeks from now.  I’ll sleep on it, and I’m still wanting it, I’ll go back for it.”  TERRIBLE IDEA!  Damn budget!

Who knew this mirror was in such high demand?!  Over the weekend, I headed back to Target to pick up three of the quatrefoil mirrors to hang above our bed.  What did I find? Empty shelves.  Some sneaky bargain hunters had beat me out!  “Deep Breaths” I thought… “I’ll find it online.”  And what did I find?  A whole lot of nothing.  I turned to eBay, Amazon, random Google searches and what did I find??  Super expensive mirrors identical to the one I passed up at Target!  Dah!

$150 on Ebay
$60 from Lowes
$229 Ballard Designs
$385 Amazon
$329 Shades of Light


I am a resilient girl… I picked myself off the floor after 2 good hours of crying, and picked up the phone.  I called Target headquarters.  A very pleasant woman with a southern accent picked up, and I calmly described the mirror.  She said “Oh honey, we have a lot of mirrors that look like that across our stores… can you be more specific?”  Um… it was around twenty dollars?

Apparently that tidbit of detail helped, because 30 seconds later, we had a sku number, and she was listing off stores that showed availability.  Each store showed that they had one left.  Oh man, my work was cut out for me.  Sneaking out of work a bit early last night, I headed to the first Target.  None.  Next Target… they had one – SCORE!  Next target SCORE – they had one too!  Next Target?  Bust. It was 9:00 at night, I had already been to four Target stores, I was hungry and annoyed, but I just needed one more and I was home-free. I think someone in the heavens was rooting for me, because at my fifth store, I won.

Game over, mirrors acquired.

Along with the mirror I left with two blue and white chevron pillows, a sweet little scroll pattern breakfast tray, a new bikini, the DVD box set of Mad Men, and some girl scout cookies… just to show Kris what he can do with his “budget”.

Interior Design: Bedroom Challenge

So after some number crunching, it’s apparent that the gorgeous bedding from Restoration Hardware is not at all within our price range.  That said, I am looking elsewhere for inspiration that will fit into my original vision for our bedroom.  We are going for something that feels luxurious, clean, and classic.  No frills (that is Kris’ main ask), and since I already ordered this print and this print, we are needing something that won’t clash with that vibrant red (I’m still thinking mainly white).

I am loving the look and feel of the below bed – still simple, but with a more intricate scroll border.

Lake View Residence Bedroom traditional bedroom

I found several inexpensive options that look extremely similar to the above:

  1. Check out the Egyptian Cotton Cable Duvet available at both Sears and the Cassa Decor for $109. 
  2. There is also a very simple duvet set from West Elm, also for $109 for a king (is that the magic number or what?)  
  3. eBay has a lovely duvet with greek key border for $86.  I am not sure how I personally feel about buying bedding off of eBay, but since the seller has great reviews, it could be worth a shot!
  4. Finally another steal from Sears!  It’s definitely pricier than the rest at $320 for the set – I feel like I have to see it in person to validate the considerably higher cost!