A Revamped Office Plan

Hola friends!!  How’s everything going for you this week??
Just wanted to check in since some ideas have been spinning around in my head.  We’re re-working our office space at home as we speak, and I’m really excited about the inexpensive changes we’re making.  

I’d been pretty happy with the mini makeover we’d given this space a few months back… the office had been functioning fine for me when I’d work from home, but as I think it goes with most projects around the house, it always starts with one little thing…. our thing was a computer monitor.

Kris has been working from home, and really needed a computer monitor to be more productive.  We talked about it, and agreed that if he needed one to be more productive when working at home, it was a good decision.  So he went ahead to choose which one he wanted and ordered it.

Fast forward a few weeks, and there was a massive box sitting in the entryway.  What was in this massive box, I thought?  Turns out, the massive box held an equally massive computer monitor… like big-screen TV massive.  Why am I not surprised…. men!

What this meant was that we now needed a new desk.  The desk we already had was WAY TOO SMALL to house his behemoth computer monitor, laptop, and various other desk stuffs, and so the hunt for a new desk, and the mission to revamp our office was born.

To refresh your memory, here’s how the room had been looking……..

All the updates we’d made in this space were really inexpensive.  I sanded and painted an old desk that was literally falling apart, painted the walls, and hung a drum shade for overhead light.  Since this photo was taken, I’ve also painted the grout white, and brought in some life in the form of an enormous, gorgeous plant.  
I swear people, plants make everything better.
All the updates we already made were extremely friendly on the wallet, and surprise surprise, we plan to keep the second phase of this room’s makeover equally inexpensive.  Since we will be replacing the above desk with one almost twice it’s size, we’ll also be changing the layout of the room.  The desk will live on the right hand wall perpendicular to where it is in the above picture.
I also want to clean up those curtains.  They are too sheer, so I’d love to line them, and they are also way too long, so they need to be hemmed.  I got lazy when I worked on them the first time, so even though they needed to be hemmed months ago, I just rolled them under and called it a day.  Shameful!  Having them hemmed with a crisp edge will make them SO much better.
We’re also going to have one big empty wall to fill up, so there will be a project there as well… maybe a nice shelf above the monitor to have some pretty frames lined up… or a gallery wall around the monitor could be nice… not sure yet!
A few more things… we need a desk chair that is as comfortable as it is beautiful, and a comfy spot to perch in the window since that space will be freed up.  Can’t you just imagine me cozied up in the sunshine on a winter afternoon??
In terms of a desk, here’s what we’re thinking…….

Kris likes modern, I like a warmer look, and this sort of combines the best for both worlds.  Kris likes the clean silhouette, and I like the warm wood top. Done!
We started out looking at desks from West Elm, World Market, Target, and everywhere in between since this was not a project we wanted to put a ton of cash into, but even options from there were adding up to several hundred dollars.  Our solution is going to cost us less than $100, and I can’t wait to share more details once it all comes together! 
More updates soon, promise!

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??

True Style vs. a Truly cool Lamp??

So I know that yesterday I posted about staying true to your style.  Mine is classic.  Clean. Contemporary. Comfortable. Preppy.
But let’s talk about this lamp for a moment.

You all know this lamp.

Nate Berkus blew everyone away with his last collection for Target.  It flew off the shelves and was only available online.  I of course lusted after it, and finally caved.  I ordered two of them.

They arrived last week, and after setting one of them up, Kris came home… his immediate response was:

“I can’t tell if I hate that lamp or if it’s my favorite thing in the house.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

After just posting yesterday about staying true to your style, I am evaluating EVERYTHING against that lens now, and these lamps do not really reflect my “true style”… but they are so dang cool!!!  I had originally wanted them for the living room, but they are not at all right in that space.

I’m thinking that on our desks in our soon-to-be-office they could be great, so I’ll hang onto them for now…

To give you a little visual, this is sort of how I see them playing out in the office…

I’m not ready to let go of the lamps yet, but I know I need to make some decisions soon!!

What do you think?


Or do they need to go back to the store?

Office Organization

I’ve been trying to get organized and make my totally bland office a little more homey.  If you want some really hideous “before’s” of my office click here… They are just too ugly to post again…
For the last several months, it has been just me and my computer, and the room looked exactly as it did when I first moved in.  
Then I hit up Ikea…
They had some fabulous stuff to help organize and corral all the papers, and “stuff” that piles up at work.  
I loved the citron yellow boxes paired with the periwinkle file holders (a technical term) – aside from the organization factor, they bring some much needed color to this otherwise totally drab space.
And I loved these woven boxes with labels on the front – I might go back for a few extras for our house!
A few small framed prints also helped spruce up the space…
And I totally stole this photograph from our living room – I love this picture of the Ferry Building with the bokeh effect, and it very conveniently matches the periwinkle file boxes I bought!  Don’t you love when things just work out??
This pretty abstract seaside painting just makes me happy…

This is no crowning glory, but my office space is a bit more livable now with some personal effects in here, and the fact that there is COLOR aside from the drab blah beige is a huge win.

I still feel that the bookshelf could use some work… unfortunately I realized that all the office furniture was rented with the building, and so painting was quickly out of the question.  I’m toying with the idea of covering the back of the bookshelf with paper or fabric of some sort – perhaps a bold black and white stripe… or maybe just a solid color.  Grey?

All that faux wood just hurts my eyes, but at least I’m making baby steps.

Now we need to get some artwork up in herreeeeee!!

Office Space

Sooo… you know how I had mentioned I’d just started a new job??  Well everything has been amazing so far!  It’s all really fast paced, I LOVVEEE my coworkers (kind of helps that we were friends beforehand…) and I really feel like I’m getting into my groove.

Our office is downtown, in one of the oldest buildings on Montgomery.  I feel like a total grown up walking through the financial district every morning, and love looking up to the tops of the skyscrapers.

The entry to our building is stunning – really intricate tile floors, amazing stonework, and gilded elevators.  It’s really hard to tell from this picture of the elevators, but between the gold are bits of really deep emerald green, and it looks so freaking amazing.  
The inside of our office is however… well let’s just say it leaves something to be desired.

Woof.  The walls are painted in the same god awful off-white paint as my landlord had painted every single wall, cabinet, and crown molding in our apartment (it just looks DIRTY).  The beige carpet is as boring as it gets, and it comes complete with mystery stains, and don’t even get me started on the faux wood desks and matching bookshelves.

For a building with tons of history and character, this office has NO character.

Luckily, I can see past the drab paint, and old carpet, and I have grand ideas for what I’d eventually like to do with my office – it has a ton of potential, with large windows letting in lots of natural light during the day, high ceilings, and plenty of space.

On my to do list, I plan on….

Bringing in Interest with a Graphic Rug!!

Aside from covering up the mystery stains in the carpet, a big graphic rug will give some much needed visual interest and character to this otherwise colorless and lifeless space.  I’m thinking black and white or navy and white – nothing too jarring (orange anyone??) and something I will want to take with me if I ever leave.

Bringing in some lighting!!

The lighting in any office building is awful .. those overhead fluorescent bulbs??  Aside from being unflattering, it also gives me a terrible headache, so I keep it off whenever I can. I love how the funky lamp on the desk here doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that would pretty much solve the issue of overhead lighting.  I also love how the desk is turned to face the window… genius!

Styling (and painting) the Bookshelves!!

A bevy of books make a big visual impact on this wall.  I have a few hideous bookshelves in my office, that if pushed together and painted a charcoal grey (with the approval of our office manager of course) could make a lovely statement.  It’s a real talent to be able to style a bookshelf – Jenny of Little Green Notebook has written several very helpful articles organizing books.  I wish I could just take these built ins and magically transport them in here!

Bringing in some Art with Character!!

Source: Vogue

Great art.  Perhaps the hardest thing to achieve, but it makes such an imact in a room.  It brings the walls to life, and inspires the work you do, and since I spend at least 8 hours a day at work, I want to feel inspired by the things around me.  With 20 foot ceilings, I’ll be on the hunt for some larger scale pieces and interesting frames…  can we also talk about the chair??  What I wouldn’t give to snag that!

Accessorizing, Accessorizing, Accessorizing!!

Finally, what this space needs to make it feel like mine, are some small personal touches – a stack of books, a few candles, and a sweet little tray to corral everything together.

And that lamp??  Amazing.  Don’t even get me started.

I Dream of this Wallpaper!!

No Source

If I really had free reign over my office, I’d wallpaper it from top to bottom with the amazing Tanzania print from Thibaut Design.  It’s busy for sure, but the small scale of the print makes it almost a neutral… no?  Every space I’ve seen it in, I die all over again.  One day – even if it’s in my home office, I will have this wallpaper.