office makeover

Our office and guest room update!

Since I began this little biz, I've been working out of a very professional set up in our kitchen. Everything piled up on the peninsula killing me softly as things do when they are not in their proper place. I'm no neat freak but I like order and mostly, I like pretty. This whole scene was not pretty. All this time we've had this perfectly nice room downstairs that could easily fit a desk. Yes, it's the guest room but considering we have guests on a fairly infrequent basis, I decided to claim it as our new office space...with a bed. Here's the before from the listing.  PS – I will be so glad when I don't have to post anymore 'before' photos of our home. Yes, they help with impact but they can be a real bummer to look at. 

I am mostly motivated when it comes to freshening up the design and usability of our home but I've been excitingly busy doing that for other people. The real challenge with this room was that even the ceiling needed a fresh coat of paint. There is nothing that makes me less motivated in a room refresh than having to paint a ceiling. Nothing. But, once I finally carved out the time to tackle this project there was no stopping me.

Good (not really). Better. Best.

room painted.jpg

For the wood paneling I went with a standard white. Since this room is partly below grade I needed all the help I could get to make it brighter. Now, everyone in the design blogosphere is so crazy about Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore. What is the big deal, people? Well, I was curious. And well, they're all spot on. It's gorgeous. When I first painted it on I saw lavender and I panicked but ultimately trusted Emily Henderson and went with it. As it dried and as I added furniture and decor back into the room it became the perfect shade of gray. Not too cool, not too warm. Now, how to stop myself from painting our whole house this color? Luckily, I just convinced a client to paint her living room this color so I can live vicariously through her :)

I didn't really have a mood board for this room for a few reasons. 1. I was lazy. 2. I didn't want to spend much on this room. I was trying very hard to work with things we have in our house and mood boards tend to bring out the shopper in me. Yes, they help tremendously when trying to pull a room together but this one just sort of came together organically and I'm ok with that. The only new pieces are the cantilever chair (eBay) and the skull and large print (HomeGoods). I did end up buying a vintage desk for $15 with more storage but it's another project so I give myself a year on that one. The rest of the stuff has been around a while or has been sitting on a shelf in the basement waiting for a place to go. I'm sort of a Goodwill addict and find it hard to put down a .99 cent brass apple (only my mom can fully understand).

I stumbled upon the HomeGoods print one day while killing time. This is probably the WORST place for someone like myself to kill time, btw. Henry was in the cart watching garbage truck videos so I knew I had exactly 19 minutes to burn. I picked it up and put it back later. I didn't want to come off like a poser. I mean we live in the midwest and surfing isn't really a thing here. I went back for it the next day because you know what? I do really like the beach and I wanted this room to feel fun and fresh. I also sort of like the fact that it's women doing something I'm sure was not a very womanly thing back then. I'm not a feminist really but I like the girl power vibe this print gives me. I need that on days that I'm wondering what the heck I'm doing trying to start a business. I imagine they're saying 'get it, girl' or something peppy and inspiring. Regardless of the authenticity in the space, a large scale black and white was just what that wall needed. 

The rest of the room is sprinkled with wood and brass pieces because texture, duh. The rug is another heirloom from Mike's grandmother. When we were dating I wasn't really in love with it. I rolled it up and swapped it out for a Target runner. I'm smarter now. It's a really pretty rug and I love using these sentimental pieces when and where I can. I still love you, too, Target. 

To say I'm in deep like with this room would be an understatement. I find myself wandering in just to admire my handiwork. And by that I mean the painting portion. I'm proud of the rest but it was a blood, sweat and tears project to paint every square inch of that space (multiple times) during nap time. But it's so refreshing to be rid of the dijon paint...only one room left of it! Hooray! 

Do you have a room in need of a little (or big) refresh? I'd love to help you! Contact me here :)

A bright and serene office update

When you're a city dweller, it's pretty common for your home office to double as a guest room while also accommodating all of the other stuff you're not quite sure what to do with. That was the state of affairs for my writer/photographer/all things creative client, Diana. Not the best 'before' photos but you get the idea. She needed a place to think freely and feel inspired that would also be welcoming to friends and family and a little monkey I happen to know...Diana is my mother-in-law and that monkey is, of course, Henry ;)

One of the most challenging parts of updating a space for a client is to do so while still honoring their personal style. I know Diana fairly well at this point so I know she loves pattern and deep, rich colors. I used a rug of hers as the starting point that also served as sort of check in piece for me. Any ideas that came to mind had to be cohesive with that piece to know that I was still on track with her look and not just my own. Here's the mood board I put together for her that I shared on the blog a while back. To my delight, she was on board with most of my ideas and we moved forward quickly. 

The first order of business was the wall color. To brighten the space, my initial thought was Honeymilk by Valspar but it didn't quite work with the lighting and was too similar to the trim. ALWAYS test your paint, people! We tried out a few and settled on Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore (I love the color so much, I'm using it in our bedroom...eventually). It's a creamy light gray with very subtle brown undertones. Really bright and clean feeling and so, so pretty. 

Diana had expressed feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the pattern in her home so I swapped the futon cover for a solid one and found some new, fun pillows – one print, one striped. She still loves pattern, just doesn't want it everywhere. I can relate. I removed the torchier lamp and updated it with this wood toned geometric guy from Target...I'm really digging that little corner. 

    Floor lamp - Target ;  Bird pillow - Pottery Barn ; Tassel pillow - West Elm (discontinued); Futon cover - Right-On Futon; Frames - Ikea 


Floor lamp - Target; Bird pillow - Pottery Barn; Tassel pillow - West Elm (discontinued); Futon cover - Right-On Futon; Frames - Ikea 

The gallery wall was next. Diana had a lot of family photos to display but as it happens over time, frames can begin to look dated and don't always mix well with one another. I purchased varying shapes and sizes of black frames from Ikea for a more cohesive look and got to hanging. (Here's a tip for gallery walls: Arrange your frames on the floor first until you like what you see, snap a photo of the arrangement to reference while you're hanging.)

Diana's desk was a little worse for wear but otherwise a solid piece that was still very workable. I'd been following Megmade, a furniture refinishing shop in Chicago, for some time and was excited to finally get a chance to work with them. Diana and I popped in and chose a nice gray lacquer (Amherst Gray by Benjamin Moore) for the base and she kept with the same dark wood finish for the top. I found new brass hardware from Schoolhouse Electric and voila, a few weeks later, a new desk. That. Is. Gorgeous. 

Although her desk chair is not the most attractive, it's crazy comfortable. Knowing that this is an actual working office, I resisted the urge to trade it out for something pretty (and less cozy) and just threw a sheepskin over it to dress it up. 

The before photo doesn't do justice to the ledge shelves on the wall but they were too big for the space. I removed them and chose a tall bookshelf for stuff that was beginning to accumulate on and around her desk. To help her stay organized, I grabbed some pretty boxes from Ikea for mail and general miscellany and we kept her wicker file box and mail sorter, too. Mike will make fun of me because I'm into wicker lately but I really do love the softness and texture it can bring to a room...when done well. 

In the case of the shelf, I kept with her mismatched frames. If you don't go crazy with too many, I think it can work. And they also helped to keep the space more Diana and less 'decorator'. 

Pulling it all together (as rugs do) was that beautiful kilim. It was passed down from her mother who had impeccable taste in rugs and was just a super fun piece to work with. Using things of meaning for clients is my favorite part. I've mentioned this in every post (because it's true!) that it's sentimental pieces that make a house feel like home. 

So, there you have it. An updated office/guest room that we did for just over a grand. All in all, the space feels much more easy breezy which is exactly what I was going for. It's the perfect place to get creative, meditate on your day or throw down a pack 'n play and take a nice long afternoon nap :)