Hello my people! I know I haven’t been around talking with you much and I promise there is a really good reason. I’ve been busy. No really, not just busy, but BUSY. In the last month my family and I have sold 2 homes, bought another, moved, gotten our oldest moved back to college (1300 miles away), and the littlest settled into a new school (literally 1 DAY before school started).
Did I mention I’ve been busy?
Did I mention we moved?
Moving is a lot of work, even when someone else does all the heavy lifting. You still have to get settled and decide what goes where, WHO goes where, and decorate. Of course you have to decorate – it ain’t home ’til you’ve made it your own!
So after getting everything moved and setup (pretty much) where it was going (stay tuned for THAT story – there’s always a story), my first order of business was to get my office setup. Well, the first order of business was making sure everyone had someplace to sleep – minor details. Let’s get back to my office… Without my home office I can’t work, which means I can’t make money, which means… well, let’s just say I like money. Seriously, who doesn’t?
The worst thing about change can be change itself.
The best thing about this “makeover”… embracing it and realizing that decorating is a never ending adventurous journey.
Anyway, this move gave DH and I each something very special – our very own spaces. A media room for him (more on that in a later post) and an office for me! I kinda had my own office before, but I had to start sharing it in some form or other (with a kid, in the (fully open) entertainment room that you see below, at the chef’s desk). It worked out well, but THIS… this is THE way to work!
And since I was getting a new office, I decided to go a different direction with it. Though I loved my previous digs, this one reflects a new attitude, a new beginning so to speak. It sounds so cliche but is so true. Take a look for yourself…
Before (In my previous home on the left & the new home on the right)
After (In our new home)
I know what you’re thinking… “That ain’t just different, it’s the complete opposite.” Well, yah they kinda are but let’s not get all dramatic about it. Kidding.
The only things the spaces have in common is their location in the respective homes. And maybe the floor. And perhaps the seating arrangement, kinda. Okay… and maybe a lamp and my desk chair is the same exact chair with a little face-lift.
Anyway the feel of the space is totally different! I had kind of a dark and moody vibe going on before whereas now it’s very serene yet vibrant, clean and crisp, and dare I say… a little bit… Girly. And I love every bit of it.
Truth be told, we already owned most of the items in the room. Only the desk is brand new and it was a serious SCORE from one of my favorite places, World Market. Josephine is normally $199 – not bad at all, I would have paid it – but I brought her home for $119!
Guess what? Even without that big score, even if everything in the room was purchased new, the cost of materials for this room still would have topped out at about $1000 not including accessories (I already had those), overhead lighting
(still trying to decide which one), or the guest chairs.
The guest chairs were another great find – a beautiful lady I like to call my “buyer” found them at a local thrift shop for $45 each!!! Really she’s my big sister and she IS amazing! She’s also the reason I have inventory when I don’t actually keep inventory. 😉
Update – I’m not trying to decide on overhead lighting for my home office anymore! YAY!
Long story. I’ll explain later, but let’s just say there has been a parade of lights in our new digs. I went batty pinning so many light fixtures that I started pinning the same things over and over. I finally decided to make my own. Yep, that’s right! I made the chandelier in my home office!!
Anyway, can you imagine when she’s completely done and cleaned up?! FABulous!
Update #2 – I changed the layout a bit.
The layout was great – wonderful storage, lots of space, comfy seating. What I found was that, even though I love having everything visible & within reach, I don’t necessarily want to see it ALL the time. Having the storage console across from the desk was not good for my zen, not good feng shui at all.
Simple solution – swap the location of the guest chairs with the console. It’s more difficult to screen share, but I don’t do that very often anyway.
Also, for some reason I have a “thing” for open floor space. It’s not an issue in client spaces, just my own. Maybe it’s because I had a shared office space for so long before; now I’m back to a dedicated office, I don’t need all that floor space. Not even for the yoga & exercising that it looks like I do, but don’t.
And after changing the layout, the light fixture had to change.
When I swapped the position of the chairs and the storage console, my DH came in for a look. The lowest hanging crystals from my chandelier grazed his head. He’s fine but that would be unacceptable for anyone else coming in to see me.
I hated to do it but… it had to come out. NO I did not buy a new one, I swapped it for another that we’d originally purchased for the family room.
Turns out this is exactly what both spaces needed. The family room is big with 12′ ceilings so it didn’t do justice to this fixture. In my office though… this thing makes the angels SING! In my head anyway.
2 of these sideboards used to flank the fireplace in our old family room. It’s perfect in my home office for storage. Craft supplies are in the wooden World Market bins & files are in the white fabric bins below.
And then I covered it all up with fabric. Really it’s white pillowcases that are held up with double stick tape inside the glass doors.
Here’s how the storage situation turned out. Between this, the orange secretary, & hidden things (;-) ) I got storage covered.
Another thing you might notice… the overhead light is different. Again. that’s because we had a builder basic boob light in the entry that was driving me outta my mind! I was shopping for another light when I went in the attic & saw this 1 that I’d bought God knows when from who knows where.
I don’t really know why it was in the attic, but this is exactly why I shop at home first. This light is way too big for the entry so I put it in my office & moved the GORGEOUS office chandelier into the entry.
Happiest. Mistake. Ever!!! But that’s a story for another day.
This sideboard holds everything I need from files and books to the printer and paper. In a pinch, I can use the top for small crafts, mass mailings, etc. Moving it to this wall also allowed me to take advantage of some extra storage space behind the door. And even gave me 1 more spot for more seating if I want.
A few of my favorite things:
Throughout my career in corporate IT and in this creative world of ours, if there’s one space where I try to always employ the basic principles of Feng Shui, it’s in my workspace. You won’t find any tutorials here; those are all over the web. But it’s evident in my choice of “accessories” and their placement.
I do change these out sometimes, but most of them live happy little lives in my orange secretary.
I don’t typically like to decorate with things that don’t have a purpose, so everything in my home office has to be functional.
But there are some things that I love but would never have a chance to use. Things like my Grandma’s Wedgwood. Seriously, what the h*%! would I EVER do with a (random) fingertip bowl & saucers (sans teacups)? Even though I know what they are and how to use them (my mama & grandmother are “The Etiquette Queens”), they are a bit of a lost art these days.
I may not be able to show off good home training with these pieces, but they are the perfect size for holding my USBs, paper clips, thumbtacks and such.
Other such things are these little white Bibles. They are just the sweetest. The bottom 2 were gifted to my oldest when he was born 20+ years ago and “The Little Bible” on top was given to me by a friend almost as long ago.
For the Windows:
Last year, I talked to you about window treatments. Well in this case, I used all 3 of the techniques in that post. These panels are hung as high as possible, the rod blends into the molding and the panels don’t need to be moved since there are wood blinds on the windows.
A few things you might notice:
- First and foremost, there are no cords to be seen. Why? No it’s not strategic photos. It’s because I don’t want to see them and because when things stay plugged in, they still use/waste energy. The “lip” on the back of my Josephine desk has enough space to run the cords through to the fold down, pull out draw on the front. My surge protector is velcroed to the back side & everything is plugged into it; when things need charging I plug the surge protector in, otherwise it’s out of sight. Even my laptop fits in there when I don’t need it. The printer is in the console and you can’t see what’s going on behind there anyway. Here’s what it all looks like “under the hood”.
- Equally important, I really do need and use all of my “stuff”. Some of the books in the sideboard are older than me and have been read by generations of my family (or just me, multiple times). Anyway, that’s why it isn’t “staged”, it’s for real. The rest of my “stuff” is either hidden (which drives my family nuts), or hidden in plain sight.
- See how that curtain next to my desk bulges out a bit? The shredder’s back there. Truly I normally do a better job of disguising – my family never knows it’s there.
- I can’t have a lot of papers on my desk, not too zen. So I use the little table behind me to hold all the short term “stuff” I’m working on. It’s glass for a reason – you really shouldn’t notice it unless you’re looking for it.
- And speaking of cords… we all need them, just not all the time. I keep mine in a little frosted white container on the glass table behind my desk. Out of the way and out of my sight – until I need them.
- And the clipboards on the wall? That’s lists or longer term items I’m working on.
- My pencil cup – well it’s not really a pencil cup at all but more importantly, it doesn’t hold a bunch of the same cutesy pens or pencils. Yah that looks great, but I’m particular about my ish and I’m more concerned with how a pen or pencil writes than how it looks. I could write a book about pens (the point, the ink (gel pens suck by the way, no one over age 13 should use them EVER), traditional pencils vs. mechanical vs. carpenter, mechanical pencil sizes…) I could go on, but I digress… horribly. Sorry.
- No office, corporate or home, should be without a live plant or 2. My plants suffered badly in the move, but I tried to nurse them back to health. Right now, all I have is my struggling Peace Lilly. But I’ll take it!
- About guest seating… I have seen a million pics of spaces where garden stools are being used for seating. And it’s true that they’ll work in a pinch AND that they look great in pictures. The reality is they are not that comfy and are better used as an additional tabletop. Trust me, I’ve sat on mine and I prefer the floor. Clients should feel welcomed, not like I want them gone in 5 minutes. The only person that ever sits on the stools is my 5 year old when he needs to come talk to me in here.
- And about desk seating… One of the remnants of my corporate days is that I like to be mobile. While I love the look of using a cutesy side chair or arm chair, it just wouldn’t be functional for me as a desk chair. Ideally, I’d love a high backed modified wing chair on wheels with hydraulics but I have yet to find 1 that doesn’t look like it belongs in a smoking room… or a lawyer’s office. Pass. Soooo, I
stick with the old faithful rolling black office chair – modified of course –now use a yoga ball!!! It’s great for my posture & for “exercise” – my back, legs, & glutes thank me for it.
And last but not least, a word about lighting:
Here’s the deal, soft white light is great but not in a home office. At least not for me. I’m not trying to be romantic in there, and I’m not hosting any dinner parties or any other kind of parties in there. Okay, maybe a BALLin’ party, but that’s different AND there will be no swinging from the chandelier!
Anyway, I don’t want soft white light OR the fluorescent light from my corporate days. If I have to work after dark or on a rainy day, I want the closest thing to daylight as possible. And that’s just the type of bulb I use in my lamps. It’s a bright white glow that diffuses just enough light for the room and is concentrated where I need it.
Items are exact unless specified. See them all together on my pinterest board.
For info on some of the more personal items in the space, thoughts, or questions just drop me line or comment below. As you can see, things can change based on functionality so check back – you never know what you may find.