Monday, August 4, 2014

decorating a workspace

i ended my construction update by admitting my temptation to do nothing further in our office. it's just so clean right now. (it's also kinda intimidating to decorate a room while the whole world wide web is watching).

but, ok, i need to furnish it. the whole point was to get organized, right? so here are the thoughts, ideas, options and projects that i'm working on to turn my office inspiration into reality. it's in the baby stage, and to be honest i'm not in any hurry. i don't like putting together a room too quickly, and sometimes you have to live in it for a minute before you know how it's going to work best.

for now, this is how i'm thinking the furniture will lay out:

there are three "zones" in this room: bookcase storage (check), desk (there at the bottom right of the plan), and work/ craft table (top right of the plan). the desk will go here:

(hard to believe this corner used to have a playmat and alphabet cards). i am not sure whether to orient the desk perpendicular to the wall, like this:

or to position it against the wall, like this:

with the first option, i like my view better when i'm sitting down. i have pretty sight lines on all three sides-- the kitchen, the bookcases, and the window. i also like that a chair can be pulled up to either side for homework help.

but if the desk is against the wall, then i can get a bigger one (always good), hang shelves on the wall above that won't hit me in the head, and i can have more room for the craft table to breathe on the other side of the room. decisions, decisions!

however the desk is positioned, i'll try to do a little gallery wall near it. when my son and i were bringing up books from the basement, he pointed to the rafters and said, "what's that sign?" it was a (black and white!!) street sign the old owners had shoved up there and left. i can't believe i'd never noticed it! score! hopefully we can work it in to the gallery wall. after a good scrubbing. ew.

i made the bulletin board this week:

i basically "upholstered" an old one i had, using duck cloth and nail heads. i used spray adhesive to smooth the fabric over the cork board surface, then added the nail heads. (i layed a yard stick along the edge so i could place them at the 1" marks). then i pulled the fabric around the frame and stapled it to the back. i covered the staples on the back with duck tape to keep them from scratching up the wall. there was probably a much more professional way to do all that.

i'm just starting to organize my collections of prints and inspiration to go on the bulletin board. it's hard to choose things that i love and that also look good together on a board. i predict this will be changing often. 

i've been saving my gold ampersand print and this "no diggety" print from kaitlyn parisho designs for months, and can't wait to get them on the walls:

on the other side of the room, the work table, an old wooden table we bought as newlyweds, will go over here in front of the window:

i'm looking for a pendant to hang over the table (because i hate to pass up an opportunity to add pretty lighting), and a rug to ground the space (because it really is needed to make the space feel cohesive and "finished"). 

we have a few stools from target that can sit under the table. we grabbed stools because in a small space we didn't want bulky chairs to have to navigate around. these can just slide under the table when they aren't being used:

dyson is thrilled the room is done so he has his favorite lookout perch back:

i'd like to buy or make a cute dog bed for him to lay near the desk or in front of this window. he is one year old (and full-grown) and still using his cramped puppy bed. time for an upgrade for this guy! 

here's some of the bookcase staging i've been playing with. i actually got the go-ahead to go to homegoods and buy accessories. i was sooo excited, but once i was in there, i realized i didn't want to just fill my room with new stuff. i spent a grand total of $18 on two gold ring orbs, and everything else i'm going to use in the bookcases has been collected over time. it all has a story and a meaning. i like it better that way.

i found these old papers in my grandma's collection from the basement. there are bank books from the 1930's and a report card from 1909! i put a couple of them in glass jars in the bookcases.

these shelves sport a photo of my grandparents at a swanky party at the greenbrier hotel, a pitcher and driftwood of my grandma's, a geometric object i made, a rock from pebble beach, and a book that a friend gave us when we moved to chicago from san francisco. oh, and i finally have a spot for that 15-lb stack of restoration hardware catalogs i can't bear to throw away!

i've been previewing a couple coffee table books from the library. i can't believe how good design*sponge at home by grace bonney is. her style and philosophy is so good, and resonates with me so loudly, it's like having blinders removed and being kicked in the gut all at the same time. this one is a must-buy.

and finally, once everything is all in place, i'll be needing quite a lot of desk organization:

that's for sure going to be the hardest part!

wish me luck!

{update: the office is finished! you can see the reveal of our bookcase styling here and my desk area here. i'd love to hear what you think!}


  1. I am so jealous of that "No Diggity" print! I need one of those stat! Laura, I love what you are doing with this room. It is so pretty and bright. It just makes me happy. I have always wanted to do all white, but never can seem to get it to be the right white. Know what I mean? I welcome any tips:)

    1. grace- i know, right?! she put up a flash sale for that print on instagram and i was like on it in two seconds. and thank you! i chose "alabaster" by sherman williams for the walls after reading this post on 'the hunted interior': (i didn't test it first or even look at a swatch...i knew enough to just listen to kristin, and she was right; it's what she said is in her house and it's absolutely perfect). the trim and bookcases are "pure white" by martha stewart. so i guess my advice so far is to trust kristin and martha in all things! hahaha.

  2. Love that sign you found. SCORE! I had to laugh at the RH catalogs. I haven't been able to part with them either. :)

    1. hahaha i knew i couldn't be the only one!! they are just too pretty aren't they?!

  3. Oh my goodness! That upholstered bulletin board is TDF! So pinning that onto my DIY board on Pinterest. The nail heads are divine!

    1. thank you vanessa!! yes, i saw something similar on that desk from 'the every girl' (you know, that amazing gold and pink office that everyone has stashed somewhere on their pinterest boards?!) and i knew i had to try it. the nail heads were polished brass from joann fabrics. my only complaint was the internal bleeding my thumbs suffered as i pushed them in! i wish i'd had the foresight not to lose my thimble before this project! ;-)

  4. Can't wait to see how it turns out! Love that No Diggity print! And, the inspiration board- I need to make one.


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