I spent most of my free time yesterday evening driving to Dallas to pay for my newly acquired, new-to-me, small-sized SUV. Yes! I have wheels! WHERE’S THE FABRIC STORE?? Time not spent on the freeway was spent on nearby streets, in an increasingly frustrating search for a carwash. You’d think with BOTH a voice activated GPS and Siri to help me I could find a *#()@* carwash. But alas, the closest one Garmin had to offer was 237 miles away and Siri was all about the full service detailing shops and wasn’t interested in telling me about the drive through numbers with the six dollar washes. Sigh.
I realized that I have not shown off my home office! And this was the FIRST room that we put together, since I work from home. Of course, since it’s a home office, it’s, you know. Functional. By day I work in marketing/communications, which means a lot of monitors and magazines to organize. Sigh, as much as I yearned for it, I really couldn’t pull off anything close to my dream office. Like the one below. I believe this is (was?) the home office of Brook Gianetti, designer and blog author at Velvet & Linen.
I really, really wanted to go for the more elegant stand-alone desk, backed with a larger storage piece. The problem with a standalone desk is a SERIOUS lack of continuous desk space, as well as a nightly requirement to completely clean up OR leave the office looking very untidy. Speaking of untidy, one of the challenges with designing my home office was the layout of the space. I commandeered the room on the 1st floor that was originally intended to be the formal dining room. It’s one of the first rooms visible when entering the house, completely open to the main foyer and an incredibly odd shape, with a clipped corner and three giant, open doorways.
Why don’t you just come on into the house!?
Once through the door, the stairs to the second floor are directly ahead with a little alcove to the right that has a console table with little bits of this and that. Perhaps we’ll take a closer look at that tomorrow…
Turn to the right, and there’s the office!
If we back up a bit, you can see the front door on the right…
I was really happy to get an office with such great light! Of course, the problem with that light is that one whole wall is out of commission for furniture. That, plus the open area on the other side of the room made it super hard to figure out where to put things!
The desk was the most important piece to find. I wanted something with lots of storage, and really wanted a hutch to give it some presence – this room has REALLY high ceilings! I wanted something cute, slightly country, and preferably white. Oh, and L-shaped. Turns out, this is REALLY HARD TO FIND!! Most functional office furniture (i.e. – drawers for hanging files, L-shaped configurations) are very dark and either SUPER masculine and traditional or…. super masculine and contemporary. There are some nice options at Pottery Barn and Ballard Designs, but the price tag is higher than I wanted to go. I wanted to outfit the office for $1,000 or less, including a new larger monitor, which left me with around $750 for the desk. I already own the Liatorp desk from Ikea, which is exactly what I wanted, looks-wise, but it’s not L-shaped and the storage is a bit funky for a working office-desk (no side drawers, just doors and shelves.)
I ended up ordering the this desk from Bush Furniture. This PLUS the matching two drawer lateral file was just under $800 with tax, so it sort of fit in the budget! It’s ‘antique’ white, which looks VERY creamy in real life. Thank god for the dark wood floors, right? The catalog photos look much, much more white, but I knew from reading reviews what I was getting. I also test-drove the black version at Office Depot (Office Max?)
The back of the desk is technically ‘finished’, so it looked alright having the return face outward, but I really wasn’t thrilled with the finishing on the desk – very boxy and uninteresting. So I piled a bunch of baskets (goodwill and World Market) in front of it to make it a bit cuter!
The hutch has some little cubbies that aren’t QUITE deep enough to stack paper in. Instead I stacked some of the books I tend to use a lot. The blue book on the top of the stack is a copy of Elements of Style from what has to be the 70’s. The cover is blue, plasticy and iridescent! The baskets are from World Market and one has cords and things and the other has my label maker and tape – too bulky for the drawers. The big basket on top has product samples. The other two cubbies are homes for my Kindle and a place to put receipts for expense reports, etc.
Here is the BEST part of the whole desk… a little hidey hole to put my stuff in at night! Makes clearing the desk top MUCH easier! You can see my hutch-now-media-library set at an angle in the background.
And here’s the view into the family room while I’m working. It’s really nice – I can see all the way through the house to the pool in the back yard!
Along the other side of the room is my grandmother’s china hutch, now pressed into service as office supply and magazine storage. I also have a little sidechair and my lateral file. This was a strange wall. I didn’t want to leave it bare, but didn’t really want to line furniture up along it either! Originally I tried the hutch in the corner NOT angled – with it’s back against the short wall. I made the whole space feel very dead and cold. By angling it, I made it much more inviting when you look into the room from the foyer.
Here’s a slightly different angle, showing the lateral file as well. And just a teeny corner of a dog bed for Lucy, who usually insists on sleeping under my desk on my feet. I’m going to roll over her tail for sure one of these days!
The little green chair is part of a set we bought with the farm-table-now-cutting-table through craigslist. I LOVE the color! The map was in our hallway in Minneapolis, and was a super-exciting antique shop find – it’s a plat map of Fairbault, Minnesota, that I got for twenty bucks and stuck in a frame I already had and just aged up a bit. The pillow is, um, from, um, I think I got it at Hancock Fabric! The lantern is new, from Home Goods. I love the (albeit fake) patina.
As part of my job I do a lot of ad buys and design the ads. I also try to keep up on reading the industry magazines. So I have a LOT of magazines to keep track of. Thank god for the cheap, white Ikea files.
A few more reference books and one CD box for CDs and the other for the little things that collect over time… business cards, light bulbs for trade show booths….
The office is nearly finished. I only have two mini-projects. One is to take the drapes down (they’re white ones that I had from Ikea, the ones the seller left behind were AWFUL old-lady beige-and-sheers. Ugh.) But the draper rod is BENT and it drives me nuts because it doesn’t look level and is very obvious from the street. I will likely need Mr. Bug’s brute strength to help out with that one. I also want to make a slipcover for the office chair, which is black fabric. I don’t really mind how it looks, but it collects Lucy fur like it’s been sent her by God to do so. I am slathering that dog down with Nair one of these days…
Oh! And what’s to the left of the doorway when you come in? Glad you asked… The builder-intended formal living space, destined to be Mr. Bug’s poker room that will double as a larger dining room when needed. But right now, it’s the 1st floor staging area.’ Say hello to all of my junk! Isn’t moving fun?
Now you see why there is no sewing getting done. I swear to god people, when I lie in bed at night, I can hear all these boxes teasing me… especially that tall guy in the middle…
Even with one “staging area” it looks to me like you are getting settled in fairly quickly. I have been in my house 12 years and the garage still is a “staging area”!
I know, I know. Both Dan and I have house OCD and anxiety, which means we need to get everything organized asap, to avoid marital discord. In 4 days it’ll be a month since we moved in and I’ve NEVER taken this long to unpack, so in my reality I’m dragging!
And that’s funny about the garage. We’ve noticed a lot of the neighbors have a LOT of stuff in their garage, and park in the driveway. Our other weekend project was a trip to Ikea to pick up some pine shelving to install in our garage – it’s TRASHED, but we have all the main organizing stuff in place (pine shelves and wire basket Antonius units) so hopefully by Memorial day our garage will be tidy. Seriously, the garage in Minneapolis was clean enough to eat off the floor – ALL Dan’s doing!
Oh wow, I love your office! It looks so pretty, it could easily be featured in a magazine. 🙂 I love the clean and simple (but pretty) look you’re going for. I’m definitely a clutter type of person, with too much stuff packed into a too small of room. I really admire you’re ability to stay so organized!
I love hearing about your decorating/ moving process (even though I know it can be immensely stressful). My parents moved to dallas about 10 years ago (just after I left for college), so I know how hard it can be to personalize those big, generic houses and I think you are doing a fabulous job! Anyways, I’ve been meaning to leave a comment to let you know that you MUST go to McKinney and check out the antiques and other cute shops. Granted, some are a bit too “texas” for me, but antiquing in McKinney is always my favorite part of a trip to see my folks!
I keep blaming it on the kids (14,19,22) and all their “outgrown/unloved” stuff but in reality, I think the clutter is my obsession with buying holiday decorations (probably about 30 plastic totes worth) and my husband’s addiction to tools that he never uses!
I admire your ability to get everything tidy. My whole house is a mess and let’s not talk about the garage “staging area”. I have that same version of “Elements of Style”.
Part of the reason people in Texas have so much stuff in the garage is that no one has basements. When we first moved to Texas from up north, I couldn’t imagine where all the stuff that normally resides in a basement would go – answer: the garage!
On another topic, have you found the fabric warehouse district in Dallas yet? Fabric shopping heaven! Perth Street just off Harry Hines Blvd is where most of the stores are, with another large one about a block further south.
I think you did a beautiful job with your home office! The light from those windows is lovely, but it definitely makes it difficult to place furniture. The angled hutch is a brilliant solution. I’m still in awe over your kitchen too.
Hey, great ideas and thoughtful presentation, such a lovely place to work! I like your use of color and space, very creative. The “old lady” comment seems a bit sexist and ageist, though, to my female 63-YO ears. I know you don’t mean it as such; just want to let you know how it sounds to me.
Yeah, my mom tells me I’m sexist and ageist all the time. Lucky for me I’m not hiring anyone. I’d totally hire based on shoewear and familiarity with technology.
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