Home Office

Architectural Influence

At this point it should come as no surprise that I am still working on the layout of my office.  Slowly, yet surely adding pieces that are useful and look nice.  I hear it said over, and over again, in small spaces you must carefully consider the size and functionality of each piece.  A large number of small pieces can make a tiny space feel cluttered, just as too many accessories can overwhelm the space. I realize many people are in love with the Anthropologie style, but for me there can be too much of a good thing.  My work space needs some organization and order.

Anthropologie Catalogue

Despite the urge to balance the size of furniture and accessories on a tiny scale, resist the need to run out to IKEA and buy tiny furniture.  I really do like IKEA for their accessories and decor, but the furniture is definitely not comfortable for people my height. My office has been a challenge because I want the room to still feel spacious, but need to incorporate functional spaces: desk/computer area, drafting area, sitting area, and storage space.


So far in this 11 x 13 space I have the desk and lounge chair, but I have still been looking for a drafting table to fill up the space.  In my lofty visions, I envisioned something beautiful, and architectural that I could actually use on a daily basis.  With my ‘unlimited’ dreamy budget I say the RH 1920’s French Drafting Table.

RH - French Drafting Table

Simple, yet beautiful piece that appears to be adjustable and in real, working order.  Tilts to five angles, held with a cast-brass pin that integrates metal with the aged wood.  The trestle base is stained a darker, tobacco color, and to me this makes the piece look salvaged from multiple sources, surviving the tests of time.  But alas, my real budget cannot accommodate the $995 tag.

RH - Drafting Table (Back)


I swear, after the Buster chairs, I knew never in my life would I own anything else from RH.  Enter CraigsList.  What was meant to be a surprise has been slightly revealed.  On a gardening trip to Lowe’s this weekend, I was informed we would be making a stop to pick up something just posted…eyes were rolled.  We already have too much furniture, our living room is busting at the seams! Then this was loaded into the back of the truck…


CL Drafting Table



Even if it’s loaded into the office as-is, it’s more than perfect. But maybe a little cleaning, a little staining, and this gem will be even better!



Organizing the Office

I have found myself not motivated creatively lately.  The new year gave me a little surge, but overall just not feelin’ it. That must mean it’s time to change things up, and what better place to start than my office.  Ideally, this is the room that I would work on my blog, study design and work on sketching in layouts for the rest of our renovation plans.  My thought was, if I rearrange the furniture, the room can take on a new vibe and perhaps that will get the juices flowing.  Do you ever feel like a space is just ‘ugg’ ?  You’re not comfortable there, you can’t think creatively, or it just isn’t working for you?  Then play the rearrange game! I was one of ‘those kids’ who would shut my bedroom door and move my furniture around, every couple of months or so…just because I needed a change.

If you have quite a bit of furniture, I would suggest sketching out your idea first.  Maybe even go so far as to take measurements, and map out your layout to ensure everything will fit where you want it to.


Room Dimensions

And if you REALLY want to dedicate yourself, you will create a scale drawing of the room and furniture and cut the pieces out so you can move them around without really moving furniture.  I only had 3 pieces of furniture, but I’m a bit detail oriented and felt compelled to spend a lot of time on this project.  I won’t mention that I already knew where I was moving everything, but felt the need to exercise my layout skills. So I scaled my room using graph paper (2 squares =  1 ft) and cut out my figures.

Layout Planning

Now I made a much cleaner version using MS Word, and got some before and after comparisons for you.  Who doesn’t love a good B&A!

Space Planner

Office Layout - Buffet

Office Layout - Desk

Still learning my settings on the ‘point-and-shoot’ camera…how hard could it be to focus, right?

Cozy Corner

There is one poster missing from my collection of vintage maps, and it will be matter vertically, to hang in the empty space on the right.  I also want to get a floor lamp and ottoman to complete my casual seating area.  For the floor lamp I want to match the finish on the other table lamps to create unity, since the shades will be different. Something like this floor lamp from Pottery Barn:

Adair Floor Lamp, Bronze finish

I like the details at the base and the small details of the arm, and at the connection. However at $179.00 this will simply be a source of inspiration.  To complete the seating area I want to find a round, tufted ottoman, but the type of fabric is still up in the air.  I want a piece of round furniture to balance the boxy desk and hutch.  The tufted element will unify the ottoman and chair, if that is not done in the fabric.  My dilemma in deciding between fabric and leather is based on texture and availability of a match in the leather.  I want fabric to bring in another textural element, and perhaps pattern, and it will be difficult to find an exact match on the leather.  I want leather to create a more simple palate, not introduce any other patterns, and create a ‘set’ of furniture.  Which would you choose? Ignore the prices if you want, knowing I won’t pay that much.

Ottoman Choices

I do feel slightly more energized to finish my work space and it was really refreshing to clear everything out and get back to the basics.  But then…it is just me, or does anyone else feel you HAVE to make a mess to get something clean?  Case in point:

Closet Explosion

Once the office was clean, I need to turn my attention to the closet…which meant I had to clean out the boxes…which meant I needed to empty the boxes…and my clean office was no longer so. Back to work!

Lonely Lamps No More

I have been desperately searching for the perfect lampshades for my office, and feel like it has been years of exhausting searches!  The main reason I haven’t been able to find something, is probably due to the fact that I have such a hard time dropping more than $20 for a shade. Seems pretty ridiculous right? Now you know the real depth of my frugality.  I have identical cream, wood bases on each end of my ‘spruced’ buffet just waiting to be topped off.


Sad and Lonely Lamps

I started shopping on-line and was able to find some great patterns and shapes, but I wanted to SEE and TOUCH them. I was searching for something in black or black/white in a large drum shape.  Here were some of the initial contenders:

Black & White Shades


There finally came a time when I could stand bare bases no longer and spent $16 a piece on plain, black shades from Target.  When I got them home, unwrapped and added to the bases I just didn’t like them at all.  Too plain, just black and white, and the fabric was somewhat cheap with a bit of a swirl embedded.  Didn’t even unwrap the second one, they went back to Target.  Woe is me! I give up, why can’t I find exactly what I want without spending an arm and a leg!



Do you love it?  I love it! I got it at Ross! I was wandering around one night, looking for decorations for my best pal’s baby shower and this shade popped right off the shelf and hit my square in the head.  Not really, but that’s how it felt. My heart went pitter-patter as I picked it up, and turned in over to find the price…$12.99! And this baby is at least 16″ tall. But wait…is there another?!? At the very, very bottom of the back pile of shades was the beautiful match made in heaven.  Yes, I’ll admit that I did still hesitate on the way to the register, thinking should I really spend $26 on a pair of lampshades? They are just too perfect to send back, and in my office they will stay.  Though, a small change had to be made regarding the bases, and I needed to rearrange the whole office..but that will have to be another post all together.  Let’s just enjoy these beauties shall we?

Felted Filigree


Perfect Pair of Shades


“Spruce News” – Feast on this Buffet

While trolling around craigslist, a while back, I came across of steal of a deal that I couldn’t pass up.  An 80’s classic maple-oak buffet, but with a unique scrolling, filigree detail running along the edge of the top.  At $20, I wasn’t too concerned with ruining it, and decided this would be a great chance to practice my “gel staining” technique.  Basically, this was my practice piece.  For around $15 I got a small can of Minwax gel stain at Lowe’s, however they did not have all the available colors.  I wanted one of the darker stains, and the darkest they had was “Brazilian Rosewood”.  Anything was better than honey maple in my opinion.


Buffet Before

I didn’t prep the buffet at all.

Let that sink in.  No sanding, no cleaning, no buffing and polishing.  To clarify, I will tell you that the piece is a mix of materials.  Real wood base, doors and top with particle-board sides and a thin plywood back.  This was not what you would consider quality hardwood construction.

I will admit, that I didn’t read the directions…and that seemed a bit out of character for me…and I learned my lesson.  I assumed it would be like any standard wood stain, wipe it on with a brush, let it sit, then wipe it off to reveal the color.  Repeat until you get the desired darkness you want.  I brushed it on, waited about five minutes, and then tried to wipe it off.  It did not wipe off this piece, and now I had small cotton fuzzies from my rag all down the side.

Take 2

I painted the buffet with stain.  Yep, that’s as easy as it gets with a really nice finish.

The last piece of the puzzle took me another couple of weeks to solve, and it was party because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted.  The back panel of the buffet was a piece of heavy-duty cardboard, with a faux wood finish over it (don’t you just hate fake wood) which I see myself painting over.  So I began a search for a black and white fabric, paper or gift wrap that I could decoupage over it.  I knew that I wanted what some might call a “busy” print with lots of scrolls, , maybe floral and curves and somewhat vintage.  Perhaps a paisley, or fleur-de-lis pattern, or even a floral, in black and white.

Black and White Prints

I was finally able to locate just what I was looking for at Micheal’s Craft Store in the gift wrap section. I pulled out the staples and took off the back, and using a 1 to 3 parts mixture of glue and water, I covered the fake back.  And here you have the finished product, in my office.  I think it goes nicely with the blue and the black and white ties into my color scheme and desk.


After - Buffet

Backing Detail