I thought I’d feel only overwhelming relief to be finished with the One Room Challenge, AND I DO, but I’m also WAY MORE EXCITED to share my new home office than I expected to be! Just look at all those caps, that is a girl who is MIGHTY pleased with herself. Our home office was a frustrating project these past 6 weeks, but it was so very worth it.
If you don't already know, the One Room Challenge is a event hosted twice a year in which anyone from anywhere across the interwebs can join in on the fun of making over one room, from start to finish, in 6 weeks. The 20 featured designers post updates every Wednesday and all the guest participants update each Thursday.
Honestly, this round of the ORC was the most annoying and frustrating for me yet (I’ve already done our living room last year and our bedroom last round.) It’s one of the smallest rooms in our already-small house, and the walls were already painted from when we moved in a year and a half ago. So labor-wise, it wasn’t a huge undertaking. I think it was so hard for me because I had a clear vision of what I wanted, but that changed SO much over the last 6 weeks! I am so happy with how it looks and feels now, but it’s really not what I was picturing in the beginning. Maybe that “clear picture” wasn’t really clear at all. I think I was focused on too stylistic, dream-house ideas and not fully appreciating the 60’s rancher I’m blessed with. So the winds changed and I adjusted my design-y sails, and now I’m in love with it. Funny how that works. (And when I say funny, I’m not laughing. I’m rolling my eyes.) I was also tired and unmotivated for like, 100% of the time, so that did not help matters.
But enough bemoaning, let’s be thankful. Here are some throwback pictures of how this room has changed. The first picture: when we settled on the house—drop ceiling, Cleveland Browns-inspired cabinets, carpet in the hallway, industrial vinyl paneling on the walls. WOOF, this room needed so. Much. Time/energy/work/money. Pictures 2-4: After the initial “remodel,” if you can call it that—floors refinished, cabinets removed, wall treatment and vinyl trim removed, walls repaired and painted. That’s how it sat from the time right after we moved in up until a few weeks ago. I don’t miss that dumping ground of a room AT ALL.
Welcome to my new favorite room, the cozy-and-clean thinking-and-library space. As Josh Bryant of the Princess Diaries says to Mia after her makeover, “Step into my office.”
Side note: I’m never sure what order I should show these pictures! I want you to be able to get a feel for this room…even if it is just a really small rectangle with one window. So, in that vein, here (below this text) is the view when you stand in the doorway. Originally, I wanted the window flanked with painted bookcases (painted to match the wall color, if you remember, to mimic the look of built-ins.) But the shelves we ultimately purchased were too deep to fit on the wall between the closet doors and the window. So, we pulled a Ross and “PIVOT-ed” the shelves to the opposite wall. That definitely worked out for the best; I love how calm and minimal the room looks when you first glance inside! Then you turn to your left to take in the shelving and it’s more of the dramatic punch I was envisioning.
I knew I wanted to hang the family calendar in an easily accessible spot, so front-and-center it was. To mirror it, I hung an old IKEA frame I already had on the wall to the other side of the window. A long while ago, I read a blog post from Yellow Brick Home about these amazing, FREE to download bird prints, and thank God I somehow remembered that on Sunday night. I ordered the black and white creeper (what a name) print at Staples and it looks so pretty. The colors are perfect.
I spent every penny of my birthday gift cards on this pretty chair from Target, and I have no regrets. I mean, sure, a summer dress would have been fun but I LOVE THIS CHAIR. IT’S SO NICE. And now when we have company, we can offer our guests more than just folding chairs when the couches get full. A win-win-win, as Michael Scott would say.
(Too many references for one blog post?)
DO YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT THE SHELVES I REFER TO AS MY LIBRARY? OK! LET’S!
My angel of a sister, Tonya, came over on Monday night to help me finish up this room and she’s basically the reason it looks so good. She carried up all my books from the basement and arranged them in order by author’s last name, as I requested. The top shelf if pretty high for everyday use, so for now it just holds the sign our wedding photographer gifted us (how sweet is she!), a plant, and our electronics and chargers basket. Eventually I might add matching baskets up here for more storage.
The 2nd to top shelf hold the majority of our book collection. If I wasn’t such a faithful patron of our local library, I’m sure the collection would be a lot bigger! It’s secured in place by our domino game box and a ceramic cookie jar rhino.
The next shelf is for the selected pretty books with nice spines.
The 2nd to bottom shelf holds our printer (a big black behemoth, but necessary), all our card games, and the rest of the books; authors T-Z.
Bottom shelf is storage for some cookbooks and notebooks, my sewing kit, and a basket I swiped from the media cabinet in the living room. I need to get more kids books, I think my nieces and nephews are sick of the same 5-book rotation.
We bought the desk earlier this spring, before the challenge officially started. One of the first things I did for this room was devote a Saturday afternoon to purging and organizing the room. That felt so good, even if, or maybe because the room was pretty empty afterwards! I’m pleased to say that the desk drawers are still very organized. These pictures don’t do a great job of showing it, but it’s true. I can even store my laptop in the long writing drawer.
I bought this painting from an open house last year, and I’m so glad I held on to it until now. I had thought it would be nice above the couch in the living room, but I just love it with the wall color in here. In fact, I loved it so much I didn’t hang anything else with it. If you remember from week 4, I was trying to plan a gallery wall of photos for this wall. That is yet another thing that changed! I didn’t want anything competing with this painting, and I even hung it (OK I had Brandon hang it) a little lower than normal so that I can stare it right in the eye and admire. It’s my house, I do what I want. :) But to be transparent, I am not in love with having three similarly-sized pieces on two connecting walls, all hung at similar heights. It’s kind of weird, but eh. I’m OK with it.
And that’s about it. That’s our home office/library. It turned out so different and yet so much better than I expected. I know that, design-wise, it’s far from perfect, but personally? I am in love with it. It feels very “me,” and I don’t know if I’ve ever been this happy after completing a room. It’s such a nice feeling.
Shelves - IKEA
Chair - Target
Desk - Wayfair
Paint color - BM Hazy Skies
Rug - Bought used from Facebook, but similar
Blanket - The enneagram 4 in me is proud to say that my mother-in-law MADE this from material she bought while in Thailand, so it’s sort of one of a kind. :)
Bird print - Audubon
Painting - Vintage, bought 2nd hand
Literally anything else - Goodwill or yard sales
BONUS BOOK REC: The book underneath my tea mug in the photo above is “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. It’s not an obscure book; you’ve probably heard of it. But if you haven’t read it, please do. It’s so good.