Wednesday, October 9, 2013

40 Reader Space: A Brilliantly Bright Office

Today's reader space is another one of those "Power of Paint" success stories.


Wendy emailed me photos and the story of her recent office makeover, and I just sat and gazed at my screen in awe.  I was having the hardest time getting over how amazing her new space looked, especially knowing that her biggest investment was her time and a little paint.

Before I get into my Q&A with her, here is a glimpse at what she started with:


Intriguing right?  Here she is now to give us all of the details!


What is the main function of the space?

"Our home office is one of the first rooms you see upon entering our house.  It is also one of the most-used rooms in our home, which means, it not only has to look pretty, but it also has to be functional!  We use this space to study, read, surf the Internet, pay bills and do the occasional craft.  I keep a basket of toys in the corner so our 18 month old can play while I escape reality surf the net.  For the most part, this space functions as a place to get away from the chaos in the rest of the house, as well as a place to think and create!"



Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

"I like to follow the advice that "everything has a place and everything is in its place".  Once you give your possessions their own home, putting them away and keeping them organized is much easier and efficient.  Labeling drawers and bins is also helpful, especially for my husband and kids!  

Although there are a lot of ways to style books, my preference is to group them by category.  This makes it so much easier to locate our books, which in turn, makes them easier to put away."  



What items did you find were essential in organizing this space, and why?

"I love the Kassett magazine files and storage bins!  Before we redid this office space, my magazines were stashed in a drawer in the kitchen.  Now, they are much more accessible in the file holders on the top of the bookcases.  My craft supplies had been previously stored in the basement.  Removing the built-in desk from our bookcases gave me three previously unused shelves to store them on.  I used various sized Kassett bins and polka-dot washi tape to label them."

 




What did you do to go the extra mile and "Make it Pretty"?

"Basically, I just did the opposite of what I did four years ago!  Instead of going for a dark, formal, elegant office, I opted for a light, bright, cheerful look that would better reflect our family.  I painted the walls a soft gray, gave the furniture a makeover and purchased a pretty white desk chair.  The curtains and accessories bring in most of the color and pattern for the space.


To keep the bookcases from looking to heavy with books, I tried to be intentional with their placement.  For the most part, shelves that were full of books were surrounded by shelves that were heavier on accessories.  Laying some books on their sides helped break up the space."



What items did you DIY to stay on a budget?

"We were on a very tight budget for this project, so we did a lot of DIY'ing.  The once 'L' shaped desk was removed from the bookcases and given a new 'x' base, so it could look pretty in front of the window.


Then, I repainted the bookcases and desk a fresh, crisp white.  I also used some leftover blue paint to add some color and pattern to the Kassett magazine files on top of the bookcases.  I brought in a little more pattern with a DIY'd memo board behind the computer."



How has this space impacted your life for the better?

"Before, the space didn't seem to reflect my family.  It was dark, dated and depressing.  Now, it is so much more lighter, brighter and more like us!  It also functions so much better.  Separating the 'L' shaped desk created more space in the middle of the room and allows both my husband and I to work together.  Removing the desk also gave me three deep shelves for storing my craft supplies.  Crafting is so much easier now that I don't have to tote my supplies up and down the basement steps for various projects."



Crisp, simple and fresh is such a great combination for a workspace.  Gosh, I just heart it like crazy!

  • The office before was clean and elegant, but the after was a WOW room.  I love how she tapped into her family's brightness and translated that into her new space.
  • I couldn't agree more, those Kassett boxes are such inexpensive yet versatile storage items.  Of course, I totally dig that she added stripes with paint.  
  • That fabric memo board really finishes off those bookcases and is functional as well.  Lovity love the fabric she selected!
  • Can you believe that is the same desk?  They created a new base for it and now it looks like a high end designer piece.  I am blown away!
  • By going white with the furniture, she was able to bring cheerful color into the space through accessories.  She has created a space that will be versatile to update with a few small changes if she ever tires of things in the future {however, I don't see that happening}.
  • I love that she didn't settle for the 'L' shape layout.  Just reconfiguring that setup provided her with more storage and a better flow within the room.  Plus, now she can face a window which is a prime spot for working away! 
  • Washi tape labels for the win!

A huge thank you to Wendy for stopping by today to share her story and brilliantly bright office space!  You can snag more details on her blog here.


ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life.  Please submit your story and photos here and I would heart to feature them right here, on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!

40 comments:

  1. I like how the light paint color for the wall makes the room bright and I also, like how you added details like the stripes to the magazine file boxes. Well Done!

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  2. Jen- You are so kind! Thank you so much for featuring our home office & for your encouraging words! So exciting!

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    1. It's beautiful! I love how bright and inviting it is and am amazed at the painted bookshelf! What kind of paint did you use? You are inspiring me to give the dark sides of my $15 craigslist desk a makeover.

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    2. Michelle- Thank you so much! I rolled on two coats of Zinsser bonding primer & then three coats of Delicate White Olympic One paint (from Lowes). I should have finished off with polycrylic (& will in the future) but the paint is holding up fine on it's own! Good luck with your makeover!

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  3. Wow. What a wonderfully inspiring transition. If you're going to start organizing life it better be in style.

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  4. Perfection! That's an amazing desk transformation. I'm dying to know how she did the new x base.

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    1. Thanks Emily! We basically used this plan from Ana White to build the legs: http://ana-white.com/2011/10/x-desk-drawer. You can see more of how we did it if you click on the links on my blog!

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    2. Thanks, Wendy! Yes, I immediately started blog stalking you after seeing this post. :) Gorgeous work. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

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  5. All I can say is "wow!" I had to keep scrolling back and forth to even comprehend how the before photo was the same room as the after photo. It was nice before, but the after looks like something out of a magazine! I just wrote down the Ikea magazine holders because I need some new ones in white. I also am amazed at how they transformed that desk into a modern one! What an inspirational project!

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  6. What a fantastic makeover!! Such a bright and happy space to work and play in.

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  7. This is a great transformation and a wonderful example of what PAINT can do! Such a great space, much more brighter and fun.

    simplythesims-blog.blogspot.com

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  8. What a gorgeous makeover! My mom wants me to help her re-do and organize her craft room, she has a lot of dark, dated furniture that could be updated with paint. I pinned this to show her!
    MelanieL

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  9. So beautiful! I adore that desk and I am a fan of those exact IKEA boxes she used!

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  10. What a lovely makeover! My favorite part is the desk makeover. Genius move to transform the base in addition to painting it. I thought it was a brand-new piece!

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  11. This office looks fabulous! And I love that they used their existing furniture, but completely changed the look by painting and DIYing it a bit.

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  12. Please come and make over my space! Yours looks amazing.
    Julie
    Mrs Stowe's Kinder Cottage

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  13. Thats exactly what I want to do with my desk group like that. Go from brown wood to bright white!! I love this.

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  14. Just for once I would love to see a makeover that did not involve painting dark furniture white. White is trite!

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    1. I agree that this is not the first time we have seen furniture painted white, and it won't be the last either. I think we see it so frequently because it works and it is timeless. You can pair anything with white and it also adds instant brightness. However, I agree there is something to be said of incorporating natural elements and wood tones into a space.

      xo!

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  15. SO inspiring! I've used the KASSETT magazine fliers from Ikea for years and they have lasted a LONG time! I love this!

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  16. Where did you get the desk chair

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    1. I ordered it from Wayfair. Here's the link: http://www.wayfair.com/Ave-Six-Mid-Back-Trinidad-Office-Chair-TND941A-AVS1307.html?piid[]=6694600
      Hope that helps!

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  17. I want that desk!! Is there a how to on it? It's beautiful and definitely saves the cost of buying one similar!

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    1. Thank you! You can see how we did it here: http://designedtodwell.blogspot.com/2013/05/diy-x-base-desk.html.

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    2. Hi Jessica!

      You can check out her blog and there may be a tutorial over there. Otherwise, she mentioned she mimicked some Ana White plans, so you could check out her website as well: http://ana-white.com/

      xo!

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  18. I'm amazed at this makeover! I've been planning on copying Jen's totally fabulous Expedit-hack-turned-studio-desk, but if I had better building skills I would totally be printing out a picture of your bookcases and duplicating them. The whole room is absolutely gorgeous. And, personally, I love wood furniture as opposed to darker wood tones; it just feels so much cheerier to me!

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  19. Love this transformation - some great inspiration! x

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  20. What a pretty office and just what I was looking for. I am especially interested in how you painted the magazine holders. I have been looking for pretty magazine holders forever, and it never occurred to me to paint them!

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    1. I agree the painted magazine files give them a happy change. You can see how I did something similar here: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2012/01/iheart-painted-magazine-files.html

      xo!

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    2. Thanks! I just used leftover latex paint on the fronts. (I used painters tape on the metal, but wish I would have just painted them before I put those pieces on...) For the striped ones, I painted regular masking tape & stuck it on. Washi tape would also probably work well!

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  21. Wow the bright colors really change the mood! Smart with alternating books on shelves...LOVE IT! Inspiring!

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  22. I am definitely going to have to use a few pointers from this after I move. Would love to have an office space in the home that isn't as dark as a cave!

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  23. Jaw dropping indeed. I love the white.

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  24. That looks GREAT! I love the little file holders up top!

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  25. I was kind of disappointed to see that the once L shaped desk was turned into a new desk with paint and X's added as the base. I was going to ask where it was from because it looks amazing!!

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  26. Our office has darker furniture - desk, credenza and 3 matching bookcases. We are only able to handle painting walls in our house - I would never attempt to paint that much furniture white so her DIY project would end up costing me a ton of money in replacing furniture or paying to have our pieces professionally painted. Oh well, I can still love this office makeover and dream...

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  27. Great job, Wendy! Your space looks so inviting! Well done! I like how you painted the Kasset magazine holders to match your decor. I love the Kasset boxes too. I currently have 17 in my office. Yikes...that sounds like a lot, huh? I also just painted some for a closet makeover, and love the new color!

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  28. What a beautiful space! I can't believe that's the same desk-- stunning transformation. I love that she did a lot of DIY on a budget, too. Thanks for sharing, Jen and Wendy!

    ~Abby =)

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  29. I LOVE that light green color. What's the name for it?

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  30. LOVE the wall color! What is the name of it?

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