Category Archives: Office

Bright and Breezy Office Update

Pretty much everyone has some sort of ‘office’ in their home these days, whether it be at the dining room table or in a room by itself.  It is where you sit to pay your bills, organize your finances, search the internet and maybe even do some paid work.  I am currently working on a home office remodel for a local couple, and want to share some of the thoughts and ideas in the early stages.

Bunker Office Ideas Numbered

1. Color Palette: BHG 2016  2.  3. Ceiling Light  4. Orange Mirror 5. Gray Bookcase  6. Corner Desk with Hutch  7. A Little Window Photo: Minted.com 8. Ranunculus Photo 9. Tape Dispenser and Stapler  10. Desk Lamp  11. Blue Monday Photo: Minted.com  12. Storage Basket  13. Desk (similar to client’s)  14. Succulents: Image  15. Blue Box Planter and Mint Planter  16. Orange File Cabinet

The first thing I like to do is to make a list where I break down the requirements and challenges of the space.  

-The office needs to accommodate two people and their furniture.  

-The room is small (~10’x10’), with three desks currently in it.  Two of the desks will be staying, because one is a family heirloom and the other is a corner desk that does help maximize the space.  The heirloom desk is nice looking, but the corner desk isn’t beautiful.  The corner desk is also the home of a desktop computer.  

-The office now has a tall almond colored filing cabinet and two shorter ones, which are topped with a printer/copier.  The closet is filled with books and other miscellaneous supplies.  There is florescent lighting and tan carpet, both of which need updating.

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My clients are a fun couple who will be retiring in the next few years.  They like bright and unfussy spaces, so there will be no dark ‘den’ or ‘man-cave’ designs here!  We both fell in love with Better Homes and Gardens 2016 color palette, which includes a light gray, dusty blue, bright orange, mint green and blush pink.  In the right combination, it is both masculine and feminine, which is ideal for this couple’s shared office.  Adding in black or a dark stain on the desks also keeps the look from being too soft.

 A few DIY projects using some of the existing furniture will help keep the budget down.  Their current filing system will likely be downsized, but we plan to paint the filing cabinets that remain, since they are high quality.  We will be working on the two desks to help them blend more cohesively.  My clients are happy with the comfort of their current office chairs, so we will be recovering at least one of them with new upholstery.  Fresh paint on the walls and ceiling will brighten up everything, as will the addition of a new ceiling fixture and a desk lamp or two.

The closet space will be reconfigured to store books and office supplies more efficiently.  Quality shelving might have a combination of open and closed storage, possibly with some baskets or closed doors.  They are considering a small chair for a reading nook, so we will see how the space goes together once we get the space plan worked out.  For now, check out the idea board I created for a bright and breezy office space. 

 

 

The Uncluttered Life: Office Revival

Whether your office consists of an entire room or a little desk tucked in somewhere, chances are it is a major clutter magnet.  Seeing your desk full of clutter can make the often stressful tasks of work and bill paying even more difficult.  Since I work from home and my office space is located in our living room, it was next on our agenda for decluttering and simplifying.  I was eager to get started, because I know I am a hundred times more productive and happy in a clean space.  Here are a few things I did to create some calm in the office:

1. Photograph the Before!  This is so important so you can see your amazing progress.  Every time I get discouraged, I look at the Before photo and see how much progress I have made.  Photos are also a more objective way to view your ‘stuff’ and can help you identify problem areas.

2.  Make a list of areas to work on: Mine are paper piles, shelf clutter, too many unused books, stacks of magazines and an inefficient desktop filing system.

3.  Tackle the most visible problems first.  I took care of the pile of papers and other miscellania to the right of my computer.  This also happened to involve my desktop filing system, which was taking up more valuable space to the left of my computer.  In the interest of simple living, I decided that I only want my computer on the desktop.  As I looked at photos of my desk area, I realized I could be using the side walls of my desk area much more efficiently.  I decided to hang a single file bin and a simple organizing system I found at Staples.  I used Command Strip picture hangers so I wouldn’t have to drill or pound a nail into my shelves.

4. What do we do with the paper!?  The main reason you could even see the top of my desk at all was because we go paperless whenever possible.  I set up automatic bill paying if it is available, and keep track of things on my desk calendar.  When I sorted my paper pile, I put it into categories and made a list.  Then, I made sure I had those files set up correctly in my file cabinet.

5.  Donate books that are outdated, no longer relevant or that you don’t plan to reread.  Be ruthless and realistic.  I also went through my magazines with a much colder eye than I usually do, and was able to part with a large number of them.  The extra room on my bookshelves allows me to see and use my remaining books more easily.

6.  Remember how refreshing it is to work at an uncluttered desk.  Even the process of clearing out has caused me to feel more energized.  Cheers to productivity!

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What are some things you do to keep your office space tidy?

Hand Painted Statement Wall

Many of my favorite home projects are the quick ones, where adding a simple detail makes a big impact.  It is fun to shake things up a bit and get a fresh perspective on different spaces in your home occasionally. For example, I still love the bright orange wall behind my office desk and shelves, even after living with them for over 3 years.  But, I was in the mood for a simple change that would update the space and add some personality.

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The rope mirror is still one of my favorite projects, but it takes up so much  space on the wall behind the desk.  It has a new home in the guest room (pictures coming soon on that recent makeover).

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The somewhat unlikely pairing of orange and gold has stood out to me lately.  I suppose if gold were on the color wheel, it would be closest to orange and yellow, making it a stand-in analogous color.  For those of you who haven’t studied the color wheel for awhile, analogous colors are the ones next to each other on the color wheel.  Pairing analagous colors typically leads to a more harmonious color palette.

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After looking at some examples of orange and gold wallpaper online, I decided I wanted a hand-drawn look.  I opted to paint the gold onto the wall freehand instead of using a stencil.  Since my wall space was only 2.5’ x 3’, I loosely drew the vertical lines with a pencil and angle ruler.  I didn’t measure the spacing because I wanted it varied, some wide and some narrow.

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Next, I used a jar of Martha Stewart Living Metallic Paint in Golden Pearl that I already had.  It is a really soft, frosty champagne gold color.  I took a medium art brush and painted the vertical lines.

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Then, I semi-randomly added circles to the lines, stepping back occasionally to make sure they were spaced okay.  After the paint was dry, I went back and touched up some areas where the orange was showing through.  All total, it probably took a little over an hour to complete the project.

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Rebecca Hermance Desk Accent Wall

A little post on the desk/office filing accessories coming soon!  I am trying to simplify, simplify, simplify!

There are many options if you are looking to add some color or personality to a small wall space.  Simply adding a splash of color is an easy place to start, but you don’t have to stop there!  Stencils, stamps, chalkboard paint, dry erase paint, murals, vinyl decals and paint markers are all relatively inexpensive solutions to a plain wall.  A small space is also a great place to showcase a bit of fun wallpaper.

Don’t be afraid to try something you love in your space.  If you end up not liking it, a bit of paint will easily change it right back the way it was.  Starting with a small accent wall is just the jumpstart you need to refresh and personalize your home

You Might Want to Sit Down for This

My latest project was a beautiful bentwood chair purchased at an estate sale.  I found it as the sale was about to end, so I scored it for $6! The existing finish wasn’t in great shape, but the caned seat was still in decent condition.

 

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After much internal debate, I decided to paint the chair with chalk paint and leave the caned seat natural.  I also left the seat edges unpainted, since the caning extends into the wood.  I like the combined look of wood and paint, so it was a fun solution.

There are about as many different ideas about how to paint furniture as there are pieces of furniture.  Whether you are a first-timer or a practiced pro, the type of paint you use can make a big difference in how well you like the finished product.  After many years of being a huge fan of spray paint or latex for its ease of application and smooth finishes, I gave ‘chalk paint’ a try.

IMG_3158First coat of DIY chalk paint.

While brand-name chalk paint, such as Annie Sloan, has been around for over 20 years, it has been extremely popular in recent years along with the trend of ‘distressing’ furniture.  Not to be confused with chalkboard paint (although you can write on it with chalk before you wax it), chalk paint is a thick, matte paint that dries quickly and adheres well to most surfaces.  The biggest benefit of chalk paint is that you typically don’t have to sand or prime the surface before painting.  It can be layered and sanded to create the popular distressed or aged look, but it can also be left pristine for a more modern look.  Because chalk paint is so porous it does need to be waxed or varnished to seal the paint when using it on furniture.  Otherwise, you risk smudged hand prints and stains from anything that touches it.  Once sealed, chalk paint is washable and durable, although you may have to rewax it every few years.

Chalk paint can be purchased ready-made at specialty stores or online, and a few lesser known brands have been showing up recently at big box hardware and craft stores.  These are fine if you like the color selection available and don’t mind spending a little more money.  On the other hand, if you are trying to get a very specific color, you might want to try making your own!

Pinterest is full of recipes for DIY Chalk Paint, most of them involving a mixture of Plaster of Paris or Calcium Carbonate Powder and latex paint.  My favorite so far (and the least expensive) is Plaster of Paris.  I have used varying ratios of paint to Plaster of Paris, all with favorable results.  A pretty common ‘recipe’ is the ratio of 3 parts latex paint to 1 part Plaster of Paris.  You can mix the Plaster powder straight into the paint, but for a smoother texture, most people recommend mixing some water into the Plaster of Paris, and then mixing in the paint.  Most DIY recipes say any sheen of paint will work, but to avoid paint that also contains primer.  When I am working on a small project, I will often just purchase one or two paint sample pots.  Experiment a bit to find out what works best for you.

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I used two coats of white chalk paint, followed by a thin coat of wax to seal the paint.  The texture is a little rougher than I was hoping, so I might go back and try to sand it down a bit.  I ‘probably’ got a little impatient when painting and made my mixture a little too thick.  Just like regular paint, several thin coats will get you the best results.

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Simple designs on the caned seat with colorful embroidery thread makes the chair extra special.  I plan to wrap some thread around the top part of the chair too.  For less than $30, I now have a completely unique and personalized chair to sit on while I work.

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Summer garage sales are in full swing and it is absolutely the best time to score used furniture.  That dining table with water rings and marker stains, the multi-colored dining chairs of someone’s previously attempted project or the cute little headboard that would be perfect in your daughter’s room.  It’s a plethora of furniture with so much potential!

Details: Mirror, Mirror

Do you remember the mirror I had behind my desk?

I bought it at a garage sale for a dollar and loved the round shape, but not really the scrolls all around.  For a long time, I had visions of collecting driftwood and making something similar to this one that west elm used to sell:

But I just didn’t get around to it.  Then, while browsing at Home Depot one day I saw a pile of awesome colored rope and decided that I would put rope round the mirror instead!  I chose a pinky orange color that was flecked with yellow and black because I didn’t want it to stand out too much.

I started by spray painting the edge of the mirror, since I wanted to start wrapping the rope where the scrolls started.  The overspray scraped easily off the mirror.

Next, I just started hot glueing the rope tightly around the mirror until I covered all of the scroll.

I love the result, but I learned that it probably would have been easier with a thinner rope, because ‘hiding’ the start and finish were a little tricky with such thick rope.  The whole mirror also feels a lot bigger, but I like the modern and industrial feel of it.

Anyone else been amazed at the cool colors ropes come in? Any fun projects going on?  I am about to try my hand at macrame, since I am truly a child of the 70s.

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The January Cure, Assignments 13-19

Whew!  Last week flew by, and this one seems to be going even faster.  Which is good, because I don’t know how much longer I can keep from adding cream to my coffee on the Whole 30!  I can do it.  We are out of coffee filters, so I might just skip the coffee altogether for the last few days.

Anyway, we have been doing an okay job keeping up with the assignments from Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. My kids are still little messers, but at least I know in my heart that at some point in the last month, each space in our upstairs has been thoroughly cleaned and organized.

Assignment 13 was to get papers and files in order.  That one is still being worked on, but all of the paper piles in the kitchen and on my desk area have been dealt with.  It feels good. I also rearranged the living room a bit so the file cabinet (which we use as an end table) is much closer to my desk.  Before, it was clear across the room and blocked by a box.  Sometimes all it takes is a simple solution.  I also have a small filing system on my desk for things like bills, tear sheets from magazines, and kid’s art.

Assignment 14 was to deal with cords.  Jer was a trooper on this one and spent the evening cleaning his ‘office’ corner in our living room.  It was past due for a cleaning, so that was a giant bonus to this assignment. We finally brought our printer upstairs so that it could be used. Jer brought in the base of an old tool box that was given to us by a friend for some storage and spot for the printer. It is not perfect, but it works for us for now. Jer likes having a drawer to put all of his ‘toys’ that the kids often got into before.  I like not having to fish the ear buds out of little mouths.

Daddy and his Helpers, fixing the tool chest/printer cabinet.

Freshly cleaned and organized space.

Assignment 15 was to clean out medicine cabinets and drawers in the bathroom.  The medicine cabinet went quickly and I loved the result so much that I tackled the hall linen closet also.  I added some baskets there to corral some of Jer’s stuff and some of my extra decorating things.  I also use lots of little baskets for things like medicines and extra bathroom products.  It feels so much better now, even though it would probably look better if the baskets all lined up and matched. Ha!  I didn’t get to the drawers below the hall closet. Another day.

Linen closet.  Could still use some work, but SO much better than it was.

Assignment 16 was to declutter books and media.  This is the day I started on my livingroom/office shelves. They have been bothering me for a LONG time, but it was a daunting task.  I started by analyzing it and deciding where the problem spots were.  Mostly, it was just the two larger open shelves that were the biggest trouble.  That was where we put piled everything that needed to be out of reach of little hands.  It had become overwhelming and precarious, to say the least.  I started by emptying those shelves into a laundry basket (which I will soon have to deal with) and wiping them down.  I decided that to solve the problem of them becoming a junk receptacle, I would fill them completely with books.  I have all my design and art books upstairs by my desk for easy reference, and most of them are nice colors.  I like to organize these books by color, because it just makes sense and looks the best to me.  I filled those two shelves and called it a night.

Over the past few days, I have been working on my shelves (among other things, don’t worry), and I finally have them under control.  I have a serious magazine collection problem, but I went through and got rid of 10 magazines last night.  I plan to do a few each night, until my problem is handled.  The bottom four shelves on each side of my desk are pretty much filled with my kid’s books and games/puzzles/toys.  It works for us, except the littlest one loves to just pull books off the shelf.  He does look at them sometimes.  So, this picture was taken this morning after I put him down for a nap and before it gets messy again. Not kidding.

So.much.better.  You may notice that I moved the orange art and craft tubs from the top of the fridge to the upper right of the shelves. Working well so far.

Assignment 17 was called Weekend Chores: Flowers, Outbox, Living Room and Lighting.  Whew! Didn’t even think about the lighting yet.  Jer picked up a little bunch of purple flowers, I took one load (more to come) to the thrift store to donate, and I am still working on the living room. It has been vacuumed and dusted.  It is just not completely rearranged and sporting its new rug yet.  As I sit here writing this post, I am amazed at how much more relaxed I feel when these shelves are organized and my desk is cleaned off.  SO refreshing and positive that I might not even miss my coffee for the next few days. Maybe.