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Some of you may have been following along with my office remodel on Instagram stories. It has been absolutely nuts trying to get it done in less than a month.
When we bought this house in 2018 we knew that the formal dining room would be best used as an office. At the time I was pregnant and not working very much so we set it up for my husband.
The before: the room had a chair rail with a wallpaper border above and full wallpaper below. We had a huge cherry wood executive desk and a piano in the room. The floors are a medium oak and the windows had formal gold tone drapes.
Why remodel? I’ve started doing a TON of live video and felt super unprofessional with my janky Amazon backdrop. I thought the space could be really beautiful and welcoming PLUS be a great place for shooting for video. It’s right inside the front door of the house so it’s one of the first things people see. In addition, I scheduled a brand photo shoot for February 5th, 2021 and wanted to be able to shoot here in my home. That meant our time frame was super tight.
The Nitty Gritty Remodeling Process
On January 17, 2021, We pulled everything out of the room and removed the curtains. I was shocked how much difference it made just to get rid of those. Instant light!
We started removing the wallpaper. The border came off relatively easily but the bottom wallpaper was a different story. We tried using a clothing steamer but it was just going too slow, so we rented an industrial wallpaper remover. This is messy yet oddly satisfying work when you get the hang of it. Once the paper was off, I used TSP to scrub the walls.
Unfortunately above the chair rail where the border had been, there was no wall texture so we had to retexture a strip above the chair rail. This is also messy but not at all satisfying.
I wanted a faux wainscoting look so I measured out the boxes and then my husband cut and nailed the trimwork. We used this 1.25″ chair rail moulding from Lowes and I think it was just the right size and style. I caulked around the trim and filled the nail holes myself!
NOTE: we should have primed the walls and new trim before painting but we didn’t. As a result, there are a few places where rogue wallpaper paste is showing through a bit. Fortunately, it is barely noticeable but it’s my one regret in this process.
Next we painted the bottom half of the room white in semi-gloss. We color matched the existing trim and Lowes said it was Valspar Dove White. Since I wanted a really clean look, we sprayed the paint which leaves no brush marks. It’s about 4 hours of taping, masking, draping and 4 minutes of spraying but looks great!
We also repainted the top half of the room. The color was too peachy for my taste so we used Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige which, strangely, I find to have a lavender undertone in some lights. It is definitely not yellowish or greenish. I really love this color. It’s a great neutral.
After cleaning everything up, I gave the floor a quick polish with Bona Hardwood Floor Polish – High Gloss. I would not describe this as high gloss after just one coat but I prefer a more subtle look and it definitely made a difference.
We installed Levelor Trim+Go Light Filtering Shades for the windows. There are two south facing windows and one west facing. I’m going to have to add an additional black out shade to the south facing window by my desk because it is too bright on some days.
The Decorating and Layout Process
The desk situation presented it’s own challenges because my husband wants LOTs of storage and I just want desk space. None of the pre-fab desks I found were going to do the trick so we decided to make our own desk. We used this marble laminate kitchen countertop from Lowes to construct an L-shaped desk. It’s held up by three Alex drawer units from Ikea with a little extra support engineering in the corner (two legs at the end and an under brace at the seam).
The blue velvet desk chair is one of my favorite things in the house. It spins and rolls so easily and I love the wrap around sides. This is the Louise Task Chair by Kelly Clarkson Home from Wayfair in navy. It is available in a bunch of colors.
I found a used wingback chair on Facebook marketplace that I liked and as soon as I got it into the space I knew I wanted to get another one to make a seating area. The Elizabeth Armchair is a neutral beige linen and they recline which is a bonus.
The picture ledges are from Ikea and house a variety of art from both of my grandmas. My grandma Helen was an art therapist, she got her Master of the Arts in 1976 when she was 57 years old. The two large pieces are hers. One is a sketch of my father and the other is a woodcut print. My grandma Charlotte was a talented watercolorist and a strong advocate of the arts in schools. The rest of the pieces are hers, a variety of sketches and watercolors. I have many fond memories of doing art with both of my grandmothers and credit much of my love of creativity to them along with my mother.
The large cabinet/buffet/sideboard is a local find. This refinished vintage piece from Restless & Refurbished was exactly what I was looking for size-wise. The color is a little darker than I originally hoped but I think it anchors the space well. The owner said she used Benjamin Moore Salamander to repaint this. The furniture manufacturer is Century Furniture of Distinction.
I knew I wanted a large abstract art piece above the cabinet and at the very last minute I ended up creating this piece myself. It is alcohol ink on Yupo paper. Basically you put 99% rubbing alcohol in a puddle on the Yupo, drop Copic Ink Refills on the puddles and then push them around as they dry using a hair dryer. You have very little control but you can reactivate the ink and change the art at any time just by dropping more rubbing alcohol on it. The colors used here are Cobalt Blue, Agate and Teal Blue. I mounted it on foam core board to attach on the wall but eventually hope to frame this.
I have quite a few things from Amazon in this room. The gold geometric side tables, rectangular pillows, gold desk set, letter board, computer stand, LED lights and glass dry erase board. I also have a little desk lamp and erasable wall calendars from Target.
The rest of the accessories in this room are from HomeGoods and Hobby Lobby. The major piece from Hobby Lobby is the large lamp on the cabinet which I absolutely love. The major piece from HomeGoods is the rug which is made by Dynamic Rugs and is part of their Juno collection. The size is 5’3″ x 7’7″.
There is no denying that this is the home office of my dreams! It’s been 20 years in the making, but I finally have a space that fits our needs, looks great on video and is truly a joy to be in! I would love to hear what you think about it in a comment.