My Work Studio Redux: Before

August 19, 2014

Readers crave transparency from bloggers. They say we bloggers only show the perfect, the styled, the beautiful. Not always. Today I’ll prove it. Here are some snapshots of my work space – or the two rooms in the front of my home with a workshop space doubling as a formal dining room where we host luncheons and dinner parties. And it’s a mess.

My Work Studio Redux: Before
My Work Studio Redux: Before

OFFICE SPACE NOTES: It is slowly driving me insane. It’s cluttered. It’s chaotic. The floor plan is wonky. It is NOT even close to being baby-proof. When Aidan plays I have to continuously turn around to watch him. When he is crawling around I cannot keep my eye closely on him. This all must change and it needs to change within the next 90 days so I’m doing a big purge, redesigning the space, and plan to have the office and workshop space of my dreams. Because if not now, when?

My Work Studio Redux: Before

DINING SLASH WORKSHOP ROOM NOTES: It’s not where we eat each day. I mostly shoot photos and work on creative projects since the Loop table by HAY is very long (250 cm/98″) and the natural light is incredible all day in both rooms. The big white cabinet holds workshop supplies for when I teach. And though it may not look so horrible to you, I just don’t like this space as it currently stands.

My Work Studio Redux: Before

FLOOR PLAN NOTES: I just sketched this out and scanned it in about ten minutes with the baby on my lap, so forgive me that it’s not to scale and not CADtastic like some designers. But I did open this post vowing transparency and when I’m about to decorate a space I never draw them beautifully. Still, it’s helpful for you to see. Okay so… The dining room floor plan with the table in the center is sorta the way it has to stay. I’m just unsure about having a bench beneath windows with a baby who will eventually be crawling up there and with windows so easily accessible that also have no screens, it’s a bit of a no-brainer that having a bench under the window is NOT ideal. Also I’m not entirely sure about the white cabinet. I see a credenza here with art and a huge mirror but I also must keep the white cabinet because it holds everything that I need to teach and work in this space.

As for the office floor plan, good LORD this needs help. My desk worked in the last apartment because it was an IKEA hack that my husband and I “designed” to fit perfectly in the recessed nook in the room in was made for. You may recall seeing it in Decorate Workshop. It was perfect there. But in this space, wrong! wrong! wrong! Plus, since having Aidan, I want to see him when I’m working or at least see something… like a window view or a view of the room, so I’m trying to decide what configuration will work the best. I’m thinking to deconstruct the IKEA hack and turn it into a credenza or a cabinet with marble or wood custom made for the top and pick up a new desk that will be placed in between the windows only coming out from the wall versus being flush against it. Then the back of my task chair will face the wall where the credenza will be (where the desk currently is). And where the IKEA PS cabinet (the one with all of the white mini drawers) is currently will be replaced by a sitting area with a small sofa with the back facing the double glass doors that lead into the living room, along with the rattan lounge chair and a new, small round sofa table and a small rug (not the current pink one). Not sure about the white round table, it doesn’t get a lot of use in this space but I sure do love it… But not everything will fit. Oh yeah, and the looming gray bookcase will be replaced with a less looming one (and one that is deeper). The cabinet with the black chalkboard doors that Leslie and I painted for a single photo that appeared in Decorate With Flowers will be painted another color and either kept in that space or moved into the guest bedroom, which is where I honestly thing it will work better. I just don’t see it in the redesign.

Gosh it feels almost therapeutic to spell all of this out on digital paper.

When we moved up here from downstairs, due to my absolute craving for tons of light (and we have it up here for sure) and better views of the city, AND the extra room for Aidan, I was ready to explode with baby – we moved January 9th and I had my son on February 9th. So we had like two seconds to unpack and pull stuff together. These two rooms are the result of throwing stuff together. When my little cutie arrived I didn’t care about my work studio. At all. For months. But now it’s been 6 months since his arrival and I’m caring about my work studio A LOT. LIKE CRAZY. I want to redecorate the entire house in fact, but I’m starting here because my work is a huge part of my life and in order to do the best work, I need a space that is organized, clutter-free and pretty. Before shooting these photos today, I have to admit that I spent 6 hours this weekend filling two trash bags with paperwork and magazines that I just couldn’t bear to have sitting on my desk any longer. It already feels so much lighter in this room.

So this is part one, the big before… I’ll show you what my inspirations are, a draft of the new floor plan and my mood board, all coming up later this month!

Any comments about this space that you’d like to share? Are you working on a room redux in your home? Tell me more!

(photos: holly becker)


  • Reply Cate August 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    It’s tidy and uncluttered compared to my living space ;)

  • Reply Eclectic Hamilton August 19, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Hello Holly,
    this looks not so bad than my work office!
    Your new plans sounds realy good.
    I am wonder to your new studio!

    Greetings & Love

  • Reply Danny | cozy & cuddly August 19, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Nice to see that you are working there as well. Like we all do with a desk full of work and clutter in the corner. Thank you for that refreshing sneak peak into real life ;-)

    I also work from home and my small office is stuffed with Books, Paper (Tax-Stuff) , foils for the vinyl cutter and so on. i can hardly move there!

    I curious to see how your studio/ office area will change!

    xo Danny

  • Reply Laura @ Rather Square August 19, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Oh, I totally understand! We’ve got several half-finished rooms in our house right now, and sometimes it feels easier to just work around the issues than to face them head-on. Our home office, like yours, is not totally functional right now, and it’s driving me nuts…

    Can’t wait to see your new floor plan and moodboard!

  • Reply Chhavy August 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing Holly. I can’t wait to see how you’ll organize paperwork and magazines. That’s a big problem for me. Mail, paperwork, magazines always pile up on my desk and counter top. I know there should be baskets, but then it piles up there and there’s no motivation to get to it quickly. I wonder if there’s any way to organize it in a way where it’d motivated me to get to it quickly. One way so far is having a good size functional shredder right by my mail area…but it’s so big and doesn’t go well with anything. Anyway, I can’t wait to see more!

  • Reply Yuko Jones | northfield gate August 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Holly! Even your cluttered space looks quite lovely to me! But a change is good, especially when you need it. I get very stressed when my home is cluttered and not pretty, so I know what you mean. Can’t wait to see the after! xx

  • Reply Art & Hue August 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    It’s amazing how creating a family changes your outlook in that you’re now looking at the space through the eyes of a mother looking out for your child.

    Personally, LOVE the way it all looks now (the white, the furniture, the floors, those windows!) and would be more than happy if my studio office looked that good!

    Look forward to seeing what you do with the space.

  • Reply mims August 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Love all the light and white and wherever did you score that fabulous light hanging over the dining table? You have such fabulous starting materials to work with.

  • Reply mims August 19, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Holly, Looking at these photos again, may I suggest adding some statement piece in a bold color with large proportions? Like a wingback chair in magenta with a gold side table. Or something that can anchor the space. It does feel a little too ethereal and floaty. Just my two cents.

  • Reply Ingrid August 19, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing Holly. I also need to rearrange my workspace since I am starting to work from home (also with a little one running around), but I don’t have a lot of space and a lot of budget. Which is a bit of a challenge so let’s see how it works out! I am looking forward to seeing the process of your redesign :-)

  • Reply Natasja August 19, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Maybe you can buy a table or desk without built in drawers and place it in front of the window. This way you can sit facing the window or if you want to watch your baby with your back to the wall. You can use the freed up spot near the wall for a sitting area with art above it. Deconstruct the ikea hack and put it next to the sitting area to store your work related items and put nice things on top. It’s just an idea :) Good luck redecorating!

  • Reply Shalagh Hogan August 20, 2014 at 4:23 am

    As you taught us BYW graduates, use the blog as a tool to better your life! Yay for redecorating accountability. And yes, not being able to see the baby and a cluttered desktop are bad things. Love your hand labeled pictures on the drafting paper. Can’t wait to see your solutions Holly.

  • Reply Katharina August 20, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Dear Holly, in my opinion your place looks lovely and I am pretty happy that you also have some corners of which you think they need a makeover. My son turns 5 month next week and seeing your apartment I was always think … wow how does she keep it so orderly although she s having a baby. Although my boy is still small, our living room is a mess compare dto before since it was automatically tranformed into his playzone. I already try my best in hiding his toys (the ones with the horrible colors which he likes more than the beautiful corcheted ones in neutral colors I like) in baskets. Could you please tell me what is the thing Aidan is sitting/playing in. My boy is bored by his activity mat already so this one might be an option. Thanks a lot and have a nice day! Katharina

  • Reply kathi August 20, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    holly, thank you so much for sharing this insight into your “real life”. it’s good to see we all have our cluttered corners in the house. probably nobody can live like out of a catalogue or magazine, right?
    we moved one year ago, and since we got a little puppy a couple of months later i never finished my workspace, and trust me, it’s actually not worth to be called workspace at all! but now i’m really inspired to start the (re)decorating projects in this room and some other rooms as well.
    thanks again and i’m looking forward to see the result of your work.

  • Reply Kim Schofield August 20, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Oh you sweet girl…you have the neatest living space I’ve ever seen! You are never allowed to come to my house or you might pass out from the amount of clutter found inside our front door! LOL! (Your current space is divine but I’m looking forward to seeing your redesign…)

  • Reply Ani August 21, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Really fun to see you in action, Holly! It’s a beautiful space.

  • Reply Catarina August 21, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    You do have already a beautiful space but if it doesn’t work for you, your family and everyday routine then you should totally do something about it.
    When I saw the pictures I immediately thought of a desk standing in front of the windows but with the chair in between. That way you will be taking advantage of all that light when you work plus you’re able to keep a 180 degree eye on Aidan, but on the other side you won’t be able to see the street.
    Then the right wall would be free for you to make a custom built library. I am already picturing the PK lounge chair at the front of the library with a really cool floor lamp and a fluffy rug! But maybe it is just too much of an office space and too little of a living room…anyway, hope I could help a little!
    Wish you all the best of inspiration for this new adventure!

  • Reply Nadine August 21, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    It’s refreshing to see someone on a blog post something that they don’t think is perfect! Compared to my office space, which also sometimes gets turned into a dining area, yours looks clutter free! I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do with the room though – maybe I can steal a few tips for my own space!

  • Reply Karyn August 21, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    I think you might have shared this info before (when you were first redecorating the space), but I can’t seem to find it. Can you reveal which grey paint was used in the dining room/workshop space? I also have a light filled room, and am looking for a subtle grey that will help highlight the white moldings. But greys are difficult. Yours looks perfect. Thanks in advance for you help!

  • Reply Gina Palha August 22, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Having a baby brings a lot of chaos into our lives. For real!
    And to me your place looks the tidiest + prettiest. You need to come here + check my house… talk about a BIG MESS!
    I absolutely love the looks of your living + working spaces… so stylish!

  • Reply Claudia W. Small August 22, 2014 at 3:53 am

    One thing I notice missing is a green plant (probably sounds like such a stupid thing to say). I’m thinking a large fiddle leaf fig in a beautiful pot, maybe one on feet? It’s amazing how beautiful they look with so much white in your room. A smaller and really cool desk? Something unusual, or something you wouldn’t think of for a desk. Some kind of table, maybe? But small. It’s a beautiful room with such great windows and natural light.

    I feel funny even saying these things to such a phenomenal decorator, but you asked.

    • Reply decor8 August 22, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      @Claudia W. Small – Such great tips, thank you!!!

  • Reply Karyn August 27, 2014 at 5:20 pm


    Thank you so so much Holly! Really appreciate the help as well as the look back into your stunning space. Keep us updated!!

  • Reply Helen August 30, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Hi holly

    I’ve read your blog a lot over the years felt compelled to write a comment on this post as your living space is just so nice! My thoughts, for what they are worth:

    Love your thought re new desk placement. You could pop a squishy chair in the corner where the blackboard cabinet is, for visitors/small people! I would then put the large cabinet currently in the dining room on your current desk wall and pop the blackboard cabinet in the dining room in its place with a mirror over. The white table could go as you come in from the living room and when you are having a formal moment it can hold a nice bunch of flowers. A sofa may be tight in the space and harder to move for a play area?

    Other thought was a corner desk, again in same place as you suggested. It basically depends how much work space you need but keeping the white table will double up as work space!

    Can’t wait to see what you decide to do!

  • Reply Linda Leyble September 1, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Hi Holly! If you could have seen my workspace when my first daughter was born…you would have felt really good about your space!! I lived in a small apartment and the living room had to be dining room, workspace and there was a little kitchen in there as well. NYC – very little space! I had a hard time keeping things neat needless to say. All of the baby stuff made it even more cluttered. But, I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. I look back now and yearn for those days.

    But now I have a huge house, but I still have clutter issues that I am constantly trying to control. And now – there are toys and extra paraphernalia
    for my grand kids. I guess working from home will always present these challenges! But – if I know you…you will make your space beautiful and workable. Can’t wait to see what you do!


  • Reply Elodie October 28, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Oh but it’s your carpet in fact?? Did you get ride of it when you rearranged your space? Where can I find the same one please? Thanks a lot!

  • Reply Katie April 4, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    I know this is an old post but I’m choosing paint colours at the moment and remembered you used dimpse. My bizarre question is does it sometimes look lilac? And do you still love it? Thank you so much for your blog, been loving it for ever. Katie

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