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My Office Update for Under $200

Hello there! It’s me Nicole again from Making it Lovely. I’m transforming my so-so house into a lovely home, and I thought I’d share a little of my process with you while Holly’s away!

My office was one of the first rooms I finished when my husband and I moved into our home last year. As you know, I own Pink Loves Brown and I work from home, so I needed my office to be functional as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I didn’t put all that much thought into the design of it. It’s really not that bad, but I’m ready for a change.

(photo by Evan Thomas, from my Apartment Therapy House Tour last year)

Here’s my office as it is now:

The basics of the room will be staying. That means I’ll be keeping my desk, chair, bookshelf, lamp, and several other items. I’m even keeping the paint color! Normally, paint would be the first thing to go because it’s such an easy way to change a room for little money, but I think the color will work really well so it’s staying!

I’m only changing four things. That’s it! I think it will make enough of a difference to keep me happy for a while though.

I can make the curtains out of Robert Kaufman’s Purple Utopia fabric for about $50 and then splurge on a Thomas Paul Flourish violet linen pillow for $100. I’ll attempt to make a slipcover for my desk chair (around $10), and then I’ll pick up a new Helmer drawer unit in white from IKEA for $40. The red one I have now could be spray painted if I wanted to do this all for even less, but I actually need another draw unit in my studio so I’ll just bring the old one up there.

So with two purchases, two sewing projects, and $200, I can have a whole new look! That is unless I change my mind and go with something else first. It’s been known to happen. ;) So what do you think about my office ideas? What are some quick changes you’ve made to spruce up your home office lately?

(images linked to sources above, layout and text by nicole)

Posted in Decorating Tips, guest bloggers, workspace on August 26, 2008

How Flickr Can Inspire Creativity

Hello again everyone! It’s Ez from Creature Comforts and I’d like to share a little bit of my inspiration process with you all today. It’s very easy to look at a singular item and think to ourselves, I like that/I don’t like that… but pulling together a cohesive “look” from these things can sometimes feel frustrating or even impossible. A couple of years ago I could never have looked at a beloved pile of magazine tears, nicknack’s, and other odds and ends and described how they would translate into anything more than just a pile of jumbled inspirations. All this changed for me when I joined flickr (a fabulous photo sharing site) and began collecting “favorites” from fellow flickr member’s photostreams. Suddenly there was a semblance of order to the things I liked. I spotted a trend immediately, and have been fascinated to see myself revealed through the collection of my favorites ever since. f you haven’t tried flickr yet… I highly recommend it!

So for today I’ve gathered several photos I saved on flickr and have used them to inspire a fictional office space that I’d love to have. In these photos I see: Beautiful flowery pinks, soft creamy whites, and rich wood tones… delicate romantic light and crisp modern accents.

{Flickr Favs}

  • Mary Goes Around by birth1226
  • J by Leo Reynolds {I love this bold modern typeface painted in bright pink… so playful and fun}
  • Red Peonies by Flower Press – {the colors in this beautiful fabric inspired the whole palette for the room}
  • Untitled by Letteria
  • Untitled by Sofia
  • Magic Number One by Miniature Mouse
  • Untitled by Fetie – {I see this photo representing gorgeous floor to ceiling cream toned curtains}

{Office Space}
1. “Love Candy” art print in cotton candy by Jennifer Ramos
2. Premier Wood Magnet Board at Fred Flare
3. Lip Balm Tint in Red Current by Perfumeria Gal, at BeautyHabit
4. Old School Lined Notebook by Bubbo
5. Pharmacy Desk Lamp at Crate and Barrel
6. Bayswater Bag in raspberry by Mulberry
7. Hulger – P*Phone and USB*Base in Pink at 2Modern
8. Reveal Desk at Crate and Barrel
9. Savoir Chair at Crate and Barrel
10. Walnut Desk Accessories at CB2
11. “Lawn” Fabric in Hot Pink by Flowie
12. Lost – Photographic Print by Sugar Snaps

View all of my favorites in one place right here.

Have a fabulous day!

(images linked to sources above. all words, layouts, and text by creature comforts.)

Posted in guest bloggers, round-up, workspace on August 19, 2008

Pretty Office Accessories

I’d like to share a few products today to pretty up the office that, to borrow the expression from my pal Steven, make my heart go boom, boom, boom! And this isn’t just for the work-at-home crowd… Even when I worked in corporate I decorated my offices and cubicles over the years. Of course, I had to maintain a professional workspace and exercise more restraint, but I still had things around that made the space fit my personality. Like you, I’m a very visual person so I require color and pattern to get through the day. It’s perfectly fine to carve out a little spot that has your style written all over it, even in a sea of cubicles you don’t have to conform to their vanilla little world… Throw in a little YOU! (What is UP with most American office design anyway? Ugh. Yuck.)

I love seeing all of the Fall stuff slowly making its way into stores and Kate Spade already has her 09 desk calendars available (thanks Jon for the tip). I’ve always wanted one so just maybe I will order it for next year.

So! On with pretty things… Looking to make your office a nicer spot to hang out in? Here are some of my favorite things…

Cheri memo cube, White Cherish Labels for labeling jars, file folders, etc., report covers, Shemergency Survival Kit (not shown), and SusyJack anything… That girl is on fire, did you see her weekly paper clips and pencil cup holders?

The 2009 Kate Spade desk calendar, TokyoMilk perfumes (smelling pretty is always nice), Nacre Butterfly Knobs (Square is a good change to dress up the drawers), a girly Garden Glimpse Vases for your desk, graphic decorative file folders, and piles of paper organizing clips (love these things!).

And if you’re pulling together a home office remember to build on the basics. I like to keep all of my office furniture the same color, my home office is white. This makes it easy for me to add or subtract color. Colors are layered in through fabrics, wallpaper, lighting, desk accessories, a throw rug, and art on the wall along with an inspiration board. My favorite affordable chair out there is the CB2 Surf chair and the parsons desk from Overstock looks just like the West Elm one but is a lot more affordable. If you want something different for the walls try sticking on these 3-d floral wall decals. Not pictured, but a nice find worthy of a mention is the new anglepoise-ish floor lamp in orange or white for $68 at Anthros. If you are looking to make your own curtains or cover a bench or chair, try the Inger fabric (new).

What is your favorite thing in your office? What product out there are you loving right now for the office? Comment with a link so we can all see! :)

(images linked to sources above)

Posted in round-up, workspace on July 30, 2008

Reader Q: Office Help Needed!

Reader Kimberly wrote in looking for some help with her office space. Here’s the room needing a little love…

Kimberly recently installed gorgeous new hardwood floors, repainted the walls, and replaced all the trim in the home they purchased last year. As a successful >wedding photographer, she needs an office space that is more inviting to her clients. “I don’t have a ton of room, but I want something where they can come, sit down, peruse my sample work, watch a slideshow on my computer, and chat about their wedding day with me,” she says. Here are some current photos showing the space as it is today.

Currently seating area for clients with her portfolio on the small table.

Style: Her office is currently gray, red, and turquoise, all colors that she really enjoys so these colors are staying. She loves vintage and thrift store finds, mixing old with new, and loves anything mid-century.

Notes: The room has four closets, one holds photography equipment, another is a dedicated craft supply space, the third is random storage of office and business supplies, and the last is a clothes closet.

I’ve asked Vanessa De Vargas from Turquoise in LA, who recently launched her e-decorating service, to visit us today and share her decorating ideas with Kimberly. Here are some tips and products that Vanessa suggests for the space…

“First, remove your current client seating area — both of the little chairs and mini table near the door. Replace with two more (or just one) comfortable chairs with matching upholstery. Place all storage currently under the white shelf into a closet. Wallpaper closet doors and place two upholstered chairs in front of them. You could also do a L shaped desk so clients can sit at the L to look at the monitor. If you go this route, instead of chairs already mentioned, find cute matching chairs to fit your taste and upholster the seats. Move red lamp to the lucite side table and install some art work on the wall where the chairs were (or your own photography, it’s suggested you have your work on display somewhere in the room) and incorporate on small shelves in between some of your vintage cameras. To keep this budget-friendly, I’ve gone a little overboard with Urban Outfitters items but here are a few product suggestions along with a few examples of displaying photography that I’ve pulled together for you.” - Vanessa De Vargas

Vanessa’s suggestions: Chandelier in white $36, 2 chairs from overstock to reupholster in a fun print if you do not opt for the l-shaped desk idea $269 each, lucite table $88, pillows for the chairs if you do not reupholster them, floor rug $68, wallpaper for closet, a desk chair in white in case she wants something more comfortable,

Vanessa’s framing ideas.

And to add some of my own advice (me, Holly). Kimberly: I also suggest an L shaped desk, in fact I like the idea more than two chairs near the double closet because clients should be seated at your desk to view your portfolio on your screen. For the desk my only suggestion is to avoid wood tones and/or glass (fingerprints!) and go with something light and airy vs. a solid heavy piece. You may want to check where you purchased your current desk to see if they sell additional pieces to create the L using your current desk. Another advantage in having this set up is that you can install a pendant light that hangs directly above the desk so you don’t have to worry about anyone bumping their heads! I like Vanessa’s overhead pendant suggestion, but also think a simple FADO globe from IKEA would be a nice look. You are currently limited so you use overhead lighting that is flush against the ceiling. I suggest keeping the wall paint as is, it is so lovely, and if you want to wallpaper on the closets as Vanessa suggested I would go with something crisp and graphic, like Ferm Living’s Berry Black, Birdweed, or Kingflower. Another idea for your double closet is that you can turn both doors into a giant chalkboard with simple chalkboard paint. If you buy magnetic paint to coat the doors before the chalkboard paint, you can use the doors to organize your work and since they are not the focal point as clients enter the room, they are in the perfect spot. I think a rug below the L-shaped desk is important to avoid scuffing the floors, you may even want to look into FLOR carpet tiles. I’d go for some texture in the room, perhaps a jute boucle rug in platinum from West Elm. I think your current desk chair is fine, I’d just add a pretty cushion to the seat or slip the top of it to coordinate with your guest chairs. Also look for armless chairs for clients for extra space, and try to find chairs on wheels. Sew some pretty chair covers to spruce them up or seat cushions. If you opt for guest chairs and no L shaped desk, I would try to locate some armless, slim slip chairs because they will take up less room. Crisp white would be lovely. The IKEA Stockholm chairs may work. Add a pretty pillow on each chair, a bolster or rectangular one would be good, but square is also okay. Since you photograph mostly people, this K Studio pillow in black with white stitch is darling and fits the look of the room nicely. You can add your red and turquoise accents in the form of your current desk lamp, a new red leather portfolio (vs. current black one), and red frames on your shelf or a turquoise vase filled with fresh flowers on your desk. Flowers are an absolute must when clients visit, puts them in total wedding mood, just keep them out of the way of arms in case of accidental spills. And of course… specialty candy or fresh baked cookies (or cupcakes, again think wedding) never hurts. All the TLC you can give a client meeting in your home to make you and your work stand out, the better! If your work has received press attention, you may want to show that off in a single frame or post it neatly on the chalkboard. And by all means, show you work on the walls. Dedicate a space to showcasing your best photography. Whether it’s near the door as Vanessa suggested, creatively displayed on the chalkboard (you could frame them using vinyl frame decals in white), or displayed in frames on the current long shelf you have, your work truly needs to be out and in view. Also, when it comes to lighting, you need some behind where your client will sit, so consider a floor lamp like the Adjustable Enamel light for $68 at Urbans. Or try to locate an industrial accordion style light (since you love vintage) with a clamp and attach it to the long shelf to provide some illumination in that area of the room. Here’s a visual to give you some help…

Items shown here are linked in above paragraph.

If anyone reading would like to also chime in with suggestions, please do! I’m sure she’d would love to hear from everyone — the more the merrier!

(images from kimberly hurst)

Posted in reader questions, workspace on July 24, 2008


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