Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Office Face Lift {with love}

Necessary Background: My husband works from home, building a comprehensive tax & financial planning business for small business owners. We moved to Oregon (and made the transition to self-employment) in the middle of tax season (ie the busiest time of year for his kind). He set up a desk, hooked up his computer and canon-balled into his work. The office sort of became the place to put all the things we didn't have a place for. The door was always shut. Out of sight out of mind. Which was mostly fine. Except that poor Nate was in there. All day. Every day. He recently took an eight day business trip. And I saw a golden window of opportunity. When he left, the office looked like this:

(*shudder*) Chilling, isn't it? Boxes everywhere. Trash in the corners (too busy to run it out to the garage??) Sticky notes aplenty on the walls. Chaos and disorder at every turn. While he was gone I went to work sorting, organizing, recycling and rearranging.

Here's what he came home to:

I share this with some reservation; it isn't the cutest or most jaw-dropping transformation you'll ever see (not even close), but it does make a case for organization and de-cluttering. And, quite frankly, it was more about the gesture than the room.

Please keep in mind that this is a man's space -- frilly trinkets and thrifted treasures (much as we love them) just weren't in order. We bought everything we needed for this project at Target. For the storage baskets, the bulletin boards and the lamp, I think we spent about $175. Not exactly a shoe-string, but not a bank-buster either. Please also keep in mind that we are renting this home. I think sometimes we let temporary-ness keep us from really settling in and making home. We shouldn't. I like to blame the still-white walls on our renter status (when in reality it was just my own laziness that kept those walls white!)

The details:

A stack of Nat Geo's I snagged from a "free to the public" cart at our local library in Texas. (Note the dates - 1960's & 70's mostly, fun bit of history, I say.) Love the punch of yellow on the bookshelf. And the cover photographs are so fabulous. I hope to frame and hang them someday. You know, when I have a map room off the library (wink!)

A clean desk (with some flowers I cut from the bed under the office window - how's that for charming? :), family photos to inspire him when he's work-weary, and cork/dry erase boards to scribble notes-to-self on. Little secret about Nate: he loves a dry erase board. Asked for one for Christmas one year (like 3 years ago) he loves 'em so much.)

The giant clothespin is by far Henry's favorite part of the office spruce-up. I think it's pretty cool, too. The reading lamp and pillow cozy up this awesome chair we inherited from Nate's grandma. The painting is one I ordered from Crate & Barrel (clearance!) with the remains of our wedding credit. It's been in a plastic storage sleeve for seven years; it is really happy to have a stretch of wall space - at last!

So, there you have it. A room re-do that speaks more to functionality and order than knock-your-socks off design. But it also speaks to love. And to one girl's genuine adoration for her husband - and her desire for his space to be a tiny shadow of how neat and charming she thinks he is.


Tia said...

Very nice! But you missed the most important part of the story - what did Nate say when he came home??

Rae. said...

I love this. It reminds me of my mom growing up. With eight children and a self-employed husband as well, she frequently kept house on more than a shoe-string budget. So often, her version of re-decorating simply involved rearranging the furniture set-up and making simple changes. And yet it was so exciting to come into our "new" living room! Still makes me smile (and get a little emotional)thinking about it today. It's just like you've illustrated today...it's all in the gesture, and it looks GREAT.


Jesslyn said...

Yeah, what did your husband say? It's a great redo and a MUCH more peaceful work space. :)

Sarah said...

You did such a great job. I am sure your hubs really appreciated this.

Bloom said...

Oh, he LOVED it. His exact words were: "I think this is the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me." (he's prone to excessive hyperbole :)

Watching his reaction was the best part.
He loves it. i love him (smile).


Melissa said...

Very nice! What a treat. I never thought a thing about the decor. The main point was organizing your space the way it is, right? I have put pictures on my blog of before and after organizing photos. My house is not decorator perfect, but it's inspirational to see how great the space you have can look. Please don't ever apologize for things that look so nice. :D

Natalie said...

Em, we are pillow soul mates. I just bought that pillow on your chair today. The study looks great! I bet Nate was so relieved, an organized room is like a breath of fresh air. :)

duck said...

What a nice transformation. Nothing feels better than turning chaos into organization. I'm sure he loved it! And nice for you to have a good project to keep you busy throughout those 8 (i'm sure long) days ;)