*Free time = that one weekend in August when I wasn't traveling to visit family/friends or traveling with Jesse for his work. For those of you who've been curious, Jesse is part of a media startup and the more it's grown, the more frequently he travels. And I go with him because it's just a great opportunity to spend time together, travel, read books (a passion I totally forget I have unless I'm stranded in a car), stay in a comfy hotel room, and eat multiple breakfasts at Cracker Barrel.
Plus, I just kinda hate being home alone, which I fully blame on Macauley Culkin, circa 1990.
Anyways, so it's finally time to reveal the office in it's updated state. And since the office has been through multiple changes over the past two years, let's start at the beginning.
This is what the office looked like when we first moved in.
It had dark wood trim, beige carpet, and peach walls.
I was running my first business at the time (finding new and used clothing at thrift stores and then selling it on eBay) and there was always just junk everywhere. At the time, I was shipping 100+ packages a week, barely making any money, and barely remembering to put my pants on each day.
Decorating was at the very bottom of my to-do list.
So, if you're ever feeling a little less than awesome (something I commonly feel when reading blogs or just perusing the internet in general), just know that you are worthy, you are capable, and most off all, if your house looks like a creepy 'before' picture, there is hope.
During my thousands of trips to the thrift store to find clothing for my eBay store, I began to come across stuff for our house. We didn't have any money at the time, and our house was nearly empty, so I started repurposing stuff.
One of my first finds was this desk for $50.
We didn't have a dining room table at the time (and still didn't up until about a week ago...and I can't wait to show you!), but for some reason I decided to use the table as a desk in the office. It was two different colors when I got it, and I wasn't super excited about that, but I knew I could probably fix it.
This was all happening around the time that I had decided to close my eBay business and start my blog (which was terrifying and exciting at the same time). So, one of the very first posts I ever made on this blog was about the office makeover.
In the below picture, I had just painted the walls (Behr Sandstone Cliff) and painted the trim and doors (Ultra Pure White). And then, I decided to paint the top of the desk black to match the legs.
I had never painted a table before, and was just a total novice.
So, I ruined the table on my first attempt at painting. And then spent an entire evening scraping paint off. It wasn't awesome. This picture never made it onto the blog before, and probably never should, but I know you'll find some comfort in my mess.
I finally got all of the paint off the table, did a little more research, and eventually used a combination of black chalk paint and several layers of polyurethane. That ended up working, and it's held up perfectly ever since.
So, this is what the office looked like after the first makeover 2 years ago.
So, this is what the office looked like after the first makeover 2 years ago.
I still totally love the above version, but frankly, it was just time for an update.
So, back in February, we emptied out all of the furniture.
Then, we installed the hardwood flooring, which took 4 months and nearly drove me insane.
Then, over the course of the past month, I basically lived in the haunted house room and spent my days sanding, priming, and painting all of the trim and all of the doors.
So, if you've been wondering why it's taken me MONTHS to finish the trim, I chose to take the road less traveled (in order to save money), and I quickly learned that it's the road less traveled for a reason. Basically, we got a bunch of raw wood from a mill and then we had to sand it, wood fill it, sand it, prime it, sand it, paint it, cut it, install it, wood fill it again, caulk it, then paint it again. As it turns out, we did save about $2000, but it's been an absolute nightmare and I'll never do it this way again.
But, hey, you live and you learn, and highfivewefreakindidit.
Once the trim and doors were finally installed in the office (more on that in a minute), I was able to move stuff back into the room and start to decorate.
Here's how it looks so far.
So, let's break it down.
For the main furniture, I kept the original thrift store table and paired it with a lucite chair, since the cats basically destroyed my last office chair.
I've wanted one forever, but could never find one in my price range. But, then I had a bit of luck earlier this month, and I found a cheap one.
I found it here where they were blowing out some factory defects for $40. They only had 300, which seem to be sold out now, but they still have some for $70. Luckily, when mine arrived, I couldn't find a single defect, so I have no idea what it was. I will warn you however, that they don't list a shipping charge, and after you pay, they will send you an email telling you that you have to send them an additional $30 for shipping.
So, perhaps that was the 'defect'.
But nonetheless, still a great deal.
I had this chair in a box for almost 3 days before I took it out because I feared the 'Jesse Response'.
And for no other reason than I just KNEW.
Jesse is a very masculine man who lives in a very feminine house. And he never complains.
In fact, he pretty much gives me free reign to go as crazy as I want, and he totally embraces my crazy.
And you see...I just knew. I knew deep down that my little see-through chair was pushing it.
So I eventually took it out of the box, and he just happened to walk down the hallway at that exact second.
And it was like he walked by really fast, totally distracted, and then stopped all of a sudden. And then slowly backed up, and just lost it for 30 seconds, laughing hysterically, totally amused and confused, until he could gain his composure and be like 'Oh, babe. Is that your new chair? I mean, that's awesome. But whoa.
Can I sit in it? Will it break? Will it spray me with estrogen?'
Needless to say, Jesse really is such a gem, and one day I will make him the best of man caves to reward him for enduring this madness.
So, moving on. The rug is very similar to the one in the living room, and is from Rugs USA.
If you ever read part 8 about the living room, you may remember me saying that I had bought a similar rug days before they sent me the one that we ended up using in the living room. Well, this is the one I bought, and although it's not as nice as the one in the living room, it's so much cheaper and still looks really great. I got the 8' x 10'' and waited until there was an 80% off discount code, so it only cost me a little more than $100. They almost always have crazy sales going on, so there's a good chance you can get it for really cheap if you're patient.
As for the mirror, it's one of my faves, and apparently ya'll's, too. I've never gotten so many questions about an item. I originally showed it here in the painted dresser post a few weeks ago. It was a clearance score from Home Goods for about $30. There was a chip and a few scratches in the frame that I just fixed with some Rub n Buff in the 'Champagne' color.
I think it was originally $199, which is CRAZYTALK, so score one for the little guy.
Now, before we talk about the other side of the room, here's just a little reminder of what it looked like after the first makeover two years ago.
I'm feeling kind of embarrassed, but I'm just gonna breathe through it.
Mostly about the narcissistic chalkboard.
I don't know. I was telling all my friends and family I was going to be a blogger and it was hard. I was a little over the top and probably annoying. Just a part of the journey, I suppose.
And here's what it looks like today.
I removed the bookshelf and brought in the dresser that I painted with white oil paint, the gold leaf art that I made, and I also changed the light fixture and curtains, and replaced the trim and doors.
The little nook with the dresser and gold leaf art is by far my favorite part of the room.
And I'm sorry to inform you that my baby orchid has lost his blooms.
I tried so hard, ya'll.
I forgot to give him his recommended shot glass full of water before we left for Statesboro, GA last week, and I came home to find him half dead. I'm trying to resuscitate him in the kitchen (where I'll remember to water him), and in the meantime, I just put a fake orchid in here. Because how do all these people have orchids and I just CANNOT make it work?
I kept him thriving for a full month before he succumbed to my inevitable plant-neglect.
Will he re-bloom if I give him the proper care? I'm not sure.
I'm feeling inept.
I'm feeling inept.
So, now let's move on to the closet doors, because this is the part that slowed me down for a couple weeks.
Here's a little glimpse of how the doors looked in the office a few years ago. I had painted the door into the office white already, but hadn't gotten around to painting the closet doors yet. They are just your typical hollow core 1970's doors.
Also of note: another boob light.
They were EVERYWHERE.
I eventually got around to painting the closet doors white, which was a temporary fix until I could afford to replace the doors.
It made a really big difference, made me feel less gloomy about my house, and it held up pretty well over time. So, don't be afraid to paint your doors if they bug you. All I did was prime them and roll some semi gloss white paint on with a high density foam roller.
During the floor renovations, I removed all of the doors in the house and threw them away. It was my attempt to force us to replace them. And it worked. Granted, I removed them in February and we're just now getting new ones on in late August, but nonetheless.
Also, that's the least amount of stuff that closet has ever had in it. It may just look like a pile of junk to you, but to me it's a glorious achievement.
Also, my mom gave me those two little antique plant stands for my birthday, and I can't wait to use them. But, first, I have to tame the horror that is my yard. You know you saw it.
So, anyways, the doors on all of the closets in this house were bi-folds. And they were always coming off of the track and causing me to pull my hair out, so I decided to try something different. So, we went to Lowe's and bought a bunch of slabs. (Jesse has informed me that 'slabs' are what the doors are called when they don't have pre-drilled holes for the doorknobs.)
The slabs were super cheap at only about $20 a door.
And then I spent about a week of my life painting them.
And then Jesse attached the doors to the closet and installed a magnetic closure to each door and to the top of the frame.
And then we drilled two holes in each door and attached these satin nickel steel bar pulls. They were only $3.50 (!!!) each and are the same handles we used on our kitchen cabinets, only bigger. Not only do I just love the way it looks, but it allowed us to save money by buying slab doors and by not having to buy a bunch of doorknobs.
And it was kind of a pain (simply because doors take forever to paint), but it was so worth the effort.
Switching the doors from bi-folds to french doors was such a simple change, but it made one of the biggest differences in the way this room feels. I'll be doing this to every room in the house now.
You may have also noticed the light fixture in the above picture. This is the little fixture that used to be in the master bedroom that I found at a thrift store for $5. It was originally a nice 1980's brassy gold, but I spray painted it silver. It really goes perfectly in the office, and it saved me some dollars.
It could probably use a little Windex after getting dusted by the floor sander, but what can ya do. Well, I suppose Windex it, but you know...who has time for that.
As for the curtains, I was determined to make my own. So, I taped up two plain white curtain panels, mixed some fabric medium in some gray paint, and I started painting my curtains.
I've seen a lot of people do this, and so I figured it wouldn't be too hard. I was so wrong.
First of all, trying to tape straight lines on a curtain panel is like trying to brush a cat.
Second, I made my stripes too wide and by the time I was done taping and painting the first panel, I realized I had 3 jumbo in-your-face stripes.
And third, I spent nearly 3 hours just on that one panel, and then I realized that it totally sucked and that I was going to have to start over if I wanted to salvage the project.
Basically, cut to me laying on the floor, crumpled in a ball...covered in tears and sweat.
So, as luck would have it, I was walking around Marshall's on Monday looking for a fake orchid, and I just happened to spot a pair of striped curtain panels in the clearance aisle. I've never seen striped curtains anywhere. Much less for $20.
I'm pretty sure I cackled to myself like a maniac and probably did a round-off or something. It's a blur.
A few of you guys asked about the little gold mug in the last post. It's just a thrift store find that made for a terrible coffee mug (it gets way too hot), so instead I turned it into a pencil holder. By putting pencils in it.
And those pencils are an Etsy find, and I kind of gaze at them longingly each and every day.
It's the back to school phenomenon where you get excited over school supplies.
Even if you're old.
And of course, the flowers are just some pink roses from the grocery store.
I don't have flowers in my office every day (although I wouldn't put up a fight if someone tried to bring me some), but I'm an average photographer at best, and a little touch of flowers always makes even the worst photos look better.
And I blog for a living, so sometimes you have to do crazy things like buy flowers and sit in your kitchen for an hour arranging them, knowing fully well that your cat is going to try to eat them the minute you leave the room.
Please take note of the orchid, fighting for his life in the corner.
I'm guessing that hacking up roses with my scissors probably didn't encourage him.
Furthermore, my roses started dying off by this morning. They lasted a day.
I guess that's what you get when you buy the $2 bundle from the clearance bin.
Half of them were slightly moldy.
And that's how you ruin the mirage of a perfect home with fresh flowers everywhere.
So, anyways, ya'll. That's the office.
I really do love it. I'm sure it will change time and time again, but it has a fighting chance of staying the same at least for a little bit while I move on to other rooms in the house.
Plus, now I actually have a place to blog again, which is awesome since I literally blogged from my bed for about 4 months while the house was under construction.
Cheese likes this new life upgrade, too.
That pic was taken when I had the desk facing the door. I actually like it that way better, but need a slightly smaller desk if I'm going to keep it that way.
I suppose that leaves us room to improve, right? :)
Speaking of Cheese, before I go...
So, I'm sure you've seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge all over social media these past few weeks. Jesse and I were nominated by a handful of people, and since we were traveling and late to respond, we donated some of our dollars and Cheese and Tootie offered to help us out, too.
They're obsessed with ice/water/anything they can splash in, so I figured we could indulge them just this once.
So, here's my little video with Cheese.
Jesse did his video with Tootie, and it's the most precious thing I've ever seen, but I'll spare him just this once.
Cheese's sweet little personality is on major display and it's time you get to see her in action. She played in the bathtub for a full twenty minutes batting shaved ice around after we were done. She's absolutely ridiculous.
And also, if you have a few spare dollars, I encourage you to send a few to ALS.org. Feel free to follow my lead, also, just for fun, and sprinkle a shot glass worth of ice on yourself, too. :)
That's all for today, ya'll!
'Til next time!
P.S. The other posts in the House Makeover series can be found here: