Sunday, April 24, 2011

Transforming the Study

The biggest do-it-yourself project that we've embarked on at my  house is the transformation of the study. It was originally set up for one person, and had a hodge-podge of furniture that functioned fine, but the room overall did not make an impression. And it needed to, as it is on the main floor of our house and guests walk right past it if they use the powder room.

We have more guest rooms than we will ever need, and had tossed around the idea of a home office for each of us. But as both myself and my other half work from home a lot, often right up til bedtime, we decided to create one office for ourselves otherwise we knew there would be days at a time where we only saw each other passing in the hall. This new office for two had to serve a few functions. First and foremost, it had to work for our needs. We took stock of all the things we needed to store and have within easy reach, all of our computer equipment, etc. We also wanted the room to have a spot for reading, and room for a television and space for all of the game system equipment. And it had to look nice.

It was a tall order. Here's a look at what we started with:

Builder white walls and unsubstantial furniture.

And only enough room for one to work!

I got to my drawing board and came up with a few solutions. Once we had settled on one, I had a cabinetmaker price the job for us. It was much higher than I expected, and more than we thought it was worth. So we got the bright idea to do a slightly simplified version ourselves. Using unfinished store-bought kitchen cabinets (which are a bit higher than a standard desk, but perfect for me because I tend to recline and sit cross-legged while I work, so my knees smash the bottom of a regular height desk) and a bevvy of unfinished trim pieces, we spent the weekend building a custom desk for two.

The number of trips to the home improvement store it took to do this project was almost comical!

We pre-painted the walls around the new desk area Sherwin Williams "Silver Strand"--a perfect soft blue-gray. Here, the base cabinets are in place. We stained them a dark mahogany to match bookshelves we already had.

We needed some overhead shelves for storage. I found some wonderful chunky "floating" shelves at the local home improvement store, and because we loaded them  up beyond capacity, decided to install soem sleek brushed nickel brackets for extra support. To give us a surface to tack reminders and notes to, I found a great framed corkboard at TJ Maxx that softens the whole composition up with it's curvy form.

Not bad for a couple of amateurs! Since this picture was taken, I've put a matching pair of lamps on the desk--repurposed from the living room.

The other side of the room.

I'm not a fan of rugs over wall-to-wall carpet, but I had this wonderful graphic rug ("Argonne" from Home Decorators Collection) that I just had to use. The drapes are Imperial Trellis-knock offs from Z Gallerie ($25!). I'm currently having an old shield-back chair reupholstered for this room. The one in here now is an antique from my great-grandparents farmhouse, and it's upholstered to match one of the guest rooms. Can't wait for the new chair to arrive--will be "unveiling" it in the next couple of weeks. The little silver tray table is a Target find ($30!) Having a lightweight arm chair here allows us to sit and read and also to easily spin the chair around to play Wii games on the television. The framed animal prints are from my college apartment--I bought them probably 15 years ago on clearance at Pier 1. The wooden tribal mask atop the bookshelves is a gift from a dear friend and quite a conversation piece. People either love it or find it completely creepy.

This is the room we spend most of our waking hours at  home in, and overall, I'm thrilled with how it turned out, particularly given how much we saved by doing it ourselves and finishing it off with bargain finds and repurposed items.

I am linking to the Metamorphosis Monday Party at Between Naps on the Front Porch.

And to the DIY Showoff Party:

And to the party at Addicted to Decorating:

And, one more at Passionately Artistic!

Join us on Facebook!


  1. Very pretty office. The wall color is lovely and the drapes are unique. Wonderful job! :)

  2. It looks fantastic!!! =) Great job! I adore the curtains and cork board!!! <3

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  3. Beautiful makeover! My hubs also works from home, and I've contemplated making a cloffice in the guest room closet for myself, but also like that we spend most of every day together in our shared office. Thanks for sharing.

  4. You did a great job! I know you will enjoy your new office. Dropping by from BNOTP.


  5. Your new office is wonderful!

  6. It's nice to meet you. Thank you for stopping by my blog and your kind words. You're always welcome. Light is a good thing for sure.

    *Smiles* ~Melissa

  7. Thanks for checking out my table makeover :-)

    You did a great job designing your office. It's so important to create a space that works for your lifestyle and meets all your needs - and from the sound of it, your new office does exactly that :-) Good idea to use the kitchen cabinets to create the base for your double desk. And love those curtains!

  8. You did a great job, I wish I could get rid of stuff...
    don't forget to add it to our linking party this week

  9. Thank you all for your kind comments! I really do like how this room has turned out. Can't wait to add the new(ly remade) chair to it. Maggie, thank you for inviting me, adding myself to your party now!

  10. Wow, your office looks GREAT!

  11. Those curtains are just the bomb! LOVE it!

  12. What an excellent work space. I adore that wall color. Thanks for sharing. :)

  13. Excellent makeover and project wow!I would love to have white walls though...I have dark vintage pineboard I cannot paint for historical I add as much white decor as possible..pretty dark in winter .

  14. just beautiful...and I love the rug and drapes!
    Stop over to enter the coffee burlap bag giveaway