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I’VE BEEN A BUSY little elf in the month of December.  Christmas shopping is done, the halls are decked and the makeover of our home office is well underway.  As I mentioned here, this space was a little too masculine for my taste so we decided to lighten it up a bit.  Here is a quick shot to remind you of how our office looked when we decided to buy the house.  Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

You have to admit that it is a little man-ish.  (I gave you a hint if you don’t know where that line comes from!)  There are two reasons why I decided to tackle this space as soon as we moved in.  First, with the exception of our powder room, it’s the smallest room in our house with four walls and a door.  This made it a very easy place to start.  While I absolutely love the openness of our new home, the flowing floor plan makes it difficult to upgrade one space at a time.  Secondly, I work from home so I needed a space that would stimulate productivity.  The more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing the space, the more likely it is you’ll want to spend time there.

I made short order of the wallpaper exactly 30 seconds after we had the keys to the house.  Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but we had not even thought about sleeping at this house yet and I had already gone to town in the office.  The new homeowner gods were kind to me because the wallpaper peeled right off the walls in big, beautiful sheets.  No doubt, I will pay for this miraculous gift at some point down the road when a seemingly simple home improvement project turns into a full-on nightmare.  I also removed all of the window treatments, outlet covers and switch plates so that the walls were all ready for paint.  Enough chat; let’s get to the fun stuff.

So the office went from this:Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

To this (apologies for the grainy photo):Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

All of this happened before we even moved in.  I felt such a sense of accomplishment so early in the home-owning process.  I was a home makeover tornado leaving nothing but dusty window treatments and 90s wallpaper in my wake.  Embrace My Space:  Office ProgressIf you can believe it, that massive pile of wallpaper came out of one 10×10 foot room.  Oy!  I must admit that the wallpaper border actually didn’t come down as easily as the top and bottom wallpaper.  Matt had to scrape it off.  Conveniently, I was at work (my non-office job) while this was going down.  Love you, Matty.

Now that we had a blank slate, we had to figure out what the heck to do.  Looking to save a buck, we decided to incorporate a gallon of paint that we had leftover from our first place.  We originally purchased a second gallon of the paint that we used in the stairway going up to our third floor because we thought the wall could use an extra coat.  Then, we decided to move out before getting around to painting that second coat.  You better believe I took that extra gallon of paint with me!  Here’s a quick shot of the space I’m talking about. Third Floor Curtains

This paint is DARK blue!  The color is called Ocean Slumber by Valspar and it’s high gloss.  I know you’re not really supposed to paint walls with high gloss paint, but I don’t care.  I love shiny walls.  I also love this color, and I had to have it in our new house.  Unfortunately, the office is just too small and too poorly lit to absorb a paint color so dark.

In the end, we decided that in order to save a buck by using our leftover gallon of paint, we would have beadboard paneling and a chair rail installed that we’d paint the dark blue color.  Then we’d still be able to incorporate the color, without overwhelming the space.  Make sense from a money-saving standpoint?  Of course not, but we had a plan!

The next step was to decide what color to use on the top half of the wall.  We picked Sea Green by Restoration Hardware because it’s a gorgeous, soft green that worked well with Ocean Slumber.  Take a look at Sea Green on the walls.  Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

It’s so good.  My lovely painter/friend, Alisa of Stehman Interiors, was so kind as to roll the paint the whole way down the wall so that I didn’t have a half-painted room while waiting for the beadboard paneling to be installed.  Alisa also humored me by custom-mixing the paint color for the ceiling.  It’s about 80% white and 20% Sea Green and oh-so-lovely.  I might have her paint the rest of the house the color of that ceiling.  Yum.

I know that painting a ceiling is really cumbersome work, but I think the result is well worth it.  Just look at how the subtle version of the wall paint makes the chunky crown moulding stand out.

The next step was the installation of the beadboard paneling and chair rail.  Matt and I know our DIY limits, so we did not even think about installing it ourselves.  Here’s a shot of the paneling and the trim work right after installation.    Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

I love how the paneling adds a little something extra to the space.  Once it was installed, I had second thoughts about painting it because I loved how fresh it looked in white.  Here’s a tight shot of the paneling before it got its paint job.  Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

Surprise!  Also making a repeat appearance in our new home are the orange and white curtains that hung in the third floor stairway at our first place.  My mom and I made these panels using a heavyweight outdoor fabric that I found on clearance at JoAnne Fabrics.  If you’ve never shopped for drapery, I’ll let you in on a little secret:  if you need a drapery panel longer than 84 inches (which is a standard size that you can find at Target and similar stores) you are going to pay for it!

Our third floor stairway required panels over 10 feet long and I just didn’t want to pay $300 or more for them.  My mom and I made these panels one Saturday evening, and the total cost was about $120.  Keep in mind that I purchased outdoor fabric at the end of the season, which kept the price per yard down.    Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

I really wanted to reuse these panels at our new home and I thought the office would be the perfect spot for them.  They actually ended up being a little bit too long.   Because I was using clip rings to hang the panels, the length problem was easily solved by folding the panels down about six or so inches at the top and ironing the crease flat.  I just clipped the folded end of the panels into the clip rings and voila – the perfect length was achieved!  You can’t even tell that I fudged them.

Getting back to the beadboard paneling, although I loved how fresh the white looked we stuck with our guts and let it go dark.  My thought was that I’d be able to lighten up the space with light and/or white office furniture, so ultimately I’d achieve my desired effect through furniture.  Here’s a shot of the beadboard with one coat of paint.  Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

Ugh.  Awfulness.  No worries, though.  Once the second coat went up the paneling took on that rich, deep blue sea look that I was after.  Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

That’s much better.  As you can see from the above photos, my office furniture is looking kind of drab.  I opted for a quick fix and purchased an inexpensive bookcase from Target to help corral some of my office junk.  Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

I purchased a few natural woven baskets from HomeGoods to contain my loose papers, computer accessories and other office stuff.  These layered into the bookcase nicely with some of my special books and accessories.  Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

Here’s a shot of this side of the office before we moved in:  Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

And here’s how it looks now (a work in progress):  Embrace My Space:  Office Progress

There is a little sneaky peeky of what’s going on in the foyer.  Basically, it looks the same as it did before with the exception of another bookcase that is much cooler than the one I bought for the office.  You can see I added a little bit of holiday cheer to the hand railing.  I also did a little bit of holiday decorating in my office.  Embrace My Space:  Office ProgressI bought this Charlie Brown tree one day in December last year when I was on a lunch break.  It was supposed to be a joke.  I didn’t buy a Christmas tree for our house because I was not in the holiday spirit, so I put this tree in my office at the firm as a sarcastic gesture.  This year I am in the holiday spirit, but I thought putting this funny little tree in my office would be a nice reminder of my status as a recovering lawyer and how much has changed in 2012.  Now I’m working from the comfort of my cheery home office, with some great people on just a few fun legal projects.  I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and I am looking forward to what’s to come in 2013!

Whew.  That was a long post.  Good thing I woke up extra early today.  Time to get to work.  Have a fantastic day everyone!  Stay tuned for more updates from my home office makeover!