Home Office Reno: Before & After

There have been some changes around here. Big changes. The kind of changes that make you forget you have a gargantuan load of laundry in the washing machine until three days after you put the load in there but the thought of putting the clothes through a cycle AGAIN and forgetting about them AGAIN is so overwhelming that you squeeze your eyes shut and hope, HOPE! that all that Law of Attraction stuff is real and your own personal energetic housekeeping fairy is going to come buzzing through the door in a blaze of glory to solve difficult challenges like perpetual laundry for you because you know that if you have to work this tricky one out in addition to all the rest of it you WILL pop an important blood vessel and you’re going to end up with an angry looking buggy eye. And a creepy twitch.

Before. If this was a beauty makeover "before" this would be a slump shouldered woman with sweaty plastered hair in a faded cotton tshirt with a stretched out neck. Who was hungover. And missing most of her teeth.

Hold your horses, folks: I am not pregnant.

And I didn’t finally get on Oprah (dammit).

I. Changed. Jobs.

This is a big deal. I went from working for someone else in a shiny, mostly organized office to work for MYSELF in my own, still shiny albeit slight less organized home office. I went from turning to my friendly saviour tech guys and taking a Medium Non-Fat Latte Break when something computer-ish went awry to having to launch into these harrowing hiccups on my own and having to do all the violent swearing MYSELF.

AND. Part of the preparation for this change involved a visit from my mom so I could put her elbow deep into some home reno tasks. She’s a good sport like that.

There was painting. There was shopping. There was drinking.  There was a lot of laughing.

And finally, there was an office that I look forward to spending time in every day:

After. Ta da.

The other side of the room. Just in case that wasn't clear.

For paint colours, we settled on a Low-VOC, flat matte “Gentry Blue” with “Quiet Retreat” for the trim. We got our supplies from Home Depot: You know that little magical computer hanging out by all the paint chips? SUPER HELPFUL. It directed us to a trim colour that would work with the blue, relieving us of the “why-in-the-hell-are-there-so-many-shades-of-white” stress.

I am really happy with the colour- I wanted something bold without overpowering the room given that it isn’t very big.

I like what I look at every day to mean something to me. I like to be surrounded by framed photos of my friends and family. I always try to find momentos from places I’ve travelled that make me smile when I look at them. As soon as I saw these pictures I knew I wanted to look at them every day. I like the messages. Plus cherries are awesome.

My “Free” picture reminds me chill out:

Oh the bookshelf. The freaking, freaking bookshelf. “Before” this monstrosity was in our living room taking up way too much room. I got it for free a couple years ago and it had a lowbrow whitewashed wood thing going. For free it was pretty dang fabulous, but honestly, it was an eyesore and drove me crazy. I wish I had taken a good “before” photo, but you can kind of see a bit of it here behind Kayloo.

I hammered out the back panel and my mom and I painted it black. All kinds of black. 4 COATS OF BLACK. Even after 4 coats it still isn’t perfectly black, but my mom and I labelled this look “distressed “a.k.a. “good enough.” Every home reno project has an important “Holy crap I can’t look at this anymore” element. I know you know what I’m talking about.

You can still see the white showing through on the bookshelf. Whatever.

Funky mirror:

Mirror, Mirror on the wall...

 My mom got John and I these super cute ceramic coffee cups- my desk has a glass top so we picked out these black felt coasters so I won’t crash a hole in my desk every time I slam my caffeine down in sheer genius exuberance.

Cute, right?

We searched around for standard storage boxes that looked kind of like this, but couldn’t find anything for some reason. So we settled for round boxes that zip close. Right now I am using the big box to store cords (computer, camera etc) and the small box to store paper clips and other knick knack type things. I think I’ll need to search again for more storage as time goes on, but for now these funky beasts are working it.

View from my window.

The whole process took us 6 days. Two days for scoping, long lunches and a bit of non-reno related shopping; two days for painting (two rooms: office and bedroom; bedroom isn’t an “After” yet) plus half a day for touch-ups and finishing up the “black” shelf. Half a day to assemble the furniture (we would have been faster if THE DAMN INSTRUCTIONS HAD BEEN RIGHT) and then arrange said furniture. After that we took a day for the various odds and todds that creep up in any fixer-upper endeavour.

And it was fun. We started at around 8am and usually ended at about 9pm each night but we got on a roll, found that trash-talking really does help the time go by… and talked about pretty everything under the sun. You know, mom and daughter stuff. We make a good team. I learned a lot from my mom. My office would probably be taupe with the wrong colour white trim if she hadn’t been there.

Thank you, mom! Your help was awesome. But the best part, as always, was your company.

There will be more projects in the near future. Oh, yes. Yes indeed…

27 Responses to “Home Office Reno: Before & After”

  1. Maggie says:

    Congrats on going solo!! I did that earlier this year, and it’s completely liberating, exhilarating, terrifying! 🙂

    Your office looks awesome. I love the idea of hammering off the back of the bookshelf so that the wall color pokes through… I may have to give that a whirl with some decade-old Ikea shelves. Thanks for sharing your big project! And your big news!

    • @Maggie- Good for you for going solo! The shelves- ours are old Ikea shelves as well. Originally I thought the trim white would be a good colour for them, but I’m glad my mom convinced me to go with the black 🙂

  2. Scoop says:

    This is fabulous! Where do I start….Kayloo certainly is a master head tilter. Awesome coasters. Love the mirror. Love the color too. Good job, and congrats on the new job! I work at home too, and love it. You could cut down on your computer related cursing by switching to a mac, just sayin’…

    • @Scoop- Yeah to you for working from home too! Thanks for the kudos! You know, after I bought my HP I was having so many problems with I finally got the point where I was going to take it back & get a Mac. But that was *just* after the warranty wore out… ack! 😉

  3. Yay! You clever girl! I’m flying solo too, since the 1st of July. It’s scary but pretty amazing. I just wish I had an office! Instead I work on my dining room table, with the laptop raised up on two boxes so the crappy wifi signal can reach me through the kitchen window. Italy, you’ve got to love it!!! Loads of luck and best wishes winging their way to you from deepest, darkest Liguria… (and Pooch says, if at first you are struggling to make ends meet, he is more than happy to share his bonios and his toys with Kayloo and Mickey until times get easier 😉 )

  4. I am so all over Scoop’s comment … get a Mac!

    Anyhow – congratulations. I am sure that you’re only regret will not be going out on your own sooner! Good luck!

    Oh yeah – love the office, too, even if it is a little girly for my taste.

  5. Congrats! This must be so rewarding! The office looks amazing. I really like that color. And of course I love the photo with the signature head tilt.

  6. blanket says:

    Hey nice job Shauna 🙂

  7. It’s a very inviting office. Now you should tell us what books you have on your shelves! I always like knowing what books are important to dog people. What finally made you decide to make the change?

    • @Elizabeth- Well, it’s quite a combo (in no particular order):

      Dog stuff:
      – Dogs That Know When Their Owners are Coming Home- Ruper Sheldrake (clinical language, but interesting case studies)
      – Marcus of Umbria: What an Italian Dog Taught an American About Love- Justine van der Leun (sent by her PR people, super charming, such a great pair!)
      – Marley & Me- John Grogan (haven’t read yet… bought cuz I didn’t cry enough during the movie I guess)
      – Cesar’s Way- Cesar Millan (I don’t care what anyone says, I have learned a lot from him
      – Dogs Never Lie About Love- Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (haven’t read yet)
      – No Bad Dogs- Barbara Woodhouse (haven’t read yet, I hear she is the Grand Dam of all this dog stuff)

      Fiction (I’m finding that I’m not that into non-fiction these days… but still have some around of course)
      – The God of Small Things- Arundhati Roy (love LOVE this book)
      – A Thousand Splendid Suns- Khaled Hosseini (haven’t read it- it’s signed, don’t want to crack the spine… yet)
      – The Satanic Verses- Salman Rushdie (most of this went over my head)
      – Lolita- Vladimir Nabokov (when I read it I remember saying to myself, “Okay, I get the art of the book” but now when I think about it just makes me ill)

      Non-Fiction
      – Infidel- Ayaan Hirsi Ali (I cannot recommend this book highly enough. My copy is chewed all to hell for some reason…)
      – Islam for Dummies (seriously, after the Satanic Verses I got it to try & have some concept of the ins and outs of Islam- I would recommend it)
      – Long Walk to Freedom- Nelson Mandela (the beginning is dry but it’s a very inspiring read- enough so that I thought Invictus did NOT do the man justice)
      – Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying- Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley (my mom volunteers at hospice, she gave me this when my friend was dying, I highly recommend it)
      – Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life- Stephanie Uliano (I learned about how horrible all my makeup is. Damnit… but all very good to know)

      That’s some of them anyway! Thank you for asking!

  8. @Status- Thank you so very much for the offer 🙂

  9. Kari says:

    I know what that change feels like! 🙂 Oh and that office was built for you or for Kayloo?

  10. positive1 says:

    Congrats on becoming your boss! Your office makeover looks wonderful and all of its fixins! Congrats again and thanks for sharing! 🙂

  11. Kelly Shin says:

    Wow… What a beautiful view you have from your window! I envy you.:)

  12. You did a good job, the office looks sweet!

  13. […] might think that now that I’m working from home I’m going to be working day in, day out, all day, every day all. by. my. […]

  14. Thank you guys so much for the congratulations! I’m super excited! 🙂

  15. Your office looks AMAZING! I love the color, and the desk is very sleek and fabulous! You make me want to hurry up and replace that stupid futon in my office that is keeping my space from being truly wonderful…

    p.s. congrats on the new job!

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