Revisiting Rooms: The Office

I wouldn’t be surprised if, over the last four months, you forgot that I have an actual house with actual rooms in it instead of just a big yard with a lot of barns and animal noses. If you didn’t, good on you, because I almost forgot.

More than any other time I can remember, this summer was about working outside– gardens, yard work, building the first chicken coop (and the second one), barns repairs, and basking in the glory of being outdoors. Which, on one hand, has been amazing. On the other? Holy shit my house.

There have been little projects lingering on in almost every room, which, over the course of the summer, have been covered in a fine layer of dust, cobwebs, and chicken feathers. (Seriously. They’re everywhere.) On a couple of occasions I’ve made a show of having my act together when people come over to the house, but trust me when I say that any semblance of organization in the house has been an optical illusion. Smoke and mirrors, and a lot of shit shoved into closets.

This weekend, I thought about tackling another outdoor project (or two) but my eye started to twitch when I realized I’d end another weekend with more unfinished projects and the rest of my life still in shambles. So I did something pretty much unheard of…

I vacuumed. Voluntarily.

I also hung curtains, and touched up paint, and filed my taxes. And I kind of enjoyed it. (It’s like I don’t even know myself anymore.) So I thought I’d take this week to revisit a few key rooms in the house and talk about what’s next in these nearly-finished spaces.

First up, the office.


Last time I posted a legitimate picture of this room was back in January, and it looked something like this:


But before we take a look at my most recent updates, I’d like to go back to the very beginning (aka the 90’s), when this room still had oak trim and palm-frond covered wallpaper.


Whoa. Yeah. And the lace-doily curtains. Those were amazing.

But after refinishing the floors (early on), then removing the wallpaper and painting the shit out of everything in this room, and then building a 12′ long desk and indoor workbench (because a girl can never have enough workspace) I finally had a functional room. Not finished, but functional.

In the last few months I replaced those fabulous light fixtures with new OTTOVAs from Ikea, (for only $30 each? yes please) and finally got the natural fiber rug I’d been picturing in here…


Yes, it really is that clean. And not because I have everything shoved out of site just behind the camera.

This workbench… let me talk about this thing for a minute. It may actually be my favorite piece of furniture in this house. It’s the perfect workspace, and is usually piled high with projects, but I finally cleared the debris off so I could focus on the Impossible Things (and still have room for all of my beer bottles.)


I hate admitting this (somewhere my mother is saying, “I told you so”) but I actually feel a lot calmer and ready to work in this space when there isn’t junk all over it.

One of my favorite recent additions to the room is gift from a friend who knew exactly what I needed for my big-kid markers…


The mug is from Anthropologie, and I think it adds just the right touch of fancy to my rustic workbench.

As for the other workspace in this room, it turns out that twelve linear-feet of desk space is just about right for all of my crap.


While I was organizing some stacks of paper this weekend I came across these tiny planets that I drew just before I set out on this big adventure. I think I meant to build frames for them or something, but instead of adding yet another project to my list, I just took a little sticky-tack and slapped them up on the wall in this super organized fashion. (With a few empty frames to remind myself there are always more stories to tell.)


If we’re going to be honest here for a minute, I’ll tell you this: I make pretty things, fun things, decorative things. I don’t often create art that conveys meaning… that’s because I’m not really an artist. I’m just a person who likes to figure out how to make shit and play with big power tools. But when I stumbled upon these tiny planets I actually got a little misty-eyed over them. Each one is a little adventure, and I drew them at a time when I knew I’d be setting out on adventures on my own, and I wasn’t quite sure where they would take me. (I actually wrote some little one-sentence stories to go with a few of them that you can read in the captions here.)

I’m not going to get all philosophical about it, but I’ll tell you that I love having them up on the wall.


More than any other room in the house, I’m compelled to have things that inspire me in here. My Instagram wall art is another one of those things.


I’m thinking of switching out some of the pictures soon to reflect all of the additions to the farm over the last year.

And while that wraps up the current state of things in the office, there are still a few projects to wrap up in this room before it’s officially done (for now.)

Here’s the one I’m most excited about. These closets…


There was a time when I thought I might tear them out and put in some built-ins, but the closets are huge and it turns out I really like having all that storage on the first floor of the house, so for now the closets stay. However, I don’t have a big enough heart to figure out how to love all of those bi-fold doors.

I thought about replacing them with fabric. Or painting them. And then I started reading graphic novels and had an even better idea…


I’m going to paint a couple of large comic panels on them. One of the fantastically creative guys I work with let me borrow these books for inspiration, and I’m picturing something like this…

{via Pinterest}

But two panels on the doors instead of one big one. I feel like it can’t hurt to have a couple more superheros looking over me.

That will definitely be a middle-of-winter project, which almost makes me wish for snow.

There are also a few little things on the list, like:

  • Finding a proper filing cabinet for under the desk.
  • Building or buying a rolling tray for the printer that fits under the desk.
  • Painting the oak chairs I’m using at the desk
  • Building a laptop stand out of some old wood
  • Moving the three-hundred pound desk out of one of the closets and putting in more shelving
  • Touching up the trim paint

But overall, this just may be my favorite room inside the house.

18 Responses

  1. The room looks good!

    You’re not the only one who feels better with a clean desk but isn’t so good at cleaning it. I’m trying to develop a new habit. If my projects are overwhelming me and I don’t want to even be in or look at my workspace, I tend to be telling myself I have to work constantly, but not be doing much useful stuff, because I am distracted or fidgety. I get a lot less work done then. So instead, when I feel that way, I try to slow down a bit, maybe get a cup of tea, then clean my desk, and then GET TO WORK. “Clean the desk” is not allowed to derail into “reorganize my entire filing system right now” — space has to get clear and things go where they belong, but that might be a bin for miscellaneous things, or a folder of papers to sort. It actually works. What doesn’t is me reliably recognizing when I ought to do it, and that’s where I need the habit-building.

  2. Awesome idea about the comic book pictures on the closet doors! Bi fold doors are kind of terrible, and that might be one of the most creative solutions I’ve heard for dealing with them.

    1. I was wondering that too? She is really really ahead or really really behind!

    2. Really, really behind. Always. (My accountant is smart enough to file an extension for me every year though, whether I need it or not.)

  3. “I don’t often create art that conveys meaning… that’s because I’m not really an artist.”

    here’s a secret :: lots of “real” artists don’t make things that convey meaning either. they make stuff that is pretty, because it pleases them.

    the fact that it pleases others into opening their wallets for it is a secondary consideration.

    and i do love those planets. and your workbench.
    and the donkeys. because donkeys. 😀


  4. Wow that room is looking very good. I feel more creative just looking at it! I like the idea of a big splash of art on those doors. Can’t wait to see which superheroes it will be.

  5. I like your superhero idea. I’m partial to the less traditional superheros like The Tick. Die Fledermaus (also from the Tick, a take-off of batman) would be kind of fitting after your bat encounters. Or maybe make one up, a superhero version of yourself.

  6. Love that comic book idea for those bi fold doors.
    I love bi fold doors as room dividers and external doors but I think they can look a little tacky as closet doors.
    Your superhero idea will certainly jazz them up though!
    Casey 🙂

  7. I actually quite like the closet doors, but it is completely understandable why you want to change them. The new idea will probably look fantastic.

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