Are you the kind of person who can work from home or does it drive you bonkers? Here’s what I’ve realized about myself: I cannot possibly stay at home all day every day and stay sane. I require what I like to think of as The 3 S’s: adequate doses of sunlight and socialization — and possibly shopping, if I’m being honest here.
But, with work being what it is, I do spend a pretty good amount of time at home working on my computer, prepping shipments, etc. Up until lately, that has taken place primarily downstairs, at the kitchen table, despite the fact that I have a perfectly good room upstairs that is referred to as “the office.” For awhile now, I’ve been feeling kind of guilty about this. But then I realized that I do not like being confined to just one room, and that it is also imperative that I get a good amount of natural light. While this room does have a window, it’s a north-facing room, and sometimes it just feels kinda gloomy.
In short, creatively I was bored with being put in a box with no direct light. Don’t get me wrong — a pretty box, to be sure. But a box nonetheless.
In the craziness of the holiday rush as a shopowner this December, I realized that Pencil Shavings was taking over our living areas downstairs — the living room, dining room, and kitchen had become what I lovingly referred to as the Pencil Shavings Sweatshop. Everytime I walked in the door, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of stuff everywhere. It was time to take back control of everything and put things in place. It was time to utilize all that great space we have upstairs so we could actually enjoy our living spaces downstairs again.
The first time I ever entered our house, everything was ripped down to the studs as the house was undergoing a pretty pervasive overhaul. I walked up the stairs and saw the bonus room that was being created by the previous homeowner and I knew in my gut that this was going to be a happy place. It had the feeling of a hideaway — an attic space where one could dream and create or read books in the windowseat. It was the space of childhood fantasy come to life. The place I would have wanted to spend all my time as a child, which is still pretty indicative of my creative tendencies.
Come January, I began to remove everything work-related from downstairs and shift it upstairs. In a flash of inspiration, I realized that as a family, we don’t spend near enough time in that fabulous attic-y bonus room upstairs, and I wanted to change that. I also wanted to shift Jude’s focus away from the TV (where he’d inevitably end up while I was working on the computer downstairs in the kitchen) and to the toys and books that he could be playing with upstairs. By nature, Jude is my snuggler. He wants to be right where I am, all the time. So in order to make this work, I had to create a space where we’d both want to be. Previously I’d find myself shooing him out of my office because I didn’t want him messing with stuff.
My vision for this space is threefold: a work space, a play space, and a reading space. As an avid reader, I’m forever buying up books both for myself and for Jude, and our books were quickly overflowing out of the single bookcase I had. So I purchased 2 more bookshelves and a new desk from Ikea (more on the desk in a minute – it’s a GREAT Ikea hack!).
We’ve had the new space pulled together now for over a week, and I love how it feels. We’ve spent a fantastic amount of time up here even in the evenings as a family. There’s been less TV and more creative play and books. And as for the original office? It’s doing a great job of storage for supplies and things that were previously cluttering up my desk space. I feel like I can actually design and create in this newfound space. In short, it’s creating a life designed with intention. Taking charge!
In general, I think I was inspired by my light & bright space at the Myriad Pop-Ups. I had purchased MT Casa wide-format washi tape (100mm size) to decorate my space for the second session I had there, and so with the leftover tape, I striped a single wall in the corner of the room. One roll of each color was enough for me to do both the walls at the pop ups and the wall here at home. It’s shockingly simple to use this stuff, and it does zero damage to the walls. If you’re concerned, you might test a section where no one will see. (See my other post here on decorating with washi tape.) Decorating w/ the tape was really a spur-of-the-moment whim, and I think had I planned it out I would have done different colors. But again, that’s the beauty of this. It’s such a simple thing to swap out or take down that it doesn’t really matter. I might grab a roll of yellow to swap out the teal green stripe b/c then I would feel more like all the colors had integrated better.
I’m really loving all the white – it’s so fresh and clean and color pops so prettily against it.
The desk was such a fantastically simple project. I ordered it from Ikea (only $35 plus shipping to OKC for a total of $50) and after assembling the legs, I used the leftover liquid gold leaf from this other Ikea hack to pretty up those otherwise-boring legs. It took less than 2 hours from beginning to end, and I love how it turned out. Another friend of mine has this desk and she’s having the legs painted turquoise – it’ll be stunning for sure.
In short, I love this space. It’s clean, bright, and cozy — with plenty of color & stripes to boot. My kind of space!
Now it’s time to get some work done!