DIY

Before and After: Our Home Office is Finished!

March 9, 2017  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

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Our home office is done (for now) and we’re excited to share the transformation, some details and a few tips and tricks with you today, along with so many photos! The room has actually been 95% there for quite awhile now, but because we were working on it in the very early stages of my pregnancy, when the nausea hit hard around 7 weeks, the room as a whole became a horrible trigger for me. A few days ago, we were able to reopen the door to the room and I felt so excited to finally finish it and start using the space as we intended.

We DIYed the wall paneling ourselves (read more about that here) and painted the walls and trim Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon–a warm, light green with a lot of neutral gray undertones. It was really important to both of us, for this room to actually function and work, as well as look nice. That meant having building a standing desk with seating options, having easy access to our printer, putting into place real live charging stations for our phones and laptops (you will see cords in this post, but we minimized them in a cool way!), mounting a large monitor so we can pull double duty with our laptops, having open storage for a lot of decor items we swap out around the house, and plenty of storage in drawers for art and office supplies, wrapping paper, etc..

The desk we DIYed, topped with marble Formica (!!) has a space for me and Chris on each side and the monitor (we purchased this white Samsung one–drool) in the center, we mounted using this wall mount that can pull out and swivel depending on who is using it.

You can see below how we used zip ties to keep the cords close to the mount so they wouldn’t be visible on the wall. We picked up white, paintable cable channel (I painted the same color as the wall) to run the cords from the monitor through the hole we cut in the top the desk.

They all feed underneath to a mounted surge protector that allows us to easily plug in all of our electronics, sight unseen, as well as our Mac mini computer. We attached a simple, slim letter sorter underneath to hold it and it works like a charm!

The setup keeps our desk a true workhorse without the mess of a bunch of cords hanging everywhere. To the left of our desk, we removed the closet doors and rods that used to be in there and put 3 of these bookcases to serve as decor overflow. We stashed all of our frames, textiles, spare pillows and lamps, paint swatches, camera equipment and decor books in here and it’s so nice to see everything in one place.

Across from our desk, we put a simple cube bookcase to hold our printer. We are constantly printing out coloring pages for the girls so we wanted to make sure it was at a height they could comfortably reach. In the bins below, we keep extra paper and print cartridges. Above, is a beautiful abstract by Angela Simeone.

I’ve never had a “wrapping station” but this drawer is the closest thing we’ll probably ever get. We also have a drawer for office supplies (post its, stapler, tape, highlighters, pens, etc), art supplies (all my paints and brushes), this wrapping drawer and the other two are empty for now.

As I mentioned before, the countertop we used is actually a marble laminate by Formica. We love the look and you can’t beat the price!

A standing desk was kind of the starting point of the entire room, due to Chris’s back issues and the fact that they say, sitting is the smoking. But we knew we still needed tall chairs that we could spend time in while working up to standing for long periods. To be honest, Chris is a lot better at standing than I am. I’ll stand for 10 minutes (when my watch reminds me to) once an hour and Chris probably sits for 10 minutes total every hour. These stools are adjustable to a very tall height, so I can have mine a little higher and Chris keeps his lower so he can actually completely tuck it under the desk when not in use.

We’re so thrilled to have a place, in our home, where we can both work every day. It’s a dream! Here’s a few before and afters, followed by the sources:

SOURCES

Paint Color: Farrow & Ball Pigeon
Carpet: Stainmaster Medford line in Fizz
Desk: Ikea kitchen cabinets (see DIY here) with Semihandmade cover panels and drawer fronts in Supermatte White
Desktop: Formica Calacatta Marble Laminate (provided by Formica)
Drawer Hardware: Pottery Barn
White Pendant Light: Ikea
Desk Stools: Wayfair
32″ White Computer Monitor: Amazon
Monitor Wall Mount: Amazon
Mac Mini Computer: Apple
Mirrored Desk Accessories: West Elm
Roman Shade: Blindster
Closet Bookcases: Target
Cube Bookcase: Target
Brass and Marble Task Lamp: Target
Wall Clock: Rejuvenation
Abstract Art: Angela Simeone
Agate bookends: West Elm
Faux Fiddle Leaf Fig: Target
Planter basket: Target

What do you think?

  1. Alex says:

    I love love love love this office and I am finally (!) ready to start on mine in a couple weeks!! I have a dresser that I think I will use instead of putting the cabinets together as you did but I love the toe kick you did, I will try adding a small frame to the bottom of my dresser that is slightly less wide and deep than the dresser – do you think that would look okay? Also, should I just attach a bracing piece to the wall for the counter to rest on? I’m a little nervous about figuring out how to secure the counter to the dresser and wall even after reading your post just about the desk.

    Anyway your office is super inspiring and I hope I can pull off a similar effect! I think it will be such a perfect solution for long days/nights working and a cutting table for weekend sewing. Thank you so much for the awesome ideas! <3!

  2. Devan Oddman says:

    We love the standing desk. The look, the functionality, etc! Thank you for the step by step tutorial as we are looking tonre-create this in our master bedroom office nook area (would love fornit to be somewhere else but don’t have He specs in our current home). The only piece that would stop us from this conversion is a filing system. Do the bottom large drawers have the capability of inserting file holders?? Or a filing system of some kind so that we can move the paperwork we have in a filing cabinet into the large drawer or drawers at the bottom??

  3. Adrienne says:

    1- Love your blog and podcast- even the horribly fantastic Can’t you outta my mind jingle :)
    2. The cabinet is resting on the carpet with the counter top secured to it and what appears to be a board (made into a ledge) on the wall. My question is whether or not there was or is any give in the counter as the cabinet “sinks” into the carpet? Did you compensate by pushing down while leveling with the wall? If you didn’t do that can you explain with a little more detail that portion of the assembly process? I’d like to do a similar thing but keep at desk height in my front room so that I can also have a couple of lounge chairs and use the TV/monitor for viewing (through apple TV) as well as work stuff. I wish I could attach a picture to comments to explain better but alas that is a wish unfulfilled.

    • Chris says:

      We built the cabinet and had it in place for probably 2 weeks before adding the countertop. This allowed the cabinet to sink into the flooring a bit, and we haven’t had any wiggling or anything since adding the countertop on. Our carpet also has a pretty low pile, so settling is minimal anyway.

      I hope this helps!

  4. I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering problems with your website. It seems like some of the written text on your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This might be a problem with my web browser because I’ve had this happen before. Many thanks

  5. Sarah Hina says:

    Hi Chris and Julia,

    I love the look of the counter/desk.
    Do you think it would hold up in a kitchen setting? We desperately need to update our counters on a minimal budget.

    ps- more podcasts please!

    • Chris says:

      Formica is most often used in kitchens, and it holds up really well. I think it’s at least worth a look, especially on a minimal budget.

  6. Sarah says:

    Hi! I’m in Idaho too so I love following your blog. ???? I just wondered if you thought the ‘pigeon’ paint would be a similar look/brightness in a fairly dark kitchen as it is in your basement? I REALLY want to brighten our kitchen up (currently have dark brown painted cabinets) but am not thinking pure white is for me. Sometimes when I google it ‘pigeon’ seems a bit dark but other times it seems fresh and bright. Any thoughts or advice?? Thanks so so much!!
    Also, where did you purchase the paint from, or did you have it color matched?

    • Julia says:

      We got the paint from Farrow & Ball, but Sherwin Williams often has the formulas. I would say that it CAN go dark if there’s no natural light. We have one basement window and this room and love the color. Are you considering painting your cabinets or walls? I love the look of it on cabinets! Maybe just as base cabinets?

  7. Kate says:

    So very pretty and practical!
    Would you mind telling me where the large baskets on the left side of your closet shelves are from? I actually just ordered this shelving unit from Target for my laundry room and I want to get baskets that really fill the space nicely, on a few shelves… and yours are a great size!
    Thanks in advance!

  8. Sarah says:

    Great transformation, especially the wall treatment. I’m curious if you will stil keep your upstairs desk setup and use that for ‘home management’ and use this office for ‘blog/work’. I’ve had both setups in my home- combined space for both side business work and bills/mail/home finance AND I’ve kept them separate spaces. I know I’m your night stories you tend to spend evening time in the upstairs room at the computer. Will this now be a place you gravitate towards in the evenings of you are surfing internet, or have you truly created a daytime work space you can close the door to when you are ‘done for the day’? I can see the benefit of having a dedicated blog work space but then again, I could see you using those bottom drawers to house everything that currently lives in that upstairs desk.

    • Julia says:

      Great question! We’ve decided to keep the upstairs small desk space for bills and home management stuff like you described. Plus, we feel like it would eventually be a great spot for the girls’ homework or even a family computer. It’s nice to be able to work downstairs, separate from the rest of the house, during the day with the door closed and then leave it as is when we’re done for the day.

  9. Erin says:

    Yay! It turned out so great! The bookcases from Target look much higher end in your office than they do on their website. Can you please tell me if the frames are metal or laminate? Target has the description “metal construction” but the item details list “wood laminate” for the frame material. And would you mind sharing where you got that dress? so.dang.cute.
    Also, empty drawer envy ;)

  10. Libby says:

    Is the pendant light the only lighting in the room (other than the lamp by the printer)? Does it light the whole room sufficiently by itself? I’m considering the same pendant for a guest bedroom but worry it’s too small/ not enough light!

    • Libby says:

      Oops, just scrolled through again and see can lights! But still curious how well the pendant lights the room by itself! :)

  11. Megan says:

    Beautiful office! I’m looking for bins like the ones you used under the printer. Can you share your source for those? I didn’t see it listed above.
    Thank you!

  12. claire says:

    i love this room. can you please slow how you mounted or installed or hung your pendant light fixture across the ceiling and into a wall outlet? I need to do this above my dinning room table but debating it.

    Thanks so much.

  13. A room that functions, works AND looks nice?!?! Why? When you’re in the “middle of nowhere”? he he he JUST KIDDING! :) #podcast

    Looks fantastic! The wall paneling gets me every time and great cord keeper ideas!

  14. rachel says:

    Great room! Love the color and the wall moulding. Just one quick question, what is that little thing with the lights sitting on the desk below the monitor? I’m sure I need it….if I can just figure out what it is ;)

  15. AnnMarie says:

    This is a beautiful space! I would be excited to work just to be in there.

    About the “sitting is the new smoking” thing, you should check out this book, Don’t Just Sit There by Katy Bowman. She’s done some fascinating research on movement and well-being, and this book is all about how to transition your workspace to help reduce the negative impact of being in one or two positions all day (sitting or standing). https://smile.amazon.com/Dont-Just-There-Katy-Bowman/dp/1943370001

    • Monica says:

      Ooh, thank you for recommending the book. I’m going to check it out. I have had a long-time problem with my neck from working so long. I tried a standing desk for a while, but always ended up sitting anyway. I’m still looking for some kind of solution.

      Julia – was wondering if your monitor can come out far enough to be in front of your face so you don’t have to keep your neck turned to the side for long periods of time? I’ve tried to get my desk setup in an ergonomically good way, but my posture & comfort level always fights me. BTW, your office looks great! Seems like a place you could feel at peace, and able to focus and get some work done. Love the colors in there!

      • Julia says:

        If we had a slightly smaller monitor we probably could. The monitor is 32″ and we can swing it almost completely in front on us before it hits the wall. But for the most part, we use it to pull up project emails, presentations, charts, photos for conference calls.

  16. Jessica says:

    I LOVE YOUR DESK!
    My husband and I both work from home and share a 12 foot long conference table, but we’d love to incorporate some sort of standing something since we both fight our backs from sitting so much. BUT…he’s 6’3″ and I’m 5’5″, so we’ve had trouble coming up with a solution that would work (we DO like our big shared desk and are hesitant to go back to two separate desks). Do you think your chairs go up and down enough to allow us to do something similar given our pretty significant height differences? Thanks!

  17. Diana says:

    Even your storage closet looks stunning! Impressive :)

    I love the moody color you chose for the walls. We painted our office a dark blue, and it really breaks up the all white and light gray in the rest of our house. Great choice!

    I recently posted why everyone should consider using bold colors in their home…
    http://dahliasanddimes.com/2017/03/03/4-reasons-go-bold-dark-paint-color-ideas/

  18. Kimberly says:

    Its gorgeous, but I am surprised to see minimal artwork. Will you be adding more or if not,what was thought process behind the very minimal look? I only ask because the other rooms you share have either large statement pieces, or groupings that create a large statement/focus.
    Also the wall color is lovely.

  19. Jody says:

    Very nice! Does your husband now work from home too?

  20. Corine says:

    It’s stunning! I loved your insta story mounting that monitor. The Formica desk top is so gorgeous! Everything is amazing and perfectly CLJ. You guys never disappoint and always over deliver.

  21. Tanya says:

    We are in the process of updating my home office and adding a standing desk so your timing for this post is perfect! How comfortable is the bar style chair for long periods of time? I work from my home 40 hours/week and as much as I want a standing desk, I’m worried I’ll feel like you and get tired of standing quickly. Any tips for finding the right standing/sitting combo furniture for full work days?

    • Julia says:

      The only thing I don’t love about it are the foot rests–pretty sharp for bare feet, so I normally wear shoes or slippers when sitting. I can sit here for quite awhile, but it does encourage standing–it’s not a chair that you want to lounge in, for sure. Which is actually what we kind of wanted in here.

  22. This is such a beautiful room! I’m dying over the countertop. Can’t believe it’s not marble!

  23. Sue Taylor says:

    Love the transformation. It’s so nice to see a great looking “working” office that is functional as well as outstanding looking. Could you tell me which type of Farrow and Ball paint you used? I love the Pigeon colour. Thanks, sue

  24. Ellyn says:

    You guys, this is just awesome! I’m really impressed with your mix of high/low (West Elm and Pottery Barn/Target and Ikea) elements for the room. They work together flawlessly. It must be fun to work with each other in such a beautiful space that you created.

  25. Carol says:

    This room is beautiful! Your design choices are always on point – I find myself wanting to duplicate them exactly.

  26. Mari says:

    Looks so great! This is so helpful. Thank you!

  27. Lynne says:

    What is that silver thing under your monitor? How do you switch your monitor from one computer to the other?

    Also, could you do a post on how to use Semi Handmade cover panels (especially) and door/drawer fronts?

    Thanks! Love your blog.

    • Julia says:

      Hi Lynne. The silver thing under our monitor is a USB port that we can use for charging, plugging in a jump drive, etc.. The mounted monitor is connected only to our Mac mini right now. But we still both have laptops, too, so it’s great for multi-tasking.

      We talked about the process of attaching the Semihandmade cover panels in this post. It’s the same process as installing Ikea drawer fronts or cover panels, but the main difference is you can customize the size and color–both of which came in hand with this project.

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We believe we should all love where we live.

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