February 23, 2010

home office mini-makeover, part one (and an update)

Last month I mentioned that I bought myself a purrrty new desk chair and I promised a peek into my home office mini-makeover.

What I haven't mentioned is that I was intent on creating a cozy home workspace because starting February 1, I became self-employed! Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have caught wind of this, and I haven't made a big announcement yet here on Claremont Road because I'm still sort of getting settled into my new role. I have some cool projects up my sleeve that I'll be sure to fill you in on in due time, but for now, I thought I'd let you in on the office mini-makeover.

Our apartment is set up with this weird little half-room in between our living room and kitchen. It houses our washer-dryer unit (which I have hidden behind a curtain), and it could serve as a small dining room if we wanted, but that idea never really appealed to us. We have a bistro table in a corner of our living room where we eat dinner together, and that's plenty for us. At one point, I had a small sofa in the half-room, making it a little reading nook, but I think I sat there maybe once. For the last several years the half-room has housed this great desk that my sister-in-law gave me when she no longer needed it, but it has always turned into the place where we piled all of the junk that had no home. I never sat down at the desk to work on my laptop — I always ended up working on the couch, and the desk remained the catchall for crap.

Obligatory before shots:

Ugly flowery pattern curtain and desk (I cleaned it off for this photo, mwaa haa haaaa), as seen through the French doors separating this room and the living room

Curtain opened to reveal washer/dryer on the right and a baker's rack piled high with stuff on the left... this space is a godsend since we only have two tiny bedroom closets, a small kitchen and very little storage space elsewhere

With my new role as self-employed designer extraordinaire, I knew that I needed a cozy workspace that was just mine — something that would help me to stay organized and productive. Part one of this was removing the so-not-my-taste-anymore (and not wide enough) curtains that my mom quickly fashioned for me out of cheapo clearance fabric when I first moved in here 5.5 years ago. I was 24 and cheap, and thought it would do the trick. The sagging curtain rod was so pathetic, but I just never wanted to put money into changing it.

I finally had enough last month and Nick and I headed to Ikea, where we purchased the following:

two pairs of Lenda curtains, light beige, 98" long - $14.99 per pair
Dignitet curtain wire - $14.99
three packs of Dignitet curtain rings with clips - $4.99 per pack
a box of Fixa screws/plugs - $3.99
Grand total: $63.93

Nick got to work as soon as we got home (he's a saint) so I could breathe a little easier. The final result with the new curtain:

Ahhhh... much better, no?

Stay tuned for part two to see the full makeover, complete with my new chair and an organized workspace!


  1. Looks great! I love IKEA!

    Side note: Is that a sad, abandoned, lonely KA mixer box I see? Please tell me that box is empty and the mixer is used frequently. Hehe...KA abuse! :)

  2. Haha, no worries -- we use our KitchenAid mixer plenty! We just don't have a big enough space (or enough counter space) in our actual kitchen to store it, so when we're not using it, back into the box and behind the curtain it goes. We're klassy like that.

  3. Brooke - i have to ask. In the before shots, is it the angle (or sagging), or is that really and truly a CURVED tension rod hiding your storage/laundry stuff? I ask because I don't/didn't think such a thing existed. Such would be perfect for our tiled bathroom since we don't want to drill in to the tile, but a tension rod would be nice for space. Anyway.. lmk please!

  4. Looks Cool, wish my office was that nice :) IKEA rocks!

  5. @Pink Heli - that tension rod was originally straight, but looked all droopy due to the wide space in which it hung. I don't even know where that rod really came from -- my mom gave it to me when I moved into our place, so she must have had it lying around from something else. If the space in your bathroom from which you'd like to hang a rod isn't quite as wide, it might do the trick without sagging, though!

  6. Is that Scotch or Bourbon in the glass on the desk in the after shot?

  7. @Anonymous - ha, I was wondering if anyone would catch that! That is Scotch on the rocks, also known as Nick's reward for a job well done :)

  8. I love it! And congrats on embarking into the world of self-employment. Can't wait to see and hear more! :)

  9. Yes! I had to laugh when I saw the shelves stacked with stuff. We currently have the EXACT same set up in our garage, and I think we need to purchase a second shelf.

    Also, really looking forward to your home office reveal. We're setting up one in our guest bedroom, and I need inspiration!

  10. It looks fantastic. Can't wait to see more!!

  11. Lovely! And major, major kudos to you for venturing out into self-employment--my dad did the same thing fifteen years ago, and he also spent time making the basement his new "office space"--and I can say it's so important to have a room that you feel completely comfortable in to get your work done well. It takes a lot of courage to do this, and I wish you well on your new business! Do you have a professional site yet for your company?

    I love the new curtain--so simple, and a perfect backdrop to all of the modifications you've done and are likely planning for--can't wait to see the final results.


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