hiding ugly office stuff & hanging sconces

by | Feb 28, 2018 | All Things Home, Decorating, decorating dilemmas, My House, Office, Room Makeovers | 38 comments

Before I go into today’s post, I have some exiting news!  Free Spirit Fabrics has been acquired and that means my fabric lines will still be produced!

That means I need to hunker down and start working on colorways for the second collection again.  I’m so excited that Bunnies Birds & Blooms will be available, but I’m even more excited for this second collection to launch.  The wheels are turning again…

Now, onto today’s post…

I’m still chipping away at my office here and there.  I have been looking for baskets for the top of the cabinet to use for storage and to raise the visual height of the piece.  I also wanted to hide the internet modem and Orbi unit.

My no-spend February turned into a low-spend February when I bought the cabinet off of craigslist and since then, I’ve stuck to the spirit of my low-spend challenge.  I haven’t bought things impulsively.  I’ve waited, shopped my house first, thought about it, did some research, and if I still wanted/needed the item, I would either purchase it or add it to a wish list to buy at a later date.  I even went out to antique shops with a friend last week  and all I bought was one antique ironstone pudding mold for $7.00.  They are usually $35+, so it was a bargain I couldn’t turn down.

Anyway, all of this to say, I decided to go ahead and purchase the baskets, so I could move ahead with the office makeover.  I bought four of these seagrass baskets (affiliate link) from Target for $20/each.  They were the perfect size and I liked their texture and color.

(Those sconces were just propped up there, waiting to be hung.)

I used the basket on the far right to hide the internet boxes.  To do this, I simply cut a slit in the back of the basket to feed the cords through…

It took a little bit of awkward maneuvering, but I got all of the cords through and plugged back into their proper place.

The internet modem and Orbi are the only two things in that basket, so they have plenty of airflow.  I’ll just have to remember to run a vacuum up there a few times a year to keep the dust under control.

And yesterday, Jeff hung the sconces for me and I finished painting the interior of the second cabinet interior in MMS Milk Paint Farmhouse White.

I’ll tell you what…those caution-cone-orange-painted shelves ended up being more trouble than they were worth!  I had the gut feeling that I should just buy some new wood and cut them to size to have a fresh start, but I fought these things all the way to the finish.  Trying to strip off the orange paint was a mess.  The primer seemed to work okay, but then it started peeling off and the final coat of milk paint made it start chipping down to the orange paint!

These were just bad news from the get-go and I should’ve known from experience.  Well, they are now painted, but I bet that orange paint will make a reappearance as these shelves get nicked and dinged and I think we’ll end up cutting new shelves.  Fortunately, the interior was stripped, so that painted up beautifully and the shelves are an easy fix if we ever want to tackle them down the road.

Over the baskets, I hung my first two magazine features.  I cut the mats myself and put them in thrifted frames that I finished with imitation gold leafing.  (You can find a mat-cutting tutorial HERE and a gold-leafing tutorial HERE.)  It had been a dream of mine for a long time to be featured in a magazine.  These two came out about the same time and I was so excited that I framed them!

(Yes, mom, I cleaned that glass, but it still looks dirty in the sun!)

The sconces were purchased a few years ago from Pottery Barn, but sadly, they are no longer available.  THESE and THESE are similar and hit the same design notes, though.

Before we hung them, I questioned if sconces made sense there, but I envisioned them there in my head, so I thought I would try it.  Since there isn’t an overhead chandelier in this room (just recessed pot lights), I like the soft lighting it offers at night.  The sconce on the right can also swing around to provide task lighting for the chair.

The office isn’t quite finished, yet, but it’s getting there!  I need to finish painting the window and door trim and find the perfect curtain fabric and a rug!

Oh, by the way, for those waiting for the tutorial on the linen shades, it’s coming!  I just need a full day to do it and I haven’t had that, yet.  I hope to sew them and make the tutorial when I get back form my creative retreat.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Chick Voice

    Oh my! Tell us about that cell phone speaker that looks like a tiny gramaphone!!

    • Marian Parsons

      It’s so awesome! It’s about $15 from Target (I found it in the office section) and it doesn’t plug in, but it does amplify the sound from a smart phone.

  2. Tanya

    Your office is coming along so nicely! I love the baskets you added to the top. And this is one reason why I read your blog. Because I would buy the baskets and feed the cords over the top so that the baskets stay completely intact and never be completely content with the way the cords look. You solve the problem entirely by making the baskets work for you by slicing through the back. Such a simple thing really, but something I’d never consider on my own.

  3. Connie

    Really looks lovely & I especially love the warm golden hits in the sconces & frames. Always loved those sconces in your former guest room and they look perfect over this wonderful new piece in your cozy office! Also, hope your shoulder is continuing to improve!

  4. AndreaJane

    I am so pleased for you regarding your fabric line. It must have been disheartening to put all that hard work and heart into the line and then face not have it released. I can’t wait to get my hands on the bunny print.

  5. Jenn Anderson

    Happy to hear about your fabric! Yeah!! And your office is looking so nice!

  6. Teresa

    So happy to hear the good news about your fabric line. I hope this also means that the employees at Free Spirit will be keeping their jobs when the other company purchases them.

    The cabinet looks great also! It sounds like it was a bear though.

  7. PearlGirlGA1

    I am so thankful to hear the news about Free Spirit and the upcoming release of Bunnies and Blooms collection! Yes yes yes!

  8. Lee Ann

    This is brilliant to have the equipment hidden in the baskets!

  9. Mary in VA

    Woot on the fabric line!!!

  10. Connie J from GA

    The cabinet looks great!! And I am definitely “borrowing” your idea of a basket to hide modem, etc!! We’re in the process of having 4 of them installed to finally get a decent signal throughout the house and I’m dreading to see where they end up. Baskets to the rescue! Thanks for your inspiration, Marian.

  11. MaryLisa Noyes

    I was also going to comment on the. Cell phone station. You answered in the above comment. Office is looking really good!

  12. Cheryl

    Love how your room is starting to pull together. Very beautiful house!

  13. Nancy

    Excited your fabric line will be released! Do you know when it will be in stores/ on line?
    I make bags and totes and would love to make some in your prints !

  14. Lisa

    I love everything about this cabinet, and the basket idea is awesome. So happy your fabrics are going to be produced now. Please let us know when, I’m very interested in getting some of them. Any chance you can give us a sneak peak of the next fabric line?

  15. Elizabeth

    I’ve had to reload your site like 20 times today , so I’m going to be succinct (for me) before it disappears on me again.

    I’m so happy that your fabric-design gig rose from the ashes. Now all of your hard work will be rewarded, in the release of your first collection and in the knowledge you gained by doing it.

    The cabinet in your office is so pretty. It’s like its own little room, with furnishings, decor and lighting. Beautifully done.. The thrifted frames turned out nicely with the addition of gold leafing. Love the sconces. Like others who’ve commented on it, I think your idea of curing a slot in a basket and feeding the cords of your hardware through it is so creative. Thanks for the idea, and the permission, to do the same at my place in future.

  16. Kim P.

    Very cool to make a slit in the basket, and if ever used in another location, a slit wouldn’t be noticeable at all ! Genius

  17. PJ

    Where will we be able to find your fabric? I have my heart set on using some in a quilt.

  18. Diane

    So glad it worked out. I had a feeling it would.

  19. Mary

    Looks beautiful! Did you ever tell us the color you used on the walls? Perfect!

  20. Carole Prisk

    It is looking very nice. You are accomplishing so much in a short time!

  21. Kimberly

    Marian, such a huge relief in regard to your fabric line! So happy Free Spirit has been purchased and that production will go forward. I just love the whimsy of your first collection. Surely the company that bought them realized the talent behind all those fabric ranges, they are some very well-known designers represented by the company. Cannot wait to see what you come up with design-wise for your second collection!

  22. Naomi S.

    So great that your fabric designs will be manufactured. They are so cute and appealing.nN

  23. Mary S

    Glad about your fabric line!! Office is looking good!

  24. Deborah Nisson

    Perhaps you could wrap the orange shelves in fabric that will coordinate with the curtains and other things.

  25. Chris Salek

    Glad about your fabric line !! I have a question about your heater on your porch. I want to put one in our camp, have you found it heated your three season room this winter ? We would not be there in the winter, but early spring into late fall.

  26. liz

    “runs to Target to steal, er, use the idea of hiding wires in baskets”

  27. Pamela

    Marion I recently found an old magazine with an article featuring your former office space that I don’t see displayed in your new office. It was in Flea Market Style Winter 2012 (I think. the year has been rubbed off) It is a 6 page spread with a dozen photos about your office called All Grown Up. Maybe it’s the same one you have displayed with a different cover but if you’d like to have it I can mail it to you.

  28. Lindsey

    I love how you’ve organized everything. It looks so good now.

  29. Brandy

    I love the basket for the modem. My husband keeps the modem and router on his desk and unfortunately I don’t think a basket is his style, but I would LOVE to hide them!

    What a very organized piece; it’s very inspiring. I am currently going through my house and purging items for a garage sale in a couple of weeks (garage sale season is March-April here and again in October). Seeing an organized space is very inspiring. As I put things in the garage sale pile, the other places in my house are becoming more and more organized, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

  30. Cindy A Redman

    Your fabric is delightful! So in love with the little birds . Very curious about what an Orbi is!? going to google it now…


  31. Heidi Dallas

    Looks great! I really like the baskets!
    Heidi from Ohio

  32. WW

    are those blueberry sconces?

    • WW

      Ziva wanted me to ask.

  33. Mary Kaiser

    I have a question for you about some of your old furniture you find. Did you ever get a piece that you did not want to paint and it has a terrible musty smell? How do I get rid of that? I appreciate any help you can give me on the subject.

    • Maru

      Funny I was going to ask about the problem of a musty smelling piece of furniture also! Will paint take care of that?

  34. SuZeQ

    So beautiful and well organized. I love that you hid the wires. They are so annoying just hanging – I agree with you.

    May I make a suggestion? I’m not sure if the purse hanging off the door knob is for picture purpose only or if that’s where it lives? My recollection is that this room has windows – lots of them and I just hope nobody looks in them and sees the bag. If it’s not even a purse – but just a bag, the *bad guy* doesn’t know that. If I were you, I’d hide it.

    Sorry for the downer …

  35. Jessica | Petal + Ply

    So happy for you that your fabric is still going to production!!! That would have been such a bummer if all your hard work was stalled. The baskets are a great way to hide those unsightly office bits. Your office is looking great!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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