home office progress

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Office, Room Makeovers46 Comments

I’m so excited to share the progress we’ve made in the home office!  Initially, this room wasn’t going to get attention for a while. but when we talked about putting hardwoods in the dining room, we decided to have them done in the office at the same time.  Both rooms are right off the foyer (one to the right and one to the left), so it’s nice to have the consistency in the flooring and both carpets were tired-looking from being off the foyer.  I suppose people walked in there with boots/shoes still on?

As an aside, we’ve always been a come-as-you-are home.  No reason to leave your shoes at the door.  In Minnesota, though, everyone takes their shoes off and we’ve learned that’s for good reason.  Your shoes get so dirty from the slush, salt, sand, ice-melt, etc. and it really will destroy your carpeting.  So, we’re getting used to it!

Anyway, here is how the home office looked before…

I don’t have a broad shot of the room, unfortunately.

And here is how it looks now…

It clearly isn’t finished, yet!  It needs a rug and curtains, etc., but the bones are in place and it looks so much more like “me”.  I want to say “it looks so much better”, but I’m really trying to be careful with that.  It’s not about better or worse, but about personal taste.  The dark beige walls and beige carpet were perfectly fine, but just not to my taste.

With the floors finished and all of the furniture out of the room, I felt like that was the best time to paint the walls.  I didn’t know what color I wanted and I had committed to a no/low-spend February, so I decided to use what I had on hand.  I had bought two gallons of Stonington Gray by Benjamin Moore mixed at 50% to use in the hall and foyer a few weeks ago.  I figured that color would be as good as any!

The color looks so much fresher to me!

Have you noticed, though, that every time you improve one thing in your home, it makes the things around it look worse?!  With the new floors and wall paint, the cream/beige trim was sticking out like a sore thumb.

So, I painted that, too.  Well, most of it.  I still need to do the door frame and the small window, but I focused on painting the trim that would be covered by furniture.

I also didn’t paint the frames of the windows, because I need to wait until it’s warmer and I can open them to access all of it.  That’ll be a spring/summer project.

So, the craigslist cabinet (the thing that turned by no-spend February into low-spend) will be painted Farmhouse White on the interior and I’ll put the shelves in.  I also purchased a couple of antique latches for the doors.  The hardware that’s on it right now isn’t original and I think the latches will look more authentic.

I moved the desk in front of the window, mostly because of the light!  When I’m on my weekly Skype call with my team, I’m was always back-lit.  Now, I’ll get in lovely light from the window.  It’s also nice to be able to look outside, even if it’s just at our street.   I will make a cover for the chair cushion once I get the rug and curtains figured out.

In the corner next to the desk, I hung a magnetic inspiration board.  I looked into all sorts of options when we first moved here, but they were surprisingly expensive (for large ones).  I found this one on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $80 (last month), so I snapped it up.  I now need to spend time clipping images to post up there!

While that table is a cool piece, it will eventually be replaced with a filing cabinet.  I just haven’t found one I really like that is in a price range I’m willing to pay.  I’m hoping to find a wooden one on craigslist or at a thrift store that I can paint and add some antique-style hardware to.

On the wall opposite the desk lives the antique step-back cabinet.  I didn’t know if that would work in this room, but it works so much better against the new paint color and the wood floors.

In the corner, I have the checked chair (I need to fix the bottom of that chair when I get the upholstery gun out)…

…and I hung the rabbit print again and added a grain sack pillow.

On the inspiration board, I pinned up the fabric swatches from my collection

…and my name spelled out in German flash cards I bought off a friend.

Around the board, I hung some of my paintings, a felt letter board, a print of the “mustard seed verse”…

Here are some closeups of the desk…

The lamp is from Arhaus and most everything else is antique or vintage…

The step-back hutch holds my magazine collection, camera lenses, and a few other things.  The “mossy plant” is a fake from Hobby Lobby!

Now, I’m on the hunt for the right fabric and rug for the space…

home office progress

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46 Comments on “home office progress”

  1. I love it! It has been fun to watch you transform your home into “your” space. As you consider fabrics for the curtains and seat cover, I wonder if you could use fabric from your line? I see that the pattern is small, but maybe the blues from rows 3 and 4 would work on the cushion. It would be neat to see your fabric in use!

    1. I would love to use some of my own fabrics, but they are quilting-weight and the scale is too small!

      1. Marian, you can always use an iron-on interfacing on the back of quilting-weight cotton to make it more substantial and compatible as an upholstery fabric. I think the blue floral/leaf print that’s shown in the fourth row of your fabric would be lovely to use for your chair. I’d heard that the company that owns Free Spirit Fabrics, which if I’m not mistaken is who prints your line (?) is exiting the fabric business and shutting down FSF and Westminster Lifestyle fabrics both. Will this affect you? If so, if I were you I’d snap up as much of your fabric as you can before they cease operating as of May 1 this year!

  2. This is such a great space. I’m in the process of reinventing my sewing studio space /office to accommodate a day bed for extra sleeping space. I really like what you have done . I also think it might be a great idea to use some of “your” fabric line in this space 😊

  3. I agree, you should add your fabric to the office. Especially one featuring the birds as you have the lovely bird clip used for your mail!

  4. It looks fabulous! I love the desk in front of the window, and the new cabinet is so pretty. Can’t wait to see it all finished when you get your rug and curtains in place.

  5. Your home looks so calm. I love the light and how you capitalize on it. You are giving me inspiration for our home; I just wish I was as talented as you!

  6. Beautiful, as always! It’s such fun and so inspiring to see the progress you are making in your new house! Odd question… the table with your printer on top has a hole, why? We have an identical shape and size table with an identical hole that has been patched. Ours then has drawers on the opposite side and we’ve certainly wondered about it. Can’t wait to see what fabrics you look at!

    1. Re the hole, it appears to me like it was once a drop-leaf table and that’s where the arm to support the leaf when extended, would rest when not in use.

      1. Hmmm… Thanks for that insight that just had me crawling around on the floors peeking under tables. Our beloved dining room table is a drop leaf and why that never occurred to me… maybe the drawers on the other. It’s great to learn new things every day!

    1. Ha! I saw that when I was editing the pictures. Well, that’s life. Boys leaving their toys all over the house!

  7. That Arhaus lamp is fabulous. Can I just say how much I appreciate seeing the “in betweens” instead of a grand reveal of the redone spaces. Decorating (or redecorating) is a process and it is so refreshing to see the various stages we all go through to get to the end result.

    1. Yes, it’s a long process and I’m glad you like the “in between”, because that’s all I’ll have to offer for a while!

  8. I had the same thoughts as some of your other readers……maybe include something using your fabrics….pillows, cushions…..I’m looking forward to adding your prints to my guest bedroom which is next on my projects list after the main bathroom. Thanks for sharing the “inbetweens” not just the finished rooms. As always, you are inspiring!!! Blessings!

  9. The quilter in me wants you to make a quilt out of your fabrics with the intention of cutting it up for your seat cushion — think how much you enjoy your quilted tree footstool! I’m even envisioning a bird of some sort made of half-square triangles – let me know if you want me to create a design for you (it’s the least I can do for all the joy you’ve brought me over the years).

    Speaking of birds, I love that third-hand bird clip you have! Is it vintage or a reproduction bought recently (and if so, where can I get one!)

    1. Unfortunately, quilting is not something I can do! I have tried and they turn out all bubbled and misshapen. My lack of precision shows in a quilt!

  10. Maybe I missed it…what happened to the new (the white one) desk chair that you had in there? And I have to agree, love seeing the getting to where you want it process. Looking good every step of the way!

    1. The white desk chair was on wheels and it would damage the floors, so I moved it up to Marshall’s room and I’m using the French chair. It’s more comfortable, anyway! I put felt pads on the bottom to protect the floors until I put down a rug.

  11. Do you know if your gorgeous new fabric is still going to be available to us after the terrible news from FreeSpirit, Marian? I’m crossing my fingers that another fabric company snaps you up and that all those talented ‘behind the scenes’ FreeSpirit employees find new positions soon.

    1. I really don’t know, yet! I’m waiting to hear from my contact there, but it’s so sad! I had a second collection in the works and that one won’t be made. 🙁

  12. Love your office decor.
    Question for you. Did you paint the base part of your desk and if so what did you use?
    I have an old desk similar to it


  13. Your office looks great, as does the rest of the house. I just wanted to post and let you know I used milk paint for the first time this weekend. Just a small project, a picture frame my son had given me that was really cute but was red-not my color. I spray painted it a brown and then used a crayon as a resist. Then I used the sample of MMSMP in Lucketts Green that I ordered over a year ago. Love, love love it! My first thought was “why have I not used this before?” Now I’m planning on ordering the Farmhouse White to repaint an antique bench I use as a coffee table.
    Thanks for the great product and all the inspiration.

  14. I just love the way you share. I rarely comment, but everything you do is magic. You are definitely a favorite blogger/person. Not only does your personal style speak to me, (and helped me hone in on my own and get in touch with more of what it is I love) but more importantly, who you are as a person. And that is why I am leaving a comment today. The office does look lovely, but it’s not your flashiest reveal/post ever. It does not disappoint, it definitely is lovely, and my eyes landed on so much wonderful. But I am so moved by who you are.
    “It’s not about better or worse, but about personal taste.”
    I have deep respect for you for stating this, and being so kind. Sometimes the blog world can feel unkind, and though often it’s unintentional, it’s still there. It sometimes feels like (when I read what not to do) the way I love fair isle because it makes me think of cozy snow trips and days gone by and I collect fair isle sweaters and throws because they evoke a strong feeling for me, and people wear them to ugly sweater parties.
    The day you stop blogging I will feel like I have lost a friend. A soul sister of sorts, who though I am a perfect stranger to, I get to walk with you on the nesting road with and it brings me so much joy.
    Thank you!

  15. The wooden floors are beautiful and your office is coming together nicely. I think a few more of your own beautiful artwork should be framed and hung in this room too.

  16. Hi Marian, I love watching you transform you new home! I have a question about the hemp oil. Is there a problem with fumes or odor if you use it indoors? I absolutely love how it improved the antique cabinet in your office.

  17. I have an olive bucket that I use as a trash can, too. What did you put on the bottom of it to protect your wood floors?

  18. MMS,
    Your office is stunning in it’s slow evolution. You inspire patience as I await a dining room transformation.

    I live in the PNW where it is often gray. Does the Stonington Gray lean toward dusty blue? And, what white did you choose for the trim?

    Lastly, I’m so sorry about your experience with Free Spirit while trusting something “good” will come from this disappointment.

    With great and growing love, Diney

  19. I am so sad to hear that your beautiful fabrics are not available. I recently took up quilting and was looking forward to using your designs in my projects. Let’s hope another company contacts you.

    Those wood floors are just gorgeous. My husband is in the process of installing wood floors in my kitchen (replacing 1970’s style kitchen carpet). I am already doing the dance of joy.

  20. What happened to the buffet from the first picture? That was a neat piece and had storage too!

    I was sorry to read that the company that made your fabrics is going to discontinue their fabric lines. Your fabrics are wonderful! I was hoping to use some of them to do some projects. Will they be available until the stock is gone?

  21. Just lovely. Can you supply the source for the inspriation board? It looks like a driftwood frame? Thanks!

  22. Wonderful blog, Marian! I’ve been quite ill for some time now and I took some time off from reading blogs I enjoyed (like yours!🙁) but I am so much better so I’m ready to get back in the fold!

    I am terribly impressed with your enthusiasm and your decorating ability! It must be fun to be you! The white checkered chair in the corner with the precious rabbit picture makes such a delightful setting! Love them both! Oh, and the Arhaus desk lamp is fabulous and takes me back to very happy days! I helped open the Louisville, KY Arnaus store and worked there for some time! Their products are all just brilliant!

    Since I subscribed, I’ll soon be back for more! Thanks for such a fun time! Lucy

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