megan’s office makeover | part 3 | the plan

by | Aug 11, 2015 | All Things Home, Before and Afters, Decorating, Furniture Makeovers, Room Makeovers | 35 comments

After a few weeks of marinating on things, sourcing, kicking around ideas, I have come up with a plan for Megan’s office makeover.  If you missed the first two posts in this series, you can check them out here…

part 1 | the before

part 2 | the “franken-chair”

And now, I’m finally sharing the plan, letting you know the direction we’re heading.

Megan's office plan

Here’s what the office space looked like the day I made my house call.  Please remember that Megan had the door closed and curtains drawn on this room, which was used to dump things in when she cleaned the house for my visit, and I stuck my nose in and then took pictures of it and then posted them on my blog.  (Good friend that I am.)


So, Megan is not really in love with anything in this space, but it does have great bones…windows that let in pretty light, the wood floors and the crown molding.  She also has a nice Pottery Barn desk that we’re going to showcase.

Here’s what I’m envisioning for the space from that same view…



The view is from the french doors, so I want the focal wall to be straight ahead.  That back wall is going to be painted entirely in black chalkboard paint, which will draw the eye right to it and give Megan, who has a background in fine art, a fun place to doodle.

I’d like to do some chalk art, similar to this…

Karson Butler Open House, December 12, 2012

via Karson Butler Events

…but I also love the idea of drawing a “wallpaper pattern” or changing it out for the seasons.  A galvanized idea board in an old frame will be centered over the desk.


I’m going to look for an interesting light fixture to center over the desk.  I’m hoping to find something really cool we can repurpose…something with a farm house feel, which is what Megan loves.  We’ll swag the cord and plug it into an outlet that is connected to the switch.  It’ll provide task lighting for the desk and will be another element that draws the eye to our focal wall.

The sketched desk chair is the “franken-chair” that we made out of two broken desk chairs.  I’m working on a slipcover for it right now out of the cream curtains that were hanging in the room the day we crashed her space.


I’m hoping to find a cute cart on wheels for the left of the desk…a place to possibly hold the printer, paper, pens, etc.

I’m also going to make a slipcover for the piano bench and skirt the sides of the piano, just to soften the look of a big, black electronic piece hanging out in the space.


For the wall adjacent to our focal wall, I’m hunting for a cabinet/wardrobe that will provide tons of storage for books, papers, office supplies, etc.  Megan’s a lot like me.  She needs organization to be easy and behind closed doors, so this will address that.  I’m going to top it with a large antique laundry basket as another place to store things.


We’re going to leave some space to the left of the cabinet, so Megan can tuck her microphone back there as well as things she wants to throw out of sight quickly.  The cabinet/wardrobe will hide it, at least from the foyer.

To the right of the cabinet will be a small armchair we took from Megan’s basement…


She painted the cushion and then abandoned the project and left it in her basement stash.  I actually like the vintage feel of the fabric, but it’s a little busy.  I’m making a slipcover for the chair, also out of her cream drapes, but leave the fabric on the pillow for a pop of some color and to lend an eclectic vibe to the space.  A gallery wall, reading lamp and footstool will round out the little reading corner.

Since I’ve hacked apart her cream drapes, I am going to make her some new ones.  I purchased some green & cream buffalo check off eBay for just that project…


It goes nicely with the chair pillow, but it also ties into the sage green in her living room, which is opposite the office from the foyer.

thyme buffalo check

Megan likes the wall color in my home office, Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore, so I suggested using the same color in her office.


Guess what?  She has a gallon already in the garage, so we just have to buy the chalkboard paint.gray owl

The thing I like about the buffalo check is that it’s a bridge between the traditional style in Megan’s home and the farmhouse style she is moving towards.  We can make this room a departure from the style in the rest of the house without it looking too jarring.

Kriste and I are working on the slipcovers and some shopping and then we plan on going back to Megan’s house to help her with painting the space and moving the furniture.  We’ll also pick up a few more pieces to work on…some frames, the piano bench and anything else we might be able to repurpose in the space.

Her budget is $1000, which is plenty for the amount of repurposing and thrifting we’re doing.

Megan texted me this picture after we had our initial meeting and I had to stop everything I was doing, because I was laughing so hard.


I assured her she’s in good hands and her budget is ample to get a beautiful room.

As far as my part in all of this…

I’ve been thinking about taking on design clients for a while.  I put together a rate sheet and plan for working with clients, but then I reassessed.  As un-business-like as it sounds, I hated the idea of someone spending their decorating budget on me when they could be putting it into their room.  I also realized that the main reason I wanted to work with design clients is so I can have fresh spaces to work on…as a challenge to me as a designer and to share here on the blog.

So, I’m working on these room makeovers as a gift to the homeowners.  They provide the budget for the room, but I’m doing all of the slipcovering, painting, repurposing, etc. for free.  And I am really enjoying that aspect of it.  It makes it exciting and fun for me, instead of stressful.

I can’t take on a lot of these makeovers, but if you are local to me and would be interested in me working on your space, feel free to send an e-mail to

See how the wall color & design elements are coming together in part four


  1. Sweet

    “So, I’m working on these room makeovers as a gift to the homeowners. They provide the budget for the room, but I’m doing all of the slipcovering, painting, repurposing, etc. for free. ”

    Sounds like the perfect pitch for an HGTV show!

    • marian

      Hmmmm… I think I enjoy doing these on my own terms. 🙂 I’m not sure a real show would be my cup of tea, but we’ll definitely make little YouTube episodes for these makeovers. That’s more my speed, I think.

    • Cindy in Oklahoma

      You took the words right out of my mouth…. would love to see a new designer show on HGTV, and your style would be a nice addition to the HGTV lineup, Marian. … or maybe a bloggers design show with a few of our most favorite bloggers contributing. I would watch that in a heartbeat.

  2. Kate

    For storage next to the desk you might want to look for an old record cabinet. I have one next to my desk and it’s great. I have my printer on top and store paper and other office supplies behind the doors underneath. If the configuration behind the doors does not meet your needs, it is easy to redo. I also gutted an old radio cabinet, added shelves and use it to store sheet music and music books. Since it has doors, I can ignore the mess when it gets a little disorganized. Doorx on storage are great. And I like how both of these pieces have adequate storage, but look like vintage furniture.

  3. Dorene @ Seasonal Chapters

    I love all the ideas you have for the space and can’t wait to see it come together! You have a true talent for what you do, and are a great inspiration to others. Your love of design as well as your desire to help and teach others is apparent in the way you are offering your services as a gift. Your kind spirit and generous nature continue to shine through in all of your work, and you are so deserving of all of the business success you have achieved over the years!

    • sharon

      I agree! on everything you just mentioned!

  4. karen l

    Love the ideas – can’t wait for the progress updates. I have another idea for you – for readers that are not local, have them submit photos of a room and you choose one a month (or a quarter!) and provide an e-design or inspiration board, then feature how a real person did it themselves. I followed one of your videos for slipcovering and my project turned out great. Would love some pointers for direction in my master bedroom!

    • Susan M

      What a fantastic idea, Karen! How about it, Marian?

      • marian

        I may give that a try, but I feel like I work best when I can see the physical space, how it relates to the rest of the house, what the homeowner has to work with, etc. I don’t think I could put together a really great plan for them without seeing that…

        There are bloggers who do that really well. Layla’s “pick my presto” comes to mind.

  5. Janae

    You are so generous!!! Wish we lived closer to you so you could help our living room- a hodgepodge of free furniture and nearly free/garage sale/diy decor. One of the mix is a wingback chair that reclines. Do you know- Is there any way to slipcover something like that??

  6. Quandie

    I think it is incredibly awesome that you are going to do this! It’s like pro bono decorating. I love that you are sharing your skills with people in this way. I wish I lived closer, but alas Minnesota is probably out of your range 😉 Looking forward to seeing the end result for Megan’s room.

  7. Tanya

    I can’t wait to see what you do with the piano! I have an electric one too, and I haven’t been able to find a way to soften it other than paint. I’m far from local, but if you ever feel like visiting Maine again, I’m redoing a lot of our spaces as we remodel and add on and would love some input. 🙂

  8. Elizabeth

    Wonderful idea! Sounds like a win-win for everyone.
    Thank you for sharing your talents!

  9. Nancy @ Slightly Coastal

    Marian, I so wish I could pick up my house and move it so I could be a client of yours! I love your creative ideas. I too make little sketches of the direction I am going but don’t share them because they don’t look like a professional artist did them. I’m going to start sharing mine because looking at yours makes the project seem more personal. It is going to be a beautiful room.

    • marian

      LOL…yeah, mine aren’t professional, either, but I work better with sketches than photoshop, so that’s the best way I can download my brain for someone to understand what I’m envisioning. 🙂

  10. Alex

    I almost spit out my coffee from laughing at the photo that Megan sent to you. That’s hilarious! Apart from that, wow I love all the design choices so far. I really love the vintage feel to the chair she had and I think it’ll look great with just a hint of the pattern left on the pillow. And the buffalo check curtains are perfect for a hint of farmhouse. Can’t wait to see the room finished!

  11. Wendy

    Love this and can’t wait to see the progress and final reveal. How I wish I could be your neighbor! Move to California? 🙂

  12. Delilah Gillio

    I feel that you, your hubby and the boys need a mini vacay in California!!!
    We have a great big loft with a bed and lots of space you can stay in! 🙂
    I have so many rooms I would LOVE for you to get your hands on in my home!!!


  13. Lauren Baxter

    I am so excited to see more!! By the sounds of it, it’ going to look amazing! I love how much your repurposing and making due with what she has, that is a great concept to run with.

    I also love your concept on doing this as a gift and a favor to home owners. That is really special and makes it feel even more like there’s. Such a special things you are doing.

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

  14. Sarah Phillipps

    You are so generous! What a blessing for Megan. She will never forget this!:)

  15. Tina

    How about a nice fall vacation in Michigan? 🙂

  16. Melanie

    You have such a gift! It is awesome to see you use it to help others make their homes beautiful! If you are interested in a project in Nashville, I have a room trying to serve different purposes, with mismatched pieces. I’m overwhelmed at the thought of slip covering or reupholstering!

  17. MaryLisa Noyes

    I envy the lucky folks that live close to you and can take on this oppurtunity you are offering them. I always enjoyed Candice Olsen’s show on HGTV because she drew up the spaces as you did here and then the room transformed to what the drawing showed. A great design is the key to any room and your experience and know how will be incredible. I’m looking forward to the finished office reveal.

  18. Roseann D'Elia


    You are One Amazing Lady!!!!!!!!! May God Bless you and the family.

  19. Lorna

    Oh Marion, you are a top notch designer. In the early 1900’s Elsie de Wolfe carved a way for designers by charging for her ” well deserved” services. I had to ask myself: Is she really making that much money just doing a blog that she can design, sew, paint, etc. and give away her services? for free? You already have a following. I can understand a designer just starting out, wanting some photos for her book, so that she can get started. You have a distinct style that many people love and resonate with. You already have established that you know how to design on a budget, and you are saving Megan a ton of money by sharing your ideas. A designer would pay a workroom to make the slipcover, or do upholstry, and mark it up, so that she can make some money for those great ideas, and for her talent in choosing the fabrics, rendering the room, and spending your time away from your family to help them achieve a beautiful room of their dreams. Sure, there a some companies that offer the Free design services, ie. Casual Corner, or Lazboy ( who by the way qualify the customer/client that they are willing to spend at least $4,000. for the room before going out to the home to do a measure). They also make commission on the items that are sold at probably a 75% markup. You have a heart of Gold! But I hate to see you giving yourself away. Maybe Megan is your friend, and I completely understand that. But there are many people out there, who can get your ideas from your blog, and run with it. I have watched your video on how to make a slipcover and have covered a couple of chairs. I have admired your photography and wondered if I could do as beautiful capturing of moments as you. You inspired me, and I am sure, Many others. Maybe this is the new trend in design: Bloggers do it for free. And somehow they make money on the back end. Maybe it’s time I started a blog. Marion, I am watching, I am learning, the world is changing, God Bless.

    • marian

      Thanks, Lorna. What a thoughtful comment. I think for me, it’s much more enjoyable to do it for free at this point. Maybe I’ll start charging down the road, but if I would charge someone for my time and the services, I’m afraid it wouldn’t be accessible to a lot of people who are my readers. I also love the idea of working with them, to stretch their resources, give them homework, etc. I think the dynamic would be totally different if I was being paid.

      So, we’ll see how it goes, but it’s been a really fun project so far!

      • Lorna

        Thank you for your reply. I understand where you are coming from, and respect that. P.S. I love your choice of colors. By bringing the Grey owl to the walls, it provides a great backdrop to the colors in the fabrics that you’ve chosen. And you are stepping out of the box, to work with your customer’s taste! Kudos!

  20. Karen

    Maybe if you’re really loving the the design phase you could do consults for people and the could do the actual work themselves or hire it out. You could charge a consult fee and wouldn’t have to limit yourself geographically! I would so hire you decorate/redesign my little old farmhouse!

  21. Katy

    I am so excited to see all the rooms you come up with, and I think this is a great change for your blog!!!! It is also exceptionally generous of you to offer your services for free. I know of bloggers that were charging an arm and a leg for mood boards. Seriously, it is really touching!!
    I think a lot of us readers sort of “grew up” our homes with you and your blog, it has been a nice journey. I have read your blog almost from the beginning, and I don’t regret a moment I spent here!

  22. Jenn

    Marion it is fun too watch you work in someone else’s space and incorporate their style into your redesign. Also I rarely comment on blogs but just have to say I am amazed how thoughtfully you absorbed the readers’ feedback and how quickly you were able to make significant changes to the blog. I always enjoyed MMS but am enjoying it even more. I have heard a high level of adaptability is a sign of genius. Kudos!

  23. Marion in DC

    You are very gracious. Terrific job.

  24. Anne

    I like all of your ideas Marian but I’m having a problem with the green/cream buffalo check and the multi floral with the cream background against the gray walls. I think a cream wall would be much more complimentary to the fabrics.

  25. Ruth in NZ

    A trip toNewZealand perhaps…We recently bought an 1899 villa which is just dying for your attention. 🙂

  26. Rhonda

    I can’t wait to see it all come together! So far it sounds amazing. I love the fact that you are doing this free of charge, I’m sure you will be getting tons of emails requesting your help! As far as an HGTV show goes………we so need a new decorating show to watch, I don’t even watch it anymore because they are reruns over and over and over again. Would love to see you do a brand new one:)

  27. Heidi

    Love your plans for the office! I met you at Lucketts this past spring and so enjoyed meeting you and picking your brain on how to get a business started in the decorating world! Can’t wait to see more!


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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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