megan’s office | part 1 | the before

by | Jul 27, 2015 | All Things Home, Decorating, Room Makeovers | 61 comments

My brother called the other day and asked how I was doing after “the post.”  I knew exactly which post he was referring to and you probably do, too.  “I’m really fine!  99% of the comments were constructive and they helped me think through what’s next.”

My brother pointed out that it’s time for the next.  “You have been telling a story, as you’ve been working on your home over the years.  Now that your home is pretty much done, that story is coming to an end.  It’s time for a new story, now.”  It was one of those times when someone says something simple, matter-of-fact, but profound.

I love the way he phrased that.  It’s not that I’ll never talk about my house again.  There are still finishing touches and you know I can’t help but rearrange some furniture!  But it’s time for some new stories.

I felt a bubble of excitement at all of the new stories I could tell.  And we’re starting one of those new stories today…a story about Megan and her office/studio.

You may remember Megan.  She attended my BYOF (bring your own furniture) milk paint workshop and then came to the studio several times to help us out as we were preparing for Lucketts.  (This is one of the pieces she and my mom worked on…)

We ate our packed lunches, listened to “whiney girl music”, as my dad calls it, crawled around on the floor in paint splattered sweats and did a lot of chatting.  Chatting about business, blogs and family.  When I mentioned that I was considering working with design clients, she volunteered to be my guinea pig.

A few weeks ago, I was ready to start looking at some spaces, I asked Megan to send some pictures of her house, specifically the room she would like us to work on.  Megan sent us pictures of her master bedroom.  As Kriste and I reviewed the photos, we talked about some things we could do, but the room looks really nice as it is.  We decided to check things out in person to get a feel for Megan’s style, what she has to work with and what she hopes for the space.

Last week, Kriste and I paid a visit to Megan’s house.  She gave us a tour through each room, starting with the living room, her favorite.  As we got to the end of the first story, Megan sheepishly motioned to a pair of French doors that were closed, a curtain drawn behind the door.  “Showing you this room is like that nightmare when you show up to middle school in your underwear.”

It was her office/studio and creative space.  The space is small, but a workhorse.  I made a mental note of what an improvement we could make in that space and we continued to tour the house.  Once we reviewed all of the spaces that were makeover potentials, my mind kept wandering to the office…a space for Megan to create.  I know, for me, that would be the biggest gift.  When I suggested that to Megan, her eyes lit up and we started talking about how she uses the space, her needs and her wish-list.

Here’s how it looked when we toured the room.  (Keep in mind that the rest of her house was spotless and this was the room everything was tossed into to clean before we arrived!  And, here it is on my blog.  You’re welcome, Megan.)


When I asked Megan what she loves about the space, there was a pause and then an, “Ummmmm….”

So, not much.  She did point out the crown molding.  Okay, that’s something.  Since there isn’t much in the room that she loves, we started with things in other rooms that she loves.  This corner cabinet…

…a set of blue & white dishes…


…some speckled watercolor egg prints…

She also pointed out the contrast of the white cabinets and black appliances in the kitchen, a galvanized light and bead board wainscoting in the bathroom, jute rugs.  She is farmhouse at heart, trying to come out from under heavy traditional furniture that was passed down to her.

We kicked around some ideas, dug through her basement stash (another middle school underwear moment for her), took measurements and gave Megan some homework.

We’re hoping to have the space done in about a month and I’ll share updates, projects and decorating ideas you can use in your space along the way.

Up next in the series – the budget, the plan, our inspiration and a few nutty ideas…

If you want to hear Megan’s side of the story, check it out on her blog, Mercy in the Middle.

For part two of the makeover, how we made her a new office chair out of a couple of broken ones, click HERE.


  1. Barb

    Nice. I’m sure it will be fabulous.

  2. nancy

    Look forward to the before and after on her office space!!!

  3. Judy Pimperl

    Can’t wait to follow along as you tell this “story” and I know Megan is going to be one happy guinea pig!

  4. Karen

    Megan, most of us have a room like that! No worries!! I am excited to see how it turns out.

    • Megan

      Thanks Karen! She warned me, but I’m still trying not to hyperventilate! (That’ll teach me to change my “quick stash” cleaning ways.) 😉 I’m pretty sure the “after” shots will be well worth the embarrassment! Can’t wait!

      • Tammy

        We all have a closet or room (or two) that are the catch all rooms, Megan. It’s good because it’s real life! I can’t wait to see the finished room!

  5. JeanFB

    Oooh, how exciting! I am sooo looking forward to these posts! Love the little peeks of Megan’s favorite things… (and no worries, Megan, I’m sitting in a room that looks just like that one right now! Hoping to gain inspiration from your room transformation!)

  6. vikki

    Thank goodness for brothers. What a great idea. I love it and can’t wait to see the finished project. Maybe then you can travel to Oregon and do my craft room!!

  7. Arlene

    I love this new “story”! It’s creative and suspenseful.

  8. Cathy

    So excited for Megan! And bless her for sharing her version of the room most of us ( I do!) have in our homes. Can’t wait to follow this story.

  9. Lori

    Looking forward to seeing what happens in this space…btw gorgeous arrangement of blue & white dishes in that hutch!

  10. Megan

    Love it!! And the renewed focus is great. 🙂

  11. Laurie

    I am so excited to continue to be inspired by what you do. You are so genuine and giving. Thank you so much for all of your hard work!

  12. Jennie

    I just have to say I’m excited about this new focus! I love design sites like Emily Henderson’s blog, and I know I’m not the only one. Can’t wait to see the result!

  13. Kathleen

    This is very exciting! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

  14. KathieB

    Oh, Megan, your room is actually “tidy” compared to my “office/creative studio”. I believe I am going to really enjoy these new “stories” Marian!

  15. Jennifer Longenecker

    This is going to be great! So excited to see the whole process. I hope I can be patient enough.

  16. Toni

    ooh! this is so exciting!

  17. Teresa

    This is going to be fun. What a wonderful idea! And I love those blue and white dishes… : )


  18. Emily

    Fun! This is a fantastic idea. I can’t wait to read about this.

  19. Anya

    How exciting! I am so looking forward to hearing more about this – its like an extension of your evolution series, in real time. How brave of Megan to live the middle school underwear nightmare to work through the process – we all know it, and she has some really beautiful pieces, so I can’t wait to see how this comes together. It is going to be so good!

  20. antiquechase

    I think you’re on to a great series. I’m already left wanting more 🙂

  21. Jenny B.

    Love it! She’s got a GREAT room to start with…I love the wall color, the crown molding, and the french doors. It just needs some decluttering and decorating, and it will look amazing. 🙂

  22. Debbie Klausing

    This is going to be fun, encouraging, and a learning experience for all. Looking forward to this timely series, as I have put off getting my workroom, also known as my “bead room” organized forever.. Sometimes I think we get stuck and cannot get moving without a prod. It would also be interesting to get a tour of the rest of her house, not just a tease. Thanks for the sharing, Debbie

  23. BrocanteuseRose

    I can’t wait to see the finished space, and Megan, we all have rooms like that! I myself have more than two!!! 🙂

  24. Sherry Mullis

    This is going to be fun. I think it is a wonderful idea for a – somewhat – new and different direction. The possibilities seem endless.

  25. Becky

    Im looking forward to seeing what you come up with for Megan. I hope you give us lots of before and afters photos.

  26. Suzi

    I see the basics of a beautiful room for you to work your magic in. Amazing floor, nice walls, great ceiling with crown molding, awesome natural light and those beautiful French doors. So excited to see this project take place.

  27. phyllis h

    Embarrassed Megan. Lucky Megan. I think I want to be Megan.

    • Megan

      This made me laugh, Phyllis! I am definitely feeling simultaneously embarrassed and lucky! 🙂

  28. Cecilia

    Ooo, what fun! I can’t wait to see the progress on Megan’s office. I know it’s going to look great.

    Got to love sibling honesty! Especially when it gets you going. You are going to be wonderful in this endeavor! Glad we get to come along on the ride.

  29. Kay

    I am really looking forward to what you do with this space. It looks like a wonderful place to create. I hope you have lots more of this type of project. Hey, maybe a contest is in order…. send in your photos and we will shop your attic and basement to transform it to something much more interesting.

  30. Dee

    Your brother’s words are golden. I didn’t comment on your first post and almost didn’t now but here goes. I think his advice if followed will keep MMS current and fresh. There are many bloggers in the same boat….finished re-doing their homes are floundering for ideas for posts….and often it shows, not worth my time to look or listen to whining. And some are just complete marketing for another company…total turn off. I appreciate the few that have moved to fewer but quality posts. It seems you have good business sense and are brave enough to ask and try another direction….MMS will survive where other bloggers will not. Best of Luck with your new ideas and directions.

  31. Sarah

    LOVE the direction you are headed with the blog! Great work! Can’t wait to see how Megan’s creative space turns out…

  32. MaryLisa Noyes

    This is going to be one of my favorite stories and I am looking forward to the step by step process. So often it takes an outside eye to see where the space needs the most help. Just the fact that she had that room closed off was telling as to where the project needed to start. i love the wall color, crown molding and hard wood floor. She has great bones to work with.

  33. Holly Ramsburg

    So exciting!! Need someone like you in my life! ? Can’t wait to see!

  34. Barb Palmer


    So brave to reveal the real “you”. All of us creative people have a room much like that — some way worse. The bones are great. Mine is really in need of a “makeover”..or some would say (especially my daughter Mimi) “Just do it Mom”. It is much harder than some people think. I am so anxious to see the results and get some organizational tips. Keep the story coming. We are with you.

    • teri

      I’m sitting in a room worse than that one! It ebbs and flows – today I’m painting the filing cabinets yellow (we’ve had days of grey skies and rain in the UK) so it’s total chaos. Looking forward to the next pics.

    • Megan

      Thanks Barb! 🙂

  35. kristin

    This will be fun! I noticed the crown molding right away!

  36. Lynne W

    What Anya said! Can hardly wait to go along w/ you and Kriste on this journey!

  37. Rowena Philbeck

    WOW can’t wait to see how it turns out. How cool to see what you all create. Love the room with the cool doors.

  38. Lisa

    When you are ready to come to Texas let me know. I can’t wait to see the reveal and what a lucky girl Megan is.

  39. Amy

    If that’s the messiest space in her house, I’d say she’s in pretty good shape!

  40. Liz Anthony

    I have that same room I am trying to make some sense of so if you ever decide to come to Greenville, SC and want a place to put a touch on just let me know!

  41. Mo

    Now this is going to be fun!!! Can’t wait!

  42. Becky Delson

    Oh boy…that middle school undies feeling…I know it sooo well! That made me laugh! And then I stopped laughing because that space in my house is in the front room, right inside the front door and there’s no way to hide it. 🙁 Can’t wait to see what you and Megan come up with!

  43. Christina

    I love interior design, so I can’t wait to see what you do with this space!

  44. Grisel

    I really like the color of the walls! This space has so much potential! Can totally see that it belongs to a creative person.

  45. Terri

    I’m excited to see this transformation, and more in the future! You’re a lucky woman, Megan!

  46. Naomi S.

    Fun, Fun, FUN!! I loved looking at some of the things Megan loves and ditto all the others who are anxious to see what you do! What a brother! He really nailed it didn’t he?

  47. Sally

    What a lovely room already, such nice ‘bones’ and dimensions, I can’t wait to see the end results:)

  48. Analisa

    Bravo! This is so fun and I loved reading Megan’s side of the story! Can’t wait to see what you all do with the space! I have one very similar but with no doors, yikes! Maybe you could give all of us with a similar room “homework” to do along with you and we can all get our space in shape together!

  49. Sally

    Oh, this will be great–the whole use what you have thing. For those of us on tiny budgets, that is always welcome, and I like this as a possible direction your blog could take.

    Marian, I think what you have experienced is the natural life cycle of any business. There is a period of growth, then a plateau more or less, and often a decline. It’s what you do after the plateau that often makes the difference. How can one tweak the business? What is not working? What can we do to jump start things again? It’s good you have stepped back to take a look!

  50. Audrey

    I can’t wait to see this room unfold. But I do have to say it’s very nice as it is (despite the ‘mess’) and some of us would kill for a room like that!

  51. Dolores

    The ‘after’ will be all the sweeter 🙂 Never mind the ‘before’ ! It will be such a head turner when all is done. I am sure you will love it..

  52. Krista Petersen

    Can’t wait to see more! This is going to be a very exciting series!

  53. B Folk

    Your brother made the comment I was thinking, only much better than I could have. I am so excited about this new phase of “The Miss Mustard Seed Story”. It’s going to be great!

  54. Lauren Baxter

    Looks like a room with lots of potential! I really like that blue (if you decide to keep it) and those French doors steal my heart. Can’t wait to hear and see more 🙂

    Lauren Baxter | LB Designs

  55. Kirstin

    This is what makes me excited and giddy at the same time! Can’t wait to see the next post with your plan (I’m a great dreamer and planner, not so much finisher unfortunately). Megan is a lucky girl!

  56. Cindy

    Can’t wait to see what ya’ll come up with!



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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