April 23, 2014

Office Space Needed!

We've been talking about transforming our front room into an office for quite some time now, in fact, we put it in writing as a 2014 goal for the year and we're happy to finally say we're ready to get started!

The above photos capture the "state of our parlor" as it currently looks. To give a little background, the front room of our home has been a bit of a non-functional space where much of the furniture we moved in with but didn't yet have a place for landed. Originally, this parlor would have been used as a more formal sitting room. We do use it to house our Christmas tree over the holidays but other than that, it's really a room that Basil uses to keep an eye on everyone passing by and everything going on out front.

We're eager to transform the space for a couple of reasons. First, we truly need a functional office space, especially since the two of us are now working from home. Secondly, this room is the focal point and first impression we give when entering our home — we'd love for the space to feel more tied together and inviting as that first welcome.

We have made a few updates to this room since first moving in just over 2 years ago. You might remember when we painted the walls a sage blue from the bright red textured finish they had, we've also hung art on the walls and have brought bits and pieces of furniture in to create the feel of a living space — but that's about it.

While thinking about how we want to transform the space, both function and design came into play. We've been pinning ideas and collecting bits and pieces of furniture and decor over the past few months in preparation for the updates — you can find everything that's been percolating in our Home Office Mood Board on Pinterest. Most importantly, we finally figured out what we wanted in terms of a desk. It needed to be large enough to accommodate both of us if we need to work together at the same time, so when we stumbled across this antique door just down the street from us, we knew we could convert it into a desk with a great story, too!

In terms of function, the front room will work great for our needs. It's large enough for this desk that needs to accommodate both our computers and the pocket doors allow the space to feel open, but can work to close off the entire room for a truly secluded workspace.

Up until now, we'd been working from the kitchen island, so we're excited to clear out all the computers and office clutter from that space, making it easier for Tim to use the full kitchen and for us to entertain without a giant computer monitor taking up space:

Our computer taking up space in the kitchen during a Richmond Food Co-op shoot

So, what are we thinking? Here are some of the inspiration images we've been tossing around:

Image sources: reclaimed desk, rubber plant

We want to go for a modern industrial vibe with hints of rustic, reclaimed and green elements throughout. The idea of making our own desk by recycling a door like the image above is right up our alley and we'd love to incorporate some living plants like the rubber plant pictured to help freshen and soften the space.

In terms of orientation and storage, we like the idea of a floating desk, central to the room with lots of extra and open wall storage:

We're still not over the concept of plumbing pipes and reclaimed boards as a way to build furniture, so we'd love to tackle building our own shelving systems for the office in a similar way. You might remember we built out our kitchen console using this same method of piping and boards.

So far, we have the antique door we want to transform into our desk (can't wait to share the full details on that) and here's a roundup of the other elements we've been collecting to get this office transformation started:

1. Ikea Trestle Legs — we got ours in a white finish and plan to use them to make our desk with. We love their modern feel to pair with the rustic and worn tabletop, and at $10 each, we couldn't refuse.

2. Safco Recycled Leather Chairs — these two chairs were probably our biggest splurge for the space. We fell in love with their sleek design and love that they were made from recycled materials.

3. Moroccan Shag Natural Rug — we're excited to have a larger area rug for this room and feel like the lighter shades will help brighten up the space.

4. Eco-friendly Rug Pad — we're also eager to try out the eco-friendly rug pad we have from Rug Pad USA, paired with the shag rug. I love that we won't have to worry about the desk, chairs and rug slipping or bunching each time we get up or down from the desk.

5. Umbra Enz Adjustable Curtain Rod — we can't wait to stretch out this adjustable rod to span the length of our wall above the window moldings. We're hoping to create the feel of one continuous and modern wall, draped in the sheer panels (goodbye yellow curtains!).

6. Arm and Hammer Curtain Fresh Odor Neutralizing Sheer Curtain Panels — We specifically needed a longer length panel to get the look we were going for, so these 120" sheers were perfect for the job. Not only do they meet our needs for color, opacity and length, but they claim to have odor neutralizing capabilities built in, which can't hurt (especially having pets). Also, at under $15 per panel, these were another one of those incredibly perfect diamond in the rough type finds.

Down the road we'll still need to build out storage and shelving and pick out smaller essentials like a trash bin and desk lighting — but we know we'll eventually get there and are looking forward to this first step.

In terms of getting everything done, we'll work this weekend to first clear out the entire room, starting back at square one. It will be fun to bring certain pieces back in with a fresh outlook. We'll also be working to build out the desk (and hopefully have the full DIY to share next week), change out the window hardware and get everything moved back in. The only downside to this impending office makeover is the fact that Basil may very well lose "his couch" in this room:

We'll have to think of something creative for him to enjoy or perhaps find a special dog bed for this room — any suggestions welcome. We hope to be back next week with a functioning office and some preliminary "after" shots to share here on the blog.

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Full Disclosure: We received a free rug pad from rugpadusa.com. Our excitement to test it out is real and better yet, we've got a giveaway for a chance to win a similar rug pad coming to the blog soon! Thank you so much for supporting the partners that make 17 Apart possible.


  1. How about a recycled pallet dog bed. I've got a lovely pic of one if you're interested - even has lockable castor wheels for easy cleaning beneath :) Would go perfectly in front of the radiator.

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