Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Extreme Makeover - Office Edition

Okay, it's really not that extreme. But the one thing I wanted for my birthday this year was a new office. Armed with $125 in birthday money, that's exactly what I set out to do.

This was my office before. I'm fortunate to have a separate space, a small room dubbed "the study" right off the foyer. But it was basically a catch-all and a room I shared with the kids. I'll get to more of that in a minute.

The computer armoire worked out great in our old house. Since it sat in the living room, I was able close it up and it looked pretty. Now that I spend more time on the computer, the doors were never closed. I needed more space to spread out my notes. The tiny work area wasn't cutting it. And sitting with my back to the door nearly drove me nuts. Especially when you have two boys who would love nothing more than to sneak up on you. Oy!

This was the aforementioned kids space. Prior to taking this picture, there was an old IMac that sat on the left-hand corner. This was where the boys would come to watch whatever television show we didn't want to put up with in the family room.

Notice the desk. While it was very well constructed, it just didn't have much space. A student desk. An ancient one at that. By the time I set up my computer on that, there was no room for anything else.

Recalling every decorating show I've ever watched, I came up with a plan. This time it had to be about me. I needed a place where my muse could flourish. Hubby was skeptical. I was determined.

This is my new office. Gone is the incredibly uncomfortable dining chair. It's been replaced by a comfy real office chair hubby gave me for my birthday. I kept the same book shelves, but the computer armoire is gone; sold for $25 to a young man who'd just bought his first home. The money helped pad my budget.
The credenza is actually a sideboard that once belonged to my in-laws. It more than made up for the storage space I lost in the armoire.
The clock is a childhood favorite. It's an antique Regulator school house clock that my grandfather found in an abandoned school house. Whenever I visited him as a child, I always spent the first night getting used to the tick-tock of that clock. It brings back many fond memories.
I added some black/natural check tab-top panels I found on sale. They helped soften the room, without blocking too much light. Also, in an effort to make the most of the natural light, I added a large round mirror I picked up at Wal-Mart and positioned it directly across from the windows.
And what about that desk?
I gave that bad boy few coats of satin black spray paint. Then, I picked up the prettiest piece of plywood I could find (birch, which didn't cost an arm and a leg), had a word-worker friend cut it to size, stained it red mahogany, and had hubby attach it to the old top. When trying to decide on knobs, I was able to go cheap once again. I bought the plain wood knobs and stained them to match the top. All in all, it turned out very well. I now have a pretty new desk with the space that I need. Because not only is this where the creative process takes place, this is command central for running this house.
In times of stormy weather, this room becomes weather central. Being a meteorologist wannabe, the television gets tuned to one station while I monitor no less than two radars on the computer. Ain't nothing gonna sneak up on this mama.
When I'd finished the makeover, only one thing seemed to be missing. I needed a chair across from my desk. Someplace where the kids or hubby could sit while we talked.
A month or so later, our neighbors had a garage sale. Low and behold, they had this wonderful little wicker chair that fit perfect. And it only cost me $15.
The moral of this story is be creative. Whether you have a big room, a small room, or no separate room at all, you can carve a creative nook for yourself. And it doesn't have to cost a bundle.


  1. Oh Mindy! It's so gorgeous!! You need to come do mine over. I went with totally portable for this year in hopes that when Mariah comes home, she'll need her room back:-) But who knows...After she's for sure on her own, I will play using your ideas as inspiration. Great job!

  2. Mindy!
    You did a wonderful job!
    I love the desk! And the bookshelves. Love the mirror -Walmart has really come up in the world, affordably speaking too. This is a real office. I'm impressed. I may post about my office on Friday, for y'all to have a good laugh.

  3. Mindy,

    What an incredible office! I love the way you did things up. I know you watch HGTV the way you made that room over. You should send them an application. I bet you'd get hired.
    The next Design Star...Mindy O!

  4. Wow! Is that the same room, then? At first I thought you had changed locations!! I'm so impressed.

    If I took a photo of what serves as my office (one end of the couch!), then I would be too embarrassed to post it! :)

    Great job. I know you'll love it.

    Missy (who may take over the dining room when I sell another book. We never eat in there anyway.)

  5. Okay, I'm not sending any photos of the cluttered office my husband and I share. We fight over the computer, supplies, printer, and yes, office space. It's beautiful Mindy, I'm trying not to drool as I browse through your photos.