Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Before, After... and Before Again??

Julia & Julia.  Last night, with ultra-high hopes compounded by weeks of anticipation, I settled in to watch this gorgeous true story (two true stories actually... And yes, I know, I'm a little behind on the movie scene.)  Even though the movie was fantastic (especially Meryl Streep as well as her character Julia Child), I was completely disappointed with my lack of inspiration following the film.  You see, my motivation has always had a deep connection with focus... focus and goal:  My productivity's very best friends.  I'm just a bit of a compass on crack without these two girlfriends.

SO... Need focus = Need office... Now.

This poor little box is the smallest room in the house and had been reserved for a nursery since we moved in last year.  Until that time comes, it's been the one room we 'allowed' to sit empty (with this beautiful cube-thing, of course).

When first inspired by design last November, I got a little  really excited (tend to do that) and instantly wanted a space to house all of my design books (ok... my zero books and one measly magazine).  A space to be creative and organized.  A space to call my own.

What I couldn't let myself do was spend any moola on this adult play space.  After all, it was just a new idea, a new excitement, a non-money-making office :)  SO, I gave myself two rules:

1. Cannot purchase any decor for this space.

2. No decor can be 'stolen' from another room.  (Doesn't make a lot of sense to dedecorate another space in order to create a design room, does it?) SO, all items used had to have been tucked away unused in a closet.  (NOT easy, considering that we've move across the world and back and sold most everything we owned a few years ago... but let's give it a go!)



So, the black cube-thing got turned into a surprisingly sturdy desk.  On the left side, a basket created the 'home' for larger miscellaneous items, and then a few magazine pages were used to hide those items.  A fantastic brass (read more about my new love for brass here) task floor lamp finally found his place in our home.  A ceramic and wooden trash can peeks out below... my linen magazine holder files mostly notepads and restoration hardware mags... and two metal oversized leaves add a bit of shape and interest to the squareness of the cube 'leg'.

The other cube houses this fab silver bowl (formally wasn't being used... now in our pantry... you'll understand why soon).  I filled it with extra pillow covers, etc to add some color (they were my fabric swatches in make-believe world).  I added this off-white frame with linen mat and photo (torn from a PB mag) along with my linen in/out trays too. They may have been empty... but they sure were sexy.

I'm so glad that we had kept this formally uber-hideous mirror.  It was in our 1/2 bath when we moved in.  Not only was it painted brass, in its reflection were the brand new brushed silver faucet and granite sink basin that the previous owner has updated.  I guess that replacing the mirror was... overlooked?  (Did I mention that someone had hung it by screwing directly through the wooden frame into the wall?!) 

Anyhoo, I painted it a light blue (left over paint from a guest room) and simply set it against the wall.  (It didn't make all of the pics.  Since this was about a 1am-3am project, the paining of the mirror didn't take place until the next day.)

A few crystal dishes and tea light candles, along with a couple of sticks from the yard, added some easy warmth to the black desk with such hard lines.  (Well, could've been easy had Tampa not loved the sticks so much!)  A sketch pad and my moleskine journal sit atop... oh how I love moleskine.

This oversized clipboard was my answer to an inspiration board.  (Although something more in the eye's view/less on the floor may just be a little more inspirational and reminding.)  My 'shag' was an extra bath mat.  The throw and pillow were added for extra comfort.  I did cheat on one thing... this chair was 'borrowed' from the kitchen.  I mean, who has extra chairs in their closets??  Hubby quickly reminded me that, although he loved my room, the chair should probably find its way back to the breakfast table :(

Ok everyone... say hello to my one design magazine.  At least it's a good one!  It's paperweight is the top of a glass canister and it sits next to a mini nickel frame and a vase of one of my favorites - hydrangeas, pulled from a bouquet hubby had brought home.

Let's say hello to the other side of the room too.  Another chair was slipcovered (why yes, yes it is a wrinkled shower curtain) and accessorized with a belted pillow and spray of live greenery.  Yep, there it is... went too far.  The belted pillow I actually dig, but the spray??  Clearly not the inspiration I was going for and thankfully not me. 

And another cube was assigned the role of a side table.  This 'inspiration' corner was ready to go with a few more mags, a larger sketch pad, the necessary art supplies, and a pedestal to keep a few more belts on-hand... because you just never know when you'll need to belt another pillow, right?

Sadly, my office only lasted for about a month.  We had boatloads of family come to visit for Christmas and the hubby felt that two guests rooms just weren't enough, we needed three.  So, my make-shift office quickly became, well, a not-so-pretty 'before'!  

Our other two guests rooms are a little more proper (i.e., real beds, etc), but this masterpiece was basically a fun space for the niece and nephew.  Hubby wanted them to be able to have a room to escape to and enjoy some Wii, movies, etc.  (Uncle Lou is pretty cool.)  He even wanted to get another flat screen, but the Mrs. had to strongly contest this idea and so, he pulled an old box tv from the garage and set it up on two black cubes.  I know!  Those things are really working hard, aren't they?


Oh yes, complete with a blow-up bed and... what's that... two more cubes acting as night stands.  I just couldn't show the other wall.  You can picture it though... a box tv, Wii, dvd player, lots of movies and a massage chair.  Sounds pretty, doesn't it?  If only I had found the time to put up some Miley Cyrus posters.  Next year.

The box has sat this way since Christmas and I think that today will be the day to switch it back.  Remember... focus needed!  Unfortunately, some of the accessories used have now found other homes.  I'll have to keep you posted on what ends up in the make-shift office this time.

I could really really use your help here.  Any ideas for other ways to use 'around the house' items?  What are the must-haves that I'm going to need in a design office?  If I bring myself to buy ONE thing... what should it be?

Until next time ~



  1. Are you kidding? This is the best zero dollar room I have ever seen! You are good! And funny.

  2. THAT'S AWESOME!!! I love it!! Where did you get your cube thing? It's so fantastic and versatile! I want one...

  3. WOWOWOWOWOWOWOOW...what a great job.

  4. Joanna, I thought your office was fabulous ! If you wanted to buy one thing I think I would make or buy art for the walls.