So when you've been running a business for sixteen years, it can happen that your workspace gets a little cluttered. I worked with a fabulous interior designer who helped me do over our living room last winter, and working with her on that really ignited a little bug in me.
By the way, before I continue, I should tell you about the fabulous Meghann Van Dorn, the interior designer who helped me with this whole renovation. She worked tirelessly with me throughout this project to make my office into a perfect little haven.
So my office is one of the bigger bedrooms in our small house, and over the past sixteen years I'd just kept bringing things into it and adding them, with little thought about the look of them - I thought more about just keeping my head down and doing the work. Slowly it got more and more crowded with stuff... I was able to have a huge workspace for me and my multiple monitors on one side, and a second desk over on the other side for my assistant Kath. We got our work done and we didn't worry too much about it.
Until I started worrying about it.
And actually, I was more daydreaming about it. The idea of this workspace having less STUFF in it, more order... it was exciting but daunting. But it was February, so it was a good time to take on this sort of project.
And so it began.
I actually can't find any good before pictures of the office - I went digging and all I came up with was this one - from years ago when the Center for Women in Enterprise came in to interview me... and you can see the cluttered wall/desk behind me. Filing cabinets everywhere, my clipped up order board behind the desk... just a shambles. The purple walls remained from the family who'd lived here before us used this as their girls' bedroom - and I never got around to repainting.
But then I started watching a lot of HGTV (and became obsessed with Restored by the Fords - and she ALWAYS paints things white)...
So first I threw ten thousand things away. That took many weeks back in February, but boy did that feel good. Thanks, Marie Kondo.
And then I got to bring Meghann over to talk about what to do to the room.
I think the easiest way to explain what we did is to show you what we did.
So this is what you see when you walk into the room. Nice rug, eh? Meghann calls it my Pharrell rug - the happy rug. And that's my great-grandmother's Singer sewing machine. My aunt recently let me take ownership and it's pretty much one of my favorite things ever. Oh, and the paint color is Sherwin Williams Shoji White. (Did you KNOW how many whites there are? Jeeeez. That was a surprise. But I like the warmth of this one.) You're also getting a sneak peek on the right side of this photo of the raw wood, black walnut slab super deep custom shelves that Vyas Carpentry made for me. More below about these show stopping beauties.
And next I'll show you a straight-on view so I can tell you more about all the cool stuff on this side of the room.
Of course your eye's drawn to the shot of my older daughter Annie that I've got hanging to the right of the window over Katherine (my assistant)'s desk. That's a 20x20 metal print from her Who I Am Project session.
The chair and ottoman are killer cool, right? Meghann found them on Facebook Marketplace being sold by some people up in New Hampshire, and the insistence in her voice convinced me to drive my butt up to NH one random Monday and hand over the cash for them. The lines are amazing, and after some baking soda and time in the sun on my deck, the upholstery doesn't smell at all (anymore). 😉
The primitive butter churn over to the right of the sewing machine's neat too, eh? I love the height and the size - Meghann found it when she and I went to New Bedford antique hunting for this room in March. She's got such a great eye for magical pieces.
And my incredible hanging partner Tom Fiske of TBF Design framed my degree for me. Got all this schoolin', may as well highlight it somewhere, right? #yupIgotanMBA
Last but not least, Meghann found this lamp on Wayfair for me. The lamp technician/former owner over at Milton Village Hardware gave it a nice long cord for me and added a dimmer. Yeah baby! Much cheaper than doing a pendant in this old house.
OK, moving right along. Turn 90 degrees to the right and you see my assistant Kath's desk (left, nice and tidy) and my desk (on the right side - not so clean and neat. Come on. I need my stuff.)
And now you have a full view of the shelves. Aren't they amazing? They're cut from a HUGE black walnut slab - Vyas Carpentry did such a fantastic job. More photos below of the detail on the shelves.
Meghann was the idea woman here - the concept of doing a long desk that spans this whole side of the room was hers, and I just adore it. She pointed me to IKEA and had me buy kitchen counter by the foot - super affordable. The Alex drawers underneath were a great addition as well.
Here's Kath's side - with shelves "zhushed" by Meghann:
Here's a closeup of the shelves over Kath's desk. Isn't the wood extraordinary?
And here's the underside (the part I see when I'm seated at my desk). Austin from Vyas Carpentry put a video up showing how he put the epoxy on the shelves (he did a fun blue in the holes for me, too) - the wood just drinks the epoxy - the video is cool.
OK, so here's my side:
And then if you turn 90 degrees to the right, you get my favorite wall. THE CORK WALL! Wahoooo! Kieran Lynch, our fabulous painter/contractor helped me get the cork up (I bought it at Manton Cork - I splurged on the 1/2 inch and I adore that the pins push in really far... it's the little things, y'all...) but Kieran says he's too busy and doesn't want the shout out. Sorry Kieran - but I really appreciate that you helped me hang it!
I got to hang alllllll of my fun/family photos up there to make me smile, and my order board has a place to live now.
And the antique jelly cabinet filled with camera equipment is the piece de resistance on this wall, doncha think?
Oh, and not to mention my blogging calendar, pinned up just over my head where I sit at my desk. Because the post-a-new-blog-every-Wednesday-at-6pm thing is a real thing. It's been almost two years I've been at it! Aren't you proud of me??
And last but not least, turn one more 90 degrees to the right and get our beautiful work table where we work on projects... isn't it a really cool primitive table? I found it myself on Facebook Marketplace. Just love it.
And you get my younger daughter Sadie's Who I Am Project 20x20 metal print there. And both girls let me hang the little 6x6" metal prints from their Who I Am Projects above the door there too. Kath still has her nice list of to-dos on the door... not everything's changed around here.
So thanks for coming on the tour with me! Hope it was fun. I adored the project, and I'm so VERY happy now that the office is this dreamy space.
I can't recommend Meghann as an interior designer highly enough, along with and all these wonderful partners I've highlighted in this post. Thank you to all of them for all the fabulous hard work getting this room perfected with me!
I'm Jessica McDaniel, and May 2018 marked my 15th anniversary photographing babies and their families all around Boston.
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