Finally... My Own Office Space!

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Because I have project ADD I have to have a couple of projects going at one time. Currently I am working on little man's bedroom, the kid's bathroom and my office. Those are probably the three most manageable rooms of the house. The office is a new edition to the home. We separated a long, awkward living area into a playroom for the kids and an office for myself. Since I am in my last semester of college at the ripe old age of 36, I decided to give myself an office as a graduation present. Actually, I've been needing an office for awhile. I am blessed to be able to make a good living while working from home. The problem is that most of my work has happened at the dining room table. You see, I used to have an office. When we bought the house, the seller had thrown up a wall (and I mean that literally. He glued the studs to the floor!) While I enjoyed having the office, I couldn't see what was happening on the other side of the wall (the kids play area). As a mom to a two-year-old boy, not being able to see your child is never a good thing. And besides, the way the thrown-together room was done, both air vents for the downstairs area were in the small room and there was absolutely no light other than that from the foyer for the kids area. Add to that how small and unusable the kids area was and we knew the way needed to come down. And did I mention that the play area was at the foot of the stairs? The pic below was taken at the bottom of the stairs. That is how small the space was.

The kids area/office wall before
The kids area/office wall before

So I called my GC and told him I wanted to take the wall down. I was a little nervous at first because I thought there would be a gap between the tile. It didn't take long for us to find out about the owner gluing the studs to the tile. Lucky for us, it was an easy demo. When we were finished, we were left with this:

Kids area/office after wall take down
Kids area/office after wall take down

If you look about halfway you can see the dried glue where the wall used to be. So there we were. A big open space where the kids could play and I could work. Seemed like a good plan, right? Wrong! The first huge issue was now I had to look at a lot more of that hideous tile (this is the same tile that covered every square inch of the house when we bought it). Every time I'd walk downstairs or walk in the front door I would just cringe looking at it. The other issue is working in the kids play area. I mean seriously. What in the world was I thinking??? So what happened? Well, I ended up moving the kids area to the back part of the room and moving my desk by the stairs. It stayed there for awhile even though I did 90% of all work and school work either on my couch or at the kitchen table. I just couldn't concentrate with the kids running around.

I dealt with this for about a year and a half until I just couldn't handle it anymore. I needed an office. I needed a space where I could work. Away from the kids. Away from the Hubs. Just away. For weeks I played with designs in photoshop trying to figure out how to do this. Eventually I came up with two.

In design 1, I decided to put the wall back but make the majority of the wall french doors. Doing this would let light come in from the back windows, allow me to shut out the noise of the kids but still let me keep an eye on them.

In design 2, I decided to actually frame out an office off of the laundry area. Essentially this would create a long hallway off of the stairs into the playroom.

To make either of these work the first thing I had to do was put a pocket door in the laundry area. The current door swung into the play area so it ate up a lot of space.

I went back and forth. I posted to my personal FB account and asked for input. I showed the Hubs. I showed my mom. I thought on it. I dreamt on it. I prayed on it. And then I made a decision.

The next day I called my GC and told him what I wanted to do. Of course he laughed because he had just taken a wall down and now I was contemplating adding more walls? But hey! It's money in his pocket so he came over to bid it out.

Once I got the bid his guys got to work. First was the pocket door in the laundry area. That was relatively quick. Then he started on the office. Two days later I had an office. So which one did I go with....

Office and play area with french doors!
Office and play area with french doors!

The office with the french doors!! When all was said and done, it just made the most sense.

As with most projects, though, I couldn't stop there. Somehow I convinced my husband to let our GC demo all of the tile while we were on a family vacay. We moved everything out of the downstairs area and while we played at the beach, my GC removed the last bit of that terrible tile from the house. It was finally all completely gone! And then I started thinking... since everything is out, the tile is demoed and the Hubs is actually agreeing to everything, we should go ahead and put the new floor in (I hated that tile so much I actually contemplated just dealing with the concrete for a while). With the Hubs approval I headed to several flooring stores. I went back and forth between tile and wood. I wanted wood, but was nervous because it was on the same level as the laundry room (worried about possible flooding). But in the end, wood won. Within a week we had workers in our home putting down new floors. The end result?

The new office and kids area
The new office and kids area

Just for a side-by-side comparison:

Kids area and office before, during and almost after
Kids area and office before, during and almost after

Quite an improvement, don't you think?

So now the tile is gone and I finally have an office I can use. Now what? Time to decorate, of course! As it stands, currently the office is a mess. There are a couple of paint samples on the wall, the french doors that need to be painted AND there are no door handles. The left-over furniture from the house has become my desk and storage solution. There are no drapes. The light is a recessed can that has to be turned on in the playroom. But the view... the view is awesome. So here is what I'm working with now (it's very messy because we are at deadline at work):

The view from the french doors.
The view from the french doors.
Right side of office
Right side of office
Left side of office
Left side of office
My messy desk
My messy desk
My naked windows
My naked windows

The Ikea Paris print has been with me for a couple of years. I like to look at it and think of my times in Paris. Ah, Paris. J'adore! But back in reality, it's scratched up and needs to be replaced.

The desk is also from Ikea. It has served it's purpose but I really need a desk with a keyboard tray.

The storage is from the kids playroom. I needed something to sit my fax/printer on and it was the winner.

So, what are my plans? I want to keep the furniture neutral and get some nice sheers for the windows (I want to block out afternoon light while still having a view). I want a really great chandelier, a big comfy chair and photos from my travels on the wall. I want a nice rug under the desk and I really, really want a chaise lounge. I've always loved them and think my office is the perfect place to have one.

Little by little I will bring pieces into the office. First things first, I am going to paint the walls and the doors. After doing that I'm going to start looking for furniture. I'm hoping over the next couple of weeks/months to finish it up. I'll be posting photos as I go along. But for now, I'm heading to bed. We've got a busy weekend ahead and my last semester officially begins Monday. My last weekend of freedom is going to be spent painting and doing laundry. The joys of a blessed life. :-)