Oy, June. I didn’t intend to take a break from blogging last week, but I think June gave me emotional whiplash and I needed a minute to re-ground myself in life. I was in Texas the last week of June for memorial services for the family member I mentioned previously. While we were there, Joe got a new job offer, which was exciting for both of us (he’ll still be here, in the Bay Area — don’t worry, we’re not moving again!). It’s been such a weird cocktail the last few weeks; some bizarre recipe of sad, excited, hopeful, relieved, a bit anxious, with the “working through grief” floater on top. We’re doing ok.
But a funny thing happened to the both of us once we got home from Texas. Suddenly, out of nowhere, came this intense urge to rearrange everything in the apartment. We’ve lived here for well over a year, but to be honest, we’ve never really “finished” the place. It’s not like we’re sitting in camping chairs or anything, but all those last little touches — sourcing and hanging art, getting a few recent photographs framed and displayed, finding the last perfect accessories for surfaces — hadn’t been high on our priority list. My office is a great example. Ok, brace yourself for the very un-styled, very meh version of what I was working in the for the last year (Lucy cameo in 3, 2, 1…):
It’s not the worst, but it’s certainly not the best.
How’d this mess happen? Well, after dumping all the New York office furniture in here, I then neglected to re-visit whether it was the best use of the space or put any money towards new pieces to finish out the room. Can I be honest though? As imperfect as it looks (and as rage-y as those wires on my desk make me, seeing them in a photgraph), it worked for me for the last year, and I think it’s because I had bigger fish to fry. But with so many life events happening in June, I truly believe some energy blockage cleared up in my mind, and I could finally focus on my workspace. That, and I think the change in energy meant the old, stale feeling of my office was completely counterproductive for me. Has that ever happened to you? There were days last week where I literally couldn’t focus because I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin trying to work in here.
Here’s a quick dissection of what I simply had to change:
One of the things that had always driven me nuts about the space was that we’d hung a pinboard behind my desk, but it didn’t have any other pieces around it to anchor it. It was floating in this sea of medium warm gray paint (which, along with the carpet, we unfortunately can’t do too much about).
Opposite my desk (i.e., in my sightlines all day) were these low bookcases, which had arts and objects stacked on top. I’d never committed to hanging anything, and had been going with the super casual leaning look over the last year. My mix of candles and objects had been steadily growing too, while I hadn’t spent time editing the mix. And the straw (or in this case, the canvas) that broke the camel’s back: I had this giant pile of paint supplies that I didn’t have storage for, so they’d accumulated in the windowsill, on the floor, and on my Victoria ghost chair.
More recently, I had ordered a bunch of Instagrams via Framebridge (more on that in a sec), and those had started accumulating as well. Lucy’s dog bed had ended up in the middle of it all because she’s funny about being within view of me, and also wanting to clearly see the door.
Yep, it was time for a change.
Last week I had the idea that I could make some pretty significant changes to the space without spending a fortune up front. To start with, I completely re-configured the setup:
I flipped the location of the low bookcases, so that the wall with the pinboard felt a lot less naked. Suddenly, you have something to anchor the board, so it doesn’t feel like it’s floating by its lonesome anymore.
The storage credenza that had the mirror sitting on it was moved to our living room; it’s starting its new life as a media stand (finally, the perfect stand for our TV, and it cost us nothing)! The old bench our TV was sitting on was moved into the office, and is now a little seating space. I’ll move the ceramics off eventually.
I moved a lot of the paint supplies underneath it; my plan is to get a second basket to round out the “hidden storage.” I also need to figure out what to do with the yellow lamp. My guess is it’ll make its way to another room, or onto Craigslist. You can see the pile of frames to the left; those will get hung along the wall, filling up all this empty space.
I also swapped the position of my desk, so I’m looking outwards towards the door, with the windows in the room right beside me. I like that there’s a lot more natural light on me throughout the day — it feels cheerier. I also moved Lucy’s bed in front of the window, where she can sunbathe and sit next to me.
Ok, maybe the changes don’t look like much, but it feels so different in there. Re-configuring things made a big difference, and it also got me motivated to buy the final pieces the room really needs. I’ll space it out over the next couple of months, then show you the final!
On the unsexy To Do list: I still need to finish going through the bookcases and clean out any unnecessary items (you should see the trash and donation piles I accumulated over the weekend…I can’t believe I moved a lot of that shit across the country — TWICE). I need to find a home for the paper shredder. I really need to get a new wastebasket — the one I have is from college, so seriously Victoria, it’s time. We just ordered two new filing cabinets in white, since the gray one we have is beyond beaten up after our two big moves. And for the love of god, I need to find a solution to these damn electronics wires (send help).
Here are the fun/slightly sexier to do tasks:
+ I’ve ordered two more pin boards, believe it or not! I’m always running out of space and I hate these looking too full and messy. My plan is to flip them vertically and hang them in a 3-column grid above the white bookcases. In a perfect world, I’d also find some plug-in sconces to hang above for a dramatic effect — something like these or these.
+ As I mentioned, I’ve completed one round of framing via Framebridge (do what I did and order 2 Instagram frames for $50 with the code 2INSTA50!), and it’s on to the next. I recently shipped off another order of artwork — prints and pieces I’ve had forever that have been improperly framed, or never framed at all. I’m most excited to get this piece framed and hung, because it makes me laugh every time (and pretty much anyone in my life could walk into the office, see it, and it’d be true). My plan is to build out a large gallery wall above the bench. It’s been a while since I featured a gallery wall anywhere in my home because I felt kinda over them, but with this new collection of photographs and artwork I truly love, I think it’ll be good stuff.
+ I want to order a narrow console table for behind my desk. The goal here is to add an additional surface where I can move some of the office supplies from my desk to an out of the way, yet still accessible space. I’d also like to use it to display some of my ceramic pieces. I love the look of this table from CB2, but it’s probably a little long. On the hunt!
+ Paint something to hang and display behind my desk.
+ Get a new desk chair. I’ve stolen one from our dining room for now (it’s the Josephine chair from Serena & Lily; remember when I talked about them here?). I love this chair so much, I’m probably going to order the exact some one with a midnight blue fabric on the seat.
+ My grandmother has some antique bergere-style chairs she’s giving me; Joe’s trying to convince me to leave them in here, in front of my desk (for all the meetings I take, right?), but I think it’ll look too bulky. If I were to add extra seating in here (which is probably lowest on the decor list), I’m kind of loving the look of a warm leather x-stool — something like this or this, for in front of my desk.
+ Also low on the priority list but still would be nice: buying a new rug for the space. I hate the carpet that’s in here (why oh why does anyone do this??), but more importantly, the rug that’s in front of my desk has seen its fair share of Lucy’s peanut butter kongs over the last several years. It’s probably time to get a new one.
Here’s how the mix all looks in my head:
Schoolhouse Electric Princeton Plugin · Pottery Barn Linen Pin Board · CB2 Leather Director’s Stool · ‘Sable Song,’ by Jennifer Briggs · CB2 Cleo Console Table · Safavieh Montauk Gray Area Rug · High Street Market Woven Waste Basket
And because I know someone will ask me, since we’ve never had a guest over who didn’t ask me about it: yes, all the books in the bookcases are flipped so that their spines don’t show. I’m a maniac who can’t stand the jumbled mix of colors, nor do I want to organize them by color grouping either. I’m also not a big enough maniac to wrap them all in white craft paper (yes, I once saw a DIY for this online and nearly lost my mind wondering who had the time to do such a thing). So flipping them is my easiest solution. They’re actually loosely organized by topic, so food books and cookbooks are in one section; novels and nonfiction paperbacks in another; Joe’s work books in two cubbies, and big series (like Harry Potter or the Outlander series) in others. I can actually find any book I’m looking for pretty quickly!
Anyway, that’s a little project I’ve been working on over the last several days. It’s about halfway there, but I’m loving the changes already! I thought it’d be fun to give you guys a peek into where I work on the daily, and of course, what’s been happening ’round these parts. As complicated and weird and wild as June was, it feels really good to clean things out — both literally and figuratively — and start anew. Onwards and upwards, right?