August 24, 2019

My Office Reveal

I get so many questions about my office every time I post it in my feed or Stories and, every time, I promise lots of you that details are coming soon. Well, it only took me two years, but it’s finally completed!

When we moved into our modernly decorated with a dark palette, I wanted to brighten the whole house up and infuse our California style into every room. This space was originally designed as a dining room. It has wainscoting on the bottom third of the wall, which was previously painted black and the wallpaper on top was black and white animal print. There was a circular glass dining table in the middle of the room and black shelving units with glass doors.

The funny thing is, although it took me two years to complete it, my office was one of the easiest rooms, in terms of vision (check out the design board). As soon as I saw the Serena & Lily wallpaper, I knew what the walls would look like. We painted the lower third white, as we did the panels on the window seat and the shelves. We also removed the glass doors.

I fell in love with this Glitter Guide x Lulu and Georgia rug, which now on final sale and majorly reduced in all sizes! (I picked it out over three years ago now and, since then, I feel like I see it in every bloggers’ home!). It’s fairly feminine, which worked well for this girl boss’ office! I also really like how it picked up the blue of the walls and complimented the rest of the decor in the house, but also had so many other colors (which play nicely off of Lilly’s decor and the playroom).

Back to the office! Most of the room was finished before we moved in. While I thought I originally wanted pink velvet chairs, they felt a little too girly. Also, I wanted Zach to feel comfortable in this room too as he uses it occasionally for work and we all hang out in here often.

When I found these gorgeous One King’s Lane chairs, I knew they’d work perfectly, but they were definitely way more than I wanted to spend. I debated for months and finally decided they would be one of my few splurges in the house to balance out the more affordable items (there’s many Target, Wayfair, Overstock, West Elm, CB2 and IKEA items).

I’d saved up over the years for this very reason. Every time a holiday would roll around and Zach would ask me what I wanted, I’d say nothing, that we should save our money and, one day, get a nice house that I could decorate. That and travel. I’ll carry Old Navy purses and sport Steve Madden shoes all life long if it means I can have a nice home and take good vacations. Also, for much of the home decor, I used my own money. (Yes, I still have my own separate account in addition to our joint one. More on that in another, later financial post that I’ve been meaning to write for months. Once school starts again, I’ll get into some more consistent blogging, along with other things!). Just don’t tell Zach how much they cost!

I rationalized them by the fact that 1) I’ve never had an office before. In NYC, we gave away our kitchen table so I could have a small desk, pushed up to a wall, sandwiched between the kitchen, Lilly’s make shift playroom and the living room. They were all in one average sized space (Check out some shots of how we were living here, which now, looking back, gives me severe claustraphobia).

Also, like I said above, since it is one of the larger rooms in the house and downstairs, I wanted it to be multi-purpose. I wanted us to all be able to hang out in here, for Zach and I have somewhere to sit when the kids were playing at their table or on the floor. There’s often performances put on in here or, much to my dismay, a ball kicked around. Dance parties definitely happen and, up to very recently, Lilly’s art station was entirely in my office. Now, it’s more for Oliver and we moved Lilly’s upstairs to the playroom for her to have adequate space as her collection and obsession is growing. So expensive, beautiful chairs it was. (Although, I’ve since discovered these Target ones and am seriously debating selling mine for these given the major savings.)

I originally purchased a marble table stack to go between the chairs but didn’t end up liking the way they looked (It was one of my many, costly mistakes I made decorating the house). I thought the legs were more brass, but they were steel didn’t look right in the room. And the marble didn’t work either. They’re currently sitting in our attic. I suppose I should sell them too.

I discovered a Target table (Mine isn’t available anymore, but this one is similar) and knew it would work perfectly. The kids love to drum on it so it’s dual purpose.

My old desk looked ridiculous in here because it was too small for the space. I also didn’t like that there wasn’t much storage. I found this desk and liked the warm white color, distressed finish (It’s more my casual style and able to get dinged up without anyone noticing too much.) and large, sturdy size. It also has 7 drawers as opposed to 3 that my other desk had. I swapped out the traditional knobs for light pink marble ones, which gave it a personal touch and went better with the room.

The light fixture was also an easy decision for me. I didn’t look too far before finding this one and love the cool, funky touch it brings to the room. In addition to that, I decided on a desk lamp to give a little more warmth to the space. I love the femininity and modernity of this one.

One of the things I loved most about our house was this large window seat. Two of the homes I lived in growing up had window seats and as a child, I loved climbing up there and reading, jumping off of them during dance parties and gazing outside and day dreaming. I wanted that for my kids too.

I love when I’m stuck on something, ask you guys your opinion, you weigh in and help me decide. That was the case with both the fabric on the window seat cushions and the pillows. I was deciding between a blue pattern and this seafoam green one. The vote was pretty split and, ultimately, I decided to go green as there’s already so much blue in the room and the house. I’m so happy I did. I love the way it brings out those colors in the rug and ties the whole room together.

As for the pillows, I was deciding whether to do all white or add in a few colored and textured ones. This vote was mixed, with a slight edge to all white and that’s what I went with. I love that it looks so clean. There’s already enough pattern going on in the room. The pillows I went with are linen and give a relaxed vibe, which I love because I didn’t want the room to feel too formal or stuffy. They’re also super comfy and you can easily manipulate them to prop up, lay down, etc. Plus, they’re affordable and have covers so, if the kids stain them (they already have!), I can throw them in the wash. And if one gets totally destroyed, I don’t feel bad about replacing it. I wanted all of the house to be pretty, but also functional and comfortable and I think we’ve achieved that.

When it came time for what to put on the walls, I knew I wanted to have a bulletin board for both myself and Lilly. I love having personal “art” on the walls and the office was a perfect place to do it. I found a woman on Etsy who makes gorgeous custom boards boards and chose white wooden frames (Lilly’s has some detail, mine is a simple border.) with linen cloth. I absolutely love the way they turned out and get so many compliments and questions on them. Mine is a vision board with some favorite memories, places and photos that bring me joy and also inspiring words and images to not only spark creativity, but also to help manifest my goals. Lilly’s is a place to display her artwork and encourage her to create more. I love that we can both add to it over time as our work evolves and dreams become bigger. These magnets create such a subtle statement.

As far as her (and now Oliver’s) area was concerned, I wanted a small table and chairs below her artwork to create new pieces. I used an IKEA table we already owned and put two pink metal chairs from Target on either side.

At Lilly’s bookshelf, I put all of her supplies in different clear glass and plastic vessels as well as a pink crate.

The two things that really held me up were the art above my desk and the plant in the corner. I thought I’d originally place the vintage map of Manhattan that my mother-in-law gave us and I love, but it turned out to be too small for the space so it’s now on the side wall. The colors work perfectly in the room and it’s so special to us as it’s the place we met, fell in love, grew our careers, made some of our best friends, had both Lilly and Oliver and spent the first four years of Lilly’s life there.

I looked everywhere and at everything, but kept coming up empty. My philosophy on art is that it should mean something to you. Or, at the very least, you should love it. I don’t believe in throwing something up for the sake of it. Therefore, many of our walls have sat blank for two years until we’ve found something that speaks to us. Since it’s my office and the place I write, blog and now consult, I wanted something to represent my brand. When I found Dave Towers, I knew I had my artist.

His pieces are so fresh, cool and modern. I love that it’s custom and he can create anything and in any color palette you want. I went with NNA, of course, and sent him swatches of the rug and wallpaper as well as photos of the room and let him and his vision take care of the rest. I absolutely love the way it turned out and how it anchors the room.

I also went back and forth with the plant situation. Should I go faux or real? I love the idea of real, but have the worst green thumb ever and kill everything. Also, Ollie was/is still really young and I feared him knocking it over, getting into (and eating when he was a baby) the soil. Eventually I decided to buck up and get the real deal. I love the look so much better and they’re, good for oxygen, or so they say.

But what to put it/them in? I was deciding between a trio of hanging plants in cool colored baskets or a single tree in floor planter. I didn’t want to get one in the middle of winter so I waited. And waited. Finally, this spring, we went to a local nursery and pulled the trigger. I searched everywhere and finally decided on this floor planter, which I really like, but I think it may be too low for the space. I’d like it to be almost to the top of the wainscoting so it fits better on the wall. So, just when I think the room is complete, I may need to do one more search and swap. While a luxury and blessing, decorating an entire home is not for the impatient.

I’m so happy to finally have my dream office. But really, as you can see, it’s so much more than that. It’s a place to create and enjoy for all of us. Lilly reads books and works on little projects, Oliver’s Play Doh obsession occurs at his little table, Zach and I sit on the chairs and talk while we unwind, with a glass of wine, and,we as a family, have daily dance parties in here. It has become one of our favorite rooms in the house. I hope you love it as much as we do!