One Room Challenge: The Office | Week 6 - The Reveal!

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I wish there was a way to express that jumping up and down, happy dance feeling in text, because that's totally where I'm at right now. Well, I'm not actually jumping because I just worked a 12-hour day at my new job, but that's not the point. In my head, I'm happy dancing.

Staying true to the One Room Challenge started by Linda at Calling It Home, I managed to finish revamping my office in six weeks, stay on budget(!!), and document the process along the way. If you want to go back and see all the not-so-pretty moments and rants along the way, click the links below. If you want to hustle up and just see the pictures already, keep scrolling.

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

Before I reveal too much more of the finished office, let's reveal the before pictures, shall we? This was a blank, gray room off the dining room.

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I think you've heard me (read me?) yap about this room enough, so I'll let the pictures speak mostly for themselves. However, it would be totally unfair of me to post the pictures without thanking my mom, dad, and andy, who all were great builders, craigslist picker uppers, haulers, encouragers, and super patient with me while I worked through this. In the last six weeks I have: interviewed for a job, wrapped up an old job, started a new job, gotten engaged, started planning a wedding, AND redecorated a room. The patience was SO SO necessary.

Overall, I'm so happy to have an energizing, happy, pulled-together space to work and relax in. Here's my office!

I don't feel like I challenged office norms all that much - the basic elements that you would expect were all there. Desk - check. Shelving - check. But I love how cozy and warm the room ended up. At first I was begrudging the lack of overhead lighting, and now with lamps in place I'm loving the softer glow. I'm thrilled to have a room to get some serious and creative work done, and another spot to lounge when Andy is playing Madden in the living room :)

Let me know what you think and if there's anything you would change!

P.S. - the cabinets are getting hardware soon. I'm just scared to drill holes and then realize they're not centered or level. Totally normal fear.

One Room Challenge: The Office | Week 5

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[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Hey you guys! I'm writing this blog post from my brand new, custom-built desk! WOO HOO!

But let's back up a second...I've been working on redoing my office as a guest participant in the One Room Challenge. In case you haven't been following along, the One Room Challenge is a blogging event put on by Linda at Calling at Home. 20 featured bloggers and a bunch of guest participants take 6 weeks to update or renovate one room, and everyone posts their progress along the way. This is week 5, which of course means that this is the last progress post before the big reveal!

It's really hard for me to be patient and wait to show you all the cool things that are happening in here. I mean, I'm the sort of person that gives gifts as soon as they come in the mail because I can't wait to give them to people! But I'm going to be strong and wait to reveal it all next week. There is still PLENTY of progress to show off for this week.

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Really, this post should be titled "an ode to my incredibly patient, hardworking, handy parents". They worked SO HARD to help me achieve my vision and I couldn't be more thankful, because I LOVE how the biggest projects in the room turned out.

So that beautiful shot up there is what my "office" looked like pre-parents. I'd made a lot of progress on the other side of the room, but this side was waiting for the big stuff to come in, and was an utter disaster right up until that day. Andy I got everything cleared out of the room in time for my parents and the family dog Trooper showed up, and they got right to work getting the pre-built portions of the built-ins in to the house.

Now let's be clear about something - this is not a how to post. You know why? Because I don't know how-to do any of this stuff. I mean yeah - I can use saws and drills and stuff and am not some damsel in distress, but this is actual carpentry, so I let the more competent non-professionals handle it.

First my mom got to work on removing baseboards while my dad and Andy brought in the cabinet bases.

 

 

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We used standard base cabinets from Home Depot because cabinets are really hard to do well, and my dad has a full-time job that doesn't involve being my personal carpenter (bummer. I know.). However, my dad made custom wood countertops for the cabinets, and for the center desk area. Here he is perfecting one of the countertop pieces.

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We attached the countertops to the cabinets, and the cabinets securely to the wall. And again - I'm using we loosely here. I ran around and grabbed tools and held stuff, my parents did all the work, and Andy held Trooper because the noise of saws and tools and movement kinda scared the pour little guy. I mean.. just look at all the love in this picture.

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Once the base layer was firmly in place, the shelves started going up. My dad built 3 custom shelving units to my specifications, so that all we had to do was install them at my house. My mom painted them to match my walls. Nothing is worse than mismatching whites, am I right? It's amazing to me how well everything fit and lined up, but my dad would tell me that I shouldn't be surprised at all :)

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Once the shelving was up and attached, it was time for the header board and crown molding. My dad said this was the part he was most nervous about, but he and my handled all the angles and awkward attaching like pros. I think the crown molding really makes the look!

I wanted to put some decorative trim on the front of the shelves and the upright supports to give the unit a little character, and this was a pretty slick process too. I don't think we ever even had to re-cut a piece of trim! I feel like I made this whole process sound easy, which isn't really fair. This was a pretty solid day's worth of work to install all of it, but I don't think my parents could have made it any easier on themselves.

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SERIOUSLY! How good do these look?! I'm still in awe of everything that went down here last weekend. My dad also built an awesome desk/work table that matches the countertops, but I think you'll have to tune in to the reveal to check that out.

Now it's my favorite part! Pulling together all of my random thrift store finds and pretty objects (and maybe a few actual books - HA) and styling out the shelves, desk, and the rest of the room. It's a lot of space to fill, and I don't think I'm capable of minimalism. Anyway.. there will be lots of good stuff in the reveal! I'm so thrilled to a beautiful, functional space to do some work in.

WEEK 6 REVEAL HERE I COME!

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One Room Challenge: The Office | Week 4

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[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.thecasualcreative.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/guestparticipant.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="off" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] I am a firm believer that life happens in seasons. I think we all have seasons of waiting, seasons of joy, seasons of challenges, and seasons of CHANGE. And holy cow - this season of change is kicking. my. butt. Which is why I'm posting this almost a full day late. Don't get me wrong, some of these changes have been FUN. Like starting to envision a wedding with the man of my dreams - that's fun. Starting a new job in a week and a half - that will be fun, but it's creating LOTS of work in the meantime. And of course, my office is going through a lot of change!

Given all of that change, this post will be a little... umm... abbreviated. Sorry for the poor morning light iphone photos and the choppiness.

I've been participating in the One Room Challenge, which was started by Linda at Calling It Home, as a guest participant. It has been an awesome kick-in-the-butt to keep moving on things, but some weeks go by WAY faster than others.

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I don't know if all of those pillows will stay on the couch, but I'm digging the wacky assortment.

The Gallery Wall is up! I put it all in caps like that so you would get what an achievement it was. I had lots of art that I loved, but the budget did not leave any room for custom framing. All of these frame are thrift store finds! I don't think I paid more than $4 for any of them, which is awesome considering most of them are at least 8x10.

My favorite piece of the bunch is this classic photo of my great-grandparents. I had it on my computer from putting together the slide show for my great-grandma's 90th birthday about 5 years ago(!) and I loved the idea of blowing it up, and recoloring it to give it a little edge. They just look so gosh darn happy, don't they?

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Curtains also got hung! I found these on clearance at Pier1, and unfortunately it doesn't look like they sell them anymore. I LOVE the weight and color of them - they instantly made the room look a lot closer to done. I also repainted and reupholstered those cute little side chairs. I love the blush and the blue together - and I found them at a thrift store for $10 each so they were a total score!

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Of course, this side of the room is still a TOTAL DISASTER. And unfortunately it will continue to be a disaster until my dear, sweet, wonderful Mom and Dad bring the desk and built-ins down and install them. I'll have to try to round up the cable moochers (which is how I collectively refer to Andy's friends because they like to sit on my couch all day every Sunday because apparently I'm the only one dumb enough to pay for cable) and see if they'll help with some of that heavy lifting.

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Ugh - I can't believe I just shared that picture on the internet. But hey - that's what progress sometimes looks like, right?! I'm sorry again for the very brief and to-the-point post. Next week I should be able to gush for paragraphs and paragraphs about my new built-ins and all the pretty things that are going to fill them.

In the meantime, I'm going to get back to hustling my way through lots of life changes :)

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One Room Challenge: The Office | Week 3

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[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Ok, catch-up time! I decided to participate in the One Room Challenge as a Guest Participant and blog about the progress of my office makeover. I can't believe all of the amazing things that over 200(!!!) guest participants have been posting, and this challenge has already earned a special little place in my heart. My week 1 post showed you my design plan and mood board for my office. During week 2 I picked a rug and found a couch, and continued to make fun of my boyfriend, Andy.

Well GUESS WHAT?!! In my week 3 post I get to make fun of my fiancé!!!!!  Last week Andy asked me to marry him, and of course I said yes. Because hello... anybody that lets you make fun of them on the internet but still treats you amazingly well and loves you is a catch. Seriously though, I could not be any happier. It's been a GOOD WEEK. Also, he did SO WELL with the ring. I still just sit and look at how pretty it is all the time. (please ignore my alien hands that are clearly in need of moisturizer)

 

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But let's get back to the issue at hand... One Room Challenges don't have a pause button even if you get engaged and want to spend all day looking at wedding blogs and dreaming of flowers. Luuuuckily for me, this week involved way more work for my wonderful father than for me.

Because here's the thing, when you decide you want built-in looking cabinets and shelves, but you can only spend about $500 on them, you start sending your dad pictures and seeing what he's willing to try to pull off. Fortunately my dad is AMAZING and was totally willing to take on my crazy project within this crazy time frame.

Here's the picture I sent my dad of my vision for the built-ins.

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I wanted the middle section to be at desk height instead of cabinet height so that it could double as another work space if my desk is a disaster. I also wanted lots of space to display all my various pretty things and show off my ability to hoard magazines. A wall of shelving was absolutely the right answer.

When it came to talking about finishing of the built-ins I seriously torn. I narrowed it down to either black or white based on all of these BEAUTIFUL inspiration images (click for source), but I still haven't totally made up my mind about what will end up in the final space. What do you think? Go dark and dramatic, or keep things light and airy?

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The desk is probably the most important piece of furniture in the office, because that's where all of my brilliant work is going to get done - right?! I started looking around and had my eye on very minimalist, streamlined designs. I didn't want a big bulky desk with lots of drawers blocking the view of my beautifully styled built-ins. And since I generally embrace my wacky priorities, that was one of the key factors. The other was that I really like to spread out when I work. While some of the desks below are beautiful and would be wonderful in a smaller room or alcove, they just didn't seem to cut it for my needs. I actually ended up looking at a bunch of dining tables in addition to desks.

Anywhere, here were my top 7 desks.

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  1. Pilsen Salt Desk | 2. Strut Teak Work Table | 3. Anderson Desk | 4. Dahlia Marble Desk | 5. Modern Dining Table | 6. Chaya Desk | 7. Ewen Writing Desk

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If you've been following along, you will have realized that I rarely just find my favorite piece of furniture and buy it brand new. These pieces are beautiful, and most are pretty inexpensive by furniture standards, but I'm just not living with that kind of budget. (Don't even get me started on the costs of the wedding I'm now thinking about too. I'm pretty much hating that Andy is so likeable and has approximately 854,869,023 friends that are all REALLY GOOD BUDDIES. You know, like that awesome dude he met in line at Hyvee the other week. He has to be there! ha.)

But hey, if my dad is already making built-ins, a desk can't be that much more to ask... right? Yeah, it was a lot to ask, but it's my dad, and I'm his favorite daughter :) , so he's slaving away on furniture for me.

I went up to visit him last weekend because my mom was driving golf carts around Florida, I had a ring to show off, and I figured he could probably use a little help with everything. I wasn't that helpful, but I at least got a sneak peek at where things were at.

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It's all looking so good and I can't wait to see it in the space instead of in my parents' entryway. I feel like we're making good progress toward the 6-week deadline, but I'm sure I'll be eating those words in a few weeks. Either way, I'm deliriously happy with where life sits right now.

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One Room Challenge: The Office | Week 2

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[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.thecasualcreative.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/guestparticipant.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="off" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Well, this week my One Room Challenge feelings pretty much went back and forth between calm, collected confidence and sheer panic. On the one hand, I think I have a pretty solid design plan and timeline mapped out that I went through in my week one post. On the other hand, regular life is also happening and I have a very real budget (booo.....)

Like I said in my week 1 post, I am by no means a professional, and I do not have a professional (or even semi-professional) budget or resources. I'm stressing this for two main reasons. 1) To lower your expectations to the point that no matter what I pull off wows you 2) To attempt to make the point that you can have an awesome looking room without a whole lot to work with.

In this post I'm going to take you through my budget, and the first few big accomplishments in the space.

THE BUDGET

My parents and Andy will tell you that the most amazing skill I possess (and have possessed since an alarmingly young age) is the ability to instantly fall in love with the most expensive version of anything, before I am even remotely aware of what it costs. ANYTHING. Shopping for an Easter dress for my 4-year-old self? Mom look at how pretty this one (which happens to be imported from Paris and hand-embroidered) is! Looking at a menu when out to a nicer dinner with family friends? Sure my 8-year-old sister is happy with chicken strips, but 10-year-old Carrie is really craving surf and turf. Doesn't matter what it is - food, clothes, home decor, even ridiculous things like plants and pens. The things I love are almost always the ones I can't afford. Having great taste is a curse, I tell you.

But that's not the point... the point is that in an attempt to reign this in, Andy has started saying the dreaded b-word to me. BUDGET. I told him I would do my very best to not spend more than $1500-$2000 on this ENTIRE ROOM. Which is equal parts crazy, challenging, and totally necessary. Anyway - here's the current breakdown of how much I am willing and able to spend on certain aspects of this office redo:

  • Paint - $100
  • Rug - $300
  • Couch - $200
  • Desk - $200
  • Built-ins - $400
  • Curtains - $100
  • Stuff - $300 (lamps, shelf styling stuff, office supplies, frames and prints, end tables, pillows, etc.)

Now look, some of you (especially if I'm getting of you real designer types looking at this), are thinking how totally unrealistic those numbers are. I know I was thinking the same thing looking at them. But I, like so many other people, want to be in a beautiful space that still allows me to pay my bills. To accomplish this, I am going to have to go outside the box in some cases, and be happy with big-box in others. Craigslist and garage sales are my friend. Clearance stickers are my friend. I will be using a lot of stuff that I already have, even if it's not the stuff I most want. Mom, I hope you appreciate how hard I am adulting right now.

PAINT

It is such a cliche, but boy is it true. Nothing refreshes a space like a new coat of paint. Because I want to infuse a lot of color in a lot of the other elements of this room, I opted to go white on the walls to serve as a nice bright canvas. None of the other rooms in my house are white, so this is actually kind of a fun change for me. I chose Nano White from the Behr Home Decorators Collection. It's actually only on 3 of the walls in the room, because the 4th wall continues right in to the entry-way, which leads right in to the rest of the house. There just wasn't a good breaking point, and I didn't want to have to paint the entire entryway too, so one light gray-green wall will remain.

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COUCH

When I sat down to do my design plan, I had a very clear idea of the type of couch I wanted in this office space to lounge and read on. Here are some of my favorite couches that I've been eyeing up for a while now:

  1. Trevor Leather Sofa | 2. Modern Chesterfield Leather Sofa | 3. Hamilton Leather Sofa | 4. Hancock Tufted Distressed Chesterfield Leather Sofa | 5. Brooklyn Leather Sofa

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Of course, I already told you that my budget for this couch was about $200 dollars, and in many places they would laugh at me for even getting a leather fabric swatch for that much. So I did what I often do and started the craigslist hunt. Well, wouldn't you know it that this (kinda) beauty popped up not too far from my parents house? I especially love it when that happens because I negotiate the price, ask my mom and dad when they are willing to pick it up, and at some point they deliver it to me and it's almost like I ordered it out of a catalog or online like a civilized furniture buyer would do. HA.

craigslist couch

I got the couch for $150 and felt AWESOME about it. Is it a pristine rolled-arm chesterfield? Nope. Is it a comfortable leather couch in pretty good shape that fits my basic design aesthetic? Yes. So we're calling it a win. Here's what the couch looks like in my room versus this random person's basement.

 

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RUG

Confession: I actually bought the rug for this room a few weeks before the One Room Challenge started. whew. I feel so much better now. I had been toying with the idea of getting going on this office for a while, and had been keeping a very close eye on sales going on over at RugsUSA, esalerugs, and wayfair, and was just hoping that some rug would appear that was big enough, beautiful enough, and cheap enough.

Here are some of the rugs that were serious contenders at one point or another:

  1. Abstract Waterfall Rug | 2. Keyhole Trellis Rug | 3. Barcelona Area Rug | 4.  Distressed Foggy Medallion Rug | 5. Windsor Printed Overdyed Grove Rug

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One day I announced to Andy that I was having A RUG CRISIS(!!!). He laughed at me and then sternly lectured me on how picking a rug was not deserving of the word CRISIS in all caps, or even in lowercase for that matter. Following that, I decided for the 867,000th time that I needed a new free design assistant. Then I did the sensible thing - I narrowed it down to the final 3 rugs and let Andy make the final decision because he had put up with me through this whole ordeal.

Here's the rug he chose:

RugsUSA Blue Distressed Medallion Rug

It is so much prettier in person than online. It almost looks sort of pixelated, which I think is kind of a funky cool look.

So that's where I'm at after week 2, with 4 weeks and 5 posts to go. Next week I'll cover how I'm getting a custom desk and "built-ins" for way cheap without making my parents go on any sketchy craigslist runs. Hint: It mostly involves my dad being awesomely handy and nice to me. Stay tuned for that, and feel free to leave a comment telling Andy how much you love the rug he chose so that his ego grows to enormous proportions. That's just what I need in my life.

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