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  • Writer's pictureClaire


Do you need to be in an inspiring space to work effectively? Not everyone does. I certainly do. My best work happens when I am surrounded by things that make me happy, in a space that stimulates me - or at the very least makes me feel extremely comfortable. Our second bedroom/office did not do that. It was the landing zone for all our mismatched, extra furniture left over from years of moving, college, hand-me-downs etc. All perfectly good furniture that wasn't broken, but didn't *spark joy*. That might be the hardest part of any renovation - accepting that, to create your dream space, you have to get rid of things that are perfectly fine. It can feel wasteful - both literally and financially. However, I recognized what with working from home and continuing to isolate due to the pandemic, the possible pros of investing in new pieces far outweighed the cons of either continuing to live in a space that gave me anxiety or making the effort to sell/donate/toss what didn't serve me. The feeling you get when your space is renewed is rewarding and well worth it.

The space before, featuring my beloved late dog, Dudley.

First, let's talk about what wasn't working. The second bedroom was home to our daybed, my vanity and product storage, as well as Ryan's desk. Since I transitioned to WFH he gave me his desk to work from, and so, when I borrowed his workspace I basically took over the entire room. There was no need for him to go in it, and that was unfair and unrealistic. With the pandemic going strong, my WFH status was unofficially set to "indefinite" with hopes to return to the office Fall of 2021. The reality of another year at home shifted my priorities to get myself my own desk, so Ryan could have his back and our second bedroom could function fully as a home office we could both work from.

Secondly, I had been using an old Ikea food prep cart and basic metal and glass shelving unit left over from our previous apartment's kitchen as a vanity since we moved in almost three years ago. This was one of those situations wherein the furniture did its job, but it was not pleasant to use, wasn't what I would have picked, and certainly brought no aesthetic value to the space. I envisioned a single unit to house all my products. To achieve this, I would have to rework the closet and do a large purge - which I did. I moved all my candles into the closet and re-homed several items so that I could be sure everything would fit in a single unit. I hoped to find a modern vanity with built-in storage but I didn't want to sacrifice the visibility the kitchen cart gave me, so I knew the hunt would be tedious and that I might not find something right away.

My old makeshift vanity and storage solution

But first came the desk. My vision for the office was a mix of mid century modern with a touch of Scandinavian or southwestern design. I think. Honestly I don't even know. Whatever. I narrowed it down to two desks. Truthfully, my first choice was a rather popular desk from West Elm but the ship date was two and a half months out and I did not want to wait that long. I was bummed and defeated until I found this. It was love at first sight, in stock, and could be delivered in 48 hours. I didn't hesitate and ordered it right away (albeit I chose a delivery date that gave me about 6 days to empty the office and re-home/sell the daybed). Luckily, we found a new home for the daybed pretty quickly. My old vanity and shelf got thrown on our back porch with a "we will deal with this after winter" mindset - and currently a family of pigeons is living in them, so until it's warm enough to actually use the porch again, the pigeons will go undisturbed and be allowed to continue to poop all over them. There was already a rug I had mentally bookmarked so I put that order in as well, not realizing they were made to order and would take 3-4 weeks, which meant it would get here last and also that we'd have to empty the office all over again once it arrived but that was a problem for future Claire and present Claire was moving full steam ahead. (Future Claire [now past Claire?] would like report it wasn't that big of a deal so huzzah.) A desk chair that was comfortable and chic was high on my priority list. I was dead-set on finding something velvet as well. This little grey (obviously) and gold number caught my eye and I am thrilled to report it is extremely comfortable. My work corner came together better than I had imagined possible.

Desk accessories including the mug warmer, keyboard stand, and ergonomic mousepad can be found here.

I am fully obsessed with my new desk area and look forward to working at it daily. The desk itself has more than enough work room as well as storage so I am able to keep the surface relatively clear. I ended up purchasing a little wooden cord box to help manage the excess electrical chords and am pleased with that as well. Unfortunately the one I bought is no longer available, but this is a similar style. I can also use mine as a foot rest which is handy.

Next came the vanity. I was content to keep my Ikea bar cart for a while longer while I hunted for the perfect piece. As I said earlier, I wanted something with built-in storage but I did not want to sacrifice visibility - I strongly believe if you can't see something, you won't use it. It was very important to me that whatever option I found I wouldn't be forced to store my products out of sight in drawers. The concept of a ladder style desk felt like it would be a great option, but I struggled to find something as wide and sturdy as I hoped. I let it go for a while, and then randomly decided to check Lowes, and found exactly what I was looking for. The sleek and modern ladder desk was almost as wide as my Ikea cart had been, came with two shelves for extra storage, and a nice deep drawer for the few things I did want out of sight. I fancied a wicker chair to go with but wasn't feeling super spendy, and happened upon exactly what I was looking for at Target. I finished it off with a luxurious sheepskin throw and called it a day. Finding my perfect vanity was a total surprise but it is yet another space I look forward to using every single day.

One aspect of the office renovation I looked forward to was (finally) having some empty wall space that I could use as a backdrop to take style photos. Of course, when I am not shooting, that space is filled by a dog bed. You didn't think I wouldn't make sure the pups had their own spot, did you? I am embarrassed to admit this dog bed is one of the more expensive things of this renovation but I also kind of don't care because it is chic, large enough for both dogs, machine washable, and soft as fuck. Unfortunately, the exact bed is no longer in stock but I found some very similar options here, here, and here.

Overall, I am damn pleased with how the space turned out. I'll be honest - I did not take any pictures of Ryan's desk or the closet area because it does not fit my ~aEsThEtIc~ and he's planning on eventually replacing his desk anyway. But even still, the room feels much bigger, brighter, and thoughtfully put together. In the future I hope to replace the light fixture with something more interesting and bright, as well as potentially get a better covering for the closet than curtains from target. Until then, the space is exactly what I hoped it would be, and I feel lucky to call it mine.

The dogs miss the giant daybed but are still happy to have a spot in the office where they can snooze while Ryan and I work. Especially because their new spot is made of memory foam.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this little makeover.



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