Office Renovation

Back in January, we were stuck in the house for a weekend, so Ian could have an 48-hour EEG. Sure that the test would come back negative for epilepsy, we were completely unstressed and looking for activities for a full TWO DAYS (ha!) of home confinement.

I chose to use that time to pull down wallpaper in our bedroom and office. I imagined that we could finish off that job easy-peasy in two days. It turned out to be a much bigger process than I imagined. I already showed before and after pictures of the bedroom, so let me talk about the office.

The office was designed solely for function, and we had to work around various problems and needs:

  • It had to be as visually calming as possible. I sell used books, so sometimes the room has a riot of books in a corner. I need a blank slate for those projects.
  • It had to increase lighting. It’s a ground floor room, but there are tiny windows to accommodate the concrete foundation that goes halfway up the wall. The room needed some inset lights to replace some IKEA shades that we hung from the ceiling, which cluttered up the space.
  • The foundation is hidden behind some wood paneling. We went back and forth about keeping it v. painting it; decided to keep it for the time being.
  • I needed a good backdrop for Skype meetings and interviews. (I had to worry about this even before the lockdown.) I hung our PhDs behind me.
  • The room also has to function as a guest room, so furniture arrangements had to accommodate a daybed with a trundle. Also, marital harmony demands that Steve and I cannot work side-by-side for weeks at a time.

So, here’s are the before and during pictures. The first image is the original real estate pictures of the room.

Here are the after shots:

14 thoughts on “Office Renovation

    1. Ha! My husband keeps offering me a second monitor because he doesn’t understand how I can work with only the laptop.


      1. I’m told it’s now very hard to buy a monitor. Everybody sent to work from home bought one or two.


  1. Laura wrote, “I needed a good backdrop for Skype meetings and interviews. (I had to worry about this even before the lockdown.) I hung our PhDs behind me.”

    My buddy in town used to do online English for kids in China. All of the bedrooms in their home were fully occupied, but she managed a professional space by decorating one small wall of her laundry room as a classroom. It looked great from the camera’s point of view.


  2. Oh, very nice work! That wallpaper must have been a bear. I like the paneling, myself.

    Maybe you could add some fabric hangings with extremely mild patterns just to have a bit of color on the wall? Or some more relaxing nature photographs?


  3. I have not figured out the remote meeting background situation. A home is a fine background for me, but my office has shelves with craft supples and I have my computer set up so that the light is behind me in a well lit room with 3 pretty big windows. So, it works well as an office but poorly for skype/zoom. Spouse has a very cluttered office that is a true mess (desk, floor, etc.). But, it looks great on zoom, because he has a wall of books behind him.


  4. Are all three of you working in one space? That would be very hard for me. The kids have desks in my room, but they haven’t been using them. Spouse and I have had separate houses for the last 16 years; we drew offices across the hall from each other in the dream house we drew for ourselves almost 30 years ago and are so pleased that we actually have that dream. In our first apartment, we had desks facing each other. We’ve always had desks.


    1. No. Jonah has his own space in his bedroom. HE has two monitors. Spoiled child. I just used Jonah as a model for that photograph.


      1. bj said, “Separate offices. We don’t have separate houses :-).”


        My husband is currently attending a dissertation defense out on the patio. He has an official office area in our bedroom for bins of snaky cables, paper and the printer, etc., but he himself has been a nomad ever since laptops replaced desk tops.


  5. I like the ridge around your paneling, though I can see how it could become a clutter magnet. You seem to have avoided that.

    For your walls, Canvas on Demand is my go to printing place. I like black and white portraits and the occasional nature picture. They’re selling their canvases at a pretty nice discount right now and work well for pictures that don’t require super sharpness.


  6. bj said, “We’ve always had desks.”

    I’ve always had a corner of our dinner table.

    One day, I’ll take over a corner of the 1st grader’s playroom!


  7. A guy asks on twitter, “I wonder how all those HGTV families who insisted on open floor plans feel about it now.”



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