Friday, 15 August 2014

Home Office is Awesome!

Warning: This post contains graphic "before" images of an adolescent boy's bedroom.  The incredibly messy nature of said images may cause nausea. (Actually, the floral vertical blinds alone will cause nausea!) Also, be grateful they don't come with smell too.

If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that for the last eight months I've been slowly planning, painting, decorating and hashtag-ing (that's a word, right?!) #homeofficeisgonnabeawesome. Well, now we are close enough to done for the big reveal - brace yourselves - the home office is awesome!

At the beginning of this year, my eldest son flew the nest and, while the idea of preserving his room as a kind-of shrine and hoping he'll be able to come back and use it again soon is tempting, it's not just feasible in a house with so many people.

Eventually (when we've abandoned all hope of Michael wanting to live at home with his parents again!), Liam will move into this space but for now we have decided to keep this room as a multifunctional space.  It's a home office for me to blog and (maybe someday again) scrapbook - which means our computer isn't sitting out in the hall like it used to.  It's also our library and a place to cuddle up with a good book and it's a guest room.

This room was a terrific space for an adolescent's bedroom as it was obviously designed to be a study.  It has a great built-in desk, bookcase and cupboard...   
It also has enough room for a Queen sized bed...
I was right about those blinds, hey?! 

And most of our books lived in here already...
I've been wanting to transform this space for a long time but teenage boys care very little about design (or clutter!)

Once we stripped down to the bare space - and got rid of those curtains! - all we really needed to do was paint. There are lots of great tutorials online about how to paint laminate furniture.  First up is cleaning really well and Windex is supposed to be the best to ensure a really good clean.

We started with a coat of Zinsser primer- which is supposed to be the best at sealing your laminate and getting the paint to stick. In hindsight, we probably should have done two coats as there are a few scratches now in high traffic areas.
After about three or four coats that hideous blue was finally gone! and that left the best part - decorating!

There are two main issues with our built-in desk space: firstly, there's no room for a printer (but having it under the desk is working okay for now) and secondly, the shelves above the desk are really narrow - too small for regular sized books, anyway.

Initially I decided to use this old noticeboard that I had and accessorise with a few of the goodies I'd picked up at Typo and Kikki-K back in January.
Then, on a tip to Howard's Storage World to see what could be done with my shelves, I met Orla.
Orla Kiely, that is, and her gorgeous "Stem" range of homewares- it was love at first sight!

The amazing folks at Howard's Storage World were kind enough to supply me with a lot of the products you can see on the shelves.
The magazine holders are not only gorgeous, but really well built and seem to be handling the weight of my Donna Hay collection and reams of printer paper just fine (unlike my last cheapo ones!)

The A4 storage boxes fit well on these awkward shelves and the bamboo stacking boxes (seen below in two different sizes) and just perfect for the space and are holding all those little bits and pieces that scrapbookers collect.

You can see HSW's Orla Kiely collection here and the bamboo stacking boxes are part of this range here.

The acrylic charging station on the left is also from HSW.
All of the white storage boxes are ones that I've picked up from Officeworks. I've styled the rest of the shelves with a few little bits I've collected that will increase my storage and add a bit of pretty.  There are even a few little tiny, books that fit too!
The white really lifts the space.
We've been able to get rid of some of the clutter by downsizing and storing our board game collection in the cupboard.  It joins some of my scrapbooking supplies, computer games and card games too.
I said close-enough to reveal because I have a couple of jobs left - one is replacing that awful light fixture (I'm not convinced about the "READ" yet, either - what do you think?  Different colours?)
The second task left is to have the coffee table restored.  It was made out of a massive Kauri log that was found on the farm my hubby grew up on back in NZ and is in need of a bit of TLC.

The coffee table sits on the other side of the room which is our reading nook and guest accommodation. The largest of our board games (that were too long for the cupboard) live in storage baskets under the coffee table. 

How much of a difference do the timber venetian blinds make?
The Hemnes day bed is from Ikea and I love it!  It's a sofa, a single bed and pulls out into a King-sized bed too! It even has storage underneath which makes it even better. (I'm told it's pretty comfy too) 
We replaced the black knobs on the bed with chrome to tie in with the handles we chose for the desk and the lamps I wanted to use. There's a bit more Orla love on this side of the room too...
It might not always look this neat and tidy, but it makes me smile every time I walk past.
And once I sort out some really annoying internet issues I'm hoping it'll be where you find me most days.


  1. That sofa bed was very comfortable and was even big enough for two adults and a little girl! Thanks again for lettingus stay with you while we were visiting that part of the world!

  2. It is looking great - very real and happy. I am Anima, hopped over from IHeart. Love your space.
    Is the chair comfortable sitting extended period of time? I am looking for a chair that is slender but comfortable.

    Best Regards,

    1. Thank you so much for visiting, Anima and taking the time to comment. I'm finding the chair very comfortable, though perhaps a bit too low for the desk. All the best with your search, Sarah

  3. This is beautiful! I am always amazed with what white does to a space. We are also making everything white in our house and it is so beautiful. I found that the Zissner paint primer works well with one coat, but we had to make sure that we waited the required time between coats to be sure that it had cured properly. Perhaps in the humidity, this didn't happen so well? Yet, still beautiful. Play with colour with the read sign. I agree, it's not quite working yet.
    Thank you so much for linking this up to my linky, 'hello'. It is a perfect fit of all the goodness you are looking forward to. xS

    1. Thank you, Sarah and thank you for hosting the link! You're right about those letters- time for more paint! S x

  4. The white paint was a major improvement. The finishing details you added really make it! What a wonderful transformation!

    1. Thank you! And thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Sarah : )


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Your messages always make my day.