One of the things I looked for in all the houses I considered was a “formal” dining room that was semi-open to the living room, right inside the front door. I knew I could turn the space into either a guest bedroom or an office without having to have a fourth bedroom (and the extra $$ that would add to the asking price). I lucked out that the house I decided on also has a sunroom that can serve as the guest bedroom, so an office it is! Can’t wait to share with you my plans for it.
If it seems like I’m jumping straight into one room without showing you the whole house, well, I kinda am. The “One Room Challenge” originated by Calling It Home started on Wednesday, April 4, but I didn’t close on the house until Friday, April 6th! To be a guest participant, I have to link my first post no later than Tuesday, April 10th.
Don’t worry, you’ll get to see other parts of the house too as I move in. I’m actually taking two months for the transition so that I can be intentional in what comes with me. My last four moves have all been either under stress or spontaneous and I’ve never really gone through my “things”. This time, I want to only bring with me those things that fuel me – creatively, spiritually or functionally. Setting up the office first allows me to create a core planning area for this intentional move.
Here’s the whole floor plan of the house and a version that isolates the office so you have an idea of where it sits in relation to other rooms.
The Cottagey, Color Filled Plan
So how to infuse my preferred cottage decor into this currently formal space? Color and visual texture are my go tos:
- Transform the orange-undertone wood floors with a driftwood finish
- Add beadboard to the interiors of the wainscoting rectangles
- Use an analogous color scheme moving from navy and steel blue towards aquas and teals
- Paint the lower wall midnight blue but leave the upper wainscoting trim, rectangle frames and baseboards white
- Paint the upper walls a rich aqua
- Have fun with fabric
- Patterned drapes
- Mix-and-match chair cushion
- Add a quilt!
- Use galvanized metal for accessories but add a few pops of color as well.
What I’m Starting With
Years ago there was a local outlet store that sold overruns from Home Decorators Collection. I’ve got multiple pieces from the old Burnham collection made of Brazilian pine: credenzas, single wide cabinets that almost look like library card catalogs, a matching double wide cabinet that has a door as well as drawers, small end table/bookcases, and a small rolling side table with shallow drawers. The collection is old enough that the single wide cabinet drawers all have dividers so you can keep your CDs organized. HA!
I also have a small black desk that is big enough for a computer but not much else. My current desk computer is a Mac monitor and keyboard from 2003 and a Mac-mini from 2011. Is it any wonder I spend most of my time on my 2015 MacBook Pro in the living room? I’m hoping to update the desktop computer. My printer/copier/scanner/fax is a large Epson that can print to 11×17 paper. I also have two digital cutting machines – a Silhouette Cameo and a Cricut Maker.
My office chair is so old that the armrests have completely disintegrated. Yuck! There’s also an old wood frame arm chair that was in the house my family moved into when I was five. It connects me to that house so I want to keep it as a sentimental item. The seat and back have already been restuffed and reupholstered with drop-cloth colored canvas.
I also have a lot of galvanized metal storage and organizing pieces. At least I think they’re organizing pieces — the “office” in my current rental is so small I can’t even turn around TO organize!
What I’ve Been Acquiring
One of the upsides of working at Marshall’s is that we get in lots of furniture. (It’s also the downside.) We recently got in a pretty blue velvet office chair that was missing a seat cushion. We waited for a couple of days just in case it came in a different shipment and when it didn’t, I scooped up the chair at a dramatically discounted price. A cushion I can make.
The VERY formal window treatments in the house HAVE to go. I’ve picked up tablecloths in two different Ralph Lauren patterns that I hope to turn into new drapes.
I’m stealing a rug for my office that’s currently under my dining table. I received it from Shaw Floors after Haven one year and I’ve been thrilled at how well it has stood the test of time. (Did you know that Shaw can bind carpet to turn it into rugs? It’s a great way to add pattern in a customized size.)
I also picked up a galvanized metal 3-tier bar cart at Pier 1 that I’ll use as a rolling craft station. And a long metal Magnolia Home trough-like shelving unit that I really have no idea what I’ll do with; maybe ribbon storage, or colored paper with matching envelopes, or who the heck knows? If it works, it works; if it doesn’t, I have the receipt!
And because I love color, I’ll be adding a few accent pieces in aquas and blues — things like lamps, bulletin boards, desk organizers. The galvanized pieces are great, but I don’t want to go too industrial or farmhouse with the space.
The Room Layout
I originally planned to put all the furniture except the desk around the edges of the room. But then I realized that the room was large enough at 12 1/2 feet by 13 feet to position the two credenzas back-to-back to create a paperarts work surface. How fun will this be?!?
Left or Right? Which floor plan would YOU choose?
Six weeks — or for me, five weeks and one day — to get this all done? That’s the timeline the ORC gives us from concept to completion. And since I didn’t even own the house when this round of the ORC went live, you can be assured that I’m doing this in “real time”. Yes, dreaming and scheming occurred earlier, but the actual “doing”? It’s happening NOW!
Have a Color-Filled Day!
You sure are jumping in with renovations! Good for you! Your plans look great!
I think it’s been all pent up for the 18 years I’ve been renting! Thanks for the encouragement, Dara.
Good for you jumping in feet first with your renovations! I look forward to seeing how it turns out!
Sharon I am rooting you on over here!! Your office is going to be amazing and a wonderful jumping off point for the rest of your new home. Congrats on the purchase and I can’t wait to follow along!!
I just went and got paint samples tonight so I’m going all in, I guess!
Jessica | Petal + Ply says
Congratulations on the new home! Love how the office is open to your foyer. Such a great space. Can’t wait to see how you transform it with your colorful cottage style!
I can get claustrophobic in a closed in office, so that entry arch plus the passthrough to the living room are perfect for me!
Jen @Jenron Designs says
This is a great plan, I love that you used a space planning technique to make sure that all the essentials fit in to your space. I am also doing my office this season, a much needed up date for me. I can not wait to see you finished room, we will both be working in style soon 🙂
Thanks for liking the plan, Jen! I started looking at houses that were smaller than this one, but once I started doing the space planning, I realized what was going to work and what wouldn’t. I’ll be sure to hop over and watch your progress too!
I have been flirting with the idea of converting our tiny formal dining room into an office, and this put me over the edge! Thank you for the inspiration!!