This is the continuation of the story of transforming a bedroom into an office. Here is the link for Part 1: How I Created a Home Office from a Bedroom Part 1 of 2. The first post describes how I spent several months removing wall paper and painting this room to turn it into an office. This post will walk you through how I gathered the furniture to finalize the office.
During the time I spent scraping and painting, I knew I wanted to have curtain panels to hang on either side of the shuttered windows, but I didn’t really have a clear idea of what I wanted. That is, until one day when I was in World Market looking for candleholders. It was my first time in a World Market store, so I was just looking around, taking it all in. Way back in the corner I saw their curtain section, and wandered over to see if anything looked interesting.
And there I found exactly what I wasn’t actually looking for: curtains for the office. Their color was what caught my attention; a soft, subtle teal background punctuated by muted greens, taupe, white and a tiny bit of red.
A trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond for curtain hardware, a couple of hours for Sailor to measure, drill, and hang, and we had curtains!
There were 3 pieces of furniture that I kept, not just for use in the office, but because they are beautiful, unique, and have sentimental value for me. The first is a small dresser from my mother. It holds all my table clothes, runners and cloth napkins, which is exactly how she used it too!
The second is my grandmother’s mahogany Tambour desk. It cleverly hides an amazing amount of storage. The bottom drawer is quite deep, and behind the little sliding panels are small drawers and mail slots. When you open the center door, it even has a small shelf built into it.
The third item is a painting that my great-grandmother willed to my mother. My great-grandparents were apparently quite wealthy, and I have a slight suspicion that this painting is an original by Bernard Pothast.
I have always loved this painting, but initially I did not think it would fit in with this room. (I even briefly considered changing the frame, but saner heads prevailed when Sailor talked me out of it.)
Surprisingly, it does feel right in this room. I think it works because even though the frame is very ornate and gilded, the painting itself conveys a wonderfully simple, rustic feel. I have combined the desk and the painting together as you see here; I really feel like they fit together.
As special and lovely as my grandmother’s desk is, it is entirely impractical for me to work on. I wanted a writing desk for the office, something big and wide so I would have room for my computer, my paperwork, and whichever cat decided to take a nap on the desk while I worked.
I found a writing desk on Craigslist; it is simple, sturdy, and exactly the right size. The redwood ‘finish’ isn’t an exact match to all the mahogany in the room, but it fits in well enough. (This might be a furniture painting project down the road!)
It was at this point that I realized the office needed some height. The curtains provide a change in dynamics, but all the furniture was roughly the same height. To add some height to the room, I rescued a little white storage unit from the garage. I relieved it of all of Sailor’s daily droppings of pens, cough drops, receipts, miscellaneous screws and nails from his job site. It cleaned up exceptionally well, and now happily holds books, photos and tchotchkes on the top 3 shelves, as well as providing excellent storage behind the lower door.
There was one last wall that was a perfect spot for storage. Along this particular wall, I had one of those white plastic shelving units from Home Depot. It looked truly awful, but I needed some kind of a shelving unit, in particular to hold my printer.
Again, Craigslist came to the rescue, and I found this beautiful baker’s rack. I love baker’s racks, and this one caught my eye because it is big, wide and heavy. It also has 5 shelves for storage and display, and some beautiful ivy leaf ironwork. I have styled some of the shelves to be simply decorative, but the middle shelf holds my blogging binders, as well as books.
The bottom shelf holds 3 baskets that contain a slew of items I use in decorating. But more importantly, the shelf above the baskets holds my printer – which was my number one requirement!
At this point, the office is essentially functioning and complete. It took 2 years of slowly building the room piece by piece, taking my time, and not rushing.
The crown molding and baseboards are still, ahem, pending Sailor’s schedule. And I also need to paint the closet doors and cupboard doors. But for all intents and purposes, the office is done! I think, no, actually I know, my mother would approve!
Here are some comparison pictures of how the room transformed.
If you are thinking of converting a room for a different use than intended, I hope this post gives you inspiration and ideas. Taking your time with color, furniture, and styling may seem like a luxury, but it really is the key to a successful room conversion.
All the best to you!