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Sharing our home office/Guest Room inspiration as Neal and I prepare to redecorate a room that has so much potential in our 1918 Craftsman home!
Neal and I moved into our first house in August. The move in process has been simultaneously fun, stressful, and a little frustrating. For the first time we’re in a place that is our and that we can make our own. There’s nothing holding us back! Well, except for small things like experience, time, and money ;). So far in our new house we’ve painted our living room and stairwell. Our next project is our home office/guest room and I am so excited to get this project going!
Our Home Office/Guest Room: Existing Conditions
The office is at the back of the house on the second floor. We have windows on two walls and a door leading out to a mini deck on the third wall, so we have a ton of natural light in the room! Most of the light comes in from the east and provides great light in the morning.
The room itself is on the smaller side and measures roughly 8 x 10. We have natural wood floors that are like a honey oak color. Like all the other rooms in this house, every painted surface is a stark white. We are lucky to have some decorative crown molding and baseboards. The windows in this room are original to the house and are in rough shape. We can’t open them as of now. It’s our goal to get them restored (and hopefully more efficient for the Indiana winters), but as we are hoping to do this project on a budget to save money for a bathroom renovation, we likely will need that to wait for a later date.
The ceiling fan is oversized for the room and makes it feel a lot smaller than what it is. I would love to have a ceiling fan in the room so we can open the windows and get some nice airflow, but because of the limited size, I don’t want to squish one into the room and make it feel overcrowded.
Our Home Office: The Vision and What We Need
We need our home office to work double duty. We are hoping we can use this space not only as an office space for Neal and to share, but we also want to use this room as a spare guest room and a space to just relax. So to make this all work, we will need furniture that can work double time like a daybed that can be a couch and furniture that has a limited visual footprint, like a lucite chair and a streamlined desk.
Above everything else, this room needs to be a place where we can focus. I need it to be relaxing, comforting, and peaceful. With the abundance of natural light, I want to use light colors that open up the room and make it feel bright, airy and calm.
Our Home Office/Guest Room: Inspiration
So thinking about what we need and what I want, here is the inspo we’re drawing from:
- I don’t know if it’s weird to draw inspiration from jewelry, but I am. I LOVE the combo of light blue with orange. The colors are soothing (from the light blue) yet exciting (from the orange) at the same time. They feel classic and fresh, too. I’ve always loved this color combo and can imagine light blue walls with orange ditzy print roman shades on the windows. No surprise that blue and white are opposite colors on the color wheel! (Source: Kiki McDonough)
- Seeing light blue and orange in action. Love the creamy trim and black dresser that seems to anchor the room. Also adore the eclectic look which seems well lived in to me. I can’t stand all white, minimalist, nothing out of place rooms. This screams well put together and well loved to me. (Source: Ballard Designs)
- I love the monochromatic look with a punch or orange. And the brass accents. It feels so traditional and classic to me. (Source: Elements of Style)
- I can’t get enough of this wall mounted track shelving/desk situation. Truth be told, we bought the track shelving to do this months ago, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. It’s such a clever and unique use of space and just looks so fabulous, functional, and flexible. Can’t wait to implement our own in our home office/guest room. (Source: Old Brand New)
- In small spaces, acrylic furniture can’t be beat. It gives storage but without the visual footprint. Whether it’s a table, ceiling fan or a chair, I’m sure we will be incorporating some acrylic furniture in our office/guest room. (Source: CB2)
What We’ve Done, What we Need to Do
There are so many things that need to be done when tackling a project, regardless of size. I’ve learned in our old house, a small project like painting the stairwell really isn’t a small project at all and to budget for at least double the amount of time I think a project will take.
So far, we’ve done the following in the office:
- Removed all existing furniture and sold an old desk (We will put the money from selling the desk towards this project)
- Removed the ceiling fan
- Wash the walls with TSP/TSP substitute to prep for paint
- Sand the walls all over to prep for paint
- Get quotes for window restoration
- Test for lead based paint
And everything we still need to do:
- Skim coat walls and ceiling to repair any uneven textures and small cracks in the plaster
- Pick out paint colors and sample on the walls
- Sand wood trim and repair with wood filler
- Prime walls + trim (2 coats)
- Caulk around trim as necessary
- Paint the ceiling, walls, and trim
- Install shelving brackets
- Cut, stain, and poly wood for shelves
- Buy + assemble furniture
- Make + install curtains
- Install lighting
- Repair + repaint the patio door
Wow. Listing out everything we need to do helps me think about a realistic schedule, but we’ve got a lot of work in front of us!
Restoring the Original Wood Sash Windows
Since originally drafting this post, we’ve decided to work with a contractor to restore the windows. We did a lead paint test for the trim, and unfortunately tested positive for lead paint. Originally, we weren’t going to strip all the paint off the trim, but as it was flaking and there were many layers of goopy paint, we’ve decided to completely strip it and repaint. It’s been taking up my evenings afterwork and weekends to just do the window trim.
We’ve been stripping using Citri Strip paste and it hasn’t gone very well so can’t recommend using that method. I’ve had to do at least three layers of Citri Strip to get the paint off and it softens the wood and I’ve completely gauged the wood trim in places. Nothing I can’t fix with wood filler, but not something I want to stain. Additionally, the wood trim doesn’t match the quality in the living room, which is typical of older homes. I do feel relieved knowing there isn’t any flaking lead paint for future babies or Dobby to find and eat and happy to know Ill get a nice clean coat of paint on the frames, instead of a gloopy mess that I’ll always want to chip away at.
We also found a local contractor to strip + repair the windows and I am SO excited to have functional windows we can open and close with screens! It’s going to feel like a whole new room.
Stay tuned to see what’s next for our home office/guest room renovation! Originally we were hoping to wrap this project up by April but then COVID hit and our schedule was massively delayed. Now I think end of June is more realistic, but it might not be till July that it is completed.