Office De-Lite

A friend of mine has recently been hitting me up for a little advice on her home office because she spends 40 hours+ a week in that space. Most recently, she was quizzing me on desks.

So it got me thinking about home offices.

I like a touch of ambiance when I find myself say… sorting and organizing receipts for hours in my office.

My advice is this–light a candle, surround yourself with inspiring art or images or a giant pinboard, get a comfortable chair, get the right lighting–multiple levels if possible.

Maybe include a rug that is a work of art on it’s own.

Put some music on and work it.




Trestle Desks

I have some telecommuting friends and one of these friends has a new work from home gig and needs to carve out a work space. I’m thinking she should consider a trestle desk because well it’s kind of simple– they are affordable, timeless and chic.

Case in point,




My favorite example. It’s all about accessorizing, customizing and adding great art. Shelving won’t hurt either.









How is everyone putting these together? Mostly with IKEA’s Klimpen system, which you can customize with different finishes on the top and the legs. Here’s a little roundup with some other trestle options, some with a little more storage.

trestle desks

Target trestle desk/ PB Teen Storage Trestle Desk/ PB Teen Project Trestle Desk/ IKEA Klimpen Desk


Pendant Lighting for An Office Entry

I’m working on a little office upgrade. It’s a quaint little commercial space in downtown Southern Pines, NC and it needs a little TLC. We’ll give it some paint, upgrade the bathrooms, repair and re-coat the maple hardwoods and it will be open for biz.

The entries to the office spaces have these cathedral ceilings with little false dormers that allow more natural light in to the space. Right now, these shiny brass 80s chandeliers are hanging.

Penn office before

To modernize the space and give a different first impression when you enter, we’ll install one of these,

penn office pendant


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

A desk comparison

DesksNot too long ago I was looking for a little, affordable desk for my 5-year old DC’s room. I came across the Threshold desk at Target. Affordable…absolutely and it reminded me of other more expensive simple, minimalist desks. It got great reviews and so the decision was easy. I like my choice.

Desk 51 Blu dot/ Threshold desk

Sarah’s Desk Revamp

A few months ago I bought this old desk at my favorite local thrift shop for about $30.

sarah desk before


I was immediately drawn to the brass pulls. And then upon closer inspection, I realized it kind of has a Parsons look with classic straight lines. The finish was in horrible shape, it had not been treated well. I needed a desk and the price was right and it appeared that I could repair the finish with some wood filler and paint.

You know lots of bloggers post about painting furniture but two of my go to sources are Little Green Notebook and Young House Love. I felt confident about my knowledge of the overall painting process but needed to review the recommended primer and what kind of clear finish to apply over the paint. So I consulted YHL’s furniture painting tutorial before starting.

I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to paint the desk white. I was waffling between white or gray. But then I saw this and it was really tempting,

desk black+whiteBut I think it was a little too sophisticated for a desk area in the kitchen/sitting area. So I returned to gray because I love the way that gray and brass hardware live so well in perfect harmony.

I really wanted to hit the gray just right and I think this image embodies what I was shooting for,

desk gray

So my color would be,


 Ben Moore’s Fieldstone, which is what Sally Wheat painted her kitchen cabinets and everyone drooled all over them and it started a revolution or at least it felt like there was a movement? Maybe it was all in my head…

I used Elmer’s ProBond Wood Filler because that’s what I had on hand and a latex primer and paint from Lowe’s. Yeah, I used latex primer because I am absolutely over oil based paint and the mess that it creates and John & Sherry said I could anyway.

And here’s my thrifty lover in process after one or two coats,

desk progress


And here it is dunzo… finally. I know you’re jealous of my whitewashed paneling in the kitchen, those feelings are natural– just try to contain your excitement. The desk chair is totally temporary and I do not in anyway consider this to be styled.



Close up shot, I did add Floetrol to the paint to diminish some brush strokes and I think it worked…ok. I also scrubbed the hardware with Barkeeper’s Friend and a little Brasso. For about $50 all together I’m absolutely fine with the end product and I could move it somewhere else in time and use it as a console.








Office Do Over: Photography Art

Two+ years ago I was looking at maybe Vogue Living Australia or House & Home and I saw this framed image leaning against a window sill,


I tore the image out and have had it in my inspiration binder. And then recently I stumbled upon the image on Pinterest and now I know that its Twiggy.

I liked the expression on the woman’s face, the sort of emptiness/boredom and lack of expression combined with the pop of the glasses and orange color. This image of Twiggy inspired me to purchase Valerie Chiang’s print which now hangs in my office. I’ve mentioned/posted about this print before but I finally put the two images together.

Valerie Chiang print

In case you’re curious I posted about redecorating my office here , here, here and here

Vintage Office Chair Redo

Do you recall that $10 vintage office chair I bought last summer at my favorite local thrift store? Here it is, basically left outside with a future in dumpsters.

I decided on a simple and affordable small black and white stripe from Premier Prints because my thrift chair needed a lot of work at the upholstery shop. And voila this is how it turned out,
office chair
office chair2

Office Do Over: Lighting Choices Cont’d

Uggh, the chronic indecision continues. Previously, I thought I was settled on a capiz shell chandy referenced in Part II.

That all fell away as I continued to add fixtures to the field of consideration–cause that’s a no fail cure for indecision right? So here are the other fixtures I was considering for my new navy blue office.

Staggered Chandelier

Great price point but I think its too bling for work?

Marmont pendant

I was considering spraying the copper portion white.

Copper chandelier

Love this and it satisfies my obsession with faceted lighting,

Turin pendant

I can’t get over the crystal hanging from the bottom of these– it bugs me for some reason, I’m sure its removable but I’m not totally sold on this style

Solaris pendant

Oh it was hard to say no to yet another great brass Arteriors fixture but this one at $400+ was out of my budget

Willoughby pendant

Where do you stand on hanging rectangular fixtures in the middle of a room not over a long table?

Rectangle Capiz Chandelier

and finally…I made a choice before I went insane and the project went totally stagnate.  In the end it came down to the Turin pendant and the Baxter drum shade,

And I chose the Baxter 3-light pendant because it was the right scale for the room in terms of diameter, I liked the brass accents on the bottom, the price was reasonable, it provides ample light and although I wanted to stay away from the drum shade I felt like this shape was the right way to go.


A little help from my friends…

Fresh from vacay and already I need help.

Could you be so kind as to offer me a suggestion on where I could locate a nice assortment of tape or trim that looks similar or exactly like this,

My office and I thank you.

image via Pinterest

Office Do Over Part III

Here’s a little office action, remember I’m making over my office slowly but surely as previously posted here and here.

A little review– the wall color is Ben Moore’s Blue Note, the color appears most true underneath the window, apologies the room is dark because I need some lighting. I already had the chairs they are from Pier 1 maybe 4 years ago. The dresser is vintage and needs to be go glossy white. The figgy is looking oh so handsome in a Wisteria basket and the carpet well…its unfortunate but will remain unchanged.

That is my new desk chair in effect and you can see my Sally Mann obsession also still in full effect.

Instead of a horse I settled on this photograph 30×40 over the dresser. Poor man’s Massimo Vitali–I love beach photographs right now so I needed to let it out.

and I think it will go swimmingly (pun initially unintended) with this to be framed in gold/brass,

And I have loved Lulu DK’s Bloomsbury in Tourmaline for some time and although I will not be fashioning drapes out of it, I will have throw pillows made. Don’t think I didn’t consider the drapes.

Bloomsbury, Tourmaline

So yes I have been working on it.

Make Me Over

Meet my $10 mid century office chair. Nice solid wood base on nickel casters, everything is in good working order, the wood even looks like it might be teak or something pretty and Danish looking. Worn–yes, sad—probably, hopeful–absolutely.

So my first instinct was black and white small vertical stripes. Then my next thought was some boldly colored velvet.

Visualize with me,

Care to vote?

all sources are Pinterest unless otherwise noted.

Office Do Over Part II

I’m in the process of doing some redecorating in my office and here’s Part I in case you missed it.

I’m in the middle of a lighting conundrum. You see, I was quite certain I wanted this.

coral chandelier Ballard Designs
I see it as abstract branches more than coral. But I have two concerns, 1. is it too beachy 2. it’s not stark white

So I did some looking around and I’ve got some alternates. But the results of my search have ended in a few conclusions. The main conclusion is that there isn’t really a lot out there for under $400 that is both stylish, isn’t a drum shade or paper pendant and provides more than 60 watts. Maybe I’m just missing it. If you’ve got any source suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Out of the budget but its ok to dream,

arteriors auburn-6-light-chandelier
Turns out PB Teen has some good choices and I’m leaning heavy towards capiz shell,

capiz shell chandelier pb teen

shell swag chandelier pb teen

de lite chandelier pb teen

 Could kick it bamboo/pagoda style or go vintage chinoiserie,

bamboo tower chandelier shades of light

Bamboo tower

nice brassy sub for the Arteriors chandy above,

soho chandelier shades of light

a modern, sensible white chandy,

robert abbey white chandelier ebay

Robert Allen, Ebay

A more glamorous shell-like fixture,

Lamps plus chandelier pendant glass petals

Lamps Plus

Faceted and super delish but outside of the budget,

 faceted capiz pendant


Love this one but again not enough wattage,

oval ring drum pendant Shades of Light
Oval ring pendant


Office Do Over

I’ve been working on re-doing my office and I’ve known for several months that I wanted to paint a room navy blue. I’ve flip flopped on which room it was going to be and then finally chose my office.

The chosen navy hue is Benjamin Moore’s Blue Note.

And I couldn’t be happier. Its just the right the depth, the right amount of blue and I requested an eggshell finish for a little sheen. I went standard white with the trim and this time I decided to use a satin finish instead of my standard semi-gloss.

So we’re off to a good start.

I’ve collected a couple of other things like this print from NC photographer Valerie Chiang,

When I showed my Mom, she said, “so what…she’s at the fair?”  So she clearly LOVES it. The print looks fantastic against the navy wall, perfect really.

And I found this vintage dresser at a thrift store for $60, it functions like a credenza. It needs to be painted white but for right now the natural finish is tolerable.


 I plan to scoop this horse-y for over the dresser,

peek a boo white horse print eye poetry


Or this b + w photograph–I’ve been watching this one for a while,

Horse and Halter photo

 Horse and Halter

I like the idea of a b + w image in this spot, I was inspired by the photo of the woman at the Lonny office, not sure if the image is by Patrick Cline?

lonny office

 But on second thought I could always be persuaded by a good abstract ocean landscape,

ocean landscape eye poetry

Another element I’m waffling over is the light fixture. I was almost convinced that I would order this,

coral chandelier Ballard Designs
In a way, I consider it to be an affordable version of a Stray Dog Design. I was all set to order until I read the reviews. The most concerning was that it wasn’t pure white. I’m not really looking for an off-white or a gray-white in this room. And I don’t really know how I feel about paying that much and then spraying it white? 

And so everyday I look at more light fixtures in hopes that just the right one will emerge.

Sarah’s House: Library/Office

When I want to make a free improvement in my house and I need a break from the mundane chores some times I like to re-arrange the bookcases in the library/office.

This is how they are lookin’ now. And you don’t have to tell me…I know the dingy white needs to go–someday.

my bookshelf


my bookshelf3


my bookshelf2