Designing an Office to Appeal to Multiple Interests.

February 14, 2016

Dave and I moved into our current apartment on the worst day possible; the day of hurricane Sandy. We had already bought the apartment, packed everything in bags, and put our few pieces of furniture and belongings onto a truck before we realized it wasn’t looking too good. Half of Staten Island had been evacuated and we were moving in less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. Uh oh. Long story short, we made it. We had power the whole time and just enough food to be comfortable. All our stuff was in boxes and we only had have five, bad boot-legged movies to watch, but at least we had power and a place to live!

Since then, we turned that empty shell of an apartment into a home, with painted walls, decorations and personality, and furniture that we didn’t assemble ourselves. However, we had a second bedroom that was just…there. Dave’s kids didn’t visit enough for them to have their own room, and I was getting busy at work and needed a desk top computer, as well as a better place to do my makeup than over the sink. I was also an avid gamer and was tired of fighting over the tv with Dave. So, our solution? Build an office! Now I’m going to tell you how I changed a small, New York apartment second bedroom into an office that would appeal to two totally different people.

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I started with a neutral color and an accent wall to change things up. I chose a sage green because green helps with creativity! It happened to be the sunniest room in the house also and I wanted to make sure I didn’t dampen that brightness. Dave’s good friend Ronnie is a master carpenter and he came all the way from Rhode Island to build us an incredible, three station desk. We bought white cabinets as a base from Ikea and positioned them so it left three gaps; a work station for me, one for Dave, and one where I can do my makeup and hair at. Then Ronnie built one enormous desk top that lined one entire wall, leaving just enough room at the end for a shelving unit. He also installed crown molding and built a beautiful wood-framed mirror for my “beauty station” as I call it.

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I chose a dark wood stain to contrast all the light colors in the room; the green walls, the white cabinets, etc. It also went well with the brown accent wall. Once all the custom work was done, it was time to fill it with furniture and office ‘stuff’. We chose dark brown leather wheeling chairs from Staples for our work stations. I was going to buy a stool for my beauty station but decided against it; it is a very narrow room and I wanted to keep a little extra room at the front where you walk in from the hallway. For when I lay down to play games, read or when we have company, we bought an adjustable, black chase lounge from Walmart. 1/3 of it can either stand straight up, or lay flat for a bed. For shelves we went for contrast again; black metal and grey stained wood.

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And finally, for decorations, we chose to completely cover the walls in art and photographs, as well as fill the shelves with a mix of what interests me and what interests Dave; NY Mets Bobbleheads, old cameras, awards, bright green plants, fun and playful video game figurines, old books, and travel souvenirs.

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This shelf Dave built himself too, using steel piping and one 1×6 piece of wood that we stained the same color as the desk and mirror.

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So as you can see, we were able to create a room where we both could retreat to when we needed to work on something; Dave can work in here instead of having to balance his lap top on the living room couch. I can play my games while Dave watches his show in the other room. It was also a place where both of our personalities can shine, through art on the walls and figurines on the shells.

I had a blast designing this with him, and it has become my favorite room in the house now. Let me know in the comments how you think it came out!

Have a great day.

– Kate

More about katehowley1@me.com

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