Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My No Cost Office Renovation

This office makes me all kinds of happy.
It's warm, it's organized and well merchandised.
A gal can dream.

My office has been a pin in my ass for twenty years.
I'm sorry to swear - I am - but in this situation, there is no other word for it.
A pin my friends.

It's always been half done - haphazard, piled.
It's the place to put something when there is no other place to put it.

One of the many joys of an old home is the lack of storage.
Guess what? I reckon they didn't need so much back then.
We could perhaps learn a lesson here.

My office is my pantry.
It's my utility room.
It's Aaron's school room.
It's my sewing room.

Here's a candid picture of it last week.
Nothing was removed to portray a blog fantasy world.

Not too shabby.
But wait - it gets better.
Here's what it looked like when you first walked in.

An old chimney cupboard I bought for $50 ages ago.
My vacuum, sewing machine and all of Aaron's schoolbooks are housed in here.

Landsakes, I really hate for you to see this.
But here it is.
Some built in shelves that were here when we moved in. They don''t look too bad until I go grocery shopping, and then it gets out of control. I try, most times to keep it tidy. Then I go through a spell where I don't care.

An old chair I picked up a month or so ago at a yard sale for $4.
Nice and sturdy.
There was just 'something about it' that I liked.

For about two days I thought - OK - I'm redoing this hole of a room. It's so uninspiring. It's so dark. I'm going to repaint and get a new desk. I'm going to make a desk. I'm going to cobble things and make a huge project out of all this.

Then I realized that I didn't want to spend any money.
Then I realized that I'd decided in January not to buy anything new - 'member?
(there will be updates to my Quest for a Simple Life very soon)

So - I did my best and this is what I came up with.
I repurposed what I had.

Did I get you?
Any of you!?
Probably not.

This is the view going in the office now.
I moved the desk.
That is a story in and of itself.
Most people would disassemble the L shaped desk.
Most people would wait until they had help in the house to move the L shaped desk.
I ain't most people.
Bugs get up my butt and I can't wait for help or take the time to disassemble.
I'll spare you the details, but thankfully I had my cell phone on me, and my neighbor was home to help me. I got caught behind the desk, in the corner, in my nightgown.

Let's move on.

It was very hard for me to keep this desk.
I'm so over it.
But guess what? There's nothing wrong with it, other than my hormonal finicky fit.

I stole the rug off the front porch.
I didn't paint.
Again - I need to stop the madness.

I moved the cabinet over to the other side of the room. It's much easier to access it.
I'm not IN LOVE with all my white boxes, but it is what it is.
I feel whiney.

I brought up some stuff I had in the basement, and cozied it up a little.
I used to decorate very primitive, very 'clutterery'. I got away from that, and now I'm feeling the need for a little more clutter than usual.
I call it 'merchandising'.
Must be from my Pier One days.

I'm really not sure what I'm doing with hanging pictures under the map.
Really, I don't - not sure if that will stay, or I'll add to it. I got that picture for fifty cents at a yard sale, and my cousin painted the one sitting on the floor. I just like them.

I framed one of my old Woman's World magazines. I have one for each of the seasons, and I'll change them out accordingly.

I recovered the chair with fabric I had.
Another hard one.
I really wanted new fabric.
But I had this - but I wanted new - but I had this -

For some silly reason, the lamp is driving me crazy.
Loved it when I bought it - ten years ago - and now - not so in love with it - but I have it.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
That's my motto, and I'm sticking with it.
No, really. I am.


  1. I think your office redo looks awesome! Simplifying and making do with what you already have on hand is something I need to take to heart! Great post Jayme!

  2. I'm so there with you! We obviously got the same bug this week. And I was going to post on it tomorrow, however your perspective is much more entertaining than my would be. Maybe I will anyway, just so my readers can hold me accountable with making do with what I have. (Okay, I confess... I went to a flea market about bought some antique barn lights. Does that count?)

  3. You sure did a great job working with what you had and not buying anything new. I love the "merchandising" and the lamp - maybe you need to do a giveaway *wink wink* and let someone take it off your hands.

  4. Lord love ya! I get it! I sooo get the caught in a corner in your nightgown sorta thing. And here I was thinking I was the last person on Planet Earth to wear a NIGHTGOWN! lol

    Anyway-I love your makeover. I have been doing that too-repurposing what I have. I have cut way back on my spending in the last couple of years...partly because I just don't NEED what I used to need to make me feel happy. And wait til you see the Sucker MyHero is pulling in to our house to re-hab in the next day or two. Let's just say-it ain't'll see!

    So, my dear...hang in there-you did a good job-it looks SOOO much better than before and I would really feel "at home" in that room. Hugs-Diana

  5. hi jayme!

    greaaat re-do! i'm with you and your motto! i loooove it! i really try to use what i have and make do. when i absolutely think i have to have something "new," i head to the thrift shop! happy day!

    love ya,


  6. I love your office, I think it looks great. I love the lamp too. Your room doesn't look cluttery to me at all. (You should see my place) You did a great job with the merchandising and taught us all about working with what you have. I rearrange in my nightie too. I'm hot all the time.

  7. Love the no-cost re-do. Fab job on the chair recover. I like the white boxes, the really pop against your wall color.

    I am in the midst of making over my son's old room into a craft room/studio/guest room, and am trying to do it at a low cost (i had to paint and needed a light fixture).

    You inspired me to get started, so thanks!!

  8. Sometimes it just takes shuffling things around to get a new perspective or feeling about things. The office looks great. I am especially drooling over your large cabinet, in the photo it looks orange. Nonetheless I love the cabinet and the redo looks great. Your an inspiration. Truly you are, no really!

  9. Girl, you are way too hard on yourself. You did a great job! I really LIKE the big 'L' desk ...I'm a sucker for workspace, probably because I have very little. My kitchen has minimal (translate 'not enough') counter space and my desk is, well, not even half of your 'L' the time my monitor and printer sit on the desk, there's very little workspace left over. I like the lamp too. And I love that you have the window at the corner of your eye when you're looking at your monitor. I love windows.

    Want to redo MY office? I'll come get you! LOL

  10. I am not happy with my office either although I am sure others out there would 'drool' over what I have.

    You are no exception either. We never seem to like what we do have. I think yours is you hear that? ADORABLE!!!

    You did a great job with what you have, not going out and buying all new. I will keep what I have too, and wait for either a move or some major life change to do the office of my dreams. will come someday!

    Loved your post, and your honesty. Ha. You are always so refreshing!!

    Love ya gal. xoxo

  11. Your "motto" has been my "motto" for the past couple of years, at least! Last year, when I didn't have any money for flowers for my window boxes, I put old, floral china plates and platters in their place.

    I think you have done a mahvelous job, dahling!


  12. I think it looks great. I can imagine you stuck in the corner hehe Once I super glued both my hands to a cookie jar while trying to fix it and had to call my neighbor/brother-in-law. Thank the Good Lord I was dressed !!! I love your motto and am trying to adopt it but, there is a spoiled brat inside me fighting it!

  13. Wow I think your office is Awesome.
    Love that you did it all with spending like crazy. I need to take a lesson and organize mine.

  14. I think we just get tired of our own stuff...I'd take yours in a heartbeat!!!!
    Can I just say how much I love that chair??? The fabric is awesome, very inviting to the tush!!!!

    I need a nap after watching you wear me out!

  15. Jayme, you are an inspiratin!! I'd love to do what you've done. Maybe I'll year. By the way, does your plan make exceptions for buying me a plane ticket, and cooking me bacon while staying in the Squirrel House??? No? Darn it!

  16. My 'office' is the upstairs hallway; I'll take yours any day and on a cold day in January when a blanket of snow covers everything outside, that office isn't going to seem dark, it will be the coziest spot in Indiana. : )

  17. I think it looks really great switched up like that! And you really know how to accessorize sell yourself short. The pictures under that map are fab.u.lous.

    I'm in the same boat....trying to use what I have and avoid bringing new crap into the house. It's just getting ridiculous. In fact, I just went to the library to check out some decorating books to jump start my creativity with the junk I already if I could just get rid of the popcorn ceilings. *sigh*

  18. I think your office redo turned out great! It's amazing what moving things around can do for a room. If you don't like the white boxes, why don't you try and paint them? And if the open shelves bother you, you could try and make a curtain for them. Anyway, I love your office and I wish I had that desk!

  19. I LOVE it. It's an outstanding office. How neat to have a room to do all that stuff in it. It looks great Jayme. Really! I move stuff around all the time and it makes me feel like I have a NEW room. Bring things in from other rooms, and switcharoo out. And I laughed out loud about the desk and nightie and neighbor...You give me so much fun reading about you. !!!
    Hugs to you, and your multipurpose room rocks.

  20. Ha ha ha, you almost had me with the first photo, but I thought, that doesn't really seem like your style.

    Then you let us in on the truth of it all and I had to feel embarrassed and you aren't even here in my house!!! If you call your office a mess, then you are for sure girlfriend not, I repeat not allowed to just drop in anytime. Your messy is my clean...

    As for what you did with what you had, I say brilliant! Sometimes all we need to do is move the furniture and suddenly it is a brand new room. Paint, I suppose it is optional, but it isn't exactly like you can reuse it, so a lighter color might freshen things up and make it seem larger in your office/schoolroom/pantry.

    And BTW, when I get up there I hope there are some good yard sales going on, because I can't believe you got that beautiful chair for only $4.00! I want one!

    I love what you did for 'nothing.'

    Lynda ":<>

  21. Looks really great! Must be the moon... Last two nights I've been up til all hours dreaming n scheming bout tweaking all my rooms. I too had gotten really into decluttering, but after (too much) time at Cherry Hill n Dear Daisy (both so me) I went up to the attic n brought down a bunch of vintage clutter to cutsey up my spaces again. Kinda like shopping Ebay, only MY Ebay listings yet to be posted! Can you say schizo?! ;-P
    Well, anyway, it's not gonna make any magazine features but I feel much more at home. Hope you enjoy your pretty new to you space!

  22. Jayme, you are not alone! I have read everyone's comments and I agree with them all! I have been doing just the same as you and loving every second! I get caught in my PJ's every now and again- that is REAL life! Your room looks MUCH better and I just love it. It looks homey and inviting, mine is way to modern-like for my taste. Maybe I will get you to consult with me on how to warm it up....

  23. Ooh how this made me laugh. I am so familiar with the, "But I have this" reasoning.

  24. I love your office, pantry, sewing room, school room... everything else room. It's COZY.


    PS I REALLY love the $4 chair too.

  25. Your office looks fantastic! You did such a great job, and used what you had. Very inspiring too. And smart. And creative. And so YOU :) Wonderful! Now, enjoy! -Tammy

  26. I think the 'before' picture looks pretty nice (as someone else above said, "You should see mine!") but I must admit the 'after' picture looks lots better. I LOVE whatever-that-is in the window - a printed shade? I so want that.

  27. Good job Jayme! I love the chair. Now I need to get back to my office/sewing room. I feel soooo guilty for not having it done already.

  28. Well you dun had me on picture no. 1 !!! That room LOOKED just like your office and I thought you found a desk at a garage sale/thrift store or something and broke your rule on spending. Glad you kept your senses about ya!

    And did I tell you how much I LOVE your white boxes?? Well, I do!

  29. It looks Mah-ve-lous Dah-ling! I'm totally diggin' your new chair. It looks like one you could hike a leg up under the other and get real comfortable in. You really have a great eye, even though you probably feel like you've been looking at it all for some time. The art above the desk it really great, and I love how you can change it out with the seasons. That's so smartical as my daughter would say.
    Side note: Had a dream about chickens last turned into my dog...after I broke it's neck...what does it mean???

  30. If it's really bothering you *that* much, I'll take the lamp off your hands. You know, for your own personal sanity. And because I dig it. A lot. Just sayin'.

    Love your office!

  31. Oh a fellow neighbor and you are redoing an office no less. I love what you did and for no money that is so clever.

    I live right up the road a bit from you recognized your house from pics on your blog oh my gosh I about jumped up and down to know that I have found another neighbor in the blog world. In fact you are just a bit down the road from my little brother.

    I take it you homeschool also. This is my first year back at it and I am so excited to get started. I need to redo my den before I have a homeschooling room but for now we are using the kitchen table.

    So glad to make your acquaintance and I will be back to see what other fun things you will be up to. Again so glad to meet someone from my area.

    Anne F.

  32. Jayme - I love that lamp! I have a hanging one similar to it, and it's so 'quaint'! Nice the way you changed out the room. Made a huge difference!

  33. Like the After and it seems brighter than the first photo....I have a chair that I love love love ...that i got for 2 bucks at a yard sale...They had 4 on it and i messed with em....hehehe

  34. Why does it not surprise me that, in addition to everything else you can do, you can re-upholster as well.
    What a handy-dandy girl you are.

  35. Love your new office arrangement! Yeah! Who needs man-muscle anyways... ;-)

    A simpler life has always appealed to me, recycling what you have and what you can get for free.


  36. Ok, you caught me laughing laughing when you got caught in the corner. But that is so me. I am always trying to move things that are way too heavy and large and what is worse when I have scooted and shoved and find I don't like it where I moved it to. I love your room re-do and you did a great job on the chair recover. I have one quite similar that is actually in perfect condition but the color does not fit anywhere. I keep thinking about a slip cover because I do not know if I could get it to look as nice as you have.

  37. I just love you! You make me feel so - well normal!

  38. I tell you girl, you are soo funny! I just love to read about all your antics! I rearrange in my jammies too! Luckily I haven't ever got caught in an awkward situation like you did. Lordy be I don't know what I would do if anyone other than family ever saw me in mine!;-) I wish you lived in Kansas close to me. I think I would stalk you until you agreed to be my friend!
    Your room looks great! I'm really trying to live with what I have too! It's a challenge to move things around and have a space you love more than you did before.

  39. Wow! Kudos! I think the room looks much lighter, inviting and balanced. A great success and it does make everything look new. Moving that desk must have been worse than moving a refrigerator. Lucky you having the cell phone with you.

    The upholstery job on the chair looks terrific. If you have enough fabric left you might consider white gluing a strip of fabric across the front of the storage box lids or if you have lots of the fabric you could cover the lids... Or not... see, I get ideas running around in my head too. Help.

  40. We all have a junk drawer. Sounds like the office is your larger version of it. I'm the same way when I want to move something. Why wait for help, even if it kills you?

  41. I don't think your office is such a pin at all. In fact, it's right cozy. The only change I might make is to get a smaller desk.

  42. That's a tough motto to live with, but you are working wonders with it!

  43. Geez Louise. Now I need to visit again because I can't stomach the thought of you changing things around and me not seein' it with me own eyes.

    ps- I love it! There's just something about it. I can just feel the merchandising history. I can just feel it!

  44. Perfect. The perfect farmy feminine office. I like being able to follow your thoughtfulness thru the process!

    Now, have you labeled those little white boxes? Will you tell what's in them?


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