Office for Two

Posted on Sunday, February 2, 2014 · 16 Comments 

The last time I shared photos of my office/studio, it looked like this:

view from hallway brighter 1

It continued to look like this until about a week and a half ago. Now it looks quite a bit different (but we’ll get to that in just a second).

The room was great before. It was pretty. It was functional for storing my things. But I felt a little like that was all it was being used for. Just a room to house my stuff. During college, it was great to have this space to myself. I needed a quiet spot to write papers and do homework. However, now that I’m out of school, I found that I didn’t really use the space as much anymore (only when painting). I still work some from home, I still blog, and I still spend a lot of time on my computer, however, I found this space to be too quiet (and lonely) for me to work in very often. Since Drew and I both work away from home during the day, we only get to spend time with each other at night and on the weekends. If I spent all that time working in here, with him working in the other room, we would never see each other. So we would both end up bringing our computers into the living room where we could work together.

So we decided to give this room a little makeover. One that would make it work a little better for both of us. Now it looks like this:

office look in 3 brighter1

office from doorway brighter1

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I’ve always loved the look of double desks (especially since Drew and I both do a lot of work from home that we need office space for) and I’d been envisioning one for this room for a long time. This wall is just the perfect spot for it. (Inspiration: this, this, this, thisthis and this.)

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We built the (nearly 12 foot long) desk ourselves using Besta bookcases from IKEA (outfitted with these legs) and wooden 2x8x12 boards that we stained/sealed/and put together. A longer post coming soon about exactly how to DIY one of your own. (We did a few things differently, but our process was very similar to this one.)

whole desk from studio area brighter1

We ended up painting the wall behind the desk with chalkboard paint (Valspar from Lowe’s) and it is one of my absolute favorite things about the room. I’ve always admired chalkboard walls and I love the functionality of this one (inspiring quotes, to do lists, etc.) and the gorgeous statement it makes (I’m so into high contrast these days!). It took about 3 coats of paint to cover our wall and even though our walls are bumpy plaster, it still works great. If you do this in your own home, remember to “season” the entire wall with chalk dust before using (it makes what you write on there easily erasable without leaving an impression of what you wrote on the wall), but I will warn you that it makes a huge mess! Totally worth it in the end though.

drew side tall brighter1

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The other walls in the room are painted in Grey Ghost (Valspar from Lowe’s) in a satin finish. I love the contrast of the black chalkboard wall with the lighter grey walls and the white bookcases, etc.

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I’ve found lately that my style is changing quite a bit. I’m into really high-contrast and neutral spaces (black, white, grey, gold, and wood), with just smaller bits of color (and I would even like a little less color in here, but I’m working with what I’ve got — LOVE this office), patterns, abstract art (when wasn’t I into that though), elegant but with a more casual feel (love the imperfect to do list and the art taped right on the wall), contrasting textures (matte black wall with satin grey on the other walls, smooth white bookcases with an imperfect wooden desk top), a little old with a little new, and a little bit of quirk. This is definitely my favorite room in the house.

See more of my office/studio inspiration on my Pinterest board, here.

studio area brighter1

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The room feels so much bigger now! Not only is it such a better use of the space in our small apartment, and more functional, but it also provides so much extra storage and organization. It is so nice to have a desk with shelves. I didn’t even know how much I missed that before with my open desk. The small gap behind the desk bookcases, between the wall, is also great for storing art paper pads, unused art frames, etc! A nice little accidental perk!

This room has come so far from the before pictures in this post!

Now I’m on to the search for a larger rug for this space!

****UPDATE**** Want to build your own DIY Double Desk? Check out the how-to, here

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Sources:

My desk chair is from World Market, Drew’s wooden desk chair was thrifted, baskets on the built-in shelves and the middle desk shelf are from Target, other smaller baskets on desk shelves are from Michael’s, rug is from Target, curtains I made out of sheets from TJ Maxx, easel is from Craigslist, pink curvy glass lamp is from Home Goods (got it on vacation years ago in Charleston, SC), standing lamp is from Target, shelves DIY built-in out of IKEA Extra-Deep Billy Bookcases, Painting Taboret is IKEA kitchen cart, big white ornate frame with painting inspiration pics is thrifted and turned into bulletin board, big ornate gold frame is thrifted, elephant print on bookshelves is from this Etsy shop, Live Simply print from this Etsy shop, small purple/yellow print on bookshelves we got in Portland, OR but is Old School Stationeersgreen elephant piggy bank is from Urban Outfitters, glittery gold frames on wall are from Michaels, prints in them are prints of my paintings, wooden abstract painting on desk is by me, two taped up paintings on my side of the desk were bought at an estate sale and painted by Pierce Jonassen, taped up painting on Drew’s side is by me, crewelwork embroidery in gold frame was thrifted, white ceramic turtle is from West Elm, gold plant pot was thrifted, silver desk lamp is from IKEA, and rose window print is from here.

Comments:
  1. Britni says:

    This is absolutely perfect!!!

  2. Tonya Barringer says:

    Caitlin this looks amazing! You are so creative and inspiring! I just love looking at how you decorate. P.S I really like the bright pops of color for accents. It is very you I think! And I love how you use pictures, prints, your artwork, and drafts of artwork you have made!

    • Caitlin says:

      Aww, thank you!! I really love the mix of art too! I think it makes spaces more interesting and gives a nice but casual feel! Layering different kinds of art is more inspiring to my own work too! :)

  3. Joseph says:

    Hello!

    I love this idea for a work space and am considering stealing this idea. Wondering about one thing: do the grooves of the separate boards create an uneven desktop? I do writing and other work that require flat spaces and I wonder if those grooves between will be an issue. I can always put something on top and then remove when I don’t need. Thanks for your help and these great ideas. Your house looks so warm and inviting. Wow.
    Joseph

    • Caitlin says:

      Thanks! I’m glad you like it! Yes, the boards do create somewhat of an un-even desktop. If you make sure you are working with really flat boards that helps (one of ours was warped a bit which makes our desk a little wonky), but you still do have small grooves between the boards. I mostly do computer work at my desk, so it doesn’t really bother me, but it might make a lot of writing difficult. However, the boards are roughly 12 inches wide, so that is a foot of flat space on which to write before you hit a groove. Definitely something to consider before building this desk!

      -Caitlin

  4. Angela says:

    Hello! Found this on Pinterest last week and now my office is re painted a pretty light blue color and the wall is chalkboard! We are also going to make that desk, IKEA is on its way! Thank you for this post! A few questions, do you use regular chalk or chalkboard markers? I like the look of markers better but am worried it may not come off. If you have used them, what do you use to take it off of the wall? I’ve read some people having success taking it off with a magic eraser!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Caitlin says:

      Glad you were inspired! I’ve only used real chalk to write on this. I like the look of chalkboard markers, but never went out and bought them since I already had chalk on hand. I was also worried about them being hard to remove! I’m sorry that I’m not more helpful since I haven’t tried it! It is really important to “season” your wall though all over with chalk before you write on it with anything so that it comes off easier.

      Best of luck with your room makeover!
      -Caitlin

  5. Kathleen says:

    Love it! Where did you get the desk top and cabinets?

Trackbacks
  1. […] week I shared our recent office makeover, including the DIY 12-ft long double desk we built. Today I’m here to give you the how-to so […]

  2. […] looks great here in my home office, but I actually made it for my work office. It adds a little bit of interest to my otherwise boring […]

  3. […] one of the basement walls with chalkboard paint like the one in this home office on IcingOnTheCakeBlog. It would be fantastic in a playroom as well! Looks beautiful and is the perfect backdrop for […]

  4. […] Office for Two – Icing on the Cake […]

  5. […] (Photo Credit: Icing on the Cake BLOG ) […]



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