Home Office Make-Over

This month has been a fast and furious... (oh, wait, is that slogan marked? - Sorry Universal Studios)

OK, fine, it's been a "fun and frenetic" month.  Besides two trips to DC, three Trade For (TF) shoots, a mud-run (Denise ran, I took pics) , two paid photo sessions, and the DIY repairs of both air conditioning units we also took time to refresh our home office.  

I had originally furnished and decorated this tiny 12'x12' room over a dozen years ago to meet my individual home office needs.  Not surprisingly, the space has always had a very masculine vibe including my old motor racing trophies on shelves and architectural artwork on the walls.  Those walls were colored with the original spray-on paint from when the house was built in the late '90s (a pale yellow nonetheless - it looked like I was a smoker.)  Now that Denise is working on her brand every night too, it's become a silly shuffle to move stuff from one corner of the desk to give her room to work.   

We decided to redesign the space with a few goals in mind.  1) properly accommodate desk space for each of us.  2) update the wall color and window treatments.  3) space clear and get rid of a lot of clutter in the room.  4) Make the space Feng Shui compatible for both of us.

Office layout before the make-over.  Denise would have to bring in a spare chair and sit between the Server Rack and bookshelf after I cleared my stuff from that part of the desk.

Office layout before the make-over.  Denise would have to bring in a spare chair and sit between the Server Rack and bookshelf after I cleared my stuff from that part of the desk.

First, I had to find a way to take this large executive style L shaped desk and make it work for two people.  Luckily it has a main desk and a bolt-on side piece.  I found by swapping this side piece around I could make it a separate desk.  I had to economize on what I place on my desk now, but Denise doesn't feel like a visitor whenever she walks into the room.  

We chose a popular sea-foam green for the paint.  You'd think that a 12'x12' room could be easily covered with a gallon, but the thirsty walls drank up paint like I down a PBR after mowing the lawn in August.  So 2 full gallons were needed to cover the rough textured plaster.  After we finished the walls we realized the ceiling needed fresh paint too so we did that a little backwards.  The '90's Roman style eggshell drapes (that were a bit small for the large window anyway) were updated to light gray curtains with a contemporary geometric pattern.  Thank goodness Home Depot's only 3 miles from the house.

The hardest part of the make-over was figuring out how to make the space Feng Shui compatible for both of us. The server rack really can't be moved so we had to design around it.  According to Feng Shui, we have different ideal seating directions, none of which lined up with the direction of the house, so we decided on a non-conventional position for the desk that at first glance seems to waste a lot of space, but in the end makes the room feel more open, has the advantage of being able to get behind the desks for cable management and allows for thorough cleaning.  Our new sitting positions let us collaborate or work independently without having to shuffle things around.  

The new layout with dedicated desk space, clutter removed, but all the original furniture.  

The new layout with dedicated desk space, clutter removed, but all the original furniture.  

We bought a large Schefflera and placed it in the V behind the desks to give a clean, organic touch to the otherwise geometric, hard edged furnishings and added a few smaller plants on the bookshelves as well.  I replaced the ceiling fan with one that better matches the overall decor as well.  

We're not quite done.  I haven't re-hung the artworks I got approval to keep and Denise is still deciding on some more feminine touches that work in the space.  We're going to splurge on some high-quality desk chairs since we do spend a good part of our evenings planted in them.

Denise can explain how the elements of wood, water, earth, metal and fire all work together to improve the flow of Qi (ch'i - pronounced "chee") energy, but with the addition of a lava lamp for fire and table fountain for water, they are now all present and better balanced.  And with that balance, even at 80% done, I feel more comfortable and productive in the space.  

We documented the whole make-over so Denise can create a video for the Feng Shui section of her web site.  I'll revise this blog entry with a link once we've got that done and published.  You'll be able to see the before and after photos there.

Jim Setzer3 Comments