Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Embarassing home office makeover BEFORE and inspiration: Week 1 One Room Challenge

Well… Here goes! I am excited and apprehensive to kick off this One Room Challenge project for our office! I love the One Room Challenge and have participated several times before, usually for pretty intense renovations (three bathrooms and two bedrooms, all of which you can find here). This one is more on the cosmetic side, but in some ways will be more challenging because of what I have to work with!

When I started working from home last year, we quickly got an office set up for me upstairs. That was great, but now that we have another baby we’ve moved our rooms around and that’s Otto's room. I am working downstairs in his old room, a north-facing room with one window and a bunch of mismatched, thrown-together decor. It is depressing and ugly, and messy. I haven’t been feeling super motivated to do anything with it because I just don’t know what to do that will make it look good! But I’m challenging myself to come up with some ideas, and I’m fueled by some really beautiful inspiration photos I’ve pulled lately.

Over the next 8 weeks I will transform this room, using high end design inspiration, budget friendly and vintage pieces, and I’m sure there will be some DIYs too!

New here?

If you're new to this blog from the ORC site, welcome!! I'm Suzannah, a longtime DIYer and design lover currently making over our 1937 Tudor revival style home, our second fixer-upper. My style is modern traditional and I'm always working toward high quality design.

I have a 3-year-old and 9-month-old, but my husband and I have done almost all of the work on our homes ourselves! I've blogged about all of it so you can check out my tutorials page and room reveals to see. You can also follow along with me and my projects on Instagram! I also co-host the Your Home Story podcast!

See all my posts about this ORC here

Just an inspiration, since I don't want to scar you with photos of our actual office this early in the post! Image source

Home Office Makeover Before

All right, here’s the before. This is seriously probably the most embarrassing room I have ever shared! I didn’t clean up for these photos so you’ll see a few cluttery things of mine, and Jason's, but you get the idea. We have been asking a lot of this room:
  • I work four days a week in here, plus I record podcasts here on Fridays or weekends. 
  • Jason plays D&D games in here. 
  • I had my sewing machine set up for a while, trying to sew in here. 
  • I’ve also done some workouts like during my lunch break. 
  • Lucy also plays in here a lot, first thing in the morning and other times when I'm trying to entertain her while I work after feeding her. 
  • Oh, it’s also the pathway to the garage, which we now use regularly because we just got a new car that plugs in and has to go inside! 
  • We also take walks almost every day so the kids and I are always going through here to get to the stroller. 

It's so bad, you guys.

Function wise, there is a lot to pack into this room. While working, I stand, sit, and sit while breastfeeding, so I need a lot of seating options. We also need at least two desktop work spaces. We also need some room for kids to play. There’s also a freaking fireplace, which is not useable, but limits what we can do on that wall. We also need a place for people/kids to sit while putting on shoes/taking off shoes, and we don’t like to wear shoes inside but sometimes it happens so whatever rug is in here needs to be able to hold up to that.

My main thought is that if I had a standing desk that went up and down, I could sit there while breastfeeding (instead of that box of gift wrap that I literally use for my desk every single day, most of the day, while sitting in a rounded position on half of an old sectional that we inherited with the house--this workspace situation is so embarrassing, you guys). If we had one good desk chair (probably the one from my office which I will take from there soon as they’re having us clean out our desks), and one comfortable chair, I could sit in the comfy chair while breastfeeding but sit in the good chair most of the day (or stand at the same desktop in an elevated position).

Another consideration which hopefully will take care of itself is I need this background to look professional and clean for Teams/Zoom meetings, of which I have a ton. That affects the desk placement for sure. Lighting is also a problem; where I stand now that tall desk my face is really shadowed because the window and overhead lights are behind me. I would love to face the window or sit to the side of it but I don’t think the location of the long desk can change because of the Internet and tower computer and all the cords and things that are there.

Modern Traditional Home Office Design

Design wise, like with several of my more recent projects, I am really feeling a very dusty seafoam green/dusty teal color somewhere. A lot of my inspirations have antique wood desks, which I love, but there is so much dark wood trim in here that I think I should let the trim be the dark wood piece and maybe use white for the desks/drawers. Which is convenient because we already have these IKEA things that I don’t think it’s in the budget to replace. I’m also seeing antique brass in a lot of the inspirations I like, which I think is a great way to soften the black-and-white and modern metals of most offices.

I'll be marrying my modern traditional style with this Tudor Revival style home, with the original wood trim (though it could use some new stain in some places!). You can see all my current favorite office design ideas here.
Not really an office, but a favorite for this room--that sagey grey wall color, the vintage gallery wall, the antiques. Image source
Image source
Image source

We also need some beautiful art in here, above the fireplace and above the long desk, and I’m thinking of putting some color or pattern with curtains. The white ones we have up there are blackout, which is no longer necessary now that this isn’t Otto's nursery anymore.

So… You can see I have my work cut out for me. It will always be a real, functional office, with electronics and cords and a path through to the garage! So it won't be a high-end dream space. I’m honestly nervous at how this is going to turn out but I hope I can have at least a few really beautiful corners of this room to be proud of and feel good working in!

My favorite thing about the One Room Challenge is the community, so if nothing else I will enjoy and feel motivated by seeing other people's projects and everyone sharpening their design pencils and doing projects at the same time! There are always some incredible spaces. Check out the featured participants here and the guest participants in each week's post here. And, you can enter your email here to get updates when I share posts every week about this project! Thanks for following along!

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